10 Best Stick Welder for the Money [Latest Picks]

Anyone familiar with stick welders knows how valuable a possession one of these will make. Especially, if you manage to get your hands on something high-end like the 2019 EVERLAST PowerARC TIG Stick IGBT Welder.

Now, if you also want to have fun working on metals, then you should find a quality product and buy it immediately. But the problem is, it’s no kid’s job to choose the perfect device.

And that’s why we have this wordy piece to offer. In this, you will find the best stick welder you’ve been looking for. Also, there’s a buying guide to make your decision-making a bit easy.

So, read on to know more about our recommended products and choose your ideal pick. 

Why Get a Stick Welder?

Here are some benefits of stick welder that will convince you to give this device a chance. 

  • Can Work in Adverse Weather

A stick welder will come in extremely handy when the weather isn’t that friendly. Yes, during the storm and rain, you will find it very useful.

  • Price Is Reasonable

What’s also amazing is that it comes at a relatively affordable price. You won’t have to spend a huge amount of money to get a quality stick welder. Moreover, you don’t need shielding gas from an external source.

  • Ease of Maintenance

And when it comes to convenience, there’s nothing like a stick model. It won’t need any cleaning before welding. For, it gets along with paint and dirt just fine. Therefore, stick welders are widely used across the construction industries. 

  • Easy to Use

If you aren’t an expert, you’ll have an easy time with this machine and will be able to learn things pretty quickly. Just follow the manual the machines come with, and you will be fine. 

Top 10 Picks of the Best Stick Welder

Some devices will blow you away with power, convenience, and unique features. Here are the reviews of such products that we want you to check out.

1. 2019 EVERLAST PowerARC 200ST 200amp TIG Stick IGBT Welder 110/220 Dual Voltage

We are about to review the best stick welder for the money you will find out there. They’ve made it do any of the regular tasks with the utmost ease. You want such a lightweight and portable device on your farm when you have a lot of works on hand. This welder will deal with stainless steel electrodes the best.

The welding capacity of this machine is amazing at E6010. At its front panel, you will find an incredibly built connection port. It will come useful in any construction site, as well as the pipeline. The tool will provide the user with outstanding arc performance with E7024, E7014, and E7018 stainless electrodes. 

Moreover, there’s an automatic arc force control in place so that you can have better control over this bad boy.

I also liked the automatic hot start it offers. If you want a high working capacity, this feature should please you. Now, if you intend to do some TIG welding, then you will have to buy a gas regulator along with a gas TIG torch valve.

What’s great about this product is that it has an amazingly smooth DC arc for TIG welding. Moreover, it has this digital display that should impress any user. I also found the 35 series style connectors to be as efficient as ever.

Now, if there’s anything I didn’t like much, it’s the fact that it doesn’t work with a 110V circuit even if you use an adapter.

Pros
  • Awesome arc performance with multiple electrodes
  • Automatic hot start for amazing working capacity
  • A connection port at the front panel for convenience
  • Automatic arc force control offers better control during welding
Cons
  • Not for 110V circuits even with adapters

2. Century Inverter Arc 120 Stick Welder, 10-90 amps, 120V

Here’s another awesome welding machine you want to check out. This unit also comes with amazing versatility. And when you observe its output of 10-90 amps, you will surely be stunned. Yes, this guy will support those mild steel stick electrodes like nothing else.

It can deal with ¼ inch steel also. And that’s brilliant. For, this is the measurement most steels come with. Besides, the machine is quite lightweight, weighing only about 15 pounds. So, you can carry it from one job site to another with ease.

However, I didn’t find its duty cycle to be very overwhelming.  I mean, it would be awesome if I could work a bit longer than 8 minutes out of the 10-minute cycle. But I guess one will have to make peace with that considering the affordability of the device.

The device is compatible with the electrodes that have 1/16-5/64 inches of diameters. And what’s cool about it is that the arc it produces is wonderfully smooth. So, if you are worried about any flaw in the welding, you shouldn’t be so anymore. I found the model to weld sheet metals superbly.

Besides, with a power supply of 120V, this model delivers a great performance. Also, it comes with a large number of accessories that will allow you to start with it right away. 

Pros
  • Weighs only 15 pounds for easy portability
  • With 90 amps power output supports the mild steel electrodes nicely
  • Comes with multiple necessary accessories
  • The very smooth arc with ¼-inch steel as well as sheet metals
Cons
  • The duty cycle isn’t that impressive

3. SUNGOLDPOWER ARC MMA 200A Welder Dual 110V 220V IGBT Hot Start Welding Machine 

The next product on the list comes with plenty of wonderful features. We are talking about a full-bridge unit over here. So, when you give input, the AC power will switch to DC power. This way, the device becomes very durable. And you won’t find this mechanism in too many models out there.

