Mig welders are one handy piece of equipment to have in the home workshop or any maintenance business. If you are the DIY type, enjoy MIG welding and making things, or have a small maintenance business there are always going to be jobs that will need a weld or few. Calling in a professional welder to help to do small fix jobs is expensive and in many cases, you could buy a welding machine for the same cost of repair or even less! and you know you are able to complete the repairs yourself.
Not sure which MIG welder is for you? Check out the different categories of MIG welders to see which suits your requirements.
- Best General Purpose Mig Welders
- Best Multi-Purpose Mig Welders capable of Mig welding, Tig welding and Arc welding
- Best Gasless/Flux-cored Mig Welders
- A quick look at the best MIG welders available For DIY – [General Purpose]
- Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder
- Hobart Handler 210 MIG Welder
- Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
- Millermatic 211
- Best Multi-Purpose Mig Welders
- A quick look at the Best Mult-purpose – 3 in 1Welders
- 1 – Best Overall – Weldpro 200 Multi-Purpose Welder
- 2 – Professional Power – Esab Rebel 215 Multi-Process Welder
- Popular DIY Multi-Process Welder – Forney Easy Weld 140 MP
- Best Flux Core/Gasless MIG Welders
- Forney 261 Easy Weld 140 Flux-Cored
- Forney Easy weld Flux Core MIG Welder
- What Are The Advantages Of A MIG Welder
- How Do Mig Welders Work
- Welder Terms And General Considerations When Choosing A MIG
- Transformer or Inverter For A MIG
- Welding Wire Spool Capacity
- Which Shielding Gas Do I Need
- Welding With Flux Cored Wire ( Gasless )
- Conclusion And General Considerations
But which welder is best for what you do? after all, there are MIGs, TIGs, and Arc welder machines to choose from. However, while all the other welder types have their place, the MIG is the most versatile and easiest machine to use and you can be welding like a pro in no time. All you need is some advice on where to find the best MIG welder for the job. Are you wondering what MIG welder is best for auto bodywork? What thickness can I weld, What is the best MIG welder for beginners or for home use?
Before you buy the first MIG welder you come across, here are our reviews of the best MIG welders for home DIY and small workshop use.
A quick look at the best MIG welders available For DIY – [General Purpose]
|Top Pick||More Power||Highly Rated||Best Value|
|Hobart Handler 140||Hobart Handler 210||Lincoln Handy Core||Forney Multi-Process|
|A bestseller from Hobart Welders||Great Portability with power to match||Classic reliability from Lincoln||Top value Multi-process welder|
|Welds up to 1/4 in mild steel; also weld Stainless Steel and Aluminum. Standard household current||Small size, Impressive performance, weld 1/4 to 3/8 mild steel, supports input voltages from 110 to 240v||Weld up to 1/8″ mild steel.|
Runs on household 115V 20A power, Great DIY MIG welder, easy setup very portable
|Great value from this multi-process welder, MIG, Tig, and Arc welding. Gass and gasless welding. USA company|
|View On Amazon||View On Amazon||View On Amazon||View On Amazon|
For that, MIG welders are an ideal choice for many DIY projects around the home, and for general-purpose fabrication work. The scope of a general-purpose Mig welder is huge and will handle most welding jobs from auto body panels to 1/4 inch mild steel plate and heavier, depending on the power of the machine. While some machines are simple flux core only, others are much more versatile and will allow you to do both flux core, and Gas for steel, aluminum, and stainless steel welds.
Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder
Hobart has made a huge name in the competition of welding machines. Their machines exhibit the efforts done by engineers at Hobart. Our Number 1 Hobart handler MIG welder is just another example.
Best Used For
- Diy and home repairs
- Auto body repair
- Light manufacture
- Art and hobby projects
- Farm maintenance
- Weld Steel, Aluminium, Stainless steel.
- Flux core welding.
Hobart 140 Mig Welder Features
Power: This incredible machine can run on a current as low as 25 amperes or as high as 140 amperes. This medium-duty machine works amazingly well with a normal household current and voltage of 115 volts. Moreover, it has a 20 % duty cycle too, which means it is a time-effective beast and one of the best Mig welders in its class.
