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The first time you fix something with your home welder, a whole new world of problem-solving and creativity will open up for you.
Whether you are trying to remove the stub of a bolt that had the head stripped off, or fixing your kid’s tricycle, you can fix the problem immediately and get on to the next task. With a home welder, you’ll have less downtime and can fix a problem right when it starts instead of waiting until it degrades into a bigger and more expensive problem.
You won’t need much welding experience to use these welders. If you are worried about this, I did an entire review on the <article link>best welders for beginners, but you don’t have to go there as all of these selections are extremely beginner-friendly. However, I’ll also have some suggestions on how to get the most for your money so you can solve any problem that comes up — no matter what type of metal needs to be welded.
Versatility and affordability are key.
The best thing about having a home welder is how much creativity it unlocks. With a welder, a chop saw and some scrap metal, the world is your playground. From creating go-karts to experimental aircraft, you can do it all.
You’ll be surprised by how cheap some of these small home welders are. Considering the hourly fee that professional welders charge, it makes sense to at least buy one of these and give it a try.
Best Welders For Home Use
The easiest welders for beginners is Metal Inert Gas (MIG) or the close cousins: Flux Core Arc Welders (FCAW or Flux Core). They are basically the same in that they are wire fed welding machines that need a shielding gas to protect the weld puddle from impurities in the atmosphere.
The Gas Metal Arc Welding machine (GMAW or MIG) requires a bottle of inert gas that you purchase locally, and the Flux Core machine uses a flux inside the wire to create the shielding gas when it melts. Either one is a great choice for these needs, albeit MIG will create a nicer weld bead with less slag and spatter.
A little rant that I have is that some of these Chinese-made machines use voltage settings and amperage settings interchangeably in their markings. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to interchange them to match the manufacturer’s nomenclature. As you advance in the craft, you’ll learn that Amperage generally refers to the “heat.” More amperage is needed for thicker metals. Voltage refers to the shape of the arc.
1. Forney Easy Weld 261
Most of our readers aren’t looking for the most expensive unit. They just want something that is easy-to-use and affordable. This is one of the most plug-and-play models available.
This one is a flux core welder. Flux-cored arc welding has the advantage in that it will work on those repairs where the metal isn’t perfectly clean. It might even weld on partially rusted metal. This makes it attractive for those scenarios where you are fixing an old lawnmower or trying to weld an exhaust bracket back onto your car. The other huge advantage of a flux-cored welder is that it does not require gas tanks. This means all you have to do is load it with wire, plug it in, and start welding.
At only 19 pounds, this one offers a lot of portability. It is light enough that your teenagers can easily carry it around and gives you a chance to start training the entire family on how to weld. It also has a metal case that is rugged enough to hold up well to the general bumps that happen when it’s riding in the back of your car to fix a buddy’s problem.
It comes with a MIG gun and an 8-foot line and ground clamp. This gives you plenty of room to move around and work. It can also hold both the small 2 pound rolls of wire or the bigger 10-pound rolls that you can get the better pricing on. Additionally, the drive rollers will feed either the .030 or the .035 wire. This is key as some of the tasks — such as welding stainless steel — require the larger size wire.
With only two knobs to adjust, this is one of the simplest tools to set up and get running. You dial in the wire feed speed to something that works for where you are on the learning curve (and the type of metal that you are working on) and use the voltage settings to dial in power. The best part is that it has ample power. As a 140 amp welder, it can handle mild steel in up to 1/4-inch thickness (although you will likely need a couple of passes). This is thick enough to handle just about any problem that you’ll run into.
The only thing I don’t like about this machine is that the wire feed is mostly plastic. This isn’t a problem in general use, but if you need a welder that you can use five days a week, this aspect of it might be a little lightweight for that type of work. It also isn’t going to be able to weld aluminum and is mostly suited for steel.
The Forney does offer a 30% duty cycle at 90 amps. This means that with it cranked up to 90 amps, you can work for 3 out of every 10 minutes before it needs a break to prevent overheating. The overload protection will automatically shut the welder down if you push it too hard. Just give it a half-hour to cool off, and you can get back to using it.
Ease of use, durability, and a 12-month warranty makes this one of the best home welders you’ll run across.
2. Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Welder
If you are a reader who can spend more money and never wants to run into a situation where they don’t have enough welding power, this Weldpro machine offers all of the bells and whistles that you could possibly be looking for.
Despite its versatility, this is a surprisingly simple welder to master.
There are a lot of videos on Youtube shot by owners of Weldpro, which makes it an excellent one to learn on.
With this 200 amp welder, you can do it all. It’s an all-in-one MIG welder, a flux core welder, a TIG Welder, and a Stick welder.
The MIG Welding feature is what you are going to use the most of. This is the workhorse of the welding industry. It is fast, the MIG wire is relatively cheap, the gas is readily available, and it will handle most tasks. Plus, MIG is the easiest to master. As a 200 amp Mig Welder, you can handle up to 1/4 inch thick metal (official recommendation is .197 inch thick in a single pass). It can also drop down to 40 amps for thinner material, but you’ll want to move fast if you are using a MIG, or switch to the TIG feature.
If you purchase a spool gun, you can also use aluminum wire for aluminum MIG welding.
The TIG is so awesome for working on thinner metals. This TIG is only DC (direct current), which means that it doesn’t do aluminum, and alloy work like an alternating current TIG will do. However, it is still handy to have for thin welding work and those artistic pieces that need a beautiful “stacked dimes” welding pattern. With TIG welding, you’ll use the heated tip in one hand and feed a rod of consumables to it. This takes a little more skill to master it.
Now, if you run into a nasty situation — like welding the rusty old brush hog back together — you’ll appreciate that it offers old-school stick welding. Simply plug in the arc welding clamp and grounding clamp, and you have a down-and-dirty arc welder. Having an arc welder is handy, as it is one of the only ways to repair cast iron.
This is a fully-digital display, which means that you can easily get the same settings every time.
Of course, now that I’ve shared all of the wonderful features of this welder, you are about to click on it and get sticker shock. Also, keep in mind that this is a 120 volt/220-volt machine. This means that in order to unlock the full 200 amps of power, you have to plug it into a 220-colt circuit — something that not every garage will have. With a 120-volt power supply, it only goes up to about 140 amps of power.
I love this welding machine for how versatile it is, but it’s going to be more powerful than what the bulk of my readers are looking for. Heck, you could probably build a race car with this thing.
3. Display4top Portable No Gas
Ok, let’s come back down to earth. Here is a cheap welder that will work on any household circuit. This little welding machine is a lot like the Forney above in that it packs a ton of power into a small form.
This is another Flux-cored wire welder, which lets you weld without buying inert shielding gas.
One of the best things with this welder is single-knob control. This welder has the wire speed automatically calibrated to the amperage. With most other welders, you have to adjust the wire feed speed to the amperage, and if you don’t get that right, it is hard to get a good weld puddle, or you can burn through your material.
By syncing up the power with the wire feed, you can easily get your weld right the first time, and it shortens the learning curve on mastering this welder.
This one isn’t as powerful as the Forney, but at 120 amps, it should be able to handle metal up to 4mm (about 1/8-inch) thick. If you take a couple of passes with it, you could probably get a pretty decent weld on 1/4-inch steel.
This one will only take the smaller 2-pound wire sizes, so keep that in mind when you are buying wire for it. But it is also extremely lightweight, making it easy to carry around the house and work on stuff.
If you have shopping for a home welder because you have a single job to do, this is the one to buy. You’ll enjoy working with it, you’ll save money on that repair you need to do, and you’ll be pleased to be able to fix those simple little jobs anytime they pop up. It also has a handy little welding chisel, which is handy for quickly scraping a surface prior to welding.
It does come with a cheap little welding helmet. I would definitely recommend upgrading that helmet, but if you are doing a small job, it will be sufficient.
For the weekend warrior and DIY master who wants a reliable machine, this one does a surprisingly good job. With a 35% duty cycle at 90 amps, this one is going to hold a candle to the other welders without suffering from constant thermal overload.
Furthermore, it is less frustrating to use this one that it is to fight with a super-cheap Chinese stick welder.
4. Hobart Handler 100 500572
I’ve decided that I can’t put together a list of welders without mentioning one of the Hobarts. Hobart makes a series of high-quality welders that are some of the best-engineered machines that I have ever run across. They are equally at home in your garage as they are in the auto body shop.
