Are you looking for the best welder for beginners out there?
Look no more we got you covered.
Welding is a wonderful hobby, but to newcomers, it can seem like an incredibly overwhelming one – and it isn’t hard to see why.
After all, welding unleashes heat and light greater than the surface of the sun. That’s a lot to ask a newbie to take on, never mind the skill involved or the price point.
Even so, welding doesn’t have to be impossibly expensive or difficult. On the contrary, there are many great MIG and stick welders that are perfect for newcomers to the craft.
You just have to know where to look, and what to look for.
Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use welders as a beginner.
Table of Contents
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
In a Rush? Here you can find our Overall #1 Rated Pick.
The Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter is the best welder for beginners.
+ Machine determines complex settings
+ Automatic welding switch
+ Easy to set up and use
+ Excellent for beginners
Purchase: I really like this Weldpro 200 Amp. It’s not terribly expensive but gets amazing reviews. If you are interested in this, then just follow the link to Amazon where you can see current pricing.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes a good welder, 10 of the best welders for beginners on the market, and how you can choose which one is right for you.
TIG Welding and Heat Control
As any fan of Spider-Man can tell you, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The most basic responsibility of anyone who welds is to be able to control your welding power without destroying the metal strip you’re welding, thin or otherwise or endangering others.
Pulse welding can help with this. It minimizes the chances of the metal warping while helping the machine remain stable as the current alternates in AC power.
This is true even as the heat is increased or decreased. No matter what, you need to stop the welder from overheating.
Solid Duty Cycles
One thing that can help with this problem of overheating is with the duty cycle. This is what helps prevent welders from overheating.
Duty cycles are measurements of how hot a welder can get within a 10-minute window.
For example, a 200 amp unit running with a 40% duty cycle can run for four minutes at that level before it starts to overheat.
The higher the duty cycle, the longer you can weld without stopping due to the unit overheating, which would naturally be preferable.
By contrast, lower quality and lower-powered welders feature lower duty cycles. Ideally, your unit should have a duty cycle of at least 40% to 60%.
Of course, the more expensive the unit, the greater the chance it will meet this range.
You get what you pay for, so with great power – and big expenditures – comes great welders and the responsibility to use them safely so as not to be disappointed or “burned,” perhaps literally.
What Kinds of Metals Will You Be Working on Frequently
Welding is commonly used to connect a variety of metals such as aluminum, steel, cast iron, and other materials like magnesium alloys, brass, copper, and titanium. However, each metal responds best to different welding methods and specialized equipment may be required.
Steel is widely known for its strength and versatility and can be used with any welding process. On the other hand, stainless steel is made to resist corrosion and is hygienic but is more expensive to weld. When selecting a metal for welding, several considerations should be kept in mind, such as melting point, ductility, electrical conductivity, and strength.
Therefore, the type of metal to be worked on frequently depends on the specifics of the project and the available welding methods.
How Much Power Does the Welding Machine Need?
The power requirement for a welding machine depends on the type of welding process and the thickness of the material being welded. Stick welding, for instance, is considered one of the strongest and most versatile welding processes.
Most general contractors work with thin metals that rarely exceed ½ inch, and they typically require a welding machine with up to 200 amps for welding and 40 volts.
A typical MIG welding machine may consume between 2,000 and 8,000 watts, depending on its rated output current and wire feed speed. Different metals require different welding methods and specialized equipment. Welding is used to connect a variety of metals such as aluminum, steel, cast iron, and other materials like magnesium alloys, brass, copper, and titanium.
The type of metal to be worked on frequently depends on the specifics of the project and the available welding methods.
What Duty Cycle Should Your Welder Have?
The duty cycle of a welding machine depends on several factors such as welding voltage, ambient temperature, and proper ventilation, and it may vary based on the machine’s specifications and the type of welding process used.
Duty cycle refers to the amount of time a welding machine can run at the recommended amperage within a 10-minute period, and it is usually measured in ten minutes.
The duty cycle rating is determined using factors such as ambient temperature and the condition of the welding machine. Therefore, to determine the appropriate duty cycle, it is essential to consider these factors and the specifics of your project and available welding methods.
It’s important to note that the duty cycle stated in specs can be misleading since it does not take into account these factors, so it’s crucial to consider them when selecting a welding machine for your needs.
Should I Start with MIG or TIG?
Both MIG and TIG welding have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on the specific requirements of your project. MIG welding is faster and easier to learn, making it a good option for beginners and for welding thicker materials.
TIG welding, on the other hand, is a more precise and versatile process that can be used on a wider range of materials, including thinner metals and exotic alloys.
