Metal inert gas welders, also referred to as MIG welders are welding tools that are frequently used. These welding machines are quite common since they can be used both at home and in industries. They are well known for joining perfectly any type of metal. Thus, whether you are just venturing into welding now or you are an experienced user, you should consider getting one for yourself.
Most experienced welders will concur with me that the speed of these welding machines is top-notch. The speed of these highly functional machines cannot be matched to other welding machines, such as the tungsten inert gas welder, commonly known as TIG welder.
Additionally, they are mostly used in mass production due to their fast production nature. If you are a fast learner, getting to know how this machine works will not take time. Considering the advantages of using these machines, you cannot afford to get the wrong welder.
Going through a good review on the best MIG welder comes in handy for both welding beginners and experienced welders. A good review will help you know facts about the best welder you want to purchase and remind you of things that you may have overlooked. As such, you will be sure that you are making the right purchase.
Therefore, I have done much research on these products and come up with a list of the best welder brands. During my research, I gathered a lot of useful information that will assist you in making your purchase, setting the welder up, and using it. In addition to the list, there is also a buyer’s guide to help you identify the best machine that matches your needs. Also, there is a list of frequently asked questions to give you an insight further on the functionalities of these tools.
I have a deep interest in this topic because I’m a professional carpenter with more than ten years of experience. Additionally, I have always believed that it is important to provide people with informed guidance and tips on how to remodel their homes since I have a vast experience in home improvement, woodworking, and remodeling.
Top 7 Best MIG Welders
You have finally decided to get a MIG welder. Perfect! Here is a compilation of the top-rated MIG welders below. In these MIG welder reviews, I have analyzed the specs, pros and cons of each brand to help you make an easy comparison.
Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder: Best MIG Welding Machine on the Market
Compared to other machines, this is the best overall. It’s a product of Hobart, which is a long-serving company based in America and has been manufacturing high-quality tools since 1917.
This equipment is portable, which is what you are seeking. It’s not an item that will remain static due to its bulkiness, thus, limiting the usage. Moreover, you can use it in a multi-voltage plug by plugging it into an outlet that has 115V or 230V. This allows an easy exchange of plugs.
With this welder, in a single pass, you will be able to weld 24-ga to 3/8 in steel. Additionally, it can perform various functions, including home-based repairs, industry-based functions, and heavy farm works that may require a lot of power. It has a collection of the best features, which make it very powerful, aside from being versatile — for example, the seven output voltage and a dual-groove offer quick change drive roll.
This machine is stress-free to use; you do not have to be an experienced welder to be able to use it. Furthermore, Hobart handler comes already set up, and therefore, you can use it immediately after unpacking it. Stating that this is a good welder is an understatement since it is remarkably effective, easy to use and versatile.
If you are fixed financially and still want to procure an impressive welder, you can opt for the Hobart 500559 Handler 140, which is equally a fantastic MIG welder. It is made by the same manufacturer and can handle non-ferrous metals such as aluminum with much ease. Besides, it can weld continuously up to 8 inches reels making your welding even more smooth.
- Model 500553.
- It weighs 87 pounds.
- MVP plugs.
- Quick change drive roll.
- Seven voltage settings.
The tool has some outstanding advantages, as well as some drawbacks. Check them in the table below.
Hobart 500536 Ironman: Best Professional MIG Welder
It is a high profile welder specifically meant for flawless welding. Its versatility allows users to handle various metals and is suitable for both home and industry use. Usually, it is very hard to handle aluminum since it does not get corroded easily. But with this welding machine, such difficulties are rare since the optional spool gun handles aluminum perfectly.
The delivery of an amperage output of up to 150 in this welder is exemplary. This makes it effective for industrial use since there is a smooth and lengthened current flow. The heavy-duty case covering it guarantees its durability. Additionally, setting it up will not take up much of your time since it comes with an elaborate manual to guide you.
