MIG welding is a centuries-old method of joining metals together. It isn’t the prettiest method, but it is one of the easiest to master. For this reason, MIG welders find their way into homes and shops from novices to masters.

This article will showcase the 10 best MIG welders for your home or shop so you can get to metalworking quickly. If you have never welded before, we will also cover things to look for and tips to get you going.


Preview

Product

Duty Cycle

Amperage Range

Wire Feed Speed

Check Price

Hobart - 500553 Handler 210 MVP MIG...

Hobart - 500553

60% @ 100Amp

25-210A

10-100 IPM

MIG Welder, Wheeled, 208/230VAC

Miller Electric 200

60% @ 200Amp

30 - 300A

Up to 200 IPM

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Lincoln Electric K2185-1

20% @ 70Amp

35-88A

1 - 10IPM

Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder,...

Forney Easy Weld 261

30% @ 90Amp

20 - 140A

1 - 10IPM

Forney 318 190-Amp MIG Welder, 230-Volt,Green

Forney 318

25% @ 120Amp

35 - 190A

up to 100IPM

2020 Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi Process...

Weldpro 200

30% @ 200Amp

30 - 200A

Up to 300IPM

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V

Hobart 500559

20% @ 90Amp

25-140A

40-700IPM

LOTOS MIG175 175AMP Mig Welder with Free...

LOTOS MIG175

20% @ 175Amp

30 - 175A

60 - 480IPM

Hobart 500536 Ironman 230 MIG Welder With...

Hobart 500536 Ironman

80% @ 150Amp

30 - 250A

10 - 640IPM

2019 Everlast Power-i-MIG 200E MIG Welder...

Everlast Power-i-MIG

25% @ 115Amp

30 - 200A

0 - 400IPM


Choosing The Right MIG Welder For Your Needs

With hundreds of MIG welders to choose from, it is essential to know what you should be looking for. Below is a brief overview of the important factors you need to consider.

Functionality & Ease of Use

The functionality of the MIG welder will come in two forms: gas or gasless welding. Typical MIG welds use gas to eliminate any atmospheric gases or particles from getting in the weld. Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW) doesn’t use gas.

FCAW is more ideal for beginners, as the welds are easier and more cost-effective. The type you choose, though, is a personal choice to your abilities. Both are beginner-friendly and simple to master.

You will also want to look for a MIG welder with easy to read and use controls. Understanding what each one does and being able to use the controls on the fly is crucial to your success.

Power Needs

One of the most often overlooked aspects is the power requirements of the welding machine. Some smaller versions will plug into any standard outlet. Other larger models may require a dedicated 220-240V circuit.

You should also pay attention to the amperage output to help you decide on the right gas for MIG welding, as well as the power and heat being applied to the welding tip.

Welding Location

You need to know where you will be doing your welds. Indoor machines are cheaper because they don’t need to shield against the elements. Outdoor shops or welders that travel need more protection and better grounding abilities.

Feed Rate & Duty Cycle

The feed rate is the speed at which the machine pushes the core metal through the nozzle. You should be able to adjust this speed, but knowing the minimum and maximum rates will help you understand what can and cannot weld within your own abilities.

The duty cycle is a percentage of the machine's capabilities within a specific time. Essentially the percentage covers a 10 minute window that revolves around continuous welding and rest time. For example, a 60% duty cycle means that in a 10 minute window, you can weld for 6 minutes and then the machine must rest for 4 minutes.

Wire Size & Material Thickness

Another important aspect is the feed wire size. There are various sizes to achieve welds on various materials. You will need smaller wires for things like aluminum and mild steel. Stronger steel, high carbon steel, W1, and others may require a thicker feed wire.

The most common types of feed wire are known as ER70S wires. The widely used ER70S-3 is a multi-purpose wire and is suitable for most welds. ER70S-6 is good for thicker or hardier metals when -03 won’t work.

Portability

You also need to consider the portability of the machine. Some welders have a specific area to weld from and may require a more permanent welding machine mounted to a table. Other machinists may work on-site, out of the bed of their truck, or have other welder needs.

