As you probably know by now, your welding adventure is going to being with a welding stick. And even though it is a beginner tool, you can carry out almost all of the welding tasks using it.
However, perfecting your welding skills with an average tool can be extremely difficult. And the thing about well-performing tools is that they do not always come cheap. But that is not really the case for our case. There are plenty of the best cheap stick welders available in the market.
And to get one of them, all you need to do is invest some time and do your research. But if you have a relatively packed schedule, that time is something that you will not be able to afford. Well, that is why we are here.
|Top Top||Super Deal PRO Commercial||Best Overall||See Price|
|Top Top||Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc||Editor's Pick||See Price|
|Top Top||Meda C.M.T Pitbull||Best Ultra-Portable Welder||See Price|
|Top Top||Hobart 500570||Easy, Quick and Reliable||See Price|
|Top Top||Forney 291 Easy Weld||Best Dual Voltage Welder||See Price|
|Top Top||XtremepowerUS MIG Series Gas-Less Flux Core MIG-130||Best for Home DIY and General Repairing Work||See Price|
Table of Contents
Best Cheap Stick Welders Review
To save you from the hours of research, we have gone through the top-rated products. And through vigorous testing and extensive research, we have picked six of the best ones for you that will not break your bank. So, without further ado, these are the ones that we have picked for you:
Top of the line tools tends to be a little bulky and chunky in size. However, Super Deal has managed to keep both of the factors in check and offer a praiseworthy power level with this one.
Let us first talk about the weight first. It weighs just 38 pounds, which is lower than most of the other units in the market. Such a lightweight design will enable you to move it around without facing any sort of issues. Also, the weight makes it ideal for both home and field use.
Apart from being light in weight, the unit is easy to operate as well. There is a rubber coating on the handle. That coating will provide you a secure and comfortable grip. For that reason, you should have proper control over your movements. The welding points are going to be highly precise.
The interface is user-friendly as well, which is not that common for budget-friendly models. It has properly labeled buttons on the front. Also, it offers quick access to advanced options. You will not find scratching your head when you are trying to operate it.
Alongside that, there is a feed speed control that is fully adjustable. You can easily adjust the current flow using the four buttons that are on the front. It also has a rotary knob that is for adjusting the wire feeding speed. There are ten different levels, and you can choose one depending on the task that you are carrying out.
Even the overall form factor of the unit is pretty small. You can easily store this one in your storage room or the tool cupboard because of having a compact body.
- Weighs just 38 pounds
- Feed speed control is adjustable
- Compact in size
- Operational procedure is pretty easy
- Has a rubber coating on the handle
- Included manual is pretty vague
- Wire feeder is not that efficient
When you think about something that is cheap, you can associate it with being incompatible with the standard working equipment. Well, Forney is here to prove your thinking wrong with this unit.
Unlike some of the other budget options, this one is capable of handling rods that are up to 1/8 inches wide. That means you will not have to worry about it being incompatible with the ones that you generally work with. It is also compatible with TIG torches.
Aside from the wide compatibility, the electrode and the ground wire that goes out from the back are reasonably long. Each of them is eight feet long. As a result, you would be capable of keeping the device further away from the workpiece, which would eventually lower the chances of any accidents occurring.
The overall form factor of this product is pretty small as well. It is reasonably compact. So you will not have to sacrifice too much space in your working area. Also, the body’s small nature will enable you to store it easily without having to compromise too much on storage space.
Alongside that, carrying it around will not be that difficult as well. Thanks to the lightweight body that it has, you should be able to move it around at ease. Talking of which, operating it will also be a breeze for you. All of the buttons are labeled. Even the feed controller has labels on it.
It packs an easy start controller that will enable you to control the arc strikes easily. And the amperage adjustment knob will offer you full control over the feed speed.
- Compatible with the rods that are up to 1/8 inches wide
- Can work with TIG torches
- Features an amperage control knob
- Small and compact
- Highly portable
- Has a cheap quality power button
- Inverter for some of the units does not last long
While you are in the market for one of the cheap ones, the ones you might find on the shelves might not be that portable for you. In that case, you should take a look at this ultra-portable unit.
To start with, it has a small and compact form factor. For having such a form factor, storing this one in your storage room or your tool cupboard should be an easy task. You will not even have to sacrifice too much space in those, leaving you a lot of space for keeping other tools and other equipment.
Even the weight of the unit is reasonably low. And because of how light this one is in weight, moving it around will be a breeze. You can move this one around without breaking your back. Also, you can carry this one and transport it around by keeping it on the back of your truck.
