Best Stick Welders (Arc Welders) 2020 – Reviews & Guide

Best Stick WelderShielded Metal Arc Welding, or SMAW for short, Stick welding is used extensively in the maintenance and repair industries and construction of massive structures. The popularity of stick welding has enticed many companies to bring their version of the welding machine. Among these valuable options, we have constructed a review of the top ten best stick welder that seemed to provide excellent value to us. Our assessment will help you avoid struggling to find the best-suited one considering the price, durability, different kinds of use (such as indoor, outdoor, substantial projects), etc. Hence, whatever feature you are looking for is available here.

Reviews of the 10 Best Stick Welders

1. Hobart Stickmate 160i Stick Welder – Top Overall Choice

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The Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i is a top choice from the rest of the machines. It is the best choice when you consider ruggedness, dependability, technology, and portability. The features justify the worth of the money you will spend.

Hot start technology gives easy quick, reliable no sticking arc start. With an output of 160 amps, this welder uses a dual voltage input of 160/240V. This technology enables us to work with any DC power.

The great advantage of this stickmate 160i machine is its size and portability. It’s petite and feathery, easy to transport and carry; wherever you need them, you can bring it there. This product comes with complete accessories that might fit your toolbox too.

Pros
  • Adjustable output.
  • High-quality electrode clamp lead.
  • Infinite amperage control.
Cons
  • There are similar stick welders at a lower price.

2. Amico ARC 160D Stick Welder – Best Value

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The Amico ARC 160D is an affordable low-price industrial-level welding machine that can work on any harsh and thick devices. It’s effortless to use all of the electrodes and with a force adjustment function.

This welder is multitalented and flexible which is designed to adopt 115 and 230-volt input. Amico works excellent in DC. There are only a few models like Amico which can match your budget as well as work like a pro.

Amico ARC 160D provides a duty cycle of 60 percent which means it is capable of supplying 6 minutes duty cycle. This is, by comparison, a giant figure and preferred by industrial-grade welders. It comes with a built-in cooling fan, which helps to work longer.

Pros
  • Affordability.
  • Heat adjustability features.
  • Voltage protection.
  • Comes with handy accessories.
Cons
  • The stinger is uncomfortable to hold.
  • DC-only feature.

3. Lotos LTPDC2000D Stick Welder – Professional Choice

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The Lotos LTPDC2000D is reasonably priced, steadfast, highly competent for professional use, and remarkably rigid for minor but hard procedures. This is a maiden all-purpose welder available that can be used in plasma cut, TIG, and Stick weld all together. It combines three activities with a 200A DC TIG welder, a 200 A stick welder, and a 50 A pilot plasma with a simple toss.

It can bind numerous metals of about half an inch undertaking the pilot arc plasma weld. Then again, the quality TIG guarantees smooth and efficient welding on stainless or steel or precise welding of shriller gauge materials.

The pilot arc-shaped and torch-like equipment that flawlessly cuts through materials through coarse. This Lotos plasma cutter consists of a long-lasting, integral plasma blade that makes it comfortable to carry around.

In addition to its features, the dual voltage with an automatic double frequency high power makes it easier to maintain and operate it at a quicker rate.

Pros
  • Multiple functioning nature.
  • Affordability.
  • High-speed working capacity.
  • Non-touch pilot arc.
Cons
  • Incompetent to work in a demanding environment.
  • Low power to cut metal objects.

4. Forney Easy Weld 298 Stick Welder

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The Forney Easy Weld 298 is both a stick and TIG welder. It is easy to use, has an incredibly easy to carry dimension. The applications consist of DIY maintenance and repair, which makes it perfect for beginners.

It comes with a ground clamp electrode holder, but the TIG torch is sold separately. This welding machine runs off 120 -volt input and produces 90 amps output, and the duty cycle is 80 amps (30 percent). It is generator friendly 120V- 4500W.

This welder is powerfully designed to handle up to 1/8″ electrode and welds 16 gauge up to 5/16″. A built-in inverter power system permits the unit to grow more powerful, user-friendly, and feathery.

