6 Most Reliable Pipeline Welders – Buying Guide and Recommendations (Summer 2022)

We reviewed six multi-process welders and included the most powerful and versatile as well as the most portable models out there
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Last updatedLast updated: July 27, 2022
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Today, welding machines are used by professionals and DIYers alike. There are many types, almost as many as materials to be welded. These machines are also used in the construction of pipelines carrying critical fluids such as gas, water, and oil. However, not every welding machine is built for this demanding professional task.

Although relatively easy to operate, they require basic to expert welding skills and knowledge. In this article, we will present the best pipeline welders and discuss their operation, the types, and the factors that you have to take into account in its choice.

Top 6 Pipeline Welders Review

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1
Features
  • Process: SMAW, CAC-A, GTAW, GMAW, FCAW-S, FCAW-G
  • Voltage: 120/240V
  • Amperage: up to 305A
  • Duty cycle: 305A at 29V, 100%
  • Welding thickness: up to 5/32 stick electrodes
  • Dimensions: 42.3 x 21.5 x 29.9 in
  • Weight: 510 lbs

Other features: generator (10,500W surge and 9,500W continuous) included; Kohler OHV Command CH730 engine

The Lincoln 305G is part of the Ranger line of engine-driven portable welders. The machine is designed for construction and farm use. You will get a 10,500 watts peak of current and 9,500 continuous. It’s also an enclosed case machine. The whole Ranger line has an enclosed case. This keeps elements such as the wind, the snow, and the rain out. It’s powered by a 23-horsepower Kohler Command CH730 engine. It runs on gas and has a 12-gallon fuel tank.

This device is similar to the Ranger 225. It has the same enclosed case as the Ranger 225. It has the same 23-horsepower Kohler engine and is gasoline-driven. Both have the same 12-gallon fuel tank, but this is AC/DC.

What do we love it for?

  • We liked that you have AC/DC welding current that has 10,500 watts peak current and 9,500 continuous. And the cool thing about this Ranger 305G is it has a steel side. The 305G is gasoline-driven. That gives you more than 300 amps for welding. Also, the welder is ideal for heavy-duty operations such as pipeline works. You can weld steel, stainless steel, and cast iron.

What were we disappointed with?

  • There's nothing wrong with this welding machine. The only thing we however noticed was that it is quite bulky. It tips the scales at 510 pounds, which is a lot heavier than many other gasoline welders on the market.
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2
Best Portable Multi-Process Welder

Miller 951674 Multimatic 215

Features
  • Process: FCAW, GMAW, SMAW, GTAW-DC
  • Voltage: 110/115/120V; 220/230/240V
  • Amperage: up to 230A
  • Duty cycle: 200A @ 24V, 20% duty cycle
  • Welding thickness: up to 3/8 in
  • Dimensions: ‎20.5 x 12.5 x 11.25 in
  • Weight: 38 lbs

Other features: color LCD; two gas connections; Auto Spool Gun Detect

Multimatic 215 is also another multi-process welding machine that can be used for welding pipelines, using welding processes such as metal inert gas, known as MIG or GMAW, flux-cored process (FCAW), stick welding, also known as MMA or SMAW. It can also run the GTAW-DC welding process.

When running on MIG, it can work on thicknesses from 24 gauge to 3/8″ (0.6–9.5 mm) in carbon steel and aluminum from 18 gauge to 3/8″ (1.2–9.5 mm) using Spoolmate 100 or 150. On TIG, it can work on thicknesses from 24 gauge to 3/16 “(0.6–4.8 mm) in carbon steel. Meanwhile, for stick welding, you can run thicknesses from 16 gauge to 3/8 “(1.5–9.5 mm) in carbon steel.

What stands out?

