I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read……..
Aluminum is the world’s most abundant metal, comprising about 8.2% of the Earth’s crust.
Surprised? And every year, the use of aluminum is increasing due to its recyclability and many other useful characteristics. It is a widely used material in different industries such as construction, transportation, electrical, consumer goods, and many more.
In continuation of this, the necessity of welding machines for cutting aluminum is on an increasing trend.
But there is a problem: Virtually, you can’t cut aluminum with any welding machine. Even if you use a regular welding machine to cut aluminum, you will end up with a sheet of burnt aluminum due to its low melting point.
What does this mean to you? This means a specialized aluminum welder is necessary to handle the aluminum cutting project.
So, what are the best welder for aluminum and steel? We consulted with welding experts who work with aluminum dedicatedly and shared a list of aluminum welders with them. They used those machines and told us that the below 7 models are good enough.
Feeling curious to know our thought? Let’s dive right in.
Quick View: What Is The Best Welder for Aluminum?
|2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp||Check Price!|
|Hobart Handler 210 MVP Welder||Check Price!|
|Lotos 200A AC/DC Aluminum Welder||Check Price!|
|Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD AC/DC||Check Price!|
|MTS-205 205 Amp Dual Voltage Welding||Check Price!|
What kind of welder is used for aluminum?
You can follow below welding processes below to weld aluminum.
- Laser and Electron Beam Welding
- Resistance Welding
Let’s learn a bit more about these mentioned processes.
1. Gas tungsten arc welding (TIG)
The other name of the TIG welding process is GTAW; the full form is aluminum gas tungsten arc welding. It is a popular welding process for aluminum because findability issues can easily be avoided since mechanical wire feeding is not required in this process. You will get extremely clean results with this process.
2. Gas metal arc welding (MIG)
This is another widely used aluminum welding process is known as GMAW (gas metal arc welding). It uses mechanical arc feeding, which can lead you to feedablity issues, but the good news is, using a spooled wire, preventing this issue is possible. And guess what? Compared to GTAW, deposition rates are higher, and travel speed is faster.
3. Laser and electron beam welding
Often, you can use the beam welding process. Should you preheat aluminum before welding?
Material light reflectivity is one of the biggest concerns when dealing with laser beam welding. Simultaneously, problems are less with electron beam welding because vacuum condition is used, and light is not the energy medium in this process.
4. Resistant welding
It is a good option for aluminum welding. Some challenges are also there with this process. Special resistance tips and equipment are necessary, and adjusting the parameter development time is significant to overcome this process’s issues.
7 Best Welders for Aluminum Reviews 2022 (TIG, MIG & Stick)
Here is our review on 7 Best Welders for aluminum to weld like a pro and try all the aluminum welding hacks.
#1. Our Choice – 2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT
A welder is the backbone of a welding project……
You bet it is! And that’s not all, we would say the success of a welding project depends a lot on it.
When you have the AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 AMP IGBT AC DC TIG/STICK Welder in your hand, be sure you will get the expected result all the time. Compact design and portability features make it easy to transport to the job site.
This tungsten-inert gas welder offers faultless results with several metals like stainless steel, aluminum, alloy steel, etc. The generated heat can easily be adjusted with its pulse feature. This means, if your project is to handle heat-sensitive materials, this welder will let you tackle the task with ease.
And guess what?
It’s actually a TIG welder that also can be used for different welding modes. Even you can use it for stick welders. Many customers expressed that it delivered a smooth and splatter-less result when they used it for stick welding.
How to weld aluminum at home? The device will not give you a hard time operating it. Simple pressing the button in the front panel, you can switch it between AC and DC mode.
- Flexible and versatile welding machine.
- Offers a quiet performance.
- Switching between AC and DC mode is so simple
- It doesn’t get overheated when you use it for an extended period.
- The regulator is not well-calibrated.
#2. Best MIG Welder For Aluminum – Hobart Handler 210 MVP
The Hobart – 500553 Handler, 210 MVP MIG Welder, is the most versatile welder we came across.
Well, it can weld stainless, mild steel, aluminum, and cast steel/irons with the proper filler metals and gases.
The great thing is…….
In a single pass, it is capable of welding 24-gauge – 3/8” stainless steel. Although it is designed for beginners, they can accomplish a few professional tasks like repairing, maintenance, or another different welding.
Expert welders will also love its 7 voltage positions feature because it will let them get precise welding results, less cleanup, and smart weld. Regardless of the power source, the ARC performance of the welder is merely superb.
