Best Welding Books 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
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Welding is a highly-skilled trade, and it takes a lot of time, practice, and understanding to be proficient at. There’s a lot to learn, and many professional welders have months or years of specialized schooling under their belts to help them learn and understand the processes. Complicating matters are the numerous types of welding that you could perform. But don’t worry, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on schooling to learn about welding. Some very knowledgeable people have written many different books on the subject to help you learn from the comfort of your home or workshop. We’ve read through quite a few of them to see which ones are the most helpful and informative. The following ten reviews will compare what we learned about each of them to help you decide which book is going to teach you the most and remain helpful and relevant for many projects to come.
Our Favorites Compared
The 10 Best Welding Books Reviewed
1. Welding For Dummies Book – Best Overall
For an all-inclusive book that covers everything from the basics and fundamentals to the more advanced techniques for getting clean welds and making professional joints, Welding for Dummies by Steven Robert Farnsworth is a great place to start. It covers all of the major processes of welding including stick, TIG, and MIG, as well as how to weld with various types of metals. But you’ll learn more than just that. This book makes sure that you’ll know all the important safety precautions to take so you don’t lose any fingers or receive injuries of any kind. It also explains equipment so that you know what to purchase.
What makes this book so good is how easy it is to read and understand. It explains complicated processes in an easy to digest manner and has great pictures to help you understand all of the concepts. It’s all in Imperial measurements though, so if you’re not from the United States, you may have some issues with converting things to Metric. Overall, it’s one of the most inclusive and easy to understand books on welding, which is why it’s our top pick.
2. Farm and Workshop Welding Book – Best Value
Available in both Kindle and paperback forms, Farm and Workshop Welding by Andrew Pearce is one of the most affordable books to help you learn the ins and outs of welding without going to a specialized school. It discusses all the most popular types of welding, so your bases are covered no matter what type of welding you wish to perform. There’s a lot of information included in this book. In fact, there’s almost too much since some if it doesn’t pertain to welding, such as the section on drilling and tapping holes, or the part about sharpening twist drills.
Great photographs throughout the book help to add another dimension to the explanations so you can understand everything more easily. For the most part, the explanations are very clear and do a good job of helping the reader to visualize each topic. But some parts aren’t written as well as the rest and tended to be a bit confusing. But overall, the information is high-quality and complete, which is why we think it’s one of the best welding books for the money.
3. Welding: Principles and Applications Book – Premium Choice
Written to prepare you to the standards of the SENSE programs from the American Welding Society, which is the industry standard for welders, Welding: Principles and Applications is a great way to learn all the most important aspects of welding without having to set foot in a classroom. It’s written by Larry Jeffus, who has over 55 years of experience in the field. He did a great job of explaining the topics in clear and concise ways that are easy to digest and understand. It’s a pretty expensive book, though, so expect to shell out extra for the high quality.
This book covers all of the major welding types and techniques to help you get a complete understanding of how to join metal together. The information is all up to date and accurate. In fact, this is the eighth edition of this book since it keeps getting revised to make sure it’s always fresh and relevant. It’s definitely one of the most complete and well-presented books on the topic, and we think it’s worth the extra price for the conclusive information it presents.
4. Welding and Metal Fabrication Book
Welding and Metal Fabrication, written by Larry Jeffus, is another textbook style welding book that provides detailed instruction on many different aspects of welding. This one is available in digital, paperback, and hardcover formats. It’s a bit more expensive than many of the other books on the topic, but it makes the subject easy to understand, and there’s a lot of information contained within. It covers all of the major types of welding that you may be wondering about, and it goes in-depth explaining how to perform each process. It goes into great detail helping you understand how to improve your technique to create cleaner welds but still manages to stay easy to read.
This book was published in 2011 and is still in its first edition, so it’s not the most cutting-edge, up to date information available. But it’s still very viable, and it includes very useful knowledge that other books left out. For instance, it covers blueprint reading, an essential skill for a professional welder that most of the other books don’t include. If it were to receive a newer edition with a few updates, it would probably break into our top three.
5. The ‘How to Weld’ Book
With a name like How to Weld, you’d expect this book to teach you precisely that, how to weld. While it does go to great lengths explaining different equipment and materials that you may be working with, it doesn’t go into as much detail explaining specific and practicable techniques. It goes over the basics, but we would like to see more time spent explaining how to improve your welding. All the major types of welding are mentioned, and the explanations that are included are easy to read and understand. The pictures also do a good job of explaining concepts alongside the words.
Though it didn’t do a lot of explaining about the techniques used to improve your welds and make cleaner, better-looking joints, it does have some useful exercises you can use to improve your skills. But we think they’d be more useful if you also knew specific techniques to work on while performing these exercises. Unfortunately, there is no digital version of this book available, just paperback.
6. Welder’s Handbook
Written by Richard Finch, Welder’s Handbook: A Guide to Plasma Cutting, Oxyacetylene, ARC, MIG, and TIG Welding is a complete resource for learning all the major types of welding and even includes plasma cutting. It’s available as a paperback or an e-book, making it convenient for those who prefer a digital copy. It’s a great book, but even though it’s revised, the information isn’t quite up to date. The last revision took place in 2007, so it’s probably time for a new update.
