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MIG welding is perfect for skill building by beginners and is often used for practice. But true masters of this craft create works of art such as 1mm die cube (made of 0.05mm thin stainless steel). If MIG welders can do that – there is nothing impossible for them. And you.
To find the most effective devices on the market, we’ve tested 17 models. With the top-performing Hobart Handler 140 we present 8 best MIG welders. We have options for complete beginners that won’t have complicated settings. There are lightweight models for welders on-the-go, and heavy-duty devices for industrial projects. You’ll find machines that can work with very thin materials as well as thick metals. For users with tight budgets we provide cheaper models with decent functionality.
More features: 5-position voltage control selector
If you are in the market for the best overall MIG welder for your home workshop, then this is a fantastic option. For starters, this model has one of the widest current ranges available on the market today. This makes it very easy to find the right amount of power for whatever project you have in mind. Dialing up this power is also quite easy, thanks to the simple to use voltage selector. This straightforward knob will allow you to select from five different power settings, which will save you from having to spend time fiddling to find the right voltage for your weld.
Another big selling point for this model is that it comes with each and everything that you might need to start welding right away. While many models only come with the most basic parts, this welder has a gas gauge, circuit clams, and the nozzle to get the job done. It even comes with flux wire if you don’t want to have to use any gas to get clean welds.
This machine is also built to last. It is made to be extremely durable, which is never a bad thing. The only real issue that you will need to keep in mind with this welder is that, even though it has a wide current range, it is not good for thicker metals. Of course, it works perfectly up to its thickness maximum of 0.7 mm, making it a great option to be used in a home workshop.
If you are someone that needs a welder while you are on the go or you just like to move about your shop to work at different stations, then this is the welder for you. This model weighs in at a trim 19 pounds, which makes it very easy to pick up and move from place to place. The carrying handle is another nice touch that makes moving this model a simple practice.
Something else that makes this such a nice option for use on the go is that it is designed to be used without gas. Instead, this welder is meant to be used exclusively with flux wire, which is provided when you buy the welder.
As you would expect from such a lightweight and portable machine, this welder is also quite compact. This easy-to-move design will allow you to store this model when it is not in use in a cabinet or in the back of your vehicle. The compactness of the welder only adds to its portability, which is, obviously, ideal.
The only real issue with this powerful and compact MIG welder is that it has a very slow wire feed. While this shouldn’t be too big of an issue for a beginning welder, it might seem way too slow for someone that knows what they are doing. Of course, this slower than average wire speed will force the user to take their time, which should result in even better welds.
More features: 10-speed control; 4 levels current flow selector
One of the biggest issues with lots of MIG welders is that they need to be used with argon gas in order to get good results. While this isn’t that bad if they are being used in a workshop, it is less than ideal if you are on the go. It can also be a bit of a pain to continuously refill and purchase more gas all of the time.
Thankfully, this model from Vivohome is available to combat this issue. This welder is designed to be completely gas-free and instead relies on flux wire to complete its welds. This helps to make this model a lot more portable, though it is a bit on the heavy side to carry around all of the time.
Something else that is really nice about this welder is just how easy it is to adjust it. If you want to adjust the speed of the wire, all you need to do is change the dial to any of the ten different available speed levels. The same can also be said of the different current levels. This model has a wide range of available currents, which can be easily found on the current level adjustment knob.
Surprisingly, this portable model is also quite powerful. In fact, using this welder, you should have no trouble welding materials that are up to 0.9 mm thick. This makes it one of the more powerful MIG welders you can buy for home use, which is great for anyone looking to weld lots of different materials.
More features: variable speed dial; overload protection
If you are someone that uses your tools a lot and doesn’t want to have to worry about your new welder breaking down, then this is probably a good model for you. This welder from Lotos is built to last. Everything about it is extremely solid, from its handle, nozzle, and outer casing, right down to the controls and wire feed. No matter how much you intend to utilize your new welder, this model should hold up for a good long time.
