One of the most important equipment to have as a welder or hobbyist is the MIG welder. This simple tool offers you the option to work with diverse metals with ease. The Best MIG Welder models are portable, affordable, durable, and easy to use.
The number of these products is on the increase in the market. Thus, it becomes more difficult for you to know the right model to buy. Here, we’ll consider some of the best value mig welder brands for beginners and professionals. Besides, we’ll provide you with details of each of the products and things to consider before shopping.
So, if you’re not sure of the model to buy, you can check our top 10 mig welder models below.
MIG or Metal Inert Gas is a welding process that allows you to join two base metals using an electrode and a wire. The electrode or mig wire melts as heat is applied to form an adhesive. This liquid that flow is what joins the metals.
The welding gun produces an inert gas that shields the joint from contaminants in the atmosphere. Most of this best wire feed welder models do not need welding rods making the welding process faster. The whole operation is simple enough for you to use despite your low skills.
A good mig welder allows you to work on metals like aluminum, stainless steel, and nickel irrespective of the thickness. It produces smooth joints at a faster rate. It can operate in both semi-auto and full auto modes.
You’ll need a wire drive system, welding gun, inert gas tank, and power source for your mig welding. The wire drive system draws the electrode out from the spool for it to pass through the welding gun. This process generate heat thus, the need for a cooling system. So, if you’re using a water-cooled welding gun, you’ll need a water source.
Whether you prefer a TIG or a MIG welder, choosing such a device may not be as easy as you think. Don’t worry, this mig welder buying guide has everything you need for a safe buy.
How Did We Pick the Best?
Besides our years of experience with some of the best rated mig welder models on the market, we searched the web for information on these products. After 20 hours of research, we could list the 20 best mig welder brands available. Then, we bought and started testing some of them. Since we couldn’t test all the mig welders ourselves, we engaged some community-based volunteers to assist us.
We compared the results of our findings with that of the volunteers to find out their reliability. Besides, we consulted with persons who’d several years of experience with these machines.
Finally, we collated the results from the tests, research, and consultations. We ranked the products by their features, price, usability, durability, and warranty. This helped us to prepare the list of the top 10 mig welder models on sale. Also, we searched other popular online shops like Amazon to see if the reviews and ratings from the users agree with our list.
From our results, we are confident that our mig welder recommendations are the best you’ll find on the market.
Things to Consider When Buying a MIG Welder
Now that you have a little idea about a mig welder, it is important to know the best option to buy. So, knowing the following features and aspects of the top rated mig welder models will help you to make the right decision.
1. Welding Processes
MIG welders can either come with flux-cored or multi-function welding.
- Flux-Cored Welding – This welding process allows you to perform the welding operation without an extra gas cylinder. The only disadvantage is the residue that you’ll remove with hand.
- Multi-function Welding – This welder allows you to switch between two welding processes at any time. It is very useful when you’re working on a project that needs different welders or techniques. It is also saves time and cost. This is because the two processes are in one machine.
2. Input Voltage
Each of the top mig welder models operates at an input voltage level which might be different from your power outlet. But, you can choose to buy mig welder models with dual voltages. So, what are these voltage range? These include:
This is the best mig welder for home use since you can connect the plug to your power outlet. But, its output power is low which makes it only suitable for welding thin or soft metals. Thus, you’ll need to increase the power to weld thicker metals.
The 220 Volt welder is perfect for welding thicker metals. But, you’ll need to install a 220 Volt power outlet when using it in your home. It is the ideal welder for outdoor projects, especially where you cannot access the 110 Volt outlet.
3. Duty Cycle
The efficiency of the machine is a product of its duty cycle. It determines the length of time you’ll use the machine per session of the weld. The duty cycle is given as a percentage. So, how do you calculate the duty cycle of a MIG welder?
A MIG welder with a duty cycle of 70 percent will operate for 7 minutes before it overheats. Then, it’ll take another 3 minutes for it to cool. And a 40 percent duty cycle will run for 4 minutes and then rest for the next 6 minutes.
If the output power of your welder is high, your duty cycle will be low. This means, the time it’ll take the machine to cool is proportional to the quantity of heat it generates. Yet, the best mig welder for the money comes with efficient fans and vents that help to reduce its cooling time.
4. Thermal Overload Protection
Some of the best home MIG welder brands come with overheat or thermal overload protection. This helps to end the welding process once you exceed the duty cycle. Thus, saving the machine from further damages or injuries to the user.
5. Material Thickness
Some of the best 110v MIG welder models on this review does not have the power to penetrate thicker metals. So, you’ll need to invest in a more powerful machine if your metal piece is very thick.
Yet, the thickness of the material will determine the thickness of the wire that’ll be used for the weld. So, if the material is thin, then you’ll use a small wire. But, if the material is thick, the wire will be large. Also, the wire and the metal should be of the same material. For example, to weld a stainless steel material, the electrode will be of stainless steel.
6. Output Power
The size and type of the material you’re to weld will determine your output power. Most of the top mig welder models on sale come with instructions that allow you to set the right output power for the weld.