Another feature worth mentioning feature is the IGBT dual voltage technology it comes with. It will support both 110 and 220 volts nicely. Therefore, you are in for a pleasant working experience with this excellent machine.

What’s also brilliant is that each of its components is made of high-quality materials. And that makes the tool a bit heavy. But, you will still manage to carry the unit with you. Now, I want to mention the advanced control module of this welder. Thanks to this, the unit will be easy to use.

Moreover, removing the electrode is a breeze once you are done with the welder. You also need to check out the thermostatic controller that controls the temperature of welding very efficiently. The model is an anti-sticking one. This means there will be no overload. 

And consequently, you are perfectly safe from over-voltage as well as over-current. Also, there will be no under-voltage and under-current.

Now, there’s an issue with the device. Its puddle isn’t that smooth. So, you will have to stand the spattering its rods give rise to. However, considering the price range, you can overlook this little con.

Pros
  • Smart switching of AC to DC for durability
  • The thermostatic controller offers easy controlling of temperature
  • Simple removing process of the electrodes
  • Dual voltage technology for both 120V and 240V inputs
Cons
  • Not so smooth puddle

4. Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i

Now we are talking about a bit expensive model. But, once you get to know it, the money will seem well spent. The machine comes with so many unique features that you will be impressed for sure. And you get to appreciate its compactness.

I found the Hot Start Technology to be awesome in this unit. With this in place, you don’t have to wait for the heating up of the device. Now, this unit comes with DC polarity welding. This means you won’t find the functionality of a combo polarity model in this.

But, when compared to a single AC polarity operation, this unit will work way better. Yes, you will find that there are minimal arc outages with this model. Also, one will have to appreciate the low spatter a DC polarity welder offers. So, you want this tool for the thin metals you have to deal with.

This 160A unit will weld 5/32-inch mild still with no problem. What’s also fantastic about it is that it will support 240V inputs as well as the 120V ones. Therefore, you are looking at a highly versatile option.

However, it’s a shame that the product isn’t compatible with TIG. When it comes to DC polarity welding, there will be hardly any rival to it. So, if you buy it, you are going to appreciate its high power as well as brilliant performance.

Pros
  • Hot Start Technology will save you the hassle of heating the device up
  • DC polarity will make sure of minimal arc outages
  • Very low spatter compared to other devices
  • Has both 120V and 240V inputs
Cons
  • Not compatible with TIG

5. LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1170 AC225, 60Hz Arc Welder

The product we are reviewing is one of the best AC stick units on the market. It comes with very sturdy construction for providing you with an incredibly smooth and reliable AC arc. You will also find it to be extremely versatile, welding materials like carbon and stainless steel.

Also, the device comes with an input power cable along with a plug. So, installing the unit will be very easy. Besides, operating this tool doesn’t require much skill, thanks to the simple design it has. You’ve got to check out the amp selector switch to know what I mean.

Yes, this feature will set the welding current for you in no time. Also, you will find the arc to be uniform and precise every time. Moreover, this unit comes with amazingly high amperage ranging from 40A-225A. With such power, you will get most of the repairing work done easily.

Moreover, the machine will work best on 16-gauge metals. And if you want to weld heavier metals, you can do that too. Its wattage is also impressively high at 51750 watts. Now, I want you to be careful with the welder for the power it provides. You don’t want to burn your metals, right?

Furthermore, I suggest that you select the appropriate electrodes. They need to be properly sized, neither too big, nor too small.

Pros
  • Incredibly high amperage of 225A will make it tackle tough tasks
  • Installation is a breeze with the input power cable
  • Amp selector switch offers easy operation
  • Immediate setting up of welding current with a very high wattage
Cons
  • Requires careful choosing of electrodes

6. 2019 EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH 160amp HF TIG Stick IGBT Welder

Let’s talk about an extremely popular model that has earned the users’ appreciation by being a combo. Yes, we are talking about both the TIG and ARC welding over here. What’s also amazing is that this device doesn’t require you to be an expert to make the best use of it. 

Now, I loved the model for the duty cycle it offers. You will get 35% when it’s at 160 amps. And it will get better when the power is increased. What’s also worth mentioning is that the unit features a shoulder strap for easy portability. And it’s lightweight, too.

