Welding machine considerations
Quality of the weld: If you need a high quality weld that looks good, you want to choose a TIG welder. If you need to create a strong weld between rusty or dirty metals, you might consider a stick or flux-cored welding machine.
Welding conditions: Rough outdoor conditions, such as wind, require a stick or flux-cored welder. This may occur at construction sites or shipyards.
Metal thickness: While you can use stick welding machines for thick metals, thin materials call for MIG or TIG welders. The car manufacturing industry involves a lot of welding of thin metals.
Metal types: TIG welders work well with all metals or alloys, except for cast iron. MIG welding is ideal for steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys. Stick welders work best on steel, stainless steel, and cast iron.
Basic or complex machine: If you just started welding training and the welding job is simple, a basic machine like a small MIG welder would suffice. If you are advanced and the welding job requires more power, you may want to get a high-tech TIG welder.
AC/DC power source: Steel and stainless steel are typically welded with a DC output. Aluminum and magnesium are best welded with an AC output. Should you weld a variety of materials, choose a combination AC/DC welding machine.
Portable welding: If the power source will be moved, you need a portable welder that works with either an inverter or that is engine-driven.
Welding power source duty cycle: The duty cycle is the amount of time you can weld without having to worry about overheating or burning the power source. While a hobby welder may only need a 20% duty cycle, a professional might use a complex TIG welding machine that has a 100% duty cycle. In most settings, duty cycles of 40%-60% are sufficient. 2
Choosing the right welding machine depends on the type of job you want to do.