Chris is a teacher of Literature at a school in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He is also our favorite irreplaceable freelance writer who can turn such a boring topic into something that people read with interest and pleasure.
Thomas is a professional welder who gained his certification several decades ago and learned all the nuances of this job since then. When not at work, Thomas loves fishing in a lake near his summer house.
Last updated: October 25, 2021
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Welding and working sheet metal is a skill that requires years of practice and experience to master. While it is simple in theory, it can be much more complex in practice.
Nowadays, you can find tons of TIG, MIG, and laser welders out there that make it hard to choose the right one for your projects. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best welders for sheet metal in today’s market.
Working with sheet metal is intimidating, especially for those who are just beginning to get into welding. Just like with any craft, welding sheet metal is made much easier with the right equipment. Of course, you still need skill and practice to get it right, but getting your hands on one of the best welders for sheet metal will make it easier for you to achieve smooth and seamless welds.
We chose our options based on functionality, efficiency, duty cycle, and more to ensure that we only feature the best of the best. Keep reading to learn more.
Other features: 3 in 1 (Stick, MIG, TIG), integrated handle with torch wrap
Our first pick on this list is also our favorite. It can handle different types of welding, has a durable and sturdy build, and is overall one of the best MIG and TIG welders for sheet metal on the market today.
One of the reasons this is a favorite tool for people who weld sheet metal is versatility. With this machine, you can do MIG, TIG, and Stick welding depending on the needs of your project. There aren’t too many models on the market today with this much versatility, and with its high-quality steel build, this welder can last you a long time in your workshop.
Why is it special?
Our favorite feature of this welder is the 3-in-1 feature. TIG and MIG welding are the preferred option, and since this machine can handle both, it’s a great choice for those working with thin sheet metal. It can handle sheets as thick as ¼’’, which is ideal for a lot of basic projects. The machine also has a very convenient interface. A simple three-way switch allows you to switch between processes instantly, and the knobs allow you to control your output without too much of a fuss.
What are the flaws?
While this is a 3-in-1 welder, it doesn’t come with the proper accessories for TIG welding. So, unless you already have the accessories in your workshop, you’ll only be able to use the Forney Easy Weld for MIG and Stick welding, at least until you stock up on TIG accessories. Another customer complaint is that this machine doesn’t have the longest duty cycle out there, especially compared to the more expensive options on the market.
If you’re really looking for the best MIG welder for sheet metal out there and you’re willing to pay the price, this is the best pick for you. The Hobart 500559 is one of the top MIG welders available today and can handle a wide variety of different projects.
At 90A, this machine can run for 2 minutes straight before cooling down for 8 minutes. This is a fairly heavy-duty machine that is built to handle a bunch of DIY welds.
What stands out?
We really appreciated the 5-position voltage selector on the machine as it makes it very easy to tweak the power output, however, remember never to switch the voltage while you’re welding. Another feature we enjoyed is the robust steel construction of the machine, which makes it feel like it can last a long time. On top of that, the machine comes with just about everything you need for basic MIG welding projects and uses flux-cored wires, making it suitable for outdoor welding as well.
What cons did we manage to find?
One thing we found lacking in this machine is variety. It can only handle MIG and flux-cored welding, which doesn’t give you too many options. But for welding sheet metal, this welder works perfectly fine. Another thing we noticed with this machine is that the quality control is unimpressive. There are slight discrepancies that you find in the machine that show that the company didn’t pay that much attention to detail when making it, which isn’t something you expect for welders in this price range.
Other features: ½ inch clean cut, 3 in 1 combo (plasma cutter, TIG, Stick)
This next pick is a headgear-free welder. Since it doesn’t use hazardous gasses while welding, it’s a much safer option that’s an ideal option for beginners looking for their first welder. It’s a TIG welder. Since it uses TIG welding, this is one of the best welders for automotive sheet metal out there.
The machine uses plasma cutter technology, which is how you can weld without hazardous gasses. However, keep in mind that you still need to wear protective gear at all times, especially if you use the TIG welding feature.
Why is it special?
