Welding is a job with many unique challenges, and one you might encounter is a construction site without electricity (or at least unreliable power that requires you to have a backup plan).
Today we will look at a few best generators for welding that will serve you well in any situation. This article will cover what to look for in a welder generator, fuel options, and discuss the best generator for welding. We will also look at their pros and cons to help you decide on the right generator for your welding projects needs.
Top 3 Best Generators For Welding
Lincoln Electric Ranger 305G
The Lincoln Electric Ranger 305 G is a great general-purpose generator specifically made for welding. It’s one of the best generators for welding and works with everything you can throw at it: Stick, TIG, wire, and tube welding. In addition to welding, it also has enough power for all other tools you might need at work.
It has a fuel tank of 12-gallon and runs on gas (not diesel). The lifespan of a generator varies from a generator to generator, but this means a life of about 12 to 14 hours, a little less if you apply a lot of pull on it. It delivers an output 9500 watts (10, 500 starting watts), i.e. almost twice the output of a standard generator with 5000 watts.
On the welding side, Lincoln’s “chopper” technology is used to smooth weld (as well as reduce the size of spatter and bead), and there’s a downward welding mod for pipes that you can also slap on it. This welder can weld steel, cast iron, and stainless steel making it suitable for most purposes, and can make 5/32 welds on its bar welder.
It is also inverter-compatible, so it can also supply all inverter welding machines that you may have with you.
Remember that it’s a rather bulky device, 42.3inches (length) x 21.5inches (width) x 36inches (height), so make sure you have enough room to carry it when you buy it.
- Compared to the standard generator it has a high power output
- It has a great welding technology
- Good fuel capacity
- The CC-stick mode is optimized using the E7018 low hydrogen electrode for general bar welding
- Downward pipeline welding mode
- Oblique rotor design
- Bulky and heavy; difficult to move on a construction site. Truck-bound
Champion Elite 225
The Champion Elite 225 is easy to use and easy to set up, with 120v and 240v sockets and easily resettable circuit breakers. The generator itself is an electric starter and it produces a constant AC power of 11, 000 watts, a bit more than most of these devices.
It’s also perfectly compatible with DC welding and is primarily designed for stick (scratch start) as well as flux-core and TIG welding.
It has a standard fuel capacity of 12 gallons but is slightly lighter than the most device of this size. On the whole not much (about 20 to 30 pounds less), but enough to get it under a few less generous weight capacities.
This generator has excellent performance that offers 23 horsepower, as much as Lincoln’s 305, and a lot more than most other units. If you’re looking for a device with the performance of the 305 and much lower cost, the Hobart Champion Elite is just the thing for you, as long as you don’t miss Lincoln’s “Chopper” technology.
- High power output
- Easy to use sockets and breakers
- Portable, motor-driven solution
- Electric start
- Many of the features that some other welders offer that would make it from ‘good’ to ‘great’ are missing.
Tomahawk Welder Generator
This Tomahawk Inverter Generator is one of the best portable generator for welding due to its lightweight and 8 inch wheel kit that comes included.
Featuring a 208cc, 7 Horse power engine, The Tomahawk provides 2,200 max Watts of power, which is less output than the others. However, it can still weld 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 and 3/23 inch material.
The best generator for welders who need to weld anything thicker than that, may want to go with one of the above, more powerful generators like the Lincoln 305G or Champion Elite 225 instead.
Because of its inverter technology, the Tomahawk is able to provide clean, stable power without the power surges.
This is also one of the best welding generators in terms of affordability. Although it has lower power and performance, it will also cost about 1/3 of the price of the other welding generators.
- Highly portable
- 1-2 year warranty included
- Inverter technology provides clean, stable power
- Does not provide as much power output as others
What Are the Uses of a Welder Generator?
All welding machines needs a power source. Most machines depend on an external power source such as a socket in a welding workshop or the home garage. A welding generator has an in-built power source. This is very practical for cases where there’s no electrical connection.
Farmers can make use of a good welding generator for metal repairs l on combines harvesters, tractors, and other agricultural equipment; irrigation pipes, seed drills, and spreaders; metal components and frames on fences, pens, and barns, hitches, and trailers.
A welding generator is very useful on a ranch for building fences and pens, wagons and trailers, and the different types of equipment used on a ranch. A worker in the construction industry would use a welding generator for steel structure and steel columns on buildings.
