2021’s Best 120v Stick Welder Reviews with expert opinions!

A stick welder will weld through virtually anything, rust, paint, dirt, you name it. Additionally, unlike TIG and MIG, stick welding can be done outdoors in windy conditions. Thus a stick welder will be the perfect choice for welding rusted, dirty, or painted metals.

More specifically, a 120v stick welder that can fit into your home’s standard power outlet. So, which is the best 120v stick welder? We searched the stick welder market to get answers and came up with a list of four.

Top on our list is the Weldpro 200 amp inverter welder. This offers versatility and power. At second place is the Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST, which is the best option for beginner welders.

Our top 4 best 120v stick welder picks are;

Weldpro 200 Amp LCD Inverter 5 in 1 Multi Process Welder

Specs

  • 240/120v dual input voltage
  • 20 t0 180 amps power output range
  • 30% duty cycle
  • 30 pounds weight
  • LCD display

The Weldpro 200 amp Multi-process welder can be used by beginners and pros alike. As its name suggests, it is a multi-process welder capable of a stick, MIG, flux-core, and TIG welding.

Best used for

  • Welding thick metals
  • Small businesses
  • Farm maintenance
  • Aluminum welding

Features of the Weldpro 200

Versatile:

The number one thing to note about this welder is how versatile it is. As already mentioned, it is capable of four different welding processes. But that’s not the only thing that makes it versatile.

In addition to this, it also has a dual input voltage. As such, you can use it with either a 240v or a 120v socket. Also, it is capable of welding steel as well as aluminum. This makes it a well-rounded welder capable of many different welding applications.

Power:

In terms of power, this one has plenty of it. For stick welding, it has a power output range of 20 to 180 amps. This is sufficient to weld thicker metals and can handle ¼ inch thick mild steel.

And with a duty cycle of 30%, it can welder for longer.

Ease of use:

There is an LCD on this unit that displays all important settings from wire feed speed to amperage. There are also overload and overheating indicators. It is also easy to adjust the wire feed and the amperage.

What we liked

  • Can weld thick metals
  • It is capable of four different welding processes
  • Can weld aluminum
  • The LCD makes it easy to check the machine’s settings
  • It has a dual input voltage

Cons

  • It is not the best for welding thin sheets of metal
  • It is a bit pricier compared to other options

Forney Easy Weld 298 Arc Welder 100ST

Specs

  • 30% duty cycle
  • 120 v input voltage
  • 10-90 amps output power
  • 9.65 pounds weight
  • TIG capable

Welding beginners looking for something lightweight and easy to use will love the Forney Easy weld 298 100ST. The latter is a small and lightweight welder that weighs only 9.5 pounds.

Best used for

  • Welding light gauge metal
  • DIY tasks
  • Around the house projects
  • Home repairs

Features of the Forney Easy Weld 298

Power:

This arc welder is not intended for welding thick sheets of metal. However, its max power output of 90 amps is what most home users will require. Furthermore, its minimum power output of 10 amps means you can weld metals of up to 16 gauge in thickness.

When it comes to the duty cycle, it has a duty cycle of 30%, which is quite impressive for such a small welder. It uses rods of up to ⅛ inch and plugs into a standard 120v socket.

Easy to use:

This welder seems to have been built for beginners. It has a standard control dial for setting amperage and comes with warning lights for overheating and overloads. It does not have any fancy digital display controls that require time to understand.

Its uncomplicated design makes it easy to use for all.

Portable:

weighing 9.5 pounds, this is one of the most lightweight welders out there. Also, it features a handle that makes it easy to carry.

What we liked

  • It is lightweight and portable
  • Though it does not have a Tig torch, it is capable of TIG welding
  • Features a minimum output of 10 amps, which is excellent for welding thin metals
  • It uses a standard 120v socket
  • It is easy to use with no complicated digital controls

Cons

  • It is a bit loud when in use
  • It is not intended for welding thick metals

MILLER ELECTRIC Stick Welder, Thunderbolt Series

Specs

  • 30% duty cycle
  • 20 to 160 amps power output
  • 120v/240v dual input voltage
  • 6.5 ft power cord
  • Multi-volt plug adapters

A DC only welder with plenty of power, the Miller Electric Thunderbolt series stick welder, is perfectly suited for domestic use. It is also lightweight, weighing about 22 pounds, and comes with a carrying bag.

