A process using high heat to join metals or thermoplastics, welding is used in many contexts. Welding dates back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, and in the late 1800s, inventors Nikolai Bernardos and Stanislaw Olszewski created the first electric welding method: carbon arc welding. Then came automatic welding in 1920, which made the process much more accessible. Whether you sculpt in metal or need to build custom metal objects for your studio or exhibitions, we can help you choose the best hobbyist kit to start.
1. ZenStyle Welding Kit
This set includes both a cutting torch and a welding tool for full metal-working capability. The cutting torch enables you to cut metal pieces with up to a six-inch thickness, and the welding tool allows you to weld up to a half inch—the largest size of any welding tools on our list. Complete with hoses, goggles, tip cleaners, and a spark lighter, this option has it all and comes in a handy molded plastic storage case. While not a high-end setup, it’s perfect for casual welders.
2. Lincoln Electric K2278-1 Handy Core
This compact 120-volt welding tool is ideal for light-duty jobs. It’s able to weld up to an eighth of an inch of mild steel—perfect for those using thin-gauge materials. Designed to plug into any household outlet, the welding tool is convenient and easy to use. A contactor safety feature keeps the welding wire electrically “cold” until the gun trigger is pulled, and the set also includes a helmet and wire.
3. Forney Easy Weld Start-Up Kit
This high-quality set is suitable for users of all levels, as its name suggests. It comes with more accessories than other products on our list, including an auto-darkening welding helmet, steel electrodes, driver gloves, a pair of welding gloves, a steel grinding wheel, and wire brush. The 120-volt welder is able to weld up to a quarter inch of mild steel and weighs under 10 pounds, making it easy to carry around.
4. Super Deal PRO Commercial Flux Core Wire Automatic-Feed Welder
This kit comes with a 110-volt welding tool, which delivers enough power for small jobs—weld up to ¼-inch pieces. The user-friendly interface makes setup a breeze, and adjustable controllers give you a bevy of customized options—ideal for those who are welding many different types of metal. One notable standout feature is the variable feed-speed controller, which allows you to alter the welding device’s current flow; additionally, a wire-feeding speed adjustment rotary knob comes with 10 levels of wire-feeding speeds. As an added bonus, the device releases inert gas as it welds, preventing oxidation. Complete with a helmet, wire, metal tips, and a wire brush, this set has it all.
5. Campbell Hausfeld Arc Stick Welder
A great choice for hobby welding or small repairs, this 115-volt stick welder can handle mild or stainless steel up to ⅛ inches thick. It has a dual-heat setting for use with welding rods and a thermal overload protection system that will shut off the welder for safety. Able to plug into any standard household circuit, the power cord stretches out to about five feet for easy maneuverability. The transformer provides easy start-up, and the set includes a helmet, welding sticks, and a wire brush.