Must-Have Welding Tools for Beginners Starting Out

In this guide, you’ll get a detailed list of the must-have welding tools for beginners, along with a few more in the nice-to-have category. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed as a beginner welder thinking about the investment you’ll make to set up your workshop. But with a purchase of a welder, safety gear and a few essential beginner welding tools, you’ll be ready to dig in.

Must-have welding tools for beginners

Essential Beginner Welding Tools List

Here, I’m sticking with tools and not gear such as a welding helmet, welding gloves and clothing. I consider essential welding tools the ones you need to complete general welding projects with a MIG, TIG, or stick welder.

To get you started, here’s my list of favorite basic beginner welding tools.

Welding Magnets

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ABN Arrow Welding Magnet Set

  • 6 pack includes (2) 3 inch with 25 lbs weight limit, (2) 4 inch with 50 lbs weight limit, and (2) 5 inch with 75 lbs weight limit
  • Each magnetic holder provides 45, 90, and 135-degree angles
  • Constructed of high quality stainless steel with a powder coated finish, these welders magnets are durable, long lasting, and resistant to rust and corrosion

Until you’ve tried them, it’s easy to underestimate how useful welding magnets are when setting up projects. Once you’ve measured, cut and prepped the metal pieces of your project, then you’re ready to get set up to weld.

This is where your magnets come in. These handy tools will hold your pieces at the correct angles so you can tack weld hands free. 

  • Magnets attach to any ferrous metal object or surface, including welding tables to hold your project pieces in place
  • Center hole design of the 50 lb and 75 lb magnets allows you to grasp and adjust the magnets
  • Arrow shape design enables you to work efficiently at the most popular angles
  • Bright red color is easy to see and makes the magnet stand out while you’re working on projects

Speed Square

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Swanson 7 Inch Speed Square

  • Made in the USA
  • Made of heavy-gauge aerospace aluminum alloy
  • Includes try square, miter square, saw guide, line scriber, and protractor

A speed square is a triangular shaped measuring tool with a lip that is used for marking angles and measuring for square cuts. It’s an inexpensive and easy-to-use tool that will come in handy for a variety of tasks like measuring angles before cutting tubing for frames.

  • Quickly mark 45 and 90-degree angles using the T-edge
  • Line guide with ¼” interval notches for scribing 
  • Use the protractor to mark angles between 0 and 90 degrees
  • Die-cast for strength, legibility, quality and accuracy
  • Easy to read black-filled gradations
  • Matte finish to reduce glare for better readability

Metal Thickness Gauge

Metal Thickness Gauge Set

  • Corrosion resistance stainless steel material
  • Etched sizes and numerals for clarity
  • Set Includes - 1 x Metal Sheet Thickness Gauge, 1x Wire Thickness Gauge

Anyone working with metals needs an accurate thickness measurement of the metals they are using. With this set you can easily measure both sheet metal thickness and wire diameter.

It is important to know the thickness of the metals you’re working with so you can adjust your welder settings accordingly.

  • Measures sheet metal thickness using the metal sheet thickness gauge
  • Measures wire diameter using the round dual-sided wire gauge
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Wheel is compact and easy to store
  • Sheet metal gauge comes with a handy keyring attachment

Metal File Set

Crescent Nicholson File Set with Handles
  • General purpose selection for home and professional use
  • Rubber-coated ergonomic handles for better comfort and control
  • Files fit easily and securely Into rugged, compact pouch

Everyone needs a good set of files in their workshop. You’ll use files while metalworking to smooth edges and remove burrs after cutting, shape metal, and for detail work. Investing in a quality set of files will pay off with years of use, and Nicholson is known for their superior line of files.

  • Nice assortment set of American pattern files includes: (1 ea) 8″ Mill Bastard, 10″ Mill bastard, 6″ Slim Taper, 10″ Half Round bastard & 8″ Flat Bastard
  • Bastard cut files are popular for general metal working
  • High quality set, made to last from Nicholson, a leading manufacturer of files

Welding Clamps

ION TOOL C-Clamp Locking Pliers
  • Pack of 6 11" C-clamp locking pliers
  • 3.25” Opening capacity jaws
  • Constructed from high-grade heated alloy steel

Welding clamps are an essential tool for holding your work pieces together or to secure work pieces to your welding table. Once clamped, you can weld with less worry about warpage, which could ruin your project.

A cheap welding clamp will flex, slip and jam. They’re almost as bad as having no clamps. But this is a good set that you’ll enjoy and use often.

