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Portable Welder Shootout

Editors Welding
Fred Williams
| Brand Manager, Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off Road
Posted April 1, 2011
Contributors: Rick Péwé, Kevin McNulty, Ali Mansour
Photographers: Alan Huber, Ali Mansour, Rick Péwé

What we think of the top trail welders

Any experienced wheeler knows that you should always have a host of tools, fluids, and recovery gear with you at all times. But what do you do when you've broken something that you can't just bolt, duct-tape, or strap back together? In these metal morphing circumstances you need a trail welder.

A trail welder needs to be easy to transport, simple to use, and most importantly reliable. Though most trail welds are temporary, they still need to be safe and strong. Think about being stranded in the desert and your only way to get home is to weld your Jeep's broken axlehousing back together. The situation is rarely life-or-death, but oftentimes, having a portable welder can prevent an over-the-top extraction and extend a great wheeling weekend.

Since there is quite the aftermarket selection of portable welders these days, we've decided to pick five of the most abundant and put them to the test. We spent a few days in the SoCal desert simulating a variety of carnage scenarios. From driveline failures to oil pan punctures, we tested each of the metal glue machines, all in an effort to discover how well each could get the job done. While we can't name any single one a winner or loser, each of the welders has its defining properties that were either loved or questioned by our team. To find out which one is right for your trail rig, simply read on!

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