What to Consider When Buying an Engine-Drive Welding Machine

Hey there, fellow welding enthusiasts! If you're on a welding machine spree and the previous Millers we discussed didn't quite meet your needs, let's dive deeper into what you should look for when buying an engine-drive welding machine. Purchasing one is not vastly different from buying a car – you need to ensure it meets your requirements and delivers reliable performance. So, let's take a closer look at the key factors to consider before making your choice.

Determine the Right Size for Your Needs

The first step in choosing the perfect engine-drive welding machine is to figure out what size you require. For most welding tasks, a machine with a 200-400 amp capacity, such as the Lincoln S8 200 or the Miller 350 Pipe Pros, should suffice. Unless you have specific high-tech wire feed needs, these common sizes are suitable for various welding applications, even if you're assembling a welding truck.

Consider Your Welding Processes

Next, consider the welding processes you'll be undertaking. If you'll be working with high-tech wire feeds frequently, look for an engine-drive with an inverter setup, like the Lincoln Cross Country or the Miller 350 Pipe Pros. These machines offer specialized settings for high-tech wire feed or lift arc start on your TIG torch. On the other hand, if your tasks involve regular stick welding or basic TIG welding, you can opt for more straightforward and cost-effective options like the classic Lincoln 200s or SA200, which may come with convenient features such as 240V outlets and arc control.

Diesel vs. Gasoline Engines

When choosing between diesel and gasoline engines, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons. Diesel engines are known for their reliability and durability, making them a preferred choice for many welders. However, older Lincoln models with the F-162 Continental gas engine are also incredibly reliable. If you have a gas-powered truck, consider matching it with a gas engine machine to simplify fueling logistics. Regardless of your preference, ensure the engine is in good working condition, as issues with smaller gas engine machines are more common.

New vs. Used Machines

Deciding between a new and used engine-drive welding machine is a personal choice that depends on your budget and preferences. New machines usually come with warranties, providing peace of mind in case of any defects or issues. However, used machines like the Lincoln 200s SA200 can be solid performers, especially if you're mechanically inclined and willing to invest some time in maintenance. Just like buying a used vehicle, inspect the machine carefully for any visible signs of wear and test its performance with actual welding before making a decision.

Where to Look for Your Ideal Machine

When searching for your dream welding machine, explore online marketplaces, local classifieds, and welding equipment-specific platforms. Websites like Craigslist or dedicated welding forums can be excellent places to find both new and used machines. Remember, patience and perseverance are key to finding the right fit for your needs.

Test and Inspect Thoroughly

When you've spotted a potential candidate, make sure to inspect it meticulously. Start the machine and check for any abnormal sounds, vibrations, or leaks. Verify that all power outlets work as expected, and ensure smooth changes in temperature and amperage when welding. Don't be afraid to bring some welding materials along to test the machine's performance before finalizing the purchase.


Purchasing an engine-drive welding machine is an investment in your welding career or business. By considering factors like size, welding processes, engine type, and condition, you'll be better equipped to make the right choice. Remember, a well-suited welding machine will not only meet your needs but also boost your productivity and profitability in the long run.

Happy welding, and may your welding endeavors be both lucrative and enjoyable! If you found this content helpful, consider subscribing to our blog for more welding tips and tricks. Let's keep the sparks flying!


The information provided in this blog post is based on personal experiences and general knowledge of welding machines available until September 2021. Welding technology and equipment might have evolved since then, so always stay up-to-date and consult welding professionals for the latest recommendations.