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Best Auto Body Spot Welders and Sheet Metal Welders in 2021 – Reviews And Buying Guide

Best Auto Body Spot Welders

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Spot welder is the most common welding machine used when welding sheet metals or wire mesh. The typical application of spot welder is in the automobile manufacturing and repair industry for welding sheet metals to form or repair car bodies.

Spot welding is easy to learn, and they are top-rated among hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts who work on sheet metal repairs and fabrication.

Learning spot welding is not tricky, but know it under the guidance of an expert welder before using it. Your safety is important, so follow all safety guidelines.

Once you are comfortable using your spot welder, you may learn other welding trades and specialize in a profession. Repairing and reconstruction of auto bodies can be one prime area you may consider.

After careful research, we have compiled a list of the best spot welders on the market for auto body or sheet metal welding to meet the requirements of hobbyist who want to become a car repairer and professional who need to upgrade their current welder.

Take a look at the following spot welders review and see which one could be your next welder! Let us begin.

Best Sheet Metal / Auto Body Spot Welder in 2021

  1. LENCO Auto body Dual Spot Welder (LNXL4000) (Best Pro Spot Welder for Automotive Industry)
  2. Harbor Freight – Chicago Electric Spot Welder (Best 120v / 240v Spot Welder)
  3. Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder (Best Handheld Spot Welder)

Best Pro Spot Welder for Automotive Industry

LENCO Auto body Dual Spot Welder (LNXL4000)

LENCO Auto body Dual Spot Welder

Lenco spot welder is one of the best spot welders for professionals who aim to produce factory-quality spot welds in their workshop or garage. The welder is simple to operate, you need to maneuver the two electrode guns against the work, press the button, and the welder does the job.

The Lencospot Mark II auto body dual spot welder works on a primary voltage of 208/230 V and 60/50Hz, single phase – 4 KVA Rating. The maximum welding capacity is 20 gauge of auto-body steel.

This spot welder produces high-quality welds with a smooth finish, making it the most preferred option for large auto body shops. The machine comes with two arms instead of clamps, and the same makes it easy to use for any job and difficult locations with limited access.

The arms line up needs a sort of skill for proper alignment ad accurate welding. Therefore, using the two arms requires more experience and would be difficult to handle for beginners. Hence, this spot welder is not suitable for beginners or hobbyists.

The welder features a protected control panel, solid-state timer, unique streamlined construction, tool storage space, easy portability, and more features. Besides, you do not need to buy gases or wires to operate it, once you buy it, you are set to go.

Lencospot Mark II welder weld the workpiece every time without creating any deformation or producing flames. The solid-state electronic timer automatically controls welding time every time you use the welder, and you do not need to guess or experiment on your work.

Although Lenco Marine LNXL4000 neither comes with a modern or high-tech panel nor looks so impressive, however, you will be very impressed with the machine-built quality, the quality of the welds, and the capability of the machine. This beast is the perfect choice to lower the rising labor costs.

Key features of Lencospot Mark II Autobody Dual-Spot Welder

 

  • The Lencospot Mark II Auto body Dual-Spot Welder works on primary voltage: 208/230 V and 60/50Hz single phase – 4 KVA Rating.
  • 50′ Power input cable, No. 10/3 wire.
  • 50 amp Line Fuse.
  • Welding cable length: 5′.
  • Maximum welding capacity: 20 gauge Auto body steel.
  • MARK II’s size is 20.5″ H X 11″ W X 16″ L, and its weight is 110 pounds.
  • It has a protected control panel.
  • Comes with a solid-state timer, tool storage space.
  • The spot welder has streamlined construction, and it is easy portability.

Pros

• An excellent and reliable spot welder for professionals dealing in auto body repair and reconstruction.

• Flexibility in movement due to the 50inch power input welding cable length.

• This spot welder offers dual spot welding capability.

• LENCO spot welder comes with a protected control panel.

• The maximum welding capacity is 20 gauge auto-body steel.

• Solid-state timer automatically controls welding time.

• Streamlined construction with spacious tool storage.

Cons

• Not suitable for hobbyists and beginners.

• This welder cannot be carried as it weighs 110lbs. However, it comes with a cart and wheels, which facilitate the movement of the machine.


Best 120V / 240V Spot Welder

Harbor Freight – Chicago Electric Spot Welder

CHICAGO ELECTRIC Spot Welder

The Chicago Electric Spot Welder is a portable spot welder for professional jobs. This is a versatile spot welder that can weld various sheet metals and wire mesh together.