It also produces cleaner and more precise welds but requires more skill and experience to master. Ultimately, the decision between MIG and TIG welding boils down to the specific needs of your project.
How Fast Can I Learn Welding?
The speed at which you can learn welding depends on various factors such as the type of welding method you choose, the complexity of the project, and your skill level. MIG welding is generally easier to learn and can be mastered in a relatively short period of time, while TIG welding requires more practice and experience to achieve proficiency.
However, it is important to note that becoming a skilled welder takes time and consistent practice regardless of the welding method you choose.
It is advisable to start with a beginner’s course and gradually work your way up to more complex projects.
Top 10 Best Welders for Beginners
Short on time? Take a look at my top picks for welders for beginners:
1. Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter
+ Machine determines complex settings
+ Automatic welding switch
+ Easy to set up and use
+ Excellent for beginners
One of the first things to be said about this model is that it is by far the most affordable for the features it offers.
This is, itself, by far one of the hardest balances to strike in welding, especially when it comes to finding a welder for newcomers.
On the one hand, you don’t want to spend a fortune, but on the other hand you want something that’s going to give you good value for your investment.
✔️ Part of the reason the Weldpro 200 offers such good value is that it offers both MIG as well as TIG functions.
As noted above, you’ll likely want to learn the former before the latter as it is much easier, more versatile, and accessible for newcomers, but if you ever want to do iron and steel welding, TIG welding is an important skill to learn as well.
The Weldpro 200 gives you options, and all at around $350.
✔️ What’s more, the machine is very easy to turn on and user-friendly overall. Its internal parameters are present for the best mix of most accessible welding settings, so you don’t have to worry about them.
✔️ Simply turn it on and weld away. If you ever want to change the settings as you learn and your welding skills grow, you can always do so later.
It is easy to increase or decrease the heat, too, but because of the self-regulation, you don’t need to do so.
✔️ A button on the unit allows you to adjust between automatic and manual wire feeding, which can in turn let you focus between maneuvering the torch with ease or a more rapid fire style.
The unit is also on the smaller side, measuring 21.7 x 18.1 x 13.6in, which speaks to its portability.
❌ If there is anything negative to say it’s that this unit’s yellow paint job can be dirtied easily – but that’s really a reach.
Overall, if you’re looking for an easy beginning welder on which to learn, chances are you won’t be able to find one any easier or more accessible than this.
2. Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A AC/DC
Remember when we said that MIG welding was the way to go for a quick and easy introduction into the wide world of welding?
Well, while that’s all well and good (and true) if you are looking for an introduction to TIG welding, you could do far worse than this option from Lotos.
✔️ One of the biggest obstacles to learning TIG welding is all of the settings involved. There is a lot to learn, and it can be incredibly overwhelming for a newcomer.
On the other hand, those that do know how to TIG weld know that this can also give you a ton of control, which can in turn be quite useful and creative.
✔️ A big point in the Lotos’ favor as a beginner welder for TIG welding learners, therefore, is the fact that while it has enough settings for you to unleash your creativity later, it doesn’t bombard you with them now.
There is no big scary dashboard to intimidate you. This allows the unit to inhabit a nice valley between the twin peaks of accessibility and capability.
It isn’t a unit that’ll cheap out on you and feel less like a welder than a play thing once you get going, but it doesn’t require you to be a master welder to use, either.
✔️ What’s more, it can weld most kinds of metals, from iron to steel to aluminum and beyond.
It comes with an AC/DC switch (“Highway to Hell” not included) and you’ll want to use AC while working with aluminum and DC for steel, iron, and any other kind of metal.
While you can tweak the settings to your liking once you know how that isn’t necessary at the start.
✔️ This unit also makes use of a foot pedal, which can make it easier to change and get a feel for working at different temperatures.
Otherwise, you need to stop and start a lot while changing the temperature. The former way is obviously a lot smoother, and this machine makes it easy for you to do.
✔️ This unit sits around $600, which is pretty good for a newbie TIG welder.
❌ It does not have a MIG welding setting, however, so if you are looking for a combo welder to get started, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Otherwise, this is about as good as you can do for a newbie TIG welder.
3. Forney Easy Weld 271 MIG Welder
Remember what we said about a combo MIG/TIG welder above? Well, this is your chance to own one at just over $400.
Given the fact you have not just one but two of the most commonly employed welding techniques together in a single machine, that’s honestly an amazing price.
✔️ That said, it does come with a catch. While the unit is MIG welding ready to go right out of the box (once you add the gas shielding, of course) it does not come with a TIG torch.
