6 Best Stick Welder Reviews – Top Picks for 2019

Stick welding is pretty simple to learn, does not require any shielding gas, and can be used on a variety of materials.

If you are in the market in search of the best stick welder, you’re in the right place. Here, we have picked our favorite welders and listed them down for you.

Enjoy.

If you’re in a hurry, here is our top choice;

Our Top Choice

SUNGOLDPOWER ARC MMA 200A​

The modest price of the Sun Gold Power ARC MMA might trick you into thinking it’s one of the flimsy and cheaply designed welders.


However, the Sun Gold is well constructed with attention to detail.


Regarding performance, the Sun Gold is a truly a beast. For starters, it offers a dual voltage input (110V 220V), which improves the overall performance of the machine.

More importantly, however, it has the highest power output, with an amperage rating of 200Amp.


Few of the welders at this price point will provide you with such an incredible output, and this makes the Sun Gold a perfect option even for the light industrial tasks.

SUNGOLDPOWER ARC MMA 200A Stick Welder

The Best stick welders are durable, powerful and efficient-and we’ve listed all of them here.

In our comparison table below, we give you a glimpse of all our listed welders plus their features as well as prices.

Im​age

Product Name

Features

Price

Availability

SUNGOLDPOWER ARC MMA 200A Stick Welder

SUNGOLDPOWER ARC MMA 200A

Input: 110V 220V
Amperage:
200A
Process:
Stick
Weight:
14.99 pounds

$$$

2018 EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH 160amp HF TIG Stick IGBT Welder

2018 EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH

Input: 110v/220v
Amperage: 16o amps
Process: Stick and TIG DC
Weight: 36.9 pounds

$$$

Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Stick Welder 100ST

Forney Easy Weld 298

Input: 120V
Amperage: 90 amp
Process: Stick
Weight: 13.74 pounds

$$$

Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i Stick Welder

Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i

Input: 120V/240V
Amperage: 160A
Process: Stick
Weight: 15 pounds

$$$

Amico ARC-160D 160 Amp STICK ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder

Amico ARC-160D

Input: 115/230V
Amperage: 160A
Process: Stick
Weight: 16 pounds

$$$

LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1170 AC225, 60Hz Arc Stick Welder

LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1170 AC225

Input: 230V
Amperage: 40-225 Amps AC
Process: Stick
Weight: 115 pounds

$$$

Top 6: Best Stick Welders

With the market awash with a plethora of stick welders, finding the perfect equipment can be a daunting task. This is particularly true if you’re not familiar with the welding machines.

And this is why we’ve scoured the internet and sought the advice of professionals in the welding domain to provide you with a comprehensive list of the top 6 stick welders in the market.

1. Sun Gold Power 200A Stick Welder

Regardless of whether you are looking to finish some of your home DIY projects or get into professional building business, the Sun Gold Power 200A is an incredible choice.

With the Sun Gold, it’s super easy to create high-quality items and repair all your metal equipment with greater efficiency.

Quick Summary

  • 110V/220V
  • 200A
  • 15 pounds
SUNGOLDPOWER ARC MMA 200A Stick Welder

Lightweight and versatile equipment, the Sun Gold can be used for a variety of applications. This unit boasts of an advanced control module, inverter technology, and anti-stick feature.

WHY IS THIS A TOP PICK?

Versatile

Most of the stick welders in the market will connect to a standard power outlet. While this will provide you with sufficient power, it will not provide you with a hot weld.

The Sun Gold overcomes this stumbling block, thanks to the 220V power capacity, which makes it handy equipment for the household repairs, to other small-to-medium tasks.

This versatile model is integrated with the cutting edge IGBT technology, allowing you to handle a plethora of welding processes such as MIG, MAG and well as ARCH welding.

Again, the scope of versatility does not stop here as this unit goes a step further to provide both options for gas welding as well as flux core welding.

Performance

With a duty cycle of 60% at 180 amps, the Sun Gold will allow you to handle your welding task for a long time constantly.

When it comes to the preferred welding material, it lacked on high-performance aluminum welding. To handle aluminum, you will require a separate spool gun. However, this unit is highly competent in welding other metals such as steel, bronze, copper, nickel alloys, and other materials.

Inverter Technology

Inverter technology is not an everyday feature that you see with many welders.

The presence of this feature means that the Sun Gold does not need the presence of compressed gases. More importantly, however, the inverter technology will deliver a level of arc stability, which is quite a really nice offer, considering the price you pay for this equipment.

