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What good cheap stick welders are out there these days? My MIG died, and I dont have the cash to get a good one that can handle thicker steel sizes, so Im looking to get a cheap stick. Any of the new dirt cheap ARC welders any good for home use? Ive been looking for the old used ones that used to be everywhere around.. but I havent seen any local in ages.
 

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The Harbor Freight ones do work and have been getting better. Everlast makes several good arc/tig & arc/mig combos.
 

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How about this? It's only DC, but that has always been more desireable anyway.


Edit to add:

Another option, like the HF mid-range model above, this is stick only. However, I have the multi-process Klutch brand welder bought a few years ago before the price hike and it does a real good job with mig and stick welding (have yet to test out the Tig).


To be honest, if you can wait a bit and save up, you'd be money ahead, IMHO, if you get the Vulcan OMNI Pro multiprocess welder. Spec's wise is it similar to the Klutch multiprocess welder I bought with the added advantage of being able to use a pedal when Tigi'ing. Had I not already bought the Klutch before the Vulcan came out, I would have bought the Vulcan. I do like the Everlast's that Flaken mentions, but they are pricey for hobby use. But they have some really sweet multiprocess welders (DC and AC so you can Tig aluminum), IMHO.
 

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I see several used Lincoln Tombstone AC 225 welders,and various other old arc welders on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist almost daily here,prices ranging from $50 to $200+...they can still be bought new at Lowes and Home Depot for about $300,they went up from $250 not that long ago...older units have full copper wound transformers and work better and last longer though..

I now have 3 arc welders,paid $75 for the first one I had,an old Miller monster on wheels that weighs about 200 lbs--had it since 1997 or so,it finally developed an issue,I think the on-off switch is shorted ,it just trips the breaker instantly...

..then I saw an Airco "Bumble-Bee" 225 amp AC one a few miles away on craigslist ,bought it for $50--its a lot smaller than most welders,about the size of two desk top computers --I've used it a lot..

Then one day I saw a Dayton AC-DC welder for $50 5 miles away--since I like DC better for welding thinner metal and its easier arc to strike,I bought that one too,and now use that one on DC most of the time..
AC works ok,but DC is much easier to weld with and strike an arc , being able to reverse the polarity helps a lot when welding thin stuff..it only goes up to 130 amps on DC,but it penetrates deeper than a AC will on 225 amps..

I also have a Lincoln DC gas powered welder,that I paid $125 for,too much in a way,it had an Onan with a stuck valve ,wasnt running when I got it--I got the valve freed up,but it smokes like a tire fire on one cylinder and sounds like it has a loose rod,so I never used it much--but its nice to be able to use it anywhere without needing a 220V outlet..probably going to sell that one "as-is"..hogs a lot of space and I doubt I'll ever fix it..

One welder I should have passed on buying for $30 was a Harbor Freight (Chicago Electric) "flux core" welder...its an AC arc welder with wire feed,NOT a "MIG" like they lead you to believe..it works,but I can do much better with the 220V arc welders and the right rods...they now sell a "Titanium" DC wire feed welder that is much better,for not much more money,and I think it can be converted to a MIG,and run on both 110V and 220V ...

I see a lot more stuff on sale on Facebook Marketplace here than Craigslist lately,I think Craigslist is dying off quite a bit..
 

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Also,
they are made in Canada, with very high quality materials
I have to say, based on the price and the features, at best it is partially assembled in Canada. And if it does have high quality components inside, that means there is even less assembly in Canada...
 

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I was in Lowe's yesterday,was shocked to see they had new Lincoln "Tombstone" welders ,the price was $385 !..and their website says "hurry!--short supply!"...
Just last year,they were selling for $259..

I'd never pay that much for an AC only arc welder--not when I see many used older ones with the better all copper transformer windings..

This makes me wonder if arc welders are being phased out in favor of flux core or MIG welders,or maybe it is just Lowe's that plans on not carrying them any more..perhaps Harbor Frieght is taking a lot of their business away as far as welders & tools too,now that we have a store just a mile down the road from Lowe's..
 

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I was in Lowe's yesterday,was shocked to see they had new Lincoln "Tombstone" welders ,the price was $385 !..and their website says "hurry!--short supply!"...
Just last year,they were selling for $259..

I'd never pay that much for an AC only arc welder--not when I see many used older ones with the better all copper transformer windings..

This makes me wonder if arc welders are being phased out in favor of flux core or MIG welders,or maybe it is just Lowe's that plans on not carrying them any more..perhaps Harbor Frieght is taking a lot of their business away as far as welders & tools too,now that we have a store just a mile down the road from Lowe's..
I think it may be because you can get a multiprocess welder for less than $1K that welds pretty well and with the inverter technology they don't take up as much space. JMHO. I actually bought the welder I did because I was looking to replace my 120V mig with something with more power and for about the same price as the mig only I was looking at, at a "cost" of losing 30 amps (I was looking at upgrading to the Eastwood 250 amp mig they had, the one I bought has a max of 220 amps) with the option of being able to do some occasional tig'ing. My dad gave me a pretty decent, late '80's vintage Craftsman AC/DC stick welder that he bought new and didn't use as much as he thought he would. The fact that the little Klutch multiprocess welder I bought stick welded 7018 as well as the Miller units we used in the welding class I took in the late '90's was icing on the cake.
 

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Hard to beat an old buzz box for cheap reliability.
I think if I spend any money on another welder it's going to be gas powered, but that's just me and my situation.
 
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