Best Welding Electrode Holders – 5 questions to ask before you buy
An electode holder works by connecting to the welding cable (commonly called whip) and conducts the welding machine current to the electrode. They typically have a handle that is insulated with rubber or other material, that is used to hold the electrode over the weld joint.
Electrode holders / electrode stingers also are used to feed the electrode rod into the weld puddle and overall make the welders life easier. There are various sizes and ratings. Common names or slang for this piece of equiment include electrode holder, welding stringer, electrode stinger.
Arc welding electrode holder styles:
- Paddle /clamp style – light and easy to use. The american paddle style tends to be stiff enough to hold the electrode tightly, but not stiff enough tht you lose flexibility and agility. They typically have jaws and several grooves to accomodate left or right handed users. The preferred option for pipe welders.
- Screw style – these are not as quick to swap electrode rodes as the clamp stype, however they are still highly effective. The screw style holder works by utilizing a set screw to hold the rod into place. It’s a bit slower to replace the rod, but produces a firmer hold.
How to pick a welding electrode holder
There’s no specifics in regards to picking the best welding stinger because it generally comes down to your preferences. As you talk with other welders – you’ll hear that it’s mostly the brand their family used, or a brand that they’ve been using since they started and stuck with it. All that said, here’s a couple things to consider when evaluating the market options:
Is the electrode stinger made for your dominant hand?
This may seem obvious, but don’t overlook it. While the majority of electrode holders are made for both left and right dominant handed welders, it’s not guaranteed. In my case, I’m left handed and would be pretty frustrated trying to handle a piece of equipment that worked against me … afterall it’s supposed to make my life easier.
Is it made by a well known brand?
Buy something that will last and does what it claims to do. You’re more than likely going to have a happy outcome if you buy from an established brand such as Tweco, Jackson, Lenco, Duro, Lincoln, etc.
Is it made for DIY / hobbyists or professional welders?
Again this seems obvious, but I’m calling it out because I am trying to make zero assumptions. If you’re a professional, make sure that the holder is graded for professional use. If you’re a DIY’er like myself, you have much more flexibility.
Does it hold the size of electrodes that you’ll be working with?
Know ahead of time what the electrode sizes you’ll be working with mainly are. You might find that you need multiple electrode holders for various sizes.
How many amps does your welder output?
Amperage from welders is relatively variable from one machine to the next, particularly when comparing something like a MIG welder vs a Flux Core Welding machine. Certain welding stingers will handle up to 250 amps, while other can handle as much as 400 amps.