Pros
  • Easy start function.
  • Dual functions both stick and TIG.
  • Cheap but durable.
Cons
  • Short duty cycle (20 percent).
  • TIG torch needs to be bought additionally.

5. Miller Maxstar 161 Stick Welder – Premium choice.

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The Miller Maxstar 161 is our premium choice among these ten, and we mean it. This welder is featherlight and measures 13 pounds only. It features a carrier belt and a strap, including a digital meter, this little inverter-based stick machine can be taken anywhere to accomplish your work.

This welder machine has superior sticker performance even in a difficult to run electrode. Through auto lines, it can run on either 120-volt or 240-volt input power, and the rated output is 130A.

Highly adaptive Hot Start technology has reduced the hurdles to use those challenging to strike electrodes. The marvelous Stick-Stuck feature ensures the detection if the electrode is stuck to the part and tums the welding output off to safely and efficiently remove the electrode, so there is no more arcing when releasing the rod from the stinger.

The only problem we have observed here is the stick only feature; otherwise, its high technology ensures seamless welding. These technologies make it safe and efficient to use, so it’s worth your money.

Pros
  • Inverter based.
  • High technology.
Cons
  • Pricy.
  • They are only used for stick welding.

6. Dekopro 110/220V MMA Stick Welder

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The Dekopro 110/220V MMA welder is one of the most reasonably priced and easy to use welding machine. This one qualifies to achieve polished, perfect output in any sheets of steel welding techniques. It is quite similar to the MMA welding and can weld various metal stuff, aluminum, steel, etc. Then again, the leading control mood helps closed-loop feedback control; the yield is steady, convertible for the electricity network.

The electric energy can be repeatedly amended to matchup the welding current. It includes a digital voltage reader. Unique welding dynamic characteristics control the circuit. This unit can be run at 220- volt, with the adapter, run at 110-volt.

This welder is quite adaptive and versatile to use. However, we have observed that with the MMA welding, it does not work well on thin materials, and it’s highly recommended to run just the 332 rods on 110-volt.

Pros
  • Cost-effective.
  • Works well on dirty material.
  • Shielding gas is not necessary.
  • Energy-efficient.
Cons
  • High skill is required.

7. Everlast PowerARC 140STi Stick Welder

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The Everlast PowerARC 140STi, is an excellent performer and quite a robust machine at a reasonable price. This model is specially made to ensure energy efficiency. Despite its small size, this welder compares well to larger machines with regards to arc stability. It’s great for beginners as it’s easy to use and it comes with lots of accessories too.

It has a 140-volt capacity and runs on 120/240V power. There is a digital display as well, which makes work a bit easier. Favorable settings can be saved, making it easier to start next time. This machine is perfect for welding materials ranging from 1/16” till 1/8”.

This machine is efficient to run both DC TIG welding and stick welding. The dual voltage makes it pretty versatile. However, it has a greater level of efficiency when it runs at 240-volt. It has a 35 percent duty cycle, a 140A.

According to our findings, we think it’s a smooth weld. As far as portability is concerned, you must keep it in the shortlist. It is pretty easy to operate even to beginners. This is quite impressive for a machine of this price as it really can do some hard work. So, it is suitable for your pocket as well as work.

Pros
  • Low power consumption.
  • Hot start technology.
  • Runs off a generator.
Cons
  • DC only feature.
  • Foot pedal can’t be added.

8. Lincoln Electric K1170 Stick Welder

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The Lincoln Electric K1170 is one of the best- selling arc welder of all time.  If someone is looking into welding, this is a good option to get started with. The control panel is as simple as possible; a current electric switch is attached there, which can easily be used for more current.

The amperage range of this welder is quite broad, ranging from 40A to 225A. With the AC-225, materials including carbon, low alloy, cast-iron, and stainless steel can be welded smoothly. General-purpose mild steel electrodes have a diameter of 3/16″, 225amp AC output, which is enough to weld.