The 5 range voltage and wire control and selector makes it even more versatile. This feature of being able to adjust the wire feed speed stabilizes your work and produces a smooth arc, regardless of the welding thicknesses.
Versatile: Unlike most of the MIG welders available in the market, the Hobart 140 welder is multi-talented. You can either use it as a Gas MIG welder or you can use it with flux-cored welding wire that requires no gas. This feature allows you to weld in different conditions.
Solid wire welding with gas will generally give a better finish to a weld and is great for use indoors. Gasless flux wire is great for welding outdoors where there is likely to be wind conditions that will normally disperse any shielding gas. Regardless of wire being used the machine welds great and is smooth to run giving a professional touch to your work.
Portable: Hobart has framed this welder very technically. You will be amazed to find all the amazing features it exhibits but, its lightweight is the highlight. It weighs only 57 lbs which means, you can carry it anywhere anytime, super easily.
To make it just a five-finger exercise, Hobart gives you the option of a cart with wheels to carry this super-light machine.
Build Up: As soon as you unpack it, you can notice the strong buildup of this machine. Hobart 140 is crafted with the best steel which makes it strong and sturdy. Within minutes you can set it up.
To iron out any problems the machine is equipped with a user manual. Considering its low power input feature, the weld is pretty smooth with a professional touch.
Safety: Hobart takes care of your safety and so, their machines are equipped with all the necessary safety features. The thermal overload protection sensor records a rise in temperature of the machine and in case of overheating, turns it off automatically.
What We Like About The Hobart Welder
- Works at low power inputs to give beautiful stable arcs.
- 20% duty cycle.
- It can be used with standard welding wires/gas Welding or Flux Core wire welding.
- Lightweight which makes it easy to transfer.
- Strong steel buildup, makes a rugged welding machine.
- Temperature overload protection sensors that automatically turn off the machine when overheated.
- It is not a generator-friendly appliance.
- Not really supported for heavy industrial uses. Any welder that uses a standard household power supply will find it tough to weld continuously in an industrial capacity.
- Gas cylinders are required, which are not included in the cost of this machine. ( Not required for gasless welding wire)
Hobart Handler 210 MIG Welder
Hobart has integrated technology in their appliances and no doubt has created wonders. Their products display versatility and are great machines for beginner-level welders.
The Hobart 210 Mig is a Great Welder For;
- Auto bodywork
- DIY and household repairs
- Heavier farm maintenance
- Small businesses
- Weld mild steel, Aluminum, Stainless steel, Gas, and gasless.
- More power than the 140, Capable of welding 24-ga. to 3/8in steel
Power: Hobart Handler 210 offers you dual voltage so you can connect your welder at a voltage of 110 Volts or 230 volts. Complete with thermal overload protection the Hobart Handler 210 gives you the option to choose the voltage and wire feed speed control from the seven settings available.
The 7 power control settings let you create a very precise arc for the different metal thicknesses you may want to weld. With the options of different voltages, the Hobart Handler’s duty cycle also differs. It presents you with a 20% cycle on 120 Volts while it increases to 30% on 230 volts.
Portable: Hobart’s 210 Mig welder is designed to be a very compact appliance. The small portable case makes it even easier to transport. It weighs only 65 pounds and is a blessing for welders who do not have a fixed workplace.
Hobart 210 MIG welder is an amazing machine for all the newbies in this field. The machine is relatively easy to use and produces amazing results. The industrial Aluminium cast drive system enhances the longevity of the appliance and is worth your money.
The feed head roll is durable while giving an accurate feed speed rate to the spool gun, very good when using aluminum wire.
What We Like About The Hobart 210
- Dual groove wire feed roller system to easily switch between different wire sizes.
- Very compact so it takes up less space.
- Significant Duty Cycle, which is dependent on the voltage input.
- The dual Voltage option makes it versatile.
- 7 Voltage settings.
- Heavier than the 140, it may be difficult for some to carry around.
- The needed gas Cylinder is not included in the price package.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
This Lincoln electric is a great little welder for auto body panels. It can be used with argon gas mix or glassless flux-cored wire.
