There’s a reason for the popularity of stick welders, and this includes low cost and versatility. So, if you’re planning to buy one, then you are most definitely making the right decision.
Stick welders are cheap, compact and portable because they remove the need to carry gas bottles around. They also let you weld in more weather conditions than competing technologies.
The problem, however, is the extensive range of offers out there. And so, this stick welders review aims to offer you all the information you need to make the right choice.
What To Check Before Buying Best Stick Welder?
1. Input Voltage
This is one of the major power ratings of a stick welder and it’s important for two reasons. First, it lets you know the types of mains AC socket you need to run the unit. So, most units come with a 110-Volt rating and sometimes with both 110 and 220 Volts.
The second reason is the overall power. Put simply, a 220-Volt welder will produce more output power than a 110-Volt stick welder. The higher-voltage version will even offer a better duty cycle.
2. Output Range
Output range is given in Ampere or Amps and can range from as low as 5 Amps, all the way to 200 Amps and beyond. The goal of output power is to provide a means of controlling the current flow, and thereby, the welding heat, as well.
Some units offer a variable control knob for this, while others offer just two or three Amp-level settings. A good device will let you select a wide range, so you can easily adapt to as many materials as possible.
3. Duty Cycle
This is another very important power rating. A welder’s duty cycle is a measure of how many minutes within a 10-minute window, it can work, before needing to cool down for the remainder of the 10 minutes.
The duty cycle is also given at a particular power rating for precision. So, a welder might be both rated 60% @ 150 Amps and 100% @ 80 Amps for instance. Meaning the more power it’s using, the longer you may have to wait.
Obviously, the better welders, such as the Lotos LTPDC2000D are the ones with the higher duty cycles, because it shows they are more powerful. So, if you need to do lots of work, then go for them. Else, lower duty-cycle welders such as the C.M.T. can also work well for beginners and hobbyists.
4. Construction Materials
This is different from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you’ll need to check material quality individually.
One tip to keep in mind is that products with higher-quality construction tend to offer longer warranties.
5. Cable Length
With stick welders, the length of the electrode and earth clamp cables is important because it determines the level of freedom you get with the machine when working.
Six feet is a good minimum, but eight to 10 feet is better. Keep in mind, however, that you may need higher-gauge cables if you plan to weld with 100-ft or longer cables. Most people weld with 10 to 25-ft cables.
Most stick welders are compact, but those with multiple functions such as TIG or plasma cutting can be larger or even heavier than the rest.
So, keep an eye on the dimensions and weight to make sure it’s a unit you can handle.
You’ll also be faced with another choice when selecting a stick welder, and this is the choice of additional functionality.
You see, some stick welders only do stick welding, while others can do TIG welding but need you to buy optional items. Then, some offers come with everything you need.
In addition to TIG functionality, some units will also offer pulse width modulation abilities, to help you fine-tune them for precision welding of very thin aluminum plates, for instance.
8. Your Budget
As a final consideration, your budget is also important because stick welders can range in price from about $100 to $500 and beyond.
If money isn’t an issue, then no problems. Else, you’ll need to set a budget and then find the best budget stick welder within your target.
10 Best Stick Welders of 2021 Reviewed
1. AHP Alpha-TIG200X (Best Overall)
2. Amico ARC-160D (Best Budget)
3. Forney 298 (Best Lightweight)
4. Everlast PowerArc 140ST (Best Compact 2 in 1 Design)
5. Lotos LTPDC2000D (Best 3 in 1 Combo)
6. Hitbox UW-ARC160D (Best Digital Control Welder)
7. Sungoldpower 200A (Best Dual Voltage Inverter Welder)
8. Hobart 500570 (Rugged & Dependable)
9. Campbell WS099001AV (Metal Welder with Dual Heat)
10. C.M.T. B000V663G8 (Portable Welder for Beginner)
1. AHP Alpha-TIG200X – Best Overall
- Input Voltage: 110, 220 Volts
- Output Range: 10 to 200 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 60% @ 200 Amps, 100% @ 150 Amps
- Weight: 69 pounds
This AHP Alpha-TIG200X combines impressive features like dual-voltage operation, stick and TIG welding, pulse TIG welding with full PWM control. Plus all the accessories you need, including a TIG foot pedal to make it our best electric stick welder offer.
