8 Top Picks
30 Hours of Research
24 Products Considered
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Beginners & Hobby Welders
So, you want to get into welding but you don’t know where to begin. Well no worries, because we’ve got your back when it comes to choosing the best welder for beginners.
At the top we have a comparison table to quickly look at some of our favorite options. Below that contains more in-depth reviews of the 9 best beginner welder machines that you'll want to look at to get a better understanding of each one. If you are on a tight budget, you can take a look at our best MIG welder under 500 USD reviews.
Finally, we'll go over some popular welding techniques, especially for hobby welding and the advantages and disadvantages. In addition, we’ll cover how easy it is to learn and use each one, and what each welding machine is typically used for.
Need to know "what is the best welder for a beginner?" Read on, we've got you covered!
By Gregory Sanders: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding beginner-friendly welders available for those who are interested in learning how to weld. The best 6 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best welders for beginners available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Best Welder for Beginners Comparison Table
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8 Best mIG Welders for beginners 2020
Miller Electric is one of the most prominent brands in the welder industry. It's certainly up there with the top brands rated as the best welders for beginners to get started.
When people ask me, "What is the best welder for a beginner?", I always refer to the Miller Brand.
Miller machines are always at the top of their class, both in terms of power output range and durability that contribute to an easy weld.
As a basic MIG/Flux core welder, Miller 120/240V welder is the best welder for a beginner to get started and a must have for those just starting their MIG welding journey.
The item is very efficient at welding steel, particularly within 24 gauge to 3/8’’ mild, and 20 gauge to 3/8’’ stainless thickness range. Its wire feed is very dependable.
This best mig welder for beginners is not cheap, but its versatility and power output range more than make-up for it. If you want to learn to weld, Miller Electric will be one of the most forgiving machines you can find, making it perfect for those with little experience. Since MIG machine welding is easiest to learn, it makes this a no brainer choice.
Miller machines are the most efficient welder units of their class and this best entry level mig machine welder is consistent with that and is easy to use no matter what base metal you are using - it works to make all simple welds a cinch.
The machine is very capable of effectively welding 18 gauge to 3/8’’ aluminum materials, making this device also fairly versatile to cover a wide range of welding projects no matter what your welding experience is.
This is the best welder for a novice to get, as it allows you to experiment with different materials and different thicknesses to develop your welding skills. You can even do gas metal arc welding with it with an easy wire feed.
Don't just take our word for it - almost all reviews on this option are positive and indicate it's a good buy, which means it's consistently pretty amazing.
2. AHP ALPHATIG 200X 200 AMP TIG WELDER
The AHP AlphaTIG is a very affordable model to buy and comes with an awesome thin material oriented welder. Some reviews call it the best welding machine for beginners.
It’s capable of welding anything from ¼’’ aluminum to 3/8’’ mild steel materials, which is a pretty impressive range for a TIG aluminum welder.
This, in turn, allows for a little more experimentation, which is, as the most experienced of welders would say, the ideal way to learn.
Some users had a problem with the AC TIG. Allegedly some had problems with starting the welding arc so we suggest that you test the AC TIG feature right away.
The welder is also capable of using both direct and alternate current, which, again, increases the machine’s versatility which empowers you to work on a wide range of welding projects. This model from APH operates on both 110V and 220V, making it usable worldwide. It is also very light, and, thus, maneuverable, which is an overall top quality purchase.
You can read our in-depth review here.
3. Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Welder
Weldpro isn't a huge name in the business like Hobart or Miller, but it is still a force to be reckoned with. The Weldpro 200 is a smart multi welding process welder for an easy to use weld.
A favorite feature is the ability to easily manipulate the torch. This is possible because there is an option to switch on and off (using your hand) between automatic and manual wire feeding.
With a variety of other options (such as adjusting heat and actually powerful foot pedals) it makes it easy to use without having to focus on too much all at once. This flexibility really makes it good for anyone looking to learn or improve their craft.
Additionally, its light weight and small size allows it to be carried around without having to feel like you're really lugging it around to get to an outlet.
The Weldpro 200 is a ideal multi welding process option, but it's not perfect. The inverter isn't as good as those from the big name brands, but it's still quite good.
Perhaps a more serious con - at 110V for TIG it doesn't seem like a half inch arc can be maintained even if it's fine at other voltages. Just something to keep in mind if you use 110 a lot.
