Best MIG Welder Reviews

MIG welders can be used for a range of projects including autobody work, hobby welding, maintaining equipment or a huge number of other things. MIG welding is often chosen as a preferred technique as it produces good quality welds, it’s easy to learn, and does not cost a lot of money. Updated April 2018

What is the Best MIG Welder for You?

When buying a welder, there is a range of factors to consider such as price, metal thickness, input voltage, weight, duty cycle and more. We have written our recommendations based on our experience.

In this MIG Welder Buyer’s Guide you can find explanations of the best welder for your needs and a summary of why these are the best. We have also written more in-depth product reviews which you can read and a description of the different factors to consider when choosing your welder.

Click any of the links below to find which welder is best suited for your needs.

MIG Welder Comparison Chart

Below is a comparison chart of the best Mig welders on the market today. We've included a full range of welders from small, beginner welders to heavy industrial welders.
Welder TypeFeaturesMore
lincoln electric k2185-1
Lincoln K2185-1
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 120V
Output: 25-140A
Duty cycle: 60% @ 90A
Weight: 28lb
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longevity migweld 140
Longevity MIGWELD 140
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 115V
Output: 25-140A
Duty cycle: 20% @ 90A
Weight: 54lb
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Everlast Poweri-MIG 140E MIG Welder
Everlast Poweri 140e
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 120V
Output: 25-140A
Duty cycle: 60% @ 90A
Weight: 28lb
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forney 140a 309 mig
Forney 309 140
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 120V
Output: 30-140A
Duty cycle: 35% @ 90A
Weight: 57lb
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lotos mig140
Lotos MIG140
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 110V
Output: 30-140A
Duty cycle: 20% @ 90A
Weight: 54lb
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lincoln easymig 140
Lincoln Easymig 140
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 120V
Output: 30-140A
Duty cycle: 20% @ 90A
Weight: 50lb
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hobart handler 140
Hobart Handler 140
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 115V
Output: 25-140A
Duty cycle: 20% @ 90A
Weight: 57lb
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miller millermatic 141
Miller Millermatic 141
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 120V
Output: 30-140A
Duty cycle: 20% @ 90A
Weight: 51lb
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forney 318 190A
Forney 318 190
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 230V
Output: 35-190A
Duty cycle: 25% @ 120A
Weight: 63lb
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lincoln easymig 180
Lincoln EasyMIG 180
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 230V
Output: 35-180A
Duty cycle: 30% @ 130A
Weight: 66lb
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hobart handler 210 MVP
Hobart Handler 210
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 115/230V
Output: 25-210A
Duty cycle: 20% @ 90A
Weight: 79lb
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miller millermatic 211
Miller Millermatic 211
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 230V
Output: 35-180A
Duty cycle: 30% @ 130A
Weight: 66lb
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hobart ironman 230
Hobart Ironman 230
Type: MIG/Flux
Input: 230V
Output: 30-250A
Duty cycle: 60% @ 175A
Weight: 185lb
See Price
See Full Review

 

Best MIG Welder for Beginners

If you’re a beginner welder, you’ll likely be looking for something that’s easy to learn how to use, but produces clean welds. You’re also likely to start off welding thinner metals for home welding jobs and playing around in your workshop. Below are our top 3 suggestions for beginner MIG welders.

1. Lincoln K2185-12. Lotos MIG 1403. Millermatic 141

lincoln electric k2185-11. Brand name: Lincoln Electric
2. Model: K2185-1 Handy Mig
3. Height: 12.8 in.
4. Length: 18 in.
5. Width: 8.8 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 70A
7. Input Voltage: 115 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 46 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/8 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 0-300 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 35-88 A

The Lincoln Handy MIG is a popular beginners’ welder. It’s not very powerful, and it only welds up to 1/8 inch steel, but this is still enough for most general home repair projects. This is really easy to use for beginners and is available at a good price for a Lincoln welder. If you’re a beginner welder and you’re not looking to weld over 1/8 inch but want a welder that won’t take up too much room and isn’t too expensive, this the perfect choice.

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lotos mig1401. Brand name: Lotos
2. Model: MIG140
3. Height: 14.5 in.
4. Length: 16 in.
5. Width: 9.6 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 110 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 54 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
11. Welding Amperage Range: 30-140 A

If you’re looking for a good value welder that can thicker metal than the Lincoln Handy MIG, the Lotos MIG 140 is a solid choice that welds up to 1/4 inch. It’s a lot cheaper than the big-name 140A welders but it is still a reliable welder. One of their selling points is their “10 minute setup time” and simple control panel with digital display which is aimed to help beginner welders.

