If you’re looking for a faster welding technique MIG is definitely the way to go, since wire feed machines do a good chunk of the work for you. But even after you decide that MIG welding is right for you, you still have to select a welder that works for your particular purposes. A quick search on Amazon will pull up hundreds of choices. Looking at a few MIG welder reviews can save you a lot of time and maybe even a couple (or couple hundred) of bucks.
Let’s start by looking at some of the best products on the market.
Hobart 500559 Handler Wire Welder
The remarkable thing about the Hobart 500559 is that it is easily portable. Since it weighs only 57 pounds, you can take it with you wherever you need it.
This particular product comes with a 10 foot MIG gun, gas house, 10-foot power cord, a 10-foot work cable, and a sampling of .030 flux cored wire.
The Hobart Wire Welder is easy to set up and also takes some of the complexity out of operating a MIG welder, making it the best MIG welder for beginners. If you’re new to welding—especially MIG welding—then you’ll find this product effortless to learn on.
The welder can handle up to 1/4 an inch of steel and requires only about 8 minutes of rest for every 2 minutes you weld (although it’s likely that the machine will run for longer before cutting out).
Goplus MIG 130 Welder
This is a unit that’s designed for thin steel welding. Goplus is an especially durable brand, and the Goplus MIG 130 is a high-quality product priced at a steal. This is the best MIG welder under 500 dollars.
As Amazon’s best selling MIG welder, this small but powerful model features four heat settings.
What’s more, set up and spool changing is also simple, making this a great product for any first-time welders.
Some MIG welder reviews point out that while this welder does come with a hand-held mask, you’ll probably need a much more durable welding helmet.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
With the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG welder, you can weld mild steel anywhere between 24 gauge to 1/8 an inch thick, operating at peak levels for sheet metal.
The product runs on 115 volts and comes with a gasless nozzle designed for flux-corded welding, a welding gun, regular gas nozzle, gas regulator, a one-pound spool of 0.035-inch flux-cored wire, and a 2-pound spool of MIG wire.
The unit also includes a hammer/brush and three contact tips.
What’s appealing about this model is the ability to adjust the wire feed speed and also the dual flux-cored wire function.
Pro-Series MMIG125 125 Amp Fluxcore Welder Kit
This flux core welder is great for getting small projects around the house done. Even better, the Pro-Series MMIG125 works on a variety of different metals, including stainless steel, copper, magnesium, and nickel.
With a duty cycle of 20 percent, this can weld metals up to 3/16 an inch.
Here’s the thing about this welder: it’s not designed for hobbyists. According to a few MIG Welder Reviews, if you fabricate or require a beautiful finishing touch for any reason, then you're better off going with a different welder.
Hobart 500553 Handler 210 MVp For Use with SpoolRunner 100
Want to know the best thing about the Hobart 500553 Handler? You don't have stress about the voltage.
This machine is extremely flexible and can be used with 115 volts or 230 volts. The multi-voltage plug gives you the added benefit of having a portable MIG welder that you can really use almost anywhere.
Additionally, this product is ultra fast, even welding 1/4 an inch of aluminum in almost the blink of an eye.
If you’ve done a lot of welding and have tried multiple machines, you’ll definitely notice a real difference in the quality of this particular welder. This unit is built to get the job done quickly and flawlessly.
LOTOS MIG175 175Amp MIG Welder
If you're the kind of person that really loves a beautiful finishing touch on your metal work, and prefer the ability to stack dimes, then you'll really enjoy this welder.
The Lotos MIG175 welder is both durable and highly reliable, perfect for any kind of beginner. Set up with this product is pain-free and only takes about a total of 10 minutes.
This is an especially great option if you work with aluminum since it's designed almost specifically for that purpose.
Keep in mind, however, that this is not a professional unit and isn’t designed to handle an industrial workload, especially since it only has a 20 percent duty cycle.
Super Deal Black Commercial MIG 130 AC Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welder
With a gasless function, this portable MIG welder is great for light projects.
Although it only has a 10 % duty cycle, the Super Deal Black Commercial has the potential to be a very useful and durable option with some patience.
Here’s the deal:
As with anything, sometimes it takes time to adjust to a new welder.
Since this is a cheaper welder, it’s not going to have the same precision of a $900 welder.
However, that doesn't mean that you can't produce high-quality products with it. It’ll just take some time to refine your work with this welder.
Also, keep in mind, while this machine comes with a spool of wire, you’ll find that’s slightly weaker than traditional MIG wires. For the best results, you’ll probably want to replace that wire before use.
LOTOS MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder
If you’re big on welding, the Lotos MIG140 MIG wire welder will take your breath away.
There are a lot of neat features that come with this product. However, the coolest, and most incredibly useful are two digital displays that show you the arc voltage and the speed of the wire feed, which makes welding so much easier.
It can also run both MIG and Fluxcore, making it ideal for working with multiple types of material.
