The basic difference between an inverter and a transformer welder is that the inverter welder uses solid state electronic parts whereas the transformer welder uses a step-down transformer.
Inverter transformers are recent technology. On the other hand, transformer welders have a history of nearly 70 to 80 years. For different working conditions, professional welders prefer different methods to perform welding.
So, there is an endless debate when it comes to which welder is better between these two. The comparison is not easy. Here I’ll discuss the difference between inverter and transformer MIG welder.
In the end, you will be able to choose which one suits you best for you. So, let’s get started.
Inverter vs Transformer Welders
Both of these welders have a transformer inside them. The main function of this transformer is to decrease the voltage (V) of input electricity and increase the current (ampere) at the same time.
Though both of them have transformers, the basic difference is in the working mechanism. The differences are described here in a tabulated form below.
|Parameters||Inverter welders||Transformer welders|
|Arc stability||Better||Comparatively low.|
What is Inverter Welders
Inverter welders are lightweight, compact, and updated technology of welding. The whole system consists of some electronic parts. This may include sensors, actuators, buttons, displays, etc.
Inverter welders use electronic arrangements to convert the input current. It can increase the frequency of the current to 20,000 to 1,00,000 Hz. That’s why it consumes less energy and provides more control over the arc stability.
Sometimes, it comes with a display that allows the user to even visualize different parameters and control them according to their need.
Pros-cons of Inverter Welders
Of course, not everything about an inverter welder is good. There are some pros and cons of this method. Now I’m going to focus on those. First, we will see what is advantage of inverter welders over transformer-based welders. So, let’s see some of them.
- This system is portable and lightweight. So, if you need to work at different places, inverter welders can serve the best.
- It provides a more stable
arc and a smooth weldedarea than transformer welders.
- The size and arrangement are compact and easy to handle.
- The efficiency of inverter welders is much more than transformer welders.
- The electronic arrangement provides greater control when it comes to welding different metals of various thicknesses.
- The overall power consumption is low and can be run by a generator in urgent cases.
- Inverter welders are not as reliable as transformer welders.
- Due to the integration of electronic parts and other facilities, the whole system has become more complex.
- Repairing any electronic parts may cost you both time and money.
- It may not be suitable where sustainability is the prime concern.
What is Transformer Welders
Transformer welders are conventional methods of welding. Many workshops have this type of welding arrangement which is about 50-60 years old and those are still serving with full performance.
The main mechanism lies within the transformer that is used inside the welders. The step-down transformer converts high voltage electricity to low volt- high current electricity. Depending on various welders, it can convert the current from 220 V to as low as 20 volts.
On the other hand, it can increase the current from 30-60 amperes to about 200-600 amperes. There are three main parts, which are,
- Primary coil
- Secondary coil
By using the two coils the electricity is converted. And the core is used to intensify the magnetic field created inside the transformer and use it to generate the arc.
Pros-cons of Transformer Welders
Now it’s time to discuss the pros and cons of transformer welders as well. So, let’s start.
- This method is more reliable than the inverter technology.
- Transformer welders have been updated for years and thus it has become more precise over time. With good skill and expertise, welders can do an excellent job with this method.
- The structure is simple and easy to handle. Even with a little skill in welding, someone can operate a transformer welder.
- The maintenance of these types of welders is way easier than inverter welders and also requires less cost.
- The whole arrangement of transformer welders is bulky, heavy, and not portable.
- The welded area is not smooth and good-looking. So, not suitable where aesthetics is a concern.
- Low duty cycle and the control of arc are not as good as inverters.
Inverter vs Transformer Welders: difference
So, you have already seen the difference between inverter welders and transformer methods. To summarize all these, here I’m mentioning the differences at a glance.
- Inverter welders are light, and portable whereas transformer welders are heavy and bulky.
- Inverters are less reliable than transformer welders.
- Inverter welders provide better control than transformer welders.
- Inverter welders enable us with good arc control. But transformer welders provide reliable performance.
- Maintenance of inverter welders is tougher than transformer welders.
Inverter vs Transformer Welders: Similarities
The basic working principle is almost the same for each of the methods. Here I’m sharing some similarities that you can see between inverter and transformer welders.
- Both of these systems have a transformer inside the arrangement, which alters the properties of the input current.
- The input high voltage low amperage current is converted into low voltage high amperage current in both of these systems.
- Inverter welders can supply AC to DC power output. The same thing can be done in transformer welders by using a bridge rectifier. This will cut two polarities of AC and make it work like Dc output. But there are differences between transformer rectifiers and inverter welding machines.
Inverter vs Transformer Welders: which one to choose
That is a tough question and there is no one-line answer to this. Why? Let’s elaborate.
Depending on various conditions, you may need to switch between inverter and transformer welders. Here below, I’m mentioning some features of those welders. Then I’ll discuss how preferences can change for choosing a welding method depending on your requirements.
- If you’re working in a workshop or at a permanent place like industry, using a transformer welder will be good. It can perform even in a dusty environment without any hassle. On the other hand, if your workplace is not fixed but changes with time, inverter welders will be good as these are portable.
- Another important thing is the aesthetics of your welding. If your job needs to be good-looking and the welding area should be smooth, inverter welders can serve you the best. Transformer welders are not capable of producing smooth welding which is not aesthetically pleasing.
- For heavy-duty cycles, where long-time performance is a must, undoubtedly transformer welders are the thing to choose. Though inverter welders are updated nowadays, still transformer welders are more reliable than inverters.
- Last but not least, the cost of each method can make a big difference. At first, inverter welders were way more costly than transformers. But now, with updated technologies like IGBT (Insulated gate bipolar transistor) the cost of these welders has been reduced. Thus it has become more available currently.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t work in a fixed place and need to move from place to place, an inverter will be good. But for reliability transformer welders are a better option.
Dc welding provides a better and smooth welding area than AC welding.
Since the inverter method provides more control, it’s easier to handle than transformer welders.
It can last for about 5-10 years. But this depends on how you use and maintain the machine.
Different welders prefer different welding methods. Some people say inverter welders are great because they provide better control. On the other hand, some say, reliability is the primary concern.
So, when the topic is inverter vs transformer welders, there is no one-line answer to the question, of which one is better. Rather, depending on the purpose and working conditions you should choose your preferred method.
As now you have a fair idea about both of these methods, you can easily identify which one suits best for you.
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