5 Best Engine Driven Welder Generators of 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
Last Updated: November 9, 2020
How do you weld when you’re miles away from the nearest power source? With an engine-driven welder generator, one of the most useful welding machines available. These incredible machines are designed with high duty cycles and can run quality stick, MIG, and TIG welds.
With a decent range of them available online, we’ve narrowed the list down to our top five favorite welder generators and given detailed reviews on each one. Let us know what you think in our comment section below, whether you’ve used one of these or have another favorite you like.
Rundown of our Favorites for 2020
|Best Overall||Miller Bobcat 250||
|Hobart Champion Elite Welder/Generator||
|Best Value||Lifan WeldPro Generator||
|Hobart Champion 145||
|Lincoln Electric Bulldog 5500||
The 5 Best Engine Driven Welder Generators
1. Miller Bobcat 250 Engine Driven Welder – Best Overall
Miller always makes top-quality machines, but their prices generally sit at the higher range too. The Engine Driven Welder, Bobcat 250 generator isn’t cheap, but it’s in a reasonable range, and for what it offers we believe it’s the best machine available.
It’s been designed to create a smooth current that doesn’t spike up and down like most generators, so the welds are consistent. This gives you much more accuracy in your welding as opposed to traditional welder generators. It also runs a 100% duty cycle at full amps to ensure you have constant maximum power available. The machine is heavy-duty to withstand years of use, even at this high running rate.
It’s a heavy machine, but Miller has reduced its size significantly from older models to make it easier to transport. It would be nice to have welding gear included with it, but for what it offers, the price gives no tolerance to add extra gear.
We recommend this quality machine to anyone wanting the best welder generator at a lower price than many other options.
2. Hobart Champion Elite Welder/Generator
The Hobart Champion Elite Welder/Generator runs a maximum of 9500 watts of continuous power at 23 horsepower, slightly less than Miller’s Bobcat 250, and it runs 25 amps less DC power. However, Hobart matches it with a 100% duty cycle running full noise and includes the same three-year warranty on it because of the high quality of its parts.
What we don’t like is that although it can be used for welding, it’s not designed for welding to the same capacity as Miller’s Bobcat 250. It’s also heavy and doesn’t include the welding leads.
3. Lifan WeldPro Engine-Driven Welder Generator – Best Value
Lifan’s Pro Series WeldPro AXQ1-200a is a 200-amp generator welder that’s a steal for the price it comes at. It runs 4000 watts of continuous AC power and can weld at 200 amps with a 50% duty cycle, which is impressive for the size engine it has.
It’s a much easier machine to transport at only 210 pounds, and with a three-year warranty, you can have confidence it’s made from quality parts. It doesn’t have the largest fuel tank at 6.5 gallons, but it runs a lot longer than most other welder generators this size.
We were very impressed with this machine and have ranked it the best for your money. It won’t run to the same standard as the Hobart and Miller machines in our top two spots, but it still puts out 200 amps, and the price is incredibly low.
4. Hobart Champion 145 Engine Driven Welder Generator
The Hobart Champion 145 is one of the lightest generators in both weight and amperage, considering the wattage among machines at this range. It can only weld up to 145 amps and has a 30% duty cycle at 130 amps.
It’s capable of connecting a light MIG welder to it for flux core welding if you need it, but with only 10 horsepower, you can’t run much off it.
Like all Hobart machines, this comes with quality parts; therefore, you can trust that it will last. However, with what it offers for its price, we’d recommend picking any of our top three options, as we believe they are all better deals.
5. Lincoln Engine-Driven Welding Machine (Bulldog 5500)
Last on our list is Lincoln’s Bulldog 5500. It’s in a similar price range to Hobart’s Champion 145, but it only runs with 4000 watts of continuous AC power, and maxes 8.9 horsepower with a tiny 1.9-gallon gasoline tank.
Its duty cycle is less, and it doesn’t include any more accessories than other welder generators. It’s also a slightly lighter machine and has a heavy-duty roll cage we like, similar to Hobart’s Champion 145. For what it offers while claiming to be a 5500-watt generator, it deserves to stay in our 5th place spot. It’s better than other available generators, but it’s not our top pick.
Most engine-driven welder generators are used on farms and on site, where electricity is far away from where tools and welders need to be used. They aren’t typically used exclusively as welders, although they can make good welders if that’s all that’s required from them.
The different aspects to look at when considering buying one of these machines are the AC and DC output capacity, the welding capability, and how you plan on transporting it.
Most generators create AC power and have power points to power leads and small electric tools on, but it’s not the current used to weld with. What you will be using the generator for will determine what capacity you need your generator to produce.
The AC power created by the generator can be turned into DC to produce the amperage the welder will run at. However, the amount of DC amperage will differ among the generators producing the same wattage of AC power depending on the design of the machine.
The type of welding you’ll be doing, whether it’s heavy gauge or thin metal, affects what machine to get. Make sure the machine produces more than enough amperage for what you require. The higher the amperage is, the thicker a plate you can weld with it.
Most welder generators are stick welding machines, as that’s the most common type of welding they’re used for. Some have the capability to MIG and TIG weld with the right attachments.
The Miller Bobcat 250 is designed for any kind of electrical welding and is a good option if you require flux core or TIG welding. A machine like the Hobart Champion 145 can run a separate MIG welder if necessary, although it can only run a small MIG with low amps.
How you’ll be transporting your welder generator will make a difference in the size and style of machine you will buy.
If the machine will be carted around on the back of a pickup truck or trailer and won’t need to be moved about, the Miller Bobcat 250 or Hobart Champion Elite would be suitable. They are heavy and aren’t ideal for transporting by hand because they have no wheels or protective roll cage, but they can easily be set up on the back of a vehicle.
If you need to carry your welder generator various places, or if there is a possibility the welder generator could be tipped over or be exposed to damage, a smaller machine like the Lifan Pro Series WeldPro AXQ1-200a would be a good choice. It has wheels and is easy to tow around, and has a roll cage to protect it from damage.
Other welding equipment we recently reviewed:
There are some brilliant welder generators available online, and our reviews of the five top welder generators reveal a summary of what these useful machines can accomplish. Our top choice, the Miller Engine Driven Welder, Bobcat 250, is excellent as both a generator and a multi-purpose welder. The quality of its parts and the technology it runs with makes it stand out significantly.
We also liked the Lifan Pro Series WeldPro AXQ1-200a, 4000 Running Watts/4500 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Generator. It’s a smaller machine but can still crank 200 amps of DC power to get some serious welding done, while it costs significantly less than most other welder generators.
We appreciate you stopping by to read our reviews. Please feel free to leave any comments below.
- Rundown of our Favorites for 2020
- The 5 Best Engine Driven Welder Generators
- Buyer’s Guide