If you are a welder, there are two things we know you can never compromise on — safety and missing your deadlines! But think about it; what happens if you are undertaking your task in a remote area, miles away from a power source? What if you need a portable machine that allows you to weld anywhere, without relying on your power source? Whether you are a professional welder taking on big projects or a DIY enthusiast that loves to piece things together and build something amazing, a welder generator is one beast you need to invest in.
A welder generator is designed to provide you with enough power to handle all your welding projects without relying on mains electricity. All you need to do is fill up the provided fuel tank, and power it on. But here’s the sweetest part of the deal: this machine does much more. It’s not just made to help you complete your welding projects; you can use it as a stand-alone generator! This means you can use it as an emergency power means to run any power tool or even work lights. Amazing, right?
If you love what this machine is capable of, don’t spend lots of hours online trying to find the perfect model for your needs. We have done the hard work for you, narrowing down some of the best welder generators to ensure you get a worthwhile deal.
Top 7 Welder Generators of 2020 Reviewed
1. Lincoln Electric Building Bulldog 5500 Portable AC Welder/Generator
- Welding current: 70 to 140 amps
- Duty Cycle: 125A AC/20V/30% or 100A AC/25V/60%
- Generator’s Motor and Power: 8.9 HP at 3600 RPM
- Type Of Welder: Stick Welding
- High-quality, durable components
- Easy set-up and to use
- A lightweight, fuel-efficient generator
- Supports only stick welding
- Not big enough for industrial use
- Reports of it not working very good
Best Fuel Efficient Welder Generator
This is a gasoline-powered generator that is capable of producing a 4000-watt continuous AC power. It is powered by a powerful Kohler CH395 8.9 HP engine which delivers 16.7 amps of power. In this case, the 4000 watts represent the running power. For this machine, the surge power is a maximum of 5500 watts. The Lincoln Electric Building Bulldog has up to four 120-volt outlets to enable you to connect additional appliances. It can be used to operate pumps, work lights, grinders, emergency power, and so on.
This welder generator comes with a number of benefits including the fact that it is lightweight and easy to carry from one workstation to another. Thanks, to the tube frame, this generator is very portable. You can use it for all your AC welding needs using a 1/8-inch stick electrode. Since it is a portable power station, you don’t need a connection to mains electricity.
It has a fuel-efficient gasoline engine that enables you to weld a lot of materials on a full tank. The fuel tank fills up with 1.9 gallons of gasoline. Because of its strong built, this generator is durable. It will serve you for a long time before you need to replace it.
2. Hobart Champion Elite Welder/Generator – 23 HP, 11,000 Watts
- Welding current: 40 to 225 amps
- Duty Cycle: 130 amps/25V/30%
- Generator’s Motor and Power: 23 HP at 3600 RPM
- Type of Welder: Multipurpose Welder
- 9500-watt continuous power
- Heavy-duty welder
- Large gas tank for longer working sessions
- Doesn’t come with welding leads
- Weighs heavily at 493 pounds
- Only good for DC welding
Best Heavy Duty Welder Generator
If you are looking for a heavy-duty welder for your home or commercial workshop, look no further than the Hobart Champion Elite. It produces a 9500-watt continuous power supply so that you can do your work without much of a hassle. The start-up power for this generator is a maximum of 11000 watts. For a powerful generator, this model is relatively affordable.
As a company, Hobart has several generator models in its large basket. Yet, the Hobart Champion Elite is the most powerful among them. It is equipped with a 23 HP Kohler engine, which seems to be an industry standard for the most powerful welder generators. The welding current has an amperage range of between 40 and 225 amps.
It comes with an electric which only requires slight pressing. You no longer have to grapple with a manual kick-start. The generator has an overall noise level of 75.5dBA. Generally, it is a great all-round welder that performs optimally despite its low price. While it is a generator unit, it only allows DC welding. It is also capable of providing backup power and running work lights and tools.