Here is the coolest part:
This device performs flexibly with both 115V and 230V. Taking assistance from other tools is entirely unnecessary when connecting the device into power input receptacles. It will automatically adjust itself to the input power, and in your expected power source, it will deliver top-notch ARC performance. Moreover, it comes with a user manual and setup chart, making the setup process straightforward.
- Hassle-free setup process.
- Flexible for a wide range of welding tasks.
- Suitable for both beginners and experts.
- Excellent ARC performance.
- A bit heavier compared to its rivals.
#3. Best For TIG Welding – Lotos TIG200 AC/DC
What is so special about it?
At the same time, it functions efficiently, promises to provide service for many years without losing performance. You will like to hear that; this efficient welding machine comes at an extremely reasonable priced.
You don’t need to press any button to switch between 110V and 220V since it adjusts itself automatically. Also, the cooling system keeps the machine cool all the time throughout a welding operation. The welding capacity of this machine is ¼” thick metal. In the meantime, it will let you do 21 ft. of the weld at 6 min. Weld intervals with roughly 8-10 min break due to 60% duty cycle.
Oh, I missed the best part……
This welder is robustly built. Even if you are a beginner, you can do TIG welding after a little practice. When you start welding with it, you will be impressed with the machine’s performance.
- Wallet-friendly price tag.
- It features Dual voltage and frequency.
- Precise welding is its promise.
- Too long foot pedal cord.
#4. Best For Beginners – Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
Premium quality and exceptional workmanship –these 2 words perfectly go well with the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V.
This welder is designed to let you handle daily household welding tasks and different DIY projects.
The ‘fit and finish’ characteristic of this machine will simply satisfy you because everything is made of durable materials. From the MIG gun to the outer shell of the unit, every component seemed to be top-notch.
What about amperes?
@ 90 amperes, the device delivers a duty cycle of 20%. This means, handling small to medium household tasks will be a breeze.
The compact and portable design will give you many benefits, such as you can transport it easily and store it in a safe place without any hassle. If you use it carefully without misusing it, this will last long for years after years, undoubtedly.
- Cast aluminum, industrially strong materials are used to manufacture the device.
- The tool is protected with its self-reset thermal from over-loading.
- Welding range: 25 – 40 Amps
- Lightweight and portable.
- An extra gas cylinder is necessary for MIG welds.
#5. Best For Professional – Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD AC/DC 200 Amp
- Weight: 53.3 pounds.
- Material: Steel.
- Warranty: 3 Years.
- Power Source: AC/DC PULSE.
This 2020 Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD ACDC 200 Amp is probably the most feature-packed TIG welder you can buy for this price.
One thing is for sure……
You absolutely cannot beat this machine for the price. It used all modern technology to make a welding task simple. Digital controls are the unique feature of this welder. Touchpad digital control functions will let you control the machine effortlessly.
I’m not kidding.
All you need to do is, before working with it, read the instruction manual to get familiar with the device. The digital settings, number display are amazingly precise.
The duty cycle of this tool is better than any other regular welders. You can use it at a minimum and maximum settings of 120V and 240V, respectively. The duty cycle of AC TIG and DC TIG welding is 40% @ 200A and 60% @ 200A correspondingly.
- Touchpad digital control functions.
- Affordable price tag.
- Offers extreme precise results.
- Carrying the handle is an added benefit of the portability feature.
- An old-school guy may find it challenging to work with the digital controls.
#6. Best For Combo Welder – MTS-205 205 Amp MIG/TIG-Torch/Stick Arc
Such a little devil!
Many experts and beginners use this MTS-205 205 Amp MIG/TIG-Torch/Stick Arc Combo Welder due to its amazing features. the awesome thing; this welding machine will not let you break your bank.
Thinking about capacity? Its maximum welding capacity is ½” metal like cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum, weld steel, and copper.
More than enough, right? Unique IGBT technology makes the unit different from other welders. In order to deliver the expected and fantastic result, all modern technology is used in this welder. It focuses on providing your expected outcome, which means the machine lets you control it according to your preference. The device itself works excellent without any issues.
It doesn’t show any overheating issues.
How cool is that? Still not confident how to weld aluminum with a stick welder? The output range is 10 – 25 AMP is tremendously helpful when your welding project is to handle light materials.
Accurate as well as damage-free result is confirmed with this welder. Moreover, it is powerful to tackle denser materials smoothly. Due to its synergic control, it is easy to use and operate.
- Multifunctional welding machine.
- Performs at 90% efficiency.
- Equipped with several safety features.
- Available with required accessories.
- Complicated instruction manual.
