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When I was looking for a new MIG welder, figuring out which model best suited my needs was challenging, there were so many options, and their prices varied significantly, plus I had to consider the pros and cons of each one as well. So which MIG welders are the best?
The best MIG welder that operates off your household electrical current is the Hobart 500559 Handler. The Hobart – 500553 Handler 210 MIG Welder is the best machine for those who need 220 or 110 current. However, note that there are many more considerations other than electric current.
The best MIG welder is relative and depends on your needs. A 110 welder is great for welding up to 3/16 steel but not suitable for thicker metals. Do you need to weld aluminum? If so, you want one with the ability to hook up a spool gun. Also, does the machine have the capability to attach a gas cylinder?
MIG welders are the most popular types of welders on the market. These welders are efficient and offer unique benefits. If you are a beginner, you will find MIG welding a simple, straightforward process.
And if you are an expert, you will still find this process useful. We know it can be challenging sifting through all the types of MIG welders on the market. To help you, we have reviewed hundreds of MIG welders and have compiled this review of the five best MIG welders you can acquire.
We have also provided a buyer’s guide to help you make the right choice. I also wrote a helpful article on the best welders for beginners, which includes some MIG welders.
Best MIG Welders
1. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V – Top Choice MIG Welder
The Hobart 500559 MIG Welder is a MIG welder that comes in a durable, compact design and that gives impressive power. Hobart is renowned for high-quality products, and the welder is no exception.
They are known for the technological features imbued to their equipment, and the Hobart 500559 MIG Welder comes with the elements required to make your MIG welding process an enjoyable one.
Right out of the box, the craftsmanship and high quality of the welder are clear to see. It comes in a compact size and is the second most compact MIG welder from Hobart.
Therefore, if your project requires moving around, you will find it a handy welder. It weighs a mere 57 pounds and is ideal for DIYers and homeowners who take welding as a hobby.
The welder comes with a 10 feet long MIG gun that delivers enough length, so you do not have to carry the welder around during welding. It is a durable welder that will serve you for a long time when used and maintained correctly.
The performance is rather impressive. We observe that the power from the welder is enough to complete simple, light-duty welding jobs. It delivers 140 A of power, and the duty cycle is efficient enough for light work.
As a MIG welder, it is ideal for welding thin, light metal materials like stainless steel. The Hobart 500559 MIG Welder comes at an affordable price and delivers excellent value for the price. It arrives with a warranty from the company; hence, you are protected from any technical issues that might arise. Click here to see the best price.
- 115V Current inlet
- 20% at 90 Amps duty cycle
- MIG Welder
- Welds 24 gauges up to ¼” mild steel
2. Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder – Cheap MIG Welder
The Forney Easy Weld 299 Welder is a reliable option for folks who are just starting with MIG welding or are interested in flux-core welding.
Forney is a company with decades of experience in producing different welding tools, and the Forney Easy Weld 299 Welder is an excellent addition to their line of products.
The Forney Easy Weld 299 Welder is a compact and portable welder that is great for jobs that require moving the welder around. At 41.9 pounds, it is lighter than the Hobart 500559 Handler MIG Welder reviewed above.
It comes with a handle to help with lifting and transportation. DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists will find portability an excellent reason to purchase this welder.
If you need a quick fix that doesn’t cost a lot of money, flux-core welding is an ideal welding process. It is, therefore great that this cheap welder support flux-core welding. If you are into flux-core welding and require a compact, portable welder, look no further than this welder.
The Forney Easy Weld 299 Welder is easy to set up. It is a plug-and-go type of welder. Therefore, beginners will have an easy time using it. MIG welding is one of the easiest welding methods, and the welder further simplifies the process.
It works with two-pound and ten-pound spools. The wire included in the package creates impressive beads. The unit uses a 120 V input and is compatible with many power outlets. It also provides a 125 Amp output. We like the storage option that ensures that wire rolls are always available whenever welding commences. There is enough power to work on light, thin materials like stainless steel.
Keep in mind that the welder isn’t designed for heavy-duty projects. Furthermore, although it can weld materials like copper and aluminum, the weld isn’t great but merely decent. Click here to see the best price.
- Gasless flux-core welder
- 120 V input
- 41.9 Pounds
- Metal body
- Welds 24 gauges to ¼”
3. Goplus MIG 130 Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed – Lightweight MIG Welder
The Goplus MIG 130 Welder is a MIG welding machine that comes at a relatively low price. It is a portable and versatile welder that allows the user to carry it around.
It weighs just 35 pounds, which is lighter than anything we have reviewed so far. As a result of this weight, you can move it around with ease.
If you work alone, you will not require help from someone else while moving the welder. The dimensions make it a compact welder.
It can be tucked away neatly and without taking up much space. It is also small enough to be out of the way during your welding.