All these features make it possible to use this welder for nearly all types of metals, including mild steel up to 3/8 inch, stainless steel, and aluminum.
And for thinner-gauge materials, you get nine control knobs and four buttons to create the exact level of pulse you need. It delivers up to 200 power Amps and you can also choose between AC and DC output.
The only issue with this welder is its weight. Yes, it’s heavier than other welders here, but it also offers more. So, it’s up to you to know if you want it. AHP backs it with 3-year warranty coverage.
- High-powered welder with extensive controls
- Offers an impressive 150% duty cycle at 150 Amps
- Offers TIG welding with pulse features
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- It’s heavy but worth it
2. Amico ARC-160D – Best Budget
- Input Voltage: 100 to 250 Volts
- Output Range: 5 to 160 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 80% @ 160 Amps (230 V)
- Weight: 16 pounds
With Amico’s ARC-160D, you get a package that offers you an impressive 80% @ 160-Amp output in modern and sleek housing, and at a very attractive price.
Featuring an advanced IGBT inverter control and a voltage fluctuation compensator, it produces a stable arc with a wide voltage range from 100 to 250 Volts, as well as current output from 5 to 160 Amps.
This welder is perfect for both beginners and advanced welders alike. It features both current and arc force control, plus it displays the output level on a LED monitor, so you’ll always know what’s going on.
Although it’s the best cheap stick welder on this list, it lacks a TIG function as many other stick welders do. But if it’s a pure stick welder you are looking for, then it’s a perfect offer.
- A professional machine with packaging
- Offered at a very attractive price
- Features an inverter control technology
- Delivers an 80% duty cycle at 160 Amps
- You can’t TIG weld with it
3. Forney 298 – Best Lightweight Stick Welder
- Input Voltage: 120 Volts
- Output Range: 90 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 30% @ 80 Amps
- Weight: 9.6 pounds
Here’s a very compact and lightweight welder that only weighs 9.6 pounds, but still has a lot to offer. It features an inverter power system and is also TIG capable.
This welder can handle electrodes up to 1/8 inch and will weld materials from 16 gauge up to 5/6 inch. So, it’s perfect for the beginner to the intermediate welder, who just wants to do random projects at home or in the shop.
Forney rates it at 90 Amps maximum output, with a 30% duty cycle at 80 Amps. This makes it one of the lowest-powered welders on this list, although it comes at a very attractive price. The package includes a ground clamp and electrode holder with all necessary cables.
- Very compact stick welder
- TIG capable with an optional torch
- Lightweight (only 9.6 pounds)
- It’s also attractively priced
- It’s a relatively low powered welder
4. Everlast PowerArc 140ST – Best Compact 2-in-1
Photo: Everlast Welders Canada
- Input Voltage: 110, 220 Volts
- Output Range: Up to 140 Amps (110 V)
- Duty Cycle: 35% @ 140 Amps
- Weight: 24.8 pounds
How about a stick and TIG combo welder in a compact package? This one measures 20 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches and weighs just 24.8 pounds.
It comes with both a stick electrode holder and a TIG torch, plus a clamp and a 6-ft long cable, as well as a wire brush and a high impact, carry case to make it all very portable.
This unit also offers up to 140 Amps of output current and a digital display to show you what’s going on. It’s also dual-voltage capable, making it one of the best inverter stick welders, and easy to take anywhere with you.
One con with it is the relatively low 35% duty cycle at 140 Amps and the other is its rather boring control board, which could be made better.