Overall, the Weldpro 200 is a solid buy and will stand it's ground as the best mig welder for beginners. It's affordable and outperforms many other machines at this price range regardless of experience.
It will help you in welding aluminum efficiently and clean, along with other base metal materials, but finding one that can do aluminum can be difficult.
There are a lot of settings you can use, and a lot of thought put into it to make sure it's great for the noobies just learning to weld.
It is extremely portable (given it is lightweight and small) so you can carry it around and between job sites without it feeling like a chore. Since it's multi welding process it's perfect for a lot of different metal welding projects.
4. HOBART 500421 STICKMATE LX 235 AC/DC WELDER
For arc welders, we’ll have only two entries, but two excellent and affordable ones. The first is the Hobart Stickmate LX welder. This is one of the best machines on the market for stick welding to buy.
The welder has a 235 amp AC and 160 DC output range, meaning it can fuse cast iron like it’s nothing.
Not only that, but the welder features the easy to use start technology, which makes it very easy to strike an arc, one of the vital skills you need to master arc welding.
Nonetheless, the problem with this machine is exactly that it’s so powerful. It’s definitely not designed for welding thin sheets of metal and you do need to raise your skill level.
What is a good cheaper welder? The Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i is a good cheap welder for anyone. This is, after all, an industrial-grade machine - but because of its affordability and easy start technology, it is also a beginner’s tool.
5. HOBART 500559 HANDLER WIRE WELDER
Another big name in the business is Hobart. The 5500559 is one of the most affordable welders on the market to buy, making it a very good purchase for a novice. It has been called the best welding machine for beginners.
The welder is tuned to use common household current and has a range of 25-140 amps for all processes.
At such a range, the machine is very versatile and is capable of welding anything from 24-gauge to ¼’’ steel materials.
Some customers were complaining to the fact that the machine was manufactured offshore, but we didn't notice a drop-off in the welding equipment quality.
With that, Hobart is capable of handling light household welding, as well as heavier, farm equipment-grade jobs. From all types of jobs including ones that involve stainless steel or other types of metal you can't go wrong.
Besides versatility, the reason why this is such a great welder is because of its price - it’s a great entry-level deal. With this, Hobart is maybe an even better candidate for the ultimate beginner MIG welder given how much control you can have with it. It's the #1 option fi you want to weld stainless steel materials.
Check out our in-depth review of this welder by clicking here.
6. ESAB MINIARC WELDER
Our second TIG welder for beginners is the ESAB MiniArc welder. This is a very affordable and light welder, but it can still deliver quite a bit of power and a great output range for an arc welder.
This DC device can deliver a range of 5 to 160 amps. This makes the welder an excellent choice for very small and delicate welds. The welder is capable of operating both on a 115- and 230-volt input which gives a high level of control.
However, the most impressive thing about this welder is the fixed hot start. This enables you to strike an arc without a moment’s thought. That being said, this makes the ESAB very good for anyone looking for a beginner level welder.
Striking an arc can be quite a problem, and this nice addition makes ESAB very forgiving for novices.
Lastly, another reason why you should definitely check this welder out is because it is quite portable. Lightweight At only 18 pounds, the welder is extremely portable. It even comes with a shoulder strap, so you can carry the welder wherever the action is.
7. LINCOLN POWER 140C MIG WELDER
Lastly, there is the Lincoln Electric 140C MIG welder. Some reviews call it the best entry level mig machine welder.
This Lincoln Power 140C offers great power and output range making it easy to use. Just like Hobart, the 140C has an incredible range, 30-140 amps, making it very, very versatile for different processes.
The welder is able to handle light household work as well as jobs on heavy farm machinery and can weld car frames and weld other welding equipment with incredible ease.
THE LE 140C is suited for US households and has a 120V input. The only thing is that the welder doesn’t have the greatest duty cycle rating; it’s rated at only 20%, though this can be explained by its awesome power, output range and quick heat-up time, perfect for MIG welding.
MIG welds are very strong and clean, and Lincoln doesn’t disappoint. You can't go wrong with this one, but the other 3 models are higher rated for a reason. That said, Lincoln is still a great brand with well thought out features. It's a competitor for the best mig welder for beginner as an practical all-rounder.
8. MILLER DIVERSION 165 TIG WELDER 907626
Last but not least is another Miller, but in another division. We’ve already established that Miller machines are the top dogs wherever they go, and this TIG welder is no exception.