The 12″ handle on the top of the welder allows you to carry it safely and comfortably. The handle is made of a durable plastic material. Despite the portable size, it delivers a decent performance.
The specifications of this welder indicate that it delivers decent performance. During our testing, we observed that the welder does its job quite efficiently. It comes with a 72.5″ long power cord. A 15%at 105 Amps duty cycle is decent for a welder of this size and price.
The 110V voltage means that it is compatible with many outlets in the workshop or home. It comes with a 65″ long welding gun that provides enough mobility while on your project.
Part of the features found in this welder includes adjustable heating options. The four heating options provide versatility, and you can choose an appropriate option for your job. The adjustable heating feature reduces the risk of electric wire burn.
The package comes with various accessories that can enhance your welding experience. The welding mask is an addition that beginners will find useful. However, during our test, we opted for a higher quality mask since we used the welder for heavy-duty jobs.
Aside from the mask, it comes with a welding gun, wire, and brush. All these accessories ensure you can get down to welding immediately after you get the welder. Click here to see the best price.
- MIG welder
- 15% at 105 Amps duty cycle
- Adjustable heating options
4. Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder – Best Dual Voltage MIG Welder
The Hobart 210 MVP MIG Welder is the second Hobart product in this review. Unlike the Hobart 500559 Handler MIG Welder, it is a dual voltage welder.
It retains the high-quality build and excellent performance usually seen on Hobart products.
Whether you are a newbie or a professional, the Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder is one of the best MIG welders to meet your needs.
It might be relatively cheap but do not be fooled, for the features and the power it offers it’s a great value for the money.
It weighs 79 pounds, which makes it one of the heaviest welders at this price point. Due to the weight, it is difficult to carry it around from place to place. If you want to carry it around, you might need a cart or another means of transportation.
Aside from the weight, it comes as a simple-to-use welder. The controls on the welder are simple to understand. Furthermore, the welder can be used straight out of the box.
It can weld 24 gauges up to 3/8″ mild steel. The welder arrives with a chart that delineates the best settings to use for different materials. Therefore, you do not have to be an expert before you can efficiently use the welder.
The panels on the welder include the ON/OFF, voltage, and amperage switches. The welder is a dual voltage welder. It can handle 220 V, and 120 V. 120 V are common in most homes while 220V is usually found in workshops.
Therefore, due to this nature, the welder is versatile. When plugged into a 110V power outlet, it uses up to 140 Amps. It is a nice thing to be able to switch between power levels.
The welder can be used for most types of steel materials. It can be used even to weld aluminum, as long as you use the spool it comes with. Click here to see the best price.
- Dual voltage welder (115 V / 230 V)
- 20% at 90 Amps duty cycle
- MIG, Flux-core welding
- 79 pounds of weight
5. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 MIG Welder – Safest MIG Welder
Lincoln Electric is one of the leading brands in the welding industry and with the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 MIG Welder, they have produced a feature-rich welder that will meet the needs of users.
It weighs 46 pounds, which makes it one of the lightest on this list. The welder features a handle on the top that helps you carry the welder around.
For projects that require mobility, this welder’s portability is a nice advantage. It is compact as well and will not take up much floor space in the workshop.
It delivers satisfactory performance and welds 24 gauges up to 1/8″ of mild steel. The ease of use makes it a good pick for beginners.
If you are just starting with welding, you will enjoy the simplicity of the welder. To assist you in making the right settings for a particular material, the welder has a chart on the inside.
It is a single voltage welder and runs on 115V. Most power outlets in the home are compatible with the 115V. There are safety features that come with the Lincoln Electric MIG Welder.
One of such features is an in-built fan. This feature keeps the heat down and prevents overheating. The welder has a cold contractor that ensures the wire remains electrically cold.
For a welder at this price, all these features make it feel like an absolute steal! Click here to see the best price.
- Welds 24 gauges up to 1/8″
- Amperage: 35 – 88 Amps
- 20% at 70 Amps duty cycle
- 46 pounds of weight
How To Choose The Best MIG Welder
Finding the right MIG welder that will satisfactorily meet your needs can be a challenge. There are so many technical details and welding jargon that can overwhelm the average shopper.
It can even be more difficult if you have never bought a MIG welder. To assist you in choosing the right welder, we have compiled a list of features that you must consider. These features are essential in every good MIG welder regardless of the price it comes at.
If you want a premium MIG welder, you should be prepared to spend more than a thousand dollars. The more expensive the cost of the welder, the higher the quality. Spending $1000+ on a welder ought to get you incredible quality. However, you must be sure that it is the right MIG welder for your use.
Buying a cheap welder but seem wise, especially if you are a beginner. You might feel that since you aren’t a professional welder or an expert, it would be better to get something cheap till you get better at welding.