- Compact stick and TIG welder
- Comes with stick holder and TIG torch
- Includes 6-ft long cables
- Backed by an impressive 5-year warranty
- The control interface could be better
- Low 35% duty cycle at 140 Amps
5. Lotos LTPDC2000D – Best 3-in-1 Combo Stick Welder
- Input Voltage: 110 and 220 Volts
- Output Range: 10 to 200 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 100% @ 150 Amps, 60% @ 200 Amps
- Weight: 42.3 pounds
Lotos offers this 3 in 1 combo here for those who can appreciate it. This unit offers stick welding, TIG welding, and plasma cutting, making it a compact powerhouse for any metal worker.
It’s also a dual-voltage machine, easily running on both 110 and 220 Volts. It produces up to 200 Amps of output power for stick and TIG welding and is rated 100% at 150 Amps duty cycle, making it one of the most powerful machines on this list.
In addition to being one of the best stick welders, this plasma cutter’s highest-rated cutting width is 3/4 inch, while the highest clean-cut width is 1/2 inch.
The package is also impressive as it includes everything from a TIG and plasma-cutting torch, the stick electrode holder, a ground clamp, power supply, air filter, and some consumables to get you going, as well as a 1-year warranty coverage.
Keep in mind, however, that all these impressive features make it a relatively heavy welder. But if you think of it, then you’ll agree that this 3 in 1 feature is worth it.
- Versatile welder includes stick, TIG, and plasma cutting
- Features an automatic dual-voltage capability
- Offers an impressive 100% duty cycle @ 150 Amps
- Comes with everything you need for plasma, stick, and TIG welding
- It’s relatively heavy
6. Hitbox UW-ARC160D – Best Digital Control Stick Welder
- Input Voltage: 220 Volts
- Output Range: 20 to 225 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 85% for Arc, 50% for TIG
- Weight: 9.9 pounds
This Hibox stick welder features a digital display and control system that gives it both a unique look and makes it more user friendly. It does both stick and TIG welding, also making it one of the best portable stick welders out there.
Hitbox rates it at 85% duty cycle for stick welding and 50% for TIG. This makes it capable of handling most small jobs, especially with its lightweight 9.9 pounds. You can use it to weld carbon steel, copper, mild steel, and even stainless steel.
It offers 20 to 225 Amps of output and includes all the necessary items you need to get welding, including a 200-Amp earth clamp and the electrode holder.
Although it offers TIG welding, it doesn’t offer pulse TIG, so it may not have the best performance on thinner materials. It’s a great machine though, and Hitbox backs it with a 1-year warranty.
- Small and compact welder
- Features a digital display with easy to use controls
- It does stick and TIG welding
- Weighs only 15.4 pounds
- Its TIG functions don’t include pulse welding
7. Sungoldpower 200A – Best Dual Voltage Inverter Stick Welder
- Input Voltage: 110, 220 Volts
- Output Range: 20 to 200 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 60% @ 200 Amps
- Weight: 15 pounds
With its dual-voltage feature, this Sungoldpower welder adapts easily to both 110 and 220-Volt supplies, thanks to its advanced IGBT inverter control module.
You get a compact unit with a clean design here. There are a simple display and a single control knob to control the output power between 20 and 200 Amps, as you wish.
It also has a 60% duty cycle rating at 200 Amps, which makes it capable of handling certain medium-duty tasks. It comes complete with everything you need, including the AC plug, cables, clamp, and electrode holder.
A TIG functionality would have been great on this welder but it lacks it. But asides from that, it’s a highly efficient unit, it’s well built, one of the best stick welders, and it’s backed by a 1-year warranty.
- Dual-voltage welder for 110 and 220 Volts
- Features an advanced IGBT inverter control system
- Offers a 60% duty cycle at 200 Amps
- Includes many accessories, including welding gloves
- Doesn’t offer TIG-welding functionality
8. Hobart 500570 – Rugged & Dependable
- Input Voltage: 120, 240 Volts
- Output Range: Up to 160 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 30% @ 160 Amps
- Weight: 15 pounds
Here’s another nice welder for those searching for the best arc welders. It features a dual-voltage control system with up to 160 Amps of power output.
But the main feature that sets it apart is its rugged and durable design, which means you can expect it to last much longer than other competing offers. Hobart even backs it with a 3-year warranty to prove this point.