While it does cover all the major welding techniques you want to know about, it doesn’t go into much detail explaining how to perform them. You get more of a gloss-over explanation instead of an in-depth how-to. We’d like to see more advice included for how to improve your welding technique and become a better welder, instead of just a brief overview of what each process is and what it’s used for. There’s still a lot of useful information inside, but we think other books did a better job of really explaining the welding techniques.
7. Audel Welding Pocket Reference
Available in both Kindle format and paperback, the Audel Welding Pocket Reference is meant to be kept on hand for quick reference while welding. It’s great as a reference manual, but it’s not a great tool for learning these processes. If you need to review safety protocols, then this book has you covered. If you want to learn how to improve your welding technique with various welding processes, then there are better books available.
While much of this book is written in an easy to digest manner, the pictures weren’t as much help as we’d hope for. Some of them were not very detailed and didn’t do much to help explain the point they were meant to explain. But our biggest complaint is about what was missing. This book only covers a few forms of welding, and almost completely skips MIG welding, which is one of the most common types of welding performed today. It’s meant to be small enough to fit in your pocket, but we still think that MIG welding is important enough to be included.
8. Welding Complete: Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions
Written by Michael A. Reeser, Welding Complete: Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions is available in Kindle or hardcover to make it easy to purchase and read. It features great pictures throughout for helping to explain the concepts presented. It does a good job of covering all of the basic welding processes, but it doesn’t go into much detail explaining how to perform them. If you’re looking for a book that will help you improve your technique, then this isn’t the best choice.
This book contains a lot of plans for welding up various items on your own. Some of the plans include a coffee table, truck rack, and firepit. While these are pretty cool, they take up a lot of space that could have been used to help the reader better understand how to perform the welding techniques necessary to build these items. In the end, we don’t think it’s one of the more informative books available.
9. Welding Level 1 Trainee Guide
Written by the well-respected NCCER, Welding Level 1 Trainee Guide is a comprehensive guide to welding that follows the NCCER curriculum. If you don’t know, the NCCER is the National Center for Construction Education and Research, and they offer certifications and accreditation to schools in the construction field. Many major companies only hire workers who are NCCER-certified or have passed NCCER accredited courses, so you can trust that the information in this book is industry standard.
Because of the textbook nature of this guidebook, there’s a lot of overexplaining of simple concepts. It’s also very expensive because it’s required reading for many welding programs. Plus, it got a bit repetitive, repeating the same safety explanation before each chapter. While the information is still very useful, we think some books explain it better for a much lower cost. Unless you need it for a particular welding class you’re enrolled in, we’d recommend a book like Welding for Dummies instead.
10. Learn to Weld
Learn to Weld sounds like a complete guide for learning to weld. It’s right there in the title! Unfortunately, this book only covers MIG processes and doesn’t touch on other popular welding techniques like TIG or stick welding. However, it does present some good information to help beginners learn to perform MIG welds. In fact, it gets a bit too detailed on the very basics of MIG welding and doesn’t dive at all into any advanced topics. You won’t learn how to clean up your welding technique, but you’ll learn the basics of joining two metals with a MIG welder.
This book seemed to focus more time on metalworking than actual welding, which makes the title feel a bit misleading. Too much time was spent explaining grinders and how to clean metal, and not enough time was spent teaching welding techniques. It’s still a good book for beginners to learn MIG welding, but if you want an inclusive welding guide, then this isn’t your best choice.
There is no shortage of books written on the topic of welding. You could walk into any bookstore and find dozens of them. But they’re not all created equal. Some of them go into much more detail while others neglect entire welding processes. After reading our reviews, you should have a good idea of which books will provide the information you’re looking for. Our favorite overall was Welding for Dummies. It covers all the most popular welding processes with easy to understand instructions and clear pictures to drive the points home. You’ll learn what equipment to use, how to use it, and how to be safe while performing your welds.
For a cheaper option that still covers the important information, Farm and Workshop Welding is available in an affordable Kindle format. It covers all the major types of welding in an easy to read style that includes helpful pictures to make everything easy to understand. But if you don’t mind spending the money for an inclusive guidebook, then Welding: Principles and Applications is a great choice. It’s written to AWS SENSE standards and features clear and concise explanations of all major welding processes with up to date information.
- Our Favorites Compared
- The 10 Best Welding Books Reviewed
- 1. Welding For Dummies Book – Best Overall
- 2. Farm and Workshop Welding Book – Best Value
- 3. Welding: Principles and Applications Book – Premium Choice
- 4. Welding and Metal Fabrication Book
- 5. The ‘How to Weld’ Book
- 6. Welder’s Handbook
- 7. Audel Welding Pocket Reference
- 8. Welding Complete: Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions
- 9. Welding Level 1 Trainee Guide
- 10. Learn to Weld