MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas, is often referred to as Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW. You might also hear it called wire welding. In MIG welding, a thin wire acts as the electrode.
This wire is fed from a spool, mounted on a gun or inside the welding machine, which then joins two base materials together. Shielding gas is then passed through the welding gun and acts as a protectant to the weld pool from potential contamination (Source).
MIG welders are often used by factories and metal shops, as well as hobbyists and welding enthusiasts in their garage (Source). MIG welders can be used on various metals, including steel, aluminum, and nickel.
Before using a MIG welder, one has to prepare the metal, wire, and gas selection. You’ll also have to check your cables, set gas flow, check tension, and inspect the equipment for any replacement parts needed. MIG welders are used in repairing tray tables, doorbells, firepits, benches, signs, patio arbors, and more.
Prior to buying a MIG welder, you’ll want to consider if you are going to use the push or pull technique, what you’ll be welding, the welder’s power, duty cycle, feed speed, and more. Also, MIG guns can be used in manual welding, semi-automatic welding, or automatic machine welding.
One can use MIG welders to have fun, earn some income or as a full-time job or gig. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, we’ll help you select the best with our MIG welder reviews.
How Much Do MIG Welders Cost?
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Do MIG Welders Cost?
- 2 Comparing The Best MIG Welders
- 3 1. Hobart 500559 Handler – Best MIG Welder for the Money
- 4 2. Lincoln Electric Powering – Best For Portable MIG Welding
- 5 3. Hobart Handler MVP – Most Versatile MIG Welder
- 6 4. Everlast PowerARC 200ST – Best Home MIG Welder and Shops
- 7 5. Forney 309 140 – Best Budget-Friendly Welder
- 8 6. 2017 Everlast MIG140 MIG Welder 110/120 Volts Flux 140AMP—The Lightest MIG Welder
- 9 7. Lotus MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder—Best MIG Welder for Beginners
- 10 8. Welder, MIG/Flux Core, 120V, 90A @ 18.5 DVC (Millermatic 141 Model)—Best Welder for Hobbyists
- 11 9. Hobart 500536001 IronMan 230W/DP-3545-20 Spool Gun—Best 220/230/240V MIG Welder
- 12 10. MIG Welder, Handheld, 120VAC (Lincoln Electric)—Best Welder for Domestic Use
- 13 What to Consider Before Buying a MIG Welder
- 14 Ready To Buy The Best MIG Welder?
MIG Welders can vary in price. The best MIG welder for home use may vary from the best welder for the money, but all options on this list are good for portable MIG welding.
The best MIG welders cost between $330 on the low end and $800+ on the high end, but read the MIG welder reviews in order to get the best MIG welder for the money.
What add-ons you get will also impact the price. Some MIG welders come with features like a rack, pliers and gel, or pliers and rack, but these extra features cost more than the base price for the MIG welder.
Depending on the seller, you can purchase multiple portable MIG welders in packs of four or five. These packs cost upwards of $2,000 and are ideal for a small business involving portable MIG welding.
Comparing The Best MIG Welders
|Hobart 500559 Handler|
|Lincoln Electric Powering|
|Hobart Handler 210 MVP|
|Everlast PowerARC 200ST|
|Forney 309 140|
1. Hobart 500559 Handler – Best MIG Welder for the MoneyThe Hobart 500559 Handler Mig Welder is a sturdy and versatile Mig welder. The welder expertly handles any household projects with great performance.
It is a perfect choice for welding thin materials such as aluminum, stainless steel and such like metals. With a maximum welding thickness of 0.75 in, this MIG welder is a perfect choice for maintenance welding, autobody work, and farm equipment repair.
Nonetheless, this MIG welder can also work expertly for industrial capacities. It is a perfect plug and play machine with great working effectiveness.
Setting up the Hobart 500559 is quite easy. It comes with a chart that guides you in the whole setting up process. This makes it easy matching material thickness and the wire type.
When it comes to preparation, users only need to read the knobs and adjust the voltage. Moving around with this MIG welder is pretty easy. It runs on 110V power that is common in all households thus eliminates the need of having complicated regulators and gas tanks.