Aside from being lightweight and compact, the device is competent in terms of performance. The power rating of the arc is 100 amps, which is up to the mark. As it has such a power rating, you should be able to carry out most of the welding tasks with it without facing any sort of issues.
You will also have full control over the feeder line. Using the knob, you can dial down the power or dial it back up for completing different types of tasks. Also, the cable leading to the ground wire is reasonably lengthy. So, it would be possible for you to keep it further away from the workpiece when you are working with it.
- Unit is portable
- Light in weight
- Compact and easy to store
- Power rating is 100 amps
- Comes with a lengthy ground wire
- Some of the units might ship broken
- Welder handle is not that durable
Cheap things might not really seem to be that dependable and reliable. But that is not really the case for this one that is being offered by Hobart. And you will know exactly why after going through the review.
First of all, just like some of the other ones that we looked at, this one is fairly lightweight as well. The overall weight of this one is just 20 pounds. And because of how lightweight this one is, you will not face any trouble in the case of moving it around. That task should be fairly easy for you. Storing it will be easy as well.
Other than being lightweight, the cable that holds the electrode is reasonably long. It is 3 meters in length, which means you can keep this at a safe distance from the workpiece. Also, the holder is heavy-duty. For that reason, it would be able to withstand heavy-duty work scenarios at ease. The power line is 6.5 feet.
This one integrates hot start technology. That technology makes it capable of starting almost instantaneously. There will be no need to go through that much hassle in the case of starting it up. Also, the power remains pretty much consistent throughout the entire operation. It will not fail on you.
Aside from the technology that it integrates, the tool is capable of welding steel that is up to 5/32 inches. It achieves that for the 160 Amp power rating that it has. And the good thing about this is that you will have full control over the amperage. You can control it using the knob that is on the front.
- Weighs just 20 pounds
- Easy to store
- Electrode cable is 10 feet in length
- Comes with a heavy-duty holder
- Packs hot start technology
- Some of the units might ship with missing clamps
- Duty cycle is less than 20 percent
An easy operational process might be something that you would not expect for the tools that are under the budget lineup. However, this one is not among those. This one is well in the budget and offers the thing that we are basically referring to here.
Like a few of the models that we talked about earlier, this one is reasonably lightweight. It weighs just 14 pounds, which makes this one highly portable. And for the compact and small form factor that it has, you should be able to take it with you anywhere pretty easily.
The brand did not skimp one bit on the overall construction. They have opted for high-quality material to make this one achieve a rugged construction. And because of how durable the overall body is, it will be able to resist regular wear and tears exceptionally well. You can expect it to last for a good amount of time.
Other than the durability, this one is not one bit behind in terms of functionality. There is an integrated cable wrap and handle holder, which will make it easier for you to store them. Also, it is compatible with TIG. It even features 8 feet ground clamp, 8 feet electrode holder, and an 8 feet power cable.
Aside from that, this one is pretty easy to operate. The buttons on the front are all labeled. And the duty cycle of this one is 30 percent at 80 amps, which is reasonably high. There is an option for dual voltage input. It remains highly stable when connected with a generator. The arcs are going to be highly capable.
- Overall weight is just 14 pounds
- Compact and highly portable
- Construction materials are all high in quality
- Has a 30 percent duty cycle at 80 amps
- Easy to operate
- Does not work that well on mild steels that are wider than ½ inches
- Clamps are not that durable
For the stick welders, the higher the number of current flow settings you will have access to, the more versatile the device will be. And an example of that would be this cheap model that XtremepowerUS is offering.
Let us first talk about the most highlighting feature of this one. That would be the multi-functional control panel. It offers you access to four different levels of power flow settings. You are also going to have control over the wire feeding speed. It can be adjusted to 10 different levels. This is compact and light in weight as well.
Aside from all of the adjustment settings that it has, this one is highly efficient in performing the welding tasks efficiently. Instead of the regular wires, this one utilizes flux-core wire. That makes it capable of self-releasing metal inter gases. So the chances of oxidation occurring on the welded parts will be pretty much zero.
It comes with a couple of extra features that will make it easier for you to carry out the welding tasks. You will find two air vents on the machine. That will manage the heat by dissipating it properly. And the welding gun has a safety feature that will make the overall operation safer.
Alongside that, the ground cord is the standard American triangle cord, which means handling it around will be fairly easy for you. It even packs an automatic thermal protection chip. This chip will turn off the flow of power if the machine overheats. So the possibilities of accidents occurring will be relatively low.