Not only will this welder last for years and years, but it also comes with just about everything that you need to get started welding right off the bat. The only thing that doesn’t come in this package is a gas tank, but everything else is present and accounted for, making it a very convenient purchase to make.
As you would expect from such a well-built machine, this model has a handy overload protection system built into it. This system will help to keep the welder from experiencing any unwanted energy spikes that could ruin the welder. This will, thankfully, help to keep the welder working even longer.
While the variable speed dial is a joy to use, the trigger for this welder is a bit difficult to get used to. Unlike other models, this welder has a simple on/off toggle switch. This might provide a bit of a learning curve to anyone that is used to standard triggers, so keep that in mind before you make your final decision.
More features: gas MIG/ gasless MIG/ LIFT TIG / ARC operation options
While most home-based MIG welders are not prepared for larger welding jobs, that isn’t always the case. Take this model, for instance. While most home-based MIG welders can only be used on metal that is, at best, 0.7mm in thickness, this model can be used up to 1mm. While that might not seem like all that much, it can make a very large difference if you are trying to complete a heavier-duty project at home.
As you would expect with a model this powerful, this welder has a current range that goes all the way up to 250 amps. This extra power provides the right amount of electricity to quickly and easily weld thicker metals with this machine. Of course, this also means that you need to have a heavier-duty 220-volt electrical outlet for it to operate out of properly, so bear that in mind before you make your final decision.
Surprisingly, even though this model is so powerful and uses so much electricity, it is actually not that heavy. This makes it quite simple to pick up and move from job to job or place to place. This versatility is something that really helps to set this welder apart. Add in the fact that you can use this machine with or without gas, and you can see why it is so easy to use in lots of situations.
The only real issue with this otherwise wonderful welder is that the instruction manual is very difficult to understand. This shouldn’t be a problem for experienced welders but might cause some consternation for someone that is just getting started.
More features: double voltage (220V as well); fan-cooled
There are no two ways about it: welding can be a very expensive past time. In fact, most welders, even these smaller MIG models, can get quite pricey. While that might not be an issue for an experienced welder who is looking to keep their shop up and running, it could be a problem for beginners. The last thing that you want to do is spend a ton of money only to find out the model you have purchased doesn’t work too well for you.
If that is the case for you, then this is the model that you should look into first and foremost. For starters, its price is extremely reasonable. Aside from that fact, however, this model also has plenty of great features to help make welding an easy and fun hobby. Its only real issue is, in fact, that it doesn’t come with a reference chart to figure out the different metal types and what kinds of power you need.
This model has a very large current range. In fact, it can even be used at 220V as well if need be. This extra power will provide you with more current than a standard MIG welder, which is ideal if you are making or working on larger projects.
Something else that really helps to set this model apart is its shorter than average duty cycle. While it still does need a rest period before being used again, it is much shorter than many other models out there. While most models have a 20% duty cycle, this particular welder has a duty cycle of 60%. That means that for every six minutes of welding, the machine only needs to sit for four between work, which is a very quick turnaround.
If you know for sure that you are going to be moving all over the place with your welder, then you most definitely will want to make sure that you get a lighter model. That way, you will be able to quickly and easily pick up the entire device and move it along to the next project.
If that is indeed what you are looking for in your welder, then this just might be the right option. It weighs in at a lightweight 18 pounds, which makes it one of the lightest MIG welders you can buy.
Even though this machine is lighter than other models, that doesn’t mean that it can’t get the job done. In fact, this model has a larger than average current range and can be used for materials up to and including 0.8 mm. This welder also has built-in overload protection, which his a big benefit that will help to keep it working in top-notch condition.
The only real issue with this particular model has to do with its wire feed. While many other heavier welders have a metal wire feed, this model only has a plastic one. Though this shouldn’t be too big of an issue, it could be a problem down the road if you use it heavily. Even though the plastic is nice and thick for the wire feed, it will still probably break down faster than a metal one.