Additionally, the 5-position voltage control makes it easy to adjust the arc based on the thickness of the metal. This MIG welder also features one of the best safety arrangements in the world.
2. Lincoln Electric Powering – Best For Portable MIG WeldingThe Lincoln Electric Powering MIG Welder is the best welder for small workers, instructors or farmers looking to undertake MIG fusing as well as stick, flux-coated and TIG welding.
Like other advanced MIG welders, there is a lot of awe about with the Lincoln powering welder. Starting off are the push and turn digital controls with a color display screen making it easy to set up, besides an easy and intuitive operation.
Its lightweight and compact nature, weighing only 62 pounds, makes it one of the best portable MIG welders for any job at a small shop or at home. Its construction also features a sturdy metal sheet construction and an all-metal wire drive.
Lincoln Electric Powering Mig Welder is perfect for both MIG welding and flux-cored welding, perhaps making it among the most versatile welder present currently. Besides, it is the best welder for a welding novice, providing great experience as a starter.
Like other high-end brands, it had dual voltage inputs, supporting both 120V and 230V. This machine is an excellent choice for welding thicker materials requiring large power inputs in small shops.
Buyers get a 3-year warranty from the manufacturers, perhaps a sign of manufacturers standing behind the quality of this MIG welder as one of the best welders out there.
3. Hobart Handler MVP – Most Versatile MIG WelderWelders looking for a versatile welding machine should consider the Hobart Handler MVP Mig Welder. For exceptional versatility, it is a dual voltage MIG welder capable of running on both 115V and 230V, perhaps alternated based on the task at hand.
Power cables of this MIG welder feature interchangeable plugs that allow welders to switch between the two volts. The Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder provides a great mix of quality, durability, and affordability.
It is a great machine for both experts and novice welders looking to advance their welding skills. With a maximum duty cycle of 30% at 150A, this machine can weld various metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, and steel.
This welding machine is compact with a somewhat lightweight of 87 pounds. Despite being comparably higher than similar models of the same caliber, it is quite easy to transport and a good MIG welder for portability.
Besides the dual voltage input, the Hobart Handler MVP MIG Welder key features include a built-in gun control circuitry that alleviates common feeding issues associated with aluminum wires, an easy to access polarity changeover, 7 voltage settings, built-in contactor among others.
Using this machine is easy. Hobart includes a quick reference guide that helps novice welders navigate the machine easily. The guide details on how welders should set up with optimal settings for common materials and thicknesses.
4. Everlast PowerARC 200ST – Best Home MIG Welder and ShopsThe Everlast PowerARC 200ST MIG Welder is one of the best welders with the capability to handle most common welding tasks at home, small shops or at the farm.
The welder is a commercial and industrial unit that has all the power a professional welder could need. Everlast PowerARC 200ST MIG Welder expertly works on stainless steel electrodes with ease as well as other stick welding rods including cast iron, aluminum, and hard facing.
This MIG welder features an E6010 welding capacity with a dedicated connection port at the front panel for use in shipyards, construction sites, pipelines, pressure and container vessels as well as portable repair jobs.
There are E7018, E7014 and E7024 stainless electrodes are perfect for excellent low spatter arc performance. An automatic hot start and automatic arc force control give the users enough control over the working ability of this machine.
If you need to TIG weld with this machine, ensure that you purchase the gas TIG torch valve and a gas regulator. The 17V series TIG touch is a perfect choice for this unit’s TIG functioning.
5. Forney 309 140 – Best Budget-Friendly WelderThe Forney 309 140 Mig Welder is a no-frills affordable welder with great features for any welding enthusiast. It is a compact, odd-job oriented and hobby machine that has everything you need.
It is used primarily for MIG welding but can be used as flux-cored welding as well. The machine is better suited for welding relatively thicker and tough materials. It perfectly welds steel, aluminum, stainless among other metal alloys.
However, note that it welds a maximum of 0.75in thick metal. Unlike previous Forney models, the Forney 309 140 Mig Welder comes with advanced and overall improved design.
This includes the integrated feet, included torch wrap and built-in strain relief. The presence of the integrated feet ensures that your welding machine stands on an even surface. It raises the welder off the ground, making it stable and safe.