It comes with an attached handle for easy and convenient handling. Chicago Electric welder is an air-cooled welder, making it more efficient and compact to use.

There are two versions of this spot welder, the 120V and the 240V. You select the version that matches your power supply source.

The other difference between the two versions, apart from the input power, is that the 240V can weld thicker sheets than the 120V due to the higher rated output resulting from the higher voltage power.

Chicago Electric spot welder has 6-inch tongs that lock firmly onto materials providing solid grip to assist you in applying firm pressure that is needed to produce a strong welding joint. This makes Chicago Electric welder suitable for auto body and most metal sheet works.

You can use this welder for many thin metal works, including wire mesh and exhaust baffles welding. It makes quick and strong spot welds in various materials, including uncoated mild steel, galvanized, stainless, or cast iron, with superior performance, and for that, it will save you a ton of time.

Overall, this welder is a great choice, and it is an excellent addition to any shop or even a professional shop. It is compact, works very well, and produces perfect spot welds.

Key features of Harbor Freight – Chicago Electric Spot Welder

 

  • Runs on standard 120V or 240V power (Depending on the version).
  • Welds stock to (1/8in-120V or 3/16in-240V) combined thickness (mild steel), two pieces of (20 gauge-120V or 20 gauge-240V) (galvanized).
  • Portable, air-cooled spot welder.
  • 6 inch tongs that lock onto materials.
  • Works with uncoated mild, galvanized, or stainless sheet steel.

Pros

• Great product for the money. You get a decent product for less than $200.

• Welds uncoated mild, galvanized, or stainless sheet steel.

• Easy to use, easy to set up the welder.

• Air-cooled welder, efficient and compact.

• 6 inch tongs that lock firmly onto materials.

• Can be used for thin metal works, including wire mesh and exhaust baffles.

Cons

• Suitable for small projects with limited joint thickness.

• A slightly heavy welder that may tire you out.


Best Handheld Spot Welder

Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder

The Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder is a portable medium-budget spot welder with two versions for two power supply sources (120V and available at 240 V also at a marginally higher cost). This welder is versatile and can weld a variety of different sheet metals and wire mesh together.

It comes with an attached handle for easy and convenient handling. Stark welder is an air-cooled welder, making it more efficient and compact to use.

Stark professional spot welder has 6-inch tongs that lock firmly onto materials providing solid grip to assist you in applying firm pressure that is needed to produce a strong welding joint. This makes the Stark welder suitable for most auto body and metal sheet works.

The welder tips are constructed from high-quality steel to get the perfect weld for thick materials. Besides, the tips can be replaced easily for extended welder life and have smooth and perfect welds whenever required; simply replace the tips when they are wasted (It comes with an extra pair of welding tips for multiple uses).

You can use this welder for many thin metal works, including wire mesh and exhaust baffles. It makes quick and strong spot welds in a wide range of materials, including uncoated mild steel, galvanized, stainless, or cast iron, performing very well, and for that, it will save you a ton of time.

Key features of Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder

 

  • This welder plugs into 120 or 240 volts (depending on the version), which means you can plug it into any common power supply.
  • Welding tips are constructed from high-quality steel to get the perfect weld for thick materials.
  • Spot welder comes with extra pair of welding tips for multiple uses.
  • Simple lever function performs welding simply by applying pressure and pressing down on the lever.
  • Portable welder that comes with a handle to allow you to transport your spot welder to different job locations quickly.
  • 6 inch tongs that lock onto materials.
  • Works with uncoated mild, galvanized, or stainless sheet steel.
  • Overall Dimension: 18-1/2″(L) x 4-1/2″(W) x 7-1/2″(H).

Pros

• Good product for the money, you get this spot welder for less than $200.

• Has two versions for two power sources (120V or 240V, single-phase).

• Can be used for thin metal works, including wire mesh and exhaust baffles.

• Welds uncoated mild, galvanized, or stainless sheet steel.

• Easy to use, easy to set up the welder.

• Throat depth is 6 inches.

• Replacing the tip is very simple.

Cons

• Suitable for small projects with a limited joint thickness of a maximum of 1/8 inch.

• A slightly heavy welder (weighing 29.6 pounds) that may tire you out.


Spot Welder Buyers Guide

 

How to choose your spot welder?