For the second group, the size and weight of the welder are highly critical. Heavier machines need a portable cart, wheels, or other mobility solutions. Being able to get the welding machine where you need it can be a deciding factor for your final purchase.

Extra Features

When shopping for the ideal MIG welder, it can easily come down to the little extras. Added features or accessories may make the price higher, but could be the thing you need the most.

Certain features to look for include Thermal Overload Protection (TOP) and a spool gun. TOP allows the machine to shut itself off if the interior temperature gets too high. This is a safety feature, as well as a longevity aspect. With better thermal protection shut off, the welder will last longer and protect your workable metal.

A spool gun is generally used to weld with aluminum or thinner metals. The spool is part of a pistol style feed gun that allows for easier wire feed and better welds, especially for beginners.

You will also want to look for other features, such as included accessories like covers, additional carry cases for equipment, and safety features like shut-offs and alarms.

Price & Warranty

Finally, you will need to consider the price. MIG welders range in all price points, and lower prices can be alluring but may not be enough machine for your needs. If you are just learning, you can get away with cheaper machines. However, eventually, you will need to purchase a better welder.

It is better to spend a little more now than to buy two machines over time. Don’t forget to check out the warranty as well. Better warranties will also carry more peace of mind.


10 Best MIG Welders Reviewed

1. Hobart - 500553

Our Top Pick

Duty Cycle

60% @ 100Amp

Weight

78 Lbs

Input Voltage

110-240

Amperage Range

25-210A

Wire Feed Speed

10-100 IPM

Hobart has made MIG welders for decades, and one thing about the brand is its reliability. These welders are durable, tough, and can handle a lot of welding. They are also great for beginners and those with little to no prior welding experience.

The Hobart Handler 210VIP is our top pick and the best MIG welder for your money. It is dual-power rated and will run welds at 110 or 240 volts. You can easily combine work metals up to 3/8-inches thick and run a continuous bead for up to 6 minutes (at 100 amps).

One of the best features is the built-in gas solenoid and dual-gauge regulator. You can use flux core (gasless) wire or connect your gas tanks for a shielded weld. You can also switch back and forth between the two at any time.

The pistol-style trigger feed gun keeps the wire electrically disconnected until you pull. This helps minimize splatter and keeps you in control of the speed and duration. The speed is a knob control that will range between 10 and 100 IPM, depending on your needs.

Hobart machines also come with a 3-year warranty, which more than covers everything you need. Aside from the gun, nozzle, and gas regulator, everything is covered by the warranty, and Hobart customer service is among the best in the business.

Pros

  • 3-year warranty
  • All metal feed tip
  • Dual voltage capable
  • Easy to use controls
  • Gas and gasless weld capable

Cons

  • No cart included
  • Higher splatter rate than dome other models

2. Miller Electric 200

Best Professional MIG Welder

Duty Cycle

60% @ 200Amp

Weight

230 Lbs

Input Voltage

220-240v

Amperage Range

30 - 300A

Wire Feed Speed

Up to 200 IPM

The Miller Electric 200 is one of the best professional MIG welder machines on the market. It has everything you need to perform daily welds for hours on end. I promise you will get tired before this machine gives out.

The welder is large and heavy but comes equipped with large wheels and a lay-cart to pull or push the welder into place and set it where you need. Portability is important to professional welders, and the Miller Electric 200 is highly portable.

You will also find a large duty cycle (60%) at 200 amps, which gives you near-continuous welding for longer welds, more welds per hour, and a full day of work without the machine giving you fits or causing problems.

Full control is done at the panel, and you can take control over amps, feed speed, and the voltage. This will allow you to alter specific needs between different jobs.

It does require a dedicated 240-volt power supply circuit. This is important to note if you plan to wheel it around a lot. The proper extension cord and outlet are crucial to this machine.

You will need to pay special attention to the warranty. Miller Electric offers a 3-year limited warranty. The motor, though, may be covered by a different warranty. This will depend on which motor is included with your model and where you purchase. Read the warranty closely.

