Are you looking for a MIG welder that you can use to join base materials together?
The MIG process will help you make all kinds of fabrications and will make it possible for you to maintain and repair welds.
MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas. MIG welding is the process of welding that feeds a solid wire with the electrode into a welding gun. This way you can join together two base materials.
To carry out this process, you need to have the best MIG Welder. This machine is a great investment for your home workshop, especially for those who are fond of DIY projects.
But how do you choose the best MIG Welder to buy?
My 20 years of experience as a master welder have helped me round up the best MIG welders in the market, along with a short review of each of them.
First, let’s get to know what a MIG welder is and how it works. As mentioned, it works by feeding an electrode wire into a liner through the machine’s gun.
This welding machine relies on power to heat and melt the wire that’ll be used as an adhesive. It’ll apply inert gas to the liquidized metal in order to prevent the liquid from mixing with other atmospheric substances.
With the use of the melted electrode, the metal pieces will join as they go through the gun. This process is faster than the other arc methods that rely on welding rods.
Because of the machine’s simplicity in operation, it can be used by welders of all skill levels to perform a wide range of tasks.
When buying a welding machine, you’ll find that they’re available in several types.
Here’s what you need to know about each of them:
MIG welding or flux core makes use of a wire that’s continuously fed from a spool at a predetermined rate.
The machine produces a high strength weld, which only requires a little cleanup, unlike those that the stick welding produces. Furthermore, the MIG welder can be used for both thick and thin metals and can process either the Flux-Cored Arc or Gas Metal Arc Welding.
The Gas Metal Arc Welding refers to a gas-shielded process of welding that needs inert gas so it doesn’t contaminate the weld puddle with atmospheric substances.
On the other hand, the Flux Cored Arc is somewhat similar to the Gas Metal Arc Welding except for the fact that it uses a special tubular wire that’s filled with flux in order to protect the arc.
Depending on the filler, the MIG welding machine can be used either with or without shielding gas.
You should keep in mind that the Flux Cored is portable so you won’t have to worry about carrying the gas around for shielding. All you need to think about is the welder machine itself when carrying this device.
The Stick Welding Machine relies on the electric current that flows from the gap between the welding stick and the metal. It uses a welding stick known as the arc-welding electrode.
This method is effective at welding most alloys or joints and can be operated in both outdoor and indoor settings, including drafty areas.
Stick welding is economical and due to its ability to produce a sufficient bond on dirty metals, this option is popular among hobbyists who are fond of tackling heavy-duty home projects.
Although stick welding is great, it doesn’t work well for thinner metals. Furthermore, it requires frequent rod changes and has the tendency to emit lots of spatter and slag, which is why the metal has to be cleaned.
Also, compared to the other welding methods, stick welding is a bit more difficult to carry out.
TIG refers to Tungsten Inert Gas. This device relies on a Tungsten Electrode when producing a weld. Inert shielding gas is used to protect the welded area from contamination. This gas could be helium or argon.
TIG welding is useful for welding thin sections of stainless steel, alloy steel, as well as non-ferrous metals like magnesium, copper alloys, and aluminum.
With this method, you’ll have full control over the process, which results in a stronger and higher-quality weld.
The only downside is that it’s a bit more difficult to master compared to other welding methods and it’s usually slower.
You’ll surely come across numerous options when it comes to your MIG Welder. To help you choose the right one, here are the most important things you need to consider:
An important factor to consider when buying a MIG welder is the duty cycle. This refers to how long you’ll be able to use the machine to optimize its life span.
To get the best value for your money, you need to choose a model that has a long duty cycle.
For instance, a machine that has a 20% duty cycle means you can weld for two minutes for as long as you have the correct amps. The longer the duty cycle, the longer you’ll be able to weld because duty cycle refers to the minutes in a 10-minute period in which you can create welding current.
The power input that the MIG welder will produce is a crucial factor. This refers to the voltage the welder operates at.
Remember that not every MIG welding machine is compatible with the outlets you have in your workshop. It’s best to choose a machine that has a power input of 110 V to 140 V, as this should work for standard household outlets.
