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You'll need the right welding tools if you're looking to weld. In this post, I'll cover 33 welding tools that should be in your shop and why you need these. There are several different types of welding. You can bet that each style has its own set of tools.
However, everyone should have some essential welding tools in their arsenal. This blog post will cover the welding tools that every beginner and accomplished welder needs. We'll cover welding must haves and some tools that aren't needed but sure nice to have.
So, whether you're just starting or you've been welding for years, be sure to check out this list!
What welding tools do you need?
For obvious reasons, you'll need a welder.
Welders are a must-have for many home improvement or construction projects. They are used to join metal pieces together, and there are all sorts of welders available on the market.
So, which one should you choose for your project? Three common welding machine types are MIG, TIG and Stick.
I'm mostly familiar with MIG and Stick. You can check out our MIG welder buyer's guide if you're struggling to choose one.
Can weld multiple metals, depending on type of welder.
Save a ton of money by repairing or fabricating your own projects.
Prices range from $100 - $14,000 plus.
If you plan to MIG or TIG weld, you'll need a bottle of shielding gas. You'll need a bottle of 75/25 mix, or 75% Argon to 25% CO2 mix for steel. If you're welding aluminum or other non-ferrous metal, you'll need a bottle of 100% Argon.
Shielding gas protects the weld puddle and provides a cleaner weld. Not required for flux core or stick welding, as the the filler element provides it's own shield.
Can be better to own your bottle if your not welding often. If you burn through a lot of gas, then renting may be better option for you. This is debatable at best.
Shielding gas provides a cleaner weld
Required for MIG and TIG welding
Prices range from $85 - $425 plus.
MIG or TIG
Welding helmets are a requirement as far as welding tools go. Welding light will burn your eyes. Besides, if you could see, you couldn't see the weld puddle due to the intense brightness.
Welding helmets protect your eyes and face from welding spatter, heat and eye burning light.
Available with auto darkening lenses for faster and easier welding.
Required for welding to protect eyes and face from spatter, heat and light
Prices range from $25 - $1000 plus.
Welding gloves are a requirement. They protect your hands and wrists from heat and burns from welding spatter. Gloves will also keep your hands safe from cuts caused by metal spurs and jagged edges. The gloves also help protect against shock as well.
Most gloves will be made of a thick leather to protect from the heat. Some designs have reinforced palms, finger and thumb tips along with drag patches.
- Gloves protect against cuts, abrasions and electrical shock.
- Required for welding to protect hands and wrists from spatter and heat
- Prices range from $15 - $50.
A welding jacket is a nice thing to have when welding. I've done plenty of welding with out one and I've wanted one more often than I didn't. You'll know what I mean if you've ever welded on your back under a Jeep and had sparks land in your arm pit area.
Regular street clothes aren't designed for welding. Some of the fabrics in normal clothes don't perform well with heat and can even catch fire.
I put the jacket down as a nice to have because it can be done without them, however I don't recommend it.
Available in leather, synthetic and a combination of both.
Protects the welder from welding spatter burns and catching clothes on fire
Prices range from $30 - $200 plus.
Nice To Have
The angle grinder is the welder's best friend. You can use them to prep your metal to be welded. Metal needs to be cleaned of mill scale, rust and dirt before it's welded. Some joints need to be beveled to allow for better penetration. A grinder can do all of this.
Metal can be cut as well with a cut off wheel. After welding, you can attach a wire brush attachment to clean the area free of slag and smoot. Not to mention, you can grind out poor welds so that you can rework it properly.
Having an angle grinder with cut-off wheels, flap discs, and wire brush attachments will come in handy. It's probably the most used tool I have.
- Can be used to prep, cut, grind, brush and clean metal
- Arguably the most used item in the welder's tool box
- Prices range from $29 - $300 plus.
Every welder needs to have several tape measures. You'll need to measure your steel or aluminum to be able to cut to the proper length.
I like to have one out where I'm measuring and one where I'm cutting and welding. You can get by with one to measure for your cuts but I can't. I will eventually set it down and forget to carry it with me.
If you wear a welding apron, then you can just carry it with you in the pouch.
Available in various length, widths and markings
I like the widest and largest markings for my poor visibility and sight
Prices range from $10 - $50.
A square comes in handy to mark your stock for angle cuts. They can be used to square up two pieces of metal before welding. They can also help you determine if your welded piece has warped due to the cool down process.
There are a ton of uses for squares and can be used for all sorts of jobs other than welding.
- Can be used to quickly mark 45 and 90 degrees for cuts.
- Combination, speed, or rafter square will work. I have several of both.
- Prices range from $10 - $50.
Wire brushes are a must. After welding, you'll need to clean up the weld area and a wire brush is perfect for that. You'll also want to clean in between passes to get a nice clean weld.
I have several brushes that I use on different materials. Keep them separate for each material by writing the material on the handle.
- Use to perform gross cleanup of the bead and area around it.
- Needed to get clean welds in between passes.
- Prices range from $10 - $30.
