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Electric welders: Inverter vs. Transformer

Electric welders have been used for more than a century. Like any technology, today's welding machines are considerably more advanced than those of previous decades, but there's something to be said for old- school reliability too.

Most welding experts have a preference when it comes to inverter or transformer welders, but your choice should always come down to which is the better match for the task at hand. Here are the pros and cons of both types of welders.

What are inverters?


Inverter welders are light, versatile and efficient welding machines. Whether you need stick, MIG or TIG welding, a single machine can be calibrated to a range of welding styles. They can also weld a variety of metals including stainless steel and carbon steel.

Available in sizes from 100A–270A and TIG welders from 130A–160A at 240V.

What are transformers?

Transformer welders are a more traditional welding option. The workhorse of the industry, these heavy- duty machines require mains electricity and are mainly used for industrial-grade stick welding applications.

Available in sizes from 250A–600A at 415V.

What are you welding?

If you need a flexible welding machine that can switch between stick, MIG and TIG welding techniques and weld many types of base metals, an inverter welder is for you. The latest machines give an excellent quality finish.

If you only need to weld mild steel and you're happy using stick welding or other arc welding techniques, a transformer welder should suit you fine.

Where are you welding?

Inverter welders work best in controlled indoor environments. This can be anywhere from a home workshop to a construction site or petro chemical site.

Transformer welders can work just as well outdoors as indoors, even in dusty, dirty or windy conditions.

They're commonly seen on construction and industrial sites.

Do you need a portable welder?

Another advantage of inverters is that they're smaller and lighter, often around half the size of transformers. This makes it easier to move them around and between sites when needed. This could be the deciding factor if you need a mobile welder.

How experienced are your welders?

Inverter welders are easier for new workers to get to grips with than transformers. Their recommended settings are suitable for many welding jobs and can be adjusted and personalised as welders become more skilled.

On the other hand, workers who are already familiar with transformer welders may prefer to stick with what they know. These welding machines have fewer controls to adjust and rely more on instinct and experience.

What's your budget?

The cost of inverter and transformer welders depends on their size and complexity. While it's usually cheaper to buy or hire a transformer welder up-front, inverter welders are more efficient and can save you money in electricity costs and welding gases the longer they're used.

Hire an electric welder today

Coates has a wide selection of portable electric welders for hire, for workshops, farms, construction sites and industrial use.

Whatever type of welder you need, get in touch with your local Coates branch.

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