Lincoln Handymig is Best Used For;
- Welds steels, using gas, and Gasless flux-cored wire
- Great general purpose welder for light use
- DIY home repairs and hobby work, autobody panels.
- Weld metals 24 gauge, up to 1/8” thick
What’s In The Box
- Welding gun and cable
- Lincoln electric K2185 Welder
- Earth cable and clamp
- Gas hose and regulator
- Spools of solid wire and flux-cored wire
- Contact tips
- Welding hood and lens
- Chip hammer and brush
Features Of The K2185 Handy Welder
Power: This welder runs at a low voltage of 115 Volts and produces exceptionally good results. It has a low output amperage of 88 Amperes and is considered very suitable for professional welds. Lincoln gives you the option to choose from 4 voltage settings.
Each setting allows you to weld a different thickness of metal. It has a surprising duty cycle of 20% at 70 amps.
Portable: Lincoln’s Electric Mig Welder is super light, and weighs only 26 pounds. The best thing is that it is compact and can be taken anywhere easily.
Lincoln has also installed a small handle on top of the machine for easily grabbing the machine.
Versatility: Lincoln’s Electric K2185-1 has the capability to be used as a MIG Welder and for flux-cored welding. The voltage settings allow you to weld material up to different thicknesses. You can use it for small home repairs or weld mild steel up to ⅛ inches.
Safety: With Lincoln’s welding appliances, not only does the operator feels safe but the machine too. The cold contractor thermal overload features do not let the wires heat up. It keeps them cool, which also aids in increasing the working life of the appliance.
The installed fan keeps the machine cool by allowing the heat to escape. It acts as an exhaust for the machine so, your work isn’t disturbed by overheating issues.
What We Like about the Lincoln mig welder
- Multi-functioning Welder. It can work as a flux-cored welder or Mig welder.
- Saves power by working at a low voltage of 115 Volts.
- The 4 Voltage settings allow you to weld different thicknesses of metal.
- Lightweight and compact so easy to transport.
- Fan to keep the machine cool.
- Cold contractor keeps the wires cool.
- This machine does not work for aluminum.
- Cannot weld metal with a thickness greater than ⅛ inches.
- The gas container is not covered in the price.
Lincoln Electric is leading the race of design, development, and manufacture of welding products. Their appliances are uniques pieces that are not only easy to use but, take your safety at hand too.
Miller welding has been around for many years now and are the choice welders of many larger industrial fabrication companies. These machines have a proven record for the quality of components and the quality of the welding itself. While Miller machines are generally more expensive for the average DIY workshop, they are considered one of the best machines available.
The Millermatic 211 is the ideal solution to DIY and small workshop. This is a capable, multi-function machine that will cover all the bases for general welding. This Mig welder will run both Gasless wire and MIG gas welding with solid wi. It will weld both mild and stainless steel up to 1/4 inch thick and aluminum up to 3/8 thick.
Millermatic Top Features
- Input voltage 120 to 240 volts – Incorporates a multi-use plug that lets you connect to common 240 and 120-volt power outlets without the need to change plug fittings.
- Welder output range, 30 to 230 Amps
- Angled cast aluminum drive system
- Quick select drive roll system, offers 3 wire groves, two for solid wires and on for gasses wires.
- Advanced Auto setTM, includes five different wire/gas combinations.
- Smooth-StartTM This function provides a smooth splatter-free start and would be the best in its class for smooth weld starts.
- Wire sizes 0.023 Inches. to 0.035 Inches., Flux 0.030 Inches. to 0.045 Inches.
- Thermal overload protection
- The fan on Demand Phase, the fan operates only when it’s required, this reduces noise and power consumption.
Millermatic 211 Mig, What’s in The Box?
- 10 Ft M-10 MIG gun
- 10 Ft Earth cable and clamp
- Dual gauge regulator plus gas hose
- Sample Spool of 0.030 in. Solid Wire, (2) 0.030 in.
- Spare Contact Tips
- Hook-and-Loop Cord Wraps
- Millermatic 211 MIG
- Power cord and voltage adaptor plugs
- Spool of Hobart .08 Hobart wire.
