Stick welders are one of the most popular types of welders since they can weld a wide variety of materials and tend to be more on the affordable side. If you’re in the market for a new stick welder, here’s everything you need to know:
When should you use a stick welder?
Stick welding (also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding) is best for when the appearance of your weld isn’t vital. For example, stick welding is great for welding pipes, but not ideal for autobody repairs. Stick welders work excellently for thick metals, but not so well for thin sheet metals, which are better suited for TIG or MIG welders. Typically speaking, you don’t want to try to weld anything thinner than 18-gauge with a stick welder.
One of the benefits of stick welders over other welders is that they tend to be more simple and easy to use, great for beginners! They also allow you to switch electrodes to adapt to many different types of metal without the need for any shielding gas, which is great for welding outside when there’s a breeze. Another great advantage of stick welding is that it is one of the more forgiving forms of welding in terms of having clean metal. You can even weld rusty metals depending on the stick welding rod you use. 6011 rods can allow you to weld rusty metals with a stick welder.
If you’re in the market for a welder with the intention of doing maintenance around your home or farm, a stick welder is likely the most economical type of welder for you.
AC or DC?
Stick welders can be AC, DC, or AC/DC and which one you need depends on what you plan to weld and how much power you will need. AC may be enough for some DIY welders, but if you need something with a little more power, a DC stick welder might be more along the lines of what you’re looking for. Ideally, an AC/DC stick welder will give you the most versatility. Professional welders and those working heavy industrial jobs typically opt for DC or AC/DC capable stick welders.
What about Amperage?
On the subject of power, you’ll want a stick welder that is rated over 140 amps to offer you the most flexibility. We carry stick welders ranging from 155 to 200 amps so you can find one that matches your needs, but even the MIG155GSV 155 Amp Inverter MIG/Stick Arc Welder should be able to handle most projects. Most of our stick welders are dual voltage, giving you maximum flexibility when it comes to your welder’s power. Remember that while running on 110 volts, you are limited to thinner metals.
And Duty Cycle?
A welder’s duty cycle refers to how long it can be used continuously without having to rest. Duty Cycles are listed as a percentage out of ten minutes. For example, our MMA200GDSV 200 Amp Inverter Arc/Stick/Lift TIG Welder’s duty cycle is 30% of rated 200 Amp, meaning it can be used for 3 minutes straight at 200 amps. Our 2020 Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD ACDC 200 Amp Tig/Stick Welder, on the other hand, has a 40% duty cycle at full amperage for DC TIG and a 60% duty cycle for AC TIG, meaning it can run a little longer at full amperage without needing to rest.
A 30% duty cycle is pretty typical for stick welders, but what you’ll want in terms of duty cycle depends on your own welding preferences.
One of the main benefits of stick welders is their versatility. Many stick welders can easily be adapted to have TIG welding capabilities. All of our stick welders are capable of other welding types as well.
The 2020 Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi Process Welder and the 2020 Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD ACDC 200 Amp Tig/Stick Welder are two of our most versatile welding machines, both of which have stick welding capabilities.
Most stick welders are portable, but some are not, so this is a good thing to consider if you plan to do a lot of welding around the house or yard or if you plan to move your welder back and forth between your home and a shop.
Our MIG155GSV 155 Amp Inverter MIG/Stick Arc Welder has a compact design that makes it particularly lightweight and portable.
If you end up with a bulkier stick welder, a good welding cart can assist with portability, so this shouldn’t be one of your top concerns.
Remember, if you have any questions regarding any of our equipment, you can call WeldPro tech support at (651) 329-2686.