When examining this welder, we found that it’s a very convenient option to use. Once you receive the welder, you can set it up and start your project in under 5 minutes! In fact, many people have reported that it takes less than a minute to set up the machine and get it ready for welding. We also enjoyed the LCD screen that clearly displays important data that you should keep track of when welding, making this a great option for beginner welders.
What are the flaws?
A common complaint we found with customers who bought this welder is that the accessories are lackluster, to say the least. The ground cable is very short for starters, which means you’ll probably have to replace it. The machine doesn’t come with a 120 plug either, which can cost you more money as well. And while the TIG torch is decent, the house is pretty lousy, which is another thing you have to replace. So, when buying this welder, keep in mind that it’s the actual welder you’re paying for, as the accessories will likely need to be replaced.
As we mentioned earlier, it takes years of practice and dedication to become a skilled welder. With that in mind, why not start out young when it comes to welding? This simple machine is a versatile welder that can handle a variety of basic projects, making it a good option for starters.
The machine can handle a wide variety of steel materials, which is why it’s also a great choice for those learning the craft. It supports gasless welding with a flux-cored wire, which is a safer option for many people. On top of that, it can also handle MIG and lift TIG welding, allowing you to take on a wider variety of projects.
What makes it special?
One of the features we enjoyed the most with this machine is its duty cycle. At 140A, this machine can run for 8 minutes before needing a short, 2-minute cooldown. This allows you to weld for a longer time at a higher capacity, which is a great feature to have when welding sheet metal. This fairly affordable welder comes in a bright green design, which is a great way to make it stand out in the workshop.
What cons did we find?
Since this is a relatively affordable welder, we found it lacking in some areas. It doesn’t come with a spool adapter, for starters, and the ground cable it comes with is relatively short, so you’ll likely need to replace it. On top of that, this isn’t the strongest welder out there, so it’s best to use this for simpler and lighter home projects. It can only handle steel up to ¼’’ thick, so while it can handle sheet metal, you’ll have a tough time with heavier materials.
Other features: built-in hot start, arc force, portable
Wrapping up our list is the best cheap welder for sheet metal. Don’t be deceived by its price tag, though, as this model can handle a wide variety of different welding projects out there. With its lightweight build and built-in hot start, this is a great way for beginners to get into the wonderful craft of welding.
This is a lightweight and small welder, so you can easily bring it around with you to different workshops depending on the project you’re taking on. It also has over-current protection and compensation for voltage fluctuation, making it a very safe option as well.
Why did it make our list?
One of our favorite features of this welder is the design. It’s a lightweight and portable welder that comes with a neat little LCD screen that displays important information. And to change the settings, there’s a convenient knob that’s straightforward to use. If it’s your first time welding, this would be a great option for you as it even comes with an automatic hot-start feature that ensures that the machine starts up quickly and consistently.
What is not ideal about it?
With that said, since this is a relatively affordable welder, it does have its own shortcomings. For starters, it isn’t the strongest model out there. On top of that, people have reported that the welds that come from this machine are fairly lumpy and not the cleanest out there. This issue can be fixed over time, but it makes it much harder for beginners to weld sheet metal cleanly.
Things to Consider
With the incredible number of choices available on the internet, it can be hard to find the right sheet metal welder for your projects. There are many things to take into account when shopping for welders, which makes the search very complicated.
To ensure that you have a tool that can do the job in your workshop, we’ve created a comprehensive buying guide that contains everything you need to consider when looking for the best welders for sheet metal on the market.
How to Choose the Best Welder for Sheet Metal?
It’s always important to choose the right welder for you. Spending money on the most premium model doesn’t always mean you get the best choice for yourself. Everyone has different needs and preferences. So, it’s always vital for you to choose a welder who can handle the tasks you need. Before you hit the market, always ask yourself why you need the welder. Consider the projects you’ll be taking on, ask yourself if sheet metal is the only material you’ll be welding, and consider the space you have in your workshop.
All of these features and more go into finding the best welder for your needs. And when you have a machine that meets all your parameters and requirements, you’ll find that welding is much easier and is a lot more fun!
