Last Updated on June 7, 2020 by Gary Hargrave
If you are planning to begin your welding career, chances are you are wholly concerned about which type of welder you should buy first. Well, let me tell you, choosing the appropriate welder at this time will give you a head-start in your welding career and so will make the upcoming challenges much convenient for you.
The application of all sets of welding techniques is so extensive that none of them have the sole ability to be performed over all sorts of application types. Rather, most of them tend to be specialized for a certain range of applications.
Consequently, this sets out a transparent answer to this question that buying your first welder will mostly depend upon which are the major type of works and projects you’re going to handle in the upcoming days.
Topics Covered in This Article
- What are the Available Types?
- Understand Your Requirements
- Comparison of Different Welders
- What factors to consider while buying your first welder
- Final words
What are the Available Types?
Now we’re going to learn about all the different type of welders that are currently available in the market & which one would be best suited for you.
MIG Welding which is also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding is the process by which a consumable electrode is continuously fed inside the weld pool to make a strong joint along with the workplace. This is by far one of the most frequently used welding techniques out there for its simplicity and versatility.
You need to keep in mind that a MIG welder primarily uses DC power with a constant voltage to carry on its operation. Besides, you’re also going to use shielding gas to prevent unanticipated contamination.
Now, an exclusive feature of the MIG welder is the ability to perform Flux-cored Arc Welding which basically uses a flux-cored tubular wire instead of using shielding gas against contamination.
TIG Welding is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding which works through using a non-consumable tungsten electrode instead for striking up the arc and subsequently produce a strong fusion between the materials to be welded.
TIG Welding may or may not use shielding gas which depends upon whether the technique is autogenous or not. Besides, ionized gas is emitted in the form of vapor or plasma as a result of the constant current supply which generates the electrical energy.
Now although TIG Welding is a time-consuming process and takes a little bit know how to perform, it can be a perfect choice to weld thinner materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, alloy steel, magnesium, etc. Welders love to use TIG welders because of the high quality it features.
Stick Welding is by far one of the most popular welding methods out there because of its versatility and cost-efficiency. No matter how thick and strong your materials are, Stick Welding can be a go-to process for successfully carrying out the most sophisticated welding projects.
Stick Welding is also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding. If you have done a bit of research you’ll find although Stick Welding is strong enough to handle thicker materials, the minimum thinness of the material should be at least 18 gauges.
Stick welders basically come in AC, DC and also two-in-one power options. Among these AC is the most cost-efficient.
Now, let’s take a look at your feasible requirements in the near future which will determine the type of welder you should buy first.
Understand Your Requirements
As we’ve stated before, buying your first welder will depend upon the type of activity and objectives of your initial welding career. Maybe, you are going to need it for repairing auto-parts, bicycles, boats or maybe you are just buying it for carrying out diversified household works with potential repairing of instrument and tools.
So you need to be aware of the typical thickness of these tools and instrument which will ultimately determine the most feasible welder among the list. So let’s learn about that:
- Auto Parts and Body- Usually under 0.2 inches
- Fencing and Frames of Trailers- Between 0.25 to 0.31 inches
- Bicycles, Car, Boat or Motorcycles- Between 0.06 to 0.13 inches
- Ranch and Farm- Between 0.3 to 0.38 inches
- Heavy-duty Repairing- Between 0.2 to 0.25 inches
Now that we have an estimated thickness range of a variety of tools and instruments that are frequently needed to weld. Let’s have a look at the different types of materials that can be welded by a certain process.
- MIG Welding: All types of Steel, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum
- TIG Welding: Aluminum alloys, steel, and cast iron
- Stick Welding: All sorts of Steel, Aluminum alloys, Stainless Steel, Copper, Chromoly, Magnesium, Titanium and so on.
Now as you can see, Stick Welding offers the most variety of material types whereas MIG and TIG Welding have a handful number of materials compatibility. On top of that, MIG Welding can only be performed over materials that are 26 gauges thinner at least while Stick Welding begins from 18 gauges to onward.
You might be already aware that MIG welders also feature Flux-cored Arc Welding by which you can easily weld materials like alloy steel, stainless steel, and nickel alloys. What differentiates this process from the MIG is the tubular wire which consists of flux in the center and protects the weld from contamination.
Comparison of Different Welders
Now, we’re going to compare each of the welder machines side-by-side to discover which one is best suited for you.
- Minimum Metal Thickness: From 0.25 inches to higher.
- Ease of Performing: MIG Welding is very easy to perform and master.
