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Making the list of the best MIG welders under $1000 was really difficult, though we managed. Some of the product we purchased were complete garbage that couldn’t even handle a few minutes of consistent welding.
Under 1000$ is a mid-price segment and you should expect these MIG welders to be relatively compact as they do not offer many welding process options. They also should be able to take on small to medium-sized tasks. We’ve looked at 25 different models and came up with the 7 best ones, where the Hobart Handler 500554 deserved our Editor’s Choice nomination.
The Hobart Handler 500554 is an impressive worker’s tool on almost all fronts. However, it is one of the higher-priced machines on our list. Of course, what most of you want to know is whether the value is proportionate to the price you pay for the tool.
Concerning basics, the features listed should be enough to get the job done. An example of such is with regards to the input voltage. You have various options available for powering the tool. It is thus not too much hassle to find a socket that can provide power to the appliance.
Another critical area is the maximum output. At this price point, you will be hard-pressed to find many options that can give out more power.
Concerning wire diameter, you can see you have various options to pick from as well. However, the size you use will be dependent on the project at hand. For this reason, the manufacturer has included a door chat that should help you figure out initial settings.
Nevertheless, the initial settings listed are not only there for wire diameters. You can as well reference the chart for different shielding gases to use.
Also, the tool lets you easily set up different wires using the quick select roll drive. One thing that users will likely appreciate is the gas solenoid valve. This is in addition to the dual-gauge regulator built into the tool.
However, one should as well note that there are some extra purchases they will have to make if they need to make full use of the machine. Among them is safety equipment in addition to shielding gas.
What are its best features?
High power output
Chart for selecting shielding gases and wire diameters for different metals is included
Gas solenoid valve built into the machine
What could be improved?
You will need to purchase safety equipment as well as shielding gas separately
Of course, there has to be at least one similarity between this tool and its predecessor on the list. This is concerning the welding process types provided by the two devices. Both offer options for MIG as well as Flux-cored welding.
You can also see that the duty cycle is almost identical. Nevertheless, there have to be some areas that set these two machines apart. One of the first ones you will notice as a buyer is the price.
The Lincoln Electric PRO-MIG 180 is priced at about $960 on Amazon. Its counterpart costs around $740 hence it has a slight advantage. The maximum output of this tool is also lower, although not by much.
As well, some aspects of the tool are pleasing to see on the features listed. An example is the cast aluminum gearbox. The benefits of this component are quiet operation in addition to extra drive torque.
You will as well be glad to note that measures are taken to prevent wire tangling and crushing in the drive system. Thinner materials are best tackled using MIG welding. On the other hand, if you encounter thick sheets of steel, you would do well to switch the process to Flux-cored.
Included in the package is a welding gun that you can attach to the 10 ft. cable that the manufacturer provides. Also, this tool offers one of the more forgiving welding arcs in the market. As such, it shouldn’t prove a huge hassle for newbies to figure things out. The incorporation of straightforward controls further aids this.
Why are we impressed?
Cast aluminum gearbox
Welding gun included
High power output
Extra drive torque
Offers a forgiving welding arc
What negatives must you be aware of?
You still need to buy additional equipment for safe use of the tool, and that pushes the cost to above $1000
The Weldpro MIG200GDsv offers the widest range when it comes to welding processes. In addition to the MIG welding that is necessary for making it onto our list, it also provides TIG, Stick and Flux-cored welding options.
The input voltage is not what you will find in most standard home sockets. You can even set it up in your workshop if you have one.
Also, the output power of the device seems to take the cake as the most powerful of all options on our list. This as well has a significant bearing on the duty cycle.
Users looking for a lightweight machine will view this as a forerunner in their purchase options. This is because it only weighs 30 lbs. This is less than half the weight of the editor’s choice. The dimensions also paint the picture of a compact machine.
As we have already established, the small form factor of the machine seems to have little to no effect on the functionality. You can thus expect more useful features in the design.