You will need to purchase that separately. That said, for a price that low, that’s to be expected, and the capability is still nice.
With this model, you can learn the ropes welding with the more accessible MIG welding, and if and when you decide you’re ready to expand into TIG welding, you can buy a torch and set to work.
✔️ This is a textbook learner’s model, in every sense. On the one hand, that means that this does not have a large range of options for welding thick metal, and as mentioned with the lack of an included TIG torch, it has limits.
That said, those limitations are clear, learner-friendly and, in the case of the TIG torch, can be worked around once you have “come of age” welding-wise.
✔️ What’s more, it does a good job on light as well as medium gauge welding, which is the type of welding most beginners tend to start with anyway.
Adding to that learner’s vibe even more are some welcome welder manuals included by Forney to help you set up the device.
✔️ All in all, this is a great welder to learn with, offering a solid base of starter features, guidance on how to use them, and the opportunity to expand if you ever wish to do so.
4. ESAB EMP215IC MIG/TIG/Stick Welder
As you can tell from the name, this is another machine that offers a wide range of options as you grow and learn.
✔️ This means it offers a good return on the investment – which is good, because that upfront investment can be quite hefty, around $1,600.
If you are looking for a budget welding machine on which to learn, this isn’t it.
✔️ But if you can afford that startup price, you’ll get a unit that could serve you well for years to come in a wide range of welding techniques.
You can learn MIG, TIG, and stick welding on this machine.
✔️ What’s more, this is another machine that comes with all the options nice and preset for you, so you don’t have to be overwhelmed by tweaking this and that and can focus on your first welding attempts.
This is similar to the Weldpro 200, albeit in a pricier package that offers more features.
✔️ It is also worth noting that this is not a welding unit that is designed to work with aluminum. You can weld with this metal if you make some adjustments.
However, you likely aren’t buying a beginner model because you’re an expert at making modifications to units, are you? That said, once you gain that expertise, the capability is possible.
✔️ All in all, this is the kind of unit you invest in when you know you’ll be in it for the long haul. It isn’t the kind of unit you buy on a “maybe I’ll give this a try” whim.
That said, if you’re embarking upon welding as a long-term hobby or career and want to invest in a model that will serve you well for the first few years, this may be a good choice.
5. Lotos MIG140 Flux Core and Aluminum Welder
Here we have another welder from Lotos that offers both MIG welding as well as flux core options. It does not come with a welding chart, which is a bit of an odd choice for a beginner welder.
That said, you can probably find one online, so it isn’t too big of an inconvenience.
✔️ This model is available for about $450, so while it isn’t inexpensive, it isn’t super expensive, either. It is a bit more complex than the Weldpro 200, but it is way more affordable than the aforementioned ESAB.
As you can tell by the title, this is also a welder that allows you to engage in flux core welding as well, so if that is a primary interest of yours, this may be the model for you.
✔️ The Lotos MIG140 includes a special option, the 2T/4T switch, which allows you to choose between manual and automatic feeding of welding wire into the machine.
This is a nice touch for first-time welders who are so overwhelmed with trying to handle the flame.
✔️ One thing a lot of people don’t realize about welding before they begin is just how much hand-eye coordination it takes.
If you feel overwhelmed by that, or you feel awkward holding the trigger and feeding the wire while still learning everything else, the automatic feature can be a big help.
❌ This may not be the most lauded option on the market, but given that mixture of features, ease of use, and a reasonable startup price, it may be one of the most underrated as far as beginner welders go.
6. Hobart Handler 210 Beginner MIG Welder
Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately – this Hobart Handler is a heifer! It weighs nearly 87 lbs!
✔️ Needless to say, if you’re looking for a portable option, you’ll want to keep looking.
The same is true if you’re looking for something inexpensive – depending on the variant, this unit comes with a hefty price tag of somewhere around $840 and $940.
✔️ If you’re looking for something to set up in your home or workshop for the long haul, however, this may be a good choice. In this setting, its heavy weight boomerangs back to become a plus.
Think of this unit as the welding equivalent of an offensive lineman. It’s big, bulky, and isn’t flashy, but it is built to take a beating and keep on ticking.
✔️ Another big plus is that this unit is incredibly accessible and easy to use. You’ll need to figure out the amperage and wire feed settings yourself, but assuming you take care of that, almost everything else is handled for you.
✔️ Adding to the sense of this being a big unit worth the big investment is the fact that it offers big-time welding options that you can play around with once you’re comfortable doing so, including seven voltage settings.
