Best Stick Welders (Arc Welders) in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Stick welding, or shielded metal arc welding, is probably the best known type of welding, and it is definitely the most popular type of arc welding.

People have been using this welding technique since the 1800’s, and the versatility of this simplistic method of joining metal pieces has created the ability to fabricate more things from metal pieces.

Best Stick Welder

Stick welding is performed with an electrode and an electrical current supply. The electrical current creates a heated arc between the metal pieces that are being joined and the rod. This simple process requires tools that are usually affordable. You also save money because no shielded gas is needed in the process. The following stick welders have all met our stringent test.


Quick Look On Our Top Picks



Best Stick Welders 2021 Reviews


1. Forney Easy Weld 298 - Best for Farm Use

Specifications

  • Weight: 13.74 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.25 x 8 x 12.5 inches
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Material: Metal
  • Color: Green
Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder

One of the greatest things about stick welding is that it can be done when it is rainy, or when it is windy outside the workshop. This welding machine is light and portable so you can take it anywhere you need to. If you need to do repairs on a piece of farm equipment at the back of your property this machine is ready to go with you.

You can use up to a 1/8” rod when you are using this Forney Easy Weld. You will have the power to weld 16 gauge metals that is up to 5/16” thick. It comes with an eight foot electrode holder so you have plenty of maneuverability, and it also has an eight foot ground clamp.

The machine is powered by your common 120 volt electric circuit. The machine will provide you with a 90 amp output.

The machine has easy start technology built into it so striking an arc is easy to do. The other controls on the machine are easy to use and understand so even an inexperienced welders will find this to be a useful tool.

Pros


  • Along with stick welding, you can use this device for TIG welding.
  • You can easily change from stick to TIG welding simply by flipping a switch.
  • 1/8” electrode is compatible with this cheap welding device.
  • 16 gauge up to 5/16” is easy to weld with it.

Cons


  • Provides only 90-amp output.

2. AMICO ARC-160D STICK Welder

Specifications

  • Weight: 16 pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.1 x 6.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Style: STICK ARC DC Inverter Welder
  • Material: Metal & Plastic ABS
  • Power Source: AC 100~250V
AMICO ARC-160D 160 Amp STICK ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder

The inverter technology used in the design of this machine is IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor. It converts the AC power from your supply to the perfect DC power.

You get extreme arc stability, an immense hot start, the ability to weld without your electrode sticking to the metal, and it has both under and over voltage protection, as well as overload protection.

When you begin to weld the intelligent fan designed into the machine will automatically kick on and cool off the components so the contaminants that might be pulled through the power source will be fewer.

Amico 160 is light, but it has the power and strength to please every type of welders. It has an LCD display to alert you when the machine is ready, and what each of the controls is set on. It works with a wide variety of acid or basic rods and can be operated with either a 110 volt or 220 volt electrical supply.

This machine has been designed so that it is capable of producing an almost flawless weld. That means you are going to experience a smoother finish with less splatter and a lot less post weld cleanup. We are recommending this machine as one of the top arc welders for beginners.

Pros


  • You can use 6010 all the way up to 7018 electrodes with the stick welder, giving excellent variation.
  • Switching between 100 and 250V is super easy due to automatic selection.
  • Excellent 80% duty cycle at 160 amps which is very good considering its price.
  • From 1/8 to 3/32, you can use multiple types of rods.

Cons


  • A little complicated to find the right amperage.

3. Lotos Aluminum DC Stick Welder

Specifications

  • Weight: 58 pounds
  • Dimensions: 28 x 13 x 17 inches
  • 200 A  Welding Output
  • Dual Voltage
  • Voltage: 240.00 volts
Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A AC DC Aluminum Tig Welder

If you are a stick welder, and you have the need to weld aluminum, then you will be delighted with this machine. It utilizes a 200 amp ac square wave inverter to give you the ability to perform accurate, precise aluminum welds onsite.

You will have the ability to do common stick welding, and you will have the ability to do TIG welds on aluminum, stainless steel, and thinner gauge metals. The power efficiency is rated at 80% so you know that you have plenty of power to create the heat you need to get the job done.