- Sports a multi-functional control panel
- Offers 10 different speed settings for the wire feed
- Uses flux-core wire
- Has two air vents on the body
- Packs different safety features
- Switch on the panel is a bit flimsy
- Some of the units have a faulty air vent
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Cheap Stick Welder
Cheap does not always mean bad. However, there are some disadvantages, which are quite apparent for anything that is in the budget realm. That being said, allow us to give you an idea about the benefits and drawbacks that you can expect from one of these.
Benefits of Cheap Stick Welder
One of the most obvious benefits that you can expect from these is that they are not going to break your bank. Most of the cheap well-performing ones are well under the budget.
The cheap versions are just as effective as the regular ones. But this will only remain valid if you have picked one of the well-performing ones. With one of them, you can do all of the tasks that you would be able to do with the regular-priced ones.
The cheap versions will usually have all of the features that you would find in a regular version. That means you can expect these to leave a weld that is less sensitive to corrosion and dust. Also, the process of changing welding rods will be fairly easy for these.
Most of the worthy budget options will have a reasonably large wire to the ground clamp. For that reason, you should have the ability to attach the welding point further away from the welding point. So, you would have a lot of flexibility.
Drawbacks of Cheap Stick Welder
One of the problems that the welding sticks suffer from is that they are comparatively slow. And the same thing applies to the budget options. In fact, some of the cheap ones will be slower than the regular versions.
Just like the regular versions, you will have to be ready for a lot of splatters for these. The point can even end up having too much porosity.
Before You Buy What to Look for?
Even though the recommendation list that we have huddled for you in this article is reasonably short, choosing one can still be challenging for you. Well, that is why we would like to let you know about the things that we have considered to choose from the market. And they are stated below:
The first thing that we have considered is the size. These tools are something that you have to take everywhere. And carrying something that is large in size is not that easy. Considering that, you should check whether the size of the one that you are shooting for is small and compact or not. Those will be fairly easy to carry.
Aside from the size of the tool, you should also consider the weight of the tool. Among all of the units, the models that we are going to recommend are lightweight ones. You should be capable of moving them easily.
Also, most of these lightweight ones are compact in size, which means storing them will be easy as well.
One of the things that you have to emphasize when you are in the market for one of these is the build quality. This one will not be the same for each of the models that you will find. And the ones that basically utilize good quality materials are the ones that would have a higher build quality.
On that note, if you happen to get something that has an average build quality, chances are that it would be able to comply properly with heavy-duty workspaces. And you would want the thing that you are purchasing to last for a long amount of time. For that reason, you should pick the ones with good build quality.
Another thing that you have to factor in is the duty cycle. For most of the devices, the duty cycle is going to be about 10 minutes. And we would highly recommend you to pick the devices that have a duty cycle that is around that time. With those, your efficiency in carrying out the welding tasks will be reasonably high.
Almost all of the units that you will find in the market will be compatible with 110/120 V input. Those are basically standard models. However, some of the high-end models that are within the budget price point would be compatible with 220/240 V input. And those are the heavy-duty tools.
Alongside that, you will find devices that are compatible with both of the voltage inputs. You should pick those up if you want something that is ideal for regular and heavy-duty welding tasks.
The ampere rating is something that you should not skimp on one bit. This is basically a key factor that you should consider before making a purchase. It will determine what you can weld and what you can not weld. Most of these should be capable of fusing different types of metal.
However, the ones that have a higher amperage rating can weld various heavy gauge metals. Considering that, we would recommend you no to pick something that has a lower than 20-ampere rating. And it would be best if you can pick something that has about a 50-ampere rating.
You would not want to stick with one power level. For some of the metals, you might have to dial down the power a little bit. On the other hand, you might require a considerably high level of power for some of the other workpieces. And you are not really getting these to work with a particular type of workpiece, are you?
For that reason, you need to check whether the unit that you are picking up offers you the ability to adjust the current flow or not. Without that feature, it would not be possible for you to change the feed’s power level.
Length of the Wires
As you know by now that these utilize ground and other clamps. The clamps are basically attached to a wire. You need to check the length of these wires. The ones that have a lengthy wire will offer you the ability to keep the device further away from the workpieces.
And keeping the tool far from the workpieces has several benefits. One of them is that you will reduce the chances of any accidents occurring. On the other hand, you will help the heat dissipate properly as the heat from the workpiece will not affect the tool’s operational heat.