Pros

  • 3-year warranty
  • Ideal for all day use
  • Dual voltage capable
  • Wheels built-in

Cons

  • Must use a dedicated 240v circuit

3. Lincoln Electric K2185-1

Best MIG Welder For Home Use

Duty Cycle

20% @ 70Amp

Weight

26 Lbs

Input Voltage

1105-115v

Amperage Range

35-88A

Wire Feed Speed

1 - 10IPM

The best MIG welder for light duty use at home is the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG. It connects to any 110-115v outlet and has a compact design ideal for use on a tabletop in your garage or shop.

It isn’t designed for heavy duty use. If you need longer, thicker welds or need to use a MIG welder for thick metals, you may be disappointed with the Handy MIG’s capabilities. However, for spot welds, blacksmith work, or small repairs on thinner metals, there is nothing better.

Because of the feed speed being so low and a low amperage control, this machine can be difficult for beginners. Novice welders and those learning or practicing with new techniques will find the most use from this machine.

This welder also includes accessories that you will find useful. First, you get a basic dark welders mask. It isn’t the greatest mask on the market, but it will be better than nothing until you find your particular style.

You also get two spools of gauge wire for testing out new styles, and a welder's brush to help clean and prep your metals and welds. All of these tools and accessories add to the MIG welder's overall value and make the purchase more enjoyable.

Pros

  • 3-year warranty
  • Tabletop design
  • Wire feed speed control

Cons

  • Not ideal for thicker welds
  • Can be difficult for beginners

4. Forney Easy Weld 261

Best Cheap MIG Welder

Duty Cycle

30% @ 90Amp

Weight

19 Lbs

Input Voltage

120v

Amperage Range

20 - 140A

Wire Feed Speed

1 - 10IPM

The Forney 261 “Easy Weld” is a dream welder for beginners. Easily the best cheap MIG welder, it isn’t designed for daily, consistent use. For the cost, the hobby, and light duty welding capabilities, this MIG welder's value is high.

With a moderate duty cycle, you won’t be able to make extremely long welds or weld for long periods. However, spot welding, short projects, and thinner metals will weld quickly and easily.

The unit is one of the lightest on the market and will fit on any cart, tabletop, or truck bed. The cables and clamp wire is 8 feet, which makes it enough to use in any position. By not using gas, you don’t need to worry about gas tanks and regulators. However, you can only perform flux core welds.

For the beginner, this is great to learn on. However, more experienced welders may find it less than satisfactory. If you are used to gas welding, the Forney 261 is going to be more frustrating. Because of the entry-level design and the lower price point, there aren’t a lot of accessories.

You can purchase Forney accessories separately, but the initial purchase will only include the machine and the gun. If you choose this model, make sure you also buy spools of flux core wire. Otherwise, you can make the purchase and start your new welding hobby.

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Ideal for entry-level welding
  • Easy to use controls and spooling

Cons

  • 1-year warranty
  • Flux core welding only

5. Forney 318

Best MIG Welder For Beginners

Duty Cycle

25% @ 120Amp

Weight

65 Lbs

Input Voltage

230v

Amperage Range

35 - 190A

Wire Feed Speed

up to 100IPM

Forney enters the list again with the 318. This is the best MIG welder for beginners as it gives you everything you need to learn and has a great learning curve, forgiving more mistakes than other welders.

This Forney model is a 240v system that requires a dedicated circuit. This makes portability a little less than other models since it won’t connect to a standard 110v outlet. However, for a stationary welder, you can quickly master your own technique.

For the beginner, learning to weld with gasses and flux core, the Forney 318 is ideal. The connections use the European style, making them a bit more sturdy and reliable. The moderate weight keeps the unit in place and matched with a 15-foot cable, you can get to any point of your work area for welding.

This model does have a lower duty cycle and power output than other brands of similar size and cost. However, for those just starting, it is easily controlled and quickly mastered.

If you want to get into welding, you will need to eventually replace the MIG welder with a better version. That being said, while you are learning the Forney 318 is ideal for saving money and getting the job done.

