Please note in this document we are only going to cover SMAW machines and process. So if you are looking for MIG (metal inert gas welding) and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas welding) machines this document may not help you. Machines are selected from amazon with keeping price as a major factor.
What is Stick weld or (Shielded Metal Arc Weld)?
Shielded metal arc welding is a welding process in which there is a consumable electrode which is covered in a specialized coating called “flux” so when we start the welding process our electrode metal got fused into the base metal with flux covering it from top so that the newly welded joint doesn’t react with the gases present in the air.
How it works.
Basically we have a welding machine connected to the power supply 220V AC current (depends upon type of machine and weld. we are covering only portable machines in this case). Machine has a control knob for Current and voltage which let the welder choose between different configurations for different types of metals and welds.
Machine has two outlets. Positive and negative. Earthing clamp goes into the positive end while welding electrode goes into the negative end. This is called straight polarity. You reverse the configuration and it becomes reverse polarity.
Consider now you want to weld 2 pieces of steel together in a butt weld. So you will connect earthing clamp with the work piece put a welding rod in the electrode holder and start the weld. Once you finish the weld flux will deposit on top of the weld which is called “slag”. With the help of a chipping hammer you can remove the slag and check your welding joint for quality etc.
To choose best welding machine available nowadays we must consider below factors.
In portable welding machine the biggest concern is its power. For example many cheap welding machines available in market nowadays do not have enough power to melt a 3.2mm 7018 welding rod.
Duty cycle defines in a 10 minute period actual time taken by a welding machine to generate a particular welding current. It ranges from 10% to 80%.
The duty cycle represents the amount of time you can constantly weld before you have to let the machine cool. Generally, a full duty cycle is 10 minutes. The longer duty cycle, the more efficiently it can accomplish your job. Also, it makes sure you need not face the overheating issue. For small welds in houses etc. duty cycle does not play any major role but for industrial use machine should have a high duty cycle otherwise frequent breaks has to be given to machine to cool down.
Weight and build
Portable welding machine would be light weight and easy to carry without a compromise on its power and durability. The lighter the machine better it is to carry in difficult weld locations.
The stick Arc welders are not so much expensive. At the price of approx. $200, you can buy a budget stick welder that delivers solid results and durability. When you expand your budget, you can get a stick welder with even more power and more versatility.
10 Portable Welding Machines for Stick Welding
- Hoobart 500570 stckmate 160i Welding machines
- Dekpro welder (Deko 160A) Welding machines
- Forney easy weld 298 100st Welding machines
- Tooliom 195A stick welding machine
- Hitbox AT 2000 Welding machines
- Goplus arc welder 200amp Welding machines
- Welder 110v 220v Hey Up ARC-2 Welding machines
- HZXVOGEN HT2000 mini Welding machines
- Campbell hausfeld 115v Welding machines
- Prime Weld stick 160 Welding machines
- ETOSHA MMA 200 Welding machines
Honorable Mentions (too expensive to be added in the list) Excellent for heavy industrial use.
Best Stick Welding machines Shielded metal arc welding 2021
1.Hoobart 500570 Stick mate 160i Welding machines
One of the best and most expensive machine in the list HOOBART stick mate. This machine weighs under 20lbs.
It’s a powerful small machine with output of 160A. Duty cycle for this machine is 30% on 240Volts. We can easily use steel and stainless steel welding rods on it.
Its best feature is its hot start technology which prevent cracking in welds.
This machine comes with a 3m electrode cable with heavy duty electrode holder. 3m earthing cable with earthing clamp and 2m power cord with MVP adapter. The body is made of stainless steel and has an amperage range of 20-160 amps. Product is covered by Hobart 5/3/1 warranty.
Electrode holder with heavy duty cable
Earthing clamp with heavy duty cable
Power supply cable
2. Dekpro welder (Deko 160A) Welding machines
The DEKO 160A MMA welding machine allows you to attain a professional finish in your welding projects. Key features include 160A machine comes implemented with the advanced IGBT Inverter technology. Power source 110/220V. It comes with a rated duty cycle of 40/60% with power factor of 085. Body is made of steel with plastic handle. It weighs 12.1lbs with size 11.4”x4.92”x4.87”.
Machine comes with,
Electrode holder with cable,
Work clamp with cable,
Input power adapter cable & plug,
3. Forney easy weld 298 100st Welding machines
For professionals or beginners, the Forney Easy Weld 100 ST is a suitable choice. It is a great welding machine to carry around. For occasional weld repairs and light gauge metal work it’s the best choice.
The prominent feature is Easy Start technology. The Easy Start technology makes every arc strike simple. The power source needed is 120V supply. With 90amp output. The duty cycle is 30% on 80A. It weigh around 9.65lbs with size 12”x5.5”x10.5” machine is made of metal and plastic
This Forney Easy welder has a TIG capability. For general purpose you can make a Tungsten Inert Gas weld with it. It is designed to accommodate up to a 0.125-inch electrode.
it can welds 16 gauge up to 0.3125-inch thickness. The machine is easy to use and portable. So, you can take it anywhere you want to have DIY minor Tack welds and repairs.
4. Tooliom 195A stick welding machine
This beautiful looking machine has a compact and portable design with a shoulder strap and comes with dual voltage input 120V or 230V depends upon your requirements.
This machine is suitable for all 60 series welding rod and 70 for tack welds or minor welds only.
It has a digital display for output welding current
Machines comes with hot start, anti-stick and dig arc force function which is very good for beginners.
Machine has a high 60% duty cycle which is able to weld a work piece of up to 4mm and maximum output amp range of 20 to 195amp. Item weigh 17.16 pounds. Package dimensions 17.5×14.25×9 inches. Body is made of metal and plastic
The machine is Lift TIG capable but TIG torch and other TIG items have to be purchased separately.
