14 Best MIG Welders 2019 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 23 July 2019

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.

Best 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.
WelderImageMax AmpVoltsProcessDuty CycleWeight (lb)RatingPriceMore
Hobart Handler 210
medal Best Under $1000
medal Best Dual Voltage
hobart handler 210 MVP210DualMIG/Flux30% @ 150A794.9/5$$$
Review
Lincoln PowerMIG 210MP
medal Best Multi-Process
lincoln powermig 210220DualMIG/Flux/
Stick/TIG
25% @ 200A404.8/5$$$$
Review
Hobart Ironman 230
medalBest 220v
hobart ironman 230250220VMIG/Flux65% @ 175A1854.8/5$$$$
Review
Miller Millermatic 211miller millermatic 211230DualMIG/Flux40% @ 150A384.7/5$$$$
Review
Hobart Handler 190
medal Best Bang for Your Buck
hobart handler 190 MVP190220VMIG/Flux30% @ 130A794.7/5$$
Review
Lincoln EasyMIG 180lincoln easymig 180180220VMIG/Flux30% @ 130A664.7/5$$
Review
Hobart Handler 140
medal Best for Beginners
medal Best 110v Overall
hobart handler 140140110VMIG/Flux20% @ 90A574.6/5$
Review
Miller Millermatic 141
medal Best 110v if Money isn't an Issue
miller millermatic 141140110VMIG/Flux20% @ 90A514.5/5$$$
Review
Forney 318 190forney 318 190A190220VMIG/Flux25% @ 120A634.5/5$$
Review
Lincoln Easymig 140lincoln easymig 140140110VMIG/Flux20% @ 90A504.5/5$$
Review
Everlast Poweri 140eEverlast Poweri-MIG 140E MIG Welder140110VMIG/Flux60% @ 90A574.4/5$
Review
Lincoln K2185-1
medal Best for Small Projects
lincoln electric k2185-188110VMIG/Flux20% @ 70A464.4/5$
Review
Lotos MIG140lotos mig140140110VMIG/Flux20% @ 90A544.3/5$
Review
Forney 309 140forney 140a 309 mig140110VMIG/Flux35% @ 90A574.2/5$
Review

What are the Best MIG Welders?

1. Hobart Handler 210

medal Best Dual Voltage
medal Best Under $1000

hobart handler 210 MVP
Power:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Price:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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 3/8 inch. 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. It you’re looking for the all round MIG package for power, versatility, quality and value for money, the Hobart 210 is our top pick. See our full review of the Hobart Handler 210 here.

Specs

Brand name: Hobart
Model: Handler 210 MVP
Dimensions:12.3/8” x 10.5/8” x 19.1/2”
Weight: 79 lb.
Duty Cycle:
 20% @ 90A
Input Voltage: 115/230 V
Process Type: Flux Core, MIG
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 40-680 IPM
Welding Amperage Range:  25-210 A

Pros

  • Dual voltage
  • Cast aluminum drive roll
  • Quick release tension
  • Infinite wire feed speed control
  • 7 position voltage control
  • Available at a good price

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Can’t automatically select settings

2. Lincoln PowerMIG 210MP

medal Best Multi-Process

lincoln powermig 210
Power:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Price:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

The Lincoln PowerMIG 210 is the ultimate MIG welder for versatility. It comes with the capability to perform MIG, Stick, TIG and Flux Core welding at both 120v and 240v. This is perfect if you’re looking to buy a MIG welder and are considering buying a TIG or Stick welder as well. Buying a multi-process welder like the PowerMIG 210 can save you a lot of money rather than buying separate machines.  Lincoln are the market leaders when it comes to manufacturing quality and the PowerMIG 210 is top of the range to build quality and weld quality. The digital display on the front of the machine lets you easily key in your variables to get you get set up in no time at all with an easy to use user interface. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Lincoln Electric
Model: PowerMIG 210MP, K-3963-1
Dimensions:14” x 10.8” x 19”
Weight: 40lb.
Duty Cycle:
25% @ 200A
Input Voltage: 115/230 V
Process Type: MIG, Flux, Stick, TIG
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 50-500 IPM
Welding Amperage Range:  20-220 A

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Dual Voltage
  • Automatically selects settings
  • Digital display with easy set up
  • Capable of MIG, TIG, Stick and Flux
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • More expensive that similar power MIG welders
  • Not suitable if you want a MIG only welder
  • No AC Tig for aluminum