The maintenance tips are also included to ensure the welder lasts longer. We all tend to associate too much straining with welding. This is not the case when using Hobart Ironman due to the outstanding specs such as the automatic alignment of the wire, built-in running gear, ingrained running gear, and a control system that regulates the voltage.
The tension knob of this equipment does not need any added tools. Moreover, it can weld various metals, such as mild steel and stainless steel. This is a gas welder, and thus, it is easy to operate since all that is needed is frequent gas addition.
- Heavy-duty performance
- Optimized Ironman 230
- 12-tap voltage for smooth welding
- Voltage control system
- Running gear
The equipment has some remarkable advantages. However, it also has some negatives. Below is a summary of the pros and cons.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1: Best MIG Welder for the Money
Who does not like a less priced functional item? The price of this welder will impress you. We usually judge the functionality of items by their price, but this one is rather cheap yet very effective. You will get value for your money. The manufacturers of this welder have been producing such machines for over 100 years, and thus you can trust that this item is of high quality.
It has an attractive design and is equally lightweight, which makes it the best MIG welder for home use. It is also the best MIG welder for a beginner or for people doing the welding as a hobby. It is also suitable for professionals with heavy welding duties since it uses 1/8 inch of metal and has a power output of 88 amps. This welder has good safety features that ensure that the user is not endangered while using it.
Additionally, it is easy to use and affordable. However, its features are highly dependent on its price, and hence it lacks expensive aspects such as high voltage output or infinite speed control. It has an input of 115v, which increases its possibility to be used with home power. This input cannot be used in industries.
Among its outstanding features is its lightweight. This makes it easy to transport or move around when doing your welding. The tool weighs a little less or over 46lbs.
Beginners mostly use this machine because it is suitable for their learning since it comes with a manual that guides the user. Furthermore, the company gives a one year warranty, and thus together with the good reputation that precedes them, you can feel safe knowing that you are making a good purchase.
- The input voltage of 115v
- It comes with cold contactor safety
- Power output amperage of 35-88
- Cold contractor safety feature
The machine has some pros that make it stand out. Nevertheless, it has a major drawback. Check them in the table below.
Goplus MIG 130: Smallest MIG Welder for Easy Portability
Many professionals agree that it is indeed hard to find portable MIG welders that you can use without straining to move it around. Most welders weigh 80 pounds and over. However, with this tool, you are sure to have a lightweight item since it weighs only 35 pounds. Isn’t it amazing being able to carry your welder if you have a job at a distant place?
It can be used to weld a 0.3-inch metal in one pass or multi-pass, thus making your welding process smooth with every step. This welder will save you the hassle of frequently adjusting the voltage and wire speed since it is designed to do this by itself automatically. However, you might also make adjustments if you like.
Additionally, it has the IGBT inverter technology, which ensures there is high power. Aside from MIG welding, it can also flawlessly perform TIG and stick welding with a current flow of 200 amps. This is just similar to the amperage in MIG welding.
You can keep making adjustments through the digital display screen as frequently as you want. Moreover, it can be used for different welding metals. If you get a spool gun, then you can also use it to weld aluminum.
The major drawback, however, is that the power output is low due to its lightweight. Hence it cannot be used in high production welding. Therefore, ensure you use it for lighter duties to get your work done perfectly.
- It welds 0.3 inches in a single pass.
- It weighs 30 pounds.
- It gives an input f up to 230v.
- Its amperage output is 200A.
This welder equipment has some amazing advantages that put it among the best options. However, it has one drawback. Check the pros and cons in the table below.
Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC: Best MIG Welder for Beginner
The Forney Company began its work in 1932 and has been producing quality products since then. It has been producing a wide range of metalwork items, including the best welding tools. Just from its name, it is indeed easy to use, making it the best MIG welder for a beginner who is venturing into welding. It can be referred to as a plug and play welder in that you use it immediately after plugging it and putting it up.
