Best Stick Welder – DC Inverter Portable Arc Machine Reviews (110v and 220v)

image of best stick welders

You are looking for a good Stick welding machine for your garage and work around the yard, or people told you that if you want to learn to weld properly, you need to start with “Stick first.”

But… The budget is limited and there is not much and room for an error

With that in mind, you should pick the best stick welder you can find.

Not easy, I know…

The solution: Take a little time before you spend your money on reading some reviews and comparing some stats and features (don’t worry, SMAW or Arc Welders are more or less simple inverter machines, it won’t be a hustle) and pick the best one for your needs

Just a quick shout out guys! Rest assured that I put these products on the list due to their quality and my personal opinion as let’s say, experienced welder (burn marks, ruined eyesight, and all).

I just want to be transparent with you and inform you that my site Weldingpros.net may obtain a share of sales or other monetary compensation from the links on this page.

So, buddy, I hope that using this article you pick a great welder and put some nice bits on that metal (and if not just grind it a little ;)).

Adam Mason ♠
  • Comparison table.
  • Welder Reviews.
  • Things to consider when selecting your welding machine.

Best Stick Welders Comparison Table

Image
Best For the Money
yeswelder 205DS
Editor's Choice
Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i
2020 PowerArc 140ST 40 Amp Arc Stick...
Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST,...
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1297 AC/Dc 225/125...
Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick ARC IGBT...
Stick welder
YESWELDER 205DS
Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i
2020 PowerArc 140ST 40 Amp Arc Stick...
Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST,...
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1297 AC/Dc 225/125...
Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick ARC IGBT...
Rating
10% off Coupon Code:
"June -10% Weldingpros"
-
-
-
-
Dual Voltage
Voltage Inputs
110/220V
120/240V
120/240V
120V
230V
115/230V
Output Current Type
DC
DC
DC
DC
AC/DC
DC
Amperage Output
20-205A
20-160A
10 A – 140 A
10 A – 90 A
AC: 40 A – 225 A, DC: 30 A – 125 A
5 A – 160 A
Duty cycle
60% at 205 amps
30% at 160 amps
35% at 140 amps
30% at 80 amps
AC: 20% at 225 amps, DC: 20% at 125 amps
80% at 160 amps
Features
Great price to quality ratio, Very high duty cycle, Portable, Auto diameter features, works great with 7018 electrodes, also has TIG capabilities, 1 year warranty
High quality, Hobart's 5/3/1 warranty, rugged case, USA brand
High quality, 5 year warranty, Also has Lift TIG capabilities
Easy to use, Also TIG capable, very portable
Offers both AC and DC, High quality machine, USA brand
High duty cycle, good safety features, portable
Best For the Money
Image
yeswelder 205DS
Stick welder
YESWELDER 205DS
Rating
10% off Coupon Code:
"June -10% Weldingpros"
Dual Voltage
Voltage Inputs
110/220V
Output Current Type
DC
Amperage Output
20-205A
Duty cycle
60% at 205 amps
Features
Great price to quality ratio, Very high duty cycle, Portable, Auto diameter features, works great with 7018 electrodes, also has TIG capabilities, 1 year warranty
Editor's Choice
Image
Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i
Stick welder
Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i
Rating
-
Dual Voltage
Voltage Inputs
120/240V
Output Current Type
DC
Amperage Output
20-160A
Duty cycle
30% at 160 amps
Features
High quality, Hobart's 5/3/1 warranty, rugged case, USA brand
Image
2020 PowerArc 140ST 40 Amp Arc Stick...
Stick welder
2020 PowerArc 140ST 40 Amp Arc Stick...
Rating
-
Dual Voltage
Voltage Inputs
120/240V
Output Current Type
DC
Amperage Output
10 A – 140 A
Duty cycle
35% at 140 amps
Features
High quality, 5 year warranty, Also has Lift TIG capabilities
Image
Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST,...
Stick welder
Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST,...
Rating
Dual Voltage
Voltage Inputs
120V
Output Current Type
DC
Amperage Output
10 A – 90 A
Duty cycle
30% at 80 amps
Features
Easy to use, Also TIG capable, very portable
Image
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1297 AC/Dc 225/125...
Stick welder
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1297 AC/Dc 225/125...
Rating
-
Dual Voltage
Voltage Inputs
230V
Output Current Type
AC/DC
Amperage Output
AC: 40 A – 225 A, DC: 30 A – 125 A
Duty cycle
AC: 20% at 225 amps, DC: 20% at 125 amps
Features
Offers both AC and DC, High quality machine, USA brand
Image
Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick ARC IGBT...
Stick welder
Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick ARC IGBT...
Rating
-
Dual Voltage
Voltage Inputs
115/230V
Output Current Type
DC
Amperage Output
5 A – 160 A
Duty cycle
80% at 160 amps
Features
High duty cycle, good safety features, portable

Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Stick Welders Review

Whether you are searching for the best stick welders for beginners or want versatility and performance, our stick welder reviews will help you determine all of that. Here are our best picks.

