Best Spot Welders 2020 – Reviews, Comparisons & Guide
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When you need to weld thinner metals together, a TIG or MIG welder won’t always do the trick. Sometimes, they can create too much heat and warp the metals you’re trying to weld. Instead, a spot welder creates a tiny weld by fusing the metals together with extreme heat from both sides. No filler material is required since it’s essentially melting a small section of the two metals together. Most spot welders have a simple design since they’re built for just one function. We tested out quite a few of them to see how they compare, and we felt that the following six were worth mentioning. We’ve written up reviews comparing all six, but only three of them have earned our recommendations.
A Quick Look at our Favorites of 2020
|Stark Professional 110V |
|Stark Professional 240V|
|Electric Spot Welder||110V||4.25/5|
The 6 Best Spot Welders
1. Stark Portable 110V Spot Welder – Best Overall
Simple and easy to use, this spot welder from Stark USA makes spot welding accessible to everyone. Even if you’ve never welded before, you can easily use this machine to make high-quality spot welds. It’s heavy enough to be stable when you press down on the handle to operate, but not so heavy that it’s no longer portable. This one runs off of 110V electric, so you can plug it into any normal outlet.
Once you put your metal in the tongs and pull the lever, you’ll see why this spot welder is better than the rest. It heats up near-instantly, producing clean welds every time in just seconds. The Stark Professional is built well and it feels sturdy. To make sure you get a long life from it, replacement tips are even included. You can swap them out by simply unscrewing the existing tips and screwing the new ones in. Overall, we think it’s the best spot welder out right now.
2. Stark Portable 240V Spot Welder – Best Value
The Stark Professional electric 240-volt spot welder is very similar to the spot welder that earned our top position. Same company, very similar design. The big difference between them is that this one runs on 240V electricity. In our testing, it performed much better when welding thicker pieces of metal together, such as two pieces of 16-gauge stainless steel. The 240V model had no problems making clean welds on them in just a few seconds, while the 120V model started to slow down and struggle a bit with the thicker pieces.
Operation is still very simple with this device. No adjustments are necessary because of the single-phase design that lets you weld all different types of materials without needing to change any settings. You still get the screw-on replacement tips for the tongs, but this one didn’t include a plug on the end of the power cable. There are many different 240V plugs, so it’s up to you to determine which one fits your outlets. But because of this, the 240V model is a bit lower-priced. Between the lower price and the improved performance, we think it’s the best spot welder for the money.
3. Lenco LNXL4000 Dual Spot Welder – Premium Choice
The Lenco LNXL4000 is a high-end device that you’re more likely to find working in a professional automotive body shop than a hobbyist’s garage. It’s several times more expensive than the spot welders that earned our first and second recommendations, but it’s also got some major advantages over them. For instance, instead of 6-inch tongs to perform your welds, you get two electrode guns, each attached to a 5-foot-long cable. This means you’ll have a major reach advantage, which really comes in handy when trying to spot weld on autobody panels. You also get a 50-foot long power cable so that you can wheel this welder around the shop.
The Lenco spot welder is a very hefty device, weighing 110 pounds. It’s portable enough to use all around your garage or workshop since it’s on wheels and has a very long power cord, but you won’t be taking it anywhere else. It made easy work of 20-gauge steel and produced welds that were clean and quick and kept us moving. The on-board tool storage space was also helpful and increased our productivity since we weren’t always looking around for the next tool we needed.
4. Electric Spot Welder Tool Kit
This spot welder is a simple device with a no-frills design that’s intended to perform just one function: spot welds. You can weld pieces up to a total thickness of ⅛-inch with this welder. It’s very easy to use, even though it lacks any extra features. Simply put your metal between the tongs and press the lever down to create the weld. The only adjustment on the device is for changing the distance between the tips of the tongs to allow for different thicknesses of metal to be used. It was a bit difficult to figure out how to do this adjustment, but once you figure it out, it’s rather simple.
This welder plugs into a standard 110V electrical outlet so you won’t have to locate a 240V outlet to use it. It makes small welds quickly that are barely visible, just like most of the other spot welders we tested. We had no complaints about the performance of this device, but it missed our top three because it’s quite a bit more expensive than some of its competitors without offering any extra versatility or functionality.
