Best MIG Welder Reviews 2020
An MIG welder or metal inert gas welder is a type of welding equipment that basically uses electricity in melting and linking metal pieces together. Hence, MIG welding is among the simplest welding forms, making it perfect for a beginner to use in the field.
To help you better understand this equipment, this article will talk about the top-rated MIG welder reviews as the machine has evolved into something more reliable due to the different improvements from various manufacturers to meet the growing needs of a welder like you.
Such machines are highly capable of handling a wide variety of materials ranging from nickel to copper, magnesium, aluminum, carbon steel, stainless steel, silicon, bronze, and other alloys. Thus, with some training and with the best welding machine, you can complete some clean and smooth welds in the quickest manner possible.
Best MIG Welder Reviews
- 1 Best MIG Welder Reviews
- 2 MIG Welder Buying Guide
- 3 Repair, Maintenance and After Sales Service
One or probably the best MIG welders available in the market today is the Forney 299 Flux Core Welder. Garnering an average rating of 4.4 stars on Amazon, this machine is the beginner’s top choice for MIG equipment. With a 125-amperage rating, it works without the complexities of a gas setup, making it plug-and-play equipment, unlike ordinary MIG welders.
This machine is highly capable of welding up to a fourth of an inch with the ability to run 10-pound spools. These features alone make the Forney 299 a very versatile machine. This welding equipment ensures durability and reliability, considering its manufacturer – the Forney Industries, which is considered as one of the country’s leading manufacturers of metalworking products.
Since its foundation in 1932, this company has been providing over 5000 consumer products for the DIY, farm and ranch, automotive, and hardware markets, not only nationwide but also worldwide. Therefore, the Forney 299 Flux Core Welder is an epitome of quality and reliability both for the beginners and the professionals in the field.
However, this small MIG welder uses Tweco consumables only while it accepts 2-pound and 10-pound wire spools. Able to weld 24-gauge to ¼-inch, this 120-volt machine is continuously creating a lot of positive reviews from actual users. It is not a 220v MIG welder, so it does not work similar to the other big boy welders on the market. But it works very well in line with its design and its main purpose that lives up to its claims according to the users.
In fact, other owners of this machine even believe that the Forney 299 could be the agilest welder that can handle the task with ease without even skipping a beat. All in all, the Forney 299 Flux Core Welder has unparalleled features that make every task as easy as possible.
Next up is the 4.9-star-rated Hobart 500559 Wire Welder, which is a very compact wire welder. It has been designed with the novices in mind too, allowing you to operate it on a 115-volt household power outlet. It has generous operating parameters that allows you to weld 24-gauge thin steel up to a ¼-inch steel plate.
Unlike other available MIG welders on the market today, the Hobart 500559 Handler also offers a very flawless setup. It is able to run flux core steel, aluminum, and solid wire. This model is very versatile too, making it ideal for those who are engaged in automotive body works, household repair works, farm projects, and more.
It is a tapped voltage machine that gives you only the best power and arc while welding. The upgraded features allow you to start working with or without a shielding gas. With its plug-and-play configuration, it does not require any additional kits, which makes it a very easy machine to use.
There are more to expect from this welding machine as the Hobart 500559 Handler package includes a gas hose and a gas regulator. It utilizes a drive system like no other because it is crafted from industrialized cast aluminum. This all-new drive system adds durability and strength for the entire machine. With 20 duty cycle at 90 amps, this machine works with different metals, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and more.
It provides speed control for its wire-feed while offering a 10-foot clamp cable. This sturdy ground clamp is constructed from thicker materials for improved contact points, plus a wide jaw opening. There is also a 5-position volt control selector, allowing for a stable and smooth arc, despite the welding thickness.
Indeed, this could be the best MIG welder for the money, considering these impressive features such as the built-in contractor, an automatic thermal overload protection, and a drive roll system with a quick-release feature, built-in storage, and so much more.
Meanwhile, the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 MIG Welder receives a 4.6-star average rating from its customers on Amazon. It is the best MIG welder for beginner and other enthusiasts due to its compact and lightweight design. It is likewise ideal for the weekend warriors and the professionals alike, giving you a complete package to complete home repairs and other light gauge and mild steel projects.
