Best MIG Welder Reviews and Complete Buying Tips

best mig welder reviews

The best MIG Welder reviews can give you a good idea of what welding tool to buy. But which of those should you trust? Well, you have come to the right place. I have a lot of experience with TIG and MIG welding tools as I have tried many of these.
It took a while, but I was able to filter the list down to five. MIG welding allows you to do a lot of things. But only if you know what it can do. Before you buy, learning as much as you possibly can about welding helps.

Why need a MIG Welder


Also known as metal active gas (MAG) or gas metal arc welding (GMAW), it is a welding procedure which melts metal. This allows you to join the two. The best MIG welder can do that and more.
MIG welder usage varies, but its most widely used application is for car repair. The tool’s versatility allows it to be used for cars of all sizes and shapes. Even down to 0.5 mm. a MIG welding tool can get the job done. When it comes to cars, strength and durability are paramount, and that is what a MIG welder provides.
MIG welding is also used for hard facing. It can also be used for track fortification. Depending on the process, usage may be extended to industries and other aspects of the assembly process. As welding tools become more powerful, its use has become more common.
There are also MIG welding equipment for manufacturing pipe welds. This is also used for working on various types of materials. Because of the way it’s been designed, a MIG welder is best reserved for materials with thin to medium thickness levels. As you can see, usage of MIG welding tools are widespread.

Advantages of the MIG welder


  • The best MIG welder doesn’t require filler wire.
  • No fumes or arcs.
  • Anti-porosity.
  • Minimizes shrinkage and distortion even in complex projects.
  • Built to withstand fatigue.
  • MIG welding is also easier to learn. It just takes a few hours to grasp the fundamentals. In fact most figure out how to weld in half an hour or less.
  • Weld pool visibility is excellent on MIG welding. You also have better control of the auto feed wire.
  • MIG welding is efficient and clean. Stick welding leads to slag, but MIG welding does not. Cleaning up is easy as well.
  • A good welder allows you to weld metals more quickly and smoothly.
  • These welders don’t use flux. That means you don’t have to worry about slags.
  • MIG welders are versatile tools. You can also run them automatically or manually.
  • These welders are built with versatility in mind. You can use them to work on different types of alloys and metals.
  • These welders have special gas shields that safeguard the arc. These are designed to minimize alloy element loss.
  • There is little weld spatter when used.
  • These tools are often sold with extra utilities that enhance its functionality. Most come with hoses, regulators, spool guns and other tools.
  • Welders can be used on polymer, plastic and other materials.
  • Welding tools are operable in various positions.
  • The newest models are also energy efficient.
  • Today’s welding equipment handle significant amounts of aluminum alloys and varying weld lengths.
  • Welders are capable of welding copper, aluminum and other metals of varying thicknesses.

TIG Welder versus MIG Welder


A MIG welder relies on a continuously feeding wire. A TIG uses welding rods and sends them to the weld puddle. Both rely on an electric arc to create the weld.

  1. MIG stands for metal inert gas and TIG for tungsten inert gas.
  2. MIG is easier to learn than TIG. MIG is more suited for home improvement.
  3. MIG welders are used for welding aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel and other metals. Its continuous feeding welding wire joins the parent and base metals. You can also weld metals of varying thicknesses.
  4. TIG welders are frequently associated with gauge materials of the thinner type. Tool boxes and kitchen sinks are some of the things you can make with TIG welders. You can also do pipe welding and other tasks.

Bottom line: A TIG welder is more versatile. However it is better suited for professional use. But for home welding, the best MIG welder is sufficient. MIG welding is not only easier to use, but it is faster too.
You can think of MIG welding as something of a point and shoot procedure. With TIG the process is more laborious. It is not practical for home use.

Things To Consider Before Buying a MIG Welder


Ease of Use: Get a welder that is easy to use. The most widely used features should be accessible. A quality gun, digital display and as few switches as possible are among the things you should look for.

Input Power: For a 115V welder, you need at least a 20A breaker, with 30A ideal. This is good for welding up to 140 amps. A 208 – 230 V welder needs a 30A breaker minimum. A 50A breaker would be better. For 200 amps or higher, a 50A breaker is the minimum.