3. Hobart Ironman 230

medal Best 220V

hobart ironman 230
Power:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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. Most hobbyists won’t need a welder this powerful, but if you want a reliable MIG welder with a bit of extra power, this is our top pick. You can read the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Hobart
Model: Ironman 230
Dimensions: 31.5” x 19” x 36.5”
Weight: 185lb.
Duty Cycle:
60% @ 175A
Input Voltage: 230 V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/2 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 0-700 IPM
Welding Amperage Range: 30-250 A

Pros

  • Durable with high manufacturing quality
  • Lots of power, capable of welding up to 1/2 inch steel
  • Wheels attached so you don’t need a cart
  • 12 voltage settings
  • Infinite wire feed spped control
  • 15 foot MIG gun
  • High duty cycle for increased productivity

Cons

  • Large, heavy unit
  • Quite expensive
  • No 110V capability

4. Miller Millermatic 211

miller millermatic 211
Power:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Price:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Miller have spent time crafting a machine to the highest manufacturing standards that is perfect for reducing set up times and welding up to 3/8 in steel. The most notable feature is the Advanced Autoset feature which gets you welding out the box in no time. All you have to do is select your wire diameter, process type and metal thickness and you’re good to go. You can input your parameters manually if you’d prefer, but the Autoset is so advanced that you really won’t need to, the arc quality is spot on.  It’s a versatile unit that is dual-voltage and is super lightweight so it’s easy to carry with the handle on the top. There are plenty of other fine details in this machine like the ‘Auto Spool Gun Detect’ which can automatically detect a spool gun and ‘Smooth-Start Technology’ to enable smooth welds. You have to pay a bit more for this welder, but you get a quality machine with fine attention to detail. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Miller
Model: Millermatic 211
Dimensions:12.5” x 11.25” x 20.5”
Weight: 38lb.
Duty Cycle:
40% @ 150A
Input Voltage: 115/230 V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 60-600 IPM
Welding Amperage Range: 30-230 A

Pros

  • Smooth-Start technology to prevent spatter
  • Advanced Auto-Set feature for fast set up
  • Dual Voltage
  • Durable, quality manufacturing
  • Inverter technology makes it lightweigh and easy to carry
  • Fan on demand to save energy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Duty cycle isn’t much better despite higher price
  • Ground clamp is a bit flimsy

5. Hobart Handler 190

medal Best Bang for your Buck

hobart handler 190
Power:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Another quality machine from Hobart that has 25A for 190A output range so you can weld up to 5/16 in steel. The power input is only 230V so you won’t be able to use this on your standard household power outlet. The 190 is a wise choice if you’re considering buying a 140A welder but think you may want to upgrade in the future. It’s not much more expensive and you can always turn the 190 down but you can’t turn a 140 up.  There’s loads including for the price, you get power, durability, a good duty cycle and all the extras you need to get started, including .030 contact tips, 0.30 flux cored wire and gas gauges. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Hobart
Model: Handler 190
Dimensions:12.3/8” x 10.5/8” x 19.1/2”
Weight: 68lb.
Duty Cycle:
30% @ 130A
Input Voltage: 230 V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 5/16 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 40-700 IPM
Welding Amperage Range:  25-190 A

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Durable build
  • Quick Select drive roll
  • 7 position voltage selector
  • Helpful set up guide

Cons

  • Not compatible with 120V input
  • On the heavy side

6. Lincoln EasyMIG 180

lincoln easymig 180
Power:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Price:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

The Lincoln EasyMIG 180 is a well-built welder that’s reliable and will serve a range of light fabrication and workshop projects. Its power input is 230V but it doesn’t have the power of the Hobart 190. This is a great entry level 230V welder that will give you quality welds. It won’t tackle thicker metal but this will do the job for most hobby welders. It’s a great choice for a hobbyist if you have a convenient 230V power outlet.

Specs

Brand name: Lincoln Electric
Model: EasyMIG 180
Dimensions:14” x 18.6” x 10.15”
Weight: 66lb.
Duty Cycle:
30% @ 130A
Input Voltage: 230 V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/16 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 50-500 IPM
Welding Amperage Range: 35-180A

Pros

  • Excellent build quality with cast aluminum
  • Smooth arc start to prevent spatter
  • Fully adjustable drive system to prevent tangling

