While some welders prefer to use copper lugs to bolt their leads to their machine, quick connects can come in really handy.
These quick connectors allow you to remove your leads super easily, and even switch them around if you want to use the scratch start TIG process. Scratch start TIG requires your stinger to be running negative current, which is the opposite of stick welding (which is electrode positive).
Being able to switch around your leads in a quick manner can make your work day easier.
Since we prefer to store our leads in our toolbox (in case of theft), quick connects allow us to attach them at a job site as soon as we pull up. Once we complete the job, the leads detach and go right back in the toolbox for safe keeping. If our leads were directly bolted onto our machine with lugs, then it would be a real pain to detach them all the time.
Quick connects offer a fast locking mechanism. You push the connectors together and twist, and this forms a super tight connection where your amperage will flow out of the machine and into your leads.
This article will cover our favorite quick connects that are on the market today. While they are an optional item, they can save you time and money throughout the course of your work days.
Quick connects are really easy to install – and once you have them, you’ll realize how beneficial they can be.
Keep in mind that these connectors are mainly for stick welding. They go on the terminal end of your stinger and ground leads for easy removal and attachment.
Tweco Complete Connector Set (Large) (Male/Female)
This is the set that we currently run on our Miller Bobcat 225. The small female connectors stay permanently mounted on the welding terminals. The longer male adapters are to be installed on the ends of your leads.
Since Tweco is the industry leader for products such as these, it is no wonder that you’ll find them on tons of rig trucks. The connection is super tight, and the rugged construction allows these to provide years of service. This set will work on just about any stick welding machine.
These connectors will run lead sizes from 1/0 – 4/0. This is great for the more industrial sized leads for higher amperages. The 45 degree female outlets allow for a more ergonomic plug in style.
Tweco Complete Connector Set (Small) (Male/Female)
This is the same set listed above, but it is for smaller sized leads. This will work with leads that are in sizes from #4 – #1. These sizes are more common among hobbyists for smaller projects where less amperage is required.
With this being said, a #1 lead is still pretty heavy duty. Just make sure to check your lead sizes, as both of these sets will only accommodate their specific sizes.
US Forge Welding Connectors
This is a great set that runs lead sizes from #4 – 1/0. This is great for hobby welders who have smaller diameter leads. You can run the female terminal off of your machine with a small piece of lead and a lug. This is similar to the Tweco set listed above, but the female terminal will be dangling instead of a direct mount. This allows for a bit more movement and usability.
The hard rubber sheath provides solid reliability. These are generally a bit more affordable than Tweco connectors, so they’re great for the budget conscious welder.
This is only a single set (male/female), so you’ll need 2 sets if you want to install them on both leads.
For welders on a budget, this set from US Forge is worth a look.
Lenco Complete Connector Set (Male/Female)
This set is very similar to the Tweco set listed above. It offers the same features, but it is manufactured by Lenco which a competing company. Lenco products are usually a bit more affordable, but they are still a name brand which many welders trust.
We didn’t find too much of a difference between this set and the Tweco set. It is basically apples and oranges. Both sets hold extremely tight and hold up to abuse quite well. The Lenco set is a bit more compact and lightweight, which is a nice plus.
If the Tweco version seems a bit too pricey, this is a good combo set to consider.
Weldmark/Lenco Connectors (Male/Female)
This set is very similar to the US Forge model shown above. However, they are bit more high end and heavy duty.
Lenco tends to build accessories that are more rugged and long lasting. If you like the convenience of quick connects and want to opt for a more high end model, these Lencos are worth a look.
Their tight fit means that there is hardly any voltage drop (if at all). The current running from your machine will travel through these with ease. This allows for more accurate settings and quality welds.
These are great for smaller stick welding machines, as well as larger engine drives used in the field.
The set up process is super easy, you can install these within about 20 minutes or less. They are also removable if you ever need replacements.
Copper Lugs For Bolt Attachment
If quick connects aren’t your cup of tea, you can always opt for the trusty old lug!
These lugs crimp onto your leads, and allow for a more permanent fixture to your machine. You generally hammer these on with a large hammer. You can then use a screwdriver and a hammer to crimp an “x” or similar pattern so the lead won’t pull out.
These offer a direct connection to your machine which allows for accurate amperage to run into your leads. If you plan on having your leads attached to your machine at all times, the lug is a good way to go.
These lugs are available in most of the lead sizes. From a #6 (small) to a 1/0 (heavy duty), there is a lug size for pretty much anyone. The copper is a great conductor of electricity, and lasts for a very long time.
These are also way more economical than a quick connector set. They come in packs of 5, so you’ll have extras if you need them down the road.
The lug offers simplicity and reliability for any set of welding leads.
Although they are a small piece of equipment, quick connects can really help with efficiency while on the job site.
They hold up for a long time, and they have been trusted by stick welders for many years. If you have recently purchased a stick welding machine, a good pair of quick connects is worth considering.
Featured image credit : Wikimedia Commons