Wanna Bee wrote:Buy the biggest most expensive name brand welder that you can afford! I'm completely serious... You have duty cycles that need to be taken into consideration too.
Me, I'd buy a mig welder (220) with shielding gas. Keeps the welds cleaner and makes things look a little more professional. A flux core mig is fine for rough work on old farm equipment, duty cycle will probably be about 10% at rated capacity. That means for every one minute of welding you need to let it rest for nine minutes. I think a stick welder is just going to frustrate the heck out of a novice especially on light gauge material.
wanna be is kinda right here as ridiculous as it sounds
... if you simply have an odd job and the machine will be tucked away for 5 years ther after than a china machine from harbor freight might be OK for you.... otherwise... if you have no previous welding experience and wish to use the machine for more than one, small odd job... go with a Lincoln, Miller, Hobart and go with a a Mig welder & shielded gas. Any machine from Harbor Freight used several times a year or used for any extensive job WILL FAIL!.... and the duty cycle will leave you with NO hair left in your head!
If your hell bent on a stick machine.... get a Lincoln Tombstone (its not a 110 machine.... but its cheap enough that you can pay the lousy $150 to have an electrician throw a plug in for you
You will never get near the preformence of ANY 220 machine with a 110 machine (but the Miller Cricket is about as good as a 110 mig welder gets).