Are you about to buy a welding system equipped with IGBT inverter technology, but you still don’t know which model to choose?
Do not worry.
In our guide, you will find more information on this type of equipment and welding methods in general.
You will also find the review of the most popular models of the best inverter welder for the money among all those currently on the market, both for hobby use and professional use.
They are all characterized by an excellent quality-price ratio.
Still, the buyers’ favorites are two models, in particular, the Telwin Force 165, a compact, light and easy-to-use hobby device, and the IPOTOOLS MIG-250, also suitable for professional use.
Our Editor Choice's
8 Best inverter welder for the money – Ranking in 2021
This Italian company is one of the most popular in the welding plant production sector; in comparison with the other models examined Telwin welding machines are considered the best in terms of aesthetics, quality of materials, and performance offered.
The Telwin inverter welder is a classic example of the production standards of the Vicenza-based company; it is, in fact, a new inverter model for direct current MMA electrode welding, compatible with most of the electrodes currently used in the sector: basic, rutile, stainless steel, cast iron, and others. It is compact and weighs only 4.23 kilos, making it ideal for outdoor work, it is equipped with thermostatic and electrical protections, it is stable in welding, and it is also well equipped.
According to buyers’ opinions, the Force 165 is one of the best inverter welding machines of 2020 among all the models currently sold online.
- Compact and light: The small size, the compact design, and a weight of just 4.23 kilograms make it extremely practical and convenient in transport, easily adaptable to external works.
- Safe: The Force 165 is equipped with thermostatic and overvoltage, Undervoltage, and overcurrent protection, so it is incredibly safe to use. Furthermore, it can also be connected to a motor-generator.
- Well equipped: The accessories are well supplied and include both MMA welding tools and an integral protection mask.
- Mask: The welder is excellent, but as usually happens for models intended for hobby use, the mask supplied is of low quality, and it is preferable to replace it.
In second place among the best-selling models, however, we find the professional inverter welding machine MIG-250, produced by the Slovenian company IPOTOOLS and capable of performing direct current welding of stainless steel and non-stainless steel both with the MMA method and MIG MAG with continuous wire, with or without gas.
The inverter technology ensures a decidedly high level of performance, both as regards the welds and the adjustment parameters; in addition to steel, it can also weld other materials, such as aluminum and related alloys, for example, thick or thin depending on the case. It integrates two motorized feed rollers, compatible with rolls up to a maximum diameter of 200 millimeters and with wires between 0.8 and 1 millimeter thick.
The only flaw of the MIG-250 is the gas valve, which sometimes remains stuck in the open position, and you have to give the welder a light pat so that it can close.
- Versatile: Apart from the possible welding methods, both electrode, and continuous wire, the MIG-250 is also versatile from the type of work. It is well suited to both hobby and non-intensive professional use.
- Wire welding: The wire feeding system is well made and allows to mount two rollers at the same time. It is also compatible with all rollers up to a maximum diameter of 200 millimeters, with wires from 0.8 to 1 millimeter thick.
- Easy to use: The settings of the welding parameters are all manual, which makes it extremely easy to use even for novice welders.
- Gas valve: The protection gas valve for wire welds tends to lock in the open position, and you have to give a slight blow to the body to close it.
To those who make savings their priority and are looking for where to buy a model at low but reasonable quality prices, we suggest taking a look at the Deca SIL 415 inverter welding machine since it is the cheapest model among all those we have a comparison.
The SIL 415 is a direct current welder designed for a primary hobby use, to perform MMA and TIG electrode welding, with a regulation range ranging from 10 to 150 Ampere and an installation power of 4 kW; it is compact and very light it weighs only 3.6 kilograms and measures just 33.5 x 13.2 x 20.6 millimeters.
According to the buyers, it is an excellent welding machine, cheap, light and sturdy; the flaws, on the other hand, are given by the low quality of the welding accessories, which however can be easily replaced with better ones, and by the fact that they are not suitable for intensive use.
- Economic: The low price is one of its strengths, and makes it suitable, especially for novice welders and hobbyists who can only count on a limited budget.
- Powerful: Despite being an economic model, it is decidedly powerful, and buyers consider it the best inverter welder for the money among all the financial models belonging to the hobby category.
- Versatile: Although intended for non-intensive hobby use, the Deca welder is quite versatile, and in addition to the MMA welds, it also allows TIG welding, but always with an electrode.