Some of the MIG welders run at 220 V power input. If you’re interested in getting this device, then you may need to plug it into a totally different outlet.
In this case, you may have to pay for a good electrician to do it or try to do it yourself, which may be a bit complicated.
The best MIG welders are equipped with a safety feature known as thermal overload protection.
This feature ensures that the machine doesn’t overheat and shuts down. Despite having safety features, it’s still recommended to wear a welding mask or helmet before operating the device to ensure your safety.
Another safety feature that some of the MIG welders have is the cooling fan. This fan will be triggered once the machine starts overheating.
Although the MIG welder is powerful, it can’t handle all thicknesses. Overall, the machine is capable of welding metals that are 18 gauge (0.0478 inches) or 24 gauge (0.0239 inches), to as much as 3/8 or ½ inch.
If you’re going to be working on thicker metals, it’s best to use a stick welder.
Most of the MIG welders have regulators that require working with argon gas, although there are a few models that don’t need any of this. It’s crucial to make sure the regulator of your welder is compatible with argon or carbon dioxide (CO2).
The carbon dioxide is often the most popular choice for MIG welding gas, although argon is also used occasionally, especially when working with magnesium or titanium.
Although weight isn’t really that important compared to other factors, it’s something to consider if you plan on moving the machine from one place to another.
On average, most of the MIG welder machines have a weight of 50 lbs or more although there are others that weigh less than 30 lbs.
Those that weigh 50 lbs are still portable but require a wheeled cart to move them effortlessly from one place to another.
You also need to think about the warranty before you decide to purchase a MIG welder. Most of the units are covered with a 5/3/1 warranty.
What this means is that you’ll get a 5-year warranty on some parts, 3-year warranty on a few parts and labor, and a one-year warranty for the other components.
There are also a few manufacturers that offer a limited lifetime warranty.
It’s not only the welding machine that you’ll get when buying a MIG welder. Aside from the actual machine, you also get several other components in your kit.
Read below to find out what else is included in your MIG welder kit.
Welding is dangerous, as it’ll expose you to sparks and heat that could burn your skin.
Therefore, keep your head, eyes, and neck protected by wearing a welding mask or helmet.
There are a few models that come with these, but some don’t. However, you can always buy the welding helmet or mask separately.
Most of the MIG welder units that you can find in the market now have a regulator that works with argon gas although a few models don’t need any of this.
It’s also important to make sure the regulator is compatible with argon or carbon dioxide.
If you’re going to weld with gas, instead of the flux core, you must attach a gas cylinder to the welder machine.
The gas cylinder will be included in the welding kit that you’ll buy although some models may require you to purchase it separately.
It’s essential that your unit also includes a torch. If not, then better choose another model that comes with a torch.
But if you’re keen on buying a unit that doesn’t have it, then you may have to buy a separate torch that can work with it.
To help make it easier for you to search for a MIG welder to buy, I’ve provided below a list of the best MIG welders in the market.
Take time to read the reviews of each of them so you can decide for yourself what you need.
First on the list is the POWERMIG 210 from Lincoln Electric. This MIG welder offers lots of great features and benefits, and it’s a great machine to buy for your home workshop.
It can work with both 110 V and 220 V, which makes it possible for you to operate it anywhere.
Weighing 40 lbs, this MIG welder is relatively lightweight compared to the other machines in this list. Therefore, you’ll be able to easily move this welder from one place to another. Plus, it has a low-profile handle that makes carrying it even easier.
The display of this Lincoln Electric MIG welder is brightly illuminated, allowing for easy visibility. It comes with a 10-ft MG gun and a 10-ft cable with clamps.
There’s also a power cord that’s 10-ft long, which means you’ll be able to keep it plugged in even when you tackle your projects from a far distance.
Although most parts of the Lincoln Electric MIG 210 welder are made of metal, some components are made of plastic and could get broken easily.
Next in our list is the Forney 318 MIG Welder. This machine can be used to process metals that are as thick as 3/8 of an inch in only one pass.
