Best Stick Welders For The Money – Reviews 2020

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.

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 electrode. 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 welder machines have all met our stringent test.

Best Stick Welder - Reviews in 2020

1. Forney Easy Weld 298 - Best Stick Welder for Farm Use

One of the greatest things about stick welding is that it can be done when it is rainy, or when it is windy outside. 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.

Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder

You can use up to a 1/8” rod/electrode 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 beginning welders will find this to be a useful tool.

You will also love the fact that this machine can be used as a TIG welder by purchasing the right accessories.

2. 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.

AMICO ARC-160D 160 Amp STICK ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder

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.

The machine is light, but it has the power and strength to please beginners and expert 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 electrodes 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 best stick welders for beginners. 

Read More: Amico 160 Welder Reviews

3. 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.

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.

Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A AC DC Aluminum Tig Welder

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 TIG gun/torch, the Argon regulator, a handy foot pedal for TIG welding, a ground clamp, and a pigtail that allows you to use either 110 voltage circuits or 220 voltage circuits.

4. Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 Stick Welding Machine

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.

Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 Mp

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 welding machine is the perfect MIG welder for the beginner. It is easy to set up and use, and it has ample features that allow you to grow and your skills to develop. It is also DC TIG capable, and has a display screen.

5. Lotos LTPDC2000D Non-Touch Pilot Stick Welder

This is not your ordinary stick 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.

Lotos LTPDC2000D Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter Tig Welder and Stick Welder

You also get a 15 amp to 200 amp output TIG welder. 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.

It is also a stick welder! 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.

6. EVERLAST PowerARC 200STI 200amp - Best 110v Stick 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.

EVERLAST PowerARC 200STI 200amp TIG Stick IGBT Welder

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.

If you would like to be able to use the welder as a TIG welder all you have to do is pick up a gas valve and regulator, and the TIG torch and your machine will convert into a TIG welder.

7. 2018 AHP AlphaTIG200X 200 Amp - Best AC DC 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 stick welders tell you that they can be converted into TIG welders if you buy accessories to go with the machine. When you buy this AlphaTIG 200X200 AMP DC welder you will get the foot pedal that can be used for heat control when you are doing TIG welding.

AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig Stick Welder

Most TIG 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.

Your TIG 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.

8. Hobart Stickmate 160i - 500570

Most people assume that a welding machine that can produce a 160 amp output will need to be pretty big. 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.

It comes with a 10 foot length of electrode cable. This electrode 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.

Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i

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.

9. 2019 EVERLAST PowerARC 161 HF TIG Stick IGBT Welder

This Everlast welder produces a DC output that creates a stable arc and smooth welds. Beginning welders and professionals 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.

2019 EVERLAST PowerARC 161 HF TIG Stick IGBT Welder 110/220 Dual Voltage

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 TIG 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 beginner 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.

10. ARC- STICK ARC IGBT Inverter Stick Welder 115/230 Dual Input Voltage

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 setti9ngs without having to study the knobs and see where the dial is turned to.

ARC- STICK ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder 115/230 Dual Input Voltage Welding Soldering

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.

How to pick the Best Stick Welders

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

One of the greatest aspects of the stick 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 a stick welder simply want clean welds, very little splatter, and incredible strength in their welds. 

When selecting a stick 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 the electrodes 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, have your stick welder and also have a MIG or TIG welder. 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 beginners but it still does the work well enough that the professionals love it too.

More Reading: How To Fix An Exhaust Leak Without Welding

The Basics You Should Know About Stick Welder

Stick welders use

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

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. Stick welders can even be operated when it is raining outside.

A 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, then you want a stick welder to work with.

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 stick 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.