Welding is every bit an art as it is a science. The more you practice, the better you’ll be at it and the more accurate your welds will be. Putting two pieces of metal together is a simple process that can be easy to do, but can take a lifetime of experience to do it well.
Sloppy welds, spatter welds, and just plain poor welds can indicate inexperience or inattention to the skill, but it can also be indicative of inferior equipment or at least, the improper equipment. You need to find the best welder for home use that can do the tasks you require of it.
Knowing your skill level is important but knowing what you plan to weld and the limitations of your gear is just as important, if not more so. Not all welders are created equal and sometimes you may find yourself attempting to make a weld that is beyond your equipment’s capacity.
Your skill can always improve, and the more time you spend in the shop making those welds, you will get better. But your equipment can only do so much. If you do not have the proper welder for the jobs you are undertaking, you’ll never get that perfect weld you expect to see.
Setting your skill level aside, as you can and will improve at welding, you’ll need to consider several aspects of the weld itself when looking for the best welder for home use. How thick is the metal pieces you are planning to weld together? What kind of metals are they? Will you be outdoors or shielded from the elements? What voltage is available where you plan to make these welds? How much current is drawn when using your welder?
All these questions are simple to answer once you understand the differences in welding machines. The variations in home welders are commonly MIG, TIG and Stick. Once we cover these basic welding factors, the rest of the variables will fall into place and you’ll know exactly which welder you need for your home use.
But I want a welder for home use. What now?
For most standard home use, the MIG welder is most likely going to be what the average home hobby consumer requires. Available in a wide variety of powers and strengths, the MIG welder can be counted among the more popular machines available for home use. Welding two pieces of steel is a simple process that can be achieved in the average garage and requires little to no special considerations even as a beginner.
Most MIG welders can be plugged directly into the standard home power outlet and won’t need any special wiring to accommodate the high energy output. Some of the more powerful units can draw a significant amount of amperage and could trip a breaker so it is possible that you may need a dedicated outlet for the welder, but for the most part, if you are a home hobby welder, the MIG apparatus is all you’ll need.
Gas shielding for MIG welding doesn’t have to be complicated for home use. You won’t need gas cylinders taking up valuable space in your garage, most home use MIGs incorporate a flux-core wire that produces the shielding gas bubble right at the weld spot and eliminates the necessity of external shielding gasses. Unless you are planning to weld delicate materials, a MIG welder might be the best welder for home use.
Types of welder for low-power needs
However, if your welding needs take you into the realm of mending stainless steel, aluminum or other non-ferrous materials, you may need to look into a TIG welder for home use. It’s not that one necessarily leads into the other, but unless you’ve gathered a bit of experience on the MIG welder, the TIG welder may prove to be more difficult as it is generally less forgiving than a MIG.
You will need external gas cylinders to shield your welds and this simple addition is cause for note, but is not a great difficulty. Small cylinders are available if you need them. The tungsten electrode allows for a more delicate weld, one that you can control at a much more regulated pace though it will be slower than MIG welding.
When you see those magnificently beautiful welds that appear to flow like liquid metal, impossibly uniform and clean lines, those are likely done with a TIG welder. Home welding with a TIG will likely require a 220 line put in exclusively for your new machine. Don’t fret, that’s the same power your clothes dryer and air conditioner uses, and your electrician can install a line for you rather quickly. If you expect to be welding anything other than standard materials such as iron and steel, then a TIG welder may be the best for your home use.
Types of welder for higher-power home needs
And if you are more of a “brute force” method of welder, the stick welder may be the best welder for you. Long used in farming and industrial environments, the stick welder can join any two pieces of metal you’ll find in the field and keep them stuck tight together. The weld may not be the most attractive looking joint in the world, and there may be a lot of spatter and slag from the process, but if you need an easy and secure weld on your large equipment, stick welding may be the best welder for you.
When you hear “for home use” many people think of the garage workbench and the clean and neat shelving of the average suburban house. But your home may include a large shed, barn or even a farming field. When you need to make repairs to your tractor or a tower rig out in the open fields, the stick welder is your tool of choice.
