Our Best Welder Reviews
Where you will discover the best welder for your application. Information for Beginners and Experienced Welders, how to choose a welder and welding Tips.
Helping you with information and Reviews of Welders
Here at Welders Galore our aim is to give you a guide to welding and what each type of welder does. You will also find answers to common questions about welding base materials.
Buying a high-quality welder is vital for anyone interested in welding. DIY welders, hobbyists, and professionals require a suitable welding machine. The welder must be able to weld the thickness and type of metal you need.
For example, a MIG welder will do the job for steel, stainless steel or aluminum. However, a TIG or stick welder is necessary for other metals like copper, brass, and cast iron.
Before purchasing new welding equipment, it is vital to know the jobs each type of welder can handle. In addition, specific welding processes are suitable for different environments and metals. Then, it’s vital to think about safety equipment like a welding helmet and protective gloves.
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A welder or welding machine is a powerful electrical device used to join metals together to create a solid, immovable joint. A powerful electrical current produces heat that melts metals into one another, fusing them. There are several types of welders, but most use a form of arc welding.
A welder can refer to a person who welds pieces of metal. Welding is a specialist job that requires training. A qualified professional welder should also know the various types of welding and which type is best for the job.
How Does a Welder Work?
A welder works by melting the two or more metal pieces together. A welder uses a welding gun, heating the metal pieces to extraordinarily high temperatures. When this happens, molten metal from each piece combines to form a weld. Unlike soldering and brazing, the welding process heats two pieces of metal to fuse them into one piece.
The necessary components required for a welder to work are a torch (also known as a welding gun), a welding clamp, and a welding power source. In addition, some types of welding require a welding bead — a filler material to join two bits of metal together.
What Can You Use a Welder For?
Welding has many uses in many industries, from building and repairing cars to construction and jewelry repair. Common uses for welders include the following:
- Metal fabrication
- Repair work
- Fabrication of custom parts
- Welding pipes
Thanks to new technology, welding has many more uses. For example, plasma arc welding is widely used in aerospace applications. Electron beam and laser welding provide exceptional accuracy. It is also possible to weld under water. However, arc welding remains the most common type of welding.
Our Buyer's Guide To Welders
Things To Consider Before Buying a Welder
Purchasing a welder can be a considerable investment. Therefore, you need the equipment to last long and perform well. So, it is vital to choose the type of welder suitable for your needs. Here is a list of considerations when choosing a welder.
- Type of metal — What kind of base metal do you plan on welding? A simple stick arc welder is sufficient if you want to weld steel, stainless steel, and cast iron. However, for alloys, you will need a TIG or MIG welder. But for metals like copper and brass, only a TIG welder will do the job.
- Skill level — If welding is a hobby or you want to make basic car repairs, then a MIG welder is the easiest to use. However, stick welders are more all-around welding machines, and you don’t need to purchase shielding gas.
- Duty cycle — Look for a welder with a duty cycle of 35 percent. This means that it will weld continuously for 3.5 minutes out of 10 at full amperage.
- Accessories — It is also good to think about the cost of consumables. Stick welding uses consumable electrodes that need replacing.
- Cost — Your budget is also a vital consideration. Stick welders are generally the cheapest and are good if you do welding at the weekends. However, if you work professionally, it’s worth investing in a TIG or MIG welder.
Four Types of Welders
The four basic types of welding are MIG (metal inert gas), TIG (tungsten inert gas), stick welding, and flux-cored arc welding. Each of these welding types has various applications and applies different techniques.
MIG welding uses the electric current to create an arc between the wire electrode and two pieces of metal. The heat gradually melts the electrode, creating the weld joint. Next, the electrode forms the filler, feeding through the welding gun, which the welder controls with a trigger.
MIG welding is the easiest for beginners to learn from all types of welding. This is because the shielding gas and electrode come through the gun, meaning you can weld with one hand. Some liken this multi-process welder to using a glue gun.
The Pros of a MIG welder
- Easier system of welding to learn with, no sticking as with a stick welder.
- Easier to create a high quality bead of weld.
- Less down time cleaning up weld because there is no slag to chip off.
- No time wasted changing electrodes
- More user friendly for welding thinner metals
- Can use both hands on the hand piece for better control when compared to TIG welding, hand piece is at a constant distance from weld pool
The Cons of a MIG Welder
- Usually more expensive than stick welders
- Tricky to operate in windy conditions
- Requires bottled gas (Argon) to operate with gas MIG welders.
- Less portable than stick welders
- More moving parts involved making MIG welders slightly more complicated
A TIG welder requires more skill to master and takes longer to weld metal. However, TIG is more precise compared to MIG welding. TIG welding uses a non-consumable tungsten metal rod inside the welding gun. To create the weld, a welder must use a filler material that they hold in their other hand.
The TIG welder works by melting the two pieces of metal together with the filler bead. This creates a more accurate weld. However, skill is involved in working both hands together.
The Pros of a TIG Welder
- Suitable for more precise and delicate welding jobs.
- Strong, high-quality welds.