The machine creates a 15 amp to 200 amp DC electric current output. It has an easy arc start feature that makes it easier to get your welds started, and it maintains a stable arc so your welds can be smooth, accurate, and precise. You can even use it with a variety of electrode types, and still get beautiful results.

It comes complete with a power supply cord, an MMA or stick clamp, a gun/torch, the Argon regulator, a handy foot pedal for welding, a ground clamp, and a pigtail that allows you to use either 110 voltage circuits or 220 voltage circuits.

Pros


  • You can weld aluminum alongside steel with this welder since it provides both AC and DC welding abilities.
  • Alongside dual voltage of 110V and 220V, the device can automatically switch between them.
  • Great heat control increases the duty cycle and reduces the chance of hazards.
  • An excellent square wave inverter makes it great for welding aluminum.

Cons


  • A bit heavy than most compact welders.

4. Lincoln Electric Power Stick Welding Machine

Specifications

  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19 x 10.75 x 14 inches
  • Dual Voltage Inputs
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Large color display guides
Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 Mp

This welding machine weighs only 40 pounds. It is light enough that you can carry it with you to where the work is with no trouble. You do not need a big truck to transport this machine. It is made for convenience and it enables hobbyist, craft workers, and professionals to have the welding power they need, when and where they need it.

If you are going to make a welding machine convenient then you have to make it dual voltage so it can be plugged into a 110 volt circuit or a 220 volt circuit.

This welding machine will keep impressing you with features like the push and turn digital controls. It is very easy to set the controls so that the machine is ready for the metal types you will be welding.

If you are an advanced welder and need more advanced settings to perform your welds, you will have easy access to options and settings that will make the welder do what you need it to do.

This is the perfect MIG welder. It is easy to set up and use, and it has ample features that allow you to grow and your skills to develop.

Pros


  • Stick welding, MIG, TIG, and flux-cored welding all can be done with this welder!
  • For stick welding, you can use 5/32” electrodes.
  • You can weld aluminum with it by adding a spool gun.
  • The controls are better and simpler than most similar welders.

Cons


  • Only runs on DC power.

5. Lotos CT520D 50 AMP Stick Welder

Specifications

  • Weight: 42.35 pounds
  • Dimensions: 17 x 8 x 12.5 inches
  • Size: ½ Inch Clean Cut
  • Color: Brown
  • Part Number: 04-ZVGR-0O8D
Lotos CT520D 50 AMP Stick Welder

This is not your ordinary arc welder. This is not your ordinary plasma cutter. This is a combination plasma cutter and welding machine. When you have this machine you have a non-touch 10 to 50 amp plasma cutter that can cut up to ¾” metal. It is ideal for ½” thicknesses. It can also cut dirty metal, painted metal and rough surface materials with precision and accuracy.

This welder is perfect for stainless steel items and thinner metals. The torch can be controlled by a hand control or a foot pedal. (The foot pedal is sold separately) You get to decide how you want to control the heat your machine is putting out.

You get from 15 amp to 200 amp DC stick electrical current output. You get easy arc start and an incredibly stable arc control so your welds look their best and have the most tensile strength.

The controls are easy to use and you can set this portable stick welder up in a minute or less. It has a D plug and air filter regulator designed into it so it quickly connects to the coupler that is present on your air compressor.

Pros


  • The welder is suitable for stick and TIG welding and also plasma cutting with 50AMP power.
  • The plasma cutter has an ideal cut of ½” and ¾” for max severance.
  • You can get a quality deep weld pool and excellent arc from the 15-200AMP stick welder.
  • Easy to set it up takes less than two minutes.

Cons


  • It doesn’t have a pilot arc.

6. EVERLAST PowerARC 200STI - 110v Stick Welder

Specifications

  • Weight: 30 pounds
  • Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 7 inches
  • Voltage: 240 Volts
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Amperage Capacity: 140 Amps
EVERLAST PowerARC 200STI 200amp TIG Stick IGBT Welder

One of the great features this welding machine has is the dual voltage ability. If you have regular 110 volt electric circuits handy then the machine will function properly using that current, and if you have a 220 volt circuit handy then the machine will function properly using that current.