Duty Cycle: Measurement is in 10 minute increments. The duty cycle refers to how many minutes you can use the welder during that period. If your welder has a 30% duty cycle, you’ll be able to weld for 3 minutes before giving the welder a rest. The higher the duty cycle the more work you’ll be able to do.

Heat Overload Protection: A welder with heat protection overload shuts down automatically. Some welders have heat overload protection and others don’t. The wise choice obviously, is to buy one that has.

Material Thickness: Look at the minimum and maximum metal thicknesses the welder can handle. Once you find one, it’s easy to adjust the settings. Look for one with a digital display for easy settings management.

Wire Size and Type: This will be determined by what type of welder you use. Most likely it is going to be ER70S-6 or ER70S-3. The ER70S-3 is ideal for working on dirty or rusty metal. ER70S-6 is better suited for general welding work.

Portability: A well-designed welder is lightweight. If you’re going to work mostly at home, it may not be much of an issue. But if you have to bring a welder along, portability is a must.

MIG/Flux-Cored Welders or Multifunction: Multifunction is ideal for advanced users. For most, a flux cored welder will be enough, however. There are 2 types of flux cored wires, the self-shielded and gas shielded. Gas shielded is best suited for welding thick metals. The advantage of a self-shielding flux cored wire is it is lighter.

Spool Gun: The spool gun needs to be compatible with your welder. If you’re going for multiple spool guns, check their duty cycle and rating. The rule is, the higher the duty cycle, the more heavy duty the spool gun needs to be.

Our Pick For Best MIG Welder


We made a short list of 5 best MIG welder for you. Let’s take a look at our best pick.

Short Review Of Each Best MIG Welder


Here is the short review of each best MIG welder that we selected for you.

1. Hobart 500559 Handler Wire Welder


Hobart 500559 Handler Wire Welder

This is one of the best MIG welder from Hobart, and that’s saying a lot. It is easy to use and powerful. You can use it to weld from 24 thin steel to ¼ inch metal plates. Its aluminum wire and flux core steel ensures smooth operation. This welder is designed for home use and it’s great for home improvement, home repairs and car work. The 500559 Welder is an upgrade over the previous model. Now you can use it without additional bundles or shielding gas. The ground clamp is heavy duty as well.

Specifications:


  1. Welds 24 gauge up to 1/4 inch mild steel.
  2. Operates off 115 volt household current.
  3. 25 to 140 output amperage.
  4. Max. Open-Circuit Voltage: 28 V
  5. Duty cycle – 20% at 90 amps
  6. Industrial cast aluminum wire drive system.
  7. 5-position tapped voltage control settings.
  8. 200 amp heavy duty work clamp.
  9. Dual-groove, quick change drive roll.
  10. Durable feed head with quick release drive roll lever.
  11. Dimensions (L x W x H in.) 12 x 18 x 24
  12. Power Cord ft. 10
  13. Welding Wire Diameter in. 0.023 – 0.035
  14. Weighs 57 lbs.(26 kg)
  15. Manufacturers limited warranty.
  16. Designed and assembled in Troy, OHIO USA.

Benefits:

  • Welds different types of metal.
  • Solid construction.
  • Can be used for various welding tasks.
  • The voltage selector allows for arc fine tuning.
  • Setup is easy.
  • 5 years limited warranty.

Drawbacks:

  • The cooling fan is noisy.
  • The wire feed knob is a bit too sensitive.

Summary of Customer Reviews:


Some of the best MIG Welder reviews have been given to the 500559. One customer wrote a detailed review and says it provides terrify value. The same customer says each part is well-built. Another buyer says this is the ideal small welder for the home.
Most of the customers love the welder’s power and ease of use. One customer says it went beyond what he expected. Another customer remarked he got it as a present and it works great. One long time welder wrote in his review it offers great value. There are few negative reviews for the 500559. This alone tells you how good it is.

2. Forney 95 FI 120V Flux Core Welder


Forney 95 FI 120V Flux Core Welder

If you’re looking for an easy to use welder, check out the Forney. I have included this in our list of the best MIG welder because it’s convenient. MIG wire is pre-installed so you can weld right away. I also like its thermal protection as it prevents overheating. The flux cored welder is compatible with .035″ and .030″ wire diameters, the most widely used. The Forney is a complex welder. You can use it in different ways and is solidly built.