The Euro connect MIG gun makes it painless and quick to replace the torch. This connector saves welders much time as they handle tasks at hand. Besides, the machine comes with a 10 feet long cable for enhanced convenience.
Forney 309 140 Mig Welder’s cast aluminum drive system makes it perfect for hobbyist and weekend warriors who need a machine with a long lifespan.
6. 2017 Everlast MIG140 MIG Welder 110/120 Volts Flux 140AMP—The Lightest MIG Welder
At only 28 pounds the Everlast PowerMIG 140E is incredibly light. As a result, this unit is one of the best portable MIG welders and perfect for use in confined spaces.
It has a unique IGBT Inverter design that facilitates a high amp output and a better duty cycle when compared to transformer-based MIG welders. Additionally, it is energy efficient thanks to the low amp draw.
The Everlast PowerMIG 140E has straightforward controls that are responsive and easy to use. However, it lacks a door chart for easy selection of settings. Consequently, you must have prior knowledge of how to correctly set up the MIG welder.
The welder does not come with a flux-cored function. For this reason, if you intend to do some flux core welding, then you have to purchase a separate drive roller or look for a MIG welder that has a flux-cored function.
Although the welder is recommended for home and garage use for welding mild steel and stainless steel, it can also weld aluminum if you add a spool gun. Moreover, it has enough power to weld ¼ inch with excellent results.
The 110v input ensures you can plug it directly into your plug socket at home. That facilitates ease of use and is convenient. Finally, The Everlast PowerMIG 140E has an infinite control of wire speed and voltage. That means you can fine-tune the settings to get the best possible results.
7. Lotus MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder—Best MIG Welder for BeginnersThanks to the 10-minute setup time, the Lotus MIG140 is the best welder for beginners. Also, it has two digital displays which show arc volts and wire inches per minute. The displays facilitate ease of use and contribute to making this MIG welder the best welder for beginners.
The welder has a control panel on the front of the machine which is both user-friendly and easy to use. The 2017 upgrade on the Lotus MIG140 added three key features. One is a 2T/4T switch which facilitates convenience during long time welding.
The second feature is the Ground Cable Quick Connector. It makes it easy to switch between + and -. The third and final feature included in the upgrade is the capability for full adjustment. The adjustment system has a digital wire speed display which reduces the chance of crashing and tangling.
When it comes to welding output, the Lotus MIG140 can weld stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum and a host of other metals. It has a welding capacity of 18 Gauge-3/16” for stainless steel, 18 Gauge-3/16” for mild steel and 1/8” or thinner for aluminum.
Note that the Lotus MIG140 capacity combined with its power guarantees industrial quality welding. As a result, it can be used by both professionals and home users.
The MIG welder has a high quality aluminum wire feeder which is stable, and it facilitates a better user experience. It utilizes a transformer technology which makes it durable and reliable. Finally, the welder easily connects to your existing 110v wall circuit.
8. Welder, MIG/Flux Core, 120V, 90A @ 18.5 DVC (Millermatic 141 Model)—Best Welder for HobbyistsThe Millermatic 141 was designed for hobbyists and professionals as a replacement for the already popular 140 model. The improvements include ease of use and state of the art control thanks to the new auto-set feature.
After activating the auto-set, you only need to select the wire diameter and the material thickness at the front of the machine to start welding. As a result, you save time and beginners find it easy to use.
Note that if you still prefer manual setup, you can use the chart on the inside of the door to do so. The manual mode provides for flexibility because you get to select ten wire speed settings and infinite voltage control.
Millermatic 141 allows for the welding of a 24 gauge all the way up to 3/16” steel and stainless steel. Also, you can weld aluminum from 14 gauge to 18 gauge and reach a full 3/16” with flux-cored. Such a capacity makes the welder incredibly powerful.
The Millermatic 141 has a duty cycle of 20% at 90A and 100% at 40A. That means if you weld for two minutes at 90A, the unit will require a cooling down period of eight minutes.
The welder is compatible with a standard power outlet thanks to the 120V requirement. That makes it convenient. In addition, infinite voltage control guarantees maximum control and high-quality weld.
