Originally Posted by amakarevic
i saw a dude at HD the other day buying a stick welder and asked him about my project. he told me that a MIG welder is too small for building a deck and a stairwell. what gives ?
that guy had no idea as to what he was talking about. You can get a very small MIG welder just the same as you can get a very small stick welder. Conversely, you can buy either one that will weld as thick of steel as you want. I have welded 1 inch thick steel with a MIG welder. When that welder was set on the upper end of its power level, it was difficult to weld anything as thin as 1/4 steel as it simply melted away as I was welding it.
Typically, a stick welder is going to be less expensive for a given power range ( determines the thickness of metal you can weld).
The thing is everybody believes a MIG is so great as a welder. The do have a purpose but truthfully, they are not as versatile as a stick for a typical user. They were designed for production welding, hence the spool of wire. They are very susceptible to air currents that blow away the shielding gas. You have to buy spools of wire and if purchasing specialty wire for a specific use, you may simply have to buy more than you need. It has to be stored to prevent rusting or it becomes a decent door stop. If it gets crap on it, it does not work in the welder very well as it jams up in the feed liner. If you do not use the welder for a while, you need to remove the wire and prep it and store it. Then, there are consumables like tips and nozzles that need to be replaced as they become worn out, which is pretty regular with the tips. Then there is the liner that the wire runs through as it is fed to the welding tip. It does wear out and needs to be replaced occasionally.
they are easier to learn to use though.
What welder you buy is highly dependent on what you are going to weld. At the moment, I have no welders but if I set up a shop, I would purchase a good stick welder and a TIG welder. With those two welders, I can weld just about anything. If I were to purchase only one welder and wanted a general use welder, I would go with a stick welder.