3. Lincoln Outback 185 Engine Driven Welder Generator K2706-2
- Welding current: 50 to 185 amps
- Duty Cycle: 100A DC/25V/100% or 130A DC/25V/60% or 150A DC/25V/20%
- Generator’s Motor and Power: 14 HP at 3600 RPM
- Type Of Welder: Stick Welding
- 5200 watts of continuous power
- Lightweight and portable
- Comes with a frame for better protection
- Only ideal for smaller welding projects because of low welding current
- Comes with a smaller gas tank
Best lightweight Welder Generator
Lincoln is one of the best manufacturers of welder generators for outdoor use. The Lincoln Outback 185 Engine-Driven Welder Generator is a powerful machine capable of producing 5700 watts of peak power and 5200 watts of continuous power. This is powerful enough for powering work lights, grinders, tools or providing emergency power. The welding current ranges from a low of 50 amps to a high of 185 amps.
If you are looking for a compact, lightweight generator, the Lincoln Outback 185 is what you need. It features a tube frame design which makes it highly portable. That’s why you can easily lift it on or off trucks as well as from one workstation to another. The tube frame also provides the necessary protection to the engine. On the front panel, there is an electric switch so that you can easily start the engine. You no longer have to go through the manual engine start routine.
It has a 6.8-gallon fuel tank and runs on gasoline. The large tank eliminates the need for frequent refueling, which means extended runtimes. Whenever you need to refuel, you can take advantage of a large fill opening.
4. Lincoln Engine-Driven Welder, Eagle 10,000 Plus
- Welding current: 50 to 225 amps
- Duty Cycle: 225A DC/25V/40% or 210A DC/25V/100%
- Generator’s Motor and Power: Max OCV at 3700 RPM
- Type of Welder: Stick Welding
- A fully-enclosed engine unit
- A smooth welding machine
- UV-resistant paint
- Not everyone can afford it
- So small that it can be misplaced
- Suitable for DC welding only
Best Premium Welder Generator
There is nothing unique about this machine, given that all the other models featured here also qualify to be called engine-driven. The Eagle 10000-Plus is a hardworking machine that has a moderate price. But that isn’t the only benefit you will derive from acquiring this machine. The welder generator has the ability to deliver the welding results you are looking for without trying too hard.
It is a heavy-duty welder generator that comes complete with 3 doors for service access. When you want to service the machine, all you have to do is to remove the door on the left or the right. It produces noise of up to 76.4 dBA. A dedicated DC welder, it relies mainly on stick electrodes. You can use it in your home as well as a commercial workshop. Since it weighs only 2 pounds, you can easily carry it from one workstation to another. On that aspect, it beats some of the models discussed here.
At its peak, it can produce up to 10500 watts of power. The welder generator has a continuous power of 9000 watts. Since it is one of the Lincoln products, you can trust it to serve you well. Why should you buy anything else?
5. Tomahawk 15 HP Engine-Driven Portable 2000-Watt Generator
- Welding current: 50 to 210 amps
- Duty Cycle: 210A DC/25V/60%
- Generator’s Motor and Power: 15 HP at 3600 RPM
- Type of Welder: Stick, TIG, and MMA Welding
- Uses inverter technology to power welding devices
- Multi-functional welder generator
- Lightweight, portable design
- The power output is on the lower side
- Lacks an AC outlet
- Reports of poor customer service
Best Portable Welder Generator
When it comes to a durable welder generator that has high power, the Tomahawk 15 HP Engine-Driven Portable 2000-Watt Generator stands out. You can use it at home or in a commercial setting. However, it is the best when it comes to handling off-grid welding jobs on the farm or construction site. It is an MMA, stick, as well as TIG welder.
The machine produces 210 amps of DC current on a 60 percent duty cycle. With that kind of output, it can weld between 6010 and 7024 rods on a full tank of fuel. That is long enough for you to have refilled the tank with additional fuel. It has a heavy-duty 15 HP engine, which produces up to 2000 watts of DC power. Thus, it is ideal for all sorts of welding jobs. The generator comes with a 1-year engine replacement warranty.
To help you easily move the machine around, it has a pair of back wheels. Thus, you can easily maneuver the machine from one part of the worksite to another without getting weighed down. Apart from welding, it is great when it comes to providing backup power during emergencies. Also, the device can power tools, work lights, and so on.