The welding process creates a lot of heat. When the metal starts to cool after welding, the metal will tend to warp towards the weld side. To help combat this, you'll need several clamps to hold your work pieces together.
You can get them in a vice grip style clamp like the image above, C clamps and quick clamps for fab tables.
Needed for securing work pieces to prevent warping out of position.
Come in a variety of widths, depths and securing options
Prices range from $15 - $100.
These magnets are great for holding two pieces of metal together until you can get your tack welds on.
They come in a variety of angles, depending on the manufacturer. Common angles found on this style of magnet are 45, 90, 135 and 270 degrees.
They are available in different strengths from 25 to 110 pounds of holding power.
- Magnets make your projects layout faster and easier than clamping.
- Variety of strengths and angles for multiple projects
- Prices range from $20 - $100 plus.
Nice To Have
When you're a beginning welder, it may be difficult to determine the thickness of stock items you come across. Knowing your material and it's thickness will determine how you weld it and how you set up your welding rig.
A metal gauge takes the guess work out and provides for better machine setup to finish the job right. It is a really simple sheet metal fabrication tools that people take for granite.
- Takes the guess work out of determining metal thickness.
- Some welders come with a free one. My Millermatic came with one.
- Prices range from $5 - $10.
Nice To Have
Welding carts give your welder and some accessories a home. They allow your welder to move about the shop effortlessly to get closer to heavier objects.
Carts typically come designed for cable management, bottle storage and an area for accessories.
Another great option is to build your own welding cart. It's a really good project for beginners.
- Protect your welder and accessories by giving it a home.
- Carts make for easy placement of the welder closer to work piece.
- Prices range from $65 - $300 plus.
Nice To Have
Tables can get extremely expensive fast. Another great option is to build one yourself. Eventually I'll do a write up on welding up your own table with video.
They are nice on your body when it comes to ergonomics and welder fatigue. The older I get, the more important it becomes to me. With a table, you can put the work piece up where it is more comfortable for you.
Another great thing about fab tables is the ability to have precise layouts due to clamping and magnets. The table can also be used to clamp your ground lead to.
These make it a hell of a lot easier on the back, knees and fatigue.
Tables make fabrication easier and more precise.
Prices range from $150 - $9000 plus.
Nice To Have
If you're using a grinder, you must have a face shield. They protect your face and eyes from grinding dust, metal splinters and wire that becomes separated from wire wheels.
Safety glasses won't cut it alone. I've had a strand of wire from the wheel fly up and lodge into my cheek. Wear one. They're cheap.
- They protect your face and eyes from metal splinters.
- Get better grinds and cuts due to confidence and visibility
- Prices range from $15 - $60.
I put this down as a should have because all the cool kids wear Vans and Chuck Taylors. I guess I'm old school and wear composite toe, leather work boots.
The leather protects from burns and the steel toes protect your feet from falling objects. For added safety, get ones that have a metatarsal guard. Composite toes make the boot lighter than steel for less fatigue during the day.
Steel toe boots prevent your feet from falling steel and other objects.
Available with metatarsal guards, leather and composite toes for comfort
Prices range from $95 - $400 plus.
Chop saws are basically a miter saw for cutting metals. They make great angle cuts and are a lot faster than a porta band. Excellent for repetitive cuts.
Abrasive discs can be used in some of them and my favorite is the cold cut blades. The cold cut blades last a pretty long time and there is less heat and sparks flying.
Eventually, you'll want to purchase a chop saw.
- Quick angled and repetitive cuts.
- Cuts faster than a porta band and cleaner cut than torch setup.
- Prices range from $120 - $550.
Nice To Have
Welpers are a handy set of pliers for welders. The pliers cut and can pull wire. They have sections to fit the nozzle and tip for easy consumables change out.
The tips of the pliers are excellent for cleaning off slag buildup inside the nozzle and outside. The cutting section allows for proper wire stick out for MIG welding.
A multifunctional tool that allows for maintenance and repair
Make consumable changeouts faster, while keep torch gun clean
Prices range from $15 - $35.
The deburring tool is perfect in any fab shop or home garage. After cutting your material, you can use these to deburr your cuts. They are small and fit in to small tubing easy.
Comes in handy when deburring steel tubing to fit threaded bungs in custom control arm builds.
- Deburring tools work with a variety of materials from steel, aluminum, copper, and plastics
- Some kits come with a marking tool as well.
- Prices range from $15 - $20.
Nice To Have
Soap stone has been the go to marking equipment for welders. As with anything, new ideas have introduced welder pencils, pens and tungsten marking pens.
I keep it simple with soapstone and sharpie markers. It doesn't matter what you choose as long as it marks for your cuts.
- Soap stone will mark on just about anything, especially mill scale covered steel
- Sharpie markers can be used on prepped and cleaned metals
- Prices range from $3 - $15.
They're cheap. Buy them and wear them. They protect your eyes from flying debris, dust and yourself.
They come in a variety of shades, styles and even custom prescriptions if needed.