This makes it very easy for you to progress through different levels of expertise.
If you are looking for a MIG welder you can learn and grow with, don’t mind its massive size, and are willing to make a big upfront investment in a big-time unit that can match your capabilities as you continue to hone them, this may be a good option.
7. Amico TIG160 ARC Stick Welder
This is the most affordable welding option on our list at just around $250.
It’s interesting that this of all models wins that award given the fact it’s a stick welder, which if you’ll recall tends to be more complex, and thus more expensive.
✔️ This gives it a very unique appeal. If you’re looking for an inexpensive starter stick welder – which is definitely a rare bird in the welding world – this is the model for you.
Beyond that, the Amico TIG 160 also offers good TIG welding. That’s another field where it’s rare to find an affordable model.
✔️ On the one hand, it’s worth wondering how many “beginners” will be looking for TIG or stick welders in the first place, given their relative difficulty.
On the other hand, if you are, congratulations – you’ve found a way to do the seemingly impossible and make stick and TIG welding for beginners affordable!
✔️ How good your welding will be is another matter. While this is a solid unit, you get what you pay for, and there’s no denying this is several leagues below the top-tier TIG and stick welders online.
That said, those models often cost thousands of dollars.
✔️ This unit is strictly designed for thin and medium thickness, so thick sections are out. It can also sometimes have difficulty with sheet metal.
Adding to the list of cons is the fact that you cannot weld aluminum with it. There is only a single dial for changing welding temperature and no MIG function.
In short, this is a very stripped down TIG and stick welder – what you see is what you get.
If you are in the market for that rarest of welding sights, an affordable TIG and stick welder for beginners, by all means, give this a look.
8. Forney 324 MIG/Stick/TIG 3-in-1 190-Amp
Here we have another option from Forney, and as you can see from the name, it offers MIG, TIG, and stick welding all in one.
That already makes it a good bargain, and around $1,000 isn’t an unreasonable price tag to ask for something that can do that much.
It is hampered somewhat by the fact that it does not include the accessories needed for TIG welding, but even so, for a 3-in-1 model, that’s not a bad price – but what about its overall value?
✔️ For beginners, that value actually might be quite good. This is another example of a model that manages to offer a lot of different options for you to use and play with as you grow while keeping things simple enough for beginners.
It features three positions which you can toggle between to weld more quickly.
✔️ This unit also does a good job of allowing you to control your weld. It has an easy to read flow meter. The metal case is quite rugged, so this is another unit that’s built to take a beating.
✔️ This is another good example of a “long-term investment” model. It offers three of the most commonly used welding types all in a single package (albeit with a need to get TIG parts) and it offers enough capabilities to allow you to build your skills.
✔️ One of the biggest decisions newcomers to welding have to make is whether they want to dabble with a low-cost low-end model to see if they like it, or take the plunge all the way.
If you’re ready to do the latter, investing in this unit is a good way to make a (splatter-free) splash.
9. PrimeWeld 3-in-1 50 Amp Plasma Cutter
This is another option that offers 3-in-1 capabilities, albeit for arc welding, TIG and stick welding, and plasma cutting.
We haven’t talked about plasma cutting yet so far, so if you are interested in this capability, this may be the model to look at.
✔️ That said, as mentioned with TIG and stick welding, this is a search for the best welder for beginners – would a “beginner” really be looking to do plasma cutting, given its complexity? Well, if they would and that’s you, here you are!
It is another model that boasts a strong steel build. This model is nothing if not reliable in the cuts it produces.
✔️ What’s impressive is just how many types of metal this welder can take – mild and stainless steel, magnesium, copper and copper alloys, cast iron, and more.
Even more impressively, it is able to do all of this at a $400 price tag while offering that 3-in-1 setup.
That’s a lot!
This may be one of the hardest “beginner” models on this list, but if you’re willing to put up with the advanced complexity, this model offers a surprising amount of welding bang for the buck.
10. Everlast PowerTIG 255 EXT Digital
We go from the impeccable affordability of the PrimeWeld to another hefty behemoth in this 85 lb offering from Everlast with an even heavier price tag – $2,200.
✔️ Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of model you invest in if you’re “maybe interested” in taking up welding. This isn’t the kind of model you invest in if you’ve taken a couple classes and think you’re interested.
This is the kind of model you buy when you want a big-time model and are sure you have the time, space, energy, and expertise to warrant dropping more than a cool two grand on it.
✔️ That said, if you are willing to stomach that price tag, you get some extensive features.