Pros

  • 5/3/1 year warranty (Transformer, motor, parts)
  • Easy to use and learn
  • Aluminum feed system

Cons

  • Low duty cycle
  • Lower power for 240v welder

6. Weldpro 200

Best Dual Voltage MIG Welder

Duty Cycle

30% @ 200Amp

Weight

30 Lbs

Input Voltage

110 - 240v

Amperage Range

30 - 200A

Wire Feed Speed

Up to 300IPM

The Weldpro 200 is arguably the best dual voltage MIG welder. However, it is much more than that. Sure it can run on 110 - 240 volts, but it also allows for MIG, TIG and ARC Stick welding. For a 3-in-1 welder, it is hard to beat.

The 110v input allows you to run short welds on light metals and gives you the portability of smaller welders. The dual 240-volt input gives you the opportunity to weld thicker metals, longer welds, and you still have the TIG and Arc stick options to consider.

Among the others, the best feature might just be the display. The full-color dual display tells you what your setting is, which can be adjusted with both dials and push-buttons.

The optional spool feed works great for aluminum welding, and the true-lift TIG method is simple to set up and start working. The 2-year warranty isn’t the best in the business, but it is plenty to cover your machine while you are learning the ins and outs of it.

If anything ever goes wrong, you are covered from the transfer, motor, and casing from normal wear and tear, manufacturer defects, and damage.

Pros

  • 2-year warranty
  • 3-in-1 welding options
  • Dual-voltage for more weld styles

Cons

  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Higher price compared to similar styles

7. Hobart 500559

Best 110v MIG Welder

Duty Cycle

20% @ 90Amp

Weight

55 Lbs

Input Voltage

110/115v

Amperage Range

25-140A

Wire Feed Speed

40-700IPM

Hobart is back on the list with the Handler 140. When it comes to 110v MIG welders, there isn’t much better. For smaller welds, learning how to weld, and as a hobbyist, the Hobart 500559 means you can get in, get out and get on with your day.

The wire feed speed is one of the highest in the industry for a lightweight welder. At no load, you can achieve almost 740 IPM. The dial control on the machine allows you to pinpoint the speed you need for the project at home.

The 55 pound machine is portable, but you will need to purchase (or build!) a cart to pull it around. Don’t forget to make sure you have room for the gas tanks. You will also need to include high-grade professional extension cords. The power cord isn’t very long.

If you plan to travel with the unit, the lighter weight makes it possible. The relatively low duty cycle means you will need to take more breaks than you may want, but it will get smaller tasks, and lighter projects knocked out without much effort.

It isn’t recommended to learn on this model, but if you are a beginner, you can teach yourself. Once you master this machine, you will be well prepared for bigger investments and dual-voltage machines.

Pros

  • Hobart 5/3/1 warranty
  • Lightweight for better portability
  • High wire feed speeds
  • Fully adjustable

Cons

  • Not ideal for beginners
  • May require heavy duty extension cords

8. LOTOS MIG175

Most Versatile MIG Welder For Home Use

Duty Cycle

20% @ 175Amp

Weight

85 Lbs

Input Voltage

240v

Amperage Range

30 - 175A

Wire Feed Speed

60 - 480IPM

If you are looking for versatility in your garage or home shop, then look no further. The LOTOS MIG175 is the most versatile MIG welder for home use that you can find. This welder is highly capable of gas or flux core welding.

You can easily connect the gas tanks with a comfortable and simple regulator. For flux core, you will want to stay at or below 0.35 wire. Anything more and the gun can jam or cause welds to be brittle. Smaller wires won’t produce a secure hold.

The unit weighs 85 pounds making portability an issue. However, with a proper cart, you can take the unit anywhere. You will need a power cord extension, though, as the included cord is only 6 feet long. To move around the shop, you will need to add in extra length.

The gun is easy to use and very forgiving. If you are learning or gaining proficiency, this gun will allow you to make small mistakes without much correction. The gas, however, is on a 3-second timer. For beginners, remembering to count down in your head to get the weld correct can be difficult.

The 1-year warranty doesn't give you many options to get used to the machine. Unless you notice something during the unboxing or the first couple of uses, you may be hard-pressed to get a replacement or fix from the factory.