  • Swivel pads prevent damage to the surface of your materials or your welding table
  • Easily adjust the pressure and size with just a turn of the screw
  • Classic guarded trigger release ensures the clamp stays firmly locked
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Chipping Hammer

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Estwing Big Blue Welding/Chipping Hammer
  • FORGED IN ONE PIECE – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available
  • VERSATILITY ON THE JOB – Perfect for cleaning and removing slag from all welds
  • BUILT FOR THE PRO – machinists, metalworkers, blacksmiths, fabricators, mechanics,...

Chipping hammers are used to chip away the slag coating to reveal the weld underneath. They are most needed when you are stick welding and flux core arc welding. They build this chipping hammer to last.

  • A quality product MADE IN THE USA using American steel
  • Used to chip away slag
  • Durable shock reducing grip is comfortable and reduces impact vibration
  • Comfortable genuine leather grip

Wire Brush

Forney Carbon Steel Wire Brushes with Wood Handle
  • DURABILITY- Strong imbedded carbon steel bristles are built to scrub the toughest of...
  • COMFORTABLE GRIP- Long curved wooden handle is specifically designed to feel comfortable...
  • USES- Perfect for removing welding slag, rust, paint stains, clean steel parts, machinery,...

Wire brushes fulfill a variety of welding related tasks, including surface preparation, cleaning between passes and surface finishing. You can remove unwanted surface contaminants like rust and oxide, paint, dirt, mill scale, spatter and slag.

If you’re using the cheap brush you got in a welding kit, you’ll really appreciate this metal brush. You’ll use it a lot if you stick weld or use flux core wire.

They are better suited for smaller jobs, so if you have a larger area to clean, use your angle grinder instead.

  • Made for tough cleaning and the removal of rust and paint from most surfaces
  • Used for surface prep of metal, cleaning between passes and surface finishing
  • Wood handle helps you reach tight places and is comfortable in your hand 
  • Angled head eliminates cuts and bruised knuckles

MIG Pliers

Strong Hand Tools Deluxe MIG Pliers
  • Fine and coarse files
  • Flat and rounded hammer
  • V-notch for wire or nuts

Many novice welders choose to go with MIG welding as it is the most beginner friendly welding process.

If you have a MIG welder, then you’re going to want to purchase a MIG pliers. This great all around tool will perform a variety of tasks including nozzle and tip installation, wire cutting, nozzle cleaning, spatter removal and light hammering. 

  • One tool performs a variety of essential functions used in MIG welding
  • Comfortable grip with ergonomically designed handle
  • Handy chain that attaches to MIG Gun holders to prevent loss

Soapstone

ALLY Tools Flat Soapstone Holder Pen with 7 Refills
  • [PERFECT MARKINGS]: Make Perfect Markings for Welding, Metal Fabrication, and Construction
  • [IDEAL FOR MANY SURFACES]: Ideal for Marking Steel, Iron, and Aluminum
  • [SECURE]: Push Thumb Slider Allows For Easy Movement And Refilling.

Soapstone makes easy to see markings on your metal projects. It tolerates heat well so even when the metal gets hot you can still see the markings. Soapstone also easily rubs off, so the marks are not permanent. A cheap and easy-to-use tool that is really handy to have.

  • Economical and easy to use for marking on metal surfaces
  • Heat resistant so marks remain visible even when heat is applied
  • Holder is made of stainless steel and has a pocket clip

Scriber 

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General Tools Tungsten Carbide Scribe and Magnet

  • The scribe features a durable tungsten carbide tip and aluminium body 
  • Permanent magnet on this etching tool picks up small parts and retrieves steel chips from hard-to-reach places
  • Handy pen-style design with convenient pocket clip

The perfect tool for etching fine lines, making marks, and drawing designs on your metal pieces is a scriber. It’s easy to use and writes just like a pencil. “

  • Knurled aluminum handle is comfortable and easy to hold
  • Easily and quickly marks and draw lines on metal surfaces
  • Handy stainless steel pen-style design with convenient pocket clip

Angle Grinder

Makita 4-1/2 Cut-Off/Angle Grinder

  • Powerful 7.5 AMP motor for high output power in a more compact tool (only 4.5 pounds)
  • Small diameter barrel grip (only 2.5 inches) for added comfort
  • Lock on/off feature for continuous operation

An angle grinder is a versatile and powerful tool that can perform many functions in your metal shop. It’s a highly effective tool that can help you save time and money when you need to cut, grind or polish metal.