Cons

  • Only 230V compatible
  • Not much power for a 230V unit

7. Hobart Handler 140

medal Best for Beginners, Best Under $500, Best 110v

hobart handler 140
Power:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

The Hobart Handler 140 is an excellent choice for beginner welders, which is why it’s probably the most popular welder on the market. This thing is solidly built and is a step above many of the other 140A welders. The arc runs smooth and produces great results. It’s suitable for a range of general repair tasks and projects like trailer frames, autobody repair and anything up to 1/4 inch thick. If you’re just getting into welding, you can’t go wrong with this little machine! What’s better is that it’s an absolute steal at under $500. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Hobart
Model: Handler 140
Dimensions:12.3/8” x 10.5/8” x 19.1/2”
Weight: 57lb.
Duty Cycle:
20% @ 90A
Input Voltage: 115V
Process Type: MIG, Flux,
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 40-700 IPM
Welding Amperage Range:  25-140 A

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Excellent Arc Quality
  • Durable build with cast aluminum
  • Easy to use
  • Infinite wire feed speed control
  • Enough power for most home DIY projects

Cons

  • Power cord is only 5ft
  • Only suitable for small-medium sized projects

8. Miller Millermatic 141

medal Best 110v if Money isn’t an Issue

miller millermatic 141
Power:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Price:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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. 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. All you have to do is select the thickness of the metal you’re welding and you’re ready to start welding straight away. If you open up the machine you can tell that all the parts are great quality and really durable as well. There are more powerful welders on the market for the price, but there’s nothing better for welding up to 3/16 inch steel. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Miller
Model: Millermatic 141
Dimensions:12.5” x 11.25” x 20.5”
Weight: 51lb.
Duty Cycle:
20% @ 90A
Input Voltage: 115V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/16 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 15-360 IPM
Welding Amperage Range: 30-140 A

Pros

  • Auto-set for fast set up time
  • Infinite voltage control
  • Auto spool gun detect
  • Quick select drive roll
  • Excellent manufacturing quality
  • High quality arc
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • More expensive than similar power MIG welders
  • Only suitable for small-medium projects
  • 5 ft power cord

9. Forney 318 190

forney 318 190A
Power:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Build:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Performance:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Features:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Forney have built a simple, mid range MIG welder that’s solid and reliable. It has some good power for the price but doesn’t have as good a duty cycle as the Hobart 190 or Lincoln 180. Forney aren’t one of the big three brands but this machine is still solidly built and I’d feel comfortable buying this. If you want a basic 220v welder without any special features, this is a good choice. Read the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Forney
Model: 318 190A
Dimensions:19” x 9.5” x 16.5”
Weight: 63lb.
Duty Cycle:
25% @ 120A
Input Voltage: 230 V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
Welding Amperage Range: 35-190 A

Pros

  • 15 foot power cable
  • Cast aluminum drive roll
  • Euro-style gun disconnect to help save time
  • Simple design with fast set up
  • Available at a lower price than similar power welders

Cons

  • Not as powerful as many 230V welders
  • Not compatible with 110V household power outlet
  • Does not have advanced features
  • Lower duty cycle

10. Lincoln EasyMIG 140

lincoln easymig 140
Power:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

The Lincoln EasyMIG is a reliable 110v MIG welder. It doesn’t have the versatility of infinite wire feed speed like the Hobart and Miller 140A MIG welders and doesn’t offer the same value for money as the Hobart Handler 140, making it a less popular model. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Lincoln Electric
Model: EasyMIG 140
Dimensions:13.7” x 10.15” x 17.9”
Weight: 50lb.
Duty Cycle:
20% @ 90A
Input Voltage: 115V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/16 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 50-500 IPM
Welding Amperage Range: 30-140 A

Pros

  • Toolless polarity changes
  • Simple design
  • Solidly build. Rigid drive improves wire alignment and gear box is aluminum.
  • Great arc quality
  • Easy drive tension adjustment
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • More expensive than over 140A MIG welders
  • No infinite wire feed speed control

11. Everlast Poweri 140e

Everlast Poweri-MIG 140E MIG Welder
Power:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Build:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Performance:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Features:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

The Everlast Poweri 140e is a really lightweight due to its IGBT inverter technology. There’s no welding chart on the inside which is a useful feature that more MIg welders have. The duty cycle is much better than other 110v welders and it performs 60% @ 90A. At just 28lbs it’s perfect for contractors or hobby welders who want something they can use every now and then and carry it about. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Everlast
Model: Poweri-MIG 140e
Dimensions: 13.5” x 8.5” x 17.5”
Weight: 28lb.
Duty Cycle:
60% @ 90A
Input Voltage: 115V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 3/16 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 0-360 IPM
Welding Amperage Range:  25-140 A

Pros

  • Super Lightweight
  • Excellent Duty Cycle
  • Euro type connector
  • Aluminum and steel wire feed system

Cons

  • No MIG wire included
  • No door chart
  • Ground clamp isn’t great qualtiy
  • Not the same manufacturing quality as Miller or Lincoln.