This machine weighs only 42.5 pounds, which makes it a very light welder that you can easily transport to and from your warehouse. For easy transportation, it also has a handle at the top of the welder. The tool is made with strong, thin metal and long-lasting plastic to ensure it serves you for a longer time.
Moreover, you can switch the voltage lower or higher to suit thin metals and metal sheets. It comes with a chart to guide you on how to switch. So, if you find it challenging, look inside the cabinet of this welder, and you will find clear instructions.
Furthermore, it contains a safety feature, which is the thermal protection that switches itself automatically when the welder is overheating, which ensures the product cools down. It is also convenient for home use since it uses 120v, and it can generate a current flow of 120 amps.
Did you know that you can connect a MIG welder to a generator? This is just one of those welders that you can power using a generator. As such, if you are having problems with electricity tripping or blackouts, then you are sure your welding work will not be interfered with. Just ensure that the generator can supply enough power.
The flux code enables the welder to work on metals with thick joints and even wires of up to 0.03 inches. The welder has a six-month warranty, and the money-back policy lasts for 90 days from the day of purchase. I recommend this welding machine for entry-level beginners in welding since it comes with amazing features, and above all, it is easy to use. Turn those ideas you have been having into grand pieces of work by using this welder.
- It has an input of 120v and an output of 125 amp
- Can weld ¼ inch
- Works with spools of 2 and 10 pounds
- Has a switch that can be turned for lower and higher operations
Some outstanding advantages make this equipment to be ranked among the most appropriate welding machines. Nevertheless, it has one major disadvantage. Check that below.
LOTOS MIG175 175AMP: Best MIG Welder for Industrial and Home Use
The free high-speed spool gun is a deal maker for this welding machine because it saves you some extra cash that you would have used to buy a spool gun separately. With it, you will be able to weld your aluminum metal freely. Its versatility is also another outstanding feature. It can be used to weld stainless steel and many other metals such as aluminum.
The capacity of this welder is ¼ inch of stainless steel or 3/16 inches of aluminum. This ensures the smooth welding of these metals. Setting up this machine will take you about 10 minutes.
What’s more, the transformer of this equipment is very reliable and can last long without you having to fix it as long as it is well-maintained. Additionally, this welder can be connected to a 220v outlet in your home or company.
The equipment can handle both industrial and home welding works. It also has overload protection, which can be reset to ensure the machine serves you for a longer period. It’s hard to find a perfect welder but even harder to find one with a free spool gun and at an affordable price. This combination makes this welder an exemplary choice.
- It weighs 85 pounds
220 voltage input.
- Free spool gun
- Can be used to work on stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum metals
- The current flow is 175 amps
The machine offers some remarkable benefits to users. However, it also has some negatives. The table below summarizes its pros and cons.
Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi Process Welder: an Easy to Use Dual Voltage MIG Welder
Do you think you have the hardest welding work that cannot be hacked by any ordinary welding machine? Give Weldpro a try, and you will be impressed. This dual voltage welder can handle just about everything thrown at it. If you are an experienced welder, then this is the right machine for you to have in your warehouse. It is also suitable for beginners. Moreover, if you are looking for a cheap welder that can deliver perfect results, then you can opt for it. Sometimes, cheap is good and not expensive.
The ability for this machine to handle various welding jobs such as flux core welding, aluminum welding, and stick welding makes it the best welder for you to upgrade your skills and learn new tricks. Especially if you buy a spool gun, which even broadens its functions, it can be used both at home and in industries.
It has a digital display that can be seen whether there is too much or low light. Additionally, this screen can be used to set the current flow, voltage input or output, and the wire speed. This is why it is perfectly fit for beginners.
When the machine is overheating, you will be able to read it from the display screen. This is a straight safety measure that ensures the tool does not get damaged. It weighs 30 pounds making it very portable and easy to transport in between your welding work.
