Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Welcome to our big welding machine test 2022. Here we present all the welding machines we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best welding machine for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a welding machine.




Summary

  • Welding equipment allows you to independently carry out repairs on various materials, carry out projects that require welding of workpieces and remove rust, e.g. on a car.
  • Basically, there are five different welding processes: oxyacetylene, arc, inert gas, TIG and ultrasonic welding. Depending on the welding method, different types of material and workpiece thickness can be processed with the welding machine.
  • It is important to note which welding power is suitable for beginners and which can only be handled by professionals and that you protect yourself, for example, with a suitable welding helmet.

The Best Welding Machine: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a welder

How much does a welding machine cost?

Welding machines come in all price ranges - whether it's a cheap machine for home use or an expensive welding power for professional use, where the amount can even go over 10,000€.

An electrode welder can be purchased for as little as 50 euros, and an oxyacetylene welding torch is also available for less than 100 euros. A TIG welding power is also available at a low price starting at 80 euros. This makes the purchase of a welding power quite inexpensive, even for do-it-yourselfers.

All in all, prices are quite reasonable, because certain standards have to be met depending on the use. Especially if you want to achieve a decent result and buy a long-lasting product, the prices are well worth it. (Photo: Christopher Burns / unsplash.com)

A gas-shielded welder can also be bought cheaply for as little as 140 euros to 200. With a starting price of 170 euros, the ultrasonic welding device is sometimes the most expensive. However, if you want to buy a professional version of this welding method, you will of course have to invest more.

Type Price range
Electrode welder approx. 50-140 euros
Oxyacetylene welder approx. 70-100 euros
TIG welder approx. 80-3,200 euros
Gas-shielded welder approx. 140-10,000 euros
Ultrasonic welder approx. 170-3,000 euros

Prices vary depending on the thickness of the material to be welded. The equipment is also an important price-determining factor. For private use, electrode welding machines and oxyacetylene welding machines in particular, but also a TIG welding machine, are an inexpensive option.

Can I also rent a welding machine?

You need a one-off welding machine for a specific project or for your home, but you don't want to buy one? You don't have to, because you can also rent a welding machine.

However, you should note that renting a welding machine is usually only possible in larger cities. This option is mainly suitable for professionals, and therefore mainly for industrial use such as construction sites or assembly.

For do-it-yourselfers, this option is only worthwhile if you have to do specific welding for which an expensive device would be necessary. However, the prices as well as the journey and the time required should be weighed up.

Decision: What types of welding equipment are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, there are five different types of welding processes and the equipment required for them:

  • Oxyacetylene welder
  • Arc welder
  • MSG welder
  • TIG welder
  • Ultrasonic welder

These types all have a different mode of operation and therefore each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on the material you want to process and which criteria are important to you, a different type of welding machine is best suited for you.

In the following section we would like to help you choose the best welding machine for your needs. However, you should always protect yourself during any type of procedure, including with a suitable welding helmet.

For this purpose, we will introduce you to all of the above-mentioned types of welding machines and give you an overview of their advantages and disadvantages.

How does an oxyacetylene welder work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This welding machine is also known as acetyl welding or gas fusion welding. The special advantage of oxyacetylene welding compared to other welding machines is that this welding method does not require any power supply and therefore you can use it not only indoors but also outdoors.

The process is an oxyacetylene technique called gas welding and belongs to the group of fusion welding processes. A welding flame is created with the help of a fuel gas and the supply of oxygen. The workpieces are heated with a flame of oxygen and ethine and welded with a wire that has a special alloy or directly with each other.

Advantages
  • Without electricity
  • Without cooling water
  • Many processes can only be implemented with a torch and a fuel gas cylinder
  • Without expensive equipment
Disadvantages
  • Pollutants (gases, dust/fume, vapours)
  • Special protective clothing
  • Fire/explosions
  • Optical radiation
  • Handling errors

Most techniques can be carried out without expensive equipment of the unit. Moreover, almost all techniques can only be implemented with the help of a burner and a fuel gas cylinder.

The flame cone is sharply defined, so that the adjustment of the flame is easy and well regulated. Due to the good gap bridging properties, only very little or hardly any seam preparation is necessary.

Almost any material can be processed with an acetyl welder: metallic materials, ferrous materials, sheet metal surfaces, natural stone surfaces and even concrete.

