What You Will Get Here
- Why Use a MIG Welder?
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- Things to Consider When Buying a MIG Welder
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Editor’s Choice: Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder
- Best for Entry Level: Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-I MIG Welder
- Best for Home Projects: Goplus MIG 130 Welder
- Budget Choice: Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG Welder
- Best for Aluminum: Hobart 500554 Handler 190 MIG Welder
- Best High-End Choice: Hobart 500536001 IronMan MIG Welder
- A List of 4 Other MIG Welders We Reviewed
- Mig Welding Safety Tips
- Mig Welding Maintenance Tips
Why Use a MIG Welder?
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 These Products?
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 this machine, it is important to know how to make your choice. So, knowing the following features and aspects will help you 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 welding 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:
- 110 -120 Volt
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.
- 220-230 Volt
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.
|Gauge||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.