#7. Best For Lightweight – Lincoln Electric POWER MIG 210 MP Multi-Process Welder
The Lincoln Electric POWER MIG 210 MP Multi-Process Welder is an all-rounder since it can do MIG, TIG, stick, or flux-cored welding. The push-turn digital display will allow you to adjust the functionality conveniently.
Let’s be honest here:
It is advisable to check the gas connection before you start working with this multi-purpose welder.
It features a dual voltage option. That means You can operate it using regular household 115V power input. If you need more power, use it with a 230V outlet. 50 – 500 ipm is its wire feed speed range that lets you accomplish a wide range of welding jobs comfortably. At 100 amps and 200 amps, its duty cycle is 25% and 45%, respectively.
A word of caution…….
keep in mind is that a MIG + Spool gun is required to make welding of 3/16” of aluminum. Since it is a 4-in-1 aluminum welder, make sure you connected the right torch and ground clamp according to your project. Well-constructed sheet metal is used to house the device and reinforced by high-impact plastic.
- Dual input voltage option.
- Powerful enough that it lets its user accomplish plenty of tasks.
- 2 built-in fans protect the machine from overheating.
- Easy to use and operate.
- The spool gun, TIG torch, and foot pedal need to buy individually.
Related: How to choose welder watches? Read more
How many amps do you need to weld aluminum?
You will need to follow a formula to get the answer to the question of how many amps do you need to weld aluminum.
For a metal of 0.001”, 1 AMP is necessary to weld aluminum when other variables remain constant.
For instance, welding a 1/8” aluminum will require 125 AMP, and remember variables related to aluminum will stay constant at this point.
How can I weld aluminum cheap? Well, when choosing a welder for aluminum, proper selection of the welder is significantly essential. It would help if you didn’t select a welder without knowing your project requirement and the welder’s amperage capacity.
Want to learn about best welders for exhaust pipe: How do choose? (Important!). Click here.
What to Look in a Good Aluminum Welding Machine?
1. Output Power
The final result of aluminum welding depends a lot on the amperage of an aluminum welder. When you have thicker materials in your hand to weld, choose a high amperage machine. For thin material, it would be best to choose a less amperage machine.
TIG welding generates less heat than MIG welding. 5/10 AMP – 250 AMP is a good range for welding aluminum. You can weld 60 mm thick aluminum using these welders.
AC is required to weld aluminum. However, if you bought an aluminum welder that runs with AC.
However, you will find MIG and TIG welders able to run with AC or DC or both. When welding aluminum, the oxidation layer creates a problem, and alternating current helps to cope with it.
3. Controlling the Heat
By now, you already know that MIG welders create more heat. Look for an aluminum welder with a pulse welding feature that allows you to control the heat.
The machine adjusts automatically from full load current to low load current when the pulse welding feature is activated. The torch helps to maintain the pressure as it cools the head.
4. Duty Cycle
Many beginners don’t know what the duty cycle is.
The duty cycle tells you the frequency of welding in 10 minutes intervals. It is one of the crucial factors of MIG welders. This feature varies from model to model.
5. Easy to Use
Since aluminum welding is a slightly different process, it is essential to select a welder for aluminum that is easy to use. When you can’t operate and use a welder easily, you will never get a precise result.
Easy-to-use aluminum welders will assist you in accomplishing a welding project.
What is the easiest way to weld aluminum? Can You Use a MIG Welder for Aluminum?
As we stated earlier…… You need to be a bit tricky when welding aluminum with a MIG welder. It is because aluminum is sensitive to heat compared to mild steel.
With a MIG welder; the aluminum thickness has to be 14 – 18 gauge. If the aluminum is thinner than this thickness level, choose a TIG welder.
For example, a can of soda can easily be welded with a TIG welder. While unexpected burns will happen when you weld aluminum using a wire welder, you will end up with a messy workplace by the weld puddle if your movement is slow. Carefulness is a must when welding thin aluminum pieces.
Can Stick Welder’s weld aluminum? When welding mild steel using MIG, the MIG gun’s slow enough movement is necessary to get deeper penetration. Yet, with aluminum, the welded poodle resembles wet foil.
However, the welded poodle of molten red hot aluminum will not be visible in the beginning. When the weld puddle of aluminum gets too hot, you will get that feeling.
Last one but not least………. Keeping the workplace neat and clean is necessary, and it can be done only by carefulness.
While selecting the best welder for aluminum and steel, learning enough information is mandatory. You can buy an ideal welder for your project only when you researched and read the expert’s reviews. Otherwise, you will be misguided.
This guide discusses adequate information, and hopefully, it will let you pick the right welder. Your aluminum welding project will never be a complicated and challenging task with the ideal device.
Good luck ya’ll!
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