When you need to weld away from any power source – you need an engine-driven welder generator. These machines provide uninterrupted power with high-duty cycles for quality welds when out in the field.
The cheapest engine-driven welders are stick welders. If you want other arc welding options, you’ll need a bigger budget.
While I’ve not used every option on the list, I am able to draw on my experience with engine-driven welders I’ve used in the past.
A Quick Comparison
Lincoln Eagle 10,000 Plus
Super versatile & rugged
Processes: Stick, TIG, MIG, Flux-Cored, Gouging
Excellent value for multiple processes
HOBART Champion Elite
Heavy-duty all-in-one welder/generator
Lightweight and compact design
9500 continuous watts
Inverter based - lighter & more efficiency
6,000 watts continuous power can run welder & power tools
Excellent alternative to Hobart Champion 145
Lincoln Ranger 250 GXT
Multiprocess: MIG, flux-cored, stick & AC/DC TIG
Engine supplies 10,000 watts continuous power
100% duty cycle @ 250 amps
HOBART Champion 145
One of the most popular models available
Great value for the money
Only designed for Stick, can be adapted for TIG
Great budget option
Can weld up to 1/2-inch thick steel plate
For stick welding only
Miller Trail Blazer 325
325 amps for welding, with a 100% duty cycle
Quiet Kohler engine with 10,500 watts continuous power
Remote control options for both generator and welding settings
Best Engine Driven Welder Generator
Here's a list of some of the best engine driven welder generators I recommend:
1. Lincoln Electric Eagle 10,000 Plus Engine Driven Welder
- 20-foot electrode clamp
- 23 HP Kohler drive engine
- 10,500 watts AC max power
- 15-foot ground cable
- Totally enclosed
- Weighs 514 lbs
- Excellent value for multiple processes
- Reliable Kohler Engine
- Stick, TIG, MIG, Flux-Core, Gouging
- 50-225 amps DC output
- Powder coated steel case
- 76 decibel sound level
- Welds up to 1/2-inch steel
- DC welder only, so you're limited with TIG
- Leads it are short that it comes with so will need replacing
The Eagle Plus 10,000 by Lincoln Electric is one of the industry’s most commonly seen engine welders. This generator welder provides 9000 continuous watts for welding or power generation and a peak power of 10,500 AC watts for device starts. It’s an unusually high-quality unit, fully powder-coated with a completely enclosed engine compartment. The doors are removable for servicing the 23-horsepower Kohler engine and the generator.
The Lincoln Eagle Plus runs multiple processes, including 225 amp DC stick, 200 amp DC TIG, MIG, and flux core wire feed welding from 50 amps to 225 amps. It’s also able to do gouging and plasma cutting on up to 3/8-inch thickness of plate steel. Running below its max-rated current output can also run other power tools and small welders off its generator up to the maximum 9000 running watts AC power.
Lincoln Electric is well-known for rugged, well-built machines made to last for decades. The Eagle Plus engine welder is often seen mounted to truck beds for use by piping and steel crews. Lincoln provides a 20-foot electrode connection and a 15-foot work clamp.
2. HOBART Champion Elite 225 Engine Driven Welder Generator
- AC/DC stick arc welder
- 23 HP Kohler Engine
- 11,000 watts peak power
- 75 decibels noise rating
- 40-225 amp current output
- 100% duty cycle at 225 amps
- Weighs 490 lbs.
- 9500 watts continuous power
- 12 gallon fuel tank
- Twin cylinder engine
- Idle control feature to save fuel
- Includes an hours meter
- Doesn't have wheels or bumper frame
- No welding leads are included
- Stick welding only
The Hobart Champion Elite 225 is a 23 HP engine-driven welder with an 11,000-watt peak rating and 9500 continuous watts. This one is a lot of machine and Hobart is known for ruggedly built industrial quality machines.
The Champion Elite is aimed squarely at professional welders, with an electric starter and a 100 percent duty cycle at 225 amps. You can start this machine up, strike an arc, and weld 1/2-inch steel until it runs out of gas. The 40 amp lower end will let you get down to thin 1/8-inch plate. Unfortunately, the Hobart Champion elite doesn’t ship with welding cables, doesn’t have wheels, and isn’t available in California.
It’s got an idle control feature, which lets the machine throttle down the engine speed when demand drops to save fuel consumption and wear on the machine itself. The Hobart Champion Elite offers 4 20 amp 120-volt ground fault circuit interrupter plugins, one dual voltage 120/240 volt 50 amp outlet, and another 240-volt outlet rated at 50 amps. Hobart offers a 5-year warranty on the Champion Elite, and Kohler warrants the engine separately.