Last but certainly not least, you must factor in if there is an adequate amount of safety features or not. Starting from over-load, under-voltage, over-voltage, and other protections, you should check whether the one that you are picking has all of them or not.
Those will make the operation a bit safe and will lower the chances of any catastrophic accidents occurring.
Stick Welding Tips for Beginners
As you are looking for a cheap stick welder, there is a high chance that what you are looking for is something to begin your welding adventure. And in that case, you would not be aware of the basic tips of the tool. For that reason, we have huddled a short guide for you. It goes something like this:
When you are working in workplaces, safety should be your number one priority. And as you are going to work with electricity and loads of heat, you should consider whether you are fully prepared for the workspace or not. In other words, you should wear protective gear when you are handling this tool.
To shield yourself from the debris and the electricity of the weld, you need a proper helmet. Also, for the hands, you should wear leather gloves. Wear a respirator to protect your lungs from inhaling the damage-causing fumes. Also, do make sure that you have placed the workpiece securely before working on it.
The Cleaning Procedure
This tool is considered to be highly forgiving in terms of operating on an unclean surface. However, if you want the best efficiency and want your welding to look perfect, you should properly clean the workpiece. Remove the rust if there is any and brush the debris off the surface.
One thing that is quite inevitable is the splatter. However, the good news is the splatter will not affect the overall quality of the weld. But if you can not control it properly, the workpiece will have a messy appearance, which means you would have to work extensively to make the project look a bit good.
If you notice that the amount of splatter is excessive, we recommend you lower the current a bit. After that, you should make try to make the arc a bit shorter. Those will help you bring the splatter under control. Also, do make sure that you are using the right electrode with the right range of amperage. Those are important too.
Mitigate the Cracking
You might notice that the weld you have made has started to crack at one point in your work. Smaller cracks are not that big of an issue. However, the large ones can make the welding completely useless and make the workpiece look unsightly. The probable causes for that to happen are as follows:
- If you fail to fill each of the craters before breaking the arc. So you should fill each of the craters beforehand.
- The cracks might occur if you do not keep about 1/32 inches of a gap in between the plates. Also, you should weld towards the unrestrained ends for the rigid parts.
- You might have penetrated too much. Try reducing the amount of current and try using small electrodes
- The welding plate has a high amount of sulfur, alloy, or carbon. For this, you need to pick electrodes that have a low hydrogen content. And if that does not work, pick the ones that are a bit small in diameter.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use a stick welder in both indoor and outdoor conditions?
Yes, most of these tools are highly versatile. And because of being exceptionally versatile, these can be used in both outdoor and indoor working areas. Also, almost all of these tools are small enough that you can easily carry them from indoors to outdoor. They are going to be reasonably lightweight as well.
2. Do all of the stick welders have a variable feed speed?
Even though some of the cheap versions are going to skimp on this factor, most of them will come with one. Aside from the feed speed, many will even have a control that will let you control the current flow properly. You would be able to use them to properly weld on multiple types of workpieces.
3. Are MIG stronger than stick welders?
Not really. The stick welders are considered to be stronger than the MIG ones. However, the difference is not that significant. These are capable of being operational for a long amount of time. And for that reason, these are considered to be a bit stronger than the MIG.
4. What exactly is a duty cycle?
The duty cycle basically tells you the amount of time that you can constantly use the welder before having to let it cool down. By considering that, it can be stated that the ones with a higher duty cycle will allow you to work on the workpiece for a long amount of time without overheating.
5. Are protection circuits absolutely necessary for these tools?
Protection circuits are something that is extremely important for these. As there is going to be a continuous flow of electricity, these tools demand some sort of protection circuit. For that reason, you should make sure that the model that you are picking has protection circuits or not.
6. Is a heavy-duty stick welder worth the money?
Usually, these devices are of carbon steel and steel alloy. However, the quality of the materials utilized for each of the models will be different. The ones that use reasonably high-quality materials are the ones that achieve the heavy-duty tag. And those are highly capable of withstanding heavy-duty work scenarios.
Aside from that, for utilizing high-quality materials, they have a higher level of durability as well. Considering all of the factors, we think that it is safe to state that the heavy-duty ones are actually worth the money.
Now that you have gone through the entire article, hopefully, the idea of cheap tools being bad is not there in your mind anymore. Nevertheless, we assure you that you will end up with the best cheap stick welders no matter which one you decide to purchase from the ones we have picked.