6. Lincoln Electric K2857-1, Engine-Driven Welder, Ranger 225
- Welding current: 50 to 225 amps
- Duty Cycle: 210A DC/25V/100% or 225A DC/25V/40%
- Generator’s Motor and Power: Max OCV at 3700 RPM
- Type of Welder: Stick, TIG, MIG, and flax-cored
- Features an easy electric start
- Easy to maintain, given the three service doors
- Has a wide welding amp range
- Supports only DC welding
- May not work in heavy industrial settings
- Doesn’t have an AC outlet
Best Welder wide welding amp range
Range 225 is one of the best models from the renowned manufacturer, Lincoln. It is a multi-process welder generator that utilizes TIG, MIG, stick or flux-cored. That’s unlike other models that only rely on one application or process. This is basically a smooth DC welder that will do the job well once and for all. Compared to the other models, the engine is completely enclosed on all sides. This protects it from damage that may come as a result of knocks. It has a total of 3 service doors, which you can easily remove whenever you want to work on the engine.
It is capable of a 10000-watt peak power output and a 9000-watt continuous output. Apart from working as an inverter welder, it also acts as a generator and plasma cutter. As a generator, it can power a variety of appliances including power tools, grinders, and work lights.
This machine features a 23 HP Kohler gasoline engine, complete with a 12-gallon fuel tank. With that, you have a welder generator that can serve you for hours on end without requiring a refill. To know when you need to refill it, you only have to look at the fuel level gauge. It produces a sound of 76.4 dBA, which is quieter than the other machines featured here.
7. Hobart, 500563, Engine-Driven Generator/Welder, 40 to 145
- Welding current: 40 to 145 amps
- Duty Cycle: 130A DC/25V/30%
- Generator’s Motor and Power: 10 HP at 3600 RPM
- Type of Welder: Stick, and MIG
- Affordable welder generator
- A lightweight welder generator
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- The horsepower is as little as 10
- The power is not high enough for industrial welding
- The duty cycle is very low
Best Affordable Welder Generator
The Hobart 500563 features a Briggs & Stratton Intek engine. It is a 10 HP affair that’s powerful enough to provide enough power for minimal welding tasks. Unlike other machines with support for various welding types, this particular welder only supports stick electrode and MIG welding. It has a 4000-watt continuous AC power output with a peak of 4500 watts. While this may not be powerful for use in a commercial setting, it is enough for home use.
At a mere 222 pounds, this machine is one of the lightest among those featured here. It is therefore easy to transport from one workstation to another. The capacity of the fuel tank is 6.25 gallons which will last you for hours once you start working.
For this machine, the welding power ranges from 40 to 145 amps, which is one of the lowest in the wider industry. Despite the low capacity of this machine, it is still one of the best when it comes to the built quality. Also, it is one of the most affordable.
How to Choose The Best Welder Generator – The Ultimate Buying Guide
Having a welder generator is necessary for homeowners, repair specialists, maintenance service providers, and building workers. If you are one of the people listed here, you need a great welder generator. With such a machine, you will be able to easily handle welding tasks off-grid. But just how do you go about choosing the right welder generator for whatever task you might have? The following are some of the factors you need to look at.
Is It Fuel-Efficient?
Since most of the welder generators are engine-driven, they need some kind of fuel to run. Examples include propane, diesel, and gasoline. However, gasoline is the preferred fuel for small portable units. The good thing with gas engines is that they consume less fuel and are easier to start. Also, the price of gasoline is lower than that of propane or diesel.
If you have a job that should go on for long hours, then you need a diesel-powered welder generator. In this case, diesel has the longest run time of all. If you supply fuel onsite, then a diesel engine will do fine. Propane might be expensive, but it has a number of benefits. It is cleaner and has the ability to remain in storage for prolonged periods of time. Since there are no emissions, it can be used in rooms without adequate ventilation.
What’s The Weight And Design?
The power of a welder generator seems to be directly proportional to the weight. As such, heavier machines also tend to be the most powerful. In that case, the additional weight is as a result of the extra components included in the machine. The design also has a close relationship with the size, weight, and portability of a welder generator.