3. Klutch 6000K Arc Welder - Best Economical
- Processes: DC Stick
- AC Generator
- Generator power: 6,000 watts
- Fuel tank capacity: 5 gallons
- Engine size: Kohler 429 cc
- Welding power: 170 amps
- Duty cycle: 30% @ 170 amps
- Weight: 230 lbs.
- New improved model uses new inverter technology
- Inverter arc is a great improvement
- Generator puts out enough continuous power to weld and run handheld power tools simultaneously
- Powerful enough to stick weld up to 3/8 inch steel
- Light enough to move around with included running gear
- Economical, budget-friendly choice
- Fuel tank provides up to 8 hours run time
- Price includes a 3-year limited warranty
- 30% @ 170 amps duty cycle will be to low for some users
- Limited to DC stick welding process
- Recoil pull start, no electric starter
The Klutch 6000K Arc Welder/Generator is a new update with inverter technology using a 429CC gas engine to spin the generator, putting out a respectable 6,000 watts of continuous power. That’s enough power to weld up to 3/8 inch steel and run your handheld power tools. This makes it an excellent alternative to the Hobart Champion 145, providing better value for money.
Engine-driven welders tend to weigh over 400 lbs., even the small ones. But the Klutch 6000K weighs just 230 lbs.
That makes this unit your choice if you do need to move the welder often as you work. Plus, the included running gear lets you roll the machine around like a wheelbarrow.
The negatives for some users are that the Klutch 6000K only welds using a DC stick process, and its duty cycle is 30% at the maximum amperage. But for those who need to do things like weld equipment out in the middle of nowhere, this is plenty to get those remote jobs done.
On the positive side, the Klutch 6000K can arc weld stainless and mild steel, hard surfacing, aluminum, and cast iron. This versatility to remotely weld various types of stock combined with an attractive price tag will appeal to many.
As a bonus, Klutch manufactured this affordable engine-driven welder rugged enough to handle the rigors of welding in unusual places. Plus, they back it with a 3-year limited warranty (2-year limited warranty on the engine).
4. Lincoln Electric Ranger 250 GXT - Best AC/DC TIG & MIG Engine Welder
- Processes: Stick, MIG, Flux-cored, AC/DC TIG
- Generator power: 10,000 watts
- Fuel tank capacity: 12 gallons
- Engine size: Kohler 624 cc
- Welding power: 250 amps
- Duty cycle: 100% @ 250 amps
- Weight: 602 lbs.
- 50 - 250 amp output with a 100% duty cycle handles various welding tasks
- TIG using a foot pedal or finger trigger for fine control
- Large engine supplies ample continuous power to run air compressors and blowers
- Generator can run a plasma cutter for when you need to cut stock
- AC & DC stick welding lets you fine-tune depending on the weld
- Electric start eliminates pesky pull starts
- Big gas tank minimizes refills
- Electric fuel gauge on the control panel provides an easy visual check
- Doesn't include welding leads
- Weights 602 lbs. and need trailer or truck to move around
The Lincoln Electric Ranger 250 GXT Multi-Process Welder/Generator packages all the common welding processes in one machine. It can also put out up to 250 amps of welding power with a 100% duty cycle.
Like most welders in this class, you customize the unit with accessories bought separately. You can add a foot pedal or finger trigger to take your TIG welding to the next level.
Speaking of TIG welding, the 250 GXT can also AC TIG. If aluminum is a metal you must work with in places with no electrical outlets, this Ranger is worth a look. Many engined driven welders omit AC TIG.
As an electric supply, the generator pumps out 10,000 watts of continuous power to run various tools or electric appliances like an air blower, compressor, or plasma cutter in remote locations.
The 12-gallon gas tank gives the engine good run times to keep you working. Plus, Lincoln included an easy-to-see electric fuel gauge mounted right into the control panel. No bending over or using a flashlight to check how much fuel is left.
This is not the cheapest option, but it will please those with serious welding needs. Also, keep in mind this unit weighs just over 600 lbs. You will need a truck or trailer to haul the 250 GXT around.
The Ranger 250 GXT will appeal to professionals who need electricity while tackling various welds and base metals in places with no power outlets. Farms and construction sites for example, or anyone who does remote maintenance/repair work.