This miller welder is not out of place in any small business workshop or home workshop, great in Auto and Cycle workshops, DIY home workshops, maintenance work, and farms. Reviews from those who have used the Millermatic 211 are generally 5 stars
Best Multi-Purpose Mig Welders
Multi-process welders are fast becoming the preferred choice for many DIYers and small business workshops alike. The reason is simple, these welding machines offer the versatility and capability of 3 in one welding processes and ca cover MIG, TIG, and Arc welding all in one machine.
This allows huge scope for welding different metals and alloys. A typical multi-process welder can weld;
- Mild steel with the choice of all three processes
- Gasless or flux core welding of mild steel
- MIG Aluminum welding
- MIG and TIG Stainless steel welding
A quick look at the Best Mult-purpose – 3 in 1Welders
|Top Pick||Professional||Highly Rated||Best Budget|
|Weldpro’s Flagship 3 in 1 Welder||Quality Multi-purpose machine from Esab||Popular DIY multifunction welder||Multi-purpose welder for a budget price.|
Whether it’s for DIY, auto repair, or factory maintenance the Weldpro 200 can handle it.
Best in its class, the Esab 215 gives an ultimate performance with MIG, Lift Tig Flux-Cored, and Stick Welding
|Everything You need in this great multi-function machine from Forney at a great price.||A capable 3 in 1 welder including MIG, lift tig and arc/stick welding, great performer for DIY.|
|View On Amazon||View On Amazon||View On Amazon||View On Amazon|
1 – Best Overall – Weldpro 200 Multi-Purpose Welder
This premium quality Multi-purpose welder is Weldpros flagship model. Gets consistent 5 Star reviews.
A 200 amp machine capable of MIG, TIG, and Arc/stick welding.
Gas weld steels and aluminum, flux core capable plus true lift tig make this Multi-function welder top value.
The Weldpro 200 is a three-in-one machine with MIG TIG and Stick welding capability all built-in. The Weldpro 200 is a dual voltage welder allowing the flexibility to weld almost anywhere.
If you’re in the market for a welder that can cover jobs in a small commercial workshop this welder is a perfect choice. Also, this machine is not out of place in a DIY home workshop and would cover almost any job you are likely to encounter.
The Tig function of the Weldpro 200 is top class, with many buyers opting for this machine purely for the TIG function alone. Great for auto repairs where often need for small precise welds are required. Also great in small manufacturing applications where TIG welds offer a neater more professional appearance.
As an all-around welder, the Weldpro 200 is a reliable workhorse and will compete with other machines that are twice the price. The welder is a well-engineered, robust well-built machine that will go the distance.
- MIG – Gas and Gasless, TIG, and Arc welding from a compact portable machine
- Amperages, MIG at 230 volts 40-200 Amps – 115 volts 40 – 120 amps.
- TIG 230 volts 15 – 200 amps, 115 volts 15 -120 amps. 30% at 200 Amp rated duty cycle.
- TIG with DC true lift capabilities
- Runs MIG wires, .023 .030 .035, Accomodates 4 inch or 8 inch spools
- Dual digital display
Comes complete with MIG cable and gun, TIG torch, ground clamp, flow meter, and spool gun – All are well-built components. Just add argon gas and you are good to go.
2 – Professional Power – Esab Rebel 215 Multi-Process Welder
The Esab EMP 215ic is The best-in-class MIG, Flux-Cored, TIG, Stick Multi-Process welder – Welds mild steel, aluminum, stainless steel.
- Lift TIG welding
- Smart MIG feature
- lightweight, highly portable
The Esab Rebel 215 is a top of the line three in one multi-use welder of professional quality. The 215 Rebel can deliver superb performance in all three functions of MIG. TIG and Stick welding types. Run the machine on any power with the AC DC switch feature. Comes complete with HF start for TIG in both AC and DC mode.
With its ‘smart’ feature, the machine will learn and adapt to the user’s different techniques and styles so that you get the same quality results with every weld, over and over. A fantastic feature for seasoned pros and beginners alike by reducing training times.