It’s awesome that you can run the machine at both 110V and 220V. This means you have an outrageously versatile product on hand. 

I also liked the fact that there’s no spatter with this bad boy. A professional will also love it for this reason. Also, it beads ¼-inch plate alright. What’s more, the device is incredibly well-built, thanks to the high-end materials used in it. So, this is the welder you want for your shop as well as yard projects.

You also need to check out how it comes with both a lift start and an HF start. Whenever the weather is bad, you will find the HF to start to be the more comfortable option. And if you don’t like pedals, then the lift start will suit you better.

Pros
  • Both TIG and ARC welding in a single device
  • Great duty cycle at a very high amp
  • Shoulder strap included for portability
  • Comes with both lift start and HF start for flexibility
Cons
  • Comes with 10 leads only

7. Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST, 120-Volt, 90-Amp

We are talking about a product made by a very old brand. Yes, it has been on the game for quite a while and presented the world with some great products. 

Now, our unit over here is more suitable for a hobbyist than a professional. Yes, this is the best stick welder for beginners. The machine is compatible with 110V or 120V outlets. And if you want to use it the most appropriate way, then I suggest that you choose a 20-amp circuit for it.

The device is very small, making it highly portable. Now, what’s too astonishing is that you have a direct current output even if it’s an AC wall outlet. For, we are dealing with an inverter model here. I also liked the schematic its manual comes with.

If you buy this welder, then you will be welding without having to spend much. So, if you want to save money, this is the device you should get. Moreover, this welder comes with an awesome build. And its manual is easier to read, compared to that of many other units.

You will also find the electrode clamp to be of good quality. And the ground clamp will serve the purpose more than right. You won’t have to replace any of them soon. Now, I suggest that you use 3/32-inch electrodes with the device or even smaller.

Moreover, you can use the machine for welding 1/8 inches steel or 11-gauge plates. But, it won’t be much good with too thick steel. 

Pros
  • DC output in an AC outlet, something extraordinary
  • Easy-to-read manual with schematic
  • High-quality electrode clamp for extended safety
  • Impressively small with sturdy ground clamp
Cons
  • Not the best option for thick steel

8. Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder

The unit we are about to review comes with awesome power. This is the kind of machine a professional will love to own. It runs on 115V and 230V. And you don’t need any extra tool for the purpose. You will find this option to be perfect for welding a trailer.

Now, I love a stick welder like this. For, it doesn’t need gas supply from an external source. And the LED display introduced in it is also fascinating. Moreover, it comes with a digital amp control for convenience. Now, with the display in place, you can monitor its power usage very easily.

And since it’s an inverter model, it will store high voltage in its capacitor bank for a long period. And the way it does the conversion of utility power is brilliant. Therefore, this machine functions quite smartly when it comes to welding those steels.

You will find the unit suitable for both thick and thin surfaces. So, if versatility is your main priority, you are in the right place. Be it a car repairing or home job, and it will serve the purpose neatly.

Another great thing about this product is that it has an excellent arc starting function. This is due to the hot striking arc current control it offers. Also, it is compatible with acidic as well as basic electrodes. Moreover, it comes with amazing protection from over-voltage and under-voltage.

Also, when it comes to duty cycles of welders on the market, 60% of it seems to be more than what you can ask for.

Pros
  • The capacitor bank contains high voltage
  • No over-voltage and over-current
  • An incredible duty cycle of 60%
  • No need for gas supply from an external source
Cons
  • Not the best stinger

9. C.M.T Pitbull Ultra-Portable 100-Amp Electric Arc Welder – 110V

If you are looking for great portability, then this unit might interest you. But, that’s not all it has to offer. The device will let you get to work right away, thanks to its impressive voltage and frequency. And setting it up won’t take long, as it would with some other devices.

Now, what kind of steel will it work on best? It’s the mild steel with ¼-inch maximum thickness. And this is the measurement most of the workpieces have. So, this tool will do any regular job. What’s also amazing is that this model won’t ask for a too fancy electrical outlet.

For, it gets along with a 110V outlet just fine. Therefore, this unit will be useful anywhere, indoor or outdoor. The device comes with 45-100 amps amperage control. And its current requirement is only 26 amps.

So, you can imagine how perfect it will be for home projects, where all you need is a regular configuration like it has.  I also found its duty cycle to be perfect for beginners. Yes, 10% of it seems alright for a novice. But, if you are a pro, you won’t be too pleased with it.