The E6010 capabilities of this machine make it the perfect welder for a variety of usages. If you need to weld on a pipeline, in a shipyard, on construction jobs, to do repair work on farm equipment, to do hobby fabrication, or for any reason, then this welder will provide you with the power to do what you need to do.

If you hate the splatter that often occurs when using an E7024, E7018 or E7014 then you will love this machine. It allows you to weld using those electrodes and reduces the amount of splatter, or after weld clean up you are used to having to deal with. You can create smooth and precise welds that look good the moment you stop with no additional work.

Pros


  • While welding, this device is significantly quieter than others.
  • Great weld results on 1/8”, 1/16”, and 3/32” rods. Can weld ½” in multiple passes.
  • Runs 7018, 11018, 308L, 6013, 6010, etc. pretty well.
  • Lightweight and portable with dual voltage feature making it suitable for work and home.

Cons


  • Doesn’t have a handle for carrying. It only comes with a shoulder strap.

7. 2018 AHP AlphaTIG200X - AC DC Stick Welder

Specifications

  • Weight: 69 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19 x 23 x 12 inches
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Advanced Inverter Technology
  • Powerful 200 amp AC/DC 
AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig Stick Welder

When you buy a stick welder it is very convenient if that machine can also be used as a TIG welder. That gives you more options on materials to weld, and on what you can fabricate.

A lot of the newer arc welders tell you that they can be converted into TIG welders if you buy accessories to go with the machine. When you buy this 200X200 AMP DC welder you will get the foot pedal that can be used for heat control when you are doing  welding.

Most welders prefer these foot pedal controls. If you prefer to have the trigger switch instead of the foot pedal you will find the switch is included and easy to install on your equipment.

The torch comes with the machine, so does your other basic elements like grounding clamp, regulators and such. This machine is ready to put to work as soon as you bring it home.

You will even be able to weld up to ¼” aluminum and mild steel that is as thick as 3/8”. The machine allows you to use 7018 and 6013 with equal performance reliability.

Pros


  • You can weld steel and aluminum with it efficiently since it has both AC and DC welding features.
  • Provides an excellent high Amp of 230, which is admirable for its price.
  • Along with Stick, you can use this unit for TIG welding.
  • From a 110V outlet, you can get up to 140A output easily.

Cons


  • Has issues with the regulator’s calibration that can be easily figured out.

8. Hobart Stickmate 160i - 500570

Specifications

  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.38 x 7.13 x 10.5 inches
  • Voltage: 240 Volts
  • Wattage: 5000 watts
  • Style: Stickmate
Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i

Most people assume that a welding machine that can produce a 160 amp output will need to be pretty big. Hobart is the brand popular for its highest quality of products, and this is not an exception. This welding machine easily produces the 160 amp output and the entire machine weighs only 20 pounds. It is lightweight and portable, yet strong and dependable for industrial work and hobbyist as well.

Stickmate 160i comes with a 10 foot length of electrode cable. This cable has a heavy duty holder in place for your welding rods. It also comes with a 10 foot cable that has a clamp on the end.

You will even get a six and a half foot long power cord and the adapters that allow you to plug the machine into 110 volt circuits or 220 volt circuits. You will not need any tools to change the input power on this machine.

It has hot start technology so you will have no trouble firing this rig up and starting to work. It provides DC output so you have less sticking while you work, and better arc control while you worked. 

Your finish work will also be more aesthetically pleasing because the DC output reduces the amount of splatter associated with certain types of welding electrodes.

Pros


  • It can easily weld mild steel up to 5/32”.
  • You can use it on 7018 electrodes without any trouble.
  • The infinite amperage control gives you more freedom to work with.
  • Comes with hot start technology helping to get flawless welds.

Cons


  • A little bit on the expensive side.  

9. 2019 EVERLAST PowerARC TIG Stick IGBT Welder

Specifications

  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Voltage: 240 Volts
  • Power Source: Dc
  • Material: Stainless Steel
2019 EVERLAST PowerARC 161 HF TIG Stick IGBT Welder 110/220 Dual Voltage

This welder produces a DC output that creates a stable arc and smooth welds. Novice and professional welders will be equally pleased with the ease of use and the reliable welds they can create with this machine.