- Accessories: As is the case with most budget welders, the cable and welding pliers are of low quality, and buyers recommend replacing them.
The TIG inverter welder produced by the Italian firm TIG MIG is another model intended for hobby use, but also suitable for professional processing in small batches. It is certainly not free from some minor defects, but overall it is a right plant with excellent characteristics.
Its strengths are the ability to perform DC welding with pulsed amplitude and frequency, modes that not all welding systems in this range have, high-frequency ignition and a simple, intuitive and easy to access control panel, which allows precise adjustments even for beginner welders.
The defects, however, according to some buyers, are unclear instructions in broken English, and the CE marking is more similar to that of China Export than to that of the European declaration of conformity. Overall, however, it proved to be a sound system suitable for meeting the needs of hobbyists.
- HF, Hot Start, and Arc Force: The HF function ensures quick and precise arc striking in TIG welds, while the Hot Start and Arc Force functions play a similar role in improving arc striking in MMA welds.
- Pulsed current: Another highly appreciated function is the possibility of performing TIG welding in pulsed direct current, adjusting the frequency and amplitude of the pulsations.
- Easy to adjust: Thanks to the LCD and the simple and intuitive control panel, the adjustments of the welding parameters are effortless to perform.
- Instructions: The instruction booklet, unfortunately, is translated only in English and also broken, therefore it is unclear also for those who know the language.
The Telwin MAXIMA 200 SYNERGIC is the most expensive of all the models examined and is intended above all for the most demanding operators, both expert and less experienced. It is an inverter wire welder controlled by a microprocessor and equipped with synergic adjustment of the welding parameters, which facilitates its use and guarantees the best result even for the less experienced.
It can perform MMA, TIG DC-LIFT, and Brazing welding, it is also designed for NO GAS and Flux welding; moreover, through an optional kit to be purchased separately, it can be transformed into MIG-MAG.
The accessories include only the welding tools: the cable with earth clamp and the torch, so the mask must be purchased separately if you do not have one. The only limitation is given by the reasonably high price, which, however, is well proportioned to the quality and characteristics of the product.
- Microprocessor: The MAXIMA 200 is controlled by a microprocessor and allows us to perform the synergic adjustment of the welding parameters so that it can be managed more efficiently and always obtain excellent welds.
- Versatile: It can perform different types of welding, not only with wire feeding but also with electrodes; for MIG-MAG welding, however, an additional optional conversion kit must be purchased.
- Safe: The Telwin welder is also very reliable and secure, thanks to the numerous protection systems against overcurrent, overvoltage, under-voltage, and overheating.
- Price: Although the cost is well balanced with quality and performance, it remains high and accessible only to the most demanding hobbyists.
The Stanley Power 100.1 inverter welder is another economic model suitable for welding steel, stainless steel, and cast iron for non-intensive hobby and professional use.
It is designed to perform only manual MMA welding with primary electrodes and with rutil coating, with a diameter between 1.6 and 2.5 mm at the most; it has a regulation range between 20 and 90 Ampere and absorbs a maximum power of 2.5 kW, which allows it to work safely even with domestic electrical systems.
As per the standard for welding systems belonging to the economic range, however, the accessories supplied with the Power 100.1 are of poor quality, and buyers report that in most cases the mask even arrives already broken, due to the weak resistance of the materials with which it is made, including the slide, which immediately yields to occasional impacts during transport.
- Versatile: The Stanley Power 100.1 welder can easily be used to make wrought iron objects, repair locks and other metal components and weld steel, stainless steel, and cast-iron sheets.
- Light and compact: The size and weight also make it easy to transport. In this way, it can be used both in your workshop and directly on the spot where you need it.
- 2,5 kW: It absorbs a maximum power of only 2,5 kW, which allows it to be also used with domestic electrical systems; also, the cooling fan will enable it to extend working times.
- Upgradeable: Poor quality accessories seem to be a must for all budget welders, regardless of the manufacturer, and Stanley is no exception to the rule.
The HODOY WSME-200 is an AC / DC TIG inverter welding machine for aluminum. Therefore it can work both in direct and alternating current, and apart from the IGBT inverter technology, it is also complete with high-frequency ignition and pulsed current function, handy for TIG welding.
