Here’s What You Need to Know About Stick Welding: Pros, Cons, Cost and More

You won’t be laying down perfect beads right off the bat, but you can get strong, serviceable welds with a few hours of practice.

stick welding

Whom It’s For

If you mostly want to do down-and-dirty welding where appearance isn’t an issue, stick welding is for you. It’s a simple, cheap way to repair dirty or rusty trailers and equipment (especially outdoors).

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COST

  • $100 to $1,000.

PROS

  • Economical.
  • Best for welds that don’t need to look nice.
  • Works well on dirty and rusty parts.
  • No bottled gas required.

CONS

  • Best used outdoors—there’s lots of splatter and smoke.
  • Can’t be used on metals thinner than 18 gauge.
  • A bit difficult to learn, and it does require some practice.
  • Slag must be removed after weld-ing using a chipping hammer followed by wire brushing, because slag absorbs moisture and won’t accept paint.

Stick Setup

The flux on the outside of the electrode/filler rod provides the shielding gas, so no bottle is required. This is the machine you want for ultimate portability, as a stick welder is often integrated into a generator and works well outdoors.

stick welding illustration

Plus: Learn how to build a really cool welding table for your home shop.

Brad Holden
Brad Holden, an associate editor at The Family Handyman, has been building cabinets and furniture for 30 years. In that time, he has absorbed so many slivers and ingested so much sawdust that he's practically made of wood.