Besides welding skills, another essential feature all successful welders – a person who specializes in fusing metals – have in common is a high-performing welding machine. A popular machine among beginners and professionals alike is the Metal Inert Gas or MIG welding, a subset of the GMAW or Gas Metal Arc Welding process. Unlike most of the other types of welders, an MIG welding machine is easy to learn and master, relatively less expensive, and generally more portable, making it a highly coveted device. This article presents a complete guide to finding the best Mig welders and reviews of some of the best MIG welding machines out there.
The best welding machine is one that meets the specific needs of the welder’s projects. The following considerations will guide you in making the right choice.
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If you are a beginner, there are certain features you should look for in a welding machine. Your ideal machine should have the ability to automate the electrical output, wire feed, and voltage and handle various weld types and transfers. More importantly, the machine should have straightforward controls that will allow for easy manipulation.
It is crucial to use a welder with a simple and standard power input – a welder that has the standard outlet 110-120 volt input should suffice for over 90% of your welding jobs. Most MIG welding is low voltage, so you won’t need higher input devices or spend more money on a multi-voltage input machine.
Needless to say, the level of quality offered by a welding machine is paramount to your considerations. While consistent and quality welds require continuous practice, buying a good welder goes a long way to making them happen sooner.
These factors are crucial when deciding on the welding machine to acquire, particularly when most of your projects require you to move around. However, if they reverse is the case – if you are going to mount your welder and bring the work to it – the weight and portability may not matter to you as much. A welder that weighs 50 pounds or less is considered portable and ideal for carting around on a whim, while 100 pounds is regarded as unsuitable for regular movement.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional welder, having a welding machine that is easy to set up and use is valuable. That said, you should look for a welder with simple controls, easily followed instructions, and the ability for some leniency in the settings is well worth a slightly higher investment price.
Hobart has built an impressive reputation over the years and thus a respectable name in the welding space. Its Handler 210 is an industrial-grade 220/240 volt MIG welder that’s able to weld aluminum perfectly. To ensure the safety of its users, the machine’s electrode stays electrically cold until you pull the trigger. Another essential feature of the Hobart Handler 210 MIG Welder is its ease of use. It is spoon gun ready, which means all you have to do is plug in the spool gun, set polarity, load up a spool of aluminum wire and start welding.
|It is an Industrial-quality aluminum drive||Adjustment for wire spool requires a wrench|
|It is spoon gun ready||Maximum aluminum thickness is 3/16-inch|
|Not heavy at 65 pounds|
|It comes with a Dual-gauge regulator|
The Eastwood MIG 135 industrial 110V Welder gives you value for your money. It offers infinite adjustment from 25-135 amps, enough range for 24 gauge sheet metal to a 1/4-inch steel plate, and a setup chart on the case cover. Similar to Hobart, it spools gun compatible and can be used to weld aluminum, with a 1/4-inch maximum thickness.
The Eastwood MIG 135 industrial 110V Welder is a versatile, easy-to-use 110-volt machine and a great choice for building roll cages or doing chassis work.
|Industry-grade Tweco-type torch||Its wire drive is plastic|
|It is spool gun compatible||Its flux core drive costs extra|
|Offers infinite adjustment controls and setup chart on machine door|
|It mounts both 4- and 8-inch spools|
The Lotos MIG140 140 Amp welder is a complete package. It is built with sturdy materials to withstand little accidents in the workspace, offers a great price – you can take it home for under $300- and it comes with essential accessories for someone getting started. What’s more, the device performs consistently well and also comes with a 1-year warranty – sounds too good to be true, right?
It is very affordable Significant wire feed issues
It can be used for multiple purposes Offer durability It comes with a variety of automatic wire feeder
This machine is one of the best MIG welders for beginners. It is light and portable, easy to use and set up, and offers a simplified dial control to make the learning curve much smaller. Unfortunately, the Easy Weld 261 isn’t suitable for journeymen welders and experts. If you are setting up a small shop in your home or want a portable machine to learn on, the Forney model is your best bet.
|Exceptionally lightweight – only 19 pounds.||It isn’t well suited for serious jobs or professional welders.|
|Designed for novices||¼ inch is its maximum welding capacity|
The Hobart Ironman 240 welder is an industry-grade device that offers a wide range of power from 30 to 280 amps in a heavy-duty American-made chassis and a “soft arc” technology for an easier striking, more spatter-free arc. Aluminum welders will find the machine very useful as it comes with a SpoolRunner 200 spool gun for a few hundred extra bucks.
|It is very similar to Miller 252 but cheaper||It is unable to run off of a generator|
|Its control knobs easy to use with gloves|
|It can be adjusted for different materials|
The Lincoln Electric Pro MIG welder is one of the best professional welding machines in the market. It has brass-to-brass connections, a solid metal wire drive, a 220v / 240-volt input, and many other features that accentuate its professional quality. Perhaps the machine’s greatest advantage is that it can be weld on everything from thin sheet metal on a car grille all the way up to frame modifications on the same vehicle, including metal up to ½-inch thick.
|It is spool gun ready||It only runs on 208/220/240-volt input, so not as portable as a 110v model.|
|It offers a durable cast aluminum wire feed drive|
|It comes with gasless and MIG nozzles|
|Its Diamond Core makes the arc more forgiving|
The Millermatic 211 MIG Welder is another incredible professional welder. Not only is it able to run from 110 or 240 inputs, but when connected to the 240 sides, it delivers a 40 percent duty cycle at 150 amps. On household 110, it delivers a 20 percent duty cycle at 115 amps. hanks to its lightweight, it’s perfect for jobs that require a lot of movement.
|It is lightweight||Some welders feel the grounding clamp is too cheap|
|It offers a 120/240-volt input||Some units have a faulty wire feed stool|
|It doesn’t produce much sound when running|
|Features a solid metal wire drive, professional power, and dual-input versatility|
It’s common knowledge that welding can be a challenging undertaking, especially without the right tools. This is why we created this guide. It contains some of the best MIG welding machines available, their feature, pros, and cons, along with factors to consider when in the market for a MIG welder. So whether you are a novice or an expert, this primer is relevant to you. You might also consider a TIG welder for your project. Check out our Best TIG Welders article.