By Jayden Mark
Beginner welders and occasional DIY metal workers often find it challenging when looking for a cheap stick (arc) welder that’s going to get the job done and not give up on you. Our search for a quality, affordable stick welder led us to the Amico ARC-160D inverter welder. Not the very cheapest of its kind, this little welder from Amico combines an easily affordable price with durable quality.
For repairs around the yard, on a farm, or for hobbyist metal artists, you can’t do much better than the Amico ARC160-D, 160A Stick welder. This is a dual voltage welder, producing 160A (26.4V) output when using a 230V AC supply, for this you will need a circuit capable of at least 30A. When using 115V AC input, the Amico ARC 160-D will push out 130A (26.4V) and should be fine if you only have a 20A breaker.
A fully competent IGBT inverter (90% efficiency) provides an even current for beautifully smooth welds. The steady current gives a perfectly reasonable duty cycle for a light to medium duty stick welder, 60% at maximum output (130A @115V, 160A @ 230V). I guess you’ll achieve 100% duty cycle at around 90A -100A, depending on the input voltage. At the maximum 230V, 160A setting, it is easy to achieve a good weld on ¼” mild steel with a single pass. With a little experience, you can get a neat finish on thicker material, this will require more than pass.
Perfect for the beginner welder, the Amico ARC-160D is blissfully easy to use. Switch it on and turn the dial to the desired output Amps, which is displayed on an LED screen. The welding electrode and ground clamp each have a 10 Ft cord, and pug into clearly marked outlets at the front of the machine. You really can’t go wrong. These are of a standard I’d expect for a domestic welder. Not top-notch industrial grade wire, electrode, and clamp, but quite adequate for the type of work a DIY welder will be doing.
As this is a sophisticated inverter welder, it has full protection against over current. It adjusts to fluctuations in the current and has overload protection. The Amico ARC-160D a wonderfully compact and lightweight stick welder, weighing only 15.4 pounds. A carrying handle and nifty shoulder strap make this one of the most portable welders of it kind.
Definitely a case of dynamite coming in small in small sizes, this little red rocket is an amazing machine for its price. The Amico ARC-160D is a well-made arc welder and should keep you in good standing for years. I wouldn’t call it a heavy-duty, or commercial welder though. It’s one of the best for home, or light-duty commercial use, and is priced accordingly.