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After recently retiring from the education industry, my neighbor wanted to learn how to weld. So, he bought a machine, a helmet, and gloves to begin his journey. But he quickly realized that there are other items beginner welders need in their welding kit. So, he asked me for a list of necessary welding equipment all start-up welders should have.
A good welding kit should include gloves, eye and ear protection, a fire-resistant jacket, a wire brush, a chipping hammer, cutting pliers, a grinder, and clamps. The right welding kit is essential for any welder, but especially beginners. Without the proper equipment, your work quality and efficiency will suffer.
Even if you are beginning to pursue welding as a hobby or a career, you can start from the basics and go on to be an expert in no time. But of course, it requires a lot of practice, patience, and the right tools to do it correctly.
If you want to get into the world of welding but don’t know where or how to start – here is your guide. This article provides beginners with information on welding kits and what is needed to get started.
What welders need
As a bystander, welding may look like a difficult task. But it’s more of craftwork than a job. Welding is not as tough as it seems to be whether you repair, restore, or fabricate items, but it’s essential to start with the right equipment.
The first and foremost equipment to consider is the welder itself at the initial stage. Arc welding, MIG welding, and TIG welding are all great options, but wire welding is the easiest to learn. The weld is the powerhouse of the whole welding process. It also lets you decide the type of welding you intend to do.
There are mainly two types, wire welding and stick welding when considering arc welding. Furthermore, there are two types of wire welding: solid and flux-core. Using solid wire requires the use of a shielding gas that is attached to the machine.
As for stick welding, the welder uses stick electrodes in a holder. The electrodes work like the welding wire and fuse with metal to create a bond. No shielding gas is needed for this welding method.
I typically recommend beginner welders start with flux core wire welding. It doesn’t require gas, is easy to set up and learn so you can get started quickly. I wrote a helpful article on the best welders for beginners I suggest you check out if you haven’t yet purchased a welder.
Welding is an exciting and challenging activity that you can use to fix things around the house, fabricate new items or create beautiful art pieces. However, it’s essential to have the right welding accessories to make the process smooth and easy.
This section covers the essential welding accessories you need to create stunning welds. I also provide why they are needed.
When you weld a shield forms, this shield is called slag and needs to be removed. There are different tools used for removing slag, a chipping hammer, and a wire brush.
Chipping hammers typically are flat on one end have beveled chisel-type tip on the other end. It should have a coil spring handle with a good grip to reduce vibrations. You can make a chipping hammer from a pipe and chisel. This is often a beginner’s first welding project.
A wire brush is another tool to remove slag, rust, and splatter. Often you will need to wire brush your surface before welding to ensure a good bond. They also remove contaminations and oxidation from metal surfaces before and after welding.
Sometimes a handheld wire brush is necessary, but I use wire brush attachments to my grinder and drill most of the time. The bristles of the brush are crimped or knotted wire.
The type of wire brush needed is decided according to the size and type of the weld. The base material and the desired surface finish are also factors to be considered.
The handyman of your welding job is your welding pliers. This multipurpose tool is a must in the welding kit. Pliers help with nozzles, slag, wire cutting, and other works. They are made of hard steel and are heated to increase durability.
I like to have a few different pliers in my welding kit. I use vise grip pliers to hold pieces in place, cutting pliers to nip off the wire when MIG welding and needlenose pliers to grip small items.
Welding means construction which means measurements that means markings. But it is not easy to make markings on metals. So you’ll often need a carbide scribe. The tungsten-tipped scribe is convenient to place markings on hard metallic surfaces.
Most look like a writing pen and can be carried in your shirt pocket. Be aware that the tungsten carbide tip will wear off, but you can order replacement tips online. I also use chalk to mark dark metal, it’s easy to see and use.
You definitely need a few different types of clamps. To start with, you should have a least two strong clamps to hold your work product in place. As you advance, you will likely need a miter clamp.
Once you get the hang of welding, you will work with different shapes and sizes of metals. Your mastery will require more precision and equipment.
One such tool will be a miter clamp. For welding T joints, working with rods or angular welds, get an unobstructed welding area to work on. Give your work a complicated and professional touch with a miter clamp.
Welding is a dangerous job that requires many safety precautions. Welders need to wear protective gear in order to shield themselves from the intense heat and harmful chemicals they are exposed to on a regular basis.
In this section, I cover the equipment welders use and some of the benefits of using this type of protection.
Wear safety glasses when using your chipping hammer, grinder, and wire brush, don’t wear them when welding. You can use your welding helmet when grinding or chipping, but I like to take my helmet off when I’m not welding.
Safety glasses are lightweight, and a good pair provides excellent protection and visibility.
In general, you should wear a fire-resistant jacket when welding; however, when I’m welding with my MIG machine, I wear a long sleeve shirt. MIG welding doesn’t throw off as many sparks as stick or TIG.
I do recommend wearing either a leather jacket or apron designed for welders when stick or TIG welding. You can find some that provide excellent protection that isn’t too heavy if you’re worried about the heat.
I have two sets of welding gloves I frequently use, a short and long pair of leather gloves. I use the short pair for the MIG machine and the long ones for stick welding.