It is the classic welding system designed for industrial applications, such as pressure tank welding, construction and naval construction sites, the petrochemical industry, mechanical and automotive workshops, and more. The output current is adjustable from 5 to 200 Ampere in direct current and from 20 to 200 Ampere in alternating current, with a working cycle of 60% and similar parameters as regards the pulsed function and the base current.
Its performances are excellent, but the destination of use, the power, and above all, the consistent price make it a niche product intended for professionals and businesses.
- For aluminum and alloys: The HODOY welding machine is particularly suitable for welding aluminum, but it can also work with the related alloys, with copper, titanium, stainless steel, and all ferrous metals.
- For companies and professionals: Its characteristics make it suitable, especially for companies such as shipyards and construction, mechanical and automotive workshops, and for the petrochemical industry.
- Wide range of adjustments: The control panel has ten different adjustment parameters, which makes it somewhat complicated for a beginner but extremely efficient in the hands of a professional.
- Niche product: The characteristics, the price, the greater complexity in adjusting the parameters, and the need to use a generator for power supply, make it a niche product for professional users.
The S-MMA-250PI.2 is produced by the company Stamos Germany. It belongs to the Pro Series, a specific line of powerful and compact welding machines, suitable for both workshop and factory work and outdoor maintenance and repair.
It is a 250 amp inverter welding machine; in fact, and thanks to the E-Hand welding process, it does not require any protection gas and can easily weld materials with a thickness ranging from 1.5 to 10 millimeters. It works with electrodes from 1.6 to 5 millimeters in diameter and is complete with welding tools but not with a protection mask.
The buyers consider it a good welder and have particularly appreciated the length of the welding cables, which is 8 meters. Still, given the price, it is decidedly spartan and even lacks the anti-stick function, which is vital to prevent the electrode sticks to welding.
- Economic: The Stamos welder is a spartan and essential model, but efficient and economical, ideal for those who need a system of absolute power but without having particular needs.
- Ampere regulation: The welding current can be regulated within a range from 20 to 250 Ampere. At maximum power, however, it has an energy absorption that exceeds 9 kW.
- Long cables: Both the grounding cable and the cable for the electrode holder have a length of 8 meters, ideal for working with maximum freedom of action and movement.
- No Anti-Stick: It seems almost absurd, but considering the price and the type of system, it is also understandable: unfortunately, it does not have the Anti-Stick function.
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Buying guide - How to choose the best inverter welding machines?
Understanding your needs
For a DIY lover, especially if a beginner, it is reasonable to wonder which inverter welder to buy, given the numerous models available on the market. If you do not have a minimum of knowledge about these systems and the use you intend to make of them, the risk of buying a welding machine that is oversized or undersized to your needs is decidedly high. The first thing to establish, therefore, is the type of application for which you intend to use it since this requirement is fundamental for understanding how to choose a good inverter welder.
In this purchase guide, we will mainly focus on the needs of hobbyists, regardless of whether they have professional skills in the field or not, and on those of craftsmen who are looking for equipment to use at home, over time free.
The welder is a handy device also because of small home maintenance works, as well as for the creation of various types of products. This field of application requires above all systems capable of welding steel and aluminum laminates and profiles. Therefore the TIG inverter welding machines, much more expensive and complicated to manage for the average home user, can be safely ignored and focus on the inverter welding machines. MMA, or manual electrode welding systems.
The inverter electrode welders
The ideal welding systems for novice or inexperienced hobbyists, whose use is limited to the periodic maintenance of railings and gates, for example, and the creation of small products in aluminum, steel, or wrought iron, are the inverter welding machines. Electrode MMA.
The only type of welding that they can perform is electrode welding. Still, the models on the market are all designed to guarantee wide compatibility with the various electrodes on the market, which have a basic, rutilium, or another coating. Since they are mainly intended for hobby use, moreover, they have an output current range whose maximum value rarely exceeds 160 Ampere, for which a power absorption not exceeding 3 kW is required, which is equivalent to the capacity of a domestic electrical system.
The welding systems belonging to this specific segment can have a price ranging from 150 to 250 euros, depending on the model chosen. In addition to the low power absorption, they are also characterized by extreme compactness and lightness, since, thanks to the inverter circuit, they lack the massive transformer typical of old generation static welders.
There are also MMA inverter welding machines capable of reaching 250 Ampere of direct current output; however, although falling within the same price range, these are professional models intended for the most demanding and expert hobbyists.
