What welding accessories should you invest in?
While there’s no set list of welding accessories you must own, most welders have a typical inventory of both basic and specialized tools. We’ve gathered a list of 25 of the best welding accessories below for your reference. Ranging in price from under $20 to above $100, these products are by no means required for every welding job. However, they could be useful to have at-hand as you weld.
After you’ve welded for some time, you’ll find your tool chest stocked with many of the tools and accessories you’ve picked up to complete your projects. Some of these items you may use once and never need again; others may come in handy on countless future projects. Whatever the case, there are select accessories every welder should consider adding to their tool box. As a suggestion, we’ve gathered the list below, naming 25 of the best welding accessories available to the modern-day welder.
Sourcing the Following Welding Accessories
There are a variety of merchants, both online and brick-and-mortar, selling the products we’ve listed below. We suggest doing a little shopping online to check out pricing and availability of the accessories you’re interested in. At the same time, taking a trip to your nearest hardware store may be good to get your hands on products and experience them in-person. That way you can make a more informed decision if you do end up buying online.
The important thing to remember is that the list below is meant as a guideline, not necessarily a shopping list. Rather than going to Amazon and adding all the products listed below to your cart, we suggest researching the products you find might be useful. Each welder has his or her own style and approach. Within that, an accessory that works well for one welder might not work well at all for another. Sometimes finding out the difference does mean investing in tools you may not use more than once. But for every tool or accessory you rule out, hopefully you find another that makes your welding experience more fulfilling.
With that in mind, read on to find out more about 25 of the best welding accessories you should consider investing in.
25 Welding Accessories You Should Own
The Basics: Gear
What follows are the basic welding gear accessories you should consider adding to your collection.
1. Auto-dimming welding helmet
It’s the first rule in welding that you should always wear eye protection. This protective glass shield that both allows you to see your work while also filtering out the harmfully bright light of the arc is invaluable to any welder.
However, owning an auto-dimming helmet will improve your welding experience tremendously. Sure, the cheapest helmets are going to get the job done. But the more you’re able to see the part in front of you, the better your chances are of creating a solid weld. It can also be a strain on your eyes if you have to switch quickly between the natural and/or artificial lighting of your environment and the dimmed lighting beneath the welding hood.
If you plan on welding for quite some time, or even as a career, we recommend spending a bit more to get the best welding helmet you can. It’ll be an investment you’ll enjoy time and time again. And you can easily customize some helmets to fit your own style. Because who doesn’t like a little personality in their welding helmet to match the awesome-ness of your welding abilities?
2. Welding helmet magnifying lens
Because many welding projects are done in tight spaces with little work space, it can be hard to see where your weld actually is. Add a few years of age to your eyes and you’ll soon see why magnifying lenses can help bring back into focus those tiny welds you used to be able to see.
These magnifying lenses aren’t for everyone, however. Some people prefer to buy cheap reading glasses and simply wear them behind the welding helmet. Most magnifying lenses will slip in behind the darkening lens of your welding helmet. The gap between these two lenses often leads to fog and moisture build-up.
Really, it’s a question of your own welding style and of course your vision. Even younger welders who may not necessarily need bifocals or similar eyewear can benefit from the addition of a magnifying lens. Try out a pair of magnifying lenses to see if they work for you.
3. Steel-toe work shoes
A sturdy pair of work shoes offer so many more benefits than we can name here. Key to supporting your body and keeping your toes safe, steel-toe work shoes are the way to go if you plan on welding for a while.
Most steel-toe work shoes and/or boots are available at many outdoor gear retail stores. It’s a great idea to visit one of these stores to try on a few pairs. Once you’ve found the styles you like, ordering online will be much easier. It’s true that these types of shoes will cost you a bit more than your average sneaker, but you’ll be counting your lucky piggies if they’re ever under threat from being crushed.
4. Welding apron
First on our list in terms of protective clothing, the welding apron is a garment you will dread wearing but won’t want to go without. While it might get hot beneath all that material, a welding apron certainly keeps your body cool and protected from any burning slag that might travel your way.
Most welding aprons are made of fire-resistant leather. They’re long in length and are meant to cover you while both sitting and standing. Some welding aprons even have pockets or D-rings you can use during your welding time.
5. Welding respirator
As you probably already know, welding exposes you to a variety of gases. Owning a welding respirator protects your lungs from these harmful gases. If you plan on welding for a large portion of the day and even as a career, investing in a welding respirator is money well spent.