Techniques such as gas welding, flame brazing, straightening, hardening, heating and blasting, gouging, flame cutting and thermal spraying can be carried out.

Such a device, with which everything can be processed, is therefore not only suitable for industrial use, but also for the do-it-yourself household, such as for the prevention of wear on ironwork parts or for the removal of rust and scale layers.

How does an arc welder work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This type of welding is also called electric arc welding. This welding technique is easy to learn and offers the possibility to carry out the project outside as well, since you can use such a welder even in the rain.

The special advantage compared to oxyacetylene welding is that no health hazards can occur when using shielding gas.

In this process, metal rods serve simultaneously as an arc carrier and also as a so-called welding filler. The electric arc is generated by electricity and thus heats the workpieces. With this process, it is possible to weld a wide variety of metal elements.

Advantages
  • No health hazards with shielding gas
  • Assembly work outdoors
  • Can also be used in the rain
  • Easy to learn
  • Private use
Disadvantages
  • Formation of gases with hazardous heavy metals (without shielding gas)
  • Temperature difficult to regulate
  • Can only be used on certain materials
  • Slag formation
  • Welding spatter and welding smoke

Particular attention should be paid to the type of stick electrode, as this must match the work material to be processed. Welding itself works as follows: the workpiece is melted at the welding point. The same happens with the metal electrode.

This metal from the electrode then fits between the individual workpieces as an "adhesive". Typical of arc welding is that a "weld bead" is also created in the process, sometimes reminiscent of the "cream decoration" on a cake.

A welding machine with the arc welding process can be used for steel, iron, copper and many other metals. It is mainly used in industrial applications such as building construction or bridge building.

An arc or electrode welder is the perfect way to get started in the world of welding. Especially because this type of welding process covers almost all areas of application.

How does an MSG welder work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The acronym MSG stands for shielded metal arc welding, which is subdivided according to the type of shielding gas. As with the oxyacetylene welding process, special protective work clothing is recommended when using this welding power. In addition, special care must be taken when cleaning the clothing.

This is an inert gas welding process that uses either metal inert gas (MIG) or metal active gas (MA G) welding. The difference between MAG welding and MIG welding is that a MIG welder uses inert shielding gases and predominantly the pulsed arc technique.

Advantages
  • No health hazards
  • No formation of pollutants
  • Welding of different metal thicknesses possible
  • Cleaner than other processes
  • No slag formation
Disadvantages
  • Burns from insufficient body coverage
  • Flashing of the eyes
  • Burns and severe sunburns from the UV radiation
  • Expensive purchase and operating costs
  • Windlessness mandatory

An arc burns between the workpiece and the wire electrode. During welding, the coiled electrode melts and is automatically fed by a wire feeder. The electrode is surrounded by a nozzle from which the shielding gas emerges and protects the arc and the molten pool from atmospheric influences.

The MAG welding technique is used for low-alloy and high-alloy steel. MIG welding, on the other hand, can be used to weld aluminium, aluminium alloys, copper, titanium and other non-ferrous metals. The use of these welding machines is recommended mainly in clean and closed rooms.

How does a TIG welder work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Tungsten inert gas welding, TIG for short, was discovered in the USA under the name Argonarc welding and is a classic among welding machines. It is suitable for beginners due to its good handling and is one of the best welding processes available.

A certain heat of the welding zone is generated by an arc in the argon shielding gas and a non-melting tungsten electrode and the workpiece.

This process is one of the best welding processes. During welding, an arc burns between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece, which is surrounded by an inert gas (helium and argon) that protects the electrode from the air. Due to their properties, these gases do not form chemical bonds.

Advantages
  • Low health risk
  • Hardly any welding spatter
  • Universally applicable
  • Narrow welding zone
  • Minimal scaling on the workpiece
Disadvantages
  • Very loud
  • Sometimes high heat
  • Deformations due to excessive heat
  • High initial and operating costs
  • Practice required

There are also two types of arc that can affect the materials that can be machined. If a direct current arc is chosen, all metals except aluminium can be welded with it. If an arc with alternating current is chosen, almost any material suitable for fusion welding can be joined.

This results in areas of application such as boiler, power plant and pipeline construction. But TIG welding is also used in the field of aircraft and spacecraft construction. Other areas of application are micro-joining technology, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and food technology, but also in container and apparatus construction and likewise for tool and machine moulds.