Also, is this the best option for a large welding application? No, it isn’t. It comes with limited power.

Pros
  • 10% duty cycle makes it a great option for beginners
  • Goes with any regular 110V outlet
  • Perfect for mild steel with a ¼-inch maximum thickness
  • Decent amperage control
Cons
  • Not for professional use for having limited power

10. 140 Amp Digital Display LCD Stick/ARC Welder IGBT DC Inverter Welding Machine

We are talking about one of the most affordable welders you are going to find on the market. This simple looking device has drawn our attention through a handful of nice features. Yes, it’s incredibly cheap, but it will go a long way, serving the purpose, alright.

Now, among its features, I loved the digital display, especially. With this, you will have an easy setting of power. Also, it will help you understand other settings needed for a good welding experience. Moreover, I found the machine to be ready to go right out of the box.

By weighing only 9-lb, the device will make it easy for you to carry it around. Also, it’s awesomely compact for easy maneuvering. So, this is the kind of welder you want to keep with you when you are moving all the time.

I found the starting mechanism with this machine very simple. And the fact that it provides the user with some amazingly deep weld pools is brilliant. The welding arc will also be stable with it. What’s more, adjusting the arc current is a breeze. So, you will get a high input voltage, rest assured.

However, when it comes to maintaining the arc, it’s not that efficient. Apart from that, this machine will do the job better than you would expect from a cheap product.

It also comes with protection against over-current, over-voltage, over-load, etc. And there’s an electrode holder cable as well as a work clamp cable included on the package.

Pros
  • Digital display for easy setting of the power
  • By weighing very light, offers high portability
  • Produces awesomely deep pools
  • Protection against over-voltage, over-load, over-current, etc.
Cons
  • Not so great at maintaining the arc

What to Consider before Buying?

There are lots of things you need to take into consideration before purchasing your welding machine. See, a welder isn’t cheap. So, if you want to make money worthily spent, you have to be patient with the buying decision. You shouldn’t rush it and spend a fortune on the wrong unit.

In our reviews, we tried to talk about the most important features of welders. That should help you understand this buying guide better. So, stay with us a little longer so that you can make a smart buying decision and bag the best of deals.

The Purpose

You need to know what you are expecting from your welder and what the job demands. See, with different workers, the purposes are different. While some of them are looking to bond stubborn metals without caring much about the aesthetics, others will want the welded material to be eye-catching.

So, you need to assess the requirements of your project on hand and buy a device that will serve the purpose. There are a couple of things you need to consider in this regard. You want to check out the type of metal, as well as its thickness. 

For, you must make sure that the device will be suitable for cutting the particular metal. If the workpiece is too thick, then you want to buy a machine with as high power as possible. Otherwise, the device will give up in the middle of the work, leaving you extremely annoyed.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you don’t need a too powerful device. You will most likely deal with regular home projects. So, you can try to look for an affordable option with the standard ability to weld mild steel.

However, if you are making a living out of your construction job, you need a device with serious power and abilities.

Then there’s another important thing you want to consider. It’s the output current. You want to choose a machine with the desired type of output current so that you can enjoy working on metals. Now, you will find three different types of machines when it comes to this.

There are AC polarity welder, DC polarity welder, and AC/DC combo welder. All of these have their benefits to offer. Now, let’s see which one attracts you the most.

AC/DC Combo

We are starting with the combo option. For, this is the most desired choice when it comes to a stick welder. And why shouldn’t it be so when you can enjoy the great benefits of both an AC device and a DC one with it? People also choose this option for the incredible smoothness it offers.

Moreover, in terms of control, there’s no match to a device of this type. And you will also find numerous wonderful welding options in a combo device, which you wouldn’t see in an AC or DC one.

Now, because of the convenience and incredible power a combo model comes with, you will have to spend a few bucks on it. But will it be worth it? Yes, it will be for sure.

DC Welder

Now we are talking about the type of welder that is most commonly used across the globe. Since DC welders use direct current, you will have versatility. You want to buy such a device if you want the finish to be nicely polished. Also, when it comes to efficiency, this type of welder should please you.

A DC device will be quite easy to handle. And you will love the accuracy of work it will show while welding overhead and vertically. Yes, in such applications, this is the best option.

I prefer a DC unit over an AC one for one reason mainly. It’s the fact that the latter comes with one type of polarity, whereas the DC model will offer both the positive and negative polarities.

If you want less deposition with high depth fusion, you will find the positive DC to be superbly efficient. On the other hand, a negative DC will offer you just the opposite, that is, more deposition with less penetration. So, you will have to decide which one you want to use.