Best used for

  • Farm maintenance work
  • Light fabrication
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Small job shops

Features of the Miller Electric

Power:

This small welder has an output of 20 to 160 amps. This is sufficient for welding the most thick sheets of metal. As for the input, it is capable of a dual input voltage of either 120v or 240v. This makes it a versatile welder.

It boasts a duty cycle of 30%. This is the standard duty cycle for most welders in its class.

Ease of use:

The hot start technology it features makes it easy to use. Furthermore, you get multi-voltage plug adapters. This makes it easy to switch between a 120v and a 240v power outlet. You also get infinite amperage control, giving the flexibility to change the amperage as the need may be.

Portable:

Weighing about 22 pounds, this is one of the more lightweight welders. Apart from its weight, it also features a handle that makes it easy to carry. To top it all off, you get a bag with this slider.

What we liked

  • It is lightweight and portable and comes with a carrying bag
  • It has a decent power output for welding thick metals
  • It has a dual input voltage and can use both a 120v and a 240v power outlet
  • It makes very little noise when in use
  • It is easy to use

Cons

  • It is a DC only welder
  • It does not run well with a 6010 electrode

KICKINGHORSE A100 UL-Certified Arc Stick Welder

Specs

  • 30% duty cycle
  • 100 amps output
  • 120v input voltage
  • 7.7 pounds weight
  • Electrode holder
  • Ground clamp

One of the smallest welders around, the KickingHorse A100 UL-certified arc stick welder packs a lot of power in its small package. Suited for beginners and home use, it is a handy tool to have.

Features of the KICKINGHORSE 120v Arc Stick Welder

Best used for

  • Light gauge metal welding
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Farm maintenance
  • Home repairs

Power:

While this is the smallest welder on our list, it manages to hold its own with a max rated output of 100 amps. This is sufficient to weld through 3/16 inch sheets of metal in a single pass. More importantly, it plugs into a standard 120v power outlet and boasts a duty cycle of 30%.

Compact and lightweight:

As already mentioned, this is the smallest unit on the list. It weighs 7.7 pounds and has a shoulder strap. This makes it easy to carry between jobs, while its small size means you do not need plenty of space to store it.

Safety:

Designed for beginners, it has several safety features built into it. The most prominent is the overvoltage and overload sensors. This helps protect the welder from overloading or overheating.

What we liked

  • It is a compact and small welder with a shoulder strap for easy carrying
  • It has a decent duty cycle of 30%
  • Can weld metal of up to 3/16 inch in thickness
  • Has overload and overheating sensors built into it
  • Can work with a number of electrodes, including E6013, E7014, and the E7018

Cons

  • It might not be suited for welding thick metals
  • The ground clamp is weak and flimsy, and you may have to buy another one

The advantages and disadvantages of a stick welder

Stick welders have the unique advantage of being capable of welding through rust, paint, or dirt. In addition, unlike their TIG and MIG counterparts, stick welding can be used outdoors in rainy or windy conditions.

Also, with stick welders, you get the benefit of using the ground clamp far from the welding area. This is in addition to equipment necessary for stick welding being inexpensive.

However, stick welders are not without their fair share of cons. The major one being that stick welding tends to be slow. Also, compared to MIG welding, it may require a skilled welder. Furthermore, stick welding is notorious for the formation of slag, which takes time to chip off after welding.

What are the differences between AC and DC stick welding

The power source used to strike an arc in stick welding will either use Alternative Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC). So what is the difference between the two?

In Direct Current, the electric Current used to strike the arc has a constant polarity flow in a single direction. This Current can either be positive or negative. Due to the constant flow, DC welding results in a stable arc.