  • Weighing just 38 pounds, this MIG, Stick, and TIG welder offers portable capacity for the job. It's relatively lightweight, lighter than most on the model. However, note that this is in no way not the lightest among models made by Miller. Weighing just 29 pounds, the Multimatic 200 is a lot lighter. We also liked the Auto-Set Elite feature. It can be used in a variety of materials and processes with the ability to fine-tune the settings. The angle cast aluminum drive system offers smooth feeding and the ability to use 10, 12, or 15-foot torches.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • The machine cannot run through the TIG process. So, don't expect it to TIG weld aluminum or other materials. But you can MIG weld aluminum with a spool gun.
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3
Best Inverter Welder

Hobart 500578 Multi-Handler 200

Features
  • Process: MIG, DC TIG, Stick, Flux-Cored
  • Voltage: 120/240V
  • Amperage: up to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 30% @ 120/240V
  • Welding thickness: up to 3/8 in
  • Dimensions: ‎13.4 x 10.6 x 20.8 in
  • Weight: 38.4 lbs

Other features: easy-to-use interface; built-in gas solenoid valve and dual-gauge regulator with gas hose

The MIG process of the Multi-Handler 200 might be one of the best you will ever like most users have commented. It can run 16 gauge steel. The Auto-Set Elite and the performance is outstanding due to its inverter engine. It’s also lightweight portable and multi-voltage. You can plug it into 120 or 240-volt input power.

The multimatic 215 multi-process welder is a multi-process machine that can do MIG, TIG, and stick welding. This machine features a color LCD screen.

Why is it special?

  • It is a good machine for the home shop hobbyist and construction worker who needs something robust for heavy steel and long hours of work.

What are the flaws?

  • This isn't a flux core welder. It is a MIG machine but it doesn't run AC and it only runs DC. But it seems to be a great machine. Everything works fine. It is easy to set up easy, easy to adjust, and is easy to switch between your processes. You wouldn't be happier with it for the price point.
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4
Best for Cutting Ability

LOTOS LTPDC2000D

Features
  • Process: Stick, TIG, plasma cutting
  • Voltage: 110–220V
  • Amperage: up to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 60% @ 200A (104°F)
  • Welding thickness: not specified
  • Dimensions: ‎15.5 x 8 x 12 in
  • Weight: 43 lbs

Other features: Non-touch Pilot ARC; ½ in clean-cut thickness

The LOTOS LTPDC2000D Non-touch Plasma Cutter is ideal for a maximum cutting thickness of 1/2 inch. Its maximum parting thickness is 3/4 inches. The multipurpose machine has a plasma cutter with 50 amperes maximum power, a TIG welder with 200 amperes, and a stick welder with 200 amperes.

Its TIG welder function which can produce 15-200 amps DC electrical current output can make high-quality TIG welding on stainless steel and precise welding of fine measuring materials. The MMA or electrode welder can produce 15-200 amps of power. It has a simple arc ignition, a stable arc for welding, and a beautiful welding shape. It has an adjustable arc heat current which can greatly improve the arc ignition function, suitable for welding with different types of electrodes.

What makes it special?

  • It makes efficient cuts by pilot arc torch. Even on rough, painted, and rusted surfaces, it produces minimal waste. The compact plasma cutter has a carry handle and uses compressed air to cut stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum alloy, copper, as well as aluminum.

What cons did we find?

  • The only downside which we think Logos Technology can improve on is in the aluminum welding possibility. This device cannot be used for welding aluminum like you can do with the Lotos TIG200ACDC.
RELATED: 5 Best Plasma Cutters Under $1000 – Worthy Picks (Summer 2022)
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9.1
5
Best for Beginners

Weldpro MIG210LCD

Features
  • Process: MIG, Flux Core, TIG, Stick, DC aluminum welding
  • Voltage: 240V/120V
  • Amperage: up to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 30% @ 200A
  • Welding thickness: not specified
  • Dimensions: ‎‎25.2 x 23.6 x 12.9 in
  • Weight: 53.9 lbs

Other features: color LCD

The MIG 210 LCD was just released by Weld Pro and has an awesome new feature set. This is a brand-new multi-process welder that’s capable of working by using the MIG, flux core, stick, TIG, and aluminum spool gun processes.

The color LCD shows you your current amperage and voltage reader. There’s also an instant display on the left that shows you your material thickness, the gas that you’ve selected, your wire size, and the current process you’re running. Pressing the large adjustment dial will take you into a menu where you can adjust things like your run and wire feed speed. There are several spot timer options as well as inductance settings.

Why are we impressed?