As you can guess, a DC unit will cost you a bit more than an AC one. And considering the benefits, it’s going to be worth it.

AC Welder

Since we’ve talked highly of the previous two types of welders, you might be feeling reluctant to learn about an AC device. But, you should keep in mind that this type of machine will save you some money and deliver quite a good performance at the same time.

Yes, the machine is powerful enough to bring it home. You will find it to be sturdy and efficient when you have a magnetized material on hand. That’s why; this option is very popular among DIY enthusiasts. And if you are a beginner, you surely want to consider it seriously. 

Now, will it run as smoothly as a DC machine? No, it won’t. But, it will still handle large tasks quite good. And if it’s a small task, then you are game.

So, you want to take your time to choose the type of welder. Then the next thing you should keep in mind is the power you require to get the job done. Also, you need to check out the power outlet you have and buy a product with a suitable voltage.

Among other things related to the power of a device, the amperage is important. But, with higher amperage, the cost of the machine will also increase. Now, if you are looking for building up a good career in the welding field, you should be okay with spending a few bucks. So, let’s talk about the next crucial factor.

Power

The device needs to be highly powerful if you are dealing with large electrodes. See, you can’t buy a welder with low power when you have big-sized rods on hand. Also, you need to check out the input and output amount of power. The input of the device is measured in volts. 

So, you have some machines to come with 110V or 120V input, while the others have 220V or 240V power input. Now, it’s needless to say that the machines with higher volts will generate much more power. So, if you are a professional, buying a 220V unit is the way to go.

On the other hand, a hobbyist doesn’t need too high a power input. Therefore, if you are one yourself, you can settle for 120V input without any problem. But, you won’t get a too smooth arc as you would with higher inputs.

Moreover, the measurement of the output is done in amps. And the minimum amperage you want to have in your device is 50 amps. Do not even think about going below that, if you cannot stand multiple passes. For, a device with high amps lets you get the job done with fewer passes, sometimes with only one.

However, a high amp unit will cost you a bit. But, if you are thinking long terms, you shouldn’t hesitate to spend the money. For welding heavy metals, you will need a high power output.

Types of Welding Machines

You will find two types of devices out there. One is the inverter, and the other one is the transformer. Both of these come with the advantages of their own. Let’s check out.

Inverter

This one is the more popular option between the two. It is because of the portability it comes with. Yes, inverters are incredibly lightweight and compact. Therefore, workers prefer one of these units over the other one. 

Now, it’s true that it won’t handle heavy workloads that impressively, but it will make the work fun.

When you have small tasks to tackle, an inverter model will be just perfect for you. Now, this option is a bit more costly than a transformer. But, it will be so worth it, rest assured. You will very much appreciate the awesome welds and the secure arcs it produces.

Transformer

This type of machine comes with a bit of weight. Also, it’s bigger than an inverter. But, when it comes to dealing with heavy welding tasks, it will do the job with incredible efficiency. Now, the best thing about a transformer is that it will be way more durable than the other option.

Yes, if you are a professional who needs to do a lot of welding works regularly, you should buy a device of this type. It will save you money and pass the test of time. However, you won’t find it as easily portable as an inverter model. So, you need to be careful here. 

Now, you don’t want to make it difficult for yourself to move from one job site to another. Also, buying a device with less power won’t be a cool thing to do either. So, it’s either the portability or power. You need to assess the requirement of your work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked queries regarding stick welders:

What does the duty cycle mean?

It’s the total minutes a machine can operate out of each 10-minute cycle. So, when you see a welder with a 10% duty cycle, it means that the device will operate for 1 minute out of every 10 minutes at the amperage it has.

What is the best option in terms of power output?

It depends upon the nature of the task. However, an AC/DC combo unit will be suitable for most of the applications.

On what type of workpiece an AC unit will work best?

It’s the magnetized metal. Yes, with such workpieces, an AC unit will serve the purpose most perfectly.

What is the best electrode for deep penetration?

It’s the 6010 electrode that penetrates as deep as it gets. However, if you want a little less penetration, then choose a 6013 electrode.

Is it necessary to remove rust before welding?

Though it’s not necessary with a stick welder, I still suggest that you clean all the parts before welding. This way, you are more assured of a good result.

Final Words

We hope, we could be of help. The best stick welder is the one that will be suitable for your power outlet and the types of metal you want to weld. So, consider buying your product with the help of our buying guide. Cheers!