The inverter electrode and continuous wire welding machines
Professional craftsmen and welders also belong to the group of experienced hobbyists, obviously, especially those who have a small workshop equipped space, to be used both for home maintenance and occasional work for third parties. For this type of user, inverter welding machines are recommended, which, in addition to electrode welding, are also able to perform continuous wire welding.
The differences between the various models available are recognizable using the identification codes, which also report those relating to the types of welding. Thus there are the inverter welding machines MMA / MIG-MAG, MMA / TIG / MIG, MMA / FLUX / TIG, and so on, depending on the type of system you want to choose. Their advantage is mainly given by a greater versatility of use and of the types of metal that can be welded, in addition to the canonical iron, steel, and aluminum, such as titanium, for example.
Since these are more complex systems, however, the adjustments are equally difficult for a novice operator, and the welding process also requires more significant experience and coordination skills, especially those that need the use of rods. of filler material.
Furthermore, their output current abundantly exceeds 160 Ampere, going up to 250 Ampere and beyond. Therefore they absorb power in Watts far superior to that of a domestic electrical system, and the use of a motor-generator becomes essential in most cases.
The inverter welding machines belonging to this market segment are therefore much more expensive, and prices can vary from 300 to 700 euros and more, depending on the model chosen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the inverter welding machine mean?
The inverter welder is nothing more than the latest technological evolution in the field of welders, even if in circulation for several decades now. In an era before the development of power semiconductors, DC welding machines used a motor, which could be electric or thermal, depending on the type of system, which operated a dynamo for the production of direct current for soldering, which is why which were called “rotary” welders.
After the development of power semiconductors, on the other hand, it was possible to build the first static welding systems, i.e., without moving parts, powered by alternating current and equipped with a transformer, or in some cases a rectifier, to convert the current alternating to continuous.
The inverter welder is therefore substantially similar to any other static welder with the only difference that instead of the transformer, it uses an electronic circuit, called an inverter, which transforms alternating current into direct current.
The advantages deriving from the use of the inverter circuit instead of the traditional transformer are represented above all by a greater ease of use of the welding system. Both the ignition of the arc and its adjustments are greatly facilitated as they are electronically controlled; also in the inverter welding machines that weld with the electrode, in the case in which the latter sticks to the welding, the electronic circuit interrupts the current allowing the operator to immediately remedy.
Furthermore, being without a transformer, the inverter welding machines are also much more compact, lighter, and easier to transport than the static ones.
How much does an inverter welding machine absorb?
The power consumption of an inverter welder depends first of all on its characteristics and the output amperage range. Depending on the model chosen, the output current range can reach a maximum value of 120, 160, 200, or 250 Ampere.
If the problem to be addressed is that of hobby use of the welding system, and therefore that of not exceeding the limit of 3 kW given by standard domestic electrical systems, then you can quickly solve it keeping in mind a simple notion: as long as the output amperage does not exceed 160 Ampere, the energy absorption will not exceed 3 kW.
An inverter welder with an output current of 10 to 150 Ampere, therefore, will not represent any problem for the typical home network. Still, the same can also be said of a welder that has an output current between 20 and 250 Ampere, for example, if the output current is regulated exclusively to a maximum of 150 Ampere.
If the welds to be performed, require a current greater than 160 Ampere instead, for example, 180, 200, or even 250 Ampere. The absorbed power can go up to 4 or 5 kW and beyond; in this case, it will be necessary to connect the welder to an electrical system of higher power or a motor-generator.
How to use an inverter welder
How the inverter welder works
The operating principle of an inverter welder is precisely the same as that of a static welding system: the welder receives alternating current from the network and, through the inverter electronic circuit, first transforms it into direct current and then regulates its voltage according to the parameters set for the welding to be performed.
At this point, the cable with the earth clamp and the torch, or the clamp with the electrode according to the type of system, are used, placing them close to the pieces to be welded to close the electrical circuit and trigger the arc. The high-frequency ignition and the electronic regulation of the welding parameters, typical of an inverter system, are far simpler to perform and also much more precise.
The parameters will be adjusted according to the type of welding to be performed and the method used, i.e., electrode or continuous wire; a further advantage given by the inverter circuit is that of being able to integrate new digital systems for the protection of the welding system as well as its operator, and of a particular method called Anti-Stick, which allows the inverter circuit to interrupt the current in the exact when, during an electrode welding, the latter ends up sticking to the bead.