Although there are welders that come at a ridiculously low price, it will likely not deliver the performance you desire. And even if it does give you a good performance, it might not be durable.
Choosing the right MIG welder for the right price depends on the purpose and the welding processes you intend to do. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you buy a welder within the $300-$500 range.
In this range, you should get a decent welder that will deliver good performance and be durable as well. If you are welding materials like aluminum, you should note that your welder will require a spool gun. Spool guns are added expenses that can cost up to $300.
Since the MIG welder runs on electricity, you must consider the power outlets in the workshop or in your home. MIG welders can run on either 110V or 220V power.
A 110V welder is a great option because 110v outlets are commonly found in household outlets. Therefore, you can plug the welders anywhere you go. A 220v outlet is not as common as a 110v outlet.
So, if your MIG welder comes with a 220v inlet, you might need to install a 220v outlet. 220v welders deliver more power than their 110v counterparts. They can weld materials with a thickness of up to ½” with ease.
Your welder should offer a warranty. If you buy a welder without a warranty, that can be a red flag. A warranty shows that the manufacturer has confidence in its product. If the product has a lengthy warranty period, it usually indicates that it is a high-quality product.
Purpose of the Welder
The right MIG welder for you depends on the type of jobs you plan on using the welder for. It also depends on the duration and frequency of your welding.
If you plan on using the welder for heavy-duty projects, you need to get a heavy-duty welder. These welders produce enormous amounts of power, and they can weld very thick materials. You should note that the higher the power it delivers, the more it will cost you.
On the other hand, if the project you want to handle is a light-duty project or if you will be welding light, thin materials a few times per year, a light-duty welder is an excellent choice. These entry-level welders are usually made of beginners and are quite cheap.
If you are handling medium-duty jobs, or are welding varying types of materials of middling thickness, a welder classed as a medium-duty welder is the right choice.
Shielding gas is a vital element in producing a clean weld. With a good shielding gas, you do not have to replace your electrode constantly. Shielding gas plays a vital role in MIG welding, and we will consider why this element is so vital in MIG welding.
Shielding gas serves as a shield for your molten weld. The quality of the molten weld can be affected by the presence of oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. These gases, if they interact with the molten weld reduce the quality of the weld bead and can cause the process to produce more splatter than usual. Hence, the shielding gas keeps these elements away from the molten weld.
Overall, the quality of the weld is greatly affected by the effectiveness of the shielding gas. How can you choose the right shielding gas? Let’s see.
How to choose the right shielding gas
Your choice of shielding gas for your MIG welder depends on such factors as your budget, the desired properties of the weld, the material being welded, and so on.
Some of the popular gases used as shielding gases include:
- Carbon Dioxide
Each of these gases offers distinct advantages.
Carbon Dioxide is the only gas on the list that can be used alone as a shielding gas. The remaining gases have to be mixed in different ratios to be effective. Carbon dioxide is cheap and is great for welding thick materials.
However, compared with other gases, the arc produced is less stable, and it produces more spatter. To reduce spatter, carbon dioxide is usually mixed with other gases.
Oxygen produces an excellent weld, but it oxidizes the base material, which is bad for metals like aluminum.
Helium is a great shielding gas, especially with thick materials, however, it is rather expensive.
The last shielding gas, Argon, produces visually pleasing welds and is usually mixed with the other types of welding gas.
Advantages of MIG Welding
MIG welding is the most popular type of welding process. Some advantages of this welding process include:
- MIG welding is fast. MIG welders save time for users because the user does not have to change rods often. Furthermore, it saves time as users do not have to clean slag formed from welding constantly. It produces a fine weld.
- MIG welding is cheap. Getting a high-quality MIG welder does not cost as much as getting other welders. With less than $600, a welder can get high-quality equipment for the process. You might have to spend money on shielding gas and MIG wire, though, but even with this added expense, it is still cheaper than other welding processes.
Furthermore, consumables spent on MIG welding are less than other processes.
- MIG welding is easy to master. Compared with other welding processes, it is easy to learn. Others might have a steeper learning curve, but MIG welding takes a short time to learn.
- MIG welding is versatile. With this process, a welder can weld various types of metals. You can weld copper, mild steel, aluminum, iron, and different alloys. Furthermore, you can weld different thicknesses as long as the amperage and configuration are right.
Disadvantages of MIG Welding
- While the welder might be lightweight, the cylinders that house the shielding gas can be heavy and cumbersome to carry around.
- The material to be welded has to be cleaned which can take some time
- Not meant to be done outdoors: MIG welding is not meant to be done outdoors because it is sensitive to wind. The shielding gas can be blown away during the process, which will affect the quality of the weld.
We know that choosing the best MIG welder can be challenging. Hence, we hope that this review and buying guide will make the decision process more manageable.