This 70-amp machine includes an 8-foot clamp cable and an 8-foot power cord while requiring a shielding gas. Its weld thickness is 1/8 in, MIG ready, and its wire diameter is 0.035 in. This MIG welder also features an adjustable speed control for its wire feed. It has a safety feature that when the gun trigger is not pressed, it keeps its welding wire stay electrically cold.
The package includes a cable and welding gun, a clamped work cable, a gasless nozzle (flux-cored welding), a gas nozzle, a gas regulator, and an MIG welding hose. It also comes with a spool of 1lb flux-cored wire (0.035 in), a spool of 2lb solid MIG wire (0.025 in), three of each contact tips 0.035 and 0.025 in, hand shield for welding, chipping hammer, and a chipping brush.
The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 MIG Welder can be used by experienced welders but is also perfect for beginners. It is compact, portable, and very light; and by simply plugging it into a 20 amp, 115-volt socket, you’re good to go. Its 4-voltage adjustable settings and featured wire-feed speed that is continuous allows the user to weld from a 24 gauge up to an eighth of inch thick mild steel. This welder package works really fast because everything needed is within the box.
Rated with an average of 4.3 stars in Amazon reviews, the Lotos MIG140 Flux Core Welder is certainly worth considering. The New 2017 is currently available featuring a 2T and 4T switch and also two digital displays that allow precise adjustment of its welding voltage and wire feeder’s speed. Switching from positive (+) to negative (–) is easy because of its newly designed quick ground cable connector
The new model that features an MIG welder (140 amps) can weld with industrial performance and quality at an affordable price. It may be the best DIY welder because of its versatility, perfect for home welding use and also for a professional user. A spool gun can be used to allow the user to weld aluminum materials. By simply connecting it to any 110V outlet and a few setup steps, within only 10 minutes or even less, you’re good to go
It easily handles industrial standard wire spools (4” or 8”), and to protect the machine, a thermal overload protection system is incorporated. For better user experience, the aluminum wire feeder of the Lotos MIG140 Flux Core Welder is made to be much more stable compared to other similar products. And with the capability of welding stainless steel, aluminum, mild steel, and other metals make it one of the most versatile welders out there.
Owners consider the Lotos MIG140 one of the best welders today not only because of its superb quality and performance but also its aftermarket support. By offering a 100%, 30-Day money-back guarantee if the user is not satisfied and a limited warranty for a year, a hassle purchase is guaranteed.
The Millermatic 211 MIG Welder is another high-quality product from a well-known welding machine manufacturer. Miller has been creating high-performance MIG welders that feature Miller exclusive features like multi-voltage capabilities that make welding tasks much easier. This model, in particular, can be conveniently plugged into either a 120 Volt outlet or even a 230 Volt industrial sized outlet.
Garnering a 4.4 star average from Amazon customer reviews, the Millermatic 211 MIG Welder is certainly a favorite that is worth considering. It features both MIG and Flux Core welding processes that can weld aluminum, steel, and mild steel as well. It can easily handle mild steel thickness from 24 gauge up to 3/8 inch, stainless steel thickness from 20 gauge up to ¼ inch, and aluminum thickness from 18 gauge up to 3/8 inch.
Weighing only at 38 lbs, this is why the Millermatic 211 is considered by many the best portable MIG welder to date. Portability in the work area is always a plus, whether it’s a home DIY project or a professional setting. The ability to easily move from place to place makes any welding task easier rather than pulling and pushing heavy and bulky equipment.
This Miller MIG welder welds even the thickest metal compared to other welders in its class. It features an auto set technology that gives it the ability to easily provide the machine with continuous voltage. Meanwhile, the smooth-start technology ensures a spatter-less and smooth start. Upon purchase, the package includes M-10 10 ft. MIG Gun, work cable with clamp (10 ft.), gas solenoid valve (built-in), dual gauge regulator that includes a gas hose, 0.030 in, solid wire sample spool, two contact tips (0.030 in), and 2 hook-and-loop cord wraps.
