What can you use a 120V welder for?
Welding requires the right tools to cater to the size of your projects. While 120V welders are mostly excellent for home and occasional use, they might not fit the bill for large professional projects. The thickness that 120V welders can handle is also relatively limited. Consequently, these welders would work out in the hands of a home or hobby user. Some of the welders listed above are dual voltage options and thus may have different capabilities.
Features to consider when choosing the best 120V welder
Qualifying a welder as the best in class for your needs is another step in the process. Here you see the welder’s features and work out whether they would be a fit for your use needs or not. If not, the product is eliminated from your list of options. All welder features are listed below. Your job is to pick those that matter most to you and look for them in potential machine purchases.
Welding processes listed are essential when looking for the best welder. This is because these processes have varying pros and cons. The welding process options available are MIG, TIG, Stick, and Flux-cored welding.
The Hobart Handler 210 MVP, for instance, only features MIG welding and that will heavily impact how it can be used. As such, we need to delve deeper into these processes so you can have a better handle on them.
MIG(Metal Inert Gas) welding is going to start us off. In cases where you’re welding thick metals together, this might be a good bet. A feed wire is provided and fed to the gun that is doing the welding.
The purpose of the wire is both to ignite a spark and to melt. After melting, it forms the welded joint and is then capable of holding the two metal pieces together. Also, MIG welding may be preferable since it can attach two different types of metals.
Another reason to consider MIG welding is that metal pieces don’t need to be heated all the way through for the weld to be effective. The biggest downside is the need for a controlled environment when MIG welding. Even the slightest wind can be detrimental to the quality of the Weld.
MIG welders can thus be incompatible with the outdoors. If a vertical or worse still, an overhead welding scenario comes up, you will also need to abandon MIG welding. It will be harder to control the filler derived from the feed wire in these scenarios. This might also cause injury.
MIG welding can also burn through some metals if they are thin enough.
Next, we have TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. Unlike MIG welding, the TIG option doesn’t use a consumable electrode. Instead, a filler metal is added to the welding process by hand.
Contamination of the weld by atmospheric gases is eliminated in TIG welding. This is because either argon or helium is used to shield the working electrode and the weld area.
Also, the clean welds that are as a result of TIG processes are impressive. You get to avoid fumes, slag and spatter from the weld. Additionally, welding in any position should be a piece of cake, including vertically and overhead.
Penetration in TIG welding doesn’t seem all that good. As such, avoid TIG welding the thickest metal sheets you come across.
The mechanisms for flux core welding are quite similar to MIG. They both employ feed wires that act as the electrode in addition to their other job of being a filler. In flux core welding, however, the construction of the feed wire is different. A solid exterior is complimented by shielding flux on the interior.
The flux is generally more effective at shielding the welding arc from any atmospheric gases as compared to inert gases used for MIG welds. As such, welding corroded and painted metals should be easy, even outdoors.
Spattering and smoking is a characteristic of flux-cored welding. The spattering can reduce overall transfer efficiency. This results in more flux-core wire being used. However, this welding process still manages top penetration levels.
Stick welding may also prove a valuable alternative. Like flux core, rusty and painted metals will be light work for a Stick welding machine.
The performance of Stick welders where thin metals that are less than 1/8” are concerned is wanting. The welder will burn right through. Nonetheless, the ability to easily tackle thicker metals may be worth it.
The type of power source your welder is compatible with also matters. AC compatible 120v arc welders will easily derive power from an alternating current power source. In other words, connecting it to a home socket is enough.
Other 120 volt welders like the Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 have AC/DC capability. This makes them usable in the absence of an AC current. You just pull out a battery with enough power and take advantage of the direct current capability to keep welding.
The power in the welding machine is critical in determining jobs you can tackle. After all, the penetration of the weld is determined by output. As such, the thicker the metals you work with, the higher the output you should pick.
Most welders are not the types of machines to work continuously. However, how long they work as well as break times needed to get back to full working conditions differ from welder to welder. These statistics are known as the duty cycle.
With a heavy welding workload, a shorter duty cycle might be detrimental to your work process. However, short duty cycles may not be as bad where hobbyists are concerned.
Easy transportability is an asset to some welders. If you take off-site jobs, this can be especially true for you. Consequently, a welder like the Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST that weighs 14 pounds won’t be problematic to move around. In contrast, the Hobart Handler 210 MVP, which weighs a few times that weight, may be more challenging.
Notably, the wire/electrode diameter is also influential in welding work. You have options such as .023, .030, and .035 diameter wires in the Weldpro Mig155GD device.
A rule of thumb is that a thicker wire will lead to higher amperage and better penetration. This is necessary where thick metal plates are involved. However, you can choose thinner wire diameters if you want to limit amperage while welding.
No one wants to make their welding jobs harder. However, a difficult-to-use interface will definitely lead to that result. Nevertheless, a look at the controls included may be enough to save you from getting a challenging welder.
Welders with fewer, more straightforward controls are a better pick. Once you take out the welder for your first job, you can operate it almost intuitively. Additionally, mistakes are less likely.
Welder build quality
A long-lasting welder needs to, of course, be made up of high-quality materials. The exterior especially can be problematic if it isn’t solid enough.
Remember that some delicate components will no doubt be part of the welder’s interior. Consequently, a metal case: with the one on the Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST as an example, will help protect the welder’s innards better. With such protection for all significant components, the welder will likely serve you for longer.
Guarantees from the manufacturer
A 6-month guarantee from the Forney Easy Weld 140 MP’s maker is the welder’s most underwhelming quality. In comparison, the Everlast PowerArc 140ST’s five-year warranty leaves it in the dust. Of course, welding machine users who want to feel more secure about the purchase will pick the Everlast or another option with a better warranty.