There are not many complete welding kits available for beginners that include everything you need to start welding. Many of the welders available do include filler wire and welding mask, but most of the time the wire is not very high quality and the welding mask is just enough to strike an arc a few times, nothing more.
Usually, with pre-made kits or packages, the price is also way off if you digest the real value of each product individually. So I decided to put together 4 different lists or packages of equipment from which you can choose depending on what you see the fittest. The lists differ from each other in terms of price and the type of machine or welding method is used.
I really hope that this post helps and pushes you to buy your first welder.
MIG welding kit for beginners – The easiest to get quality welds
MIG or Metal inert gas welding is the easiest way to get started with welding. It is a bit more expensive than flux core and stick welding, but this method will narrow down your learning curve a lot. Within a few days of practicing you can lay down quality beads that are sufficient enough to carry a large amount of weight and last for decades. MIG is really an all-around method and it is suitable for home and farm use. It is also clean enough to use in a shop or garage to weld for example bicycle frames or to weld thin metal and body panels or even create metal art – sculptures and whatnot.
MIG machines, as I already mentioned are a bit more expensive than some other welders, but this kit ensures you get great equipment at a fair price, so you do not have to worry about making a wrong decision. Everything in this list is optimal, picked so your decision would be as practical as possible.
The welder – Everlast 140E
Everlast is one of the upcoming names in the world of welding. The items are not manufactured in the US, but Everlast is working hard to offer competition to premium welder brands at half the price.
This particular model runs at the household power supply, needing at least 20 amp breakers or electricity networks. The maximum output is 140 amps and it can tackle materials up to 3/8 of an inch. I believe it is probably more than enough for a beginner welder. The duty cycle is good as well, thanks to the inverter technology – 60% at 90 amps and 100% at 70 amps.
This means that at 90 amps you can weld 6 minutes nonstop before the welder needs to cool down for 4 minutes. It is really impressive duty cycle I have to say.
I really like the overall built of the I-mig140E and the effort they have put into it. The machine is filled with a number of impressive features, there are too many to list them all, but I will bring out the most notable ones.
- 140E weighs only 25 lbs. I believe that there is not one machine that has equal features and overall quality that is equally light
- It has inverter technology, and it is more of a rare thing at this price point. Most of the welders use transformers, even some of the premium welders. Because of the inverter, the machine is more economical, it has a better duty cycle and is lighter in weight.
- Infinite setting control – Another thing that many of the premium machines do not have. Most welders have stepped control, limiting the settings and fine-tuning the welder to perfection.
- Spool-gun ready and able to switch between MIG and FCAW. Remarkable to say the least. Spool gun compatible means it is possible to weld aluminum with this machine.
- It even has a cast aluminum drive roll system – that is fairly rare in welders at this price point. They also include all the hoses and a flow meter. Flowmeter alone costs around 30-40 bucks.
I have to say that this welder should be a no brainer to anyone reading this article. It is hard to beat something like that. And this brings me to a warranty. If I am correct all Everlast offers a 3 or 5-year warranty to most of their products, this certainly will give you peace of mind.
Yeswelder Welding helmet
From welding helmets, I would recommend you pick YESWELDER linked below. This is another piece of equipment in the list that offers premium features at a really competitive price. I have heard a lot of great things about this particular model, and considering the price, it is a steal.
From the features side, it really has a lot to bring to the table.
- It has a super large welding lens that gives you a good viewing area over your workpiece. If you are welding as a hobbyist at home, this gives you a huge advantage not to only see your weld, but to also see the workspace around you. You might have kids wondering around while you weld, so spotting them with a helmet helps to keep everyone safe.
- Besides the huge lens size, it is also a true color one. True color lenses are really a premium thing. Those of you who have welded for a while know it is a thing to appreciate. I bet really the lens alone is worth more than the whole helmet if bought separately.
- Furthermore, it also has a grinding mode. This makes it more convenient as it is possible to grind the welds and cut the base metals with an angle grinder with the welding hood on. Saves a ton of time and few bucks on safety goggles.
Just a few years ago, features like that were unheard of in this price range. What’s even better is the fact that the hood comes with a storage bag, replacement lens, and replacement battery. All of this makes this helmet extraordinarily good deal.