6. Hearing protection
You may be wondering why “hearing protection” ended up on a welding accessories list. After all, welding isn’t all that noisy. But really, the hearing protection is more for what you do to the metal after you weld it, rather than during the actual welding process. Because if you use any type of power tools, sanders, or the like, you’re going to go deaf pretty quick if you don’t protect those ears.
Like eye protection, the type of hearing protection you should use is really whatever fits your style best. Some people prefer to simply put in earbuds and listen to loud music to drown out noise. Others prefer noise-cancelling headphones that cup your ears in deathly silence. Whichever type you are, make sure you protect your hearing. It’s not something you can get back once it’s gone.
Power It Up: Hand Tools
What’s welding without adding a few sharp blades, clamps, and files? These accessories will help you shape and refine your work pieces.
Like your screwdriver, hammer, and nearly any other hand tool you own, pliers are versatile and durable enough to accomplish most tasks. Whether it’s picking up a work piece you just welded on or wrenching off a messed-up part, pliers are there to help. We recommend investing in pliers of various sizes for all your fabrication needs.
8. Metal wire brush
Those pesky welding crumbs—better known as slag—aren’t brittle little pieces you can simply brush off. For that job, you need a metal wire brush. Now, we don’t recommend you double this one as a hairbrush, since the bristles are tiny strips of metal meant to scrape against slag in order to get it to release from the metal surface it’s stuck on. In the process, the metal wires also remove any surface contaminants that may be present. This is why it’s a tool most welders use before and after welding.
9. Hand files
As your work pieces get smaller and more intricate, the need for hand files grows exponentially. Hand files will allow you to make small changes where necessary without having to break out the angle grinder or belt sander. You can pick up a variety of hand files at your local hardware store. While we recommend purchasing a smaller and a larger hand file, to tackle most of the jobs you’ll encounter, you should certainly invest in more the more often you weld.
10. Angle grinder
In a perfect world, you’d be a perfect welder. But that’s (unfortunately) not the case. That’s why the welding gods invented the angle grinder, which allows you to clean up welds for a better finished piece. Angle grinders look similar to automotive buffers but have much more cutting power.
11. Welding clamps
After you’ve got the hang of welding, you’ll likely find that you need quite a few tools that will allow you to fasten your work pieces together before you even get the gas flowing. After all, you’ve only got 2 hands—and one of those needs to operate the welding torch.
We recommend you invest in some quality welding clamps, in various sizes. Though they may be expensive to invest in at first, they’ll soon earn their keep as you continue on in your welding career. It’s best to purchase clamps you can easily manipulate with gloves on, since you’ll likely be wearing a pair when you weld.
There are a few different types of welding clamps you can purchase. Locking pliers, also called C-clamps, are a great option for smaller pieces or those that aren’t too thick. F-style clamps adjust to accommodate pieces of varying thicknesses. We recommend you pick out a few clamp styles to try and find those that work best for the type of projects you’re involved with.
12. Portable band saw
Owning a portable band saw allows you to do quite a few things. The portability factor is perhaps one of the biggest features, since you can easily carry it around your workshop. You can bring the blade to your work, rather than the other way around. Most portable band saws work on a variety of materials as well, so you don’t just have to use it while welding.
13. Welding magnets
Everyone’s heard of welding clamps, but welding weights serve a different and yet still important role when it comes to joining work pieces. Whereas welding clamps use pressure to keep work pieces together, welding magnets use—you guessed it—magnetic force.
These types of clamping devices can come in handy in tight spots. For example, if you aren’t able to fit a clamp around the work pieces you need to weld, you may be able to adjoin them with a pair of welding magnets. Another great thing about welding magnets is that they often have angles to them, so you can nestle them in corners or butt them up against your work while still knowing they’re straight.
Welding magnets come in all shapes and sizes. Just make sure that when storing the magnets, they’re not next to your credit cards or computer(s). Magnets can be a good thing—when used properly, of course.
Measure Last and Weld First
For accuracy in all areas, check out these measuring tools you’ll probably want to keep on-hand in case the above happens—and you don’t get lucky.
14. Tape measure
Ah, the good ol’ tape measure. We don’t have too much to say about this universal tool, only that you find one that you can read and that works well for you. Sometimes having a small and a large tape measure works best, since you can either get down into small spaces or have the tape length to accommodate larger work pieces. Either way, just make sure the tape measure you use is accurate and readable.
