Questions to Ask When Buying Your First Welder [Guide]

Buying your first welder can seem like a daunting process. There are many questions to consider. What are your interests? What are your welding needs? What projects do you want to tackle?

To get started, it’s good to know the basics of the different welding processes, the skill level required by each, and the jobs you will perform most often. This helps determine which process best meets your needs.

Which welding process is right for you?

The most common welding processes are Stick, MIG, Flux-Cored, and TIG.

Stick welding

•    Well-suited for windy and outdoor conditions
•    More forgiving for welding dirty or rusty metals
•    Works well on thicker materials 
•    Can burn through on thinner metals

MIG welding

•    Easiest process to learn
•    High welding speeds 
•    Better control on thin metals
•    Cleaner welds possible with no slag 
•    Requires a shielding gas
•    Same equipment can be used for flux-cored welding

Flux-cored welding

•    Works as well as stick-on dirty or rusty material
•    Good for out-of-position welds
•    Offers deep penetration for thick materials
•    Higher deposition rates than stick 
•    No shielding gas needed for self-shielded flux-cored welding

TIG welding

•    More difficult process to learn 
•    Can achieve high-quality, precise welds
•    Highly aesthetic weld beads
•    Can adjust heat input while welding with foot control
•    Requires a shielding gas

What is your welding project?

Farm equipment breakdowns and repairs are inconveniences that can also be expensive. You need the right welder for the job — so you can make the repair quickly and get back to work.

Identify the projects and materials you will weld most often. Basic welding repairs on farm equipment may require a different machine than creating metal sculptures or restoring a car in your home garage, for example. 

Welding inside the shop?

Are you rebuilding a broken trailer hitch with mild steel inside your shop? MIG welding is a good option for this repair. And because most MIG welders also allow you to flux-cored weld, these machines are a flexible solution for tackling indoor and outdoor projects.

Welding a project outside?

Are you fixing a gate or completing an outdoor project where you need to take the welder to the work? Outdoor welding jobs are often better suited to stick or self-shielded flux-cored welding since these processes don’t require a shielding gas.