Stick welding is a popular welding process used by both professionals and amateurs alike. This process is quite simple to learn and doesn’t require any shielding gas. One can use this welding process on a variety of materials. Stick welders are easier to use and more portable than some of the other welders out there. You can use these welders on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals alike. Stick welding is basically a shielded metal arc welding used for many home use, farm-based, or industrial welding applications. This process uses either AC or DC power for melting the electrode into the parent metal. DC current is preferred for stick welders as it provides smooth and stable arcs, easier starts, fewer arc outages, less spatter, and easier overhead welding.
If you want an affordable stick welder with great qualities, we have gathered here the Best Stick Welder under 500 available in the market. Here, we have picked our favorite welders and listed them down for you. Let’s have a look at them….
Best Stick Welder under 500 Reviews in 2021
1. Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i
The Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i is dependable, portable, and a powerful stick welder. This stick welder is easy to use, quick and has a reliable arc that starts with hot start technology. When compared to other leading stick welders, the Hobart 500570 is lightweight making it a great competitive machine. You can always depend on this durable welding machine. You can use it every day is a very dependable device.
This stick welder runs on 120V or 240V allowing people to use this welder without requiring a large electrical service. You can weld 3/8ʺ thick materials with an amperage range of 20 – 160 amps. This welder allows you to weld in different environments having a 10ft. cable leads with a 6.5ft power cord. It has DC output that means fewer arc outages, less sticking, less spatter, and best arc control.
The Hobart 500570 Stickmate 160i has an electrode cable with a heavy-duty holder and MVP adapters. It is made of stainless steel with a 30% duty cycle and allowing connection to 120V or 240V receptacles without additional tools. As it is a dependable machine, it can be used by both professionals and beginners. Every time you turn this machine on, you can weld a variety of materials with ease.
- Lightweight and portable machine
- DC current
- Reliable and dependable machine
- Hot start technology
- Quick and reliable arc
- Rare duty cycle issues
2. Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder
Another masterpiece from this manufacturer, the Easy Weld 298 is an extremely lightweight and portable machine that you can take wherever you need to weld. It is simple-to-use equipment that ensures a stress-free operation while delivering great results. Packed with great innovative features, this stick welder is designed to deliver a 120V input. It is ready-to-use equipment out of the box and also supports TIG welding.
Forney Easy Weld 298 has both stick and TIG welding capabilities offering you great welding versatility. It can handle a variety of metals so you have vast welding options. This unit also has a lot of filler metals allowing you to meet the demands of the various weld parameters. You can switch between modes with a simple flip of a switch. Its easy start technology makes every arc strike a breeze.
This Stick welder also features an inverter system that eliminates the need for compressed gas. It also allows you to function efficiently in extreme environments, unlike many other welding machines. It gives you the opportunity to weld from different positions as well as from long distances. This stick welder also has an extended 6-feet cord to improve flexibility in the work area. You can use it for both indoor and outdoor activities at your convenience.
- Versatile equipment
- No need for compressed gas
- Extended 6-feet cord
- Inverter system
- Hassle-free operations
- Not suitable for heavy-duty applications
3. Amico Professional Welding Machine ARC-200
The Amico Arc-200 is a Stick Arc welding machine having an industrial-level design. It is made compatible with all the electrodes and has an excellent Lift-TIG arc welding function. You can comfortably weld thin stainless steel and various other metals with this stick welder. This machine uses advanced inverter technology and provides a strong, more concentrated, and stable arc. It meets your custom welding needs by the adjustable arc force settings.
Amico Professional Welding Machine ARC-200 also features an automatic selection feature that detects input voltage automatically. It also allows you to switch between 100V-250V/50Hz-60Hz input powers. You can use almost all of the voltages and frequencies. Its dual voltage setup with a 5-200 DC amperage range allows you to weld up to 1/2ʺ thick materials. This machine incorporates advanced IGBT inverter technology with superior arc characteristics and also provides extra arc stability.
The level of protection the ARC-200 welding machine offers is unparalleled to many other stick welders. Some of its protection features are automatic compensation for voltage fluctuation, over-voltage protection, under-voltage protection, and over-current and overload protection. All these protections ensure that you can plug this welder into any power source without any worry of damaged equipment. Some other built-in functions of the ARC-200 are hot start functionality, anti-stick function, thrust adjustment, and current intensity control.
- Professional features
- Best for industrial usage
- Impressive duty cycle
- Advance IGBT Invert Technology
- Great protection mechanism
- Low warranty for an industrial welder
4. LINCOLN Electric CO K1170 AC225
This stick welder is amongst the best-selling units making it one of the best stick welders under $500. It produces incredibly smooth AC arcs and has the ability to weld various metals including stainless steel, cast iron, nickel, bronze, and copper. You can easily work on 16-gauge metals using this welding machine. It provides an ideal option for beginners with its various easy operation features.
LINCOLN Electric CO K1170 is an extremely versatile machine that can be used for a large range of jobs. One can use it for household, farm, workshop, light fabrication, automotive, and repair jobs. The CO 1170 is a transformer-based stick welder that is robust and ideal for heavy-duty tasks. This welder generates a stable and smooth arc with enough power to weld metals up to 1/2ʺ thick on a single pass.
