Some people don’t need an excuse to go out and buy a new tool. Others can’t justify it until there’s a project large enough to warrant it. Either way, purchasing your own welder is a tricky matter that may not strike every handy man or handy woman as an obvious choice. Does it make sense to buy your own welder?
There are some very good reasons to consider purchasing a welder instead of renting one or paying for welding at a local shop. One of the most common reasons why someone buys a welder goes something like this…
- Part of a car, tool, or frequently used metal product breaks.
- The broken metal product is taken to a local welding shop.
- The local welding shop quotes a high price because they’d rather not bother with the repair.
- The owner of the car, tool, or other product is shocked by the price.
- The owner of the car, tool, or other product begins exploring a DIY solution by purchasing a welder.
While saving money for the long term is a major factor behind purchasing a welder, many welders share that they simply enjoy the work of creating something. In fact, they far prefer making their own shelves simply because they can customize them to meet their needs precisely. In addition, if something breaks, they are self-sufficient enough to fix it without having to wait for anyone else.
Here are some things to consider about purchasing a welder:
When to Buy a Welder for Personal Use
Welders are commonly used at home for car repair and restoration. However, once a welding machine is brought into the garage, it’s not hard to find other uses for it. Over time, a welder may come in handy for fixing a metal fence or a weak joint on a metal table.
In addition, a welder can be used to make practical, everyday products such as shelves, fire pits, or book ends. While a major project may act as a tipping point in purchasing a welder, men and women who enjoy working with their hands will find a worthwhile investment in a welder.
When to Buy a Welder for Business Use
The struggle for many businesses when considering the purchase of a welder involves a cost-benefit analysis of renting a welder or hiring another company instead of owning a welder. They must consider whether they spend enough time on task in order to warrant a welder, as well as the potential savings of learning to efficiently use a welder if it’s on site.
Advantages of Owning a Welder
Besides potential savings, the joy of creating, self-sufficiency, and the increased efficiency that owning a welder offers, it can also open new doors and opportunities. Welding is a valuable skill, and remember, we began by talking about the high cost of minor repairs at a welding shop.
Once word gets out that there’s a competent welder in the neighborhood, welding could become a viable side business for those working out of their garages. If a small business adds welding to its list of services, new customers and projects may start coming in. During a slow economy, diversifying may be the best way for some businesses to survive.
What Kind of Welder Should I Buy?
There are many questions to ask prior to purchasing a welder. Here are a few to consider:
- What kind of welding work do you have in mind?
- Could you see yourself doing other projects in 6-12 months?
- Do you have the patience, desire, and ability to learn a complicated welding process?
- Are you looking for a quick and easy welding technique?
- What price range can you afford?
- Do you plan to weld only in the garage or will you work outside? Will you travel with it?
- Are you able to support 220V power?
- How often will you use your welder?
- What kinds of materials do you plan on welding?
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of people who weld. Some welders have a very narrow range of goals—namely welding thin, simple metals quickly without too spending too much time learning welding techniques. They’ll read the manual and watch a few tutorials, but then they’re ready to get their small jobs done.
In these cases a MIG welder in the 110 to 115v range is typically sufficient (see Miller’s Selection Guide).
However, there are other welders who find that once they take a 110v welder home, they soon find thick metal to weld and a 110v can’t join it effectively. In addition, some welders find the lower voltage units harder to work with and they feel constrained by the lack of versatility.
Welders who want to work with a wider range of materials will want a higher powered unit such as a 175v to 251v MIG welder or a 220v stick welder. However, the higher powered models also need a proper power supply that can handle the higher voltage, which can add to the overall cost.
Cost, portability, and materials will all be important factors in determining when and what to buy for a welder. However, don’t forget that a welder offers convenience, satisfaction, and new opportunities. There is far more to consider when looking at welder than the price tag.
A welder is life-long investment that can pay off in more ways than a checking account balance.