Without welding gloves, it is almost impossible to start your journey. You might wonder why can’t you use regular gloves. The reason is simple, you are working with extremely high temperatures and due to that, regular gloves would warp. More than likely, within a few minutes you would get severe burns on your hands caused by welding spatter. Believe me, molten metal burning a hole in your hand, combined with liquefied synthetic plastic is not a good feeling.
Talking about proper gloves, these by WZQH are more than enough to do the job. Why I would recommend these is the fact that they are cheap, they have Kevlar stitches and they are made out of cowhide. As a beginner, cowhide is a practical way to go. They are a bit more bulky than Kevlar or ones made out of deerskin, but they are cheap and protect your arms really well.
Premium MIG Welding Kit – If you are looking for quality gear
The previous kit was put together with practicality in mind – to get you started at a reasonable price point. Whereas the last list covers nothing more or less you need to have, this one here goes little beyond that. Here we include bit of mid-premium or premium equipment to make your experience as a beginner welder a lot better. So if you have some bucks to spend, this list here would be a great way to go.
The welder – Miller Multimatic 215
Miller is really well-established brand on the market known for its innovative features and superb quality. Now, this is an expensive welder but there is a reason for that. It packs a ton of good stuff so more than likely you would never outgrow this machine, and because of the overall quality, it will last for generations. It is definitely a good investment that will pay off in the long run. I have a full review of the Multimatic 215 here, if you want, check it out. I will do my best to keep it short here and outline only the best and most notable features it has to offer.
I think it is safe to say that Multimatic 215 is the most versatile welder that any home welder can buy. The features and simplicity are just extraordinary. I even do not know where to start.
- It is capable of doing MIG, TIG, FCAW and stick welding. All in one machine. And not only that, it is a dual voltage machine. In other words, you can use it in a 120-volt system as well as a 240-volt system. This makes the machine way more portable and versatile. Furthermore, for hobbyists, it means that if you only have the 120-volt system at your home, but you wish to upgrade in the future to tackle bigger projects, you do not need to buy a new welding machine. It is also possible, thanks to inverter technology to use it with a generator, making it even more versatile.
- Another feature making it stand out is the multi-voltage plug that is capable of recognizing in which outlet it is currently plugged in. This makes it really fast and easy to use between different locations. Talking about speed, it features quick select drive rolls. Another great feature to make life easier to switch between wire types and thicknesses. For example between .030 and .035.
- What makes it super convenient is the auto-set feature and automatic spool gun detection. The machine automatically calculates and applies recommended settings after you pick the welding method, gas mixture you are using, filler wire diameter and the thickness of the material to be welded. The current settings are displayed in a front LED panel, making it super easy to understand and to get started.
I could go on for a long time because the machine really is one of a kind packing tons and tons of features but I promised to keep it simple.
Welding helmet – Lincoln Viking 3350
With a premium machine, you probably should not save money on the welding helmet to save a few bucks, at the end of the day, it helps to enhance your experience even more. We do not look at super premium helmets here, but the least you could buy is Lincoln Viking 3350.
This is one of the most comfortable and best welding hoods available on the market. It is a little bit heavier than some helmets, but I believe it makes it up on the durability side. As a hobbyist, your helmet will get some damage but I am sure Viking 3350 has more potential to withstand it than other premium hoods.
As a huge plus, it features one of a kind headgear and true color lens that is huge. What’s more, it has the highest optical clarity rating, making it a breeze to use. Considering the price, I am confident that it is worth every penny.
From the welding gloves side, since you are more than likely starting out with MIG or stick welding on that machine, I would recommend the same gloves as I mentioned earlier. They are durable and good enough to work with any welder. Once you move up to TIG welding, you should probably take a look at some of the more compact and smaller welding gloves since TIG is more delicate.
Stick Welding Kit – reasonable package if you are into stick welding
If you are into stick welding, there are a lot of great options available. Most of the times stick welders are really cheap as well, with few exceptions. Nevertheless, I would recommend starting out with MIG welding as a beginner, but if you wish you can also start out with arc welding.
Arc welding is a bit more tricky to get a hold of, but it has its own pros as we have already discussed.
The welder – Amico ARC-160D
Why I would recommend Amico you might ask. I believe it is really reliable and cheap welder with a nice amount of power to tackle your welding projects. It is also a dual-voltage machine with inverter technology, making it possible to work almost anywhere, even with generators.
From the features side, it has steeples control helping you to fine-tune the voltage. A huge plus for novices, or even to professionals for that matter is hot start and anti-sticking. This makes striking an arc quite a bit easier. It is also capable of compensating the voltage fluctuation, thus your beads will be more uniform.
