From weekend projects to heavy duty welding in the field – the range of portable welders on the market is growing. As the choices grow – so do the options and choices for portable welding units in all classifications and what I wanted to do with this site was help you avoid making the wrong choice and picking a portable welder that isn’t suited for what you really need ( or buying a cheap piece of crap from some import Chinese company that stands a better chance of burning down your garage than it does working properly.
Although there are a variety of different types of welds such as MIG, TIG, ARC, Plasma and Oxyacetylene just to name a few – I’m going to focus instead on classifying Portable Welders for the user and need rather than the job as there is a big difference between the home handyman and an person in the Oil Field needing to get in a remote location with a powerful but portable welding machine on the back of a quad.
Actually a strong example of a welding unit that is on the high end of the home garage way of thinking is the Longevity Stickweld 140 140AMP Dual Voltage Portable Stick Welder which has the power to handle just about any job you could throw at it when it comes to home projects including hot rod customization etc. It’s a 40 AMP stick welder that works on 110v or 220v and is Lift Tig ready. Weighing it at just 13 pounds, this guy can be easily moved around. The 140 amp output allows you to push up to 6013 and 7018 rods.
I am a professional Pipe Welder Stick and Tig 22 years I say this one good little welder the 110v welds good for short Distance’s but 0ver 4 inchs Length on a 1/8 Dia 6010 electrode you need 240Volts or it will trip the breaker on your 110v Outlet.. on 240 good steady Arc purrs like a Kitten
This is actually a strong example of a welding unit that is on the high end of the home garage way of thinking is the Longevity Stickweld 140 140AMP Dual Voltage Portable Stick Welder is available of the Amazon website for $260 and free shipping. I find that Amazon is the best place to buy most types of tools / hardware as they are typically about 25 to 40% less than what a guy is going to find at Home Depot / Costco or any type of specialty retailer. For the sake of a website like this, it also allows me to discuss units that through mail order can be purchased by anyone – anywhere reading this page.
Although there are a lot of portable units out there – I really recommend staying away from the ultra cheap units that you see for under $100. Even if you are only using your welder occasionally ( 2 or 3 times a year ) spending that extra $100 will mean the difference between a unit that is still working 20 years from now and one that you sold to some sucker at your wife’s garage sale.
An interesting unit that really takes ” portable ” to a new level is the Hobart 500539 Trek 180 Battery-Powered or 115-Volt Corded Portable MIG Welder When I came across this unit I couldn’t help but order it to try it out as I was skeptical that a battery MIG welder could be all that effective.
The unit actually turned out to be pretty impressive. It comes in a big kit with all the typical stuff including a carrying case etc. It came charged but I still plugged it in for a few hours to make sure it was maxed in power. The unit can be operated plugged into a grounded household outlet or off the batteries and there was only a slight change in power when plugged in but did not effect performance at all. It had no problem on 1/4 inch steel plate and has a surprising amount of kick to it – to be honest I really couldn’t have told you it was a battery unit if I didn’t know it when I did a test on a 4″ piece of exhaust tubing to a 1/4″ flange.
The Hobart Trek has a 4 amp input and is rated up to 180 amps. It is set up for both self-shielded flux-cored and solid gas-shielded wires. he manual says it takes only 90 minutes for a full charge but you can top of it’s power with a quick 20 minute charge without screwing up the memory of the battery packs.
Again, Amazon is the best price I could find on the internet. You likely won’t find this guy in any local store as Hobart is a large manufacturer that really doesn’t deal with the Home Depot type stores. It’s $1400 which makes it a bit pricy for some looking for a unit to weld their kid’s bike repair – but if you are looking for a unit that can be taken off grid as well as work great in your garage or shop – then this is a pretty high tech unit that surprised me with it’s power and capacity. By the way if you want to check out the reviews from other welders that bought the Trek, they are located here.