1. Best Budget Stick Welder – YesWelder ARC Welder 205A

Image of a YesWelder 205DS

The YesWelder ARC Welder 205A is a perfect machine for both professionals and hobbyists. It allows great work for DIY projects and all kinds of work around the garage as it is designed for easy weld. Its best feature has to be the select diameter features that is automatically switching from currents and offers the one you need. It performs best with 7018 electrodes and comes with an easy arc start and provides a smooth weld.

This stick welder is our pick as being the best budget stick welder in terms of quality that it provides. Some of the features present on the YesWelder 205A are not offered on some pricier machines. They may offer better quality but when it comes to the money, this one really takes the cake with its price range and should be considered as a good investment.

It is powerful enough to weld  1/4 Inch (220v stick welder) and 5/32 Inch(110V) steel. It is lightweight, convenient, and portable as it weighs only 11 lbs. Besides portability it is also reliable pieces of equipment for any kind of home use as the components are strong.

10% off Coupon Code: “June -10% Weldingpros”
Specifications
  • Processes: Stick (SMAW) and TIG (GTAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Steel – 25 ga. – 1/4 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum (stick-only).
  • Input Voltage: 110/220 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: Direct current.
  • Rated Output: 205 A @ duty cycle 60%
  • Amperage Output Range: 20 A – 205 A limit.
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Affordable price 200 amp stick welder
  • Dual voltage input model with a simple voltage switch
  • Great performance
  • Lightest in comparison to other options
  • It is also a TIG welding machine with lift arc start
  • Has a variety of useful settings
  • Great customer service
  • Basic welding tools included
  • Led display
  • Best at price point

Cons:

  • TIG torch not included

2. Best Stick Welder under 500 – Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i Stick Welder

The Hobart Stickmate 210i may be an expensive product for some welders, but the 160i is specifically designed to meet the needs of both pros and beginners. More so, its design breathes quality and reliability that many welders look for. But the Hobart stick welding crew went out of their way and added some steal features in this one. The infinite amperage control mechanism is worth every penny.

What it also comes with is hot start technology for the great arc start. It also offers dual voltage input of 120V/240V, a setup that you can easily switch between. Also, the sturdy and rugged design does not mean that it is hard to carry. In fact, at 15-lbs (6.8 Kg) of weight, it is easy to take around the various work sites as it comes with a carrying strap as well.

It comes with hot start technology that is more than reliable. With 160 amperage output, it is able to weld 5/32 inches of mild steel but is also applicable for other thicknesses.

The entire package comes with a full set of accessories that include an electrode holder and a 2-meter power cord with a multi-voltage adapter.

Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i
  • Dependable, reliable and rugged
  • Easy to carry & store. Weighs under 20 lbs; 10 ft. (3 m) electrode cable with heavy- duty holder; 10 ft. (3 m) work cable with clamp ; 6.5 ft. (2 m) power cord with MVP adapters for 120V and 240V .
  • Easy, quick, reliable starts with hot start technology
  • Up to 160A output. Welds up to 5/32 inch mild steel

Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Specifications
  • Processes: Stick (Shielded metal arc welding).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Steel – 25 ga. – 3/8 in.
  • Weldable Metals: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum.
  • Input Voltage: works with 120/240 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: Direct current.
  • Rated Output: 160 A @ duty cycle 30%
  • Amperage Range: 20 A – 160 A.
  • Weight: 15 lbs.
Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Dual voltage unit
  • Ease of use
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent user experience
  • Duty cycle indicator
  • Rugged case
  • Hobart 5/3/1 Warranty. Parts and labor

Cons:

  • Duty cycle on the low end

3. Best Combo Welder – EVERLAST Dual voltage PowerARC 140STi Stick Welder + Lift Start TIG

Everlast PowerARC 140oSTi comes to form one of the best brand of stick welder. It is a small utility class welder that provides maximum flexibility and performance. this IGBT inverter-welder has both Stick and DC Lift TIG capability so it can be used for different welding tasks. Accessories included are its own stick torch and a DINSE style connector. Of course there is the TIG torch and a work clamp added as well.