The Esab rebel 215 is reasonably light (49lbs) and compact allowing the portability for site work. It’s tough and durable for industry and commercial applications and for those DIYers who appreciate top-quality gear.
- MIG, Flux-Cored, Lift TIG, Stick welds
- Top-quality large TFT display screen
- Esab sMIG (“smart MIG”) feature
- Professional TWEECO accessories
- Cool 5 handle roll cage design, steel body construction
This is for serious welders who need a quality multi-process machine in industry or home workshop – this would be a top choice. It scores an impressive 4.8 out of 5 possible stars from real buyers.View On Amazon
Popular DIY Multi-Process Welder – Forney Easy Weld 140 MP
A well-priced DIY 3 in 1 Stick, MIG, and DC TIG Welder all in one machine. Forney is a USA manufacturer of quality welding equipment.
The Forney 140MP welder runs on 120-volts, delivering 140 AMPs. A great welder for DIYers, automotive, farm or ranch, and general repair and maintenance.
The Forney 140 Multi-Process welder is set up and ready to go with gasless flux core capability. With a useful 140 amps this machine will easily handle mild steel welds up to 1/4 inch thick.
Of course, you are not limited to flux core welding only, for MIG welding simply change the wire spool to solid wire, add your argon mix gas and you are good to go. Stick welders are also catered for and the stinger handpiece and earth clamp are provided.
DC Tig welding is also a function of the Forney 140 however you will need to buy the extra gear needed to get started, comprising of a TIG torch and tungstens, gas regulator, and gas.
Needless to say, the Forney 140MP is a versatile machine that once set up will be a great asset to any small business or home workshop.
- Welds up to 1/4 inch steel
- Uses 2lb or 10 lb wire spools
- Generator friendly
- Wire feed speed and voltage controls
- Gass or Gasless setup
- Stick weld up to 1/8 inch electrodes.
|Forney 140 MP||View On Amazon|
Best Flux Core/Gasless MIG Welders
|Top Pic||Close Second||Highly Recommended||Budget|
|Forney 261 FC Gasless||Lincoln K2278 Gasless||Hobart 100 Gasless||Sungold Gasless|
|Top-quality flux core welder from Forney USA||Lincolns fine welder reputation says it all||Another top performer from Hobart welders||Great beginners welder for Sungold|
|120V input, 140 AMP Output This is a great entry-level welder, DIY, auto repair, light fabrication, and farm maintenance, welds up to 1/4″ mild steels. wire feed & voltage control for the perfect weld!|
Uses 115v 20 amp household power, Weld up to 1/8 inch mild steel with flux core wire. Easy to set up and use, a full kit is ideal for beginners
Top-quality flux-cored welder for beginners or home shop, 115v input power, can weld mild steel up to 3/16 inch A perfect wire feed welder for the beginner or personal user. Runs on 115V input power, welds up to 3/16 in. Has the ability to take two spool sizes
110V/60HZ single phase Flux core wire welding Ideal mild steel.10 Speed Control, plus current Flow Setting. Comes with a mask and flux core wire
|View On Amazon||View On Amazon||View On Amazon||View On Amazon|
Forney 261 Easy Weld 140 Flux-Cored
For past years Forney is at work to manufacture marvel machines like their Easy Weld Flux Cored MIG welder. This machine is exceptionally lightweight and easy to use.
Note; This is a flux-cored only MIG welder and is suited to welding mild steels only. Also great for welding galvanized steel.
Features Of The Forney 140 MIG
Portable: This Mig Welder is extremely light and weighs only 19lbs. The inverter technology, as a result, makes it extremely compact and lightweight. Any welder who has a job that requires moving to different locations will find Forney’s Easy Weld very suitable for their profession.
Power: Forney’s 140 Mig Welder is a great power-saving appliance. It only uses 120 volts to produce an exceptionally nice sturdy arc. It gives a 140-ampere output while it has a duty cycle of 30% at 90 Amperes. You can weld up to ¼ inches of mild steel using the 140 Ampere current.
Build Up: The machine is well crafted. The strong sturdy build up enhances the overall durability of the machine. The outer case is made from high-quality metal that avoids the wear and tear of everyday welding. The welder is designed to be large enough to hold both 2 and 10-pound rolls of wire.