More features: variable speed dial; overload protection
No matter if you are an experienced welder or you are just getting your first machine, odds are that you don’t want to waste a whole lot of time looking for all the different parts and accessories that you need to get up and running right away. If that is the case for you, then you might want to check out this model. It comes with everything that you need to weld right away, and even has some backups in case the first set doesn’t work out. This includes two different types of wire that can be used with or without gas.
This model, as you would expect, is also extremely durable. It is on the heavier side, but that is mostly due to its sturdy design. Even if you are someone that intends to use your new welder all of the time, this model should be up to the task.
The only problem with this model is that it doesn’t come with any sort of instructional manual. Thankfully, it is a very easy-to-use welder with relatively self-explanatory controls that shouldn’t take too long to figure out. The variable speed dial is especially simple to use. With these simple controls and quality parts, you should be able to start welding right away without too much of a learning curve if you decide to purchase this machine.
What do we love it for?
Variable speed dial
Comes with everything you need
What were we disappointed with?
No instruction manual included
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through everything you need to know to find the best MIG welder for your needs. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those if you need any more information.
What is a MIG welder?
A MIG welder is a tool that is used to weld metal together. MIG stands for metal inert gas. This process is also called gas metal arc welding or GMAW for short. MIG welding is an arc welding process that utilizes a continuous solid wire electrode that is fed through the welding gun into the weld pool. This is called a consumable electrode since it is used as filler metal in the welding process.
MIG welders use electricity to weld metal together. As such, they are very much like any other circuit in that the electricity needs to flow in a complete circle in order to operate correctly. To accomplish this, each welder comes with a clampable cable. This cable needs to be attached to your work to complete the circuit.
Another distinct feature for MIG welders is that they usually use a shielding gas, such as argon. The shielding gas surrounds the welding pool to make sure that oxygen or water vapor do not enter into the weld since these materials could ruin your work. Some MIG welders, like the Vivohome Portable MIG 130, can be operated without this shielding gas. You just need to be sure to utilize some flux wire to help prevent any unwanted issues with the elements.
MIG welders are great for beginners. Many folks say the process of using one is very similar to that of a glue gun. This ease of use makes MIG welders a great option for artists, farmers, gear heads, or weekend warriors. Even though these machines are great for beginners, they are still more than capable of welding materials up to ½ inch thick.
Features to consider when choosing a MIG welder
As you can imagine, there are lots of different features that you need to keep in mind when you are looking for a new welder. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know to find the best MIG welder for your home or business.
The input voltage of any MIG welder is how much electrical energy, or voltage, you will need to run your welder. Obviously, the more powerful the welder, the more voltage it is going to need. This is important for several different reasons. The first and perhaps most crucial reason that you need to pay attention to this is that you need to make sure your electrical system can handle your welder. The last thing you want is to get a powerful model like the Hitbox MIG250 and throw your breaker because your system can’t power it correctly.
The second reason that the input voltage is a good thing to keep track of is that this will usually give you a good idea of how powerful your new welder is and what applications it is meant to complete. If you are just looking to do small jobs, then a lighter duty welder like the Display4top Portable MIG 130 PLUS is a good way to go.
Something else that you need to keep in mind is the current range that you need for your new welder. The current range will determine the thickness of the material that you are able to weld together. Higher amperage levels are better for thicker materials, while lower ranges will work much better for slimmer pieces of metal. You need to think carefully about the type of work that you are going to be doing with your new welder. Are you going to do mostly small work, big work, or a combination of the two? The answer to these questions will help you to determine the range you need for your current.
If you are looking for a model for lighter duty jobs, then the Sungoldpower MIG Welder 140A is a good option since it operates at lower amperage rates. On the other hand, if you need to weld larger pieces, you should go for something like the Hitbox MIG250, which has a very high current rating. If you are looking for a good value machine to do both light and heavy-duty jobs, then the Hobart Handler 140 might be your best option.