Here is an example of the chart that shows the thickness of the metal and the output power.
||Metal Thickness in mm
||Output Power in Amps
7. Size & Transportability
Another important factor you’ll consider when choosing your Best MIG Welder is its size, weight, and ability to carry. If you’ll be using it only in the workshop, then the weight is not a problem. But, if you’ll be moving it to a different location, then you should buy a MIG welder that is small and lightweight.
You know that the heavier the welder, the harder it is to transport. The most portable mig welders weigh only about 20 pounds while the heavy welders weigh from 200 pounds up. Most of these portable MIG welding machines use an inverter which in turn, lowers their weight.
8. Spool Gun
Most welders do not allow you to attach a spool gun which is very necessary when welding aluminum materials. You need to look out for this feature before buying your best mig welder. Also, try to buy a spool gun that comes with the quick release feature.
9. Repair and Maintenance
The conditions for repair and maintenance are not the same for these machines. The best welder for home use should be easy to repair with parts that are easy to find in the stores.
10. Brand & Warranty
One of the things that will reduce the cost of maintenance is the warranty. If your welding machine has warranty coverage, then you’ll not spend much to fix it. Some of the best mig welder brands offer at least 5 years’ warranty along with customer support services.
Ensure that you buy from a manufacturer with a warranty. Try to compare the MIG welder ratings and reviews by other users before buying.
This buying guide contains some of the best budget MIG welder models available. Sometimes, the most expensive product may not be the best. And being cheap does not mean poor quality.
The major questions you need to answer are “what is the best welder for me?” and “How can I know which is right for me?” If you know what you want, then go for it. The MIG welder reviews below will assist you in choosing the product that suits your needs.
Our Top 10 Product List
Here are the top MIG welders on the market. You’ll read the reviews to find out the model with the qualities you need.
Mig Welding Safety Tips
Mig Welding is an aspect of engineering that needs much safety and care. Failure to adhere to its safety rules may result in accidents, injuries, or death. To protect yourself and your Best MIG Welder, you’ll need to remember these safety tips.
- Always wear a welding helmet that comes with a shade. The lens quality should be either 10 or 11. This will help to protect your eyes from UV radiation which results in arc eye.
- Wear leather hand gloves to protect your hands from burns and electric shock. You can buy welding gloves with reflective coatings to limit the effect of heat from heavy metals.
- Weld in an area with good ventilation. This will reduce the volume of hazardous fumes that you’ll inhale when welding. It’s also important to wear a mask if you’ll be welding for long hours.
- Protect your feet by wearing leather shoes or boot. Sometimes, a hot plate might fall and burns if your foot is bare. Avoid shoes with mesh on top or those of plastic body. The plastic parts can melt and stick to your feet.
- Remove saw dust, papers, and plastics from your work area. This is because molten hot materials that fly off during welding can cause a fire on dropping on these materials. Also, don’t keep any flammable liquid near your welding place.
- Don’t expose yourself to the vapor from galvanized steels. The zinc oxide coating on this metal is cancerous and can damage your organs.
Mig Welding Maintenance Tips
No matter you own a TIG welder or a MIG welder, maintaining your machine will help prolong its life and save you from unnecessary spending. Below are some of the maintenance tips for the best mig welder brands.
- Try to cover your welder with a thick clothe when it’s not in use.
- Choose a perfect time for the cleaning of your welder and adhere to it. This will help to remove dirt that may cover the moving parts of the machine. Note that dust deposits could affect the overall functioning of the welder.
- Ensure that you connect the power cord to the standard outlet. Also, the fuse of the power outlet should match with the machine.
- Clean the drive rolls and set it correctly. Try to adjust the tension of the drive roll to balance it. Replace the drive rolls once they’re worn out.
- To prevent the buildup of pressure in the drive roll, clean the liner by blowing it with the air nozzle. This will clear the debris from both the feeder and torch’s ends.
- Clean the gun nozzle periodically. It receives the greatest heat during the weld making the tip to need replacement more often. Cleaning the spatter will prevent dirt from blocking the smooth flow of gas.
- Check the gas lines and remove any visible obstruction. Ensure that you plug in the gas nozzle rightly. This will prevent the gas from leaking.
- Check the feeder connection regularly. If the connection is loose, tighten it. If it’s too tight, loose it.
- Always avoid undercutting by using the correct welding technique.
- Try to pay attention to the conditions of the handle and trigger. Clean the two to prevent the accumulation of dust.
- Be observant and respond on time when you sense a buildup of heat.
- Replace any worn out cable on time.
- Check your ground to be sure of its connection. A bad ground can produce poor quality welds. It can cause the malfunctioning of the feed wires or damage to the tip.
Before you order for a mig welder it’s best to research on the product to know the features that’ll meet your need. This mig welder buying guide contains every piece of information you’ll need to buy the best.
Since we have so many good mig welder models on this list, it’ll be tough to recommend one. So, if you’re low on budget you can opt for the Super Deal Pro MIG Welder. It is inexpensive but can handle light welding projects.
Also, if you’re a beginner or hobbyist welder then your ideal model is the Forney Easy FC-I MIG Welder. It is very light, portable and easy to use. You can take it to almost anywhere with ease. Now, you can go ahead and buy any of our top picks that suits your preference.
You can also visit the following metalworking tools that we reviewed right here on Drillly:
a) Bench Grinders
b) Plasma Cutters
c) Angle Grinders