The thing about welding is that it’s easy to learn but hard to master.
You spend a lifetime learning after an afternoon getting the basics.
Beginners need something easy to run.
But something with enough power and features to practice and grow with.
Here are some great beginner machines to start your journey.
The Best Machines for Beginning Welders
Here's a list of some of the best beginner machines will have the newbies up and welding in no time.
1. Hobart Handler 100 Beginner Flux Core Welder
- 30 to 100 amps output
- Adjustable wire drive tension
- Weld up to 3/16-inch plate
- Wire isn't hot until triggered
- Feeds .030 and .035 wire
- 120 volt input connects anywhere
- Easy wire drive access
- 60 percent duty cycle
- Temperature indicator
- Uses industry standard consumables
- Can't run gas MIG
- Plastic wire drive
Hobart made its name on rugged, dependable and reliable welding machines. The Hobart Handler 100 is aimed at the beginners, but brings famous Hobart industrial construction and design to the DIY workshop. Although it’s not gas MIG capable, this flux core welder is very capable and makes a lot of sense as a home repair device.
The operating range of 30 to 100 amps output allows work from as fine as 24-gauge sheet metal on up to 3/`6-inch steel plate, providing plenty of capability for such chores as repairing gate hinges, rain gutters, trailer hitches and automotive work. It’s able to fit both 4-inch and 8-inch spools onto the wire drive, keeping the machine able to perform for a long period of time, making it easier to just grab and weld whenever you feel like it.
The Hobart Handler 100 uses industry standard Hobart and Miller brand consumables like wire nozzles and torch parts. The lack of gas capability is only a minor drawback given the overall convenience of 120 volt input and an 8-inch wire spool. The 3 year warranty and nationwide dealer service network add even more positives.
2. Forney Easy 140FC-i Flux Core Welder for Beginners
- 30 amp to 140 amp output
- Includes adapter for 20 amps to 15 amps
- 45 percent duty cycle at 60 amps
- Has a live heat exhaust fan built in
- 1/4-inch plate down to 24 gauge sheet metal
- Mounts 4-inch and 8-inch spools
- Lightweight at 19 pounds
- Infinitely adjustable wire speed
- 8-foot torch and grounding clamp
- Wide voltage adjustment range
- Hard wire doesn't feed well
- No gas MIG capability
Although it’s not capable of running gas MIG, we think the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i flux core welder is a great machine for beginners. Forney is one of the oldest American welder brands, with a nationwide network of dealerships and service centers. This is one of the lightest machines in its class, maybe even the lightest at 19 pounds.
The 30 percent duty cycle at 90 amps is actually a better rating than many machines that cost much more. The Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i incorporates a live heat exhaust fan to keep the cabinet cool in spite of its lightweight. The output range is 30-140 amps, a pretty wide range for a beginner welder that runs on 120 volt input.
Between the lightweight, Forney quality reputation and dealer network, a 1-year warranty, extremely lightweight and great performance specs from 24 gauge sheet metal at 30 amps up to 1/4-inch plate at 140 amps, it’s hard to find a better machine in this price range than the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i
3. SunGoldPower MIG Welder 140A
- Dual voltage 110 volt/220 volt input
- Fan-cooled overheating protection
- Weighs just 30 pounds
- 60 percent duty cycle
- 1-year warranty
- Offers both MIG and flux core processes
- Welds from 16 gauge sheet up to 5/16-inch plate
- Accepts both 2 and 10 pound wire rolls
- Spool gun capable
- Infinitely adjustable wire speed
- Doesn't include a MIG gas regulator
- Included nozzles aren't big enough for the included wire
The SunGoldPower MIG 140A offers both gas MIG and flux core wire processes, bringing a lot of versatility as a starter welder. The dual input voltage runs off 120 for easy and convenient home use, while keeping the ability to plug into 240 in the garage or at a commercial site.
This welding machine features infinitely adjustable wire feed speed and voltage levels. That makes it a lot easier to fine tune the settings rather than just clunking over to another step higher or lower. The SunGoldPower MIG 140A comes with a Wire Inch feature that lets you feed the wire in and out for easier setup. It also incorporates an electrode Burn Back adjustment that regulates the amount of stick out for the wire electrode, readjusting the length of the wire sticking out of the torch every time you stop welding.
SunGoldPower designed the MIG 140A to accept either 4-inch or 8-inch wire spools, backs it with a 1-year warranty and equipped the machine with a live heat exhaust fan to control internal temperatures.
4. Klutch MIG 140i Flux-Core/MIG Welder
- Lightweight at only 22 pounds
- Welds 24-ga. to 3/16in. steel
- Runs both MIG and flux core processes
- Convenient 120 volt input power
- Tweco-style MIG and flux-core nozzles
- Accepts both 4-inch and 8-inch wire spools
- Infinitely adjustable wire speed
- Includes dual gauge regulator
- Comes with an extra drive roller
- Grounding clamp is cheap quality
- Torch connection is only 6 feet long
The Klutch MIG 140i Flux-Core/MIG Welder takes advantage of IGBT inverter power, making a machine that only weighs 20 pounds. In spite of its light weight, this welder offers a 30 amp to 140 amp output range. That’s wide enough to range from 24 gauge sheet metal all the way up to 3/16-inch plate steel. With the Klutch MIG 140i you’ll be able to do every major restoration process on a car, from repairing the auto body to chassis modification and fixing broken suspension mounts.