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miller millermatic 1411. Brand name: Miller
2. Model: Millermatic 141
3. Height: 12.5 in.
4. Length: 20.5 in.
5. Width: 11.25 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 120 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 51 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/16 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 15-360 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 30-140 A

If you’re a beginner welder but don’t mind splashing the cash for a top of the range welder, then try the Millermatic 141. This has excellent quality results and is the easiest to use for beginners. Miller have introduced an auto-set control feature to reduce setup time. All you have to do is select the thickness of the metal you’re welding and you’re ready to start welding straight away.

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Best Bang for your Buck MIG Welder

Whilst there are many cheap welders for sale out there, there’s no point buying a cheap welder that produces poor quality welds and has a high chance of breaking soon after you’ve bought it. Below are our recommendations for the best value welders for the price, that still maintain the reliability and results of the more expensive machines.

1. Longevity MIGweld 1402. Hobart Handler 140

longevity migweld 1401. Brand name: Longevity
2. Model: MIGWELD 140
3. Height: 14.5 in.
4. Length: 16 in.
5. Width: 9.6 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 90A @18V 20%
7. Input Voltage: 115 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 54 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 59-393 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 25-140 A

The Longevity MIGweld is an incredibly good value welder. It’s much cheaper than most other 140A welders, yet is pretty close in terms of reliability and weld quality. There aren’t any special features on this machine, it’s just a simple unit that’s best suited for home repairs and light industrial work.

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hobart handler 1401. Brand name: Hobart
2. Model: Handler 140
3. Height: 12 – 3/8 in.
4. Length: 19 – 1/2 in.
5. Width: 10 – 5/8 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 115 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 57 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 40-700 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 30-250 A

The Hobart Handler 140 is one of the best Bang for Buck welders. They could charge $100 more for this and it would still be a good value welder. It’s not as cheap as the Longevity MIGweld 140, but it’s great value for the quality.  With the Handler 140 you can comfortably weld steel up to 1/4 inch with a great quality arc on a machine that’s really easy to use. The machines are also really reliable but have a great warranty in case anything does go wrong.

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Best MIG Welder under $500

1. Forney 309 140A2. Hobart Handler 140

forney 140a 309 mig1. Brand name: Forney
2. Model:  #309, 140 MIG Welder
3. Height: 16.5 in.
4. Length: 19 in.
5. Width: 9.5 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 1115A, 35% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 120V
8. Process Type:  MIG/Flux Cored
9. Product weight: 57 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4″ in.
11. Welding Amperage Range: 30-140A

The Forney 309 140A welder is immense value for what you get. At comfortably under $500, you’ll struggle to find a welder as reliable or good quality anywhere for the same price. Forney have also recently upgraded this model in response to customer feedback to make it even better.

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hobart handler 1401. Brand name: Hobart
2. Model: Handler 140
3. Height: 12 – 3/8 in.
4. Length: 19 – 1/2 in.
5. Width: 10 – 5/8 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 115 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 57 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 40-700 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 30-250 A

The Hobart Handler 140 welder is a steal if you can get it for under $500. Usually this retails for around $650 but if you’re lucky, you’ll find it on offer. This welder is a treat to work with, it makes pulling your beads super smooth and easy and produces great results. All the components inside this are top of the range and it’s a strong, durable welder. It’s best suited for light industrial projects for welding up to 1/4 inch steel.

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Best MIG Welder Under $1000

Hobart Handler 210

hobart handler 210 MVP1. Brand name: Hobart
2. Model: Handler 210 MVP
3. Height: 12 – 3/8 in.
4. Length: 19 – 1/2 in.
5. Width: 10 – 5/8 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 115/230 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 79 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 40-680 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range 115V:  25-140 A
13. Welding Amperage Range 230V: 25-210 A

The Hobart Handler 210 has the typical great quality Hobart build with durable parts that stand the test of time. The 210 is more suited to autobody repair and construction than the 190 and 140 and it welds up to 3/8inch. It’s also a flexible unit with the capacity to weld off 115V and 230V. At under $1000 it’s lot cheaper than the Ironman 230 and is a wise choice if you’re looking for a welder that packs real power but isn’t the price of the heavy industrial welders.