5. OEMTOOLS 24819 Spot Welder
It’s a bit more expensive than some of its closest competition, but the 24819 spot welder from OEMTOOLS is a solid device that offers great performance. It runs on regular 120V electric, so you won’t be struggling to find a plug for it. Replacement tips are included for the tongs to help extend the life of the machine. You can swap them out by just unscrewing the current tips and screwing the new ones in place.
We noticed that this model is a few inches larger than some of the other ones we tested, which results in a bulkier machine that takes up more space. But more disappointing is that there are no extra features to warrant the higher price than competitors. Altogether, it’s a good unit, but others on the market are just as good in a less bulky, less expensive package.
6. PROFAB Electric Spot Welding Machine
Built for commercial use but still applicable in a home hobby shop, the PROFAB electric spot-welding machine is a very capable device that’s just far too expensive for us to recommend it. At nearly 30 times the price of the other spot welders on this list, it’s pretty hard to justify the price tag. But you do get some great features like the foot control pedal that lets you operate the device without needing an open hand. This lets you use both hands on the metal you’re welding, which can be very helpful.
You can adjust the arms to give you a throat depth from 15 inches up to 29 inches. You can also turn them up to 45 degrees. This is some impressive versatility, but it still doesn’t make this worth the exorbitant price tag. It’s also a very large machine that you’re not going to be moving once it’s in place, so portability is out of the question. You’ll also need a 240V outlet. Despite its high price and adjustability, it can only weld metals up to 14-gauge, so it’s not a whole lot more capable than the much cheaper welders we tested.
Many of the spot welders we tested for this list seemed to be pretty similar, sharing the same basic design and operation. But that didn’t hold true for all of them, and there are some notable differences between the different types of spot welders that should be noted before you decide which one to buy. Price is a pretty noticeable difference between the average spot-welding machine and the most expensive, but what functions really separate them? In this buyer’s guide, we’re going to briefly discuss those differences so that you’re fully aware of them before you make a purchase.
Tongs vs. Cables
A majority of the spot welders we tested out followed the same single-lever design with two tongs on the front of the device. On most of the affordably priced models, these tongs offered a throat depth of about 6 inches, so welding larger sheets of metal with them will be a bit difficult. Some of the really expensive models had adjustable tongs that could offer a throat depth as large as 29 inches. But that’s not the only design for spot welders. Some of them have electrodes that are on longer cables, giving you far more versatility in how you perform your spot weld. For these machines, you place your electrodes on either side of the metal you want to weld and the machine will turn on for a designated amount of time to perform the weld. Obviously, the big advantage is reach. You can take the weld to the metal instead of having to take the metal to the welder. The tong-type spot welders are going to be stuck on a tabletop and you won’t be using them by hand like you can with electrodes on cables.
What Voltage Does it Require?
Another important consideration is the type of electricity that each device is intended to be powered by. While many of them can plug into a standard 110V outlet, some of these devices require a 240V outlet instead. This allows them to draw more power safely, which can result in better operation for a high-powered device like a spot welder. But this means you’ll need to always have a 240V outlet in the vicinity to use your welder.
This may not be an issue in professional shops or some workshops that have been fitted with 240V circuits, but this isn’t the case for many people’s garages and home workshops. If you don’t have a 240V outlet in your workspace, make sure to find a spot welder with that runs off of standard 110V electricity.
When looking for a spot welder, you want something that’s going to be easy to use and that will produce a quick, clean weld every time. Several options are available, and hopefully, our reviews have helped to narrow down the field for you. Out of all the ones we tested, three of them stood out above the rest and earned our recommendations. The Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder was our favorite overall, thanks to its simple single-phase design that lets you create welds in many different mediums without having to fiddle with any knobs or controls. Just put your metal in the tongs, press down the lever, and let the machine do the rest.
For best value, we recommend a very similar machine from the same company. The Stark Professional 240V electric spot welder even performed slightly better on thicker metals despite its lower price tag. It’s one of the most affordable and reliable ways to start spot welding. But if you want a premium machine that would be at home in a professional automotive body shop, then the Lenco LNXL4000 dual spot welder is a great option with two electrodes on five-foot-long cables and a 50-foot power cord.
- A Quick Look at our Favorites of 2020
- The 6 Best Spot Welders
- Buyer’s Guide