5. HOBART Champion 145 Engine Driven Welder Generator - Best Stick Welding Option
- 4500 watts starting power
- 4000 watts continuous
- 20-145 amp stick welder
- Four 120 volt GFCI outlets
- 20 amp 240 volt outlet
- 30% duty cycle @ 130 Amps
- Big 6.25 gallon gas tank
- Handles steel and iron up to 1/4-inch
- 14.5 lb-ft of torque; no straining
- Can be adapted for TIG
- Attach a spool gun for flux core
- Doesn't include welding leads
- Wheels feel cheap quality
The HOBART Champion 145 is a classic engine-driven welder offering 4000 watts of continuous power and a 4500-watt peak for starting demands. It has built-in wheels and handles, making it a portable welder generator. This makes it easier to move around the site and position for access to your work. Owners praise the easy starting and quiet operation of the 10-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine.
Hobart equipped the Champion 145 with a big 6.25-gallon fuel tank, giving it hours of uninterrupted operation. There’s nothing more irritating when you’re in the groove than having to stop everything and shut down to take a refueling break.
The owners didn’t like the fact that this engine welder comes without any welding leads and the poor quality of the wheels mounted on the machine (full review here). While most users will probably load it into a truck and move it around in storage, you may want actually to take advantage of the mobility of the welder, so it really should have better wheels on it.
The Hobart Champion 145 is extremely durable, made in the USA, and comes with a 3-year warranty at a great price.
6. DuroStar DS4000WGE Generator Welding Machine
- 3300 running watts, 4000 peak
- 16 horsepower engine
- Electric starter
- 7 gallon fuel tank
- 50-210 amp stick welder
- Runs for 8 hours at 50 percent
- Pneumatic tires on steel wheels
- Power surge protection
- Fairly quiet at 69 dB
- 3 120 volt outlets and 12 volt charger
- Poor quality fuel petcock can leak
- Complaints of poor customer service
- DC stick only
The DuroStar DS4000WGE Generator Welder is produced by DuroMax Power Systems of Ontario, California. A 16-horsepower gasoline engine powers this machine with an electric start. This machine is equipped with a large 7-gallon fuel tank, rated at 8 hours of operation at 50 percent capacity. The DuroStar DSD4000WGE offers a generator rated at 3300 watts running capacity, 4000-watt peak, 3 separate 120-volt outlets, and a 12-volt battery charger.
This welding generator is a DC stick arc welder rated from 50-210 amps current output. That’s good to weld from 1/8-inch thin steel plate up to 1/2-inch thick steel plate. Users are very pleased with how quiet this generator welder runs, with a noise rating of 69 dB. Many users have complained that the fuel petcock doesn’t always close completely, causing the carburetor to flood or a gas smell from a seeping leak. Another similar issue is that the overflow on the gas tank vents back to the air cleaner and can cause flooding if the tank is too full or on a very hot day out.
7. Miller Trail Blazer 325 Gas Engine Driven Welder
- Processes: Stick, MIG, Flux-cored, DC TIG, Air carbon arc cutting/gouging
- Generator power: 10,500 watts
- Fuel tank capacity: 12 gallons
- Engine size: 725 cc
- Welding power: Kohler 350 amps
- Duty cycle: 100% @ 350 amps
- Weight: 460 lbs.
- Versatile, includes many welding processes and settings for various work situations
- RMD mode for flat, clean pipe welds
- Air carbon arc cutting up to 1/4 inch steel without a separate plasma cutter
- AutoSpeed matches the generator’s RPM to the workload, saves gas
- Electronic Fuel Injection (“EFI”) option available increases efficiency and makes for easy starts, even in bad weather
- Liquid Propane (“LP”) engine option available for those who prefer or have better access to natural gas
- ArcReach lets you change the welder settings remotely when using an optional ArcReach feeder or remote
- Users like the safer, low noise levels
- No AC TIG welding for those who weld aluminum work
- Doesn't include welding leads
- Weighs 460 lbs. and requires a trailer or truck to transport
- Expensive after adding the needed accessories
The Miller TrailBlazer 325 brings lots of power and many welding processes all in one machine. But there is no AC TIG. However, this welder accepts a spool gun if you need to weld aluminum.
The Trailblazer 325 also comes with a couple of remote options to control the generator and the welding settings. Minimal running back and forth to the welder/generator keeps you working.
Plus, you can air carbon arc cut or gouge with this unit. Some might use a separate plasma cutter plugged into the generator. But this machine gives you a “built-in” cutting method that may eliminate the need to carry around a separate unit.
An EFI engine option offers better fuel efficiency as well as smoother starts, even in adverse weather. You can also get an LP engine if that is your fuel of preference.
The welder puts out up to 325 amps of power and the generator pumps out 10,500 watts of continuous juice. That is enough for many professional applications, including fabrication, maintenance, repair, structural steelwork, sheet metal, and pipework.