Advanced inductive settings, for example, are included. You have this feature to thank if you use it for welding and get a clean finish on your work. After all, it is meant to reduce spatter.
Some users will love the fact that it has a display. This is because they know they can easily tweak the settings to fit the job at hand. Also, once they have these settings noted down somewhere, they can easily repeat using them on future projects.
You also get overload and high-temperature protection. Once the machine activates these safety features, it will as well let you know.
What are its best features?
Overload and high-temperature protection
Compact and lightweight
Display is included
Works with most home sockets
Wide range of welding processes
What could be improved?
This tool only seems to have positives. However, if any negatives come up, we will update you
Capacity: 3/16” (24 ga mild steel), 1/8” (20 ga stainless steel)
Dimensions: 23.9” x 15.6” x 16.9”
Weight: 51 lbs.
With its 6 ft power cord as well as 10 ft cable to attach to a MIG welding gun, this tool has immense reach. These are the components that are included in the package. You will thus not need to pay extra to get them.
Another component included in the package is the mix flow, gauge regulator. Couple that with a gas hose, and you have a complete welding set.
One of the things you want with your welding machine is the consistent feeding of the wire. With the calibrated tension knob, you get just that, and what’s more, it becomes easy to set up your device for a job.
If you are relatively new to welding, the auto-set feature may come in handy. This component allows the machine to set its parameters so you can get the best results. Manual mode is also available for anybody confident in their parameter setting capabilities.
Some scenarios will require you to spend more money on this tool. Specifically, if you are trying to weld aluminum, you will notice the lack of a spool gun. Nevertheless, the option is there for you to buy the attachment and get to welding.
As a bonus, you get short circuit protection for your machine. This should ensure a safer working environment, albeit you still need to spend money on protective gear.
Why are we impressed?
Short circuit protection
Auto-set feature for users who don’t know the manual settings
Capacity: ¼” (18 ga steel), 3/16” or thinner (aluminum)
Dimensions: 18” x 12.5” x 10.5”
Weight: 85 lbs.
Another tool that ticks the boxes for some of you is the LOTOS MIG175. This machine is the heaviest one so far and thus will need to remain stationary as you are using it.
Also, it provided for a .025”-.030” wire diameter when you are using it with solid steel. This would also imply that you are using the MIG process.
If you switch it to the Flux-cored mode, the wire diameter capabilities expand to between .030’ and .035”. As such, the Flux-cored option will work for thicker sheets of metal.
You will note the presence of an aluminum wire feeder in the device. This is meant to increase the stability of the feed and thus allow you to produce cleaner results.
If you purchase this tool and it doesn’t live up to its reputation, you can send it back to the manufacturer for a refund. Additionally, it comes with a 1-year warranty.
Some of the accessories that you can expect to be in the package include a gas hose, argon regulator, MIG gun, Aluminum spool gun and ground clamp cable. At less than 500 dollars, this should provide you with excellent value for money. You also don’t have to go looking for these essential accessories elsewhere.
Why did it make our list?
A wire feeder is included
Comes with multiple accessories
30-day money-back guarantee
High power output
What is not ideal about it?
The machine is quite bulky
Some replacement parts for the tool can be quite hard to find
Potential buyers working with a budget of less than $500 can set their sights on this tool. It is a lightweight tool that even beats the Weldpro MIG200GDsv in terms of portability.
You can also tell that the machine is meant for lightweight use by looking at the features. As such, you can use this product for DIY use in your home. Additionally, you can purchase this as a backup to your primary device if you are a professional.
One of the top features of the tool is that it uses a 120V power source. As such, you can throw this in the trunk of your car and take it to a client’s premises without a care in the world. This is because there are bound to be a few sockets with such capabilities in the vicinity.
The tool’s manufacturer is also proud of the fact that it uses up very little power due to an efficient design. Concerning the wire diameter, it is quite limited when compared to other options mentioned before.
Nevertheless, if you have enough welding experience, this shouldn’t be a problem. You will easily tell whether specific projects are feasible with the machine or not. The five-year warranty is as well a feature to write home about.
