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.
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?
- 1 A quick look at the best MIG welders available For DIY:
- 2 #1 – Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder
- 3 Best Used For
- 4 Hobart 140 Mig Welder Features
- 5 #2 – Hobart Handler 210 MIG Welder
- 6 Great Welder For;
- 7 What We Like About The Hobart 210
- 8 # 3 – Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
- 9 What We Like
- 10 # 4 Millermatic 211
- 11 # 4 – Forney Easy Weld 140 Flux-Cored
- 12 # 6 – Forney Easy weld 125 MIG Welder
- 13 What Are The Advantages Of A MIG Welder
- 14 How Do Mig Welders Work
- 15 Welder Terms And General Considerations When Choosing A MIG
- 16 Transformer or Inverter For A MIG
- 17 Welding Wire Spool Capacity
- 18 Which Shielding Gas Do I Need
- 19 Welding With Flux Cored Wire ( Gasless )
- 20 Conclusion And General Considerations
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:
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.
#1 – 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 current as low as 25 amperes or as high as 140 amperes. This medium-duty machine works amazingly well with 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 are likely to be breezes 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 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)
#2 – Hobart Handler 210 MIG Welder
Hobart has integrated technology in their appliances and no doubt have created wonders. Their products display versatility and are great machines for beginner level welders.
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 the 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.
- 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.
# 3 – 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.
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
- 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.—————————————————————————————–
# 4 Millermatic 211
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 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
- 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
# 4 – Forney Easy Weld 140 Flux-Cored
From 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 that 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.
- Wire speed feed rate is very slow compared to some others, approximately 3 inches per second.
# 6 – Forney Easy weld 125 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 125 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 of 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 the 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 a beginners welder, you will find that the best MIG welder will surpass the versatility of a standard stick welder.
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.
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 welder is best, consider the work you intend to be doing. While these welders listed are mostly for DIY work, some are also suited to light work in an industrial setting.