Notable Improvements To The Millermatic 141
Finally, it is essential to note that in addition to the center handle, the Millermatic 141 has a front and rear handle. As a result, the welder is easy to carry when transporting from one place to another.
However, remember that at 51 pounds, the welder is not exactly lightweight. It is recommended that you use a wheeled cart to avoid potential injuries.
9. Hobart 500536001 IronMan 230W/DP-3545-20 Spool Gun—Best 220/230/240V MIG WelderThe Hobart Ironman is powered by 230V AC input and a 50 Amp breaker. As a result, it is more suited to industrial jobs or large workshops. Note that the 230V power requirement means the MIG welder cannot operate on the standard outlet of a household power supply.
The MIG welder can weld mild quality steel, aluminum and stainless steel of up to ½ inch thickness in just a single pass. That makes the Hobart Ironman incredibly powerful. Also, the unit has 12 different settings. As a result, you can adjust the thickness down to 24-gauge sheet metal.
The multiple settings also make it easy to control the speed of the wire feed. In addition, thanks to the Hobart Ironman superior arc quality, the welds are both precise and spatter free.
The Hobart Ironman has an output that ranges from 30A to 250A. Consequently, it is versatile because it can be used by both professionals who require a large output and hobbyists who prefer lower output.
Note that the unit has a 60% duty cycle at 175A which means it has a lot of power. Unlike most of the welders discussed above, the Hobart Ironman is quite heavy at 185 pounds. Therefore, moving it around is a hassle, and for that reason, it is not recommended for outdoor sites.
However, bear in mind that the unit has wheels to aid in ease of transportation. Just remember that the wheels are not designed for rough roads. Finally, it is essential to note that the Hobart Ironman is not compatible with generators.
10. MIG Welder, Handheld, 120VAC (Lincoln Electric)—Best Welder for Domestic UseThe MIG Handheld Welder is portable, and it only needs 120V which is readily available. Consequently, it is ideal for domestic use.
The unit has two knob controls. As a result, you can easily switch between MIG or flux-cored depending on the material. Regarding power, it has a peak output power of 140A. That means the unit can comfortably weld mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
The MIG Handheld Welder has a fully adjustable drive system which helps to reduce tangling and crashing. Regarding capacity, it can weld up to 3/16” thick materials.
Note that you can compose the unit for gas-free flux core welding or gas-shielding MIG welding. Consequently, the MIG Handheld Welder is versatile. The 50-500 IPM wire helps facilitate feed speed control.
The welder has a brass-to-brass gun connection for enhanced conductivity. It also has a cast aluminum body which makes it rigid and in turn aids with wire alignment.
What to Consider Before Buying a MIG Welder
Regardless of whether you are looking to replace your welder or buying it for the first time, finding the best welder can seem quite overwhelming.
Which brand is the best? How much power is enough? What specific features should you consider? How about the cost?
This is further compounded by the fact that there are several MIG welders present in the market currently.
Therefore, finding the best MIG welder for the money requires that you check through some MIG welder reviews as well as consider specific factors.
Some of the factors to consider include:
Understanding How MIG Welders Work
Before purchasing a MIG welder, it is essential first to understand how they work. This is especially true for beginners and hobbyists who lack experience.
Essentially, MIG welding involves feeding a continuous solid wire electrode through a welding gun and into the welding pool to join two materials together. To protect the weld pool from contamination; a shielding gas is also sent through the welding gun.
The MIG welding process facilitates fabrication and maintenance/repairs on materials whose thickness ranges from 24-gauge to ½ inch.
By following the instructions that come with a particular welder or adhering to some basic advice, it is possible to become a competent MIG welder. With that in mind, here are four key things to keep in mind
Prepare The Metal Before Welding
Note that the MIG wire is not designed to combat dirt, oil rust or any other contaminant. Consequently, you must clean the wire down to the bare metal using a metal brush or grinder before striking an arc. That way, you will get a cleaner weld.
Also, always ensure the work clamp connects to clean metal. Not doing so will give rise to an electrical impedance which will, in turn, affect the wire feeding performance.
