Tips on buying a welder

June 1, 2008 | By Richard Beatty


Which welder do I need to weld the door skin on my 1934 Plymouth? Lincoln has a wire-only welder for over $400 but Hobart has one for $299 and the regulator is another $79. Northern Industrial has a wire welder for $249 that comes with the regulator and hose. Harbor Freight has a wire welder for about $120 but I think the Northern Industrial and Harbor Freight welders are made in China and I want a welder made in the USA. Any suggestions?

Also, do you know of any good videos or DVDs on welding body panels?


When it comes to welders or just about any other tool I always advise people to buy the best they can comfortably afford. Just as there are few things as frustrating as not having the right tool for a job, or a tool that’s not good enough to get the job done, there are few feelings as satisfying to a restoration enthusiast as having a high-quality tool that’s exactly what you need to accomplish the task at hand.

OK, enough philosophizing. The door skins on your Plymouth can be successfully welded with various techniques and types of equipment but all things considered a MIG welder is probably the allaround best choice for you.

As far as your desire to buy a welder that’s made in America, unfortunately there is no simple way to do that. The best you can do is to buy a machine labeled “made in America” from an old-line manufacturer such as Lincoln or Miller. Keep in mind, however, that all or nearly all such machines will contain at least some components that were manufactured elsewhere, including China, Mexico and Canada.

Ron Covells’ “MIG Welding Made Easy” video is very well done and extremely informative. Steve Bleile’s MIG welding instructional DVD is not a polished production but it also contains a wealth of information the beginner will find useful.

(Editor’s note: Ron Covells’ 70-minute “MIG Welding Made Easy” DVD is available from Miller Electric Mfg. Co. Visit Miller’s Web site at, call 800-4-A-MILLER . Steve Bleile’s DVDs are available from Wall Mountain Co. Inc. Visit