The machine is very light and easy to transport. It has a carry case so you can take it wherever you are going, and can store it properly when the work is finished.

It has lower power consumption than most welding machines of this class so it is better suited to a larger number of generators. This machine was designed as an upgrade to the older PowerArc 160STH. The older version was better suited for welding, and we wanted to design a machine that performed equally well with TIG or stick techniques.

We included voltage reduction features and a feature that helps stop your electrodes from sticking while you are working. This machine has all of the features to help a welder make the right setting choices according to the metals they are suing, and it has enough advanced features that expert welders find it to be a handy tool to have.

Pros


  • The adjustable arc force control provides a better arc.
  • On 110V, you can easily run 6011 3/32 easily.
  • Better than 160STH since it can provide equal performance on both TIG and stick welding.
  • You can select 2T or 4T for precision and quality arc.

Cons


  • Max amperage for TIG is 90.

10. AMICO POWER ATIG1852018 Inverter Stick Welder

Specifications

  • Weight: 19 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16 x 6.5 x 11 inches
  • Color: Red
  • Material: Metal
  • Measurement System: Metric
AMICO POWER ATIG1852018 Inverter Stick Welder

This stick welder will work with the majority of all generators. It is a dual voltage device so it can be powered by 220 volt electrical circuits and it can also run when powered by 110 volt circuits.

The LCD display lets you know exactly what each setting is adjusted to so you can make accurate and precise adjustments as you work. The LCD display also allows you to glance over at the machine and know the settings without having to study the knobs and see where the dial is turned to.

You do not have to worry about high voltage, or over current situations when using this machine. It has automatic compensation built into it. Those automatic compensation controls sense voltage fluctuations and they make internal adjustments that protect your equipment while you work.

This machine has the greatest amount of arc stability that you can get. You get a hot start that makes it easy to get your welds going, and precise amperage control which enables the anti-sticking features to help keep your electrodes from sticking and ruining your perfectly smooth weld.

You also get the advantage of an intelligent fan that kicks in when the machine senses the temperature and automatically cools the components to help reduce the occurrences of contamination via particles being pulled in through your power supply.

Pros


  • The IGBT on this welder is really advanced, giving excellent arc performance and quality welds with ease.
  • Voltage fluctuation, over-voltage, overload, etc., issues are excellently tackled by the device.
  • Comes with automatic temperature control as well as quality cooling that will allow prolonged welding.
  • Quality TIG welds of ¼” which is impressive considering its price

Cons


  • Not suitable for welding aluminum.

How to pick the Best Stick and Arc Welder


Stick welders are useful on farms, by hobbyist, for pipe welding, in fabrication and manufacturing, and in infrastructure. The hardest part of owning a this type of welder is deciding which one to buy.

One of the greatest aspects of this welder is that it is a relatively simple machine. These machines do not have and do not need a lot of fancy settings or outstanding features to make their users happy. Most welders using an arc welder simply want clean welds, very little splatter, and incredible strength in their welds. 

When selecting an arc welder consider the following things:

  • DC power output will give you the greatest amount of versatility in your machine. The DC power output will give you more control over the arc so you will create more precise welds that have less splatter, and are nicer to look at. 
  • AC output is great for the majority of people who do home owner welding projects or who do hobby welding. If you are concerned about whether to buy an Ac output welder or a DC output welder then consider buying one that is capable of both. That will cover all of your bases.
  • You want to buy a welding machine that has enough power to weld the things you will weld the most often. If your welding machine does not put out enough amperage then you simply will not be happy with the welds it creates or with the machine. Buy a machine that has the strength you want.
  • Make sure the machine can use the type of electrodes you prefer. The size and make-up of this matters in the completion of the project and you need a welder that handles the electrodes that you will use the most.
  • Dual voltage welders are handier than single voltage welders if you have to transport your welder or work from different locations. If you are only going to use your machine in one location then buy a single voltage machine that can be powered by the electrical outlet you have available. If you will be working from different locations you might run into situations where the electrical circuit has higher voltage than what you are used to so a dual voltage machine will have you covered.
  • Combination welders give you more than one machine so you can do your cutting. These combination machines save you a great deal of money because you do not need to buy 3 different machines. They also save you storage space because they are built into one compact and lightweight package. They are especially useful if you do any fabrication work and need to cut your materials.
  • The digital display screens allow you to determine the settings you have the machines set on easily. The display is easy to read and understand so there is no confusion about heat settings or output amps.

