The Dos and Donts of Buying Cheap Welders on eBay

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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Cheap Welders on eBay

When buying a welder on eBay, buyers have an expansive range of choices. The selection includes numerous listings for newused, and refurbished welders, and the prices are often quite competitive. Those looking for an inexpensive welder have many options, although there are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind to make sure they get the right welder for their professional or personal use.

Planning ahead is important: buyers should be familiar with different types of welders, and have an idea of which type is best for the kind of work they do most often. They should also know what power specifications to look for. Researching product reviews can be very helpful when determining reliability and user-friendliness. Used welders can be a good option, but whether buying new or used, buyers should consider more than simply the price tag.

Armed with a little knowledge, buyers can more easily navigate the wide array of choices on eBay to find the perfect welder for them.

Do Be Familiar With Different Types of Welding

To get the most out of a welder, it is vital that it be the right welder for the job. There are many different kinds of welders available, each with its own particular strengths. The four most common types of welding are MIG welding, flux-cored welding, stick welding, and TIG welding.

MIG Welding

MIG (metal inert gas) welding, also known as gas metal arc welding (GMAW), is a very popular form of welding in which an electric current runs between a consumable wire electrode and the base metal. As a result of the heat produced, the wire, fed continuously from a spool during welding, melts and joins with the base metal, acting as filler. Inert or semi-inert gas surrounds the wire, protecting the welded area from atmospheric contamination.

MIG welding can be used on a variety of materials and thicknesses, and produces a strong, clean weld. In addition, it does not demand a high level of skill to perform.

Flux-Cored Arc Welding

Flux-cored arc welding is a variation on MIG welding, with the exception that the wire contains a flux in powdered form, which produces a shield for the welded area. This eliminates the need for an external gas supply, which makes it more portable and amenable to outdoor work in windy conditions. Flux-cored arc welders are also commonly referred to as gasless MIG welders.

Stick Welding

Stick welding, or shield metal arc welding (SMAW), is another popular method, particularly favoured for being economical, versatile, and robust. An electric current runs across the gap between an electrode rod, or welding stick, and the base metal. One consideration is that some training is required to master holding the stick properly and maintaining the arc.

TIG Welding

TIG (tungsten/inert gas) welding follows the same arc principle as the welding techniques above, only it uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode. Usually an inert or semi-inert gas like argon acts as a shielding gas, and a separate filler material is used. A constant-current power supply creates a concentrated arc, which demands more skill of the operator than MIG welding does, for example. It is generally a slower process than other arc welding methods, but produces very high-quality, strong welds.

Multi-Process Welders

Multi-process welders allow the user to perform different kinds of welding. However, some professionals claim that such machines are difficult to manoeuvre, and therefore may not be as useful as one would hope.

Do Consider a Welder's Suitability

One of the most important early steps is for the buyer to consider what kind of welding they plan to do, including the types and thicknesses of materials they expect to work with. The following chart outlines some basic recommendations for different types of welders, including what materials and thicknesses they are suited to. 

Type of Welding




MIG Welding

Particularly good for steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloys; can also be used on a variety of materials

Can weld metal as thin as 26-gauge; also suitable for thicker metal plates

High speeds possible; affords more control with thinner metals; easy; clean

Flux-Cored Gas Welding

Particularly good for steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloys; can also be used on a variety of materials

Can weld metal as thin as 26-gauge; also able to penetrate thick parts

Portable, flexible positioning; works in windy conditions; forgiving with rusty or dirty metals

Stick Welding

Steel, stainless steel, cast iron

Metals no thinner than 18-gauge; generally used for thicknesses .16-cm and greater

Good for windy outdoor conditions; forgiving for rusty or dirty metals; requires regular rod replacement and clean-up

TIG Welding

Steel, stainless steel, cast iron, chromoly, copper, brass, and exotic metals like magnesium and titanium

Particularly useful for thin materials, but can be used on various thicknesses

Best quality, precision, and aesthetic; heat adjustment via foot pedal

Comparing the different applications of each welder can help buyers select the type most suitable for the kind of work they expect to do.

