As stated above, the chinese stuff is ok for occasional use. Miller, Lincoln and ESAB are supported well here in the US and have serviceability and reputation behind them. Also check our Thermal Arc. I have an Arcmaster 185 Inverter that has arc property controls as good as the Miller inverter and was about half the price. The thermal arcs are imported. Mine is Japanese but I think they are made in china now (the exception for chinese machines since they still have a great rep for reliability). The Thermal Arcs are used in a lot of industrial machine controlled welding processes. Also as stated above, buy the biggest most featured machine you can justify. Used Miller Synchrowave 250 is a great machine for everything, although large and heavy and you need a 60 amp 220v circuit. The inverter machines are also very efficient. The big transformers like the synchrowave can be pricey to run if you weld a lot.