How does an ultrasonic welder work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Ultrasonic welding is a form of friction welding that is mainly used to join thermoplastic materials (thermoplastics). A special feature of this welding process is the absence of electrodes and gas. Instead, the vibration mechanism is used.

One of the parts to be joined is firmly clamped, while the other part is vibrated by an ultrasonic resonator and simultaneously pressed onto the stationary part. At the point of contact, the molecules of the materials are set into vibration, resulting in a material-to-material bond between the materials.

Advantages
  • No health hazards
  • Compact size
  • Multi-functional use
  • Selective energy supply
  • Environmentally friendly technology
Disadvantages
  • Many accessories required

When welding metals, ultrasonic welding is used, for example, in the production of microelectronic chips.

For environmentalists, an ultrasonic welder is perfect because it uses very little energy for welding. Moreover, it needs neither solvents nor additives for welding. A big plus is that the welded workpieces can be recycled by type.

This welding process is particularly suitable for use on PP, PVC, PE, PET, ABS, composites, fabrics, nonwovens or films, and with the right accessories it can also be used to process metal.

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate welding equipment

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate welding machines. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular machine is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • The welding process
  • Place of performance of the welding work
  • Material of the project
  • Duty cycle, open circuit voltage and amperes
  • Inverter/transformer
  • Required and enriching features and functions
  • Instructions for TIG welding

In the following paragraphs you can read the necessary information on the individual purchase criteria and their classification.

The welding process

The type of welding process, i.e. using electrodes, shielding gas, ultrasonic, tungsten inert gas or oxyacetylene welding, has already been dealt with in detail above.

Nevertheless, we would like to point out once again that the type of mechanism of a welding machine is probably the most important criterion when buying a welding power, because it not only influences the final result, but also the degree of difficulty of operation.

Of course, professional welders ask themselves different questions than beginners, who should make sure when choosing a suitable welding machine that it is suitable for handling by beginners. After all, you don't want to make things harder for yourself than they are.

A beginner should therefore ask himself whether he is prepared to take a welding test in order to be able to operate all welding machines or whether a limited selection is sufficient for the intended welding project.

As a beginner, the focus should be on ease of operation and learnability. A gas-shielded welding machine is ideally suited for this purpose. Many mistakes can be avoided because, for example, welding thinner sheets does not require as much precision and experience as with an electrode welder.

In addition, it has a wide range of applications and covers a large part of the welding activities. Thus, nothing stands in the way of practising in the most diverse areas of welding.

A shielding gas torch is also very suitable for occasional welders. However, an experienced welder, especially one who regularly completes welding projects, will find purchasing criteria such as the location, the type of material and the technical data more important than the ease of use of the device.

The place where the welding work will be done

Do you want to weld outdoors, in a closed room or alternately indoors and outdoors? Not every welding machine is suitable for outdoor use, you should always keep this in mind. You should also consider whether the work will be carried out in confined or poorly ventilated spaces.

A TIG welder is not suitable for outdoor use, as no wind is a prerequisite for its use, but you can work with such a torch in confined and poorly ventilated spaces.

In contrast to an oxyacetylene torch, TIG welding does not produce exhaust gases or fumes that are harmful to health. For outdoor work, an electrode welding machine should be purchased, as this can also be used in the rain.

It should also be clear to someone who wants to do welding work outside that either a source of electricity should be nearby, or a welding power should be chosen that does not require electricity for use, such as the oxyacetylene welder.

Material of the project

Before you choose a welder, you should think about what materials and what thickness of material you want to weld. Not every welder is suitable for welding metal or aluminium, for example.

There are guidelines for the power required and the diameter that an electrode must have in order to be able to work on certain materials. We remind you again that the stick electrode must match the material to be welded.

Here we have a little guide for you:

1.6 mm to 2 mm electrode thickness

These dimensions are suitable for thinner materials and offer optimum chances of success with smaller and finer sheets.

2.4 mm electrode diameter

A 2.4 mm electrode is suitable for thicker sheets. With this electrode you can weld material thicknesses of up to 9 mm. With a thicker 2.4 mm electrode you also have some other advantages. When using it, you have a more stable arc that also burns more quietly. You can also grind them better.

Duty cycle, open circuit voltage and amperes

A good welder has at least a power range of up to 80 A and an open-circuit voltage of 48 V or more. With this you can carry out smaller repairs. Values below this should be regarded with scepticism.