For hobbyists, this is the best MIG welder for the money because it’s highly effective, producing industrial level results every time.
Zeny MIG-130 Gas-Less Flux Core Wire Welder
This welder is definitely a favorite among MIG welder reviews. It’s especially great for use around the house, especially if you do a lot of projects.
The Zeny MIG-130 is easy to use and generates high-quality results every time. Given the price and its capacity to cut through stainless steel and aluminum, this is the best MIG welder for the money.
Although getting a hang of wire feeding through the machine can be difficult to learn at first, once you get it down it’s breezy and the results are definitely worth the hassle.
This product features four adjustable heating settings and automatic thermal protection, which prevents it from overheating.
Hobart 500536Ironman 230 250 Amp MIG Welder
Despite the fact that this welder is on the more pricey side, it’s a perfect option for anyone who really takes welding seriously.
This product produces the least splatter, which ensures the integrity of your work and also makes clean up a breeze.
Additionally, it produces smooth, industrial quality welds that cut through aluminum up to 1/2 inch thick.
And the best thing about this unit? It has a 60 % duty cycle, so it's perfect for multiple jobs or jobs of advanced difficulty. Priced just over 900, this is the best MIG welder under 1000 dollars.
What is a MIG welder?
A MIG welder is a type of arc welder that uses metal inert gas to shield the metal from contamination.
To create that protective layer of gas around your arc, gas is funneled from the bottle through the machine’s welding cable.
Like what many TIG welder reviews will quickly point out, the MIG process works by feeding a wire through the welding gun, which joins the alloys together.
Usually, a MIG welder allows you to weld thicker pieces.
How to set-up and dial-in a MIG welder
Of course, if you’re seriously considering welding and just beginning, it’s really important that you take a couple of classes before operating any kind of welder.
However, if you are familiar with how to set up a welder, and just need some specifics, these are a few major steps to set up any MIG welder. Keep these steps in mind:
1. Load the wire. Begin by placing the spool in the machine and feed it through the guide tube and over the tension roller. Make sure you that you adjust the tensioner to avoid having the wire unravel while you continue working.
2. Feed the wire through the torch. Remove the contact tip. Then turn the machine on; the wire should run through to the end of the torch on its own. This can take about 30 seconds. Once you see the wire comes out the end of the torch, replace the contact tip and nozzle, and gently roll the spool back to pull any excess wire inside.
3. Load the gas. When it comes to selecting the right gas, you will want to refer to the manual that comes with your product. However, generally, most models use a type of argon gas. Once you have the right gas, simply install it by loading it into the designated area and screw the regulator firmly on.
4. Set up the voltage and gas flow. This part will really depend on the kind of metal you’re using. Simply set the controls to suit the size and type of metal. Here you’ll probably also want to refer to the welding chart on your machine.
5. Adjust the wire speed. You want to make sure that wire speed matches the voltage you’re using. You may have to play with this a few times to get the right speed. You’ll know you’ve found the right speed when you hear a consistent sizzling sound. Also, refer to your welding chart to make this process easier.
What types of MIG welders are available?
There are two main types of MIG welders: standard Metal Inert Gas welders and Gasless (or Fluxcore).
Many models come with both, and the kind you chose to use will depend on where you weld. Fluxcore is more ideal for outdoor jobs because it allows you weld without gas. It also works better on metals that may be rusty or dirty.
How to choose a MIG welder that is right for you?
The best MIG welder for you depends on the kind of welding you do.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably want a machine that’s easy to use and learn on. That means that the product should be easy to set up, with fairly simple dials, and handles a range of alloy thicknesses.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using A Mig Welder
Of the three types of welders, a MIG welder is the most middle of the road option available. There are definitely some pros and cons to using a MIG welder, which you should weigh carefully before investing—especially if you’re a beginner.
· Easiest type of welding process to learn—especially for welding beginners
· Produces the least amount of slag
· Wires automatically feed into the machine, which makes it easier to use
· Can be used on several kinds of metals
· Machines are more costly
· Don’t really work for thicker metals
· Can’t be used on rusty or dirty metals
Best Mig Welder for Beginners
For beginners, most MIG welder reviews on amazon or popular welding sites claim that the best MIG welder is the Hobart 500559 Handler Wire Welder in light of its user friendliness and the fact that it simplifies the learning process.
Best Mig Welder for Home Use
The Zeny MIG-130 Gas-Less Flux Core Wire Welder is the best MIG welder for home use. Not only does it produce really high-quality welds, but it’s also the best MIG welder for the money.
MIG welders are a like a lot of other specialty tools: the right one is individual to each person.
So don’t make the decision based solely on price, or the range of functions available.
Instead consider why it is you need a welder and then make your decision based upon that reason, rather than letting the tail wag the dog.
Since a MIG welder is probably one of the most important tools you’ll ever buy, feel free to do as much research as possible.
Try out different models and look closely into products specs. That way you can find the best MIG welder for you.