Pros

  • Handles multitude of welds
  • Gun is forgiving
  • Gas or flux core welding capable
  • Decent welder to learn with

Cons

  • 1-year warranty
  • Gas on 3-second timer

9. Hobart 500536 Ironman

Best MIG Welder For 1/2 Inch Steel

Duty Cycle

80% @ 150Amp

Weight

225 Lbs

Input Voltage

240v

Amperage Range

30 - 250A

Wire Feed Speed

10 - 640IPM

For heavy duty welding, long term welding, or for those looking for a professional welder, this is it. The best MIG welder for ½ inch steel as well as multiple weld types, the Hobart Ironman 230 has everything you need.

While the unit weighs a hefty 225 pounds, the large wheels and cart-style setup allow you to pull or push the unit almost anywhere. The wheels are also large enough to get into the field. If you weld for work and need to travel to various worksites, that may be the detail that seals the deal.

There is plenty of reach with the 15-foot gun hose and 10-foot clamp work line. For outdoor use, the box is cast metal and will hold up to nominal elements. You should attempt to protect it from water and excessive moisture, though.

While it is multi-use and professional, it does perform better indoors or in a shop than out in the field. If you need to travel a lot for welding work and are looking for a welder to mount in your truck, this may not be the best option for you.

Pros

  • 5/3/1 warranty
  • Easy to use
  • Huge duty cycle
  • Rolls easily on built-in wheels

Cons

  • Control panel can crack

10. Everlast Power-i-MIG

Best MIG Welder For The Money

Duty Cycle

25% @ 115Amp

Weight

25 Lbs

Input Voltage

110 - 240v

Amperage Range

30 - 200A

Wire Feed Speed

0 - 400IPM

For those looking for a high cost to value ratio, the Everlast Power-i-MIG is the best MIG welder for the money. While there are machines with a lot of flash and power, the Everlast focuses on performance and cost savings.

The dual-input welder gives you the option to use a lower voltage where needed but will connect to a 240v circuit when you can. The higher voltage gives you a chance for longer, thicker welds. The best feature is the extremely light weight.

Continuous welding you the opportunity to lay smooth, aesthetic welds. When using gas shield welds, the Everlast performs well and keeps the feed wire cool until the trigger is pulled. However, at 2 to 3 minutes per 10 can be a weak spot.

If you go with a flux core, the weld seams will end up being artistic, smooth, and easily cleaned. You will find that the 25 pound unit is one of the most portable machines on the market. With all the included necessities included, you can make your purchase, open the box and get to work.

Pros

  • 5-year warranty
  • All-inclusive purchase
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Dual-voltage set up

Cons

  • Longer welds may not lay easily

How MIG Welding Machines Work & Why Use One?

MIG welders are among the best types of welding machines available. They first came into use in the early 19th century. Since then, the process has become even easier and is a great welding method for beginners and pros alike.

MIG welders work in four primary ways, known as transfers. Let’s explore them here.

Short Circuit Transfer

Short Circuit transfer is one of the least expensive methods because it uses the least amount of gas compared to the other methods.

In this transfer style, the feed wire makes contact with the metal. As the electricity courses through the gun, the feed wire melts and the molten feed joins the pieces of worked metal together. Generally, CO2 is used as the shield gas for the low voltage required in this method.

Spray Transfer

In the spray transfer method, the feed wire melts at the tip in fine droplets and sprays to the worked metal surface. This requires high voltage and either argon gas or C)2 with high argon content. This gas mixture can get expensive, but the transfer method takes a little less skill than the Globular transfer method.

Globular Transfer

Globular transfer is a more advanced method. It is difficult to control because the feed wire doesn’t touch the working surface. It is a high voltage method, compared to the low voltage of the Short Circuit transfer. Because of the high voltage, you need to use argon gas.

In this transfer method, the feed wire melts and globs at the gun tip and drips onto the surface. If you are too close, the globs will be too large and brittle. If you are too far away, the feed metal will splatter, which can cause burns and may not land where it needs to join the worked metal.

Pulsed Spray Transfer

Pulsed Spray transfer is a method that requires considerable equipment and some higher skill levels. The result is a mixture of Spray and Globular transfers without the constant electrical current.