- Cosmetically better weld beads.
- Welds a larger range of alloys.
- Can use a TIG welder in more difficult positions. (Vertical and upside down)
- Less distortion of metals due to smaller heat zone.
The Cons of a TIG Welder
- Target metals must be very clean to produce a good result.
- High-quality machines can be expensive.
- Requires lots of practice to become proficient due mainly to having to use both hands simultaneously.
- Slower process than MIG welding.
- Not suitable for heavy duty jobs
- Shielding gas required
A stick welder uses a metal filler rod coated with flux that looks like a long stick. The stick welder creates a welding arc between the metal electrode and the pieces of metal. As the weld takes place, the electrode melts, fusing the two metal pieces. The flux protects the joint from contamination and corrosion.
Stick welding is the most popular form of welding. The equipment is inexpensive, and shielding gases are not necessary. It is also suitable for welding outdoors as the wind doesn’t affect shielding gas. However, stick welding requires more skill. And although the welding equipment is cheap to buy, it is a time-consuming process.
The Pros of a Stick Welder
- Stick welding is effective in most weather conditions
- The equipment required is relatively inexpensive
- No shielding gas required
- Not as sensitive to less than perfect condition of parent metals
- Only have to change welding rods for different metals
- Equipment is usually more portable
The Cons of a Stick Welder
- Stick welding is a comparatively slow process
- It is more difficult to achieve a great weld
- More time and effort needed to chip away the slag
- It can be difficult to weld thinner metals
- Welding rods have to be replaced quite often, which also changes the distance from the job with your hands.
- A lot of spatter occurs and holes in the weld bead appear if your skill level is not great.
Flux Core Welder
A flux core welder is a cross between a MIG welder and a stick welder. The electrode is consumable, which needs replacing eventually, and feeds through the welding gun. The flux on the electrode creates liquid slag that shields the weld from impurities. Typically, a flux core welder isn’t suitable for thin metals.
Pros of a Flux Core Welder
- Depending upon the application, flux cored wires can lay down a weld bead at a faster travel speed and with increased deposition rates.
- Deeper penetration than SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding)
- High-quality weld beads
- Less pre-cleaning than GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
- Ability to weld rusty metals
- flux cored wires do not require the use of shielding gases.
- Can be used outdoors as well as indoors
- Easier to learn than Arc and TIG welding
- Flux Core welding machines are versatile as they can be used as MIG welders too.
More suited to welding galvanized steel
Cons of a Flux Core Welder
- More slag present when compared to MIG welding
- More smoke and fumes than GMAW and SAW which requires more ventilation
- Can produce more spatter if using wrong polarity (Must use DC negative and positive ground lead)
- FCAW (Flux Cored Arc Welding) wire is more expensive than solid wire
- Not suited to welding thin metals
- Welding beads not as visually appealing as with MIG welding beads
Frequently asked Questions about Welding
Where can I start welding?
If you are interested in welding, it is best to learn more about it. Welding can be a lucrative career if you specialize in one type of welding. You can then research what courses are available in your local area. On the other hand, if you want to weld as a hobby, you can learn the fundamentals in as little as two to four weeks.
Where was welding invented?
In the modern area, welding was invented in France in 1881 when Auguste De Meritens used the heat of an electrical arc to join lead plates. However, his pupil, Nikolai N. Benardos, got the first patent for carbon arc welding in 1885.
Which welding is the strongest?
Tungsten arc welding (TIG) produces the strongest weld. Using a TIG welder results in a more robust and cleaner join than the other arc welding methods.
Why is welding stainless steel difficult?
Stainless steel is challenging to weld because it retains heat very efficiently. Therefore, you need to understand how much heat is required to melt the metal and then cool it down quickly enough to avoid warping or distortion. Because of this, welding stainless steel requires excellent skill and attention to detail.
Why is welding important?
Welding is a critical component of almost all industries. Many of the everyday items we use today would be impossible to make without welding. For example, welding has applications in construction, transportation, making household appliances, and computers.
Why is welding safety important?
Safety is of utmost importance when using a welder. Welding heats metal to high temperatures, causing it to melt. Additionally, welders need protection from sparks, gasses, toxic fumes, and dust particles. If safety is ignored, there is also a risk of electrocution, burns and sight damage.
What are the different welding processes?
There are four basic welding processes used in industry. These are TIG (gas tungsten arc welding), MIG (gas metal arc welding), stick welding (shielded metal arc welding), and flux-cored arc welding. Additionally, other less common types of welding include laser beam, electron-beam, plasma arc, electroslag, and atomic hydrogen welding.
Interesting Facts About Welders
Here are some interesting facts about welding that maybe you didn’t know:
- Welding has been around since the Bronze Age. (3300BC-1200BC)
- There are over 30 different types of welding processes; however, only four are regularly used.
- Welders don’t just join pieces of metal. Some welders use heat or high-frequency sound waves to weld plastic.
- The first robot was a welder.
- Pieces of metal that touch together in space instantly weld together — a process called cold welding.
- Approximately 70 percent of all products we use require a welder.