How to Choose a Stick Welder — Baker's Gas & Welding Supplies, Inc. Skip to content
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How to Choose a Stick Welder

Stick welders have provided a simple, low cost, and highly reliable way to create strong welders on a wide variety of materials in just about any condition. Entry level units such as the Lincoln 255 AC have remained virtually untouched for decades because they have provided a cost effective way to weld metals, even if the AC power supply can be limiting for certain applications. 
Who Should Buy a Stick Welder?
  • Farmers
  • Home Welders
  • Manufacturing Workers
  • Infrastructure Workers
  • Pipe Welders

Farmers and many industrial and infrastructure applications use stick welding because it's very portable and the welder only needs to switch the electrode in order to match the metal, joint size, and position of his weld. The electrode contains flux which melts into the weld puddle and rises to the top as it dries in order to provide a protective layer along the top of the weld.

Stick welding is used when the weld's appearance is not critically important, and therefore it's not suitable for automobile body work, art, and metal for public spaces such as a decorative fence. In fact, stick welding is the process you'd choose if you needed to weld a piece of rusty metal that you don't want to clean off completely.

What's Unique to a Stick Welder?

The unique features you want in a stick welder will depend on the kind of work you do. If you want to have the greatest amount of versatility and excellent control of your arc, then a machine that includes DC power will run better than a basic AC power welder. However, the selling point of stick welders is their simplicity and versatility. They don't need a lot of features in order to accomplish quite a bit in the welding shop or out on the job.

Perhaps the best feature in a stick welder is the ability to switch electrodes in order to adapt to the position or the type of metal you're working on. Stick welders don't require any shielding gas, but on the flip side you'll need to spend time removing the flux from your finished welds.

Features to Look for in a Stick Welder

The most popular feature in stick welders according to many users is the DC power option. While AC will be sufficient for many welding projects, DC runs smoother. The difference is significant enough that welders who have DC as an option rarely ever use AC power. As with any welder, you'll need to make sure your unit has enough power to complete the jobs you have and that you have a power outlet that can handle the voltage of your machine.

The Necessity of a DC Welder
The average home welder doesn't need a DC Welder. However DIY'ers can accomplish a lot with an AC machine, provided it's used with the right rod. However, most electrodes run better on DC when compared to AC, and almost everyone uses a DC welder if given the option. Also, some rods for special purpose welding will only run on DC. AC machines have handled many large and small projects over the years, so you can certainly do quite a lot without the DC option. If you have to choose between an AC machine and an AC/DC one, you will have more options with the AC/DC machine. If price is a big issue, then you can get welding just fine with an AC welder. 
Popular Stick Welders at Bakers

Stick welders come in a wide variety of models that include: a simple AC machine, machines with AC/DC power, and stick/TIG combination units. Since there are so many options to choose from, we've included some of the most popular stick welders from the Baker's online store with one example ofeach unit. Sales numbers and unit popularity will vary from year to year, but each unit listed below has been tested and approved by hard-working welders.

Lincoln AC 225 Long-Life Smooth Arc Welder

This simple and reliable machine is one of the best-selling welders in the history of Lincoln Electric. Welders rave about this unit's portability and ease of use. It's power output at 225 amp AC output is enough for 3/16" (4.8mm) diameter general purpose mild steel electrodes and 5/32" (4.0mm) sizes of other electrodes. The unit comes with a standard electrode holder and cable as well as a work clamp. This is a great entry level welder, but some welders prefer to buy a unit that offers the DC power option for cleaner welds.
Miller Thunderbolt 210 DC Stick Welder

This Miller model is another highly recommended welder in many welding forums. The Thunderbolt 210 is nearly 100 pounds lighter than previous models and comes complete with shoulder strap and cable pouch. It features Hot Start technology for quick and reliable arc starts. The 210 also has infinite amperage control. Best-of-class dependable, portable, powerful stick welder.

Stick Combination Welder: Miller Maxstar 161 S

If you want to have a little more versatility in your welding shop, especially if you plan on creating neat and clean weld joints, consider purchasing a stick/TIG combination welder. TUG is a far more specialized process that requires more practice and preparation, but if the appearance of your weld is important for some of your jobs, then the addition of a TIG welder will be a tremendous asset.

Why Purchase a Stick Welder at Baker's?

Baker's Gas and Welding offers free shipping on many welders and competitive prices on the leading brands such as Miller, Lincoln, and ESAB. While beginners uncertain about how much welding they plan to do can usually find a suitable used welder, those interested in a long-term investment will find extensive research, manuals, and article links on the product pages. Browse stick welders at Baker's Gas and Welding.