Welding soapstone resembles chalk in a lot of ways. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it’s chalk for welders. Useful for making highly-visible marks, soapstone stays on just long enough for you to weld, cut, or do whatever else you need. And if you make a mistake, you can easily wipe the soapstone away to make a new mark.
16. Welding squares
Similar to welding magnets, welding squares allow you to clamp your work pieces together. The difference is that most welding squares are geared more towards measurements, rather than simply joining work pieces. Most welding squares include a 45- and a 90-degree measurement so you can easily reference these angles as you weld.
Nothing fancy here. All you need is a level that will help you determine whether or not the piece you just welded is level. Or, if you’re going to weld, you can check the level to make sure everything is clamped together just where you want it.
18. Sheet metal gauge
A sheet metal gauge is one of those tools you may not use with every project; however, it’s still something you want to have around in case you do need it. Any old sheet metal gauge will work, unless you want something super specific for special projects.
Weld-Type Specific Accessories
For every type of welding out there, there’s a separate, distinct list of useful accessories. Welders acquainted with MIG and TIG should find the following accessories useful.
19. TIG finger welding glove
Sometimes when you’re TIG welding, it’s not easy to get into a comfortable position to weld. For some welders, it’s easier to rest a finger on the piece you’re welding to achieve a better weld. In those cases, it’s best to have a TIG finger welding glove, which allows your finger to be close to the weld without sustaining damage.
20. MIG nozzle gel
Hate splatter? Invest in MIG nozzle gel, which reduces splatter and splatter buildup on your nozzle. If you plan on MIG welding a lot, it’s definitely something you’ll want to invest in. It’s either bite the bullet or spend extra time grinding all that spatter down by hand.
21. Remote amperage control (“amptrol”) for finger, hand, and/or foot
Welding can be uncomfortable and damaging to your body. That’s why we recommend investing in a remote amperage control. Available for your finger, hand, or foot, these amperage controls are often referred to as “amptrols.” They allow you to control the amperage output while freeing your hands to weld.
Bonus: Because You’re A Welder
These accessories may not be as crucial as the ones we’ve already mentioned but they’re definitely something to keep in mind as you continue your welding career.
22. Welding extension cord
Sometimes it’s necessary to extend your reach from your power source and a welding extension cord is just the accessory you need. It is possible to make your own welding extension cord from hardware store parts and some electrical skills. At the same time, there are many affordable options available for purchase as well.
When purchasing welding extension cords, make sure you check both the welder you own and the power source you’re going to use. It’s better to have a cord that can easily handle the power drawn from it by your welder because if the cord can’t handle the power, you’re going to run into a lot of problems, really quickly. The important thing is to be safe while still having fun.
23. Oxy-acetylene setup
If you’re welding on a budget, an oxygen-acetylene setup is a versatile tool to invest in. This setup, which includes an oxygen tank, an acetylene tank, a regulator, connecting hoses, and a torch, uses both gases in order to create a flame. This flame can be used to heat parts up, high-temp solder components together, weld, cut, and in general, heat things up quickly.
24. Welding table
Welding tables are one of those pricey things that many welders wish they had. However, it is possible to make your own welding table. If you do make your own, it’s easy to put in the features that you want. These could be holes drilled in the top to hold parts in place or simply a height you prefer for working. Welding tables do require a bit of space, though, so make sure you have the room before you either purchase or create your own welding table.
25. Welding shirts
We mentioned investing in a welding apron earlier in the article, but if you’re working in a hot or humid climate, a welding shirt is a good compromise. Welding shirts will still keep you protected but allow you to breathe a bit easier. This guide on the best welding shirts will help you find one for your budget. There are also plenty of tongue-in-cheek, funny, and welding life shirts available for everyday wear.
Get Your Gear On
Well, there you have it. These accessories number 25 of the best that we think you should own, because becoming a better welder is always easier when you’ve got the right equipment.
That being said, take our suggestions with a grain of salt. “While selecting the suitable welding accessories,” notes EverlastGenerators.com, “several factors come into play including price, purpose, power, and consumables.” This list might not be the budget-friendly, but it’s certainly a wish list you can share with friends and family for birthdays and Christmases to come.
Which welding accessories do you like? Which have you found worth the money and which would you never buy again? Share your comments and experiences with us in the comments below!