The ability to weld any thickness of metal, the flux coated electrode’s ability to create a shielded gas bubble even in adverse weather conditions, and the raw power of melting two pieces together in a molten weld-pool are all reasons why stick welding is popular among machinists and industrialists looking for strong welds without the need for “pretty” welds. If this meets your requirements, maybe a stick welder is the best welder for your home use.
Our Choices For The Best Welder For Home Use
Hobart 500559 Handler 140
When compiling a list of the best elders for home use, you must consider the parameters of what qualifies as “best”. Best value? Best quality? This can be an editor’s nightmare but the Hobart Handler 140 MIG welder solves that trouble by simply being the best possible welder for home use in all aspects. Considering the strength of customer reviews and the reputation of the Hobart brand, added to the impressive five year warranty that exclaims they are not afraid to stand behind their product… This welder is all you are looking for in a home MIG welder.
The MIG weld is sufficient for most home and hobby uses. Repairing much larger than a quarter inch of steel is not common around the home. The ability to run off of the standard electrical wiring in your garage means you won’t be hiring a licensed electrician to run a dedicated electrical outlet for your new welder.
It comes with all you’ll need to get started, lengthy leads, cylinder regulator, and a sample spool of gasless flux-core wire so you can plug in and get right to welding. Variable wire feed speed makes it simple for adjusting your skill to the weld at hand. Five position amperage dial allows for you to handle varying thickness of metal at the flick of the dial.
This Hobart is easily one of the best welders for home use you will find on the market.
Available at a significantly less expensive price point, the Forney Easy Weld 261 is an excellent option for a home use welder, especially if you are only an occasional user and not looking to invest much money into a tool you won’t be using regularly.
Offering a reliable wire feed MIG weld, this small welder could be considered truly portable as it weighs in under twenty pounds and can be easily carried to your work space without the hassle of a cart or dolly. The power source for this home welder can be your standard 20 amp home outlet, or if you have a 30 amp connection the welder comes with an adapter.
Eight foot leads and the ability to take power from a home or even a generator, this portable unit may be the best welder for remote home use when you have a task that can’t be taken into the garage, you can take the garage to the weld.
AHP AlphaTIG 200X
Looking for a home use TIG welder go no further than the AHP AlphaTIG 200x. This machine is the best welder you will find for garage and home use TIG welding. The change in skill set from MIG to TIG is an example that you are looking for a hardier welder and this AHP unit will not disappoint.
A versatile welder that can be operated on a 110VAC feed when necessary, you of course will want to have a 220VAC feed for the more strenuous welds, but the capacity to run on multiple feeds is a nice ability. When running on a 150 amp service, this TIG welder has a 100% duty cycle which translates to less time waiting around and more time making those clean and artistic welds.
The fully adjustable control panel allows you to make changes to the amperages for start, main and end. The pulse frequency, amps and time. And even the AC frequency. This TIG welder is the best you need for home use.
This Lotos LTPDC2000D welder may not have all the bells and whistles of contemporary welding rigs available on the market but it holds its own against the competition. Clean welds are what you are looking for out of a TIG welder and this machine produces fine welds just as good any machine out there.
We’ve included this particular machine on this list of the best welders for home use not only because it is a good stick and TIG welder, but also because it has an added feature that makes it stand out as a great tool for the garage and home user. Included in the rig is a plasma cutter.
If all you need is a TIG welder, by all means, there are other machines on the market. But if you’ve ever found yourself wishing you had the ability to cut, and I believe we all have, then this is the machine for you. If you can have two powerful and useful tools in one, why wouldn’t you?
This welder has the name “Hobby” right in the name so don’t purchase this and expect it to hold up against hardened machine shop welding rigs. However, we’re looking for the best welder for HOME use, not for professional shops, and the Arcraft Hobby 80 is an excellent entry on this list.
Whether you are an experienced welder looking for a small portable unit or a novice welder looking to learn the skill on a small machine, this lightweight stick welder is perfect for both extremes of skill level. The learning curve on stick welding is shallow, anyone can start learning it, but it takes some experience to master the craft and this welding rig is a great tool to learn on.
Operating on 120VAC and able to weld between 20 and 75 Amps, you can get solid welds at 1/8” steel including stainless and cast iron as well. Small, lightweight, portable, and capable, the Arcraft Hobby80 could be the best welder for home use.