 

We are giving you a few buying tips that may help make the decision easy and simple. Let us start with the principle of spot welding.

 

Principle of spot welding

 

How does spot welder work?

 

If you connect a piece of metal to an electric source and put the switch on, the metal offers electrical resistance to the flow of current through it, and due to this, the metal becomes hot.

 

When you overlap two thin metal parts and pass current through them, the heat generated at the point of overlapping (due to the electrical resistance for the flow of current) is sufficient to fuse the two metal parts.

 

The fusion of the two metal parts can be made better by using a force on the location. This is the principle of resistance welding and is used in most spot welders.

 

The two metal workpieces are held between the copper electrodes during the resistance welding process, and weld current and pressure are applied through the electrodes. The thickness of the spot-welded metal can be 0.1 mm and more depending on the spot welder capacity.

 

Spot welder is easy to use, and you can learn to use it quickly. Learn spot welding under the guidance of a senior welder, and know how to use it safely. Do not forget to use safety gear suggested by the manufacturer.

 

The three essential factors of a spot welder are the current, the pressure applied on the work, and the duration of the current.

 

You can refer to the user’s manual that comes with your welder to check the current, pressure, and weld duration required for the work in your hand based on the material types and thickness. Most spot welders have a simple design, and they are made for one function only.

 

Spot welding applications

 

  1. Spot welding is used for welding sheet metal or wire mesh.
  2. The most extensive application of spot welding is in joining automobile sheet metal bodies and large parts.
  3. As spot welders can be completely automated, spot welder robots are found extensively in assembly lines.
  4. Spot welding finds wide application in the manufacture of furniture and domestic equipment.
  5. As well as in dental and medical instruments manufacturing.
  6. Another area where spot welding is very common is in joining the metal handles to metal utensils and buckets.
  7. Manufacturing nickel-cadmium cells
  8. And manufacturing metallic toys.

 

Spot welding advantages and disadvantages

 

Advantages of spot welding

 

  1. Optimum use of electrical energy, spot welding requires a minimal amount of energy and electricity. Compared to other welding processes, spot welding is more efficient in electricity consumption.
  2. This process consumes less electricity than most other welding processes. It is cost-efficient and more economical to use.
  3. Negligible workpiece deformation, the heated product from spot welding is sufficient to join the two metal sheets in a short time firmly. Therefore, spot welding never distorts the workpieces.
  4. Good production rate, spot welding has short turnaround welding time, which increases welding production rate.
  5. High adaptability to automation, spot welder robots are found extensively in assembly lines.
  6. This welding process is suitable for the joining of dissimilar metals.
  7. Spot welding is performed without the need for filler metal.
  8. Produce stronger, lighter, and more efficient joints than riveting; spot welding has a high shear strength compared to the riveting process.

 

Disadvantages of spot welding

 

  1. Spot welding does not give a continuous weld seam, and hence it is inferior compared to weld joints produced by other welding processes.
  2. Spot welding is unsuitable for some materials; you can effectively use it for steel, stainless steel, nickel alloys, and titanium. However, you need very powerful welders with certain features for welding aluminum, copper, and copper alloys.
  3. Handling spot welder may be challenging in many cases to position the electrodes rightly for a sound weld.
  4. Spot welding joints must be considered during the product designing phase; spot welders cannot weld odd shapes or joints with limited accessibility.
  5. Spot welding involves various hazards, including heavy guns that require strength and a solid back to handle; producing high amounts of heat can cause severe burns, produce hazardous fumes and sparks, and the risk of operator’s hands injuring.

 

Consider the following before you purchase a spot welder:

 

What do you want to do with the spot welder?

 

You have to consider; how you want to use your spot welder? Do you want to pursue spot welding for small artworks as a home welder or hobbyist, or are you planning to use it for welding auto body sheets and other metal sheets in your current profession? A clear thought on this will help your decision-making.

 

What materials and thickness limitations do you want to weld?

 

Spot welder is typically used for welding various products, including sheet metal, welded wire mesh, or wire mesh. You can use your spot welder for welding different materials such as uncoated mild steel, galvanized steel, or stainless steel sheet.

 

However, most welders are not suitable for welding aluminum, copper, or copper alloys due to their high thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity, which requires higher current that requires larger and more powerful welding transformers.

 

As joining metals takes place by the heat obtained from resistance to electric current, it is limited to metal sheets with limited thickness. Thicker plates are difficult to spot weld; the heat in the thicker sheet flows into the surrounding metal more quickly, not allowing the heat to be sufficiently concentrated for welding.