Thus, it can work on both Flux and MIG modes. When you purchase this kit, you’ll also get a hose and flow meter. However, it doesn’t come with a regulator.
The welder is equipped with a MIG gun, which makes it compatible with some other MIG gun models. But unlike the other MIG welders, Forney can only work on 230 V. Thus, it’s more suitable for casual home workshops that have a basic electrical system.
Nevertheless, this unit offers a lot of interesting features. Among these is the spool gun capability as well as the quick torch connect.
The Forney 318 MIG Welder weighs 74 lbs and although it’s portable, you may need to purchase a separate rolling cart to make it more convenient for you to move around.
Another great product from Lincoln Electric is the K2185-1 MIG Welder.
It’s a great choice for home workshops and it’s immediately operational the moment you take it out of its box. There’s no longer a need to purchase an additional kit to get this MIG welding machine sorted.
If you’ll be working on cast iron and steel, this welder is highly recommended. Furthermore, it’s a great choice for trailers, automobiles, lawnmowers, and pretty much any project you’ll handle at home.
But unlike the other MIG welders on this list that can go up to 10 feet, its power cord, gas hose, MIG gun, and other components are only able to reach a maximum distance of 8 feet.
Nevertheless, this device still allows you to work from pretty much anywhere in your house, for as long as it’s reachable from the outlet. The manufacturer of this machine recommends placing it on a circuit that has a dedicated breaker of 20 amps.
This welder comes with four voltage settings, which ensures a smooth transition as you work on your projects.
It’s worth noting that this MIG welder doesn’t have any shielding gas so you may need to buy a cylinder separately. The unit is also capable of Flux core and has a flux-cored wire.
The Hobart 50059 MIG Welder is another great choice on this list. In fact, it has gained a reputation for being the best in the market, thanks to its great features and powerful performance.
While it may not be capable of welding the thickest metal in a single pass, this welder comes with some important features that other MIG welders don’t possess.
For instance, this machine only requires 115 V, which means that it can be operated in a typical household electrical system. Furthermore, this machine can process a wide range of metals, such as mild steel, cast iron, brass, copper, magnesium, titanium, etc.
On top of that, this MIG welder is equipped with 5-position voltage control selection allowing you to easily change the thickness of the metal without creating a sputtering arc.
Featuring a patented easy setup process, this machine will get things up and running in only a few minutes. The device has a 10-ft MIG gun, built-in gas valve, dual gauge regulator, gas hose, 10-ft cable and clamp, and so much more!
Like most of the MIG welders on this list, this device has a power cord of 10 feet. This makes it possible for you to work on projects even in a far distance.
Since this welding machine is MIG-ready, there’s no longer a need for additional components to keep it running. Above all, it’s manufactured in the United States and is covered by a limited warranty.
Another welder that’s known for being portable and compact is the Goplus MIG Welder. Coming with decent features such as flux core wire, this automatic feed welding machine will be perfect for your home workshop.
Its body is made from stainless steel, which ensures durability and long life. Furthermore, it comes with a flux-cored wire plus a self-release metal inert gas, which prevents oxidation during the welding process.
This MIG welder could process steel, cast, iron, and some other metals. It’s suitable for processing lawnmowers, automobiles, and some other similar projects in your house.
While the body of this machine is made of stainless steel, its handle is made of plastic. The handle is thick, however, it’s not as durable as the stainless-steel body. The machine’s voltage selector comes in 4 pre-set selections.
Furthermore, its body is equipped with dual air vents that help to keep the machine stay cool while in operation.
But perhaps the biggest downside of this MIG welder is that the cables and hoses are only 6-ft, which is somewhat shorter compared to the other welders on this list.
The LOTOS MIG175 MIG Welder is another powerful welding machine that’s known for its ability to deliver excellent results.
With a welding output of 175 amps, this powerful machine is capable of processing stainless steel that’s about ¼-inch in thick. It can also be used on aluminum with a thickness of 3/8 of an inch.
With this MIG welder, you’ll also get a high-speed MIG gun that’s more than 10 feet long. It’s compatible with industrial-grade 4-inch and 6-inch wire spools. Take note that this machine can work with flux core as well.