It also comes with 10-ft long electrode-holder and clamp cables, a huge relief from some welders that offer much less, while the power cable is 6.5-ft long.
For the duty cycle, it’s rated 30% at 160 Amps, which isn’t the greatest performance but can be completely sufficient for any beginner or dedicated hobby welder.
- Dual-voltage MMA welder with 160 Amps
- Very reliable and rugged construction
- Features a 10-ft electrode cable
- Backed by a 3-year warranty
- It’s one of the weaker welders here
9. Campbell WS099001AV – Metal Stick Welder with Dual Heat
Photo: Campbell Hausfeld
- Input Voltage: 115 Volts
- Output Range: Up to 70 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 20% @ 50 Amps
- Weight: 24 pounds
This Campbell Hausfeld WS099001AV is a simple and easy to use welder that’s made specifically for stick welding. It’s also constructed with a durable metal housing and comes with a solid 5-year warranty.
There’s a simple switch to either switch it on to a low-power or on the other side to a higher-power output operation. And that’s all the control it offers.
It delivers up to 70 Amps of power and is rated 20% @ 50 Amps. These are both relatively low specs that may not interest experienced welders, but they are perfect for beginners and hobbyists, especially when you consider the very low price of this unit.
- Simple and easy-to-use stick welder
- Offers a Low and a High heat-level option
- Features a 20% @ 50-Amp duty cycle
- Backed by a 5-year warranty
- Its maximum output is only 70 Amps
10. C.M.T. B000V663G8 – Portable Beginner Stick Welder
- Input Voltage: 110 Volts
- Output Range: 45 to 100 Amps
- Duty Cycle: 10% @ 80 Amps
- Weight: 28 pounds
Here’s a great offer for beginners. It’s relatively lightweight at just 28 pounds, portable, and produces a decent amount of power for home or hobby use.
It runs on 110 Volts and you can select the desired output current between 45 and 100 Amps, enough to weld mild steel up to 1/4 inch thick. The package is also nice, as it includes accessories such as a hand shield, a wire brush, and of course, an electrode holder, earth clamp, and their necessary cables.
It does have a relatively low duty cycle rating, however, of 10% at just 80 Amps. This might not be sufficient for commercial work, but it certainly is one of the best stick welders for beginners, when you consider its low price.
- Perfect welder for beginners
- Tough and compact design
- Welds mild steel up to 1/4-inch thick
- Comes with all necessary items
- It can’t handle medium- and heavy-duty jobs
We’ve come to the end of this stick welders review, and you’ve seen the top machines that the market has to offer. Now’s your turn to make a choice.
For a great unit that you’ll come to love with each new day, we recommend the AHP Alpha-TIG200X welder, with its dual-voltage operation, high power output, TIG, and pulse TIG welding, plus a 3-year warranty coverage.
Those on a budget may like to check out the Amico ARC-160D welder, with its impressive power output, modern inverter technology, and attractively low price.
And for those who would also love to have a plasma cutter to work or play with, we recommend the Lotos LTPDC2000D 3-in-1 welder, with its high power delivery, stick welding, TIG welding, and plasma cutter features.
In this post:
- What To Check Before Buying Best Stick Welder?
- 10 Best Stick Welders of 2021 Reviewed
- 1. AHP Alpha-TIG200X – Best Overall
- 2. Amico ARC-160D – Best Budget
- 3. Forney 298 – Best Lightweight Stick Welder
- 4. Everlast PowerArc 140ST – Best Compact 2-in-1
- 5. Lotos LTPDC2000D – Best 3-in-1 Combo Stick Welder
- 6. Hitbox UW-ARC160D – Best Digital Control Stick Welder
- 7. Sungoldpower 200A – Best Dual Voltage Inverter Stick Welder
- 8. Hobart 500570 – Rugged & Dependable
- 9. Campbell WS099001AV – Metal Stick Welder with Dual Heat
- 10. C.M.T. B000V663G8 – Portable Beginner Stick Welder