- Welding Speed: The welding speed is relatively faster.
- Heat Control: MIG Welding offers the highest heat controlling ability.
- Weld Bead Perfection: You’ll get the most aesthetic weld bead.
- Rust Forgiving: Relatively less forgiving than a Stick and flux-cored welder.
- Portability: MIG Welding requires gas to perform which increases the number of equipment.
- Additional Features: MIG Welding has relatively better control over thinner materials. Besides, you can also perform Flux-Cored Arc Welding with this same welder.
Flux-cored Arc Welding
- Minimum Metal Thickness: From 0.125 inches to higher.
- Ease of Performing: Similar to MIG Welding, flux-cored is very easy to perform.
- Welding Speed: Welding speed is very fast in comparison to Stick and TIG Welding.
- Heat Control: It has relatively moderate heat control.
- Weld Bead Perfection: Weld bead aesthetics is quite good.
- Rust Forgiving: Flux-cored Welding weaving in terms of rusty and dirty materials.
- Portability: Flux-cored Welding is quite portable as it uses gasless wire.
- Additional Features: Flux-cored Welding features deeper penetration in terms of thicker materials.
- Minimum Metal Thickness: From 0.010 inches to higher.
- Ease of Performing: Stick Welding at least requires some sort of skills to perform.
- Welding Speed: Welding speed is quite slower in compare to MIG and Stick Welding.
- Heat Control: You will get the best heat control from TIG Welding.
- Weld Bead Perfection: No doubt TIG Welding offers the most aesthetic weld bead out there.
- Rust Forgiving: TIG Welding is relatively weaker to perform against rusty and dirty materials.
- Portability: As TIG Welding requires gas to perform so it is less portable.
- Additional Features: Finally, it features an amazing foot control to adjust the heat as per your requirement.
- Minimum Metal Thickness: From 0.125 inches to higher.
- Ease of Performing: You’ll require a basic knowledge of this process before performing.
- Welding Speed: Welding speed is relatively slower in comparison to other processes.
- Heat Control: Stick Welding features a moderate heat control.
- Weld Bead Perfection: You’ll get an acceptable and aesthetic bead from Stick Welding.
- Rust Forgiving: Because of the strong capability of this process Stick Welding is much forgiving in terms of rusty and dirty materials.
- Portability: One excellent part of Stick Welding is it can be fully portable which is why it’s used over most outdoor projects.
- Additional Features: The best part of Stick Welding is the ability to weld way thicker materials than that of other welding processes.
Now we’re going to learn about some of the crucial factors that you must consider before buying your first welder
What factors to consider while buying your first welder
Power Requirements and Voltage
This is by far the most essential factor as you got to know how much power and amperage are needed to run your welder machine. You can find the requirements from the product description page or manually find it inside the operation manual which comes with the welder.
The first thing you must look for is the range of output current it requires. For instance, an MA2600 welder performs between 10A to 200A range. Besides, its input frequency is 50 to 60 Hz whereas the input power is from 220V to somewhat more voltage.
Now considering the above specs, the ideal breaker size of a 220V welder is between 30A to 50A which can handle as high as 180 amperage. And if it was of 115V, the breaker size would be between 20v to 30v which can handle as high as 140 amperages.
Welding Duty Cycle and Output
The duty cycle of a welder is very essential when you are about to weld a strong and thicker material. This mainly refers to the continuous running time of the welder before it reaches its peak temperature. Now, most of the welders typically feature 10 minutes of duty cycle which can fluctuate based upon the amperage you are running on.
Not to mention, there are also some strong welders which can run continuously to perform greatly over thicker materials. But they may cost you a bit more in comparison to other typical welders.
Now, this is an important factor because welders generally come in different price ranges from $250 to all the way up to $2500. Just make sure to buy the one that suits your all needs and requirement so you don’t have to regret an unplanned purchase.
Metal Thickness with Amperage
A general rule of thumb is to use 1 amperage power for every 0.001 inches of material thickness. This suggests that A 140 & 180 amperage of power can weld up to 0.25 inches and 0.315 inches of steel respectively. On the other hand, A 200 & 250 amperage of power can weld up to 0.315 inches and 0.5 inches of steel respectively.
Finally, make sure to get all the essential safety equipment which are needed before performing any welding task. This includes buying the welding gloves, fire-resistant apparel, auto darkening helmet, and shoes of your choice.
Thanks for reading the whole post. We believe the information provided here will be sufficient enough to backup your ultimate buying decision. Stay along with us for our upcoming precious welding related guides and articles. Thanks for being with us.