The machine has an AC/DC power source and has an amazing duty cycle, providing more power over an extended time period.
The welder has an incredible range too, 10-165V, making it very efficient, powerful and gentle when needed. It also comes with a foot pedal as standard welding equipment. With this, the Miller product is one of the best Budget TIG welders one can own, especially if speed is priority.
Price is rather high, MSRP at this moment is over $2000 making it a big investment.
The welder has an incredible range too, 10-165V, making it very efficient, powerful and gentle when needed. It also comes with a foot pedal as standard equipment. This gives it a strong and clean weld. With this, the Miller product is one of the best Budget TIG welders one can own.
However, if you feel like you can splurge, there is the Miller Maxstar 161 STH welder. This is one of the most compact and most powerful stick welders, as well as most efficient.
The welder operates either at 120V or on 240V. It also delivers extremely high amperage (max 160 amps, rated 130 amps) for both AC and DC.
Of course, the machine features an automated hot start. However, Miller not only allows for an easier start, but it adapts the power so you won’t burn through the material.
Arc welders can have a difficult task, especially for beginners as it is tricky to get the welding process correct first time. This machine will help you with covering the basics with as much help from the machine itself as possible. The downside? It's a new and improved model so its pricey.
If you search for TIG/STICK welder for beginner, Miller is the name that came up the most. So I myself also did my research and found the Maxstar 161 STH was the machine I needed. It's really light weight, very portable, versatile and very easy to use. It's capabilities are amazing for such a small machine. Maxtar 161 STH is definitely a machine for the novice welders, versatile, reliable and very reasonably priced as well.
welder for beginner - Buying Guide
There are quite a few welding techniques in use today, but three are prevalent. The reason for this is because they are the most effective, and produce the best results. The above welding machines reflect these 3 types as well.
Those three types of welding are arc/stick, MIG, and TIG. If you want to learn more about how each one of them compare to each other you can read our guide about the different welder types here.
One of the most common and widely recognized welding styles is arc welding. For quite a few years, this type of welding has been prevalent, and any and all welders use it.
This welding style produces a very strong weld and fuses the thickest metals with ease. It is also very stable, as the arc can easily work its way around rust and dirt. It is so stable, in fact, that it can work in very windy settings too, which lead to its high popularity.
However, arc welding has its disadvantages. For starters, this kind of welding is only used for heavy-duty welding operations, with 1/16 inch metal and thicker.
The style is somewhat difficult to learn because you have to change the rods often, you have to be very careful and maintain the arc without getting burned because it produces a lot of sparks.
This style also requires cleaning and polishing the metal weld afterward. However, this is the only style capable of welding cast iron.
For a beginner, there is no better way to start off than by using MIG welding machines.
What is the easiest type of welding welding to learn?
MIG is the easiest type of welding to learn, while also being the quickest. Not only that, but MIG is incredibly clean, produces a very powerful joint, and is aesthetically favorable. MIG allows welding on thinner metals.
However, MIG won’t do as well in windy conditions or on dirty and rusty metal. Luckily, there is Flux Cored welding, which is an iteration of MIG, but one that is much better at fusing dirty and rusty metals together because of the flux cored wire. However, neither MIG nor Flux Core can weld cast iron.
Last but not least, there is TIG welding. TIG welding is the cleanest and the most aesthetically pleasing welding style. It is perfect for thinner metals, is incredibly accurate and requires absolutely no cleaning afterward.
The reason behind such accuracy is because TIG welding uses plasma to fuse the metal together. Argon is also used as a shielding gas to protect the weld from contamination.
Now, the downside of TIG welding is that they are very slow. It might produce welds of pristine quality, is incredibly accurate, and, not to mention, aesthetic, but it will take you much more time to weld anything with it. You can find cheap TIG welders here.
On top of that, TiG welding takes more than a few tries to get it right, and you will have to devote more time to mastering it.
You can find more options that are fantastic for beginner welders below. They are separated by the type of welder as well.
What is the easiest welding to learn?
MIG- Gas Metal Arc Welding is the easiest type of welding to learn and the fastest. Mig uses a shielding gas process that feeds a consumable wire, a welding electrode, and gas through a welding gun.
You can preset your welding electrode's speed, and the amount of gas used as you pull the trigger on the welding gun. You can control your welds without much concentrating on how much filler, gas or heat to apply.
