Top 5 Best Stick Welders under $500

Stick Welding is one of several welding processes that is used by both Professionals and Amateurs alike. Continue reading to see the Top 5 budget-friendly stick welders.

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Stick Welding is one of several welding processes that is used by both amateurs and professionals alike.  This process uses either AC or DC power to melt a gas-shielded electrode into the parent metal. DC current is the preferred output for stick welding as is provides smoother and more stable arcs, easier starts, fewer arc outages, less spatter, and easier vertical up and overhead welding. 

Because this welding process is extremely versatile and the equipment is simplistic, inexpensive, and portable, Stick welding is used in a wide variety of applications.  Farmers, Ranchers, Home Welders, and infrastructure builders will find stick welders useful.  

With the capabilities to weld several different metals and alloys in multiple locations and environments, there are a few qualities that should be considered when buying a Stick Welder.  As we scoured the internet, researching and reviewing Arc Welders, we looked at DC current welders, the amperage of the welder, and the voltage required to run the welder.  We also wanted to find welders that are in the price range of DIYers, so we looked at Stick welders that were under $500.    

 Input VoltageOutput AmpsDuty CycleWarranty 
120/240 V20-160 Amps30% @ 160 Amps5 years Check price
120/240 V10-180 Amps25% @ 180 Amps5 years Check price
120/240 V10-140 Amps35% @ 140 Amps5 year Check price
120/240 V5-200 Amps80% @ 200 Amps1 year Check price
120/24010-160 Amps60% @ 160 Amps30 days Check price

Hobart Stickmate 160i

A dedicated Stick welder, the Hobart Stickmate 160i is a dependable and durable welding machine.  Perfect for DIYers, this welder can be run on 120v or 240v, allowing people to use this welder without having to have a large electrical service.  And with an amperage range of 20-160amps, you will be able to weld up to ⅜ thick materials.  

Weighing only 20lbs, the Hobart Stickmate 160i is easily portable, and with 10ft cable leads and a 6.5 ft power cord, this welder will allow you to weld in a variety of environments.  

The Hobart Stickmate features Hot Start Technology, allowing for super smooth and quick, reliable arcs.  This welder offers only DC current to be used, but DC output means fewer arc outages, less sticking, less spatter, and best arc control. 

Specifications

  • Input Voltages: 120/240V
  • Output Current: DC
  • Duty Cycle: 30% @ 160 Amps
  • Amp Range: 20-160 Amps
  • 13.4 x 7.1 x 10.5 inches, 20 LBS


Pros

  • Lightweight and Portable
  • DC current
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • More expensive

 

 

Everlast PowerARC 140STi

A small, utility class welder, the Everlast PowerARC 140STi offers maximum flexibility and performance. Using only DC current and featuring an IGBT inverter, Hot Start, and Auto Adaptive Arc Force, the PowerARC has improved weldability in hard to weld areas.  

A Dual Voltage machine, you will be able to use a 120v or 240v power supply, making this welder a versatile option.  And with its small, compact size, and 10 lb weight, you will be able to take this welder anywhere you have a reliable power source.  

A digital display allows you to accurately set this welder anywhere from 10 to 140 amps.  And with a 35% duty cycle at max amps, you will be able to weld better and longer than the competition.  

A unique feature of this welder is that it is DC TIG Compatible.  As this is not the main purpose of this welder, you will have to purchase some TIG components separately.

Specifications

  • Input Voltages: 120/240V
  • Output Current: DC
  • Duty Cycle: 35% @ 140 Amps
  • Amp Range: 10-140 Amps
  • 12 in × 5 in × 9 in, 10 lbs


Pros

  • Dual Voltage
  • Lightweight and Portable
  • DC TIG Capable
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Not all TIG components included

 

 

Amico ARC-200

A professional-level machine, the Amico ARC-200 offers all the features of an industrial level machine, in a DIYer price range.  Using advanced inverter technology, Arc Stability, and Hot Start, you will be able to produce a flawless, durable weld.  