Any industry or trade that uses welding in areas where no external power source is available will need a welding generator to construct or repair metal structures, equipment, or object with a metal component.
Welding generators are not only useful for welding functions. They also offer many advantages in emergency power situations.
A welding generator is constructed with a fairly large fuel tank so that it can run under continuous wattage for many hours under without having to refuel.
Some welding generators can deliver up to 12,000 watts of power, which is sufficient to cover the power requirements of a house or small business. Many welding generators can deliver peak power to start the engines of large appliances such as air conditioners, water heater, or furnace.
Also Read: Best Portable Generators 
What to Look For In a Welder Generator
Many welders are interested in welding machines that can perform several types of processes. Most well-known generators can perform MIG, TIG, and Stick welding processes, and many can also operate a plasma cutter.
The more power your welding generator has, the more processes it can process. Therefore, one of the most important criteria for a welding generator is how much power it can supply.
The more demanding the type of projects you do regularly, the more current you will need. The fuel capacity or the size of the welding generator’s fuel tank determines how long the generator will run for.
Some welding generators can be portable and lightweight. However, most welding generators are much larger than a stand-alone welding machine and can be fairly heavy.
They often need a truck or trailer to transport them to and from construction sites. The size of the truck or trailer depends on how large and heavy the welding generator is.
Fuel Efficiency in a Welder Generator
The type of fuel you need will depend on the model of welding generator you purchase and other factors that depend on the way the generator is used. Most welding generators are powered by an engine and can run on either petrol, diesel or liquid propane.
In economic terms, gas will generally be the most cost-effective alternative. However, the price of fuel is not the only consideration when choosing a particular type of fuel.
In general, gas offers lower fuel usage and is cheaper than diesel or propane. Smaller, portable welding generators run on petrol. Gas engines also start more easily in cold weather. However, the use of petrol requires a ventilated area as its prone to ignition.
Jobs, where the fuel is provided on-site, require the use of diesel fuel. Diesel offers a longer running time than gas or propane. It may, therefore, be an economical choice for work that requires a long run time.
Diesel doesn’t ignite as quickly and easily as gasoline, so it can be a more attractive option when used near other spark generating devices.
Propane or LPG
Propane can be stored forever because it doesn’t go calcify, while petrol does. It can also be used in none well-ventilated areas or where exhaust emission is not allowed.
Propane burns cleaner than gas or diesel. Propane is not widely used because it is the most expensive of the three fuel options.
So, Which is Best?
Each of these generators are equipped to handle varying welding jobs, but which one is best for your situation?
There is no one-size fits-all answer, but below are the best options in each area:
The Lincoln Ranger 305G is the best performing welder generator with 10,500 peak Watts and 305 AMP. This generator offers more than enough power for most heavy duty welding jobs.
The Tomahawk 2200 is not the best performing, but its the most affordable option at about 1/3 the cost of the others.
At only 118 lbs with a 8 inch wheel kit included, the Tomahawk 2200 is also the most portable generator for welding.
The Champion Elite 225 may have the best safety features as it comes with low oil shutdown and auto idle technology that prevent overheating and excess fuel consumption. The Hobart 5/3/1 Industrial warranty also helps keep your financial investment safe.
A welding generator is an essential device for welding requirements when an external power source is not readily available or when you need a reliable, durable power source.
As a small construction company owner, handyman or hobbyist, you need a high-quality device that is capable of generating a clean arc and that is durable and portable. Also, welding generators offer the possibility to carry out several welding functions from one machine.
If you need a welder for general repair or maintenance work, you probably do not need more than a one-rod welder. There’s no doubt that a high-end machine like Hobart Champion Elite 225 will be more than adequate. Although not the most fuel efficient, this machine is a workhorse that you can expect to last many years.
If you’re dealing with aluminum or magnetic metals, you need to buy a device with an AC welding output and TIG support.
For industrial, commercial, or high-performance applications, we recommend the Lincoln Electric Ranger 305G. This is one of the best generators welding featuring state-of-the-art options, with ample power and support for all processes.
If you’re not involved in any heavy duty projects and want the most affordable option, or you just need something more lightweight, you can go with the Tomahawk 2200.
I’ve always been a lover of Mechanics and the engineering that goes on behind it. Naturally had a knack for fixing things and i’ve had lots of adventures that generators are second nature to me.