Features to consider
Along with your own needs and preferences, there are also some key features that you need to consider when finding the right welder for sheet metal. In this quick guide, we’ll go over some of the basic features you need to know when shopping for sheet metal welders.
Welding Wire Support
Flux-core wire is a metal electrode that contains a “flux compound” inside the electrode.
When it comes to welding, there are three types of wires to consider
Trusted SourceWhat is a Welding Wire? - Definition from CorrosionpediaThis definition explains the meaning of Welding Wire and why it matters.
. These wires are solid-gas metal arc welding wire, composite GMAW wire, and flux-cored wires. Each of the wires offers its own set of benefits and also possesses unique drawbacks. For sheet metal welding, welders will typically support flux-cored wires or solid wires as these give you the most control and versatility. The Reboot MIG welder supports both flux-cored and solid wires.
The duty cycle refers to how long the machine can run before it needs to cool down. It’s calculated in percentage of 20 minutes. For example, the Hobart 500559 model has a duty cycle of 20% at 60A. So, if you’re running the machine at 60A, it can stay hot for two minutes before needing to cool down for 8 minutes.
In the US, most appliances run on 120V. So, it’s important to get a welder that can run on a 110V supply. Most of the items we featured on our list run on 110V, but some models like the Lotos CT520D can run on both 110V and 220V.
Item Dimensions and Weight
Dimensions of YESWELDER ARC Welder 205Amp Digital Inverter.
When looking for welders for sheet metal, it’s crucial to get one that is the right weight and size for your workshop. So, before shopping, take a look at the area wherein you’ll be welding and start estimating how big or small your welder should be.
If you want your welder to last you a while, it’s best to choose options made of solid materials. The Forney Easy Weld, Hobart 500559, and the Lotos CT520D are all made of steel, which is ideal for a welder.
If your welder starts to malfunction or you notice a manufacturing error, it’s best to have a warranty so that you can replace the machine without spending money. Ideally, you would want a long warranty such as the Hobart 500559’s 5-year warranty. Warranties can also cover repairs in some cases.
A great way to narrow down your shopping options is to have a set and definite price range to follow. Everyone has different means, so always make sure you are comfortable with the amount you plan on spending on your new welding machine.
Other welders on the market come with neat extra features such as the Forney Easy Weld that can be used for a wide variety of welding, from MIG to TIG to Stick. Another example is the YESWELDER ARC Welder, which has a built-in automatic hot start. These features aren’t required, but they can be a great plus.
Due to included accessories, you don’t have to spend more money.
Most welders for sheet metal on the market today come with a few accessories. It’s important for welders to have at least all the accessories they need to start welding. These include a hose, a ground wire, a welding gun, and an electrode holder, among others.
Sheet metal is metal that is processed into thin and flat sheets
Trusted SourceSheet metal - WikipediaIn most of the world, sheet metal thickness is consistently specified in millimeters.
, which is where it gets its name. For sheet metal welding, you need to have much more skill and precision as compared to other forms of welding to get clean and seamless welds. MIG welders are best recommended for these applications as MIG welding is the most common procedure used by people who make and work with sheet metal.
Yes, you can stick weld sheet metal less than ⅛’’ thick, but you will need the right machine and a good set of welding skills to get the job done.
So, those are the best welders for sheet metal on the market today. Each of them comes with its own set of benefits, such as our favorite pick, the Forney Easy Weld that can handle three different types of welding.
We made sure to feature a wide variety of products so it will be easier for you to find the right one for your needs. For example, if you need a robust and well-made welder which offers you a lot of control and is made with premium materials, we recommend the Hobart 500559. But if you’re hunting for a sheet metal welder on a budget, we featured the YESWELDER ARC Welder for you as it’s budget-friendly and packs a punch.
If you think you found the best welder for sheet for your projects on our list, then all that’s left for you to do is order one for yourself! And before you know it, you’ll be welding away and working on a wide variety of different projects, all in your own workshop.
What is a Welding Wire? - Definition from Corrosionpedia
This definition explains the meaning of Welding Wire and why it matters.