3 Stick Welders that would make a good first welder

In this video, I talk about 3 Stick welders.

I get asked questions about welders quite a lot.

"What welder should I buy?"  "What is a good first welder?"

There are lots of options these days but it really boils down to what you want to do.

Are you buying a stick welder so that you can practice for a welding certification test?

Do you want to fabricate?

Do you also need to weld thin sheet metal?

Metal art? Sculpture? ornamental iron?

I have 3 welders that would make good first welders for anyone.


One is strictly AC but probably the most popular beginners welder of all time....The Lincoln AC 225 tombstone buzz box.

While its a good welder, it does have a few limitations.

You are limited to AC rods so you cant weld with 6010 or regular 7018 rods. ( there is a 7018AC version available but its not quite as good)


What about a Tig inverter for your first welder?

Another possibility for your first stick welder is actually a simple Tig Inverter.

The Everlast 160sth is a Stick, Tig with high frequency start and is foot pedal capable. ( foot pedal is not included but is pretty cheap)

so its not only a portable stick welder, but can also Tig weld thin metal as thin as razor blades and just about as thick as you care to tig weld.

But...It is quite a step up in money from a used AC Lincoln welder purchased from craigslist.

And...it does not run 6010 rods very well....so if you are looking for a welder to practice for a 6010 welding test, this one is not a good choice.

welder with foot pedal will run close to $600

And then you need a tank of Argon to Tig weld.

Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC Stick welder

I found this welder on Craigslist for $350.

While it looked like new, it did have a dent in the side.

I didnt worry about it much, but when the welder died on me during a video, I decided to pull the panel off to see what was up.

It is a very rugged and simple design so I couldnt see what could go wrong.

But the dented case was coming into contact with part of the amperage adjustment mechanism and causing problems.

Once I fixed the dent with hammer and dolly...and put the thing back together, it welds ok again.

not great...just ok....as good as it ever did. Its just not the best arc.

But this unit also makes a  really good scratch start tig welder.

So that makes it super versatile as compared to the cheaper and easier to find Lincoln tombstone AC buzz box.

This Miller welder will burn 6010 with no problem too.


The final beads below were done using the Miller Thunderbolt on DC at around 145 amps

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