Also,MIG allows you to weld a variety of metal thickness and materials.
What is the hardest type of welding?
TIG welding isn't the favourable type of welding for beginners to start with. The welder controls the heating, shielding gas, current, and moving at the correct speed.
You have to use both hand and foot concurrently, a daunting art to master, especially for beginners. TIG welding is usually a tedious process and challenging to learn, making it one of the most challenging welding forms.
However, with a knack for artistry, eye to detail and practise, you will find TIG precise and aesthetically pleasing. The tungsten electrode can work on anything, even exotic metals such as titanium.
Can I plug a welder into a regular outlet?
It all depends on the type of welder. Welders that don't require more than 120 v, like the Lincoln Power 140c MIG Welder, are safe to run on most electrical outlets. For a 220v welder, you will have to wire an outdoor welding outlet.
Please note that 220 v welders use vast amounts of current. Therefore it requires steady wiring. A qualified electrician is the best fit for this task.
In any case, you run a 220v welder into a regular outlet; it may last a little while before it runs out. Other welders will not start and will ultimately burn out the outlet.
Is Arc Welding stronger than MIG?
Much as these types of welding are very similar to each other, Arc welding can carry out substantial welding projects. For instance, arc welding tends to work better on materials thick in size and width than MIG.
Although MIG is perfectly up to the task for almost all household projects and other mid-range tasks, it's naturally designed to offer less penetration on metals like sheet and stainless steel. Arc welding is vaguely better and more robust than MIG welding.
It's powerful on thick materials and heavy steel construction. So for deep penetration, arc welding is stronger.
What is the easiest metal to weld?
Low carbon mild steel is considered the most prevalent and easiest metal to weld. Made up typically of steel and iron, welders find it easy to manoeuvre and bend to their decree.
Not to mention, it's safe, unlike other metals that require welders to wear heavy protective equipment. Since mild steel is readily available from way back, engineers and scientists have put much work into developing ways to weld it.
The low carbon levels make this metal able to deform without fracturing it. Metals with high amounts of carbon tend to be a bit hard to weld.
Which is better, Miller or Lincoln Welders?
It is not hard to see why this debate never gets to an end. Every welder will prefer one to the other for personal reasons, which are always valid.
Both brands have had their share in dominance in the marketplace, making it pretty challenging for one to decide between the two. Most welders prefer specific models made by either companies based on their needs.
Miller gets the advantage of having the best MIG and TIG gadgets, which is not a big brainer considering that it pioneered the process. But if you are looking for the best stick welders, the pioneers of this process a little over a century ago, Lincoln, is your best bet.
What is the strongest type of weld?
As much as most welding types provide a robust weld, there is one technique that guarantees you the strongest weld. The Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, also referred to as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), is your best for a strong and super clean weld.
Due to this, you can apply the TIG to a wide variety of welds, from automotive welding using aluminium materials to depositing the root passes in square root and single v groove joints.
Can you get shocked by a welder?
Unfortunately, yes, you can easily get shocked by a welder. While it is not as common as other welding-related hazards, electric shocks from welding happen and can cause severe injuries and fatalities.
To reduce any chances of electric shocks, ensure you read the operating manual and maintain your equipment to ensure it is in good condition when using.
You also need to wear protective gear, like gloves. Most importantly, avoid welding in wet areas or during rainy or snowy conditions.
Other precautions to take and avoid being another statistic of welding-related electric shocks is to keep your hands off the electrode, any exposed wires that connect the machine to the electrode holder or any metallic pieces of the electrode holder.
Why are TIG welders so expensive?
TIG welders are the most expensive, and there is a reason why. Compared to the other welders, TIG welders are of higher quality. They use tungsten electrodes, which withstands higher temperatures with little erosion or melting.
Second, the TIG welding process is slower than the others, meaning it does not require any fillers. Due to these two reasons, a TIG welder will provide you with a superior accurate and potent weld.
Third, TIG welders have a foot pedal for control. This facilitates the flow of electricity through the torch's tip. Thanks to this foot pedal, you have maximum control over the amount of electricity that flows.
We hope you found our article on three different welding styles and some representative beginner’s machines useful.
What is the best welder for a beginner? As you saw, there is a pro and con to every style, and thus, every machine.
Below, is the best beginner welder that you can't go wrong with. It's high-quality and will help you start welding in no time.