- Protect your eyes from dust, debris and stupidity
- Super cheap and less expensive than eye surgery or loss
- Prices range from $5 - $200 plus.
Ear plugs are my favorite, 3M no-touch in fact. They protect your hearing without interfering with the fitment of your helmet. Ear canals can work, but don't provide the same amount of protection as ear plugs.
The no-touch earplugs are great in the fab shop because your hands will be dirty.
- It protects your ears from grinders, saws and air compressors.
- Ear plugs allow for wearing your welding helmet without interference
- Prices range from $5 - $50.
Belt sanders are great for deburring, sanding and polishing metals. Most will have a sanding, buffing and wire wheel ability. The platform or table will adjust to allow for different positioning of work piece.
Longer belts will keep the belt cooler and increase life span of belt.
Easily deburr cut edges and bevel metal in preparation to weld.
Longer belts reduce wear and heat on the belt
Prices range from $250 - $500 plus.
Nice To Have
Along with the square mentioned earlier, the angle finder makes it easy to find a certain angle. This especially useful when replicating or replacing a piece that is angled.
Some come with a magnetic digital angle finder that keeps your piece where you want. This is really handy when setting up axle brackets and pinion angle.
- Replicate custom angles by adjusting, locking and marking.
- Some come with magnetic digital angle finders
- Prices range from $45 - $150 plus.
Nice To Have
You'll want to have consumables on hand. These include tungsten, nozzles, gas cups, tips, and gas diffusers depending on whether you have MIG welder or TIG machine.
You may want to have extra welding rods, wire for MIG welding and filler rods for TIG welders for the various metals you typically work with.
Are specific to the style of welder you have.
Keeps you working without having to stop and shop.
Prices range from $15 - $100 plus.
Nozzle gel or spray keeps the nozzle and tip of your MIG gun clean and free of slag. It makes clean up easy.
- Keeps your MIG torch tip clean and free of slag buildup.
- Makes cleanup easier.
- Prices range from $5 - $20 plus.
Nice To Have
Metal files are great for smoothing out sharp edges and getting a quality fit up. You can use them on all kinds of projects.
Nice to have for dulling edges after cutting metal to prevent cutting hands
Files have a ton of uses around the fabrication or welding shop.
Prices range from $5 - $500
Nice To Have
A chipping hammer is used to chip away slag left over from flux core and stick welding. Are good at getting in to tight areas such as a T joint weld.
Used to remove slag from weld bead after stick and flux core welding
Should be all steel so it should be a one time purchase.
Prices range from $7 - $75
No, they don't look cool to a lot of people, but neither will your head or ear when slag lands on them. There is nothing worse than hot slag in the ear or on top of the head.
A welding cap prevents burning holes in your head and ears. They come in every pattern imaginable with different bill lengths and cap depths.
- Protects your ears and top of head from getting burnt.
- Come in multiple styles, colors and patterns.
- Prices range from $7 - $60
Nice To Have
Welding blankets can be used to protect sensitive items from welding spatter and burns.
These are really useful when trying to weld up a roll cage in a Jeep and you don't have a TIG machine. You can use the blanket to protect the dash area. Same goes for cars.
- Keep metal slag, sparks and debris from burning sensitive items.
- Come in handy for welding inside vehicle to protect the dash.
- Prices range from $15 - $80
Nice To Have
Fire extinguishers are a must in any shop or garage. The best option is to keep combustibles out of your welding area, however stuff happens.
There are some extinguishers that work on multiple fires. When choosing one, remember that electrical fires require special type. You'll more than likely need an A-B-C type. Check with your local fire department if you're unsure.
A must have safety item for any shop or garage.
Ensure you purchase the right fire extinguisher for your application.
Prices range from $35 - $150
Plasma cutters are great for cutting fairly clean and odd shapes that would otherwise require a lot of grinding. They use electricity and dry compressed air to make the cuts.
As long as you have air and power, you can cut. Saves having to buy fuel like a standard torch. Some plasma cutters come with a small internal air compressor.
Makes nice irregular cuts with ease.
Uses electricity and compressed air instead of fuels to make the cuts.
Prices range from $115 - $3600
Nice To Have
Porta bandsaws are handy for gross and fine cutting of various metals. They are available in 120v power and battery powered for more portability.
There are several companies that supply adapter kits to turn them into vertical bandsaws for more flexibility. Considered a cold cutting tool as there are minimal to no sparks at all.
Nice portable cutting tool that makes fairly clean cuts.
Can be used as a vertical bandsaw with adapters in a vice.
Prices range from $120 - $400 plus
Nice To Have
Required tools include welding helmets, welding gloves, welder, angle grinder, electrodes, filler rod or wire, wire brush, tape measurer, safety glasses. There are more tools, but these will get you started.
While this list is comprehensive, it's by no means exhaustive. There are many other welding tools and accessories used in metal fabrication today. As I find new tools and I think it'll give you some value, I'll add them to the list.
So, if there's something you think we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments section below. And don't forget to share this post with your friends and fellow welders!
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