Top MIG Welder You Can Find in 2020 — Reviews, Ratings & Buying Guide
What is a Metal Inert Gas Welder?
Metal Inert Gas welding is an arc-welding process which uses a solid continuous wire electrode that’s heated and fed into a weld pool with the help of a welding gun. The two base materials are melted and fused together to form a joint. The gun that feeds the shielding gas alongside the electrode helps in protecting the weld pool from any airborne contaminants of any kind.
The Metal Inert Gas welding was created and patented in the United States, back in 1949 and was initiated by welding aluminum. The weld pool and the arc that was formed using the bare wire electrode was protected with a layer of helium gas that was readily available at that time. From around 1952, the process gained popularity in the UK as argon was used as the shielding gas to weld aluminum and for creating carbon steels with the help of CO2.
The argon-CO2 mixtures are also known as MAG or Metal Active Gas processes and these are an alternative to the MMA, which offer high rates of deposition along with high productivity.
How do you set up the metal inert gas welder?
The metal inert gas welder works with pulsed metal transfer and short-circuiting for low current operation while the spray metal transfer is used with the help of high welding currents. In the “dip” transfer method, the molten metal that’s formed on the wire tip is transferred by dipping the wire into the weld pool. This helps in achieving a low voltage that varies between 17 V to 22V. There must be care taken when setting up the inductance and voltage when related to the wire feed speed, which is essential in minimizing the occurrence of spatter as well. The inductance is used to also control surge in the current, which occurs when the wire is dipped into the weld pool.
For the spray transfer or droplet, there is a much higher voltage necessary which ensures the wire doesn’t make contact or short-circuits itself with the weld pool. The molten metal found at the tip of the wire is transferred to the weld pool with a spray of small droplets. There is also a minimum current level threshold and going below this means the droplets won’t be forcibly projected across the entire arc. If the open arc technique is attempted below the current level’s threshold, then the forces wouldn’t be sufficient to prevent the large droplets from forming right at the tip of the wire. These droplets also transfer in a non-linear and erratic manner across the arc under normal gravitational forces, so take care of the same.
The pulsed mode allows you to stabilize the open arc at a much lower current level, which is below the required threshold level, to avoid the occurrence of spatter and short-circuiting. The metal transfer is then achieved by applying various pulses of current, with each pulse having enough force to detach from a droplet. The pulse MIG refers to a type of controller which enables the source of power to be tuned for the wire diameter and the composition, with the pulse frequency set according to the wire feed speed.
What can you weld with a metal inert gas welder?
The MIG method is commonly used in industry sectors and also accounts for up to 50% of the weld metal deposited. The MIG method has an advantage in terms of deposition rates, flexibility, and suitability for mechanization as well. It should also be noted that the MIG is different as it offers a “squirting” metal and a high degree of skill is demanded for the MIG welder.
What is Flux core Wiring and can my Welder use It?
The Flux-cored arc welding method is an automatic or semi-automatic method of arc welding. It requires a continuously fed tubular electrode consumable that contains a constant voltage and flux or less commonly, a current welding power supply. The externally supplied shielding gas is used sometimes, but the flux itself is relied on to generate protection from the atmosphere, producing liquid slag and gaseous protection.
Your welder can use this technique as there won’t be a need for a welding gas. There is also lesser cleaning of the metal required. The benefits from a metallurgical perspective include the weld metal being protected from external factors until the slag is finally chopped away, with the porosity chances also being low.
MIG Welding shielding gas basics –
Most MIG welding applications need a variety of shielding gas choices and you’ll also need to evaluate the welding goals for you to choose the correct one for the specific application. The gas cost, the finished weld properties, preparation, base material, weld transfer process, productivity goals, post-weld clean up are all factors that need to be taken into account when you’re planning on selecting a shielding gas.
The most commonly used shielding gases include Oxygen, CO2, Helium and Argon. They all provide unique benefits and also come with their drawbacks, depending on the application.