Interestingly, even though it is a small welder the quality of this TIG stick welder is that of a much larger arc welder. It provides great arc stability and quality. It is also good for sheet metal because it has low amp abilities. Features include auto adaptive arc force control in Stick mode and 120V/240V dual voltage capability.

However, the Everlast PowerARC does have 140 amp max output available for DC only. It is also characterized by portability as it is very easy to carry due to its compact design and with a weight of 10 lbs and dimensions of 12 in × 5 in × 9 in.

2020 PowerArc 140ST 40 Amp Arc Stick Lift Start TIG Welder, IGBT, Dual Voltage 110/220v
  • Compact and portable with carry case
  • Lift TIG function with standard 17 series gas valve torch
  • Simple easy to use
  • Auto adaptive hot start

Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Specifications
  • Processes: Stick (SMAW) and TIG (GTAW) methods.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum (stick-only).
  • Input Power: 120/240 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: Direct current.
  • Rated Output: 140 A @ duty cycle 35%
  • Amp Range: 10 A – 140 A.
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Dual volt input
  • Stick and TIG modes
  • TIG lead also included
  • Great quality machine
  • 5 Year warranty
  • Lift Start TIG

Cons:

  • Only issue is no regulator for TIG gases included

4. Best Stick Welder Under 200 – Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST, 120-Volt, 90-Amp Stick Welder

The Forney Easy Weld 298 is an arc welding machine with an inverter power system. It comes with a 120 volts input and 90 amp output. This inverter stick welder is capable of handling rods of up to 1/8 inches. With this welding machine, you can work on 16 gauge up to 5/16″. The downside is that the TIG stick is sold separately but having TIG welder abilities is an advantage when you need to weld TIG.

Easy Weld 298 from Forney is one of the best arc welders for starers. Novice welders can benefit from the fact that it is really easy to learn how to use it. You can make home repairs or maintenance work with it or any kind of DIY jobs. Also, it is one of the most portable stick welders. It is not larger than a bread box allowing you to move it about any way you like and use in different positions as it weighs only 9.65 lbs. (4.38 kg).

Some added accessories are an 8′ (2.4m) electrode holder and 8′ (2.4 meters) ground clamp. However, it does not have foot operation. Being that it is easy to use, it is also good for beginners who are just getting started.

Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST, 120-Volt, 90-Amp,Green
  • Inverter power system
  • 120 volt input and 90 amp output
  • TIG capable (sold separately)
  • Handles up to 1/8 inch rod

Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Specifications
  • Processes: Stick (SMAW) and TIG (GTAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Steel – 16 ga. – 5/16 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum (stick only).
  • Input Power: 120 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: Direct current.
  • Rated Output: 80 A @ duty cycle 30%
  • Amp Range: 10 A – 90 A.
  • Weight: 9.65 lbs.
Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Very portable and light
  • Stick and TIG machine
  • Great value unit all factors considered
  • Simple controls
  • Infrequent arc outages

Cons:

  • TIG gear sold separately

5. LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1297 Alternative current/Direct 225/125

Lincoln Electric might be a brand that is a bit on the expensive side of welders on the market. But it is one that provides quality welding machines with great warranty. All of their products are NEMA rated, UL listed and CSA approved. So is the CO K1297. The Lincoln Welders Stick arc welder is very easy to operate and is a multi-purpose machine. The Alternative/Direct polarity setting is mounted on the front side and it comes with a smooth arc, which makes it easy to weld using different polarities.

It has a 125 amp DC output, good for 1/8” (3.2 mm) electrodes and 225 amp AC output, perfect for 3/16” (4.8 mm) diameter general purpose mild steel electrodes. The welding machine is easy to install as it comes with an attached input power cable and plug.

However, although compatible for its size, it is a bit heavy (8.8 ounces) and not really easy to carry. It also lacks the infinite adjustability wheel, that welders of its quality usually come with, and a foot pedal. Even though it has a wire feed system. But it is still a good machine for versatile use, particularly for a hobbyist for some work around the house.

Sale
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1297 AC/Dc 225/125 Arc Welder,
  • AC & DC welding arcs with broad output ranges for versatile use
  • Ideal for jobs that require top arc-welding performance
  • Can be used for maintenance repair, fabrication, construction & other applications
  • Great for use with a variety of variety of metals, including stainless steel, steel & cast iron

Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Specifications
  • Processes: Stick (SMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Steel – 16 ga. – 1/4 in.
  • Weldable Metals: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum.
  • Input Power: 230 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: Alternating/Direct.
  • Rated Output Duty cycles: AC: 225 A @ 20%, DC: 125 A @ 20%
  • Amperage Output Range: AC: 40 A – 225 A, DC: 30 A – 125 A.
  • Weight: 124 lbs.
Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Device has both AC and DC output
  • NEMA rated, UL listed and CSA approved
  • Great for workshop, repair, store tasks or for farmers farm work
  • Runs great and bead result is exceptional
  • Overall great quality MMA machine
  • 3 Year warranty