Given the extra power output, you’ll be able to take almost any project with this machine, from basic auto bodywork to repairing lawnmowers and fabricating stainless steel.
Keep in mind that this machine would need a 220 V power to operate. If your workshop is already equipped with a 200 V outlet, then this won’t be an issue at all.
Otherwise, you might be better off getting another machine or add another breaker just so you can operate this welder.
What’s great about the Everlast Power MIG Welder is that it’s capable of operating on both 110 and 220 V. Therefore, it’s perfect for any type of home project.
The Everlast Power MIG Welder is equipped with a digital IGBT inverter that decreases the unit’s weight, making it more portable. You’ll also get a MIG gun with this unit, which is 10-feet long. It includes a work clamp with cable, as well as a spare starter kit.
There’s also a Euro-style connector that makes it compatible with several other MIG gun models in the market. This is a great option if you plan to upgrade in the near future.
Customers love the unit’s dual display, which allows you to have both the amp and volt readouts at the center and front. Furthermore, the unit is capable of operating in both stick and MIG modes.
It’s also equipped with a burn back control, which ensures that the wire is able to maintain its ideal length for the next welding project.
The Hobart Handler MVP MIG Welder is an ideal choice for any home project. It’s one of Hobart’s top-rated models, featuring the patented quick setup process, which gets you running quickly.
This unit is compatible with both the 115 V and 230 V, which is truly versatile. The gun has a power of 210 amps, allowing you to process steel that’s about 3/8-inch thick.
Coming with 7 voltage settings and a convenient dial selector, the Hobart Handler MIG Welder is certainly a great choice for all your home workshop needs.
The unit also features a quick-change drive roll technology, which means you’ll be able to replace wire rolls easily in the event that they run out.
This welder is manufactured in the United States and weighs 87 lbs. Although it’s portable, it may not be that easy to move around. So, if you’re getting this machine, it might be best to just leave it in a permanent location.
However, there’s a rolling cart that you can purchase separately to ease the device’s maneuverability.
If you’re in need of an affordable MIG welder that provides professional results, the Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG welder would be a great choice. This welder is perfect for your home workshop needs and comes with great features.
With only 130 amps power, this machine isn’t as strong as the other welder units in this list. Yet it’s strong enough to accommodate all your household repair needs. This unit is also comfortable with the flux core wire and is gas-ready.
What’s great about this welder is that it’s lightweight. It weighs only 38 lbs and you can easily carry it. Plus, the handle makes this device even easier to transport.
Although the entire body is made from stainless steel, the handle is plastic which makes it susceptible to damage.
This Welder requires only 100 V of power to operate. Therefore, it can work with just about any outlet you have. Plus, the selector switch allows you to easily change the four operating modes.
With this unit, you’ll get a welding facemask, which you can wear for protection during welding. It also has a spool of wire, wire brush, ground cord, and chipping hammer.
Hobart is no doubt one of the best brands of welders in the market, which is why this list includes a lot of Hobart models.
This Hobart Handler 190 with SpoolRunner 100 is another great product the brand is known for. In fact, it’s among the highest-powered welders in this list. However, the machine can only run on 230 V so it may not work well for home workshops.
Nevertheless, if you’re in need of a commercial-grade MIG welder, this machine may be worth buying.
The Handler 190 features a 25 to 195-amp power output and comes with 7 operating modes. Furthermore, it has an on and off switch at the front and convenient power dial.
This machine is capable of welding up to 5/16 of an inch thick metal and has a straightforward process of setting up. The kit includes a 10-ft long MIG Gun, along with a gas hose and dual gauge regulator.
The Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V is one of the best-rated welders online and I believe that this is the best MIG welder to buy. With a great online rating, a lot of customers will surely agree.
In fact, Hobart has already built a reputation for providing some of the best welding machines in the market. This particular model is equipped with all the features you need to carry out your home workshop projects.
This device can be used on flux-cored wires and it could process aluminum and stainless steel. Sure, it may be a bit expensive, but it’s definitely worth it.