Easy To Use

The Sun Gold has a plethora of handy features that make the operation of this welder a breeze.

For instance, the selector switch will allow you to easily shift between MIG or spool gun welding with a single flip of the switch.

The advanced control module, on the other hand, improves on the efficiency, operation, and performance of the Sun Gold.

The fully adjustable current control, for instance, which is part of the advanced control module, will allow you to change as small as one amp at a time.

And like the Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i, the Sun Gold features a Hot Start Technology, a feature that allows for an easy and fast startup.

Less Splatter

The Sun Gold offers fewer amounts of splatter, which is recommendable for the perfect weld. And if you are patient and ready to give this unit some time, the amount of produced splatter will be minimal, giving a good and dissolved weld.

Safety Features

The manufacturer has included a host of safety features on this welder, and this will allow you to concentrate on your welding rather than how the equipment is operating.

Some of the safety features on the Sun Gold include:

  • Over-voltage protection
  • Under-voltage protection
  • Anti-sticking feature
  • Thermostatic cooling

WHAT I LIKED

  • Versatile
  • IGBT Technology
  • Gas and non-gas welding
  • Safety features

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

  • Shorter cable

2. 2018 EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH

The Everlast is a power-packed machine that is perfect for beginners, professionals, and hobbyists alike.

A heavy-duty welder, the Everlast is highly pragmatic and will handle most of your welding processes; heck, it can even handle lightweight industrial welding.

Quick Summary

  • 120/220V
  • 160 amp
  • Stick and TIG
2018 EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH 160amp HF TIG Stick IGBT Welder

The Everlast is the perfect combination of great power and stability. Highly versatile, this welder can be operated in dual voltage of 110 and 220V.

The light-duty modification, however, makes the Everlast, less ideal for welding aluminum, but works well for other metals.

WHY IS THIS A TOP PICK?

Design

The Everlast is among the smallest and lightest in its class. With a dimension roughly the size of a computer tower alongside a modest weight of 36.9 pounds, the Everlast is relatively compact and highly portable. Underlining the portability of this unit is the easy-to-carry shoulder strap.

It’s also worth mentioning that this unit comes with a copper line ground, a unique feature that most of the stick welders do not have. At the same time, you’ll love the long and premium power cord that you don't get even with other expensive brands.

IGBT Inverter Technology

This welder is an IGBT inverter based model, meaning that it generates an auto-regulated arc force that will keep excessive electrode from sticking. The result is that you get a smooth weld.

Also, the inverter technology makes this unit consume low power while at the same time offering the professional performance of 35% duty cycle at 160 amps.

Versatile

We had mentioned earlier that the Everlast Power ARC runs on a dual voltage of 110 and 220V. Versatility on this unit is further manifested by its ability to handle both Stick and TIG welding.

The ability of this unit to handle the various welding processes also means that the Everlast can handle a variety of metals ranging from aluminum, steel, nickel, copper, bronze, and more.

Performance

The Everlast is a dual-voltage welder, thus allowing you to select your preferred voltage based on your welding needs. For instance, if you’ve thicker metal to weld, you can use the 220V setting and vice versa.

Regarding the duty cycle, this unit offers a duty cycle of 35%. While this is not the highest we've come across, it offers incredible power conservation, thus making an ideal choice for the power-conscious individuals.

Digital Display and Automation

For ease of use, this unit comes with a digital display, which will allow you to read the current performance metrics on your welder easily.

WHAT I LIKED

  • Small, lightweight and portable
  • Dual voltage
  • Support Stick and TIG welding
  • Smooth arc

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

  • No AC output

3. Forney Easy Weld 298

Like its name suggest, the Forney "Easy Weld" is a simple equipment to use, ensures a stress-free operation while delivering high results.

Quick Summary

  • 90 amp
  • 120 Volts
  • TIG Capable
Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Stick Welder 100ST

Packed with a host of innovative features, this welder is efficiently designed to deliver a 120V input.

In addition, this budget-option is ready-to-use out of the box and even supports TIG welding.

WHY IS THIS A TOP PICK?

Stick and TIG Capability

Like the 2018 Everlast we had reviewed earlier, the Forney Easy Weld 298 has both Stick and TIG capabilities, meaning it offers great versatility regarding welding.

With this elder, your welding options are pretty vast because you can use it to handle a variety of metals. Additionally, this unit comes with a variety of filler metals, allowing you to meet the demands of the various weld parameters.

The good thing about this equipment is that switching between the two modes is through the simple flip of a switch.

Inverter System

Weld eliminates the need for compressed gas.

