Best MIG Welder – Reviews & Detailed Buyer’s Guide for 2019

MIG welding is one of the simplest welding process and this explains why MIG welders are the most common type of welders on the market. The welders are easy to use, maintain and to repair making them a reliable option for a variety of projects.

MIG welder is used across the board whether it is for repairing household items and other equipment or it is for your garage. Professional welders have also found themselves using MIG welder often due to its accessible and high-quality welding.

Getting the best MIG welder will be a valuable addition to your machine shop or garage, big or small, regardless of your skills level. However, the challenge lies in selecting the right welder considering the fact that there are plenty of models and you have to compare them head to head. That’s why we have made your work easier by reviewing 6 best MIG welders to guide you make an informed purchase decision and make your investment worth it.

Before we dwell deep into these top rated MIG welders, let’s have a quick preview of the products’ key attribute so that you can prepare your mind on what to expect.

Comparison Table for Best MIG Welders for 2019

1. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG is well made internally and this is evidenced by its incredible power and high task yield. It comes with Hobart’s quality which is known for producing high rated products making this welder one of the most popular wire feed welder which is ready to be used right from the box; no additional kit is required. The factory settings are good to go but you can customize them to your liking.

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Key Features and Benefits

  • Highly Versatile with Industrial Performance: Hobart 500559 is very versatile and it is a good choice for any welder who wants to do household repairs or even heavy-duty tasks that require extra power. It operates on 115 volts current and it is built with heavy industrial cast aluminum for industrial performance. In addition to this, Handler 140 has an inbuilt storage area for keeping all items that you might need while working.
  • Adjustable Settings: Handler 140 features adjustable settings that allow you to choose the function that you want. Based on the nature of the weld, the welder can choose between the 5 voltage output options enabling you to end up with a stable and smooth arc with various welding thicknesses. Additionally, you don’t have to change the size of the wire while welding as this unit comes with a drive system that automatically changes your wires within seconds.
  • Safe to Use: Hobart 500559 has considered the safety of its user through the self-resetting thermal overload protection that helps to prevent overheating and accidental fires. The machine will shut off automatically when it gets too hot and it will, later on, restart when it has cooled down. The control panel is placed at the front so that you can see and use the controls while welding without struggling.
  • Lots of Accessories: Handler 140 is ready to use as it comes with a kit with everything you need to get started. In the kit you will find, 10 ft. MIG gun, inbuilt gas valve, gas hose and gauge regulator, 10ft work cable and clamp, 10 ft. power cord, spool adapter, extra contact tips, user manual,and a set-up guide.

What we liked

  • Comes with special features that include thermal overload protection.
  • Comes with simple controls.
  • Packed with lots of accessories.
  • This machine is compatible with a couple of shielding gas.
  • Produces fewer spatters.

What we didn’t like

  • You will need to acquire gas cylinders separately.
  • Low voltage hence not recommended for big projects.

Our Verdict: Hobart 500559 Handle 140 is a versatile and sturdy MIG welder that expertly handles all projects with great precision and it present great value for the price.

If you are looking for welder for your small to moderate scale welding, then Handler 140 is made for you.

2. LOTOS MIG175 175AMP

LOTOS MIG175 175AMP comes in a compact design but it has enough power to allow you shine in both gas and flux welding. It also allows you to customize your wire speed and voltage settings, giving you ten options for each. This allows you to have maximum control over your work enabling you to generate high-quality welds with great precision.