The duty cycle should be over 30 % at normal power demand. At maximum power consumption, the value may be lower.

Protective clothing should not be forgotten when using a welding machine. No matter for how long and where you weld, be sure to wear the appropriate protection. (Photo: WikiImages / pixabay.com)

The percentage of duty cycle indicates how long you can weld within an interval of 10 minutes. In this case, 30 % would mean that you can weld for 3 minutes and then have to take a break for 7 minutes.

Inverter or transformer?

First, let's explain what the difference is between these two types. The inverter welder is very similar to a switched-mode power supply. First, the mains voltage is rectified. Then it is chopped up with power semiconductors and brought to a lower voltage with the help of a small transformer.

The special features of an inverter welding power are, on the one hand, that it is much easier to control the most varied and ever-changing welding processes due to the higher operating frequency. On the other hand, it is more efficient in energy conversion.

It is also possible to switch between direct and alternating current. In addition, an inverter torch has a good duty cycle. This means that you can usually complete longer welding tasks without a break or with fewer breaks.

Another positive feature is the relatively short cooling phase, which is made possible by the low mass. The following applies: The lower the mass, the faster a welding torch cools down.

An inverter welder is lighter and therefore more compact and easy to transport than conventional welding power. However, these are not the only positive characteristics that such a design has.

Depending on the model, different additional functions are built in.

Here we present only the best-known extra functions to give you a brief overview, with a short explanation in each case, of course:

Antistick

This function prevents the electrode from sticking and annealing by delivering a maximum current shortly before the short circuit.

Hot Start

This briefly exceeds the set welding current at the beginning to prevent the sticking of the rod electrode and to heat up the initial weld more quickly.

Arc-Force control

This is an electronic control of the arc. The current value is automatically increased as soon as the arc becomes a little shorter. This means that the arc length is almost always constant.

Lift Arc

A "modern" variant of contact ignition and similar to brush ignition. Here the electrode is placed on the workpiece. Only a small current flows, which means that the electrode cannot be damaged.

When the electrode is lifted, the arc ignites and the current increases to the welding current set at the beginning. The advantage of Lift Arc ignition is that you can avoid electromagnetic interference.

An inverter has few disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is the susceptibility to electronic interference, which is low with a transformer. Another is the initial cost, which is higher for an inverter torch than for a conventional welder. This also includes potential repair costs.

Required and enriching features and functions

Once you have decided on a welder based on the criteria explained above, you should think about which features you can do without and which functions you insist on.

With the following list we want to help you with your decision:

Multiscale

This allows you to adjust the welding current without much effort. Infinitely variable adjustment would be best here.

Long earth cable and sufficiently long electrode or torch cable

Check in advance whether the cable length supplied is OK for you or whether you need to replace it. The cable lengths vary from less than 2 m to more than 2 m. If the cable length is too short, you may have to move the welder.

S-mark or special protection class

If there is an S-mark, you have the safety and the certainty that you are allowed to weld in narrow welding areas.

Electronic control

For a better ignition behaviour an electronic control is of great advantage, because it supports a faster ignition of the arc.

A long hose package with standard glands

The hose assembly should not be too thin. Standard nozzles save the search for the right nozzle.

Fan cooling and thermal protection with indicator light

These two extras ensure that your welder stays cool and ready for work even during longer welding sessions. With the help of an integrated fan cooling system, the heat generated during welding can be dissipated efficiently and quickly. Should the welder ever reach its pain threshold, this should be recognisable by the control light.

In addition, the thermal monitor ensures that the welding machine switches off automatically at a certain temperature. In addition to this list, we recommend that you invest in further safety measures, such as a suitable welding helmet.

Tips for TIG welding

If you want to weld with TIG, there are some important features that the welding machine should have. This guarantees an optimal working result.

Integrated HF ignition

With HF ignition, the arc is already ignited above the workpiece by means of a high-frequency unit. Integrated HF ignition thus prevents wear on the electrode.

Adjustable gas afterflow time, as well as current sink and rise time

These features are very suitable for thinner sheets and tubes. This means that the sheet metal does not burn away at the seam at the start and end of the weld.

Two-stroke and four-stroke welding

If you want to weld very long seams as evenly as possible, you should focus on welding machines that can be switched between two-stroke and four-stroke.

Photo source: skeeze / pixabay

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