As per our pronouncements, this welder can easily be used for more robust welds. It is well built, sturdy, and easy to use. This thing is indeed a workhorse.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Provides a broad spectrum of current settings.
Cons
  • Limited portability.
  • Expensive

9. SUNGOLDPOWER ARC MMA Stick Welder

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The Sun gold power ARC MMA is useful for household repairs, small side hustle, and other low to medium welding tasks. As a whole, the unit is pretty lightweight and comes with a sturdy carrying handle at the top of the case. You can quickly expect it to outperform the bigger ones.

This welder has an advanced control module IGBT with 110/220-volt, which improves the welder’s performance while ensuring the comfort of operators to tackle different projects. It can be converted into 220 to get a hotter weld. It has a duty cycle of 180amp @60 percent.

We found out that it can burn DV reverse rods fairly. There are many welders available in the market, but you won’t get one as good as this. It features everything needed with stick welding.

Pros
  • Less expensive.
  • Simple to use.
  • Automatic hot start.
  • Overvoltage and under-voltage protection.
  • Compact design.
Cons
  • Does not support AC.
  • Incapable of welding aluminum.

10. YESWELDER ARC 165Amp Stick welder 

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The YESWELDER ARC welder 165Amp has dense connections for your leads. This allows easy switching of the leads and runs electrodes and DC electrode positive or DC electrode negative. The arc force is also adjustable.

This welder comes with a 300amp stinger and a quality ground with a braided copper shunt connecting both sides of the clamp. It even lets you select your electrode size to get an extensive amperage range for the electrode used.

The arc 165 is also capable of running TIG with the proper equipment. You can easily weld with this machine off of 110-volt or 220-volt. The rated duty cycle for 110 volts at a 120amp is 40 percent, and the duty cycle for 220 volts at 160amp is also 40 percent.

The lightweight and sturdiness of the elements make this stick welder a premium choice for personal and professional use.

Pros
  • Portable.
  • Polarity connection.
Cons
  • DC use only.

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the premium stick welder:

Welding has great importance; most of the things surrounding us are made of metal. In our day to day life, welding is everything and helps us moving forward. It has an integral role in keeping us safe and enhancing the quality of our life.

As welding is a vital component in so many industries, art, and daily livelihood, it has broadened the area of carrier choice. So, buying a welding machine is not an easy task to do. Not only because there are many options, but there are tremendous opportunities.

Considering these facts making a buying decision for the best welder shouldn’t be taken lightly. These machines help to grow and improve skills, furthermore an enriched career.

Hence, we have constructed guidelines abounded with useful as well as essential information to help you through the right buying decision. Cause it is not only about the money, but your work comfort and harmonious service also. I hope this guideline will help you choose wisely.

While picking the ultimate stick welder, it is crucial to consider the projects you will work on most, because it determines your required functions. In addition to the welding machine itself, don’t forget to add the accessories and supplies you need to operate your device.

The features are outlined below to help you differentiate and get the one that suits your requirements completely.

Technology:

Different welder comes with various technologies. So, it is a must to know the technology they come implemented with. The technology decides what type of metals a stick welder can weld. There are various kinds of technologies in different welding machines: Advanced IGBT inverter technology, Hot start, Dual voltage, easy start technology.

Power source:

This one is one of the most crucial parts to be informed about. Based on the input power source, it becomes easy to estimate efficiency and output.

Duty cycle:

The duty cycle refers to the working time, in 10 minutes, during which a stick welder can generate a particular welding current.

Easy control:

For beginners, the controls and display must be uncomplicated. Most of the stick welder comes with an on/off switch and nowadays with a digital display.

Portability:

Portability is a significant concern for the welders working as a freelancer. The more a welding machine is portable, the more quickly and easily it can be moved from one site to another. As far as portability is concerned, the inverter welder is a great option to invest in.

Cost:

Different welding machine comes at different prices. The thing you need to see which one’s durability and working efficiency are the most and go with your need. Also, because various accessories are available with the machine, it is not needed to buy extra.

Process type:

Stick welding, also referred to as Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), applies a consumable electrode comprising of a filler metal pole that binds the workpieces. The arc is shielded along with flux material so that it is not welded away and that is why it is called Shielded metal arc welding. An arc is generated in-between the metal workpiece and electrode, which melts at the tip of the electrode to join two metal pieces together.