Do Pay Attention to Power Specifications

The amount and type of power a welder requires, as well as the amount it produces and for how long, should not be overlooked in the buying process. Buyers should know what kind of power is available at their home or business, and what the recommended energy output is for the particular type of work they are doing.

Power Input

Power input is the amount and type of power needed to run the machine. This may be alternating or direct current, and may work with a household mains supply, or require a larger power source, such as a welding generator.

Power Output

A welder's power output measures how much energy it produces, which determines both the level of heat and the arc length. If possible, buyers should consult manufacturers of the materials they are dealing with to see if there are recommendations for welder power output. Thicker materials, for example, may require an output of 180-200 amps, while for thinner ones, 100 amps may be sufficient.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle indicates how long a welder can continuously work at full power in a 10-minute period. For example, if a welder can produce 130 amps at a 60 per cent duty cycle, this means it can operate at a 130-amp output for six minutes, and then needs to rest and cool for four minutes. The duty cycle should be assessed in conjunction with power output to determine a welder's capacity for continuous, powerful work.

Do Research Product Reviews Ahead of Time

Buyers should look for welders that have a reputation for efficiency, reliability and ease of use. Reading about various welders and manufacturers helps the them familiarise themselves with models and pinpoint ones they want to search for on eBay. Potential sources of information include welding specialists, industry magazines, websites maintained by professional welders, and online forums.

Do Consider Buying a Used Welder

There are many used welders available on eBay; in some cases these are an opportunity to purchase a sturdy piece of equipment and save a good deal of money. Experienced welders have the advantage here, as they are more likely to be informed buyers who can spot quality equipment in fully functional condition.

Used welders by prominent name brands, such as Miller, Lincoln, Esab, or Hobart, are likely to stand the test of time. Nevertheless, buyers should pay close attention to the seller's description, which should include how long and in what capacity the welder has been used, and whether there is any cosmetic or operational damage. Sellers should have posted pictures of the welder itself, and not stock images. When shopping on eBay, buyers can contact sellers with any questions they have about about an item.

Don't Buy a Cheap Welder Only Because It's Cheap

eBay is full of competitively-priced welders, but buyers should approach price comparison carefully. A cheap welder is not such a good deal if it is so unwieldy that it sits in the corner without getting used, or constantly breaks down and requires service. Quality should be one of the main priorities.

Don't Forget Welding Supplies and Accessories on eBay

Once buyers have found their welder, they can browse for additional welding supplies and accessories on eBay. These include protective gear, power supplies, gauges, gas bottles, MIG wire, welding sticks, and more.

How to Buy Cheap Welders on eBay

To find an inexpensive, quality welder just right for your needs on eBay, start your search on the eBay home page. Enter keywords into the search bar; for example, you can type "used MIG welder", or "200 amp welder". You can then make further refinements by setting your price range, selecting postage method, and more.

Once you've found a welder you're interested in, be sure to read the full item description on the listing. It should contain details like product specifications, item condition, and any included accessories or supplies. Note whether there are additional postage feeds. In some cases, local pickup may be an option. This is a good way to economise even further, but should be approached prudently for the safety and comfort of both parties.

Finally, check the seller's feedback score and read comments left by previous customers. This is a good way to get a sense for how reliable and knowledgeable they are about the equipment you're buying. Top-rated sellers have completed a high volume of transactions with excellent customer satisfaction.


Buying a welder on eBay is a great way to save money on quality new, used, and refurbished equipment. There are several do's and don'ts which can help smooth the process and assure a positive transaction.

First, buyers should be familiar with some common types of welders, including MIG welders, flux-cored arc welders, stick welders, and TIG welders. Choosing between them is partly a matter of determining what kind of work the buyer expects to do, and what materials they work with. Next, it is important that buyers pay close attention to power specifications, including power input, power output, and duty cycle; certain welding jobs require more power, and some less, so this is also a matter of finding a machine suited to one's needs. Product research helps buyers find a reliable, quality welder, whether they opt for a new or previously-owned one; this also helps them avoid the trap of buying a low-quality welder simply because it is inexpensive. Lastly, buyers should keep in mind that they can also find good deals on welding supplies and accessories on eBay.

With a little forethought and research, buyers can find a quality, affordable welder for their home or business on eBay.