In the box you’ll find a stick machine,
50A heavy duty adapter.
1 electrode holder with 10feet cable.
1 earthing clamp with 10 feet cable.
1 Power cord 10 feet
1 chipping hammer and cleaning brush
5. Hitbox AT 2000 Welding machines
The cheapest and smallest machine in the list. It’s suitable. For small jobs and repairs around home, farm, shops etc. It has dual input voltage of 110v or 220v depends on availability with rated input capacity of 5.8 kva. It has an output current range of 20-140amp with duty cycle of 60%. Size is 6.7×4.4×9.1 inches and weigh around 1.95kg or 4.3lbs. Body is made of aluminum, steel and plastic.
an electrode holder and an earthing clamp.
6. Goplus arc welder 200amp Welding machines
Goplus arc welder 200amp is a stick welding machine with lift TIG welding option. The machine is equipped with hot start technology it has LCD display for amp, anti-stick system and have dual voltage option of 110 and 220v. It has an amperage of 10 to 120amp with load cycle of 30 to 40%. Product size is 13.5″x5″x8.5″ and weighs around 15.84lbs.
Machine is equipped with reinforced nylon panel. And had an over and under voltage protection system. Over current and under load protection. It has a plastic handle to carry around. Buttons and display has a transparent plastic cover for touch prevention.
Earthing clamp with cable
UL certified adaptor
1 electrode holder with cable
1 wire brush
1 face shield with filter
7. Welder 110v 220v Hey Up ARC-2
Hey up arc-2 is a powerful welding machine capable of welding mild steel, stainless steel and cast iron. It has IGBT system for exact current, low splash and smooth joint. It comes with a LED display for power. It has an automatic circuit breaker installed for safety. Its equipped with over and under voltage, current and heat system
Size of the welding machine is 10.8inx8.3inx5.7in with weigh of 8.77lb. It comes with hot start, anti-sticking and arc control technology. It has an input voltage of 110/220v with efficiency of 85% the rated Duty cycle for this machine is 60%. Power factor is .95
1 arc welding machine
1 earthing clamp with 4.92ft wire
1 electrode holder with 6.56ft wire
1 power cable
1 operation manual
2 welder quick plug
8. HZXVOGEN HT2000 mini
Machine has dual input voltage f 110/220v with an output power of 20 to 140 amp with 60% duty cycle.
Machine is suitable for domestic and small work use. Size of the machine is 285x180x210 mm can weld an electrode of up to 3.2mm. Weight of the machine is 2.2kg
1pc electrode holder
1 pc earthing clamp
1pc 30amp adapter cord
9. Campbell hausfeld 115v
This welding machine weighs 24.6lbs with size of 15.47.7510.25 inches. It has a duty cycle of 20%. Machine has thermal overload protection system. The welder is capable of welding upto 1/8inch thickness with maximum output amp of 70amp.
Welding rods electrode holder and earthing clamp with 6ft cable
10. Prime Weld stick 160
Prime weld stick 160 is a multipurpose dual voltage machine with lift TIG option. With 120/240V input has an output of 120 to 160amp respectively. This welding machine has a 60% duty cycle. It weighs around 22.05 pounds. Product has a 3 year warranty.
11. ETOSHA MMA 200
This machine has advance IGBT technology. High inverter frequency reduces the weight and volume of the machine.
It has dual input voltage of 110 to 20V It has hot start technology. Thermal protection and power indicator LED. Current meter. With the size of 8in5.6in13in. The product weighs 13.23lbs output current 10 to 200A. Has a duty cycle of 30%. Orange color machine with steel and plastic body
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Where to use Stick welding and how it’s different from TIG and MIG?
Stick welding Easy to use. Do not require a highly professional worker. Welding joint is very strong and is highly recommended in site structural work. Have consumable electrode.
MIG or Metal Inert Gas welding is suitable for in house (workshop) welds preferably for thin metals. Its weld is clear and clean but needs an expert welder. Have consumable electrode feeding continuously.
TIG or tungsten inert gas welding requires a highly professional welder it’s used where the weld joint is visible and aesthetics are required. Used to weld thin metal, stainless steel, aluminum etc. sheets. Have non consumable electrode.
Can stick welding be used both indoors and outdoors?
Yes it can be used both outdoors and indoors. In indoors it’s highly recommended to have airflow and fire protection system with you.
Is it necessary to have highly skilled worker before using a stick welder?
It depends where you are doing welding. To be professional for sure you need practice and skills but for DIY stuff even if you are a beginner it’s good to go. It is easy in comparison with MIG and TIG and anyone can learn it quickly.
What is the way to determine the ideal welding joint?
There are a lot of factors involved in checking a welding joint. Many different types of non-destructive testing procedures are available which determine the quality of weld. We can also check the quality of weld visually for undercut, porosity, pin holes etc. Everything comes with experience and theory.
How to choose a good portable welding machine?
Following factors can be considered before picking a stick welding machine. They are the technology used, power source, duty cycle, materials used, ease of portability, protection features, compatibility with other metals, price, size and weight.
Things to consider
Don’t weld on wet surface
Bake welding rods before use
Do not use welding rod if flux is damage
Use proper PPE before welding
For heavy steel pre heat the welding joint
Always use a high quality earthing clamp and electrode holder
With my personal experience I can say that type of welding machine depends upon its usage. If you want to use only for DIY minor welds or tact welds. Any low cost welding machine will serve the purpose with low power and but if you want for a heavy industrial purpose it’ll cost more but will perform heavy duty jobs. Also for beginners if you have a friend who is an experienced welder, better you ask him or any professional about the process they can guide you in best way. There are things which can be achieve by experience only and cannot be googled.