Comparison Table of the Best Spot Welders
When you’re working in a garage, you want to make sure you have the right tool to complete every job correctly. Whether you are rebuilding a vehicle or making some necessary equipment repairs, a quality spot welder is a useful tool to have in your collection. By producing strong and secure welds, it adds to the safety and durability of each completed project. Everyone knows that prices can range greatly from one tool to the next, so it is beneficial to review the best spot welders out there today.
A few companies lead the pack in this tool market. This article looks at the top five available today. Although there are different types of welders in this category, all the models listed below are squeeze-type resistance spot welders. Before we get into the review, let’s take a look at some of the basics about spot welding.
Spot Welder Basics
Spot welders are used to connect two pieces of metal mesh or steel sheeting to provide a permanent bond. These welders feature two copper-alloy electrodes that clamp down on both sides of the materials to be joined. Electricity is then forced through the materials from the electrodes. The point of contact produces intense heat that causes the metal at and around the connection point to melt and join together.
The process is usually very fast, typically taking less than five seconds, and frequently only up to 100 milliseconds. Speeds in milliseconds are often faster than the welder can operate. To make up for this lag time, some welders feature a pulse option. If the first pulse does not make the right connection, usually the second pulse accomplishes the goal.
Frequently used in automotive, boat and other equipment manufacturing and repair, spot welders are a staple of most repair and body shops. Sheet steel that is uncoated mild, stainless or galvanized are the materials most frequently welded with them. Some welders also work well with aluminum alloys.
The beauty of spot welders is in the smooth and secure weld that they produce. For repair tasks, this clean weld is usually as strong as original factory construction requirements.
Welders should always be used according to manufacturer recommendations, and in line with all safety precautions. Any materials to be welded should be free from residues like dirt, scale or oil. Contaminants left on the materials can create undesirable connections and other safety concerns.
How We Chose Our Ratings
When considering the different spot welder options currently available, several different items were compared. Purchaser reviews and testimonials were a major influencer in the final determination. Manufacturer or brand reputation had a similarly high impact. We also spent some time reviewing the usability of the product, and how its size or weight might affect the end-user experience.
Each product was looked at individually without considering any prior bias or preference. Once each product reached a final score, the list was compiled as follows. All ratings are based on a five-star rating system.
Top 5 Best Spot Welders
Miller is the leader among spot welders, and the quality of the LMSW-52T makes this apparent. This welder allows you to ensure an accurate, positive fit with a hand lever that locks the tongs securely onto the materials to be joined. Adjustments to accommodate different material thicknesses are simple and quick to set. Materials can be the equivalent of two pieces of 20-gauge metal and up to 1/8-inch thick. Use of this device is fully reversible, and is equally comfortable to use with either right-hand or left-hand control.
Reach is not a problem with the included 10-foot power cord and 10-foot connecting cord. Control the weld duration with the built-in timer panel. Timer settings can be selected for up to a five-second duration. This model is designed to work with a number of different tips and tongs. Its net weight comes in at 42 pounds, making it a heavyweight in the welder arena.
The LMSW-52 T is designed to be a professional-use tool. There are two reasons why a weekend warrior may not be interested in this option. First, the 240 V requirements may not be possible with many garages, especially older or family garages that have not been upgraded to high-voltage service. Second, it costs many times more than most of its competitors that are designed for less frequent use. Even at its higher price, it does not come with a set of tips and tongs, so they must be purchased separately.
Another top-notch product from Miller is the MSW-41 110 model. You should be able to find this model at about half the price of the LMSW-52T, but it also has half the power. The lower voltage makes it an eligible tool for almost all shops and garages. The MSW-41 does not have the timer which sets its brother model apart.
This welder works with materials up to 1/8-inch thick and is suitable for boat, construction and manufacturing applications. The net weight of 22 pounds makes it considerably lighter than other options, and therefore easier to handle in frequent or prolonged use.
Again, you will pay for Miller quality and experience with this welder. Much costlier than lesser-known brands, the MSW-41 may be cost prohibitive for the hobbyist. Tongs and tips are not included in the price and must be purchased on their own.
- 115 V electric spot welder is perfect for general and heavy duty welding operations
- Single phase and portable design makes it easy to take with you wherever you need
- Made to work with mild, galvanized, and stainless steel
The easy-to-transport design of the Tooluxe 10915L makes it a strong spot welder for lower voltage-range requirements. The 115V single-phase welder works well with stainless, galvanized or mild steel that is uncoated. The adequate throat depth of 180mm makes most repair welds accessible.