Amico has also put some effort into it to make it last for long time. Namely, it has overload protection as well as under and over-voltage protection. To keep the machine cool while welding, it has smart fan control that operates when needed.
The maximum it can produce is 160 amps and rated at 60% duty cycle. I would not expect it to run as a premium machine that is 2-3 times more powerful but it can get the job done without any hassle.
With welding helmets, I think that the YESWELDER one I mentioned in the beginning of the article will do the job. For those of you who did not know it is also suitable for stick welding. If you want to save a few bucks then my next recommendation would be the Antra AH6-260.
It is a bit cheaper helmet with a smaller lens, but it still has similar features, including grinding mode. It does not, however, have a true color lens. For some, it might be a deal-breaker. For beginners who are on a tight budget, it will do the job nevertheless. Antra is a cheap and sturdy option so you do not have to worry about breaking it.
As I said, welding gloves are important, but they are cheap compared to welders. So I would recommend the same ones I mentioned at the beginning of the post. As a beginner, the material of the glove is more important than the glove itself. Again if you are on the budget, you can pick the cheapest ones from Amazon, but they should be made out of cowhide because it is more durable.
Here’s the cheapest pair: https://amzn.to/2UooXYm
Flux core welding kit – Economical way to get started with wire feed welding
Flux core machine is another cheap way to get started with welding. It is not my favorite method, but in my preferred methods list for beginners, it would go between MIG and stick welding. That because it is still way easier to master than stick welding in my opinion due to the wire feeding mechanism. On the other hand, it is still messier than MIG welding.
The welder – Forney Easy Weld 261
The Forney 140FC-I is an incredible small flux welder at a cheap price in my opinion. Unlike many other machines in that price range, this welder actually has some good features. I have a full review of the Easy Weld 261 here if you are interested.
- One of the rarest things is that 261 has infinite setting control knobs. Usually, many small wire welders like this have tapped control knobs or even switches. Steeples control gives you the ability to fine-tune your settings on the go and many welders prefer it.
- It is capable of producing 140 amps and it is enough to marry metals up to 1/4 inch if you have some skill. One thing I have to bring out that a number of wire feeders at this price range are not capable to work at the same amp range as Forney is. I believe that you can use it from 30 up to 140 amps that give you a wide variety of thicknesses to work on. Whereas machines priced at the same level can work only between 80-90 amps.
- The design is awesome as well. It is light in weight, only 19 LBS and it is sturdy. The only downside which many welders hate is the plastic drive roll system. It tends to wear down and break, unlike cast aluminum drive-rolls. I have a welder with the plastic wire drive system and it has lasted well over a decade so I can say it will last if you take good care of it.
With 12 months of warranty, I think that this little booger has some great features, and when you look at the price tag you really can not complain at all. This is one of my favorite welders to recommend to beginners at a tight budget.
Depending on the budget, both the Antra and YESWELDER will do in this case. It is up to you, depending on your budget which one you choose. I would recommend the YESWELDER because it has such remarkable features and it would make it welding much more pleasant experience for you.
Same thing here. You can pick the cheapest pair from Amazon. It does not make much difference. I can not stress this enough, but at the beginning, it is important to keep you safe from the spatter, so I would advise you to pick up a pair made out of cowhide.
Forney Easy Weld 100st Start-up package
This is the only ready-made welding kit available in Amazon. I believe that it is a neat little package for you if you are completely new to welding and do not know a thing about it, meaning that you do not have enough time on your hands to read this article and do some research. I believe that for a little bit of extra money, it is possible to buy kit way better than this. Not that something is wrong with it, but just because of the machine you will limit the variety of projects you can work on.
The welder – Forney Easy Weld 100 ST
The welder surely is capable of bonding metals no doubt about that. My concern is the output of the machine. It is only 90 amps with a 30% duty cycle at 80 amperages. It is possible to weld from 16 Ga up to 1/4 thick mild steel with it, but it will require some skill and practice to weld that thick or thin material with it.
The good thing is that it is light machine burning electrodes with DC current. That again limits the capabilities a bit, but for the price, it is not something to complain about. Most of the time welders do not use AC anyway.
One more thing that sticks out to me is that it is TIG compatible, however, it does not include the TIG kit and I think that is safe to say that it is not cheap to buy as an extra. It is possible, however, to delicate TIG jobs on mild steel and stainless steel with this TIG.