Usage: Forney’s Mig is just a breeze to use which makes it very suitable for beginner MIG welders. The machine has a finite voltage control and wire-speed control that helps you with the arcs. The Mig gun is light but sturdy.
What We Like About It
- Weighs only 19lbs, isn’t heavy on your muscles.
- It can be either used as a flux-cored welder or a MIG welder.
- Inverter Technology makes it compact and light in weight.
- Cuts on extra power and can work best at 120 volts.
- 30% Duty cycle at 90 Amperes.
- Perfect for beginners. Very easy to use.
- Finite Voltage Control.
- Wire Speed Control.
- The wire-speed feed rate is very slow compared to some others, approximately 3 inches per second.
Forney Easy weld Flux Core MIG Welder
Gasless flux core welding only – Best For Beginners.
Just another machine by Forney’s that would leave you awestruck. Forney’s engineers have worked on the design and the effort is exhibited in the work. The machine is pretty easy to work with and you can simply just switch it in your house powerboards.
Top Features of the Forney MIG
Power: Forney’s easy weld 125 accepts a voltage of 120 volts and uses it to produce arcs no less than a professional. The machine in return gives 125 Ampere output and also offers a 20% duty cycle at 80 Amperes.
Forney gives you the charge of selecting voltage. The high voltage options help in thin plate welding while the low voltage option aids you in welding thicker materials. It is designed to be generator friendly and can be connected with a suitable power providing supply.
Portability: While it does an excellent job in welding, it is also pretty easy to carry around. Unlike most MIG welders, this one is not very bulky and has a handle installed for the operators’ convenience.
Safety: Forney’s appliances are equipped with sensors that keep a check on the temperature rise of the machine. Incase this beast overheats, the sensors automatically turn off the machine to prevent any blasts from occurring.
What We Like About The Forney 299
- It offers a large storage area for storing wires at the side of the welder.
- Easy to set up and use. Perfect for beginners.
- Works best at a voltage of 120 Volts.
- Durable plastic body.
- Lightweight and plastic handle to ease its portability.
- 2lb spool wire is included in the price.
- 20% Duty cycle at 80 Amperes.
- Internal Thermal Sensors that keep a check on overheating.
- This machine is not suitable for welding stainless steel.
- A low range of Voltage selecting options available.
What Are The Advantages Of A MIG Welder
These versatile welding machines are now very lightweight and portable with flexibility unmatched in any other type of welder. Mig welders can weld mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. They can be used to weld mild steel using gas, or for fieldwork gasless flux-cored wire can be used.
Another bonus with many newer Mig welding machines is that they are multi-function welders. With these multi-function welding machines, you can MIG weld, TIG weld, and use standard electrodes all from one unit.
Whether you are at home or need it at the construction site, the MIG welder is an excellent choice when fusing metals together. With practice, they are very easy to use and will give brilliant results.
How Do Mig Welders Work
The term MIG stands for Metal Inert gas. People also refer to it as Gas Metal Arc Welders or GMAW and wire feed welders. The gas used when MIG welding works as a shield at the weld site and prevents any air contamination allowing a smooth even weld. It is the most widely used welding method for construction, manufacturing, and DIY.
They are most efficient and offer more speed than conventional arc welding due to the continuous wire feed.
The best MIG welders utilize a spool of welding wire that allows for a continuous feed of welding wire to the job once the trigger on the welding gun is pulled. Once welding begins an arc forms between the work and the welding wire electrode, fusing the two metals together. At the same time, the shielding gas is also fed to the weld area keeping the weld area pure.
These MIG welders are great for home use and are the best entry-level welder if you are just starting out, which means they are quite easy to use and give a performance that is professional as well. While stick welders are also considered by many as beginners welders, you will find that the best MIG welder will surpass the versatility of a standard stick welder.
Out of all the different welding types, MIG welding for most welders is preferred for general purpose use.
Welder Terms And General Considerations When Choosing A MIG
Input Power – Input Volts
This is the power you have available from your home or workshop power socket. Usually 120 volts or 240 volts. This will determine the size of Mig welder you can use without resetting your fuse all the time.
