Are you aiming to level up your DIY skills? Getting into welding lets you step into the creative world of metal fabrication. When you hear "metal fabrication," heavy equipment and large machines most likely come to mind. But did you know that there is a growing community of hobbyist fabricators? More and more people are getting into metal fabrication today!
Using the same metal fabrication equipment, such as welders and cutters, you can create art pieces worthy of being displayed in museum exhibits. Aside from serving as a creative outlet, learning metal fabrication can be an essential life skill. For instance, you can do bike and car repairs yourself.
Among the different welding processes, stick welding requires the least amount of time to master, making it a perfect welding process to learn for novice metal fabricators. Meanwhile, tungsten inert gas or TIG welding needs near-perfect mastery of the technique. However, this welding process lets you weld aluminum, useful for automobile repairs and even art pieces.
Keep reading and learn about the best affordable alternatives for the Miller TIG/stick welder!
Our Top Picks For Affordable TIG Stick Welders
Instead of rounding up the single-process welders, we gathered our best picks for the most affordable TIG/stick welders you can buy on Amazon. Although the Miller Maxstar 140 TIG/Stick welder and Miller Maxstar 152 TIG/Stick welder are very expensive for new fabricators, you can consider these alternatives to start your fabrication journey.
These welders not only make welds using the stick welding process but can also take advantage of TIG welding to weld aluminum and create aesthetically clean welds. So you get to hit two birds with one stone by buying any of these welders!
S7 TIG/Stick Welder
As one of the most affordable welders of its class, the S7 TIG/Stick Welder handles stainless steel, alloys, mild steel, cast iron, and copper effortlessly. Built as a two-in-one welder, the S7 welder can make welds using stick welding and TIG welding processes. The S7 welder boasts an impressive 85% duty-cycle rating while also being capable of making clean and visually pleasing welds.
- Can be bought online from Amazon for $199.99
- Built with an inverter with a frequency reaching up to 100 kHz
- Optimized to deliver fast and flawless welds
- Minimizes post-weld clean-up, having minimal spatter
- Has a rated input frequency of 50 to 60 Hz
- Performs at a duty cycle of 85%
- A two-in-one machine capable of two welding processes: stick welding and TIG welding
- Handles 0.3–4.8 mm thick metal workpieces using TIG welding and 14–42 mm with stick welding
- Handles a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel, alloys, mild steel, cast iron and copper
- Automatically compensates for fluctuations in electricity
- Built with safety features such as overvoltage and overcurrent protection
Portable and Lightweight
Do you need to always be on the move? Many metal fabrication projects involve moving around frequently. Big projects may have you going to and from one side of the site, carrying your welder and other tools with you. This endeavour will quickly become a heavy burden if you have a big and bulky machine. Surely, a portable and lightweight machine would make things easier for you.
The S7 TIG/Stick Welder looks like a slightly larger toolbox. Moreover, it is compact, exhibiting a 14.6" x 5.9" x 10.2" dimension. You can easily find a space for it on your workbench and fit it at the back of your car for transport. It also comes with a top handle. With a firm grip, you can lift and carry it.
A feature usually reserved for high-end machines, high-frequency ignition or HF TIG ignition lets you put the electrode near the metal workpiece to spark the arc. As opposed to a scratch start welder, HF TIG welders preserve the smoothness of your workpiece. As a result, they can start an arc without touching the workpiece. Perfectionist welders most desire this feature.
Despite being on the lower end of the spectrum, the S7 TIG/Stick Welder comes with this highly coveted feature. Seasoned welders with experience using high-end welders will be surprised by the inclusion of the HF TIG feature. The HF TIG start lets you produce clean welds using the TIG welding process without damaging the metal workpiece you are working on.
The S7 TIG/Stick Welder seems like a well-rounded welder that any welder would appreciate. However, its cheap price tag is a tell-tale sign of some of its drawbacks. The build quality, especially of its internal components, could be improved. Take a glance at its internals, and you'd think that it wouldn't last for long. It works as it should, but set your expectations low for longevity.
Other performance issues may arise, stemming from the quality control problems aforementioned above. For instance, some customers reported receiving a unit that won't simply start. Another customer reported the torch that came with the welder as being substandard. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. Set your expectations realistically, and you will end up satisfied.
Yeswelder TIG-205DS TIG and Stick Welder
Coming from a trusted budget brand, the Yeswelder TIG-205DS TIG and Stick Welder works at an outstanding 60% duty-cycle rate. If you see yourself working for extended periods at a time, you can rely on this TIG/stick welder to serve you well. Like the first welder on the list, the TIG-205DS also has an HF TIG start feature. Thanks to its safety features, you can also rely on this welder to keep you from harm's way.
- Can be bought online from Amazon for $279.99
- Performs with a duty-cycle rating of 60%, perfect for fabricators with extended workflow
- Renders an output rated at 205 amps, which is powerful enough for usual applications
- Initiates an arc without touching the workpiece using HF TIG start
- Designed to be easily transported and carried with a single hand
- Weighs around 13 lbs. or 5.89 kg and features compact dimensions
- Comes with safety features certified by ETL, including protection mechanisms for voltage fluctuations, overload and overcurrent
Have you ever experienced bringing a piece of fabrication equipment to your worksite only for it not to work? After checking the machine for faults, you realized that you plugged it into the wrong socket! As it turned out, the machine only works with 110-volt power sources, and the socket you have is rated at 220 volts.