Specifications:


  1. DC CV welding up to 1/8 ie.3.1 mm thickness at 20 to 95 amps output power.
  2. Tweco style MIG gun welds .030 and .035 flux cored welding wires.
  3. 120V, 60Hz, 1-phase input power with auto thermal overload protection to protect operator and welder.
  4. The output range is 20 amps to 95 amps with a max OCV of 27V direct current
  5. Weld thickness is 3/16 inch (4.76 mm)
  6. Torch Cable Length (Ft.):7
  7. Dimensions (L x W x H in.) 19 x 9 x 14
  8. Weight is 43 pounds (19.5 Kg)

Benefits:

  • Can be used with minimal tweaking.
  • Thermal overload protection.
  • Works for spot welding.
  • Works for car metal sheets.
  • Little assembly required.
  • 5/3/1 warranty against manufacturer defects.

Drawbacks:

  • One customer complained it was missing parts after shipping.
  • One reviewer says the fan doesn’t run smoothly.

Summary of Customer Reviews:


The Forney 304 has received favorable reviews. One of the customers who bought the welder says it is portable and efficient. Another reviewer wrote that it is perfect for small home projects. One of the reasons why this has gotten some of the best MIG Welder reviews is its durability. One buyer says he’s used the Forney 304 for more than a year and it’s still going strong.
There are a few reviews which are not positive. By and large however, most are content with its design and performance. I have gone through a lot of these welders, and this is indeed ideal for home use. As many customer reviews have noted, this is an entry level welder, but it’s powerful.

3. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder


Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

The Lincoln K2185-1 has received some of the best MIG welder reviews on the web. And I have to agree. It is light, powerful and compact, just what you need for repair work. It’s ideal for welding various metals and auto work. The packaging is very good and it’s ready to use right away. You can plug the Lincoln just about anywhere. It works with various metals, in particular 18 gauge sheet metal. As far as portable welders go this is hard to match. The machine feels solid and welding mild steel is easy. The box is also complete: you get the contact tips, clamp, work cable, gas regulator and other items.

Specifications:


  1. 35-88 amps output.
  2. Welds up to 1/8 in. mild steel.
  3. Welds both MIG (shielding gas sold separately) and flux-cored.
  4. Plugs into household 115V, 20 amp outlet.
  5. Cold contactor safety feature keeps welding wire electrically “cold” until gun trigger is pressed.
  6. Great for home repair and hobby projects on light gauge mild steel found around most households.
  7. Continuous wire feed speed adjustment and selectable voltage ranges for precise control.
  8. 4 heat settings and infinite wire speed control.
  9. Flux-cored 6 ft. power cord and 8 ft. clamp cable.
  10. Input Power: 115/1/60
  11. Rated Output: 70A/17V/20%
  12. Input Current: 20A
  13. Cored Wire Size Range: .035
  14. Wire Feed Speed Range: 0-300 ipm
  15. Dimensions(H X W X D): 12.8 in x 8.8 in x 18 in
  16. Net Weight: 46 lbs. (20.9 kg)
  17. One year warranty on parts and labor.

Benefits:

  • Solid construction.
  • Compact, portable, lightweight and easy to use.
  • Comes with a gas regulator.
  • Fan-cooled for long life expectancy.
  • Works especially well on light materials.
  • Has lots of power.
  • No major assembly required.

Drawbacks:

  • One reviewer says it was hard to adjust the settings.
  • Not a full mask.

Summary of Customer Reviews:


The reviews are mostly favorable. The Lincoln got a 5 star rating from one reviewer who said it’s powerful. Another welder gave it 5 stars and says he loves the performance. Most of the people who have given the Lincoln 5 stars like its design and features. Yet it remains easy to use.
One person wrote in to say he uses it regularly on his jeep. Another customer says the Lincoln did better than he thought it would. This is a view that a lot of people share about the welder.

4. Hobart 500553 Handler 210 MVP for Use with SpoolRunner 100


Hobart 500553 Handler 210 MVP for Use with SpoolRunner 100

The Hobart 500553 welder makes it to our list. There’s a lot to like here, not the least being easy to set up. You’re also going to enjoy its versatility. It’s ideal for various home repair work. I also like the spool gun. It is easy to use and is perfect for welding metals, garden tools, frames and decks. The manual is easy to read. The rest of the unit, including the regulator, cable etc. is well-designed. When taking everything into consideration, this is a very adequate welder.