They usually come in one of two design types. First, there is a tube frame or open design. Such kind of welder is lightweight, portable, and easy to transport. Second, we have those with an enclosed casing. The welder generators in this category as usually heavy and hard to transport from one place to another. If you are looking for a well-protected engine, then buy a welder generator with a casing. These also have low noise levels.
Is It Portable?
If you intend to do your welding in different locations, make sure you buy a portable welder generator. Make sure it can be mounted on the back of a truck. But, portability is not just about the ease of lifting off the ground. It also has to do with the design used to make the machine. The lightest are those made using the tube design. They are also more compact. These machines are easy to lift with your hands or a crane. Still, there are a number of designs that come with wheels so that you can easily roll the welder generator on location.
But that doesn’t mean that enclosed welder generators are the worst. In fact, most of these models come with a carrying handle. For the lightest machines, you can easily lift using your hands. Only that you have to ensure the weight of the machine is just right.
How Much Does It Cost?
You might like a welder generator so much but if you cannot afford it, you love for it amounts to nothing. After all, you need to be willing and able for you to buy anything. Yet, it is important to look at other features even as you consider the price. Take cognizant of the fact that welder generators cost more than pure electrical machines. That’s mainly because of the ability to use these machines away from your home or office.
When we narrow down to the price, powerful machines tend to cost more than the less powerful ones. The same applies to those from the big brands and are of the highest quality. While the initial cost is high, you will end up saving more when it comes to the running costs as well as repairs and maintenance.
What’s The Power Output?
What is the power output required for your tasks? This will be determined by the processes you want to run. Some of the common welding processes include MIG, TIG, and stick. As such, there are several machines which run just one process while others run many of them at a go. Others even have plasma cutting capabilities.
The power output is also important, given that the machine will be generating electricity at the same time. Other machines may also work as grinders. If all you want is a machine capable of doing stick welding, why should you insist on buying a 20kW phase? If you want power for use with other machines, ensure the welder generator has a higher than average output.
How Is The Duty Cycle?
The duty cycle of a machine shows the length of time it will keep running at a certain amperage in a 10-minute cycle. If your duty cycle is stated as 30 percent at 200 amps, you will have to use the machine for three minutes and rest it for seven minutes. This will happen for as long as you are using the machine. In most cases, the duty cycle increases with a decrease in the amperage. Thus, if you set the amperage lower, you will be able to run the machine longer.
Does It Have All The Necessary Accessories?
It is foolhardy to buy a machine when it doesn’t have the accessories you need. Some of the accessories you will need include MIG connector, welding gun, portable wire feeder, hose assembly, racks for cylinder tanks, trailers (carts), remote control devices, and extension cables. If you have a stick welder, you will require accessories such as clamps and electrode hoses. For TIG, you require tungsten electrodes and a TIG torch.
What Type Of Power Is The Output?
Welder generators can either produce AC or DC power. DC current is unidirectional and the voltage has consistent polarity. On the other hand, AC current can switch direction and may fluctuate within a certain voltage range. AC welding works in such a way that there is no magnetic effect on the arc. In order to weld magnetized materials, you need AC welders. It also works with TIG welding for aluminum, seam welding, and machine repair. DC welding is preferred for its smooth weld coupled with a stable arc. If you are looking for an affordable machine, choose a DC one.
What Is The Noise Level?
When it comes to noise levels, the loudest are the engine-driven welders. When in a remote location, the noise level of the machine doesn’t really matter. What matters is the kind of power you get from the machine. While working at home, you will have to keep the noise levels as low as possible for the sake of peace with your neighbors. In that case, you need a machine with a noise level that’s not more than 90 dBA. This is slightly louder than your vacuum cleaner.
Does The Machine Come With A Warranty?
Why does it matter for a machine to have a warranty? A machine with a 2 to 3-year warranty on the engine and the machine itself is the best. When any of the components for which the manufacturer has instituted a warranty gets spoiled, you will get a replacement free of charge.
We hope that this review and buying guide has been of great help. The machines listed here are some of the best in the industry. They have the best features and will give you a higher than average performance. After reading the buying guide, you are now prepared to purchase a welder generator for use at home and at work.