  • The MIG 210 LCD was just released by Weld Pro and has an awesome new feature set. This is a brand-new multi-process welder that's capable of working by using the MIG, flux core, stick, TIG, and aluminum spool gun processes.
  • The color LCD shows you your current amperage and voltage reader. There's also an instant display on the left that shows you your material thickness, the gas that you've selected, your wire size, and the current process you're running. Pressing the large adjustment dial will take you into a menu where you can adjust things like your run and wire feed speed. There are several spot timer options as well as inductance settings.

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • This looks to be a perfect machine, as also testified by users who dropped reviews for the welder. It is easy to set up and use and can also be used as a shop welder and for construction in the outdoors.
RELATED: 7 Best MIG Welders for Beginners and Pros (Summer 2022)
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6
Easiest to Control

Forney Easy Weld 140 MP

Features
  • Process: Stick, MIG, TIG, Flux-Cored
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Amperage: up to 140A
  • Duty cycle: 30% @ 90A (MIG), 30% @ 80A (Stick), 20% @ 110A (TIG)
  • Welding thickness: up to 0.35 in
  • Dimensions: ‎16.75 x 8.125 x 12 in
  • Weight: 20.3 lbs

Other features: generator-friendly; 20A–15A adapter

The Forney Easy Weld 140 MP is capable of MIG, TIG, and stick welding. This is a single-phase inverter multi-process welder. The input is 120 volts and the max output is 140 amps. This machine is designed to hold 10 pounds of gas. The right knob is for the wire feed speed. The selector switch allows you to choose and make stick or TIG welding. The left knob is for voltage and amps depending on what mode you are in.

For stick welding, you can use up to 1/8-inch electrodes. This is the perfect machine to learn the basics of welding and get experience with different processes. It’s ideal for do-it-yourselfers, maintenance and repair hobbyists, and metal professionals in construction fields.

What stands out?

  • We like how easy to use the machine is. This machine comes with a Quick Start Guide manual for any contact info in case you have questions. It also comes with a 15 to 20 amp plug adaptor, MIG gun, an extra 300 contact tip, stick electrode holder, ground cable, and clamp.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • While in MIG or wire feed mode, if you want to use shielding gas for true MIG welding, you will need to purchase a regulator and a gas line. They are not included with this machine. Also, the TIG torch is sold separately.
RELATED: 7 Best 110V Stick Welders – Versatile and Easy-to-Use (Summer 2022)

Things to Consider

If you know well how welding machines work, you may be able to skip this section. However, if this is the first time you are going to use one or if you’d be welding pipelines for the first time, we recommend that you read it carefully. Welding machines are very specialized tools, that is, they have a very specific purpose. We must, therefore, be very sure that the chosen model is the ideal one for the purpose.

How to Pick the Best Pipeline Welder

When choosing a welding machine for professional construction use, a series of factors and characteristics must be considered. To help you, we are going to offer you some simple tips.

Type and Processes

Of all the types of welding machines, electric arc welding machines Trusted Source Arc welding - Wikipedia Arc welding is a welding process that is used to join metal to metal by using electricity to create enough heat to melt metal, and the melted metals, when cool, result in a binding of the metals. It is a type of welding that uses a welding power supply to create an electric arc between a metal stick (“electrode”) and the base material to melt the metals at the point of contact. Arc welders can use either direct (DC) or alternating (AC) current, and consumable or non-consumable electrodes. en.wikipedia.org are the most widely used. They are versatile tools, capable of offering different types of welds depending on the electrode and the energy used for the process. Some of the processes and types suitable for pipeline welding are:

  • Manual metal arc welding: It uses a metal electrode covered with a filler material, which is what joins the pieces. These electrodes are consumable and available with a wide range of coatings.
6 Most Reliable Pipeline Welders – Buying Guide and Recommendations (Summer 2022)