What are our favorite features?
Compact and lightweight
Compatible with home sockets
What could be better?
Limited wire diameter range
Some users have mentioned that more details in the manual would be appreciated
The Hobart Handler 500559 is another excellent alternative to the products we mentioned above. It can weld up to 1/4” mild steel. Consequently, you should be able to tell whether it is enough for your projects with this snippet of information.
Aluminum, copper, brass, and magnesium are just a few of the materials you can work on and weld with this device. However, you may have to switch between MIG and Flux-cored modes depending on the thickness.
If you are purchasing the tool from Amazon, you should know you get a few different options are depending on the accessories you want. The most expensive one comes in at about $596. You can as well opt for the basic setup that will need you to part with less than $500.
The option you pick will depend on your budget as well as your intended use of the machine. If you feel that you don’t have the money, you can always buy the basic setup then upgrade it with accessories later on.
You as well have the voltage selector. This knob is there, so you can choose the voltage levels that will work for each project. This tool should also be able to work comfortably with household power levels, given that it only needs 120V of power.
What do we love it for?
Works with most home sockets
Easy to use controls
What were we disappointed with?
Accessories will need to be purchased at extra cost
There is no point in buying a MIG welder then returning it since it does not work the way you expected it to. As such, you want to be efficient in the buying process. This requires enough knowledge that you can be able to tell the different machines apart by their features and properties.
Since you may not have had this knowledge before, we have included it in the guide below. Consequently, you should be able to make the right choice out of the options above after absorbing the information below.
What is a MIG welder?
To understand a MIG welder, you first need to understand the processes involved in making MIG welding possible.
A few crucial components have to be involved. The metal being welded is, of course, essential. A thin wire is also needed to act as an electrode.
The wires used in MIG welding are consumables and, as such, will fuse with the metal in question. This happens when a welding current is passed through the wire. The result is an electric arc between the wire and the metal being welded.
The arc is supposed to heat both the wire and workpiece to their melting points. Consequently, the molten materials mix before cooling and becoming a singular unit. Also, a shielding gas is released simultaneously to ensure that this process happens to completion without the components reacting to other elements around the work area.
As such, the MIG welder is the device that makes the above processes possible. Also, the machine needs human input to tweak parameters such as wire-speed, voltage and polarity.
It also needs to be attached to a high-pressure cylinder containing shielding gas. As we have already explained above, the gas is an integral part of the welding process.
What to expect from a MIG welder under $1000?
A MIG welder that costs under $1000 is not going to be the most impressive tool you own, especially for professionals. Nonetheless, it should be good enough to take on small to medium-sized tasks.
Additionally, most of the machines should be relatively compact since they do not offer many welding process options. Nonetheless, you have devices like the Weldpro MIG200GDsv, which offer 3-in-1 welding processes as exceptions to the norm.
Features to consider when choosing a MIG welding machine
You will see different manufacturers battling it out to see who can provide the most value at that price range. This is often visible in the features offered. As such, you have to take the said features into account before making your investment choice.
Fortunately, we offer detailed descriptions of the features you are likely to encounter in the section below.
Multifunction or MIG/Flux-Cored welders
The Weldpro MIG200GDsv, as we have already established, is a multi-function tool. The other options on the list are mostly MIG/Flux-cored options. It is, of course, up to you to decide which option you would rather have.
Admittedly, multifunction tools, just like the name suggests, have more functionality. Nevertheless, these kinds of tools tend to cost more.
Most people with dedicated workshops will have installed sockets that work with their devices. They can also hire an electrician to tweak the power output.
However, a more straightforward way to go about this is to buy a machine that works with your current socket output. DIYers can choose a device rated at 120V or 240V since that is what is available for most homes.
The output power will affect the look of your final result. As such, you should go for the tool with the highest output power as it offers more range. Often you will see a flatter weld whenever you add more power. You can use this information to control the outcome of the job at hand.