Choosing the right gas –
Oxygen is used in rations of 9% or less in order to improve the weld pool fluidity, arc stability, penetration in low alloy, mild carbon, and stainless steel. Helium, like argon, is used for non-ferrous metals and also used with stainless steel. Helium also works with thick metals and is used in 25-75% ratio Helium to 75-25% Argon
Getting the Gas to the Weld Pool –
If the equipment isn’t getting the gas to the weld, then trying to get the right shielding gas gets wasted. The MIG gun consumables which consist of contact tip, diffuser, and nozzle play a big role in ensuring the weld pool is also protected from the air atmosphere.
The Best MIG Welders On The Market
We bring you the top picks of the best MIG welders on the market.
Millermatic® 211 MIG Welder
The Millermatic 211 wire welding is accompanied by hook and cord wrapping with 2m power cord and MVP™ adapter plugs. The arc comes with a 10m long welding gun, work cable, and clamp.
The Millermatic 211 wire welding is one of the easiest and versatile arc welding with 5 different gas and wire combinations. The 38-pound arc is compact, encouraging portability seconded by the advanced Inverter Technology.
· Easy to Use
· Travel friendly
· Smooth start
· Versatile outputs
· Flexible plug inputs
Hobart Handler® 140 MIG Welder
Hobart Handler 140 is guided with a welding manual clearly explaining the fixation of the gun and plugs. The welder comes with a 3m long gun, work cable and clamps ensuring comfort usage. It also houses 4/8 spools with self-shielding flux core wire.
One of the best arcs with durable wire feed supported by Industrial cast aluminum wire drive systems, Hobart Handler 140 is the finest tuned arcs with 5 position voltage control.
· Lightweight and portable
· Smooth and stable arc
· Easy adjustments
· Ensures Safety
Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i
The Forney easy weld preaches the do-it-yourself motto with 120-volt, 140 AMP flux core welding machine. The powerful flux core wire welder is ideal for hobbyists with easy maintenance and metal fabrication.
The 19lbs gauging arc is portable with torch wrap, gasless, and flux core welding. Having voltage input of 120V and 140 AMP output, the Forney easy welds 24 gauge up to ¼” and handles 0.30″ wire. With infinite voltage and wire feed speed controls, the Forney Easy weld comes with an 8′ long gun, ground clamp, and 15A-20A adapter.
· Easy to Use
· Easy maintenance
· Flexible inputs
LINCOLN PRO-MIG® 180 WELDER
Lincoln Pro MIG welder is a go-to option for auto or household projects to weld thicker materials feeding on the 208/230 volt input power.
The compact wire welder relies on 20A input current and 30-180A output range. Weighing about 303 kg, Lincoln includes a 100L Magnum gun and 3m long cable and clamp. The machine comes with a gas regulator, hose with Ar/CO2 gases with guarding gas bottle adapters.
· Adjustable Drive System
· Enhanced Conductivity
· Quiet operation with increased workability.
· Smooth and easy starts
EVERLAST POWER I-MIG 200
Everlast power welders claim to be the most powerful and versatile arcs with the IGBT Inverter design. It further shrinks the footprint and weight of the welder making it portable and convenient with dual voltage design and digital display.
The Everlast Powermig 200 includes a Euro-style quick connector and a series of 15 number of 3m long welding guns compatible both with Binzel and Trafimet. The machine contains a gas regulator of Ar/CO2 gases, work cables, and clamps.
· Stable and sturdy performance
· Flexible inputs and outputs
· Easy aftermarket changing
· Versatile with easy adjustments
Hobart IronMan™230 MIG Welders
Hobart Ironman is literally the ironman of the welding industry with 12 voltage settings and infinite wire feed speed ensuring cleaner and easier output control. The ever-ready spools reduce congestion and improve welding quality. The Hobart Ironman 230 offers a solid industrial warranty to the machine in parts.
The MIG feeds on the 30-250A input range and stages on the 175A output range at 25.5 VDC. The net weight of the wire welder is 185lb with operating temperature ranging from -4° to 40°c.
· Easy setup and adjustments
· Lower maintenance costs
· Easy maintenance and repair.