This machine runs both gas MIG and flux core welding processes, offering versatility no matter if you’re welding indoors or outside. The 120 volt input source means you can plug in the Klutch MIG 140i anyplace and get to work. Klutch designed the welder with industry standard Tweco-style nozzle parts for easily found consumables.
The Klutch MIG 140i includes a dual-gauge gas regulator, MIG and flux core nozzles, an extra drive roller and mounts both 4-inch and 8-inch wire spools. A 30 percent duty cycle at 90 amps is plenty of work time to get things done.
5. Weldpro MIG155Gsv Beginner MIG/Stick Arc Welder
- Dual input power 120/240 volt
- 30 to 155 amps output range
- 24 gauge sheet up to 3/8-inch plate
- Offers DC stick, MIG and flux core processes
- Electromagnetic noise free
- 2T/4T trigger lock
- Optional parts will run TIG
- Infinitely adjustable wire speed and heat
- Includes a gas regulator
- Comes with a stick arc electrode clamp
- Some users complain of poor wire feeding
- This machine only mounts 2-pound wire spools
The WeldPro MIG155Gsv is a powerful, 3-in-1 machine that can run gas MIG, flux core and stick processes right out of the box which is ideal for beginners to start practicing with. You can also order optional parts from WeldPro to make this box DC TIG capable. This welder comes with dual voltage 120 and 240 volt input power, meaning you can plug it into standard household current and weld up to140 amps, or plug it into a 240 utility circuit like dryer service or commercial power at a business location for up to 155 amps output power.
Weldpro equips the MIG155Gsv with an electronic reaction circuit that monitors the arc and adjusts settings dynamically to achieve the optimum performance at the point of weld. Owners love the infinitely adjustable speed and heat controls, which are much better than stepped or tapped type settings for fine-tuning to meet specific conditions.
This machine comes with a gas regulator, hose, MIG torch and a stick arc electrode holder. There are some reports of erratic wire feeding and occasional quality control problems. WeldPro has an excellent reputation for customer service and backs the MIG155Gsv with a 2-year warranty.
Beginner’s Buying Guide
For any beginner who’s looking for a new welder, there are several things you need to ask yourself before making a decision.
How Much Can You Spend?
There are two schools of thought here.
One says find the cheapest machine possible because as a beginner you will make mistakes. You’ll also be unaware of how to take advantage of any advanced features so you would be wasting money buying a machine with lots of technology.
The other approach is to spend money on quality and features. The reasoning here is that a good quality machine can take the abuse and will produce more improvement as you learn its advanced features.
As in most things, the real answer lies somewhere in between. You should always buy the best quality you can afford. These are complex technical machines. The case for features is a little different.
Flux core welding may be the easiest process to learn for beginners from the standpoint of technique. It’s easy to get good results with a small amount of practice and the machines don’t cost a lot.
Stick welding takes a little more work to get good at, but is very versatile, is one of very few processes that work on cast iron and the machines are the cheapest available.
In this guide, we’ve concentrated on multi-process welders to allow quick learning at first, with growth and versatility for later. That’s not the “cheapest” approach but focuses on cost-effective ideas.
What Processes Interest You?
You should concentrate and practice repeatedly in one process, for the most part, until your skills are well developed in that process, so you can transfer that knowledge to other processes.
Many machines will do gas MIG and flux core, so there’s a built-in upgrade path.
TIG welding is similar to MIG and provides a further upgrade path for the skills you learned with flux core.
Interestingly, many stick welders can be equipped to run TIG.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Are you just wanting to dabble a bit in a useful skill? Perform vitally needed long term repairs to equipment or vehicles? Maybe you’ll be learning a trade doing side work for friends and neighbors. Or do you intend to “go pro” once you’re good at welding?
Each of these goals has different priorities for price, features and quality level of the machine you choose. If you’re only going to experiment and play around, an expensive machine with all the bells and whistles doesn’t make sense.
If you want to make a new trade of it, however, a hundred dollar arc welder won’t get the job done either.
Think about the number of extra accessories you get with a welder that adds to its value. Portability can be important. You may want to buy a big name brand so you have nearby service and parts. You may prefer to forego those benefits in favor of a Chinese welder with a nice feature list at a good price.
The Final Decision
We decided the Hobart Handler 100 offered the best overall compromise between price, quality, brand network, features and convenience. The WeldPro MIG155Gsv offers three processes and a good assortment of accessories in a good price range, but without the Hobart quality and brand network. They’re both capable boxes that will serve beginners well.