12. Lincoln K2185-1 Handy MIG

medal Best for Small Welding Projects

lincoln electric k2185-1
Power:3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Build:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Performance:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Features:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Price:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

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. This is the perfect welder for small projects where 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. See the full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Lincoln Electric
Model: Handy MIG K2185-1
Dimensions:12.8” x 8.8” x 18”
Weight: 46lb.
Duty Cycle:
20% @ 70A
Input Voltage: 115V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/8 in.
Wire Feed Speed: 0-300 IPM
Welding Amperage Range: 35-88A

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Durable, long lasting machine
  • Indoor settings chart
  • Fan cooling system
  • Infinite wire feed speed control

Cons

  • Only 4 voltage settings
  • Limited power, only welds up to 1/8 inch steel

13. Lotos MIG 140

lotos mig140
Power:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Build:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Performance:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Features:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Price:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

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. See our full review here.

Specs

Brand name: Lotos
Model: MIG140
Dimensions:14.5” x 9.6 x 16”
Weight: 54lb.
Duty Cycle:
20% @ 90A
Input Voltage: 115V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
Welding Amperage Range: 30-140 A

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Digital display and simple interface for easy setup
  • 2T/4T switch
  • Ground cable quick connector for fast +/- changeover

Cons

  • Not the same build quality as Miller, Lincoln or Hobart

14. Forney 308 140

forney 140a 309 mig
Power:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Build:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Performance:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Features:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Price:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

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, and it has a better duty cycle that most 120V welders. Forney have also recently upgraded this model in response to customer feedback to make it even better. It’s a simple design with no extra features but it does the job well.

Specs

Brand name: Forney
Model: 309 140A
Dimensions:16.5” x 9.5” x 19”
Weight: 57lb.
Duty Cycle:
35% @ 90A
Input Voltage: 115V
Process Type: MIG, Flux
Weld Thickness: 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
Welding Amperage Range: 30-140 A

Pros

  • Aluminum wire feed system
  • Allows 4″ and 8″ spools
  • Improved duty cycle.

Cons

  • Not much cheaper than similar welders that have better features.

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 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 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 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. 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.

Maintaining your MIG Welder

One of the ways to ensure you get quality welds is by looking after your welder and it maintains high performance levels for longer. MIG welders do not need much maintenance, but little things can make the difference in the long run.

Cover

If your workshop is particularly dusty,  put a cover over your MIG welder when you’re not using it. Dust can get into welders and damage them over time so it’s better to keep it covered. Most welder manufacturers sell covers for specific models.

Drive Rolls

As wire is continually fed through the drive rolls, dirt can build up on the rolls. Blow some air through the rolls or brush them down every few uses to clear out the dust.

Contact Tips

Keep your contact tips clean on your MIG gun. Sometimes spatter gets stuck to the contact tips which can cause porosity. If you have lots of spatter stuck to the tip then this will limit the flow of shielding gas that protects the bead from contamination. Use nozzle dip to coat the tip and help prevent spatter from sticking to it.

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.

We hope you liked our article “The Best MIG Welders in 2019” if so, we’d really appreciate it if you could rate and share it.

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Comments ( 6 )

  1. ReplyWayne Gill
    Thanks for the guide, just ordered a Hobart 140 as a late christmas present!
    • ReplyJohn Ward
      Hi Wayne, Thanks for the message and I hope you've enjoyed using it! John
  2. ReplyMax Riley
    I recently ordered the Lincoln 210 as my first welder. It is incredible and I feel like a pro! Thanks for the advice.
    • ReplyJohn Ward
      Hi Max, Thank you! Glad you like it, the Lincoln 210 is a beauty. Cheers, John
  3. ReplyDave
    Hi John, I'm thinking of getting the Lincoln Handy MIG because it's cheap and lightweight. I'm just worried it won't be powerful enough. What metal thickness can this handle? Thanks, Dave
    • ReplyJohn Ward
      Hi Dave, Thanks for your comment. The Handy MIG welds up to 1/8 in. mild steel. If you're worried it's not powerful enough then I'd recommend the Hobart 140 for not much more money. Thanks, John

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