For pipework that needs clean, flat welds, Miller also includes their regulated metal deposition (“RMD”) mode. If you do a lot of pipe welds, the Trailblazer 325 may be a good choice.
After adding leads and other accessories, the Trailblazer 325 is at the high end of the price scale. But as already noted, certain included features will appeal to some and they may be willing to pay extra to get them.
The most significant advantage to engine-driven welders is not being tied to power outlets. You don’t have to search for one whenever you need to weld.
Plus, there’s no need to spend money to wire your home or shop with a dedicated 240-volt circuit.
You set up the welding leads, fire up the engine, and start welding with an engine-driven welder—no matter where you need to work.
Work Requirements and Welder Choice
As with any welder, the work you plan on doing is your main concern. An engine-driven welder is useful but may not be your best option.
For example, if you don’t expect to weld material more than 1/4-inch thick, won’t use the welder more than once a month, or expect to weld a lot of sheet metal, then an inexpensive 120-volt flux core welder might be a better fit.
In an indoor, industrial setting like a factory or commercial construction site where power is readily available, a standard 240-volt welder produces enough welding current to get the job done. Using the available electrical power makes good sense.
Also, in cases where the engine-driven welder would be run in enclosed spaces, it is inappropriate because of the danger posed by engine exhaust.
So, consider the work and site conditions and factor that into your decision when considering which welder works best for you.
An engine-driven welder shines in situations requiring high current levels, especially when no power outlets are available.
Because they make their own power, they can be taken anywhere. Most generate more power than they need. So, you can use the excess capacity to run power tools or other electrical devices.
In general, welders/generators are designed as DC arc welders that use the stick welding process. But some units offer AC welding and an AC power supply for your accessories and appliances.
A 4000-watt engine welder can do a great job running a few power tools. But it isn’t going to have enough power left over to weld with a coworker running a grinder plugged into the same machine. So, make sure the generator can produce the wattage you will need.
Related: What Size Generator for a Welder?
Total AC Power Rating
The generator in an engine-driven welder generates AC. Then it’s fed to AC outlets or converted into DC power for welding through an inverter or a transformer.
In some units, the generator powers the outlets and welder simultaneously. So, if you plan on welding while your coworker grinds, you will need higher watts.
Total DC Current or Wattage
The welding capability of an engine-driven machine depends on the available DC produced by the welder. A 4000-watt welding generator can produce about 200 amps of current and enough power to stick weld 1/2-inch steel.
With large generator welders, the welder cannot use all the watts produced. Don’t assume high continuous generator watts equals a high welding current. Check the DC wattage or DC amps output to assess the welding power.
Most of these machines are designed for stick welding. But some allow connecting accessories like gas valves, spool guns, or wire feeders for MIG, TIG, and flux core welding.
So, if you need certain features, be sure to buy an engine-driven welder that includes them or that they can be added in the future. You don’t necessarily have to buy all the options right away, but you need a unit that can accept them in the future.
Multiple Welding Processes
Yes, some engine-driven welders include multiple welding processes, which can be handy. So, look for a welder/generator that includes the necessary welding processes.
However, you could run a separate MIG welder, plasma cutter, or TIG welder off the generator. So, remember, the generator portion gives you options. Simply plug in a welder or cutter to the generator that offers the needed process.
For many professional welders, this makes the welders they have collected over the years more useful. They can now use them in the field without power outlets by using their engine-driven welder as a stand-alone generator.
Most welders/generators are heavy. That’s just a fact. So, they are usually mounted to trailers or truck beds to transport them.
But there are smaller ones like the Klutch 7500K Arc Welder/Generator that only weigh around 250 lbs. This is about the same as an average 5000-6000 watt generator.
Many 4000-watt engine-driven welders come with wheels and handlebars to make loading, unloading, and moving easier. But this wheelable unit gets you 6000 watts of continuous power and weighs in at a svelte 230 lbs.
The Final Verdict
Because professional welders often use engine-driven welders as dedicated machines, we’ve chosen the Lincoln Electric Ranger 250 GXT Multi-Process Welder/Generator as our Pro Selection.
It offers multiple processes, including wire feed and TIG, in addition to the usual stick welding. Plus, there is plenty of generator power to run a separate plasma cutter if you need to break down stock.
With an impressive 10,000 watts of continuous output, a helper can grind, drill, or cut with electric power tools while you’re working on something else. This lets you get jobs done faster and more professionally.
However, if you need a more affordable multi-process engine-driven welder, then opt for the Lincoln Electric Eagle 10,000 Plus, as it is the most popular model in this range.