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Best MIG Welder for Auto Body

Miller Millermatic 211

miller millermatic 2111. Brand name: Miller
2. Model: Millermatic 211
3. Height: 14 in.
4. Length: 18.6 in.
5. Width: 10.15 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 30% @ 130A
7. Input Voltage: 230V
8. Process Type: Flux Cored, MIG
9. Product weight: 66 lb.
10. Weld Thickness:
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 50-500 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 35-180 A

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Best 110/115/120v MIG Welder

1. Miller Millermatic 1412. Hobart Handler 140

miller millermatic 1411. Brand name: Miller
2. Model: Millermatic 141
3. Height: 12.5 in.
4. Length: 20.5 in.
5. Width: 11.25 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 120 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 51 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/16 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 15-360 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 30-140 A

The Millermatic 141 is an unbelivable machine. Miller have really pushed the boundaries of usability with this welder and it features an auto-set feature for an easy set up, and infinite voltage and wire speed control. If you open up the machine you can tell that all the parts are great quality and really durable. There are more powerful welders on the market for the price, but there’s nothing better for welding up to 3/16 inch steel.

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hobart handler 1401. Brand name: Hobart
2. Model: Handler 140
3. Height: 12 – 3/8 in.
4. Length: 19 – 1/2 in.
5. Width: 10 – 5/8 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
7. Input Voltage: 115 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 57 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 40-700 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 30-250 A.

The Hobart Handler 140 is the best-selling 115V welder on the market. It’s easy to see why; it produces great quality welds and it’s an incredibly durable unit. Furthermore, it’s available at a price that’s much more affordable than the Millermatic 141. It doesn’t boast all the features of the 141, but it’s still really straightforward to get the machine set up and start welding.

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Best 220/230/240v MIG Welder

Hobart Ironman 230

hobart ironman 2301. Brand name: Hobart
2. Model: Ironman 230
3. Height: 31-1/2 in.
4. Length: 36-1/2 in.
5. Width: 19 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 60% @ 175 A
7. Input Voltage: 230 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
9. Product weight: 185 lb.
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/2 in. – Single Pass
11. Wire Feed Speed Range: 0-700 IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 30-250 A

The Hobart Handler 230 is unmatched in its field. It’s a powerful welder that can comfortably weld 1/2 inch steel in single phase with fantastic arc quality. Other features include a 60% duty cycle at 175A, 12 different voltage settings, and infinite wire speed control. It’s a huge unit, but there’s wheels to help move it around, and a build in cylinder rack to store your gas cylinder.

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Best Dual-Voltage MIG Welder

Lincoln 210

lincoln powermig 2101. Brand name: Lincoln
2. Model:  PowerMIG 210 MP, K-3963-1
3. Height: 14 in.
4. Length: 19 in.
5. Width: 10.8 in.
6. Duty Cycle: 40% @ 100A
7. Input Voltage: 115 V
8. Process Type: Flux Core, MIG, Stick, TIG
9. Product weight: 40 lb
10. Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
11. Wire Feed Speed Range:  IPM
12. Welding Amperage Range: 20-220 A

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Factors when Selecting a MIG Welder

1. MIG/Flux-Cored Welders or Multifunction

MIG welders are either flux cored, require a gas cylinder, or have the capability for both. Flux core welding might be appealing because you don’t need to hook up a gas cylinder to your cylinder, but flux core creates a layer of slag which needs to be chipped away.

Most of the welders on the market have both the MIG and flux core functions, however, there are some that have just one of these. I would generally recommend a welder with both of these functions available to ensure you have the maximum diversity.

2. Input Voltage

MIG welders have different input voltages so they might not be compatible with the electrical outlet where you are welding. Most welders are either 110/115/120V or 220/225/230V, but some have the capability for both.

110/115/120 Volt Welders 

These lower input voltage welders are perfect for if you’re a hobby welder as you can plug them into a household power outlet. The only downside of this is that it limits the output power and you won’t be able to weld thicker metals without increasing your power and amperage.

220/225/230 Volt Welders

If you’re planning on working on some more powerful welds on thicker metals you’ll need a 220 volt welder. This means you’ll need a 220V power outlet installed. These welders are useful if you’re working on remote sites or industrial welding where you might not have access to a 110V outlet.

3. Output Power

You will need to have a different output power depending on what you’re trying to weld. Many manufacturers will include a chart with the welder to help you choose the correct settings to help you get the highest quality weld.

Below is a chart which shows an estimate of metal thickness and the required output power to achieve this.

Gauge mm Required Amps
8 4.2 165
10 3.4 135
12 2.7 105
14 1.9 75
16 1.5 60
18 1.2 48
20 0.9 36
22 0.8 30
24 0.6 24

4. Size & Transportability

When choosing your welder, you will need to consider the ease of transport of the machine, including its size and weight. If you’re planning on leaving it in your workshop, then weight might not be too much of a consideration. However, if you’re going to be working at multiple locations then it’s likely you will want a welder with a handle that isn’t too heavy to carry. If you need a large and powerful welder, you can of course store it in a cart on wheels, but the heaviest welders will still be hard to transport on concrete even with two people.