The stick welder is the most popular welding machine. It can be used by new welders but it still does the work well enough that the professionals love it too.

The Basics You Should Know About Stick Welder

1

Insulated conductor cables that transfer the electricity supply of the machine down to the material you are working on. These cables are called leads.

2

A piece that is designed to grip or hold the electrode or welding rod you are using. These pieces are called rod holders or stingers.

3

A cable that creates a connection between the welder and the metal that the weld is being formed on. This is called a ground clamp.

4

Wire rods called electrodes or welding rods. These rods come in different sizes and can be made from a variety of different alloys or metals. The rods have an outer coating of flux material.

As the rod is heated the flux melts and consumes the oxygen surrounding it. Carbon monoxide is produced to replace the oxygen and this allows the base metal under the flux to not oxidize or be burned up.

5

When you are buying welding rods you should know that the first two numbers of the rod tells you how much tensile strength the rod has. The number s indicates the tensile strength n pounds per square inch of material.

The third number tells you what position the rod has to be in while it is being used. A 1 tells you the rod should be held flat or in a horizontal, vertical, overhead position. A 2 should only be held flat and used in a horizontal position.

The last numbers tell you the type of flux that is on the rod. You must learn your flux types because they influence things like slag, splatter, and corrosion, and they also determine the bead or puddle the rod creates.

Use of Stick Welders

Stick welders can be operated outside when the wind is blowing, but MIG welders and most TIG welders cannot be used in windy conditions. When you are using a MIG welder the breeze caused by a shop fan inside the shop will be strong enough to interfere with your welding process. This can even be operated when it is raining outside.

An MIG welder is probably better suited when you are doing fabrication work with perfectly new, clean materials. If you are doing any repair work, or if you might be using the welder on dirty metal, painted metal, rough metal, or outside of the garage, and industrial purpose then you want a stick welder to work with.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to set up Stick Welder?

The first step to setting up a stick welder is to clean and prepare the metal you will be welding. Then you need to select the electrode that you will be using depending on what you are welding. Set the dial on the machine between 50 amps and 60 amps then strike your arc. Move your welding rod down the joint that you are welding.

What is an inverter arc welder?

An inverter is an electronic device that can regulate voltage so the inverter welder takes the AC power that is supplied to your welding machine and it converts it into a lower voltage so you can use it to weld. The inverter can take a power supply of 220 volts and convert it into a 20 volt DC output that is usable.

How many amps do a Stick Welder use?

The amps that the welding machine uses is determined by the size of the machine. When you are stick welding the majority of jobs you do will only require less than 200 amps so buy a welding machine that has 225 amp to 300 amp capabilities and you will be covered for the majority of welding jobs.

What is the difference between an expensive & a cheap one?

The main differences between a cheap  and an expensive stick welder will be the size and the capabilities of the machine. You want to compare the materials the machine is made from, the capabilities the machine has for welding a certain number of amps, and the power source the machine requires. Most of the cheaper welding machines are not made for commercial use but are usually fine for homeowner usage.


Final Note


A stick welder may be the right welder for anyone who wants to do any repairs on items like farm or lawn equipment, fences, and metal things around the home or farm. They are easy to use and they can be used outdoors and not just in a shop environment.

The type of welder can be used as a learning welding tool and it has enough features that it grows as the experience and skills of the welder increases. They are very useful, they are simple to operate, and they do not usually cost a great deal of money.

Last Updated on 1 month by Richard Boyer

  • June 22, 2021
Richard Boyer
 

Richard Boyer has been a professional welder for over 27 years of his life, and now he is a trainer and blogger providing critical information to anyone interested in welding. He is helping out both hobbyists, novice and professional welders to learn newer and better techniques. Read more about me