Besides eliminating the need for compressed gas, the inverter system allows the Forney Easy allows to function efficiently in the rusty, windy, and dusty environments that may be limited to the regular welders.

And regarding performance, the inverter system will deliver a smooth arc and will allow you to weld from different position as well as from long distances.

Lightweight Design

Weighing less than 10 pounds, the Forney is a compact welder that is easy to carry.

Additionally, this unit comes with an extended 6 feet cord that improves on the flexibility around the work area.

Robust and pragmatic equipment, the Forney is safe for use in various settings and is perfect for both the indoor as well as the outdoor activities.

Performance

The Forney has a power rating of 90A and can be used on a 120V input. These power metrics makes this unit powerful enough for most of the home-based and automotive application. Or instance, the Forney can weld 16ga up to 5/16 of metal.

WHAT I LIKED

  • Supports both Stick and TIG
  • Compact
  • Versatile
  • No need for compressed gases

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty applications
  • TIG torch is separate

4. Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i

Though the Hobart Stickmate 160i is a more expensive option, their quality standards have been proven time and again over the years.

A uniquely different welder, the dual-voltage Hobart has a plethora of performance-oriented features that will put a smile on you.

Quick Summary

  • 120/240V
  • 160A
  • 15 pounds
Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i Stick Welder

The Hobart Stickmate is among the highest-rated DC stick welders in the market, and they're perfect for a variety of projects including farm use, artwork DIY projects to home repairs.

Ideally, the Hobart Stickmate is the perfect choice for those who want precise control for consistently smooth arc weld.

WHY IS THIS A TOP PICK?

Design

Sporting an impressively compact design, the Hobart is a well-built, rugged piece of kit, and this is evident from the size and shape.

A highly functional unit, your expectations of weight will be wholly subverted; weighing at a mere 15 pounds, the Stickmate is a lightweight model, allowing you to carry it around without straining your body.

In a nutshell, the Hobart Stickmate blends functionality with lightness to deliver a versatile and easy to use a welder.

Hot Start Technology

If you’ve used a welder before, you already know the frustration that comes with waiting for the welder to heat up.

With the Hobart Stickmate, however, you’ll no longer have to wait for long, thanks to the Hot Start Technology.

A handy feature, the Hot Start Technology works like a charm and will get your welder ready in a few without the long and tiring wait.

DC Polarity Welding

With regards to versatility, the performance of the Hobart Stickmate is rather limited, and this is because it does not offer AC welding.

While having an AC/DC combo is ideal, the DC reverse polarity on this model is more superior to the AC welding, and this welder will deliver fewer arc outages, reduced spatter, allow or easier out-of-position welding and will work better on the relatively thin metals.

Performance

Like all the best stick welders on our list, the Hobart Stickmate has plenty of power available for your welding needs.

With a power output of 160A, this unit can weld up to 5/32 inches of mild steel, and it offers an incredible option for those looking for consistently reliable performance.

Regarding power input, the Hobart supports both 120V and 240V input, and this not only underlines its flexibility of use but it’s also convenient, allowing you to use the welder straight out of the box.

WHAT I LIKED

  • Powerful
  • Reliable performance
  • Lightweight

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

  • Does not support TIG
  • Does not support AC welding

5. Amico ARC-160D

Amico means friend in Italian, and if you are a welder by trade or an amateur welding enthusiast, Amico ARC-160D is a great friend to have.

A world-class leader in the industrial market, the Amico is compact and portable (weighs 16 pounds and has dimensions similar to those of a lunch cooler).

Quick Summary

  • 160A
  • 110/230V
  • 16 pounds
Amico ARC-160D 160 Amp STICK ARC IGBT Inverter DC Welder

While the Amico is a bit weaker compared to other industrial welders and definitely not the best all-around on the market, it fills a fairly unique niche as an affordable, functional, and portable stick welder.

This welder is solidly built and offers a reliable companion, thanks to the smooth and efficient operation.

WHY IS THIS A TOP PICK?

Inverter Design

The inverter design brings a slew of benefits to the table, including size, efficiency, stability, and cost.

Generally, inverter welders are substantially smaller compared to the regular arc welders. More importantly, they're superior than the regular welders as they can weld twice as much at the same time.

And though they come with a hefty initial price tag, they use fewer consumable and are more economical in the long-run.

IGBT Technology

Speaking of running costs, the Amico boasts of IGBT technology. IGBT is an energy-conserving technology that allows the Amico to consume less power, ultimately saving on your energy needs.