The powerful motor enables you to get the job done quickly and efficiently. This tool is one that you will use frequently and you simply can’t live without.

  • Used for a variety of tasks including cutting, grinding, deburring, finishing and polishing
  • The one tool that can perform a variety of jobs by just switching out the disc
  • Efficiently removes paint and rust from surfaces
  • Powerful tool that will save you time and aggravation in the shop

Hacksaw

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Klein Tools Dual Purpose Hacksaw
  • Thumb guard for two-hand sawing
  • Hack saw blade has three teeth sizes
  • Aluminum finger grip handle and front end

A hacksaw is a versatile tool that is a useful tool for your welding shop. It’s designed to cut through metal, but it also works on wood and plastic.

With this saw’s unique frame design, you can insert the blade either parallel or perpendicular to the frame for greater cutting flexibility. And you don’t need a power source to use it.

  • Economic option to enable you cut a variety of metals
  • Can adjust the blade to cut at 90 or 45-degree angles for standard or flush-cuts
  • No power source needed

C-Clamps

MAXPOWER Four-piece 6-inch C-clamps
  • 6-INCH C CLAMP: Up to 6 inch jaw opening. Up to 2-3/4 inch throat depth
  • Made of ductile cast iron. Rust resisting finish
  • Swivel jaw pad floats in a low-resistance ball-and-socket joint to apply pressure evenly

Affordable, versatile, and easy-to-use C-clamps are the perfect tool for beginner welders. One of the easiest ways to ensure your work is stable is to clamp it down with a C-clamp, especially when welding or using power tools.

If the pieces you are going to work on are not secure, you risk the project being ruined. This set will handle whatever you throw at it.

  • Used to hold metal work pieces securely while welding or using power tools 
  • Sliding T-bar enables you to tighten clamp with ease
  • Swivel pads and adjustable tension offer more stability and even pressure

Measuring Tape 

Zabiki 25 Ft Measuring Tape Measure

Welding Terms and Definitions Free Download

  • 25 ft (7.5 m) tape measure
  • Bold and Large Numbers - Easy to READ
  • Dual Side Ruler - Inch, feet and metric ruler

The best tool for measuring metalworking projects is a quality tape measure. They are important considering measurements are crucial to the success of many projects and proper use will aid in getting accurate measurements each time.

  • Measuring tape is a flexible ruler used to provide accurate measurements of distance
  • Handy magnetic end hook and stopper button aid with measuring tasks
  • Sturdy rubber case with handy clip makes it easy to take with you and durable
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Nice-To-Have Welding Tools

Besides the essential welding tools for your shop, there are additional tools that make welding more efficient and enjoyable. Depending on the project, you could consider some of these essential.

Here I’ve listed some of those tools that make a useful addition to your welding workshop.

Welding Cart

Klutch 2-Tier Welding Cart with Locking Cabinet

  • Cylinder rack holds one shielding gas bottle up to 7-in. dia.
  • Easily maneuvers on two 2 in. front swiveling casters and two 6in. back wheels
  • Wheels and casters constructed of hard rubber for long life

Easily move your welder, supplies, and tools around your workshop or garage with a welding cart. They enable you to stay organized and keep your arc welder and other welding equipment all within arm’s reach.

It’s the ultimate solution for a cleaner and more organized workspace for MIG, stick, or TIG welding.

  • Secure items with locking cabinet
  • Keep cables and cords organized with 4 sets of cable wraps
  • Sturdy steel construction to hold up to 100 lbs.
  • Adjustable handle folds down and out of the way while you’re welding

Extension Cord 

 Yellow Jacket 10/3 Heavy-Duty 20-Amp Extension Cord
  • DURABLE 10 gauge, 3 PRONG L5-20 T-BLADE, 50 ft extension cord
  • Recommended for use with heavy duty equipment and tools such as a generator
  • WEATHER RESISTANT high gloss yellow jacket resist oil, grease, moister and abrasion

An extension cord keeps your welding machine connected to power as you move around your work area. Investing in a heavy duty high quality extension cord that matches your welders requirements will pay off by lasting for years.

  • Enables you to move your welder where it’s needed to work on projects
  • Powerful heavy duty cord will give you years of service
  • Convenient lighted end shows that the power is on and cord is ready to use 
  • The cord stays flexible and tangle-free even at low temperatures

Welding Table

DeWalt Portable Steel Welding Table and Workbench
  • Steel construction - durable steel construction with an even distributed weight capacity...
  • Mounting options - strategically located slots / post holes for mounting and clamping any...
  • Tabletop or stand-alone - useable folded up atop existing work table or as a 36-inch tall...