 

Power supply

 

Portable spot welders can be connected to 120V or 240V. You have to make your selection based on the available power supply.

 

Throat depth

 

Throat depth indicates the maximum width of the workpiece/metal you can insert into the spot welder for welding.

 

Throat depth is something you need to consider because it can limit your capability to weld some jobs wherever the welding point is at a distance from an edge greater than the throat depth.

 

Weight and portability

 

Portability becomes essential if you plan to use the welder in more than one place (like home and workshop). As the spot welder is always carried to be used, the weight of the welder is an essential factor here and that you need to consider.

 

The lighter the welder, the better for your back and body; however, you need to make sure that the lightweight does not mean poor material or cheap components of the welder.

 

Warranty

 

Warranty is another crucial factor. Please study and understand the guarantee period and guarantee clauses. Ask for clarifications if you are in doubt.

 

What is your budget?

 

Either you can go for a cheap spot welder that costs less than USD 100 or go for a middle-level welder that can cost you under USD 300. Another option is going for a high-end welder, mainly used in the automotive industry, and metal sheet welding in industrial applications; the same will cost you slightly more than USD 1000.

 

Spot welders costing under USD 300 can be suitable for DIY enthusiasts and metal art hobbyists. However, if you have plans to convert your hobby into a profession, you may have to do more homework before making your decision.

 

Where to buy a spot welder?

 

Amazon is one good place for online purchases. You have a wide selection to make your choice, and the user reviews help you understand the product better. You can also ask your questions about the product and clarify from the seller, and you can directly talk to the seller to clarify your doubts.

 

Another place is harbor freight, where you can purchase the Chicago Electric brand from their website; Chicago Electric offers high-quality yet affordable spot welders.

 

Frequently asked questions

 

How does a spot welder generate heat?

 

If you connect a piece of metal to an electric source and put the switch on, the metal offers electrical resistance to the flow of current through it, and due to this, the metal becomes hot.

 

During the spot welding process, two overlapping metal strips are held between the copper electrodes. Applying weld current and pressure through the electrodes generates sufficient heat (due to the electrical resistance offered) to fuse them.

 

What are the safety measures required when using a spot welder?

 

Go through the owner’s manual and strictly follow the suggested safety guidelines and safety gear. Protect your hands, eyes, face, and skin by wearing the recommended safety gear.

 

You may have to wear a mask to protect yourself from harmful fumes. Do not keep any flammable objects in the vicinity. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

 

How can I check the spot welding quality?

 

The peeling test is the best for checking the spot welding quality, but this is a destructive test and hence does it on sample pieces.

 

Try to pull and peel the two spots welded strips apart using your hands, tongs, or any other tools, and you can judge the quality of spot welding yourself.

 

Spot welding aluminum, can it be done?

 

You can spot weld aluminum; however, most welders are not suitable for welding aluminum, copper, or copper alloys. This is due to their high thermal and electrical conductivity, which requires an extremely high current that requires larger and more powerful welding transformer or capacitor discharge welders.

 

As aluminum becomes more common in automotive and other industries, it replaces steel in many applications where weight is essential. Improvement of industrial spot welder continues by producing welders with more powerful transformers or capacitor discharge welders. Besides, improvement in the welding electrodes to be water-cooled so it can handle the high current produced by the welder quickly.

 

Our final verdict

 

We have reviewed the top-selling spot welders, equipped you with helpful tips to assist you in making a wise decision.

 

Each welder is reviewed in detail to help you understand the machine, and finally, we have answered a few frequently asked questions to help you.

 

Whatever brand you pick, regardless of its popularity, you’ll come across some negative opinions about it. However, that doesn’t mean every brand is alike.

 

To determine the most reliable spot welder on the market, you must compare the essential features you are looking for and your project requirements.

 

Some of the spot welders are a bit expensive. However, if you put in some hard work, you may be able to recover your investment within a short time. Hopefully, this will help you to purchase a good quality spot welder within your budget.

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About The Author
Ahmed M. Aly

Ahmed M. Aly

Ahmed is a mechanical engineer with a vast experience in ship repair project management, production department management, and Oil & Gas industries. He is certified Weldment Inspection Personnel "CSWIP - TWI, UK", Certified Coating Inspector "CIP LII - NACE, USA" and NDT Experts "ASNT NDT LIII Certified".