The Dual Voltage setup (120/240V) with a 5-200 DC amperage range allows you to weld up to ½ thick materials.  

A unique feature of the Amico ARC-200 that not many Stick Welders have is the level of protection it offers. Automatic compensation for voltage fluctuation, over-voltage protection, under-voltage protection, over current protection, and overload protection ensures that you can plug this welder into any power source without having to worry about damaging your investment.  

Specifications

  • Input Voltages: 120/240V
  • Output Current: DC
  • Duty Cycle: 80% @ 200 Amps
  • Amp Range: 5-200 Amps
  • 14.1 x 6.2 x 11.3 in, 15 lbs


Pros

  • Professional features
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Impressive Duty Cycle

Cons

  • Only offers a 1-year warranty

 

 

DekoPro 160A ARC Welder

Don’t let the inexpensive cost of this welder give you the impression it is a cheap knockoff welder.  This Dual Voltage DC Arc welder will lay a bead that will impress even the most critical weld inspectors.  

With an amperage range of 10 – 160 amps, you can weld thin mild steel up to a user claimed ⅝ thick steel on 240v power supply.  

With an LED current meter, you will be able to set the welder perfectly.  This will result in very little spatter, and with a stable welding arc, you can produce a professional weld you can be proud of.  

Specifications

  • Input Voltages: 120/240V
  • Output Current: DC
  • Duty Cycle: 60% @ 160Amps
  • Amp Range: 10-160 Amps
  • 11.4″ x 4.92″x 7.87″, 12.1 lbs


Pros

  • Impressive Duty Cycle
  • Small Foot Print

Cons

  • 30 day Warranty

 

 

Forney EasyWeld 180 ST

Made with an all-metal case, this lightweight and durable makes welding on the go painless.  But don’t let the Forney EasyWeld 180 ST’s size give you the impression this welder is weak.  This powerful DC Stick welder is capable of welding up to ½” mild steel at 180 amps.  

Being a dual voltage welder that is generator friendly, Easy Weld 180ST is the perfect machine for farm and ranch, light industrial, and metal art scenarios.  

Easy Start Technology assists you in striking a perfect arc every time and reduces the chances of the electrode sticking.  And with 8’ Torch leads and 6 ‘power cable, the Easy Weld 180ST makes welding in tight quarters easier.  

The Forney Easy Weld 180 ST is also a multi-process welder that is capable of welding DC TIG.  However, because this is marketed as a stick welder, no TIG accessories are included with this welder. 

Specifications

  • Input Voltages: 120/240V
  • Output Current: DC
  • Duty Cycle: 25% @ 180 Amps
  • Amp Range: 10-180 Amps
  • 11″ x 6-5/16″ x 14-1/8″, 14 lbs


Pros

  • Lightweight and Durable
  • DC TIG Capable
  • Can weld up to ½” steel

Cons

  • TIG accessories not included

 

 

The Stick Welding Process

Stick Welding is a process that uses a flux-coated electrode and an electrical current to form a weld pool.  By striking an arc with the electrode you complete the electrical current at the base metal.  

The Stick weld process is quite simple and doesn’t require many components to form a weld.  All that is required is:

  • Power Supply ( Stick Welder )
  • Electrode Holder, also known as a stinger
  • Ground Clamp
  • Electrodes

Electrodes

These wire rods come in a variety of sizes and types, each for a specific job and material.  Each electrode is identified by a number.  6010, 6011, and 6013 are common electrodes for welding steel.  But what do these numbers mean?

The first two numbers identify the tensile strength in pounds/square inch multiplied by 1,000.  The third number indicates the welding position the rod can be used in.  A “1” can be used in any position (Flat, vertical, horizontal, overhead), while a “2” can be used only in flat or horizontal positions.

Finally, the last two digits together indicate the type of flux the rod is coated with.  Different base materials will require different flux, so to produce quality welds the correct flux will be required.  

Check out this video for a more in-depth view a Stick Welding

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