Cons:

  • More expensive than others on the list
  • Low duty cycle
  • Heavy

6. Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick DC Stick Welder Dual Voltage

The Amico ARC 160D is an IGBT inverter welding machine is an industrial-level machine perfect for professionals. You can use all types of electrodes on it and even comes with a force adjustment function. You can use all types of acid or basic electrode on it. Some of the other functions that the Amico power source welders include are great arc stability, anti-sticking, hot start, and amperage control.

The safety properties on amico power dc-160a are also pretty good as it comes with over-voltage protection, under voltage protection, over current protection, overload protection in order to compensate for voltage fluctuations. It has a wide voltage range of 100~250V at 50~60Hz. Almost all of the voltages can be used at 80% duty cycle at 160 amps. It provides good stick welds with less spatter and resulting in an non-existent post weld cleanup.

Sale
Amico ARC-160D, 160 Amp Stick ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder 115/230 Dual Voltage Welding Soldering
  • ARC-160 Is a professional welding machine with industrial level, very easy to use all of the electrode, Use the cellulose electrode is also very good, and with a force adjustment function.
  • Advanced IGBT inverter technology, excellent Arc stability, hot start, anti-sticking, force adjusts steeples amperage control. Very easy to starting and improvers, simple to operate, LED amperage...
  • Automatic compensation for voltage fluctuation, over-voltage protection, under voltage protection, over current protection, over load protection.
  • 100~250V wide voltage, 50~60Hz, almost all of the voltage and frequency can be used. 80% duty cycle at 160 amps, ensures long time welding, the current range from 5-160 Amp, very good for thin plate...

Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Specifications
  • Processes: Stick (SMAW).
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum.
  • Input Power: 115/230 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: Direct current.
  • Rated DC power output: 160 A @ duty cycle 80%
  • Amp Range: 5 A – 160 A.
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Two voltage input
  • One of the quality DIY arc welders
  • Good safety features
  • Portable and low weight tool
  • Led screen

Cons:

  • Sometimes it can be hard for the arc to start

Arc Stick Welder Buying Guide

To better understand how to choose the best cheap stick welder or the best portable welder here are some things that you need to consider and have to be aware of. It is going to help you when buying either a small stick welder or any kind that you need.

Amperage

image of a worker

When it comes to stick welding, considering the amperage is an important part of the process. First of all, making single passes is the most beginner-friendly way of welding. But in order to do it as best as possible, you should look at welding machines that are capable of handling the thickness of the material a little higher than those you are planning to work on.

For making multi passes, more skill is required. A 150 amp stick welder can be a good choice as it provides good penetration and can melt pretty much anything. Combine that with the skill of making multi passes and you are on your way to being capable of doing any kind of work that you have in mind.

However, the main thing to consider is still the amperage range. You should know how much amps you are going to use for a certain electrode. This is particularly important for working on thicker materials. Check the amperage range on the electrodes that you are going to be using. Each one of them has a recommended amperage output that you will need to adjust your stick welders by.

AC vs DC

When looking at purchasing AC DC Arc welders, you should understand that DC is the preferred current for stick welders. A DC welder is not just beginner-friendly it is also capable of laying down some nice and smooth beads.

AC vs DC
Using AC is definitely not needed for Stick welding. Most welders stir away from it and do not use it. Things can get a lot more difficult as alternating current causes the arc to constantly shut down and start again many times a second which does not provide stability for the arc. On the other hand, the direct one is stable and more appropriate for this type of welding. An AC stick welder can be used but AC stick welders are not the best for most welding jobs. So the preferred method is DC.

That said it is still good to have more options available to you. So having a welding machine that is capable of both AC and DC, which you can easily switch between, is a good combination and can be an advantage for some other types of welding processes as you never know when AC welders can come in handy. All of the best stick welder reviews above are DC capable with the Lincoln one being also AC capable.

Power Input

Another important part of your welder is the capacity of electricity that it is able to use. The best 110v stick welder and 120v power output as well as a 220 stick welder and 240 ones as a single phase power source are usually used. They may also come requiring three phase 360v. However, three-phase welders are heavy-duty cycle ones that are aimed at industrial usage.

120V
220V

Beginners should use smaller, portable welding machines that are great for usage around the house. You could try and see how it operates at 110/120v because even if your welder you decide to go with has both 110v and 220v power supply inputs it might have a weaker amperage output on the 110v/120v side. So make sure to check it out before making a purchase.