LED Meter

The LED meter is a convenient feature that will display all the performance metrics of your welder.

In particular, you’ll love the amperage display as it will allow you to customize the power output depending on the thickness of the material for a clean weld.

Safety Features

The Amico plays host to a plethora of safety features intended to keep you safe during the entire welding process.

Voltage protection, for instance, will protect your machine against both over-voltage and under-voltage, therefore improving the lifespan of your machine.

The “Smart fan” on the other hand turns on when the machine is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and this helps to keep the welder working under optimum temperatures without the risk of overheating.

The safety aspects of this unit make it ideal for use in job sites with inconsistent power output or when working with unknown factors with regards to power.

Complete Package

The Amico 160 D is a complete package, full of outstanding features and a broad range of the necessary accessories to allow welding on both thin and thick surfaces.

WHAT I LIKED

  • Great price point
  • Ready to use out of the box
  • Versatile
  • Powerful

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

  • DC compatible only

6. LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1170 AC225

This welder from Lincoln is one of the best-selling units in its class. This welding machine produces incredibly smooth AC arcs and has the power to weld various types of metals, including stainless steel, cast iron, nickel, bronze, and copper. At the same time, it will allow you to work on 16ga metals comfortably.

Quick Summary

  • 230V
  • 225A
  • 110 pounds
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1170 AC225, 60Hz Arc Stick Welder

With easy operation features, Lincoln is an ideal option even for entry-level users. Highly versatile and functional, the Lincoln is ideal for a range of jobs, and you can use it in your household, farm, workshop, light fabrication, automotive, repair, and many more.

WHY IS THIS A TOP PICK?

Transformer-Based Welder

Generally, transformer-based welders are robust, and ideal for heavy-duty tasks and the Lincoln is no different.

Performance-wise, this unit generates a stable and smooth arc and has enough power to weld metals up to ½-inch thick on a single pass.

In addition, the AC polarity on this welding machine will allow you to weld a variety of metals from carbon, aluminum, steel to low alloy.

Easy to Use

Like we had mentioned earlier, this unit features a host of easy operation features. For instance, it comes with an amp selector switch which sets the welding current real quick, while ensuring high precision as well as uniformity of the arc.

Performance

The Lincoln comes with a duty cycle set to 20%, meaning it will allow you to draw heat or 2 minutes before taking a rest. While this is not the highest we’ve seen, the relatively low duty cycle will prevent any overheating risks.

The duty cycle, combined with an impressively broad range amperage rating of 40A to 225A, will allow you to handle most of your welding task efficiently with much ease.

WHAT I LIKED

  • Smooth arc
  • Compatible with a variety of metals
  • Easy to use
  • Reasonably priced

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

  • Heavy (115 pounds)

Best Stick Welder Buying Guide

As we had mentioned earlier, stick welding is a simple process, and it’s for this reason that the stick welders are popular with both newbies as well s professionals.

However, choosing the perfect stick welder is at a time more challenging even than learning how to use the machine.

See, the ideal stick welder is not the most expensive one or the first one you set your eyes on, but rather one that will address your welding needs and preferences.

If you’re still unsure of what welder do purchase, don’t worry. We’ve created this massive stick welder buying guide to help you choose the best stick welder.

What to Consider Before Choosing a Stick Welder

Type of Stick Welder

Stick welder is available in two forms;

Inverter welders:  Inverter welders are the most common stick welders in the market. They’re particularly popular with freelance welders because of their portability; most of these welders weigh less than 20 pounds.

Unlike the transformer or the regular welders, inverter welders are energy efficient, meaning they do not consume a lot of power, and most importantly, they deliver a smooth and clean arc, resulting to a spotless weld.

Transformers: Transformer welders, such as the LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K1170 AC225are robust welders, ideal for the heavy-duty applications. Unlike the inverter welders, transformers are energy-guzzlers, and often need more space due to their humongous size. However, transformers are relatively cheap but built to last.

Type of Current

Regarding the type of current, stick welders use DC, AC, or a combination of both.

DC Welding: DC welding, also known as direct current welding, utilizes electrical current flowing in a single direction.

DC reverse polarity has several advantages over the AC because it includes faster starts, reduces spatter, has fewer arc outages, more reliable for out-of-position welding, and delivers better welds on relatively thin materials.

AC Welding: AC welders are most popular in residential homes, but unlike the DC welders, AC welders do not deliver a smooth arc. At the end of the day, however, they get the job done.

