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Back in the day, a multi-process welder wasn’t something anyone would want to own. They weren’t refined. They were prone to shutting down. With a machine that does MIG, TIG, and stick welding, it’s crucial that its power supply or motherboard remain intact. Should any of the parts fail, the entire machine fails, as well as all operations that rely solely on it. Hence, in a way, using a multi-function welding machine entails this important risk.
Nonetheless, manufacturers have improved the anatomy, durability, and reliability of multi-process welders. So if you’re buying the latest models, you should worry less about sudden breakdowns.
A multi-process welder is expected to carry out MIG, TIG, and stick welding. Hence, they are sometimes called MTS welders. Some are MTSP, P representing plasma cutting. A typical MTS machine can carry out different types of MIG, as well as flux-core, SMAW, and TIG. But each machine has strong points. For instance, one may be really good in MIG, while another one handles stick welding really well (1).
The main attraction of these machines is their versatility, a feature that removes the need for investing in individual machines for different types of welding. The average DIY repair or fabrication technician doing light welding work at home or in a small shop should find a multi-process welder sufficient for his daily needs. Heavy-duty single-process welding machines are reserved for highly specialized and large industrial fabrication and automotive operations.
Multi-process welders aren’t cheap. Some cost around $500. The best ones are over a thousand dollars. But that’s still cheaper than buying all types of welding machines for all of your welding needs. But just because MTS or MTSP welders can do a wide range of things, that doesn’t mean they’re everything. They’re useful in many situations, but there are situations wherein you need to look elsewhere.
Advantages of Multi-Process Welders
Good value to price ratio
If you’re not a professional welder, you most likely don’t need dedicated welding machines for MIG, flux-core, stick welding, and TIG. Buying all these machines when you’re just a beginner or a hobbyist who does occasional or light welding is not a cost-effective decision. Each of these machines cost anywhere around $500. Some are cheaper, while others are more expensive, depending on the quality and features. And when you’re starting out in a small workshop in your garage, you don’t need specialized features for intense operations. For around a thousand bucks, you can buy a quality MTS welding machine that can do what an average DIYer needs.
If you have different dedicated machines, you have to set up each of them before you can shift from one type of welding operation to another. In large fabrication shops, that’s a typical scenario, and there’s a reason why such heavy-duty machines are preferable to smaller, portable ones.
In small workshops, where most welding operations are light, switching between MIG and TIG machines is taxing and time-consuming. If you’re not doing any intense welding for large projects, a multi-process machine can do most of your tasks.
Fits small spaces
Small workshops on a farm or in a garage will find small MTS machines quite handy. It’s counterintuitive to invest in large machines and ram them into a tiny work space. You can fit 2 or 3 small portable multi-function welding machines. These machines are powerful enough to handle light to moderate welding operations for basic repairs and metal fabrication.
Can be expensive
The best multi-process welders are way above a thousand dollars. For that price, you can buy two or three different single-process welders. Then again, you’re paying convenience for the price. The best MTS or MTSP machines are expected to be pricey, but the price is reasonable for the number of operations the machine can handle and its durability. The mistake is to dismiss an expensive MP welder as an expensive piece of junk. Any cheap welder, single-process or multi-function, has greater likelihood of failing earlier than its pricey, high-quality counterpart.
Can be heavy
Some multi-process welders are indeed heavy. Well, you can’t really expect a machine that does at least 3 tasks to weigh 10 pounds. Nonetheless, the good ones are built with lightweight but durable materials to be light enough. Nevertheless, if you’re investing in welding machines, investing in a welding cart is not a bad idea.
There are reported drawbacks that are really not drawbacks when you think about them. A common example is that if a multi-process welder crashes, welding operations stop — so does your work or business. This is true if you only have a machine. Many welders have one or two machines in place. Again, buying a high quality welder and using it within its reasonable limits prevent shutdowns from happening. Even MIG or TIG welders can break down at some point.
Best Multi Process Welders
If this has helped you on the decision of deciding that a multi-process welder is for you then you will love our in-depth review on what we consider to be the Best Multi Process Welder on the market.
Multi-process welders make a lot of sense for hobbyists who aren’t in for huge fabrication or automotive manufacturing or repair operations. If you’re doing mostly small, light welding tasks, a small welder that does MIG, TIG, and stick suffices your operational requirements. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to be a hobbyist for a long time, it’s wise to invest in a good multi-process welder that’s not prone to crashing.