MMA welding is one of the most widely usead and flexible arc welding processes

  • Metal inert gas welding (MIG): The welding is done with a continuous metal wire that emerges from a gun at an adjustable speed. An inert gas protects the weld.
  • Tungsten gas welding (TIG): It uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and a gas for welding protection. You may or may not use filler material.
  • Flux core welder: It uses a metal electrode, with its interior filled with various powdered materials. The gas produced by these materials when burning does not directly melt the parts, it only protects the weld.
  • Submerged arc welding: This type of welding Trusted Source Submerged arc welding - Wikipedia Submerged arc welding (SAW) is a common arc welding process. The first SAW patent was taken out in 1935. The process requires a continuously fed consumable solid or tubular (metal cored) electrode. The molten weld and the arc zone are protected from atmospheric contamination by being “submerged” under a blanket of granular fusible flux consisting of lime, silica, manganese oxide, calcium fluoride, and other compounds. When molten, the flux becomes conductive, and provides a current path between the electrode and the work. This thick layer of flux completely covers the molten metal thus preventing spatter and sparks as well as suppressing the intense ultraviolet radiation and fumes that are a part of the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process. en.wikipedia.org is characterized by covering the weld area with various powdered materials. These prevent the weld from being contaminated with atmospheric gases, offering higher quality.
  • Multi-process welder: This is the type of welder you’re most likely to come across. That is, they can run processes such as TIG, MIG, MMA, and flux. Good examples of these types are the Weldpro MIG210LCD and the Forney Easy Weld 140 MP.

Voltage

Before buying a welding machine, you should also look at the operating voltage. With 230 volts alternating current, you must secure the power connection. Most models can run on 240V/120V. We’re talking of the Lincoln Electric Ranger 305G and the Hobart Multi-Handler 200. However, some machines can work on as many input voltages as possible. The Miller 951674 Multimatic 215 can run on 110/115/120V and 220/230/240V.

Output

If you are going to use the welding machine for small jobs at home, a device of about 120 or 140 amps will suffice. The ones with the highest power, those ranging between 250 and 300 amps, are suitable for more demanding use such as construction works. Hence they are the best-selling machines. Welders over 400 amps are used primarily in heavy industry.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle is an important criterion when it comes to pipeline welding. But first what is the duty cycle? It is the time a machine can be operated without exceeding the limits of temperature its components can endure.

The duty cycle is measured using 10 minutes cycle. If a machine has a 40-percent duty cycle when running around 285A, it will be able to run continuously for up to 4 minutes. So, the higher the percentage, the better.

Electrodes

Check whether your welding machine comes with complete accessories. These should include the electrode holder and some electrodes. If not, you’d have to purchase some.

Size and Weight

When choosing a welding machine, it must be manageable. Its weight should range between 20 and 50 pounds if it is an electric arc welding machine. It should also have a handle or strap for easy transport.

As pipeline welding is an outdoor job where you will have to be on the go with your welder, ensure you choose a compact and portable model.

Another important factor in welding machine design is the length of its cables. It is not advisable to extend the ground cable or the electrode cable. This can lead to security problems. The length of the power outlet cable should not be excessive, because in that case, the equipment will require more voltage to function.

Accessories

6 Most Reliable Pipeline Welders – Buying Guide and Recommendations (Summer 2022)

Welders usually come with plenty of accessories, but you can also buy additional ones that you need

In addition to the welding machine, some manufacturers also offer their customers accessories such as a welding shield, welding helmet, or slag hammer. Optionally, you can often purchase additional hose packages or foot pedals.

Warranty

Welding machines don’t come cheap and you should have a means of protecting your investment. A warranty is always something you can fall back on when you discover an apparent factory problem. Most brands offer between 2 to 10 years on the machine and a lower number of years on the accessories, and spare parts.

Price

The wide variety of welding machines means that prices are also very different. We can find good quality pipeline welders from as low as $400 to $3000 and more, depending on your budget and needs. The inverter models are expectedly some of the most expensive. The type and power of the welder are two of the factors that most influence its price.

The number of accessories it includes also influences the cost of a welding machine. A cheap welder is expensive when we must buy separately all the accessories necessary to work.

On the other hand, we may be overpaying just for the brand, when there may be cheaper welders of equal or higher quality from lesser-known manufacturers.

How to Weld Pipes?

We find pipes in all areas of daily life. Be it as a drain pipe for a wash basin or as a pipeline for our energy supply, pipes are used everywhere. To connect these pipes, you can use screw connections or you can weld the pipes together. Here, we’re looking at the welding option.