Its IGBT inverter technology provides the ultimate power of this welder. This is why it fits both experienced and beginners. The versatility of this tool is the deal maker since it can even handle TIG welding works, and the affordable price even sweetens the deal. Although for you to weld aluminum, you have to buy the spool gun.
- It can work on three different types of welding works.
- It weighs 30 pounds.
- Yellow in color.
- Its amperage output of 200A and input of 230v.
Users derive some outstanding benefits from this machine. It, however, has a major con. They are summarized in the table below.
How to Make the Best MIG Welder Selection
It does not matter whether you are getting your first welder, or you are just enlarging your collection of tools. Before you proceed to make your purchase, go through this comprehensive guide to get an insight into what you should be looking for.
This is an investment that will cost you a little more money as compared to other items you have bought for your welding business or your home. Therefore, go through this buyer’s guide so that you can make the right decision on which welder to get.
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Consider the Task the MIG Welder Is Intended for
You need first to analyze the kind of jobs you will be carrying out with the welder. A person welding for a hobby will need a different welding machine that can perform lighter functions compared to a professional welder who mostly handles heavy welding jobs.
Professional welders frequently weld thick metals, and thus they should purchase a welder that welds metals up to 3/6 inch. Conversely, a person who wants to venture into welding as a hobby should look for one that welds up to 1/8 inch. Therefore, before buying your welder, first, decide on its functions.
This should also be at the top of your list of factors to consider. You do not want to experience electrical-related accidents. As such, you need to establish the amount of power the machine needs.
From the above analysis of the various MIG welders, I have indicated the various voltages and the amperage of the different welders. Pay attention to them. Many home sockets can take up to 220v, and thus anything above this is not appropriate for home-usage.
Companies can step up their voltage to higher power input, and thus they can function well with high voltage welders. Additionally, if you are a light welder, you can use up to a 100 amp, while welders working on thick metals need up to 140 amp. Therefore, you should ensure that you regulate the current flow to ensure you do not have more power than you may need.
Identify Whether the Welder Uses Gas or Is Gasless
Oxygen seriously contaminates MIG welders. Therefore, you need to protect your machine from such contamination. The protection can be done by shielding gas, which uses either inert or semi inert gas produced by the gas cylinder. The flux-core wire uses a particular compound in the wire for protection.
Most welder machines have one of these modes of protection. Many people prefer using a welder that has shielding gas since it does not produce a lot of spatters, and one gets a better view of the area they are welding. On the flip side, with this type of gas protection, you cannot weld when there is a lot of wind blowing, and you will also incur more cost for gas purchase.
Conversely, with gasless welding, you can be able to carry your welding even with the heavy winds, but you will not have a good look at the weld pool. The spatter which most people dislike is also a common occurrence with gasless welding and may affect your production if it is not cleaned properly. Hence you need to make your choice between the two.
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Feed Speed of the Welder
Wire-speed is basically how fast the wire is fed from the welding machine straight to the gun. This factor is significant because you want to avoid situations like a lot of spatter because of too much wire.
Having a slower feed speed may cause the wire to disappear when the weld zone is touched, and this results in the weld being uneven. Thus, you need to select a welder that has the best speed to avoid such inconveniences.
Safety Features of the MIG Welder
A good MIG welder should have at least one safety feature to ensure the durability of the machine. The safety feature can be thermal overload protection since it is a common occurrence for these machines to overheat.
Therefore, you need a guarantee that once your welder overheats, it will be able to cool down to avoid damaging. Thus, with this mode of safety feature, most manufacturers have it fixed internally, and it enables the machine to shut down after you are done with your work.
Another safety measure is the in-built contactor, which guarantees a perfect working environment by always keeping the wire in the welder cold. Additionally, it also enables the machine to switch off when you pull the trigger. These two safety measures are crucial, and you should inquire from your seller whether they are available when making your purchase. Though, no matter how many safety features your welder has, alsways wear a welding helmet and gloves.