Maximum material thickness
The reason that you need to take the current range and the input voltage into such a carful account is that these two numbers put together will determine how thick the material you can work on. Higher numbers, like those of the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i, will result in a machine that can work on thicker metal.
This ability to work on thicker metal will cost a bit extra, however, so be sure to keep this in mind before you make your final decision. If, for instance, you only want to work with thin pieces of metal, you can save a good deal of money and get a lighter duty machine. Of course, if you are looking to work on bigger projects, then you should probably go for something that has a bit more power, like the Lotos MIG140, which can be used on material up to 0.9mm in thickness.
Wire feed speed/speed options
Something that helps to set MIG welding apart from other forms of welding such as TIG is that it has a consumable electrode. This electrode, which is a wire, is fed through the welding nozzle as you are working. The electrode then gets used up and turns into filler metal to aid in the welding process. With a good MIG welder, you can set the speed at which the wire will come out of the nozzle to match your skill level and project needs.
Some welds, depending on what you are working on or the material that you are using, will require much slower speeds. This will especially be the case if you are new to the world of welding. Of course, as you gain experience and work on other projects, you might want to speed the process up, so it is a great idea to look for a model that has a lot of different speed options to meet your needs.
Another big consideration with any tool or appliance is the cord length. Obviously, the longer the cord, the easier it is to move your welder from place to place. This is essential if you have a lot of different workstations that you want to use your welder at and if you only have a few outlets in your work area. This is especially true if you only have one outlet that can handle the voltage needs of your welder of choice.
You also need to consider how long you will need the actual welding nozzle’s cord needs to be as well before you make your final purchase. Longer cords have their advantages. They allow you to move more freely about your projects and give you more flexibility in your positioning. Shorter cords, however, have their advantages as well. Short cords are much easier to store and are much less likely to get tangled underfoot as you move from place to place.
If you are a beginning welder, then odds are you might not understand that a welding tool, no matter how well-made it is, cannot be used continuously. This is due to the fact that these machines use a lot of electricity, which causes a ton of heat. To keep the welder from breaking down too quickly, they have a built-in rest period. This is known as the duty cycle. Basically, this describes how much recovery time each welder needs before it can be used again at a certain temperature. This is usually expressed as a percentage of time at 90 amps. The percentage will go down at higher amperage levels and up at lower levels.
If you are looking for a MIG welder that can be used for a long time with a limited amount of recovery time, then the Sungoldpower MIG Welder 140A is a great option. This machine only has a 60% duty cycle at 90 amps. This means that for every 10 minutes of welding, it will need to sit for about 4 minutes of recovery. This quick turnaround will allow you to keep on welding in comparison to other machines.
Another feature that you need to keep in mind when you are choosing a new MIG welder is just how large of a model you can house in your workshop. MIG welders come in many different sizes, as do storage spaces, so you need to make sure to carefully measure your storage options before you make your final decision.
If you have a smaller space, then you might want to go for a smaller model. That way, you can be sure to fit the welder in your shop without it being in the way. The last thing that you want is to get a model that is too big and has to be moved out of the way all of the time while you are working on other projects.
The weight of your new welder is also something that you will want to take into account before you make your final decision. Much like the dimensions, the weight of the welder you can handle in your work area is going to be based on how much you intend to move it from place to place. If you are going to always use your welder in the exact same place, then the weight really shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
On the other hand, if you want to take your welder from place to place, then a smaller model is a much better option. That way, you will be able to pick it up and move it whenever you need to switch positions or workstations. If that is what you are looking for, then the Display4top Portable MIG 130 PLUS is a great option, thanks to its lightweight and easy to move design.
Whenever you are getting something new, whether it be a drill, dryer, or welder, it is always a good idea to look for a model that comes with a good warranty. That way, you will be able to get anything that breaks down through normal use replaced without having to spend any extra money. Of course, you need to make sure that you read through the warranty information as carefully as you can.