· Bonus warranty
Hobart Handler® 210MVP MIG Welder
Handler 210 MVP is sized down to a small portable case with dual voltage settings and infinite wire feed speed control. The machine is simple to install with a direct plugin spool runner. The spool runner does the job of controlling, omitting the need for a control panel. The door chart provided enables a novice for easy setup.
The flux core welder made of mild steel can weld stainless steel, steel, and aluminum. The super-light arc weighing 79lbs comes with a 3-year warranty.
· Compact and Travel friendly
· Safe and easy to use
· Simple installations
Forney Easy Weld 110v Arc Welder
Popularly known as the best stick welder, this arc welder allows for thicker welding. The arc is found to be durable and easy to use, also portable with a super small sizing. The stick welding machine can easily plug into AC wall outlets provided the output is DC.
The appliance builds on 120-volt input and 90 Amp output. It intakes about ⅛” length of the rod.
· No batteries needed
· Easy transport
· No compressed gas required
· Enables TIG capacities
LOTOS MIG175 175AMP Mig Welder
The Lotos MIG175 can be counted amongst the most versatile wire welders. The provided spool gun can weld aluminum. The arc inclines towards reliability and durability with the advanced transformer technology.
The device is suitable for welding stainless steel, aluminum, and other materials. With maximum 140A output capacity, the arc is a flux core welding functioning on aluminum glass shields.
· Can weld more materials
· Reliable and durable
· Easy setup
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K2698-1
Easy MIG wire feed welder is a homely machine usually advised for farms, light fabrications, and self projects. Though versatile with small scale, the arc can weld thicker metals up to 3/16″ and also rooms ½” gas flux core welding.
66 pounds weighing MIG180, yields at 208/230 V input power. The product is proportioned around 20 x 15 x 16 inches.
· Used both for small scale and industrial projects
· Welds thicker metals
· Simple functions
SUNGOLDPOWER 200AMP MIG-WELDER
Sungoldpower 200Amp is a budget MIG based welding machine. It is a useful combination of simplicity and multifunctionality. It has a wire feed speed and welding current that can be adjusted to suit a variety of applications and weld different thicknesses.
Sungoldpower 200Amp allows Gas-less flux-cored welding and Gas-shielded MIG welding. It offers double voltage (110V/220V), and fan-cooled, thermal protection.
· Multifunction MIG/MMA/ARC IGBT Technology
· High amperage
· Easy to use
· Short leads
LONGEVITY MIGWELD 140
Longevity MIG weld is one of the most durable, easy to use, and top-performing welding machine available in the market. It is capable of flux core and aluminum gas shielded welding. Longevity 140 requires a power source of 110V which makes it possible to use at various locations that don’t have a massive capacity.
Longevity 140 is a power plug installed machine that can easily weld 3/8” mild steel comfortably. It is a portable inverter-based welder with a duty cycle of 20% at 90A.
· Easy to set up
THE MILLER MILLERMATIC141
The miller millermatic 141 is a highly efficient best welder machine. It comes with an auto-set control feature which makes it easy to set up. The Millermatic 141 boasts of a duty cycle of 20% at 90A and at 40A, the duty cycle stands at 100%.
The MILLERMATIC 141 has infinite voltage control that increases welding flexibility. It is compatible with 15ft MIG guns due to its redesigned drive system. It also has some other state of the art features such as quick select drive roll, thermal overload protection, and two gauge regulators.
· Easy to use
· Quick set uptime
· Not suitable for thick metals and industrial welding.
EVERLAST I – MIG 140e
The Everlast I-MIG 140 is an incredibly lightweight welder, built with the latest IGBT inverter technology. It relies on a 110V power source and can be used at numerous locations with limited power capacity. It also offers a really good duty cycle of 60% at 90A.
The wire feed system of Everlast 140 is made of cast aluminum and steel. It can be used with 4″ and 8″ wire spools and offers infinite control over wire speed and voltage.
· Increased Duty Cycle to increase welding time.
· IGBT components are highly durable.
· Only suitable for small-medium size projects.