The smallest good quality MIG welders weigh 25lbs. These have inverter technology which reduces the weight significantly compared to the heavier transformer models. For the heavy industrial welders you can be looking at machines weighing 200lbs plus.

5. Spool Gun

If you’re planning on MIG welding aluminum, you will need to buy a welder with the capability to attach a spool gun. Many of the smaller welders do not come with the ability to do this so make sure you look out for it. For example, the Hobart 140 is a brilliant welder which does not include this, although the Longevity 140 does. If you’re looking at buying a spool gun, I recommend one which has a quick release feature.

6. Duty Cycle

The duty cycle is a key factor concerning the length of time you’re looking to weld. If you need to use your MIG welder for a long time in one go, then you will need a welder with a high duty cycle. Duty cycle is shown as a percentage, this percentage will be the percentage of a 10 minute period that the welder can be operated before it overheats. For example, a 40% duty cycle could be operated for 4 minutes and would need a 6 minute cooldown period.

Often you will see that the higher the output power of your welder, the lower the duty cycle will be, as it takes a longer time to cool down. Small welders without a cooling system also have a low duty cycle. Fortunately, many large welders also have powerful fans to reduce the cool-down time.

If overheating is something you’re worried about, then you should buy a welder with thermal overload protection which prevents any damage to the welder by stopping the process if the duty cycle is exceeded.

 7. Brand & Warranty

You want to choose a reliable and trustworthy brand for your welder. Welder manufacturers offer different levels of support, but generally, you will find that Hobart, Miller, Everlast, and Lincoln are the best quality and stand the test of time.

Always check the warranty on your welder and don’t risk buying a cheap welder with a poor warranty. Hobart and Longevity welders come with a fantastic 5-year warranty, these are high-quality anyway, but this warranty gives you extra assurance in your investment. If you’re considering welders by less well-known brands then make sure you thoroughly research their reviews and testimonials.

8. Price

Choose the welder which matches your budget and is best suited for your needs. Don’t approach your purchase with a “the most expensive will be the best” attitude, as this will usually not be the case. If you understand what you’re looking for, or if you have a budget, then you can accurately pick the welder which will save you the most money and give you the best performance. Our guides below will help you choose the best welder for your needs.

Other Equipment for your Welder

Before you can get started with your welder you will need to have all the right equipment to keep you safe and ensure you get the best possible weld. Below are the other pieces of equipment to consider for use with your welder.

1. Gas Cylinder

When MIG welding you will need to use a gas cylinder. Different types of welding require different types of gas. The most popular type of MIG welding gas is Carbon Dioxide because it has the lowest operating cost. CO2 is a low alternative to other gases which are a mixture of CO2 and Argon, these mixes are more expensive but will provide a higher weld quality and reduced spatter that Co2. You can also use Pure Argon if you’re welding magnesium or titanium, but this should not be used if you’re welding ferrous metal such as steel.

2. Regulator

You will need to attach a regulator to your gas cylinder before you can use it. There are different types of regulator you can buy, including gaugeless, single gauge and dual gauge. Dual gauge regulators are slightly more expensive and will show two things on the gauges – how much gas is left in the tank, and a flowmeter to set the flow depending on which gas you are using. The single gauge regulators will show how much gas is left in the bottle on the gauge and you will have a non-gauge flowmeter.

3. Torch

Usually when you buy your welder it will come with a torch, but you should check to make sure it does.

4. Welding Mask

Your welding mask is the most important piece of equipment to have when you are MIG welding. When you are MIG welding, the arc is incredibly bright and damaging to your eyes. You need a helmet to protect you from this and to allow you to see the weld pool. The price for these varies, with the most expensive masks being the auto-darkening helmets which help you see your work and position the torch with ease.

5. Clothing

When welding you should wear the correct clothing, cotton or leather clothes with long sleeves and welding gauntlets are a must. Any flying sparks are extremely hot and you do not want this to touch your skin. If you’re wearing synthetic material then you should change to cotton or leather as the heat from the spark could make this stick to your skin and burn you.

 Final Thoughts

Too many people end up buying a welder which isn’t what they wanted, so I set up this guide to help you choose the best welder for your needs. I tried to include as much information as I could in this guide and present it in an easy to understand way, but if you have any questions or feel there is anything I have missed, please leave a comment and I’ll answer it the best I can.

Author: John Ward

John is the founder and editor of Kings of Welding

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