The AC polarity of this stick welder allows you to weld a variety of metals from carbon, aluminum, and steel alloys. This machine also has an amp selector to set the welding current quickly and ensuring high precision with uniformity. It has a 20% duty cycle which isn’t the highest but it will prevent any overheating risks. With a 40 – 250A amperage range, you can handle most of your welding tasks with ease.
- Smooth arc
- Highly affordable product
- Easy to use
- Weld variety of metals
- High precision and uniformity
- Knob for amp setting needs improvement
5. Everlast PowerArc 2020 140ST Stick Welder
The PowerArc 2020 140ST is the ultimate for you if you are looking for maximum performance and flexibility in a stick welder. It provides the required utility with great results. This welder uses only DC current and features an IGBT inverter, hot-start technology, auto adaptive arc force, and improved welding capability in hard to weld areas. This IGBT inverter welder features both Stick and DC lift TIG capabilities.
Everlast PowerArc 2020 140ST welder comes with its own carry case assuring maximum portability. Some other things included are the Stick torch with cable, DINSE style connector, gas valve, TIG torch, and the work clamp. Being a dual voltage machine, you can use a 120V or 240V power supply making it a versatile stick welder. You can take this welder anywhere you have a reliable power source.
This welder features both auto-adaptive hot start and auto-adaptive arc force control in stick mode. It also works well in situations where rod sticking can be an issue. There is a digital display allowing you to accurately set this welder anywhere from 10 to 140 amps. It offers a 35% duty cycle by providing a better welding experience. If you want to use it for TIG, you need to add a separate gas regulator for it.
- Dual voltage capable
- DC TIG capable
- 35% duty cycle
- Carry case included
- Auto adaptive hot start
- TIG components are not included
6. Amico ARC-160D IGBT Inverter DC Welder
Amico ARC-160D is a professional welding machine built using the latest IGBT inverter technology. The ARC-160D is one of the best stick welders under $500 available in the market. It is a fairly unique, affordable, functional, and portable stick welder available to you. It is a solid-built welder offering a smooth and efficient operation. Its welding power source provides a stronger, concentrated, and stable arc. It is a great friend to have for both amateur and professional welders.
This welding machine has an inverter design that brings many benefits to the table regarding size, efficiency, stability, and cost. Inverter welders are superior to regular welders as they can weld twice as much at the same time. By virtue of the IGBT technology, this stick welder consumes less power, ultimately saving energy. It also has an LED meter that displays all the performance metrics of your welding machine.
The Amico ARC-160D has some great safety features for keeping you safe during the process of welding. For instance, there is voltage protection to protect your machine against over-voltage and under-voltage, therefore improving the overall lifespan of your welder. The “Smart Fun” feature keeps the welding machine under optimum temperatures for maximum performance. All these safety features combining with performance capabilities make this welding machine a complete package.
- Ready to use out of the box
- Versatile welding machine
- Adjustable arc force settings
- Easy to start and use
- Hot start functionality
- DC compatible only
7. DEKOPRO 160A ARC Welder Machine
The DEKOPRO 160A ARC MMA Welder is your go-to machine for obtaining a professional finish in welding. It is an extremely inexpensive welder but that doesn’t mean any compromise on performance and quality. This dual-voltage DC arc welder will lay a bead that will impress even the most critical weld inspectors. This machine features a sturdy design with a high-intensity body that has structural strength and durable characteristics.
DEKOPRO 160A MMA welder has a solid frame with a handle making it easy to get and store equipment. It is extremely suitable for daily and professional work. This model also has a high-efficiency fan with a high-performance fully mute fan motor with an instant cooling function. This fan also promotes body heat dissipation and its synchronous control system provides the required protection mechanism. It can weld mild steel up to 5/8ʺ thick steel on a 240V power supply.
There is an LED current meter so you can set the welder perfectly. In this way, the amount of spatter is reduced to a minimum, and with a stable welding arc, you can perform welding professionally. Its voltage mechanism accurately matches and adjusts the current to ensure stable current output. The multiple processing protection mechanisms improve welding efficiency and ensure your safety.
- 60% duty cycle @ 160 Amps
- LED current meter
- Small footprint
- Energy-efficient welder
- Portable design
- Only 30 days warranty
8. Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST Welder
The Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST is a powerful Stick welder and TIG capable machine. This welding machine is lightweight and user-friendly making the welding process easier. This is an all-metal case welder with a powerful nature to allow you to weld mild steel up to 1/2ʺ at 180 Amps. Its complete metal case also enhances the overall durability of this product.
If you need more power, this isn’t an issue as Forney 291 features dual-voltage. In this way, you can easily weld in a garage, shop, or even your backyard. It is a perfect machine for farm and ranch, light industrial, and metal art scenarios. The easy-start technology assists you in striking a perfect arc every time and reduces the chance of the electrode sticking.
Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST Welder has an 8ʹ torch lead with a 6ʹ power cable, making the welding in tight quarters easier. It is also a multi-process welder that is capable of welding DC TIG. All these features make this welder a versatile machine. It is listed as a Stick welder so no TIG accessories are included in its purchase.
- DC output current
- 25% duty cycle @ 180 Amps
- DC TIG capable
- Lightweight and durable
- Generator friendly welder
- No TIG accessories included
9. Everlast Powerarc 2021 160STH Stick Welder
This Everlast 160STH Stick Welder is a power-packed machine that is perfect for every use including beginners, professionals, and hobbyists. It has the capability of handling lightweight industrial welding. It is a highly pragmatic machine to handle most of your welding tasks. This welding machine provides a perfect combination of great power and stability. It is a versatile machine that can be operated in dual voltage of 110V and 220V.
This welder being best for light-duty is not recommended for aluminum welding but works great for all other metals. It is worth mentioning that this stick welder comes with a copper line ground which is a unique feature. Its long and premium power cord will also you in difficult welding conditions. This welder is built on IGBT technology that guarantees an auto-regulated arc force to keep excessive electrodes from sticking.
Everlast Powerarc 160STH is an energy-efficient welding machine offering a professional performance of 35% duty cycle at 160 amps. You can select your preferred voltage according to your welding needs, e.g. you can select 220V for welding thicker metal sheets. For ease of use, this unit has an efficient digital display so you can check the current matrices of your welder easily.
- Lightweight and portable
- Smooth arc
- Supports Stick and TIG welding
- IGBT inverter technology
- 35% duty cycle at 160 Amps
- No AC output
Like any other machine, you should be definitely interested to know about the welder you want to buy. Therefore, it is essential to know about the features required before purchasing the best Stick welders under $500. Here are several important things that you need to consider in a welding machine before purchase.
1. Stick Welder Types
The first thing to look for is to select and the appropriate type of stick welder. Stick welders are available in two forms, i.e. inverter welders and transformers. Inverter stick welders are more common in the welding market. They are highly portable and particularly popular among freelance welders. Inverter welders are energy efficient and lightweight. They also deliver a smooth and clean arc.
Transformer welders are robust welders making them ideal for heavy-duty industrial applications. They are not energy efficient and have more size than inverter welders. However, these welders are normally very sturdy and highly affordable.
2. Types of Current
Stick welders use DC, AC, or a combination of both. It is important to decide which type of current and according to the device you required. DC current welding utilizes electrical current flowing in a single direction. This current includes faster starts, reduces spatter, has fewer arc outages, and delivers better welding performance.
AC welders are popular in residential homes but they don’t deliver a smooth arc. AC/DC welders are the most viable options as they offer more flexibility. More importantly, they provide you the benefits of both types of currents.
If you want to use your machine for multi-purpose applications, you need a welding machine that can handle those processes. There are several multi-purpose stick welding machines available that give you the required versatility. You also want a machine that supports either TIG or MIG welding including Stick welding at the same time. Such machines have greater flexibility when it comes to handling various processes.
4. Input Voltage
The energy needed to operate electrical equipment is the input voltage. The higher the voltage is, the more powerful is the welder. Normally, stick welders are available with voltages of 110V – 240V. Some welders also use both voltages and are known are dual-voltage welders. These welders are more powerful and versatile compared to single voltage welders. We suggest you choose a welder with dual voltage for ultimate convenience and flexibility.
5. Power Output
Power output refers to the power a welder can provide and is measured in amperage. If the power output is higher, the welder will be more powerful and will do the job at hand more quickly. Welders with higher power output don’t require you to perform multiple passes to achieve your goal. In case you are not sure about a welder’s amperage, choose the one offering the highest power output for better results.
6. Safety Control Features
Having a stick welder that preserves the structural integrity of your equipment and prevents accidents is really important. Always check for some of the most prominent safety features like the duty-cycle indicator and overload protection. These indicators are for overheating prevention and shutting down the welder when it becomes too hot respectively.
1. What is meant by duty cycle in stick welding?
The duty cycle is the machine operating time before taking a rest. The duty cycle is often based on minutes and denoted by a percentage. For instance, if a welding machine has a duty cycle of 50%, it means the machine can continuously weld for 5 minutes before taking a rest.
2. Which is the hardest metal to weld?
Aluminum is the hardest metal to weld because of its metallic properties. It also requires special equipment to weld aluminum.
3. Which welder is better? AC or DC?
DC welder is preferred over AC welder as it has a smoother welding output. It creates a more stable arc, easier welding, and less spatter. DC welders also have more penetration into the steel.
Having a reliable Stick welding machine that allows you to perform easy and effective welding is always important. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a novice user, it will always help you while ensuring your safety. The above-mentioned products are the best stick welders under $500 available in the market. Their reviews are given covering a lot of ground about these products. Considering all the vital aspects, choose an appropriate stick that won’t be hard now and enjoy your work.
Luis Ferency with experience of 35+ years is a semi-retired welder. Though his passion for welding and learning keeps him going further. He loves sharing his knowledge on his expertise in SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, and FTAW. Hence, this helped the new welders to seek leverage knowledge and improve their welding skills.