AC/DC: Welders using both DC and DC are the most viable options as they offer more flexibility depending on the task at hand and more importantly, provide you with the best of both worlds.

Input voltage

Input voltage refers to the energy needed for electrical power equipment.

Input voltage is measured in volts and the higher the volts, the more powerful a welder is.

Typically, welders are available with an input voltage of 155V and 230V, or both.

Those that use both input voltages are known as dual-voltage, and they’re more powerful and versatile.

The 155V, however, are most popular as they provide you with just enough power to run your household welding errand.

The 230v welders, on the other hand, are more powerful, but they will require a dedicated power outlet as they cannot use the standard electrical outlet.

Regarding the input voltage, we suggest that you choose a welder with dual-voltage for the ultimate convenience and flexibility.

Power Output

Power output, measured in amperage (amps) refers to the power a welder can provide.

The higher the amperage, the more powerful a welder is, and the less time it will take for you to weld through a thick material.

Welders with high amperage will not require you to perform multiple passes to achieve your weld.

If you're unsure of what amperage to choose, go with the highest one. This is because you can always turn the amps down on a powerful welder, but you cannot turn them up on a low power welder.

Duty Cycle

Duty cycle is the time of operation of a machine before taking a rest. In welders, duty cycle is often based on a 1o minutes and denoted by a percentage.

For instance, if a welder has a duty cycle of 70%, it means it can weld for a continuous seven minutes before you allow the welder to cool for the minutes.

Versatility

If you are planning to use your welder for multi-purpose applications, you would want to have a welder with several welding processes.

In addition, to stick welding, you would want a welder that supports either TIG or MIG welding capabilities.

This is not only economical, but it will provide you with greater flexibility when it comes to handling the various processes.

Ease of Use

Welding alone is a challenging process, and you would not want to struggle with operating the equipment. Therefore, when choosing a welder, you would want to go with one that has an intuitive and modest design.

Now, while you’ll often have to pay more for the advanced convenience-features such as hot start, auto-set and more, it’s worth it.

Safety Control Features

To preserve the structural integrity of your equipment and prevent accidents, having a welder with safety features is of the essence.

Some of the primary safety features that every welder ought to have include:

  • Duty Cycle indicator- Prevent overheating
  • Overload protection: Automatically shuts down the welder when it becomes too hot.

Advantages of Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)

Despite stick welding being considered as a traditional and old-fashioned welding process, it remains as one of the widely used process globally.

It's not a surprise that multi-national companies such as Hobart, ESAB, Lincoln Electric, Bohler and many others are increasing investing millions in the development of new SMAW.

Let's look at why stick welding is such a popular process over other forms of welding.

Budget option: SMAW equipment is quite simple and relatively inexpensive (cost-wise and running) compared even to the most basic MIG welders.

Welding tight corners: For the automotive industry, farmhouses and construction, stick welder can access the hard-to-reach spots, thanks to their extended length.

No shielding gas required:  Stick electrodes usually generate their shielding gas as the gas burns off the coating. This is to mean that no need for hauling around with shielding gas.

Portable: When compared to TIG and MIG welders, stick welders are light in weight and easy to carry; they’re ideal for use in the remote locations too.

Ideal for Outdoors: Speaking of remote locations, stick welding, unlike MIG, can be done on the outdoors where winds blow up to 35mph without any interference.

Variety: Stick welders allow for a variety of electrode choice, and this means that if you need to weld different materials, you can easily switch from one type to the other as you’ll only need to change the electrode.

This is contrary to MIG welding, where you'll need the change of a gas to weld a different material.

Out-of-position welding: When welding out-of-position, slag generated by stick welding  as the puddle solidifiesacts as a shelf, thus supporting the puddle during solidification.

Limitations

Despite their enormous benefits, stick welders have their fair share of limitations. Some of the common disadvantages of stick welders include:

  • They consume a lot of power
  • Require more maintenance
  • Need more time to generate heat

Nonetheless, the benefits of stick welders outweigh their limitations, and so, stick welders are awesome welding equipment.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a professional welder, having a reliable machine that will allow you to perform your welding applications effectively and safely is of the essence.

Our comprehensive best stick welder review has covered a lot of ground, including highlighting a plethora of stick welders.

If you consider the vital aspects, we've highlighted in our buyer guide, choosing an appropriate welder should not be hard.

David Hughes
 

Hey, I’m David Hughes - a free spirit with a passion for power tools blogging. With more than a decade in the construction field, my mission is to help the everyday workers realize their dream by sharing on creative ideas, tips, and reviewing products.

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