There is not much info about the helmet available, and I have not bought the welder myself. It would not be a wise decision in terms of finances for me. But as I can see from the picture, it surely is an auto-darkening one. It is definitely better than the hand-held ones they usually include with the machines.
I would not expect it to have grinding mode though because it is a fairly cheap kit overall.
Besides the electrodes, chipping hammer, wire brush and grinding disc they include two pairs of leather gloves. Again I do not have enough info to comment on those, but I am sure they are good enough to start welding in no time.
I believe one pair, the black ones, are more suitable for MIG and the yellow ones are more suitable for TIG welding. Proper welding gloves are not that expensive and I would not worry about that much.
Overall this kit seems like a decent deal to me.
Which of these is the best welding kit for beginners?
Because there are quite a few options in this list, you still might have a question which of these would be the best welding kit for beginners. It is a fair question, but it is difficult to answer because I do not know your budget or what exactly are you looking to accomplish with your welder. If I had to recommend a friend, I would pick the first one. The reason is very simple, I am not a fan of stick welding, especially if you are a beginner trying to learn a new skill.
At the end of the day, it is up to you. Stick welding has its own pros. For example, if you need to do repairs at the farm, working with thick, painted rusty materials. Stick welding for that is much more forgiving. Furthermore, if you need to weld outdoors, then I would definitely recommend stick welding or flux-cored welding. Regular shielding gas just does not fill its purpose when it is even a bit windy.
Extra equipment to consider buying
- Proper welding wire. Almost all of the welders, when bought include a spool of welding wire, but a lot of times it is not very high quality. So unless your welder comes with a spool of Hobart or Lincoln welding wire, you should pick up a spool. Believe me, it will save you from a lot of agonies. Weld quality depends a lot on the wire you are using. I have two posts about it. If you need a flux-cored wire check this post. If you need regular filler wire, check out this one.
- Electrodes are not usually included with stick welders. The Forney welding kit is an exception in this case. Nevertheless, if you need some good electrodes that are suitable for beginners, check out these from Amazon.
- Welding sleeves or a jacket. Keeping you safe from the sparks and spatter is a must! To keep your arms safe, the least you can do is pick up a pair of welding sleeves. If you have some more to spend, a welding jacket would be an even better opinion. If you need some, check out the Tools & Safety category, I have a buying guide about both.
- Nozzle gel! If you are doing stick or TIG welding you can skip this part. If you are doing MIG or FCAW then I highly recommend you pick up a can of nozzle gel as well. I have a whole post about nozzle gel and its importance here. To explain why it is necessary, it helps to keep away spatter buildup from your contact tip and your nozzle. It helps you save on both, a lot in the long run.
Welding kits frequently asked questions
It is subjective actually depending on the welding method that you choose. If you want to do MIG welding, then the best welder would be Everlast 140E in my opinion. It has a lot of great features and it does not cost a fortune.
The easiest way to start learning the art of welding is just by watching a few videos and start practicing. An ounce of practice is better than ton of theory in welding. Along the way, small steps at a time, you will learn a ton of new things.
Within a few weeks or even days of practice, I am certain that you can lay down some great beads.
The cost of a welding kit depends on a lot of different factors. The cheaper kits start at 300 bucks and they can go up to a few thousand dollars. It all depends on what you are looking for.
The best cheap welder to buy in my opinion would be the Everlast 140E MIG or Forney Easy Weld 261 flux core welder. They both pack a ton of features and are priced fairly cheap compared to other similar machines.
You can use MIG to weld aluminum only if it has spool gun. Aluminum wire is very soft and due to that, it can not be fed through regular MIG gun liner.
One of the best and easiest methods to bond metals that pop into my mind would be soldering. The other method would be brazing. When we compare the two, soldering is definitely easier to do, but it also creates a weaker bond between metals.
Brazing, on the other hand, is a lot trickier process to master and I would prefer regular welding over brazing most of the time.
To sum it all up, picking the right welding kit whether you are a beginner or not is not an easy task. The market is filled with great products and due to that, it is really difficult to make an adequate decision to get the most bang for your buck. I tried to create the list in a way so anyone reading this would find the value out of it. It does not matter if you are into MIG, stick or FCAW welding, with a high or low budget, I believe the list has something for everyone.
I hope this article helped you with choosing the right welding equipment!