Also, anytime you are working with thicker metals, always bevel the joint. That will facilitate a stronger weld because the weld will fully penetrate to the base metal.
Select The Right Wire
If you happen to be welding steel, then there are two kinds of wires you can use. The ER70S-3 is ideal for all-purpose welding. However, if the steel is dirty or rusty, then the ER70S-6 is more fitting.
When it comes to wire diameter, the 0.30-inch diameter is perfect for all-around welding. However, for thinner materials, you need to use the 0.23-inch diameter so that you can reduce the heat input.
If on the other hand the material you intend to weld is thicker than average and you plan to use high heat levels, then a 0.35-inch wire is preferable. You can also use a 0.45-inch wire if your welder permits.
Select The Right Shielding Gas
Usually, a 75/25 or C25 gas blend is considered the best shielding gas for all-purpose welding. It is a blend of 75% Argon and 25% Carbon Dioxide. It produces the least amount of spatter, has the best bead appearance and it eliminates burn-through on thinner metals.
Note that you can also use 100% Carbon Dioxide because it provides for deeper penetration. Unfortunately, a hundred percent carbon dioxide increases spatter, and the bead is rough.
Decide If You Will Use the Push or Pull Technique
When welding, you can either use the push or pull technique. The push technique is also known as the forehand involves pushing the gun ahead of the weld puddle. The arc force is, therefore, directed away from the weld puddle.
The technique facilitates lower penetration and a flatter bead. The pull or backhand technique involves dragging the welding gun away from the deposited metal. That means when you hold the gun, it is pointed back at the weld puddle. Often, it produces deeper penetration but a narrow bead.
With that in mind, it means the technique you use will be determined by the level of penetration you desire.
What Will You Be Welding?
This is perhaps the first thing to consider before buying a welding machine. There are several applications of welders. Is it for small home repairs or industrial projects?
Welding machines come with certain specifications that guide in deciding the best, suiting your anticipated task. The chart below outlines some of the basic guides.
|Fencing and trailer frames|
|Ranch, farm and landscapes|
|Bicycles and lawnmowers|
|Boats, motorcycles and cars|
|General and heavy repair|
MIG Welder Power
There are two factors to consider when it comes to Mig welder power. You should check for the power output and input. Power output is the first thing to consider.
To determine this, it is important to know what activity you will be doing and how often. We believe that 100 amps is enough for small home projects.
The minimum power output for a good welder should be about 30 amps, which can work for 18-gauge metal.
If you need a dual voltage MIG welder, make sure you read the feature list. Some of the best welders on this list are dual voltage, but not all. Read the welder reviews to be sure.
Duty cycle simply refers to the amount of time within 10 minutes the welder can operate without overheating. For instance, the Hobart Handler 10 has a mark of 20% at 90A.
This implies that you can weld for 2 minutes at 90 minutes before resting the machine for the next 8 minutes.
The lower the amperage the more the duty cycle. Understanding this is overly important especially if you plan to weld on a long term. Some high-end welders have an automatic shut-off feature that protects the system by shutting it down automatically.
A welding machine’s feed speed is of importance as the power. This describes the speed at which the wire is fed to the gun through the machine.
A slow feed speed results in an insufficient and uneven weld whereas a fast speed leaves the wire extending from the gun resulting in a lot of spatter.
A perfect feed speed leaves the wire going fast enough to provide a consistent arc with a satisfying sizzle sound. Cheap Mig welders have separate feed speed and power settings.
On the other hand, the best machines feature automatic speed settings that automatically adjust the speed depending on the power.
Other crucial factors to consider include:
- Presence of safety features such as thermal overload protection and an in-built contactor
- Portability, size, and weight of the machine
- The type of shielding gas
- Warranty provided by manufacturers
- Cost of the machine
Ready To Buy The Best MIG Welder?
Finding the best MIG welder certainly doesn’t come easy. You will need to understand the various features and functions of each model to get the best welder to fit your needs.
The welder reviews above outline the five best MIG welders on the market. It will be up to you to compare each welder based on power, duty cycle, and feed speed. We also have a review of the greatest TIG welders, if you’re looking for one.
As always, good luck with your welding project!