Buying tips—arc welding

What should you consider when buying an arc welding machine?

Low power first.
Start by finding the lowest-powered inverter power source that is well suited to your needs.

Choose multi-process equipment.
Some arc welding machines are suited for specific types of welding only. Pick the model that best meets all your needs.

Look for a power factor of 99 percent or higher.
Modern inverter power sources have power factors (the ratio of the power being used by the arc welding system to the power you pay for) approaching 100 percent; transformer-rectifier power sources operate around 75 percent.

Look for energy conversion efficiency near 80 percent.
Energy conversion efficiency is the product of volt-ampere output over volt-ampere input. Check the manufacturer’s equipment data sheet for precise values.

Look for idling power consumption of less than 0.1 kW.
All arc welding machines consume power while idling. Units with inverter power sources, however, consume far less than those with transformer-rectifier power sources.

Choose your supplier wisely.
Buy from a reputable supplier that provides field maintenance and offers an all-parts warranty of at least two years.

Check warranties.
Visit the manufacturer’s Web site for warranty information