Size and weight
Size and weight are not likely to affect the functionality of the tool. However, they do affect mobility. If the goal is a tool that stays in a stationary position, you should have no problem choosing a heavy one.
However, a lighter and smaller machine is easier to transport and move around. As such, you should be able to choose which option works best for you.
Also, a common theme is that bigger welding machines tend to have more features and functionality. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
The duty cycle is a relative term that describes the on/off cycle of a welding machine. It is often indicated in terms of percentage out of 100%.
In the case of the Hobart Handler 500559, you can expect the tool to stay on for 20% of the time during this cycle. Conversely, it will stay off for 80% of this period.
In another scenario, the Lincoln Electric PRO-MIG 180 will stay on for 30% of that duration. As a result, the bigger the duty cycle, the better. This means you have more time to work on your weld provided that other parameters stay similar.
Depending on the welding job at hand, you may want to use thicker or thinner wire diameters. As such, having a wide range with the device you are using may be necessary.
Thinner diameters tend to achieve a higher current density as compared to thicker wires if the power output is the same. As a result, the thinner wire may penetrate deeper than its counterpart. This is assuming that all other parameters remain the same.
Where you only need to weld closer to the surface of the metal in question, you can use thick wires.
You also want to know the feats that the machine is capable of with regards to the thickness of metals it can handle. With this information, you can check against the size of metal sheets that you usually work with and determine whether the tool is appropriate or not.
The Miller Electric 907612 is one of the few machines on our list that don’t come with a spool gun. However, this component is a necessity when looking to weld aluminum. As such, you will either have to purchase the gun separately or resolve to never weld aluminum.
Most people will choose to buy the optional attachment. However, most of the other manufacturers offer the spool gun as part of the initial purchase. Buying a machine that has one will save you a lot of trouble later on.
The energy that flows through the device can sometimes cause it to overheat. This may result in all types of adverse chain reactions.
An example is that you may experience a short circuit with your equipment, which can be hazardous both to the user and the welding machine. As such, some manufacturers tend to include some protective measures.
The thermal protection will sense when the machine gets too hot and disconnect it from the power source. As a result, the device will remain in good condition, and the user will remain safe.
Of course, a lot of things go into determining the welder quality as well as the performance of the device. Some of them are addressed above and only when you put them all together can you determine whether the performance of the machine is sufficient.
Here factors like duty cycle, wire diameter and maximum output can be the most telling.
The five-year warranty is one of the key selling points of the Everlast PowerMIG 140E device. Most users will love the fact that the manufacturer takes responsibility for the quality of the product.
Consequently, they are ready to offer repairs and refunds should the device suffer any damage during the first few years of use. That is also something you should be looking at when you decide to buy your machine. However, you should be aware that it is rare to find warranties that cover you for more than two years.
The auto-set feature provided by the Miller Electric 907612 can be quite useful for anybody new to welding and learning the tools of the trade. As such, this would be an extra reason to make the purchase.
Similarly, if you find an extra feature that appeals to you in a product, you should get it. This is, however, based on the assumption that most other features of the device prove satisfactory.
Welding wire manufacturers are quite considerate. As such, they ship their products with spec sheets that provide information on how to get the best out of them. If you don’t get yours, you can download the spec sheet from the manufacturer’s websites.
After that, you can reference the document for information on voltage, amperage, wire-speed as well as shielding gas requirements. This way, you make optimum use of the wire.
Our second favorite option is the Lincoln Electric PRO-MIG 180. The extra drive torque is one of the device’s top features. Also, it comes with a set of straightforward controls that potential users may appreciate.
As to our favorite machine, the Hobart Handler 500554 stands firm. Most of the components of the tool scream quality. Also, the chart on the body of the device may as well come in handy. Wire diameter options as well make this tool very versatile.
If you can’t pick one device out of these three, maybe you’ll have better luck with the other four mentioned in the list above. After all, only you know what you are looking for in your device of choice.