This Handler 100 is one of their most affordable models. It lets you weld up to 3/16 of an inch (so 1/8 of an inch + 1/16th of an inch) or about 4.8 mm thick metal. If you were willing to lay down one weld, grind and shine it and lay down a second weld, you could likely get it to handle 1/4-inch metal.
This is a flux core machine, but they also make the Handler 125 that can do both flux core welding as well as MIG welding with inert shielding gas.
The reason to go with this heavy-duty Hobart over some of the cheaper options is to get things like the better MIG Gun that has the cool contact tip feature. With most of these welders, the tip stays hot the entire time the welder is on, and the trigger only controls the wire feeding. With the Hobart, the wire is cool until you squeeze the trigger. This means you can easily lay the gun down while you reposition your material.
It also has a high-end metal automatic wire feeder. This provides a more consistent feeding of the wire, which means that it lets you get that consistent “bacon sizzle” 3 years later, just like you did on day 1.
This welder is especially a favorite for auto mechanic shops. Most shops just have little, occasional welding jobs that they need to do. The Hobart Handler will let even a novice welder get the job done with the least amount of practice, but the finished product is surprisingly professional-looking.
It is also a favorite among professional welders who need a welder for use at home.
Personally, I like the Hobart Handler 140 or the Handler 125, but this little tool is going to be more than enough for my readers who want a super-reliable welding machine for their home garage.
5. Lotos MIG140
The Lotos MIG140 is one of those super-popular welders that you see mentioned all over the place. Based on the pricing and features, you often see it positioned above the Hobart tools in these online reviews (sacrilegious!).
However, I cannot argue that it is a ton of tools for the money.
With the MIG140, you are getting a full-featured MIG welder that can accept inert gas for a full MIG welding experience or can run with just Flux core welding wire.
In this kit, you are getting everything you need to hit the ground running. It has a MIG gun that holds nicely in hand. The gas regulator is a pretty decent one, and it comes with the hoses and grounding clamp that you need. It also has a super cheaply made handheld welding mask.
It is also compatible with aluminum wire for aluminum work. You’ll just need to purchase the Lotos Spool Gun to do that type of work. (Not all welders are able to power a spool gun. This one can.)
As far as the welder itself goes, this one of the most versatile ones on this list. It can handle sheet metal as thin as 24 gauge and go all the way up to 3/16″ thick. It also has a digital display to make it easy to dial it in for your job. There have been a few upgrades to this model, most noticeably in the better metal, wire drive system (upgraded from their old plastic wire feeder).
For the hobbyist who not only wants to fix items around the house but who also wants to build their own welding carts and lawnmower trailers, this little welder is going to be a fun treat. It only runs on 110-volt power, which means that you can plug it into any household outlet and get to work.
It’s a toss-up between this one and, say, the Hobart Handler 125 or 140. I’d probably go with the Handler 140, but I realize that the attractive price point of this Lotos — and the incredible track record of the company — is going to make this one a strong contender for the DIY individual.
6. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
Ok, let’s talk about the Lincoln Electric Welder. This list wouldn’t be complete without it.
Their handy MIG line is very similar to the HOBART Handler line. It’s going to be able to handle metals from a thin 24 gauges on up to 1/8 inches thick, putting it on par with most of the other machines on this list.
The big selling point with this welder is that it is a full-MIG welding machine, which means that it comes with the needed regulator and hoses for connecting it to argon gas or any other inert shielding gas for full-MIG welding. It also comes with both a gasless nozzle and a gas nozzle so you can easily use it for both welding types.
Lincoln Electric has been one of the most well-known brands in the history of America. Their Welders are some of the only ones that are carried at local home tool stores. The nice thing about this is that you can often handle warranty issues by exchanging it at a store near you.
Overall, they make a solid machine, but their marketing and online presence aren’t quite as deep since they still distribute heavily through offline channels.
The Forney is a solid machine that is going to satisfy most of my DIY readers. If you want to save even more money, the Display4top welder will deliver a similar performance. However, for those readers who want a little more durability, the Hobart or Lotos should be a top consideration.