The current pulses through the feed wire, creating a mix of globs and fine droplets. While it does require a bit of skill, it also takes a high-end and expensive welding machine. However, when done correctly, it creates some of the strongest and aesthetically pleasing weld beads of all the methods.


Comparing MIG vs. TIG Welding

Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is often compared to Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding. These two types of welding are different in style but are the primary welding types used worldwide.

  • Both styles heat metal to a liquid state and add filler metal to join two pieces.
  • MIG uses wire feed as filler, TIG uses a separate filler rod.
  • MIG is generally easier to learn as it only requires one hand.
  • MIG welding is faster and can weld thicker metals easier.
  • TIG welding is slower but has a better looking result.
  • TIG welding is better for smaller projects and artistic welding.
  • MIG welding is cheaper and easier to control.

110v vs. 220v MIG Welders: What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between the smaller 110-volt MIG welders and the larger 220-volt machines is the power. 110v welders are great for small projects and use with thinner metals.

However, 110v isn’t a strong enough power source to heat and melt thicker metals. Most 110v MIGs can weld up to 1/8th inch steel with flux and a lot of patience. A 220v MIG would be better suited for anything beyond this.

The downside to a 220v machine is the required power supply makes them less likely to be portable. However, it is wise to invest in a dual power machine that can use either 110 or 220 volts.


MIG Welding Tips & Safety Information

Before you grab the project metals and start welding them together, there are a few things you need to think about.

  • Make sure you understand the machine. Inspect the power cords, feed lines, and gas levels before turning it on.
  • Understand the controls and what each one does.
  • Use scrap metal of the same type you are welding to test the speed and settings, so you don't ruin your worked metal.
  • Make sure you have the proper protective gear. MIG welding can cause eye damage up to permanent blindness.
  • MIG welding gloves and an apron for splatter are highly recommended.
  • Make sure your metal is clean and free of rust, debris, and moisture.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do I determine which size MIG welder is best?

The size welder you need will largely be determined by the type of metals you will weld most often. Thinner metals (less than 1/8th inch thick) will do best with a 110v MIG welder. For thicker metals, you will need a 220v machine. If you consistently go back and forth between metal types and thicknesses, a dual powered MIG welder may be the best option.

Do MIG welders need gas?

No. You can use a shielding gas with a MIG welder, but it isn't required. A gasless MIG welder uses a flux core wire. The flux protects the weld puddle just like the shielding gas does on a solid core wire weld.

What can I do to maximize the lifespan of my MIG welder?

To prolong the life of your MIG welder, you need to inspect it regularly. Check all controls, settings, and power supplies. If there is any damage to any component, repair or replace it immediately. You should also keep the unit clean, the contacts and nozzles free of build-up or debris, and your gasses (if any) closed until needed. Storing the welder in a dry, clean area will also help keep it from getting debris build-up.

Are there any additional welding accessories I should buy?

The most important accessories are going to be your personal protection gear. A welders mask to protect your face and eyes, along with welders gloves and a welders apron are deemed essential. You should also consider welding rods, extra shielding gas, and welding clamps. Finally, you can round off your collection with welding sleeves to protect your arms and boots to prevent splatter from burning your shoes and extension cords and a chipping hammer.

How much does a good MIG welder cost on average?

On average, a decent to great MIG welder capable of performing well in your home shop or for light-duty use will run between $550 and $900. Cheaper models are available with more limitations, and high-end models designed for daily and constant use can go as high as a couple thousand dollars.

Where can I purchase MIG welders online?

You can purchase MIG welders online through Amazon. Amazon has many options available, with many price deals, bundle options, and shipping deals you won’t find anywhere else. It is also worth purchasing through Amazon for their customer service, return policies, and better warranty claim handling.


Conclusion

Finding the best MIG welder can be a difficult task. With hundreds of options, the path to the right welder can become cloudy. The Hobart 500553 Handler is arguably the best dual-power MIG welder available.

With options for gas or gasless welding as well as 110 or 220-volt power supply, you can weld virtually any type of metal at any thickness.