What you need:

  • Your expertise
  • Welding kit
  • PPE

Here are some points you should know to expertly weld pipes:

  • When welding pipes, it is not only important to use the right type of welding, but the material to be welded is almost as important. Before you start welding, you should know what material your pipe is made of. The filler material such as welding wire or hard weld is then selected accordingly.
  • For the exhaust pipe, you should use the so-called inert gas welding process as a welding process. Remove all rust from the exhaust parts to be welded. Then you put two spot welds, after connecting the two pipes via the spot welds you should align both sides properly.
  • Then make small spot welds about 1 cm long. Do this all around until your exhaust pipe is tight. An older exhaust pipe should not be welded in one go, the risk of holes being too great.

How to Weld Large Pipelines

6 Most Reliable Pipeline Welders – Buying Guide and Recommendations (Summer 2022)

Always put on your protective gear when welding

  • If you want to weld large pipes, various welding processes are used. The root pass is carried out using the TIG welding process and the middle and top pass using the inert gas welding process.
  • Depending on the diameter, the pipes are welded with spot welds at a distance of 1 mm to 10 mm from one another. The pipes are now connected.
  • You must have inserted a spacer in the form of a piece of sheet metal or similar between the pipes so that the gap between the pipes is guaranteed.
  • The pipes are supposed to be chamfered beforehand. In other words, the pipes were ground at an angle at the ends to be welded. All that remains is a very narrow web, otherwise, sand it evenly at an angle.
  • After you have obtained the correct filler material and have brought your TIG welding machine to the correct setting, you can start welding in the root pass. In other words, you start at the lowest point of your welding point and ignite your arc there. You melt the material with the arc; when melting, you always add some welding consumables to the weld pool.
  • If you do everything right, you will see your weld fill the gap between the two pipes. Then guide the TIG welding needle upwards at an even distance from the material until you have reached the top point of your weld seam.
  • Then stand down and weld from the bottom point on the other side until you have also reached the top point and the weld seam is closed.
  • After that has been done, take the inert gas welding device and place an intermediate layer. In other words, you fill the weld seam two-thirds with welding material. Finally, weld on the top layer. The top layer should line up with the edges of your two pipes.

FAQ

Pipeline welding requires expertise and can be difficult for beginners. So, you have to start small with a small DIY job, maybe with exhaust pipes and other similar welding tasks.

While you can weld about 140 inches per hour, if you’re thinking of using your welder all day, take a first look at its duty cycle. A machine with a low-duty cycle will reach the temperature limit frequently and slow you down. Some people weld for up to 5 minutes continuously. If this is you, choose a model with at least a 60% duty cycle for the required ampere needed for your job.

Our Verdict

Rated 9.9/10, the Lincoln Electric Ranger 305G is our Editor’s Choice. The machine is designed for construction and other heavy-duty use. It has outputs of 10,500 watts peak and 9,500 continuous. These are partly why it’s our all-round best pipeline welder.

Next up is the Miller 951674 Multimatic 215, our Best Multi-process Welder. Rated 9.8, the Multimatic 215 is also another multi-process welding machine that can be used for welding pipelines, with welding processes such as metal inert gas, known as MIG or GMAW, flux-cored process (FCAW), stick welding, also known as MMA or SMAW.

Finally, our best inverter model is the Hobart 500578 Multi-Handler 200. The Auto-Set Elite and the performance of this welder is outstanding due to its inverter engine. With a rating of 9.7, it is also lightweight, portable, and is a multi-voltage welder.

References

1.
Arc welding - Wikipedia
Arc welding is a welding process that is used to join metal to metal by using electricity to create enough heat to melt metal, and the melted metals, when cool, result in a binding of the metals. It is a type of welding that uses a welding power supply to create an electric arc between a metal stick (“electrode”) and the base material to melt the metals at the point of contact. Arc welders can use either direct (DC) or alternating (AC) current, and consumable or non-consumable electrodes.
2.
Submerged arc welding - Wikipedia
Submerged arc welding (SAW) is a common arc welding process. The first SAW patent was taken out in 1935. The process requires a continuously fed consumable solid or tubular (metal cored) electrode. The molten weld and the arc zone are protected from atmospheric contamination by being “submerged” under a blanket of granular fusible flux consisting of lime, silica, manganese oxide, calcium fluoride, and other compounds. When molten, the flux becomes conductive, and provides a current path between the electrode and the work. This thick layer of flux completely covers the molten metal thus preventing spatter and sparks as well as suppressing the intense ultraviolet radiation and fumes that are a part of the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process.
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