Alternative Current is an electric current that constantly reverses direction. For example, a 60 HZ current will change polarity 120 times per second. Due to this, there is no deflection of the arc. DC is predominantly used for stick welding

Equipment needed for stick welding

To stick weld, you will need a number of equipment. This will include the following.

  • A stick welding machine
  • Electrode holders: These are used to hold the electrode and position it at the desired angle depending on the amperage.
  • Cables or leads: These act carriers of currents from the machine to the workpiece. These are usually made of either aluminum or copper.
  • Connectors and lugs: These are used to connect the machine and the electrode holder.
  • Chipping hammer: This is a hammer used to remove the slag that forms on the weld area after welding.
  • Wire brush: This is used to remove the slag parties after being chipped away using the chipping hammer.

FAQs

Why do I buy a 120v stick welder?

A 120v stick welder can be plugged into a 120v power outlet. Most homes feature 120v power sockets. Therefore, you will need a 120v stick welder if you want to use it at home. A 230 or 240v welder will not run efficiently when plugged into a 120v outlet.

How much power do I require for a 120v stick welder?

Compared to household appliances, stick welders will require a considerable amount of power. Typically, a standard 120v welder will require 20 amps of power to operate. Check your home’s wiring to ascertain that the wiring is capable of providing this amount of power.

What metal thickness can a 120v stick welder handle?

This will depend on its max output. However, 120v stick welders will typically have a max output of not more than 200 amps. The range will typically be between 10 and 180 amps. With this output, you should expect to weld up to ⅜ inch steel, and at the most, 5/16 inch thick steel.

Can I use my 120v stick welder for farm use?

Yes, most of the appliances you will be welding for farm use will be painted or dirty, making them ideal for stick welding. Typically the best stick welder for farm use will be capable of welding most of your farm appliances and tools.

What breaker size do I need for a stick welder?

You need a 20 amps circuit breaker for a 120v stick welder. Some homes with old electrical wiring may have 15 amps circuit breakers. So it is important to check if you have a 20 amp circuit breaker in your home’s wiring.

How to choose the best stick welder

Before settling on a stick welder, there are a number of factors to consider. These factors will help you select the best arc welding machine

Power output

Measured in amps, a welder’s power output dictates the metal thickness it can handle. As already stated, most 120v welders will be able to handle metal thicknesses of up to ⅜ inches. Ideally, the higher the amperage, the thicker the metal you can weld.

On the flip side, the lower the amperage, the thinner the metals you can weld. If you are dealing with thin sheets of metal, mostly a welder with a low power output will be ideal. If you will be handling metals of an average thickness, a higher amperage is necessary.

An output of between 20 to 160 amps will be sufficient for most home uses.

Consider the build quality

The welder you purchase should be able to serve you for a long time. It is therefore important to consider the build quality. While the construction of the welder is important, so is the construction quality of things such as ground clamps, leads, and cables.

While you can always buy new ones, purchasing a welder with good quality cables and clamps will save you money.

How much Duty cycle do you need

The basic rule of thumb when it comes to the duty cycle is that the longer the duty cycle, the better. Most 120v stick welders will have a duty cycle of 20 to 30%. This is sufficient for most homeowners’ needs. A duty cycle of less than 20% will not be ideal.

Is it an Inverter or transformer welders!

Stick welders can be divided into inverter and transformer welders. The latter is more suited for heavy-duty works and requires a lot of power. For home use, an inverter welder will be a better option, and most of the welders we have reviewed above are inverter welders.

How versatile work can it handle

If you want the flexibility to use your welder for different welding applications, go for versatility. This means settling on a welder that can handle more than one welding process. The Weldpro 200 Amp LCD Inverter Welder is the most versatile on our list.

It should be a good option for people looking to do more than stick welding also if you want to weld steel as well as aluminum.

Conclusion

Stick welders are great for use in farms and around the yard. And while they do have their cons, the best 120v stick welder will be a good investment for any novice or intermediate welder.

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