Having a welding table provides a designated workplace for your welding projects, which is a plus in any workshop. A durable table like this one, along with a variety of welding clamps and magnets, will hold your materials safely in place as you work.

Because it’s metal, you can clamp the welder ground to the worktable instead of the workpiece itself. 

  • Provides a designated work space either in your shop or at a worksite to weld on
  • Adjustable height table enables you to work on your projects from the optimum angle
  • Grounding stud enables you to connect grounding clamps and leads to the table
  • Double locking legs provide extra security while working on your projects

 Grasshopper Welding Finger

Strong Hand Grasshopper Welding Finger

  • Magnetic V-Pad Base
  • Spring-loaded arm self-adjusts for easy repetition. Slide arm to adjust hold-down force
  • Pinpoint holding provides maximum clearance for tack welds

Who couldn’t use an extra hand to secure metal pieces while tack welding? With Strong Hand Tool’s grasshopper welding finger, you can hold steady and MIG or tig weld tiny parts such as nuts, bolts and thin plates even at odd angles. It’s a helpful welding tool that every welder would like to have in their workshop.

  • Provides a way to hold small objects while tack welding
  • Strong magnetic base allows for pieces to be held at a variety of angles
  • Invaluable third hand for welders
  • Brass tip holder will secure items for maximum welding clearance

Welding Framing Jig

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WETOLS 90 Degree Right Angle Clamp

  • Material: Aluminum Alloy + TRP Rubber Handle
  • Handle: Adjustable Jaw with Rotatable Swing Handle
  • Max Jaw Opening: 70mm/2.76 inch, Jaw Width: 95mm/3.74 inch, Jaw Depth: 35mm/1.38 inch

If you’re working on projects that need to have a perfect 90-degree angle, this tool belongs in your workshop. It’s easy to use, you just put the 2 ends of your metal workpiece into the framing jig, tighten it down, and make your tack welds. I can think of a lot of welding projects this tool would come in handy for.

  • Securely holds a variety of materials in place to create a perfect 90-degree corner
  • Used to make square frames
  • Easy to tack weld unobstructed with this design

Level 

Klein Tools 935RB Level Torpedo Billet
  • Level's patented magnet track prevents powerful rare earth magnets from falling out
  • Large, easy-to-read high-visibility vials at 4 angles: level, 90, 45, and 30 degrees
  • Large, top-view vial window enables easy readability from multiple angles

A level is a simple and convenient tool used to keep your projects true. It’s used to determine whether a surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). With a level in your workshop, you’ll never have to worry about keeping your projects straight and level.

  • Easily check the accuracy of your angles for your projects, preventing costly mistakes 
  • Reading for 4 popular angles: level, 30, 45 and 90
  • Large and high visible vials make it easy to use
  • Magnetic level adheres to any metal surface
  • Made for metal working with a V-Groove that fits the contour of pipes

Portable Band Saw 

WEN 5-Inch Portable Band Saw
  • Huge cutting capacity makes cuts up to 5 inches wide and 5 inches deep
  • Variable speed operation adjusts the blade speed anywhere from 60 to 420 feet per minute
  • Powerful 10-amp motor glides through metal, plastics, and more

A portable bandsaw is a handy tool that makes nice clean cuts on a variety of materials such as metal, rebar, pipes and more. It’s a versatile tool both at home or on the go at remote worksites. 

  • Lightweight portable design for better control and less fatigue 
  • Used for cutting, shaping and detail work with metals
  • Ability to make smooth clean cuts
  • Can cut items that are too heavy or large to bring to your shop
  • Cuts pipe, metal tubing and bar stock with ease

More metal fabrication and welding tool basics in this video:

What Do You Need To Start Metal Fabrication? (All The Basic Tools)

Conclusion: Welding Tools for Beginners

When shopping for tools, I always try to buy the best quality tools I can afford. By investing in quality tools, I find they are more durable and many will last a lifetime.

Thank you for checking out my article on essential welding tools for beginners. I hope you have gotten some ideas as to the tools you’ll need to get your welding shop set up.  

Laurie Jones
 

Laurie enjoys DIY projects at home and in the garden, especially when giving upcycled items a new purpose. Other interests include jewelry making, photography, cooking, dogs and anything to do with horses.