LINCOLN ELECTRIC POWER MIG 210Amp K3964-1
Lincoln electric power K3964-1 MIG welder is a good welder option for a variety of reasons. It is lightweight and easy to set up. Its Dual Voltage Inputs (120V or 230V) make it extremely versatile and help tackle a variety of projects. It allows multiple processes such as MIG, Flux-Cored, and DC Stick.
Lincoln K3964-1 has a power of 210amp which can weld up to 5/16 inches mild or stainless steel and 3/16 inches aluminum. The DC Stick can handle up to 5/32 inches of stick electrodes.
· Easy to use
· Cannot handle mass production
YESWELDER MIG PRO 250
The YESWELDER MIG 250A is one of the best budget welding machines. The most noticeable feature of this MIG welder is a 60% duty cycle at 250A. It also has both manual and synergy settings that make it easy to use.
It offers the following processes: Flux Cored (FCAW), MIG (GMAW), STICK (SMAW), TIG (GTAW), and can weld materials such as steel, aluminum, stainless steel.
· Welding is smooth
· Very Affordable
· High-quality build
· TIG torch not included.
REBOOT MIG 150 220V MIG WELDER
Reboot MIG 150 welder is a versatile machine that offers a wide selection of welding options such as stick, flux core, and MIG welding. It is an inverter model that allows you to save energy with its energy-efficient operation and can weld metal to .8 mm (1/3”).
It has an input power voltage AC220 ± 15% and a duty cycle of 60% at 140amp. Also, MIG150 110V 220V uses 1kg flux-cored wire to do steel welding without gas.
· High-quality build
· Offers gasless MIG welding
· Small amperage range
· Inverter technology isn’t always reliable.
ESAB 120/230-V TIG/STICK/MIG WELDER
ESAB 120/230 MIG is a multifunctional welder and performs processes such as MIG, Flux-Cored, Stick, and Lift TIG welding. The smart computer inside the machine learns your welding style and adapts the welder to perform according to your precise welding techniques.
This MIG welder has a digital screen with high pixel density to provide a more clear view. It also has an on-screen user’s manual, a listing of spare parts – all in multiple languages, and comes with a MIG gun, electrode holder, earth clamp, TIG torch, accessories & regulator.
· Adjustable preset synergic settings
· Easy-to-use digital screen
GOPLUS MIG 30
The Goplus MIG 130 is a versatile machine suitable for a variety of small flux core welding projects. Due to its lightweight and comfortable handle, it is perfect for multi-location use.
It requires an input power of 110V/60HZ and comes with a 72.5-inch power cord. Goplus MIG offers a maximum output of 15%.
● Durable stainless steel construction
● Four adjustable current flow levels
● Two air-vents to keep the machine cool
● Overheat protective circuit
● Prevents oxidation with its self-release metal-inert shielding gas.
● No powered battery.
WELDPRO INETER STICK/ ARC MIG WELDER
Ideally suited for beginners, Weldpro inverter stick is a versatile equipment. It is one of the smallest MIG welders and is capable of plugging into both 110 and 220-volt power points.
It comfortably welds up to 1/4 inches mild steel that is properly prepared using 220-volt input, in both MIG, flux-cored, and stick welding. It feeds wire at 78 inches to 472 inches per minute and has infinitely adjustable wire speed and heat settings.
● Lightweight and portable
● Easy to use for beginners
● Diverse MIG settings
● Short leads
● Low amperage
HITBOX INVETER MIG-WELDER
Hitbox inverter MIG welder is a beginner-friendly and affordable tool. It can run 200 amps of power, and its arc gets hotter than most other 200-amp machines.
Hitbox inverter can be used with 0.8mm-1.0mm solid wire or 0.8-1.0mm flux-cored wire. It includes accessories such as an MB15 MIG gun, earth clamp, electrode, gas tube, 1kg 1.0mm flux-cored wire, and a portable plug. It also features the STM32 series MCU and UC3846 control, inverter current control mode, and switch frequency of 50Hz.