Tooluxe makes a quality piece of equipment that will be right at home in many shops and garages, as the 115V requirement is easy to meet. It is competitively priced, too, which makes it a top choice for welders who want to support their pastime or weekend hobby. The abundance of consistent and positive reviews from verified buyers adds to the confidence that it is a good purchase option.
- Single Phase Design - Easily weld together different types of materials with the single phase design. Simple welding...
- Replacement Tips - Spot welder comes with extra pair of welding tips for multiple uses. Simply twist the tips off when...
- Durable Welding Tips - Welding tips are constructed from high quality steel to get the perfect weld for materials that...
STKUSA sells a professional-quality welder available in both a 240V and 120V model. Similar to its competitors, it can weld materials with up to 1/8-inch thickness. Both stainless and galvanized steel work well with this device.
Both voltage models come in with a weight around 30 pounds. The hand lever makes it possible to firmly lock the 6-inch tongs onto the material to be welded. Consistently positive reviews and an affordable price tag make it a popular seller.
Sold with 6-inch tongs and standard tips included, this air-cooled 120 V welder from Chicago Electric Welding is a quality product. Like most other models, it is designed to handle up to a combined 1/8-inch material thickness. It’s a little lighter than many models, with a weight at just below 25 pounds.
Uncoated mild, stainless and galvanized sheet metal can all be welded with it. The slightly compact and lighter design makes it easily portable. If you ever have the need to take a welder on location, this is an option that should be considered.
Additional Factors to Consider
Picking the right spot welder for your garage takes a little more consideration than other tools you may use or purchase. The 240 V options require that the garage be properly outfitted with wiring and breakers designed to handle the high voltage. Many older garages may not be able to meet this need without costly renovations. Even newer garages may need to have dedicated circuits or outlets added for using a welder in this class.
The size of the garage is another factor. If a long extension cord is needed to reach the materials, it will change and reduce the overall heat available at the weld point. Inadequate wiring may trigger the welder’s safety features and trip the emergency-off setting, or trip breakers in your breaker box. Overtaxing wiring also carries an inherent fire risk.
In order to achieve appropriate wiring requirements, new or additional wiring may need to be installed in your garage or shop area. Wiring should always be installed by a licensed electrician to make sure all electrical codes are properly met. If additional wiring is needed, it is worth the extra expense to install an electrical capacity greater than your minimum requirements. Making the additional investment on the front end should mean you will not have to make more upgrades in the future. The electrician will charge the same amount to install either grade of wiring, so the only increase is in the cost of the wire itself.
Next, you will want to consider what types of materials you will be welding. For vehicular and marine repairs or rebuilding, it is important to research the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications, and then verify that any welder you consider can meet those requirements. These OEM standards can make the difference between buying a 120 V or 240 V model.
Weld location will also preclude some models. A welder’s short throat depth may mean that you cannot reach some of the areas that need to be welded. In that case, it may be better to choose a welder that can accommodate various tongs and tips.
Tips and tongs can be very costly, with prices close to that of some complete spot welders. Many units come with a set of tongs, while others do not. Different tips may be required for different materials or weld requirements, but not all tips and tongs are interchangeable. That can mean that both the tips and tongs may need to be changed out, depending on the job.
The intense heat of the electrical current will compromise the tips and tongs in time. If you will be using your welder a lot, make sure there are compatible replacement parts available before making your purchase. While some welders are usable with a variety of parts, others are very restricted in which items they will work with properly.
If you are a veteran welder, it may be possible for you to quickly set any welder to the correct weld setting. A new or less-experienced user may need a device with simpler or automatic controls. One common negative comment for a welder we chose not to include here was that the settings were unclear, and that information in the equipment manual did not match the actual device. As with all things, you get what you pay for when purchasing tools. Make sure you know how to use the welder before investing in it.
The weight of a device may not seem important. A difference of 10 to 20 pounds in weight may not seem like a big deal when reading through product reviews. It can be a different matter entirely when you are frequently using that piece of equipment. It is best to be sure you are getting a device that will be comfortable and appropriate for your personal use and abilities.
Now that you are more thoroughly informed, it may be time to actually purchase a spot welder. Take into consideration each of the factors listed in this article, as well as your own specific use and shop requirements. Each model listed above is backed by positive customer reviews and strong brand reputations. The right option for you is the one that will be a valuable addition to your garage for years to come. Don’t be afraid to take a little time to really consider the options that are currently available, and what specific future needs might arise.
In the end, safety is the most important factor, both in purchasing and using any welder. This includes both the safe use of the product through appropriate bodily protection and adequate wiring, as well as the quality of the weld that should always meet or exceed OEM repair specifications.