But if you don’t have access to 220v current you can only go for a welder that has 120v. Also, most breakers will work with a standard power breaker but some of them might not. Always check the needed circuit breaker for the welder you intended on buying first.

Quality of the Machine

image of a construction worker welding

When it comes to choosing stick welders, you should always think about the amount of work you are planning to do with it. Some welders can’t handle the amount of work you plan to do with it and can be prone to overheating, so quality is an important aspect of the welding technology.

One of the best arc welders for home usage and maintenance is definitely YesWelder ARCWelder 205A. It is not only easy to use but has great quality and offers the most for the money you invest in it.

But if you plan to do more work around the garage than you should go for durability instead of a low price option. Something like Hobart Stickmate 160i or the Lincoln Electric CO K1297 would do nicely because they are both awesome quality pieces of equipment and have lengthy warranties. You might also consider the Everlast 140STI as it also has good quality and endurance.

Price

People who are simply looking for a welder to help them around occasional work around the house or simple DIY projects are not going to look to spend large amounts of money on a 115-volt welder.

Low cost
So unless welding is your source of income, you should look at some stick welding machines that do not cost so much but are still able to offer you what you need for occasional work. For those people, stick welders from YesWelders are perfect. They are the least expensive ones on the market but at the same time are capable of providing you with good, quality results. They are also quite superior to the other welder in the same price range.

But if you are ready to spend a bit more cash you should look for stick welders from brands from a manufacturer like Hobart or Lincoln Electric. You should also be aware of the fact the stick welding machines that cost more money also come with a longer warranty as well.

FAQ

Are arc welders any good?

Yes, they are. The best stick welders are still capable of providing quality work compared to other forms of welding. Arc welding may be a timely process and some see it as a thing for the past. However, it is a great choice for making quality welds in almost any condition and in all positions without a hassle of using shielding gasses.

Metal arc welding may not be as fast as MIG welding but it doesn’t need shielding gas and it can provide great quality weld whether you are working on cast iron, alloy steel, carbon steel, copper, aluminum, or any kind of material that you have.

Are inverter welders better?

According to many inverter welder reviews, these types of welders have massive advantages as opposed to traditional transformer ones. Inverter arc welders are very light allowing for more moveability around the worksite. Also, inverters are high-quality machines in terms of functionality.

They have multi-process capabilities. A single machine is capable of TIG, Stick, MIG, FCAW, arc gouging, plasma cutter, and pulsing. Also, machines like a 220 arc welder have the capacity of arc tuning for better arc control. Finally, these types of welders consume less energy and will help you save money.

Is stick welding hard to learn?

Learning to weld with a stick welding unit if you are a beginner can be somewhat hard. The process stick welders use is a bit hard to learn but when you do master it you will be able to make quality and exceptional welds and learning other processes after will be much easier. However, learning how to do it from scratch can cause some difficulties in the beginning.

First of all, beginners might find it hard to start and maintain an arc. Not being able to lay a weld bead can cause them to get discouraged. Stick welding also creates a lot of slag and smoke. The smoke will make learning weld puddle and temperature control a lot harder. Also, the slag needs to be chipped off the weld beads when you are done.

Stick welding is definitely a harder process for hobby welding or the first process that novice welders should learn. Learning how to stick weld requires a bit more of a skill level. It is a necessary process to learn but perhaps later when one acquires more skill.

Is stick welding better than MIG?

Using a Stick welding machine can be much harder than trying to MIG weld. Both processes are used today, but the welding stick can provide deeper penetration when compared to certain MIG welding setups. However, it is harder to learn particularly for a novice welder. Some of the disadvantages are that the process takes longer and will require you to chip off the slag from the weld pool after you are done.

MIG welding technique is very easy to learn and you can start immediately off the bat by plugging it in the power outlet. Both processes can be applied for various welding applications and have the ability to weld different types of metal alloys, like stainless steel, copper, and many others. Although MIG welding is easy to use and allows you to make a good weld fast, the difference is that stick welding can in certain situations provide deeper penetration and stick can work with the less clean metals.

Conclusion

Stick welding may be an age-old welding process but it is definitely one that will not be replaced for a long time. With the quality that it provides and the various welding applications that it offers we are definitely going to see more of it in time.

Stick welders may not grace the covers of magazines nor do they look like pieces of art but they can come for an affordable price. We have reviewed the best offers that we could find and emphasized their qualities. It is up to you and your personal needs to determine which one will be the most applicable one for you.

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