The Lincoln ac/dc stick welder is the best bang for the buck. Solid, dependable, and will last for decades and you probably will not loose money on when your great grandkids sell it. They are called a buzz box or tombstone welder. They are just a basic welder that can weld any type of rod and can be set up for tig welding with a few accessories.
The Miller dialarc is a badass machine, it's even got high frequency so you can tig weld aluminum way down the line. That's an old professional model, I've welded a bunch with one, it uses points to provide the high frequency so it's simple to fix. That's the one i would buy out of all the ones shown, failing that the Lincoln acdc buzzboxes. The acdc Lincolns will last forever too, and are a perfect machine to learn on and keep forever. The dialarc will be bigger than the tombstones so that might be a consideration too, but it will likely weld better than the lincons because it's a professional model.
Finally sent the motor control printed circuit board from my little Millermatic 130 out to Innovat Corp. in Virginia to have it rebuilt. $120 incl shipping. New old stock boards are selling for $325 to $425, but are prone to the same transistor failure. The folks at Innovat will test and replace any needed components.
Not sure about your area, but I understand from a friend on Oahu that ‘windward island’ living means a lot of humidity/corrosion with electronics, so definitely have someone in the know help you check out any welder you’re considering. That being said he is a musician, but what does amplifiers in prematurely could also affects welders.
One other thing to consider is what you have for available power. Are the welders you are looking at single phase? 3 phase? Amp draw? Voltage? I think the Lincoln buzz box needs a 50 amp breaker. I had a Miller thunderbolt, also a buzz box, that wanted a 100amp breaker.
Per the above post, my mig can run perfectly fine 180 amps on a shit 100 ft extension cord 115v 15A. Onboard batteries, that's what set it apart from the crowd. Definitely paid a bit for that but don't regret it. Can do cordless for a short repair.
Thank you so much for input…. I need to learn a new thing for later on when I don’t want to climb anymore. But for now feeling good and cruising.
So much good info.. here.
Ill let you guys know when I buy one… gonna buy a couple goats tomorrow for the yard grass.
Meanwhile my boss just bought a welder, I’ll get a picture Monday. So training on the job… we bust a lot of shit.