For example, if you have a standard home power outlet of 120 volts, plus a standard fuse of say 15 – 20 amps, you would be able to run a Mig welder of up to 140 Amps quite comfortably. A MIG that is rated higher, say 200 Amps will require more power (240v) to run the machine effectively. Using a high-power welder on a low amperage circuit will likely cause the machine to trip out your power circuit when welding for longer periods, or thicker metals.
Amperage – Measurement of power
How much power you need your welder to have is determined in Amps. The higher the Amps of your Mig welder the thicker steel you will be able to weld. For example, if you need to know what Mig welder is best for auto bodywork, then a MIG with a rating of only 30 Amps would do.
For thicker material, you need higher Amperage. As a general rule, you need about 30 amps to weld every .042″ or 1mm of steel thickness. If you want to weld 1/8 inch plate or 3 mm you need 90 Amps, 1/4′ or 6mm you need 180 Amps, etc.
Power Settings –
Power settings are important because you may intend to work on a variety of materials like Aluminum and steel plus thicknesses of materials. Go for a minimum of four welder power settings or, at least a variable control setting.
Duty Cycle –
The duty cycle refers to the current that a welder can produce within a certain time. A welder of say 150 Amps that has a duty cycle 30 %, that has been used on a continuous weld for 3 minutes, would need to be rested for about 7 minutes before the next weld. Three minutes of continuous welding is more likely to be used in a manufacturing capacity so for the DIY welder it is probably not such an issue.
Transformer or Inverter For A MIG
Inverters used in a welder tend to be more electrically efficient. This means that you are likely to get more power out of the welder for less amperage input. This is useful if you are working using the standard home power outlet. Transformers, on the other hand, while still the basis for many Mig welders are heavier and require more power to run. This, however, would not be considered as a deal-breaker, inverter or transformers still deliver the same welding function.
Welding Wire Spool Capacity
If you are in a workshop situation having a decent size welding wire spool is definitely a plus. For general use, I would consider a machine that can take at least a 10-pound 8-inch roll of wire. You can also use smaller 4-inch wire spools of about 1.5 lb in these machines. Smaller spools are ideal if you have site work. The gasless wire can be used here, this will make the machine light to handle and easy to set up as there is no shielding gas to cart around. The best Mig welder will handle both sizes of the spool.
Which Shielding Gas Do I Need
You will need shielding gas if you are going to weld Aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel using standard welding wires. Shielding gas protects the weld pool from atmospheric contamination and will stabilize and increase the smoothness of the weld. For welding aluminum, you will need pure Argon gas. For welding stainless steel and mild steel, you can use a mix of argon and other gasses. A gas supplier can set you in the right direction here.
Welding With Flux Cored Wire ( Gasless )
You can also weld without shielding gas, this is more suited to welding mild steel whereas you use flux-cored welding wire. Here the welding wire contains the shielding gas. I find welding using gasless wire is ideal for welding galvanized steels. For general mild steel, the weld is ok with flux wire however you do need to wire brush or grind off the flux residue that appears on the weld.
If your welding project requires a smooth finish and perhaps needs painting or powder-coating the I would opt for using standard mild steel wire and a shielding gas mix. The weld will look better and require little cleanup.
Shielding gas can be found in small or large size containers, The best way to utilize your welder and gas container is to buy or build a welder/gas cart.
Ordinary welders and even TIG welders can be a bit slow and take a long time but a MIG welder allows you better speed and performance. Also, the MIG welder requires no cleanup and gives you a higher rate of productivity.
Conclusion And General Considerations
If you are on the lookout for a good MIG welder that will go the distance then picking one from this list will be a smart choice. These are some of the best MIG welders on the market on the basis of durability, operation, and features. Be sure to adhere to all safety measures when doing any kind of welding, protective clothing, gloves, welding boots, and a quality welding helmet are a must.
Of course, there are many other MIG welders on the market with a huge variety of power settings and capabilities. In choosing which MIG welder is best, consider the work you intend to be doing. While these welders listed are mostly for DIY and small workshop work, some are also suited to light work in an industrial setting.