Specifications:


  1. Welds 24 gauge up to 3/8 inch mild steel
  2. Operates on 115 volt or 230 volt input power
  3. 7 voltage settings which help fine tune for precision welding (7 voltage settings at 230V; 4 voltage settings at 115V)
  4. 115V 25 to 140 output amperage; 230V 25 to 210 output amperage
  5. Cast aluminum drive system
  6. Duty cycle – 115V 20% at 90 amps; 230V 30% at 150 amps
  7. Quick change drive roll system – no tools required
  8. Weld Thickness in 24 ga. to 3/8 in steel in single pass
  9. Welding Wire Diameter in 0.024, 0.030, 0.035, 0.045
  10. 10 ft. (3 m) work cable with clamp
  11. 8 in. (203 mm) wire spool adapter
  12. Extra .030 in. (0.8 mm) contact tips
  13. Dual groove, quick change drive roll
  14. Weighs 87 lbs.
  15. Designed and assembled in Troy, Ohio USA

Benefits:

  • Designed for beginners.
  • Built-in gas valve.
  • Drive roll system is easy to manage.
  • 30% duty cycle @ 150 amps.
  • Multiple voltage settings.
  • Works with 4 and 8 in. spools.
  • 3 years limited warranty.

Drawbacks:

  • Heavy.
  • May be insufficient for advanced users.

Summary of Customer Reviews:


It’s no surprise the Hobart has some of the best MIG Welder reviews today. A customer gave this 5 stars and said it’s just awesome. Another customer was a bit skeptical at first. But after giving the Hobart a try, he has become a believer. Long time users of Hobart say it’s the company’s best product yet.
One of the Hobart welder reviews went on to say that operation is smooth. Most of the customers also say the unit is durable. Many update their reviews after several months to say the Hobart is still going strong. Compared to other welders, this is going to last a while, much more so than other MIG welders.

5. LOTOS MIG175 175AMP MIG Welder


LOTOS MIG175 175AMP MIG Welder

If you look for the best MIG welder reviews online, the Lotos is going to be right up there. It’s capable of welding aluminum quickly. It has an overload protection so it doesn’t overheat. You can use this with 4 and 6 inch spools. It took me just a few minutes to set the whole thing up. Performance wise the Hobart is more than comparable with those of others in its class. There is sufficient power for most tasks. This isn’t the most powerful welder I’ve seen. But for home use and most home improvement / DIY / repair work, the Lotos works.

Specifications:


  1. Dimensions: 18″x10.5″x12.5″
  2. Weight: 85lbs
  3. Input voltage: 220~240V
  4. Input current: [email protected]
  5. Output current: 30~175A DC
  6. Duty cycle: 20%@175A
  7. Power efficiency: 80%
  8. Wire feed rate: 4.9~39.3ft/min
  9. Wire size: 0.025″~0.030″
  10. Power cable: 6′
  11. Recommended flow rate: 12~14L/min
  12. Gas supply for steel: 75% Ar+25% CO2
  13. Gas supply for aluminum: Ar
  14. Steel welding: 18gauge~1/4″
  15. Aluminum welding: 1/8″+ plate
  16. Warranty: 1 year

Benefits:

  • Easy to set up.
  • Welds different kinds of metals.
  • Suitable for hobbyists.
  • Affordable.
  • Operates on 200-Volt to 240-Volt, automatic dual frequency (50/60Hz).
  • Built for long term use.

Drawbacks:

  • A few customers complain the product arrived damaged.
  • Heat settings are a bit too sensitive.

Summary of Customer Reviews:


Reviews suggest this is one of the best MIG welder today. A buyer said in his review it’s perfect for the hobbyist. Another reviewer said he is happy with the purchase. This view is shared by another customer. He said he uses the Lotos for fabrication and it works just fine.
Several customers have provided positive feedback, and most say they’re happy with its performance. Most of those who have awarded the Lotos 5 stars love its reliability and dependability too. While not all reviews have been favorable, most are content with the Lotos. After a thorough review, I have to agree with the reviews. This is a good all-around welder.

