Best Stick Welders – Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020
Shielded Metal Arc Welding is popularly known as stick welding and it is one of the most common type of welding processes for both home-based and industrial welding applications. Normally, a stick welder will be customized to perform stick welding applications only or it will be a multipurpose welder whereby it can perform a wide range of welds including stick welds. Both have their advantages as we have explained in our review.
There are quite a number of stick welders available in the market and choosing the best machine is a daunting task especially for many beginners. We have selected the best and listed them below and we have also provided some important tips to help you choose the most appropriate machine.
Here is a quick comparison of the product’s key features even before we go into detail of these top-rated stick welders.
Comparison Table for the Best Stick Welders 2020
Type of Current
1. Amico ARC-160D Review Overall Best for 2020
Amico ARC-160D is solidly built yet very portable and it delivers a very smooth arc making it one of the most highly reliable and very efficient stick welder in the market. This compact machine welds at 115V/230V dual voltage and it a complete package with outstanding features and it comes with the necessary accessories such as the electrode holder, a plug, an input power adapter and a 10 feet cable to get you started right away
Amico ARC-160D Key Features and Benefits
What we liked
Our Verdict: Amico ARC-160D is our number one pick based on its advanced and outstanding features. Although it is a small machine, it is solidly built and has so much power behind it enabling it to deliver great results.
2. AHP AlphaTIG Review
From the name itself, this is a TIG welder with stick function which means that any welder whether a professional or hobbyist can use this welder over a wide range of operations. It is AC/DC compatible with an output of 200 amps and it also provides dual voltage for running simple household tasks or heavy-duty applications.
AHP AlphaTIG Key Features and Benefits
Our Verdict: AHP AlphaTIG is a useful device for your welding operations which can be used for different purposes and under different conditions. It is a reliable and user-friendly machine for learners and experienced welders as well.
3. LOTOS TIG200 200A AC/DC
The TIG200 200A AC/DC from LOTOS provides the perfect versatility for any kind of project and one amazing thing is that this machine is very user-friendly as it is packed with an array of controls that are conveniently placed and are very easy to use. This welder doesn’t overheat and it produces AC/DC 200 amps with a seamless switch between the stick and TIG welding modes.
LOTOS TIG200 200A AC/DC Key Features and Benefits
What we liked
What we didn’t like
Our Verdict: LOTOS TIG200 200A is designed to handle a lot of different operations and it is packed with great features and it is certainly a good unit for welders on a budget.
4. Forney Easy Weld 298
The product’s name defines itself, “easy weld” which means that Forney Easy Weld 298 is a simple to use machine ensuring a stress-free operation, delivering high results. It is packed with innovative features and it is efficiently designed to deliver a 120V input not forgetting that it is very cost effective, ready to use from the box and it is TIG compatible.
Forney Easy Weld 298 Key Features and Benefits
Our Verdict: Easy Weld 298 from Forney is a superb machine with unique features that separate it from the rest. It supports both stick and TIG welding operations enhancing its versatility and it is designed to comfortably fit in your hands.
5. ARC Welder ARC160A
ARC Welder ARC160A should not be underestimated for it size as this portable machine boosts of an all-around protection in terms of over-current, over-heating, and over/under voltage. In addition, it is well suited for all kind of ferrous metal like alloy among others. ARC Welder ARC160A is resistant to wind and other limiting factors giving it a competitive advantage over regular welders.
ARC Welder ARC160A Key Features and Benefits
What we liked
What we didn’t like
Our Verdict: ARC Welder ARC160A in an incredible welder when it comes to overall protection of your machine. It protects the machine from overheating, over and under voltage as well as over-current protection which helps on energy saving and giving your device a longer lifespan.
Buying Guide for Best Stick Welder
As we mentioned in our introduction, stick welding is simple process and this is why most welders prefer this operation for their welds. However, choosing the right machine is sometimes stressful than learning to use the machine. This buyer’s guide will equip you with everything you need to know before choosing the best stick welder.
Here are some important things to consider before choosing the best stick welder;
i. Type of Stick Welders
Stick welders comes in two major types. These are;
ii. The Type of Current
iii. Power Output
This is simply the amperage of the welder and it should be an important consideration before you buy any stick welder. The higher the amperage, the less the time is required to complete the task and the other way round is true. That said we recommend a stick welder with 100amps and above for better results.
iv. Input Voltage
Most stick welders have will have an input voltage of 155V and 230V. Some welders, however, have the ability to use both voltage. Such welders are commonly referred to us dual-voltage welders making them more powerful and versatile. The ones that use 115V are popular among hobbyists that do not require a lot of power while the 230V ones are more powerful and they require an established power outlet.
v. Duty Cycle
This is the amount of time that the machine can work before letting it to cool down. The duty cycle is based on 10 minutes session and it is denoted in percentage whereby a machine with 50% duty cycle implies that you can work for 5 minutes before you allow the welder to cool for 5 minutes. Typically, the duty cycle will depend on the output power and the higher the output the lower the duty cycle.
For multi-purpose welding applications, choose a welder that has both stick and TIG capabilities and if possible MIG capabilities as well. This will save you money and time that you need to find a welder that is dedicated to a single welding operation.
vii. Safety Control Features
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced welder, you require a reliable machine that will help you perform welding applications effectively and safely. Our review has captured a wide range of machines some providing dedicated stick welding or a combination of operations, mostly with TIG operations.
If you consider the important aspects wisely, choosing the appropriate stick welder should not be hard. Most importantly, no single welder will be the best to buy but rather it will be dependent on the project of consideration and as such one welder will be better than the other one in every case.