Current type:

DC power option is the most popular feature in stick welders. However, AC will be sufficient, but DC runs smoother. Whatsoever, you must make sure that you have enough power to complete your task and have a power outlet that can handle the machine’s voltage.

Warranty:

It is one of the major concerns while buying any sort of machinery. It is not easy to decide which welder to buy, not only for money but also includes workload. A warranty ensures the reduction of the cost if the buyer faces any mechanical fault in the machine. So, you should always go for a higher guarantee.

Inverter or transformer:

Inverters can efficiently produce a more stable arc. Whereas, the transformer provides with higher duty cycle. But inverter makes the machine lighter and portable. The transformer can handle the heavy-duty workload. You should choose as per your work requirement.

The advantages of stick welding:

There are some distinct advantages of stick welding-

  1. It is appropriate for windy and rainy weather.
  2. Equipment is less expensive.
  3. Does not require external shielding gas.
  4. Economical.
  5. Ensures metallic continuity.
  6. High corrosive resistance.
  7. Goes well on painted or rusted surfaces.
  8. Can weld on metal mill scale or rust.
  9. It can be used in areas where access is limited.

The best application of stick welder:

Minimal sulfur and silicon content in a steel material enable stick welder to work at its best capacity. When you must have to weld these materials with a stick welder, you should use low hydrogen and small-diameter electrode. Though it will be a time -consuming process, it ensures a smooth finishing.

Never forget to scrub every junction. The extra dust, oil, paint, grease on the metal surfaces must be removed to ensure a smooth finishing. Moisture, rust and other qualities in the were you are welding in, makes it a bit difficult. You must slow down your travel speed if this kind of circumstance occurs.

Spatter doesn’t bother the welding strength, but it does hamper the finishing aesthetics of your welding. To reduce spattering, the current level can be diminished, and polarity is also needed to be verified.

The electrode needs to be moved steadily; if you move the electrode slowly, it will create a lumpy weld bead because the filler metal will start to pile up.

Precautions for using welding machine:

  1. A split leather cowhide welding jacket protects arms and buttons uptight at the neck and covers torso.
  2. Heavy pants, steel toe work shoes.
  3. A welding hat that comes down and protects hair, ears.
  4. Eye protective goggles and hand gloves are a must.
  5. Always wear a proper face shield.
  6. Never weld near anything with chlorinated hydrocarbon.
  7. Make sure the area is free from any flammable materials.
  8. Before turning on the machine, make sure there are no puddles of water on the floor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What type of welder operates well for all types of use?

A welder featuring AC and DC output. DC gives an advantage over AC for less spatter, more relaxed start, stick applications, and can weld thinner metals better. AC output enables to weld magnetized part as it can alternate between polarities. So, an AC/DC welder can be used for an all-around purpose.

Q: Can you get electrocuted stick welding?

Yes, getting electrocuted while stick welding is possible. If the safety equipment such as gloves, clothes are wet. Even the metal you are trying to weld can get you electrocuted. Stick welding involves open-circuit voltage; it is likely to get an electric shock.

Q: How can you tell if a welding rod is bad?

Welding rods usually go wrong in moisture; the condition of the flux becomes worse.it will become rusty, the flux can also form a dry powdery layer. As it absorbs moisture, it gets softened. If a welding rod has any of these traits, you can say it has gone bad.

Q: What kind of rod should I use for hardfacing?

In hardfacing, a more robust material is applied to a base material. The type of a hardfacing rod depends on the type of soil or aggregate in the area you are working in. So, it is better to ask a local supplier.

Bottom Line:

In our opinion, Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i is a clear winner. It can also perform motorized tasks and other projects at home. The portable unit is suitable for outdoor projects as well. The other products don’t include this many features at an affordable price. Also, Hobart Stickmate 160i can work in an adverse environment.

If you have a lower budget, you can go for Forney Easy Weld 298. It is reasonably priced, capable of doing both Stick and TIG welding. The inverter technology makes it more portable and powerful both. Hence, this one is healthy for your pocket and multifunctional for the completion of various tasks both at the same time.

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