Both pairs work well; the one consideration I find essential is adjusting the heat on my machine without taking my gloves off. With that said, you need a pair that provides protection but is not too bulky.
Auto-darkening helmet or goggles
I have auto-darkening goggles and a couple of auto-darkening helmets. I prefer to use the helmets while my son likes using the goggles better. One issue you need to be aware of is that the light from welding will sunburn your face if left unprotected.
One day a friend came over and welded; he used my goggles without a face mask. When he finished, he had a painful sunburn and looked like he fell asleep at the beach wearing goggles.
Auto-darkening shades are a must. It allows you to see the start of the weld and darkens quickly to protect your eyes, when you stop, you can see your work without lifting your shield. The little bit extra it costs for one is worth the money.
The quality of your welding helmet makes a difference in viewability. If you know someone that welds try out their helmet if you want a highly rated and reasonably priced auto-darkening helmet try out this Yeswelder model.
Welding creates intense heat and sparks so always protect your hands, face, and eyes. It is advised to wear safety goggles even under the helmet to ensure the least exposure for the eyes.
One day I noticed my son welding a trailer ramp and decided to watch him while wearing my sandals. I couldn’t help myself and asked if I could jump in and weld for a minute.
It took a lot less than a minute before the sparks burnt the top of my feet. When welding, always wear either boots’ designed for welding or ones made of leather.
I keep ear protection close by when I’m working with metal. The welding process itself isn’t overly loud but the other things associated with metal fabrication are, such as grinding and banging on your project. I strongly urge you to wear ear protection.
Best Welder Start-up Kits Reviewed
1. Forney Easy Weld 29801 100ST Welder Start-Up Kit – Best 110v welding kits for beginners
The kit includes a detailed instruction manual making it easier to follow. For welding, it includes 3/32″ steel electrodes, 4-1/2″ Type 27 metal/steel grinding wheel.
Other accessories accompanying the welder are a wire brush, driver gloves, a pair of welding gloves, and a helmet. This welder can switch between TIG welding and Stick welding. However, for TIG, you will need an extra TIG kit.
- Lightweight, weighing only 9.54 lbs
- Can weld up to ¼ inches of mild steel
- 120 Volt input and 90 AMP output
- 2 types of welding procedures are possible
- You will have to purchase the TIG attachment to use the feature
- I recommend a 220V even for beginners
2. DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder – Best 220v welding kits for beginners
This is your choice when you need an energy-efficient welder. The ETL-certified MMA device is made sure that it is safe to use. The adjustable power output allows working with mild, weld, and stainless steel. The sleek design makes it compact and easy to carry.
- Can work with different metals like stainless steel, aluminum
- Advanced IGBT Inverter Technology
- Not expensive
- Not a real durable machine
3. WEGOODLDER 110V/220V Mini MMA Welder – Best Portable welding kits for beginners
This welder provides dual voltage output efficiently. 110V/220V makes it ideal for home use and DIY projects. The side heat dissipation window and the cooling vent do not let the welder heat up and let you weld efficiently.
On the other hand, it provides a current output from 20 to 250 AMP with an LCD to view the current. Wegoodlder is a safe, dynamic, and portable device for stick welding.
- Advanced IGBT Inverter Technology
- Portable and lightweight
- Fine Arc Welding results
- Dual voltage input
- No accessories included
4. YESWELDER 145A ARC MMA Stick Welder – Best High Current Output Welding Kit For Beginners
This welder works with a wide range of rods for MMA welding. It has a higher current output, almost 145 more AMPS. However, the body is well ventilated to avoid heating up, boost efficiency and safety. The electro-static casing is shockproof, and the system automatically shuts down when overloaded.
It works with various metals like cast iron, stainless steel, mild steel, and sheet metal. The best part is that it includes a Lift TIG Torch to enable TIG welding.
- Large range of electrodes 1.6 to 3.2mm
- Lightweight – weighing only 7 pounds
- Overheat automatic shutdown
- IGBT Technology
- Increased power consumption
5. RILAND MIG Welder – Best Flux Core Welding Kit For Beginners
This is what you call an all-in-one welder. The Riland MIG welder works with the flux core wire, 0.03in,0.035in, 2lb, allowing gas-free welding. It has wide voltage adaptability and a maximum output of 120AMP.
The welder is easy to carry around, weighing around 11 lbs only and has a shoulder strap. It can work with stainless steel aluminum and mild steel with sheet metal as thin as 22 gauge and a steel plate up to 1/4 inches thick.
- Advanced IGBT DC Inverter Technology
- Includes gloves, helmet, and other accessories
- Easy to use
- The welder heats up after prolonged use.
When it comes down to choosing the best kit for a beginner, The Forney Easy Weld 29801 100ST Welder is the best option.
It’s easy to set up, and you can move it around quickly. Secondly, it comes with a good range of accessories so you won’t be buying anything separately initially. Thirdly it comes with an instruction manual, so you are guided regarding its use.
And lastly, it works best with mild steel, which every beginner would want to work with, and is easy on the pocket.