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Readily Available Spares and Accessories
By the time you are making your purchase, you will have gone through a lot of hassle window shopping and finally making the right pick. You do not want to go through this again while looking for spare parts of your machine in case of any damage. As such, you need to inquire whether these parts can be found easily in your local area.
You should also look at the accessories that come with the machine when you buy it. However, some companies do not provide some accessories such as spool guns, so you need to buy it aside. Ensure you can get a hold of it easily in your local stores.
The Functionality of the Welding Machine
Buying a machine is one thing, but buying an efficient one is another. Thus, you need to make sure the tool you are planning to purchase can perform most activities that you will be carrying out.
You need to look at the specs carefully to ensure you are making the right purchase that will suit your needs. A good welding machine should have good control systems and should be easy to use and produce quality results.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Many users have concerns regarding MIG welding machines. I have managed to compile the most asked questions and their answers.
- What can you weld with a MIG welder?
This type of welding is very efficient since it can be used to weld different types of metal materials such as aluminum. From the above analysis of the welding machines, most of them require a spool gun to weld aluminum. Additionally, it can be used to weld stainless steel metal.
- How to MIG weld without gas?
There are two types of MIG welders, that is, one that uses gas and one that is gasless. A gasless welder uses a wire that is made of flux the wire ensures that the welder remains cold through your welding process, and this is a safety measure wire. When welding without gas, you should first ensure that your safety is well catered for, even if you are a professional welder. Accidents can still happen due to the risks that are associated with welding. For example, extreme heat may result in burns.
With this method, you can weld a dirty metal, but you should clean the metal first before welding it. This removes air that has been trapped in the metal so that you can achieve uniform welding. Turn the welder on and adjust all the settings needed to weld smoothly. Finally, proceed with welding. There is not much difference when welding using gas or gasless welders. The main difference is that one can be used when it’s windy, and another one is best used indoors.
- How to set up a MIG welder?
Proper preparation is mandatory. Hence for proper welding, you have to ensure everything is well set before pulling the trigger and beginning your work. Besides, you have to understand the three critical aspects of a MIG welder, which are voltage, feed speed, and the rate at which the gas flows.
You should watch out for these three when you are setting up your machine since they control how the welder delivers the heat. Most welders fall under the plug-and-play category since they have already been put together for you. All you have to do is ensure after plugging your welder that the three factors are on point, then you can proceed to do your work.
- How to clean a MIG welder liner?
This is a very easy process that should not take much of your time. First, take off the welding wire, dismantle the torch, then clip off the liner, finally use an air compressor to blow off the dirt from the welder liner.
- How much does a MIG welder cost?
The prices of these welders vary depending on their functionality and features. Out there exist some cheap welders which perform well. Therefore, you need to identify the features you want to have in a welder, then approximate the price from those features or look them up online.
Ensure you make an informed decision so that you do not regret making the purchase later on. Most of these machines are easy to use and come with a manual of operation. As reviewed above, the setting up process usually takes less time, and this indicates that using it will be equally easy.
It is important to note that MIG welding can be used in every project that you may want to carry out since most of these machines exhibit versatility in operation. Besides, the most important thing you need to know is the thickness of the metal you are working on. This is because there is a variation in the thickness level that the different welders can handle. A metal inert gas welder can also perform certain functions in stick welding and TIG welding.
Before going for the welder that you have been dreaming of, you need to seek pieces of advice from professionals or people who have done this type of purchase before. Subsequently, consider the functionality, specs, feed speed, safety features, and the availability of the spare parts of the MIG welder you want to purchase. If you are planning to weld aluminum metal, ensure you get the welder that comes with a free spool gun or buy the spool gun separately. This will ensure the wire does not get jammed in the torch.
Have you tried any of the above welder machines? Did it perform to your expectations? Which other MIG welder have you used that you liked? Share your views and experiences by leaving a comment.