Thanks to its dual voltage configuration, the Yeswelder TIG-205DS TIG and Stick Welder lets you work at home and work seamlessly. Even if you have differently rated power sources at home and work, you can rely on the TIG-205DS to work as soon as you plug it in. However, due to the reduced voltage, don't expect this welder to perform at full 205 amps.
Comes With Welding Essentials
Seasoned metal fabricators have already accumulated all sorts of welding accessories and consumables in their garage. However, novice fabricators have little to no welding accessories and consumables at their disposal. They would have to rely on the accessories the manufacturer includes with the welder.
Saving you from the hassle of buying third-party accessories and consumables, the Yeswelder TIG-205DS TIG and Stick Welder comes with welding essentials. So you can get started working on your fabrication project as soon as you get the welder and its inclusions out of the box. Here are the accessories and consumables that come included with the TIG-205DS:
- TIG-205DS welder (1)
- TIG torch (1)
- Welding gun (1)
- Electrode holder
- Work clamp (1)
- 110-220V adapter (1)
- 13-foot welding cable (1)
- 10-foot cable (1)
- Consumable set (1)
- Collet (1)
- Ceramic cup (1)
- Back caps (2)
The Yeswelder TIG-205DS TIG and Stick Welder looks like a good bargain, but consider some of these drawbacks before you pull the trigger. For example, while the TIG-205DS welder's maximum amp output is impressive, you don't need the maximum 205 amps all the time. Moreover, there may be instances when you need to weld thin metal workpieces.
You would have to lower the amp setting down to the lowest possible value in these situations. Unfortunately, the TIG-205DS can only go down to 15 amps, whereas ten amps would be preferred when handling delicate materials. This limitation restricts the kinds of metal workpieces you can work with.
Weldpro Digital 200GD TIG Stick Welder
As Weldpro's flagship product, there's a lot to expect from the Weldpro Digital 200GD TIG/Stick Welder. You might say that the $900 price tag reflects its stature as the company's top offering. With its outstanding build quality and after-sales support, it surely does! The welder lets you use both AC and DC welding to explore more metal fabrication opportunities.
- Can be bought online from Amazon for $920.00
- Flagship welder of the manufacturer
- Renders a maximum output of 200 amps, suitable for general applications
- Capable of both AC and DC welding, allowing you to choose power sources
- Built as a full-featured TIG welder with stick welding capabilities
- Equipped with a reliable IGBT inverter and the latest PWM technology
- Performs at a duty-cycle rated at 40% for DC TIG welding and 60% for AC TIG
- Comes with a foot pedal that facilitates the amperage
- Can be bought together with a CK Worldwide superflex cable and a 17F torch
Weld AC and DC
Let's take a trip back to your high school science class. Your teacher probably taught you the difference between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). They most likely narrated the tale of the legendary rivalry between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Back to metal fabrication, the differences between AC and DC allow you to weld different metals.
For instance, with AC welding, you can weld aluminum workpieces. Seasoned fabricators would tell you that aluminum is tricky to work with. Meanwhile, DC welding lets you work with iron and steel sheet metals. In these examples, it's clear why anyone would prefer having machines capable of these welding types.
Why settle for a single current welder if you can have AC and DC welding in a single machine? The Weldpro Digital 200GD TIG/Stick Welder is designed as an AC/DC welder, letting you enjoy the benefits of both AC and DC welding.
Some cheap welders claim unbelievable duty-cycle ratings. But unfortunately, the truth comes out when you test them in real-world applications. However, with the Weldpro Digital 200GD TIG/Stick Welder, you don't have to worry about misleading claims about its performance. For instance, in our tests, the 200GD welder sustained stable performance throughout the work session, consistent with their 40% and 60% duty-cycle ratings for DC and AC TIG welding, respectively.
Many customers report having difficulties dealing with Weldpro's customer service. Based on their reports, the company doesn't honour its two-year warranty if you buy your unit from Amazon and not from them directly. Comparing the prices between the Amazon listing and the official website, you'll notice that the ones sold on Amazon are around 50 bucks cheaper.
Despite being marketed as a high-end flagship product, the TIG/stick welder has unforgivable flaws like those stemming from quality control issues. For instance, some customers report dealing with malfunctioning controls. After talking with the Weldpro customer service team, they determined that it was because of a defective board.
Buying a new welder is a commitment. That's why you should spend some time researching the pros and cons of each welder on the market. We hope to have made the process faster and easier for you by providing our best picks for TIG and stick welders.
However, you may also want to look at a MIG/TIG/stick combo welder if you are ready to take it up a notch. A MIG/TIG/stick welder lets you use multiple welding processes in a single machine. If this sounds something up your alley, visit our welder section to see our latest MIG/TIG and stick welder reviews.