MIG Welder Buying Guide
The MIG in MIG welding means “Metal Inert Gas.” It is the arc welding process wherein continuous solid electrode wire is fed with a use of a welding gun to the weld pool, thus binding two materials as one. Inside the welding gun is a shielding gas mix along with the solid electrode wire and acts as a contamination protection for the weld pool. This is important because the weld must be shielded from oxidation.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Switching from regular stick welding to MIG welding may seem simple, but knowing the advantages and disadvantages will greatly help in knowing whether to buy an MIG welder is advisable. Here are some common Pros and Cons when it comes to MIG welding.
- Advantages – the main advantage of using welding machines that use flux core is portability. This is mainly because no bulky gas cylinders lug around with the welder. Such flux core machines that feature direct current shielding leads to deeper permeation perfect for overhead and perpendicular welds leading to a stress-free welding process. In addition, in MIG welding, no fillers or metal waste is produced. In general, thinner materials are welded together much easier compared to regular stick welding. Another reason why many prefer MIG welding is that it is a welding process that produces neat welds, and chipping slag is not required.
- Disadvantages – some cons with flux core wire are excessive smoke, slag and splatter, the price of flux core, and difficulties in thin metal use. Switching to MIG welding certainly will lead to high initial cost, added with the need to purchase a shielding gas regulator. Some machines though can be used with flux core that protects themselves with no need for gas or regulator. All material types can be welded by the MIG welding machine, but the process for different materials does require various wires and gas making it quite complicated.
Choosing the Best MIG Welder
A good number of MIG welder models from different manufacturers are available for the choosing. Offering a wide array of features, additional accessories, and of course, prices makes choosing the correct welder challenging. This is why it is important to do proper research and comparison before purchasing one. The best MIG welders available today have been discussed already, so we will now focus on the important specs that are worth considering and would help in selecting the right and best value MIG welder. The following are some important specifications that make an MIG welder a good performer.
- Input Power – most welders run either on 110 Volts or 220 Volts, but many units feature dual voltage option. This makes such units more flexible and highly favorable. It is important to understand though that higher voltage means more power is needed to operate the machine. Therefore, for home projects or thin metal works, lower voltage welders are more appropriate. If welding projects involve thicker sheets, a welder with a 220 volt input power is recommended.
- Duty Cycle – the duty cycle of a welder is measured in between 10-minute increments. This is the number of minutes the welder can continuously run within the 10 minute time period. This means that a welding machine that has a 40% duty cycle weld for about 4 minutes before the welding machine needs a rest. So a machine with a high duty cycle will have longer welding time in any 10-minute period.
- Heat Overload Protection – this feature is not present in all MIG welders available today, but it’s certainly very important if one values safety in the workplace or home. This feature makes sure that the welding machine automatically shuts off when its temperature gets too high. It’s a crucial feature that saves the workspace and the machine itself.
- Material Thickness – the effectiveness of any welder depends on its capacity to weld depending on the thickness of the material to be welded. Fortunately, most welders have adjustable settings that will allow power control so that the user can customize the needed power or strength that would work best for the work at hand. Some even feature digital displays, making it simple to adjust to the right levels of power. It is advisable though to check the machine’s maximum and minimum power and also its limits in thickness of materials to be welded. Under power machines would get you nowhere, and pushing your machine to its limits may cause breakdowns.
- Portability – aside from its superb performance, it is always advisable to pick the best portable MIG welder It doesn’t matter if the welding machine is for DIY home use or for heavy industrial use, a portable welder would be perfect in maneuvering around in any workplace. It is ideal for the on the go welder, but not a big issue if you plan to keep and work with it in a permanent location like the garage. The perfect portable MIG welder is light but still packs a punch when it comes to welding capabilities.
Repair, Maintenance and After Sales Service
In purchasing an MIG welding machine, or any device for that matter, long-term use is always in mind. Finding out the usual flaws or problems that could occur over time, availability of spare parts, warranties, and where to have it repaired when it breaks down is a must. This can help assure a long-lasting and worry-free working relationship with your machine. And if ever hiccups occur, you will be covered.
Basically, the essential aspect to consider when one plans to purchase an MIG welder is to know what type of welding task it will be used for. Will it be used for light metals, heavy metals, or aluminum? Will it be used at home or will it be used outside? Would it need to be portable? Or will it basically stay in one place? If the needed basics are clear, selecting the right MIG welder will be a breeze. This is why enough research, comparison, and even recommendations are crucial in every purchase.
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