Even though all of the companies on our list are respectable entities that have great reputations for making quality products, it is still a good idea to very carefully read through the warranty information for each machine since lots of companies will claim that the warranty is comprehensive, while only actually covering certain parts. That way, you will know exactly what is and what isn’t covered under warranty. This deeper understanding will help to keep you from any unexpected expenses should anything break down.
Unlike lots of other tools for your shop that only have very straightforward designs, MIG welders are perfect for innovation and new ideas. As such, there are lots of different features that you might want to keep an eye out for before you make your final decision. One such feature that you might want in your new welder is overload protection. Since these tools use tons of electricity, it only makes sense to get one that has this safety feature. Overload protection will keep the welder from pulling too much energy, which will help to keep it running correctly.
Another key feature that will make your life a whole lot easier is the variable speed dial. This dial will allow you to set your wire speed to match your skill level and project needs. This will result in much better welds and a better-finished project, which is, obviously, ideal.
You might want to look for a welder that comes with a built-in fan as well. This will help to extend the amount of time that you can weld without having to wait through a recovery period. By extending the time that you can weld, you will be able to get more work done.
You can also make your life a lot easier by getting a welder with an easy to use voltage dial. That will allow you to set the voltage with ease, which will, again, speed up the welding process and allow you to get more work done.
As is the case with many different tools, there are lots of considerations you have to keep in mind so that you can weld safely. Nothing will end your project faster than a trip to the hospital, so be sure to keep these important safety tips in mind so that you can weld effectively and, more importantly, safely.
Protect Your Lungs – You should always weld in a place that is well-ventilated. The fumes from the welding process can be hazardous to your health, and should never be breathed in. If possible, you should always use a face mask or respirator when you are welding to protect yourself.
Protect Your Hands – Welding is a job that requires you to use your hands. It also happens to be a job where you are melting metal together, so you need to make sure that your hands are covered properly. You should avoid thin work gloves that are made of synthetic fibers. Only use gloves made from leather or cotton, as these materials will not burn or melt from the heat of the arc.
Protect Your Feet – Even though you are not going to be using your feet while you are welding, it is still possible for molten material to splash down onto your feet during the welding process. As such, make sure that you have leather shoes or boots to prevent any burns.
Protect Your Face – The arc of a MIG welding torch is extremely bright and extremely hot. You must make sure that you have a high-quality welding mask before you attempt any sort of work with your new machine. Otherwise, you could do permanent damage to your eyes or face.
The materials that you choose to weld with your new machine will really depend on your skill level and what project you have in mind. If you are just getting started with welding, then you will want to start out simple with steel alloys. If you are more experienced, you can move onto nickel or aluminum, which are a bit more difficult to work with.
Since you are using electricity to weld, a MIG welder should work almost immediately from when you turn it on. The only time that you should wait around for your machine is when it requires that recovery period to cool down.
The speed with which your wire comes out should be determined by two different factors. The first is how comfortable you are with the welding process. If you are not too sure of yourself, then it is best to go as slowly as possible until you gain more experience. The second thing that will determine the speed of your wire is the type of material you are welding. If you are welding trickier material, like aluminum, then you will want to speed up the process so that you can achieve the correct temperatures and weld as quickly as possible.
Of all the different models that checked out, the Hobart Handler 140 has got to be the best overall MIG welder out there. It is very easy to use, extremely durable, versatile, and powerful. Plain and simple, if you are looking for a great MIG welder, then we highly recommend you give this model a try.
The Forney Easy Weld 140-FC-i is another excellent option, especially if you want a portable welder. This model is very lightweight, which makes it very easy to move from project to project or just keep in storage until you need it.
One of the more intimidating parts of using any welder, even the best MIG welder, is figuring out how to use argon properly. Thankfully, if you get the Vivohome Portable MIG 130, this shouldn’t be an issue. This model only uses flux wire in place of argon, which helps to make it a much easier experience for beginners.