Stick Welding At Home (110/120V)
One issue to consider when buying your first stick machine is the topic of outlets and the power you have available. Normal household outlets in North America are great for most appliances. However, they can prove to be problematic for a welder.
If the machine you’re buying only has a 110/120V option, chances are that the machine has a smaller duty cycle and amperage range than its larger counterparts. This is usually fine for casually stick welding at home. As long as the project is on the smaller side, you should be fine. A duty cycle percentage is the amount of time a machine can weld within a 10 minute period.
A smaller machine with a 30% duty cycle may sound okay – but if you are trying to bust out a project then you could get frustrated by only being able to weld 3 minutes at a time. Also keep in mind that failing to adhere to duty cycle specs can trip your household breaker. This can get annoying.
Keep in mind that a large part of metal fabrication does not involve welding. Cutting, grinding and fit up are all essential project components before you even strike an arc. This is true for any welding job.
If you have the budget and the right electrical outlets, using a machine with a 220/240V plug can offer many benefits. You will get higher amperage options, a higher duty cycle, and you’re less likely to trip a breaker.
If your garage or workspace does not currently have these larger outlets, then you will also have to budget in some household electrical work on top of the cost of your new or used machine. However, these outlets come in handy for larger tools as well.
There are some affordable 220/240V machines, and we have an in depth article on machines here.