Accessories for a MIG Welders


US Forge 400 Welding Gloves Lined Leather


US Forge 400 Welding Gloves Lined Leather

These leather gloves provide protection for your hands as you weld. The gloves are durable, but they’re also comfortable and easy on the fingers.

Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet


Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

This helmet was built specifically for welding. The viewing area is good and you can adjust the sensitivity knob. The battery check is within the face area, and it works right out of the box.

Readywares Waxed Canvas Utility Apron


Readywares Waxed Canvas Utility Apron

This apron is made from 20 oz. waxed canvas. This acts as protection against liquids and other substances. Aside from welding, you can use this for gardening, workshops and the kitchen. The apron is solid, but it is not heavy at all.

Lincoln Electric Black One Size Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves


Lincoln Electric Black One Size Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves

These are going to shield your arms during welding. The material is fire-proof and light. Aside from protection, the sleeves are also cool against your skin.

Hobart 770074 Welding MIG Accessory Nozzle Gel


Hobart 770074 Welding MIG Accessory Nozzle Gel

Weld spatter can drastically affect the performance of a MIG welder. With this gel you’ll be able to keep those nozzles clean. The nozzle gel nothing fancy, but it works. One of the keys to successful welding is ensuring that it’s clean. That is what the Nozzle Gel provides.

INETUB BA71TGS .035-Inch on 2-Pound Spool Carbon Steel Gasless Flux Cored Welding Wire


INETUB BA71TGS .035-Inch on 2-Pound Spool Carbon Steel Gasless Flux Cored Welding Wire

This is easy to weld and provides comprehensive slag coverage. Shielding isn’t required either. There is no porosity and penetration is good. The wire is also versatile and works with mufflers and other projects.

Hobart 770150 MIG Multi-Function Welding Pliers


Hobart 770150 MIG Multi-Function Welding Pliers

You can use this for home repair, farming and electrical projects. You can also use it for contact tips. Unlike other pliers, this isn’t just for MIG welding as it is for all-around repair.

Maintenance Tips


  • Even the best MIG welder needs maintenance. Inspect the connection once a week. Tighten the connection if necessary.
  • If the direct plug is dirty, clean immediately.
  • A damaged cable needs to be replaced. Check the gun cable after every use. If there are kinks or cuts, replace right away. Don’t use if the copper wiring is exposed.
  • Problems with liner such as links or bents could affect the welder’s performance. Inspect this on a regular basis and replace if required.
  • Check your owner’s manual for information on maintenance. Follow the guidelines issued there.
  • Clean the welder regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Does my welding wire choice affect the results?
Answer: Yes. Some MIG wires are for professional use, while others are for hobbyists. For carbon steels and mild welding, a tensile strength of 70,000 lb. is ideal.

2. Why is electrical ground important for MIG welding?
Answer: it’s crucial because welding arcs need smooth electrical flow. Resistance must be as low as possible.

3. Why is the MIG welding contact tip vital?
Answer: The contact tip has to be round. If it’s oval and worn out, it could affect the arc and affect the results.

4. Are spool guns available for X brand?
Answer: For most brands yes.

5. Will my MIG welder have all the tools I need to start welding?
Answer: The best MIG welding tools have everything you need. Some may offer upgrades, but when you buy a MIG welder online, it’s complete.

6. How will I know the duty cycle?
Answer: It is stated in the product specifications.

My Recommendations


All the products we reviewed above are of the highest quality, but the honor of best MIG Welder goes to the Hobart 500559 Handler Wire Welder and the Forney 95 FI 120V Flux Core Welder. The Forney works great out of the box. It’s easy to use as well and dependable, great for beginners and advanced users.
The Hobart is also a solid welder and well designed. The wire assembly is top notch. The regulator is of higher quality than those I’ve seen on others. All the five welders here are good, but these two are better than the rest.

Final Word


Welding is a complex process. You can do a lot with the right tools. The key word there is the right tools. If you have the proper equipment you’ll be able to get a lot of work done. There are more brands to choose from.
But figuring all this out can take a long time. That is why I prepared these best MIG Welder reviews. I have taken care to include only the best, and my recommendations can handle most welding projects. Now you can shop with confidence. Armed with the right information, it’s easier to find the right welder.

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