● Multi-process machine
● Adjustable preset synergic settings
● Low price
What to Look For When Buying a MIG Welder
There are a number of parameters you need to pay attention to before you pick a MIG welder that is ideally suited for your use. The best MIG welder for you is the one that gets the job done on all of your welding requirements without being underpowered. It should also make working with it easy and reliable. Here is what you need to look for in the best MIG welders:
Although most welders operate at 110 to 140 volts, a number of models coming out these days run on 220 volts. If your shop’s outlets are designed for input voltages of around 110v, you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, getting a 220v model would mean some extra electrical work to get the higher input socket.
The duty cycle is an important factor that tells you how long you can run your MIG welder before giving it a cool-down break. It is based on the percentage of 10-minute increments. For example, If it says it has a 35% duty cycle when operating at 135 Amps, it means you can weld with it continuously for 3 minutes and 30 seconds before allowing it to cool for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. The best MIG welder will have a high duty cycle at high Amps.
The lower the weight, the easier it is to haul the welder around the site. The average weight of most welders is about 50 pounds.
Thermal Overload Protection
The thermal overload protection is a handy safety feature that kicks in and shuts down the machine when you overstep it. All the best mig welder models will have this feature and it is something worth shelling out extra for if you tend to lose track of time when focused on welding.
What Metals can I Weld?
If your work mostly revolves around mild steel, stainless steel, and Aluminum then a mig welder will suffice. Some welders can also handle a few alloys and iron.
The thickness of Metals/ Material Thickness
Mig welders are ideal for use in sheet metal, light to heavy frame welding, welding of boat, car, and bicycle components. They can handle steel from a thickness of 24 gauge (0.5 – 0.6 mm) to ½ inch (12.7 mm) thick steel plates.
An overload protection feature and a ‘fan-on-demand’ can go a long way in saving your equipment from permanent damage in case of overheating.
Spools gun gives you a greater degree of control over the welding speed and the deposited material. They are especially useful when welding aluminum. Even if your machine doesn’t come with one, you can buy this as an accessory from the manufacturer.
Does Your Job Require MIG or is Flux-Core Enough?
Flux-cored welding offers more flexibility to the process especially when you are working at a site where portability is important. It’s also helpful when working outside in the elements. It does have a limitation as it cannot handle aluminum.
Powering Up Your New MIG Welder
Figure out your welder setting based on what metal and thickness you are about to weld. Have the fume extractor read over the work area where you are about to start. The machine’s grounding clamp needs to touch a grounded metal so you won’t get shocked. Check the adjusting screw of the gas cylinder and ensure it is loose. Open the top valve and set it to the right pressure so your flow gauge reads 10 to 15 CFH.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)
What is the best MIG welder for a beginner?
The Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-I is one of the best MIG welders there is on the market suitable for beginners.
Is Arc Welding stronger than MIG?
The strength of a weld depends on various factors such as the tensile strength of the deposited metal, surface preparation, type of joints, and more. Arc welding can do better when there’s a lack of surface preparation and thicker material. However, getting the best out of them depends on selecting the best method for the task at hand and the skill of the welder.
How thick can a MIG welder weld?
MIG welders can start with metals as thin as 0.5mm and the best mig welder can do up to 12.7mm.
What amp welder will I need?
That depends on the thickness of the sheet of metal. A small welder running on 115v can weld a ¼ “thick steel at 140 amps. A 220v welder can generate 200 amps and weld up to ½” thick steel.
Are gasless MIG welders good?
The gasless mig welders are more portable and suitable for use when working under the elements. They are also cheaper than regular mig welders.
What is a good MIG welder for home use?
The Millermatic 211 is a good choice for home use as it is light at just 38 pounds and gives a 40% duty cycle at 150 amps.
What is the best all-round welder?
The Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 Mp K3964-1 is one of the best over-all performers out there on the market.
What is the best single-phase MIG welder?
The Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder is great for hobbyists and beginners.
Mig is the simplest and easy to learn the type of welding that can be used by seasoned veterans or hobbyists to work on a wide range of projects. The best results on any welding job can be obtained by matching the right machine with the task at hand. The Millermatic 211 is the best mig welder suited for everything from basic hobby-level tinkering to professional-grade jobs. It is reasonably priced and is lightweight. If you are looking for cheaper but strictly for hobby grade projects, then the Forn Easy 140 FC-I will do a great job.