Heavy-Duty IGBT power modules for increasing the overall reliability of the performance, true low amp operation capabilities, the ability to use both AC (5 amps) and DC (3 amps), superior penetration on thicker metals and the ability to reduce warping on thinner ones – this model offers a lot!
✔️ That said, it also demands a lot of expertise to use, all of which of course begs the question – just how much of a “beginner” model is this? Most “beginner” things don’t cost more than $2,000!
Still, if you have the skills to use it and paycheck to afford it, this is a great heavy duty welder.
What to Look for in a Beginner Welder
First thing’s first – what makes a welder a good beginner model, anyway? After all, there’s a big difference between what’s “good” and “good for beginners.”
Part of what makes a welder good for beginners, therefore, is accessibility.
Just because a welder is top-rated on welding sites doesn’t automatically make it the best choice for you, a newcomer.
You’ll also want to consider price. You obviously don’t want to spend a fortune on something you aren’t sure you’ll use a few months, let alone years from now.
On the other hand, you get what you pay for, and an inexpensive welder that performs cheaply could put you off the hobby forever.
You’ll also want to consider what type of welding you want to do. Some of these models are better suited to different tasks, such as welding different items or metals or working outdoors.
Finally, it is important to know the different types of welders and what they can do:
👉 MIG Welders: These are the most common type of welder on the market for beginners especially. It is often much easier to handle than TIG welders.
They make use of consumables, which need to be replaced as they wear out. How fast this happens varies, and gas shielding is required.
However, this remains the most accessible and affordable as well as versatile in types of different welds it can perform.
👉 TIG Welders: This method makes use of Tungsten Inert Gas and typically requires more experience to use than MIG welders.
They heat up the base metal to help create a molten weld, and take a longer time doing so than MIG welding. That said, when done properly, it can produce very high-quality finishes and stable welds.
👉 Flux Core Arc Welders: These are similar to MIG welders, but are gasless. Instead, they make use of a hollow piece of wire which is fed into the flux. On the one hand, this introduces natural limitations.
On the other hand, however, because of the relatively easy process, smooth welding, and lack of a need for shielding gas, this is a very easy form of welding to learn.
👉 Stick Welders: This is the most common way of welding iron or steel. Arc fusion takes place, making use of the electrical current generated by the electrodes and forming a hot arc between the surface and the stick.
This makes it a lot easier to melt these materials together, which is saying something given the relative difficulty of welding iron and steel otherwise.
From that list, you can probably tell which types of welders are best to learn to use for beginners. Flux core arc welders, as mentioned, are the easiest, and you don’t have to buy shielding gas.
That said, MIG welding offers the best mixture of accessibility and affordability, and is highly versatile, being used in many mainstream welding projects, and is, thus, more likely something that will give you a long-term return on your investment.
As such, your first welder will likely be a flux core or MIG welder.
With that in mind, have a read through this list of 10 great welding options to help determine which is the best welder for beginners such as yourself.
Beginner Welders FAQs
Let’s close out this page about beginner welders with answers to some of your most frequently-asked questions about them!
1. How Much Should I Spend?
As mentioned throughout, this will depend in large part on your level of engagement. If you are just “curious,” one of the less expensive models might be your best bet.
If you know that you want to do this but are just starting out, a mid-range, sub-$1,000 investment is probably wisest. If this is going to be a long-term hobby or career, you can invest in one of the more expensive ones – but you’d better be sure.
2. Are Combo Welders Worth it?
As you can probably tell, the models that offer two or three options in one unit are some of the ones about which we are most excited on this list!
They offer the chance for you to learn easier techniques such as MIG welding before working your way up to TIG and stick welding, all without having to buy another unit.
That can save money in the long-term, so if you’re excited about welding, some of the more affordable combo welders are the best buys on this list.
3. What About Weight?
This breaks down pretty simply.
If you want something portable, make sure it’s a weight you’ll be comfortable carrying – so those 80 lb plus options are out.
On the other hand, if you want something heavy duty and don’t mind a stationary unit, those bulkier units may be worth the investment.
4. So What Would You Recommend?
It all depends.
If you want something heavy-duty, the Hobart delivers big-time in that department.
The Forney Easy Weld lives up to its name, being one of the best welder for beginners looking to learn and grow slowly without breaking the bank in doing so.
That said, each of the models on this list have something of value to offer. While a couple seem a bit pricey for a “beginner,” most of the models on this list are still about as affordable as you can reasonably expect a starter unit to be.
Ultimately, it is up to you to review these options for yourself and decide which option is the best match for your wants and needs.