LOTOS MIG175 175AMP Key Features and Benefits

  • Shield Gas and Flux-core Capable: LOTOS MIG175 has excelled in this area allowing the welder to do both flux and gas welding. You can do flux-core welding when appearance is not core but you want a faster and cheaper process. Gas shield can be more expensive but it generates clean welds with fewer spatters. The ability to switch between the two modes saves you time and money.
  • Welding Capability: LOTOS MIG175 can weld a wide range of metals from aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel and many more. It can also handle a variety of thicknesses. For aluminum, it can handle 3/8 of an inch or even thicker while with stainless steel, the machine can comfortably work with 18 gauge to 1/4 of an inch. The included high-speed spool gun is a great addition and it works well with aluminum.
  • Thermal Overload Indicator and Protection: It is really important for any welding machine to have a form of protection against blowing up since it will be working at high voltages. This welder comes with thermal overload protection that enables the machine to shut down before it overheats and cause some serious damages. The included overload indicator lights up to give you a warning when you are over temp.
  • Ability to Customize Wire speed and Voltage Settings: With LOTOS MIG175 you can customize both your wire speed settings and voltage settings as per your welding needs.  It gives you 10 settings for each allowing you to work with precision and have control throughout the process.

What we liked

  • This unit has temperature control mechanism.
  • Customizable wire speed.
  • It comes with easy to carry handle hence it is highly portable.
  • It works with many metals, including aluminum.
  • MIG spoon included.

What we didn’t like

  • Changing spare parts can sometimes be challenging.
  • Strictly for MIG operations.

Our Verdict: Searching for an industrial, quality and affordable welder may seem endless until you lay your hands on the Lotos MIG 175 175amp. This machine will not break your bank yet it will deliver great performance as per your welding needs.

Lotos MIG175 175amp is packed with serious power so you can rest assured that it won’t disappoint. Buy it on Amazon today.

3. Goplus MIG 130 Welder

The Goplus MIG 130 welder is a budget MIG welder that is highly portable and highly versatile. Cheap does not mean bad or poor quality as this unit is designed with multipurpose capabilities making it a great option in both home and professional settings. However, it has less power and lacks some features that are required for industrial applications.

Key Features and Benefits of Goplus MIG 130 Welder 

  • 4 Heat Settings and Adjustable Welding Speed: Goplus MIG 130 features two switches that offer four options for current flow allowing you to weld a wide range of applications. It also features a rotary knob allowing you to adjust wire feed speed for up to 10 different levels enabling you to perform more powerful weld even on thicker sheets.
  • Flux-Cored Wire: Goplus MIG 130 works with flux –core only that utilizes it's Metal Tip to produce metal-inert gas that helps to prevent oxidation of the welded area while welding. In addition to this, this MIG welder features two air-vents that help with heat dissipation to prevent the machine from overheating. It also features other necessary complimentary like the storage space where you can keep some essential accessories.
  • Wide Range of Applications and Portable Design: This exquisite MIG welder is compact and is made of durable heavy-duty steel yet very lightweight with an easy to carry handle for easy transportation and storage. You can use this welder on a range of applications with a professional finish; from welding thin iron and steel to general DIY and repairing work.
  • Built-in torch: Goplus MIG 130 offers an inbuilt torch/welding gun with on/off safety switch.  This means that you can switch it on/off as needed allowing you to have full control of the entire process and also help you save power. The torch also comes in handy when welding in dark places and other hard to reach places that require preciseness.

Pros

  • It has 4 voltage settings.
  • It comes with lengthy power cord.
  • Very lightweight hence highly portable.
  • Features 2 air vents for temperature control.
  • Plastic handle for extra comfort.

Cons

  • It works with flux-core wires only.
  • It doesn’t have a battery powered option.

Our Verdict: Although Goplus MIG 130 is a budget welder, it doesn’t mean it is of low quality but certainly you will have to bear with several compromises. However, it is packed with extraordinary features to help you kick start all sort of welding works.

Goplus MIG 130 is an ideal friend to any welder, so don’t hesitate to get one today at a throwaway price.

4. Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130

Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 is a sure ‘super deal’ when it comes to performance and incredible features. One of the super deals is its weight which allows you to carry it with you and the inbuilt handle is of great help. The casing is made up of sheet steel which contributes to reduced weight and durability.

Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 Key Features and Benefits

  • User-friendly Control Panel: Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 features a user-friendly interface that makes set-up a walk in the park with advanced options that are easily accessible. With this, the welder is assured of clear view of the weld area at all times and is able to tackle even the toughest task with a reduced risk of operating errors.
  • Adjustable Feed Speed: With Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 you can operate on a variety of feed speed by using the provided 4 buttons and the rotary knob to adjust the current flow and wire speed up to 10 different levels. With these controls, you can weld on steel and other materials with different thicknesses with more speed precision.
  • Metal Tip and Thermal Overload Protection: The welding gun features a copper tip at the end of the gun with incredible benefit. For instance, this tip does not allow any slag to form while welding. You can easily replace this tip with the extra tips provided after using it for some time. In order to protect the welder from overheating, the machine features thermal overload protection with a cooling fan to protect your machine.
  • It Fits in Everywhere: This unit is compact and portable and handy allowing for convenient transportation and storage. This machine is the perfect choice for projects that requires repositioning thanks to its easy to carry handle that makes it easy for you to bring it along. Moreover, Super Deal MIG 130 Welder uses flux-core meaning that you don’t need a separate gas cylinder for shielding gas.

What we liked

  • Features 4 levels of current flow settings.
  • You can choose the feed speed from the options provided.
  • Powerful; can handle tough tasks
  • Easy to set up and operate.
  • Safety controls allow you to switch of the torch quickly if need be.

What we didn’t like

  • It tends to heat up quite fast.
  • Built quality and design is not the greatest.
  • The face mask provided is of poor quality.

Our Verdict: If your welding tasks involve a lot of thin metal, then you have a perfect choice in Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130. It handles vast projects that prove impossible with other similar models and the good thing is that it is a good fit for beginners and professionals alike.

Checks some of the reviews of this dynamic product on Amazon to see what we are talking about.

5. Forney Easy Weld 261

Forney Easy Weld machines are ideal for DIYer or beginner welder and so is Forney Easy Weld 261. This machine uses flux-core meaning that it is a gasless welder that does not require any welding gas. It is perfect for novice and professional welder alike looking to do a range of welding applications including repair and maintenance, metal fabrication among others.

Key Features and Benefits of Forney Easy Weld 261

  • Flux-Core Welding Only: The Forney Easy Weld 261 uses .030” flux core wire that comes with an additional MIG gun and a ground clamp.This means that the flux is inbuilt where it provides the shielding needed against oxidation on the weld puddle. This shielding mechanism is safe to some extent as it reduces chances of explosions and it also saves you money for gas refills.
  • Effective Controls: With Easy Weld 261 you can have full control of every aspect of the welding process thanks to its effective controls.  Such controls include a variety of voltage settings and wire speed control that allows you to obtain indispensable outcomes. This makes this unit one of the most reliable machines for your all-time welding.
  • Higher Duty Cycle: The Forney Easy Weld 261 30% at 90 Amps which is convenient enough to allow you weld convenient with less disruptions. The size of the machine should not make you doubt its performance as it is powerful enough to weld the tough stainless steel and other heavier application. With this, even inexperienced beginners can weld heavy duty material without much hassle.
  • Lightweight and Comes with Necessary Attachments: Easy Weld 261 is lightweight with a welding capability of ¼ of an inch metal thickness. It comes with the necessary attachments that include wire, clamps and speed controller all in one package. It also features inverter power system and innovative design that is easy to use and simple to operate thus generating top-notch results.

What we liked

  • It comes with a number of accessories.
  • High amperage.
  • It is very beginner-friendly.
  • Highly durable
  • It doesn’t require shielding gas.

What we didn’t like

  • Relatively heavy
  • Not ideal for thicker metals
  • Wire feeder could be longer.

Our Verdict: Forney Easy Weld 261 presents you with an opportunity to turn all your welding ideas and inspirations into masterpieces. It can be used on a wide range of applications which is quite appealing at its price point.

This MIG welder is for that welder who has always wanted to do great welding but don’t know where to start. Check the latest prices on Amazon.

6. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG

K2185-1 from Lincoln is compact and lightweight and it comes with everything for your MIG welds; you will only be required to add the shielding gas. It features a fan-cooled design to counter overheating and improve the strength of the weld. The 4 voltage settings give you more control your work as you can easily adjust the settings to fit the nature of the weld.

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Key Features and Benefits

  • Shielding Gas and Flux-Core Wire Enabled: K2185-1 welds using both protective gas which is sold separately and flux-cored outlet. The latter uses a flux that is feed inside the hollow electrode using the gun. It comes with everything you need for the two types of welding which includes cable assembly and work cable, ground clamp, gas nozzle and regulator, wire spool, gun and contact tips. You only need to add shielding gas for gas welding.
  • Icy Cold Contactor: K2185-1 features this unique safety feature which helps to prevent overheating. Welding machines being power tools are susceptible to overheating and explosion which is why it is important to take necessary precautions. This feature works by keeping the welding wire electrically cold until you press the trigger. The fan-cooled configuration also helps to keep temperatures at par which helps to improve the strength of the weld.
  • Optimal Welding Wire Diameter: The welding wire has a diameter of about 0.035 inches which is thin enough for welding in limited space. This diameter also comes in handy when you want to move the welder especially in hard to weld areas. This coupled with its compact and lightweight design ensures that you have an added advantage of convenience to leverage at any given time.
  • Non-stop Wire Feed Speed Control: Lincoln Electric K2185-1 offers continuous wire feed with an adjustable speed allowing you carry out a welding task at the required speed. The continuous feed is the highlight of this welder as it ensures that the feeding is done ceaselessly ensuring that all welds are done effortlessly and with precision. The welder also has four voltage settings that’s allows you to weld from 18 gauge to 1/8 of an inch, adding to the adaptability of the machine.

What we liked

  • 4 voltage options.
  • Very versatile as it perform numerous applications.
  • Very strong and durable.
  • Comes with an easy to use panel.
  • Fan-cooled design for temperature control.

What we didn’t like

  • Not appropriate for industrial use.
  • Might experience feeder issues.
  • Relatively expensive.

Our Verdict: Lincoln Electric K2185-1 gives you a rare opportunity to carry out some powerful welding even with limited experience and you can carry it along with you especially when you have to do reposition.

Although it is relatively expensive, Lincoln Electric K2185-1 gives you value for your money. Order the remaining few machine on Amazon.

Buying Guide; What to look for when buying the best MIG welder

This is the big question that is frequently asked and it requires a detailed answer. There are quite a number of models and the challenging bit is that they vary slightly from each other. This buying guide will help you examine what factors to look out for in your new MIG welder.

i. Nature of the Weld

This is simply the task that you intend to perform or what you will be welding. A hobbyist needs different capabilities from someone handling professional work. This is where welding capability of the welder come in to play in terms of thickness of the metal to be handled. Simple repairs such as motorcycle repairs require a machine that can handle metals of between 1/16” to 1/8 “ in thickness while heavy-duty repairs may require a welder that can handle 3/16” to 1/4 “ thick metals.  All in all, the most important thing here is to determine what you need to use the MIG welder for.

ii. Power Supply

The next thing that you need to establish is the power needs of the machine. This is going to be determined by the nature of the weld and how often you intend to weld. Simple and thinner welds can comfortably run on 100 amps welder while thicker welds will require that you get a welder with an output of about 140 amps and above. In addition to this, you will need to establish minimum and maximum amps so that you don’t end up with less or too much power than you need.

iii. Feed Speed

The fire speed is the speed or the rate at which the wire is being fed from the welder to the gun. It is important to look into this factor because a slow feed makes the wire disappear the moment it touches the weld zone leading to uneven weld. Feeding the wire too fast, on the other hand, creates a situation where there is too much wire creating a lot of spatter. As such you should choose a welder with the right speed as it will provide satisfying results.

iv. Gas or Gasless

MIG welds needs to be protected from contaminants such as oxygen. The protection comes in two forms; shielding gas and flux-core wire. The former involves a gas (inert or semi-inert) which is produced from a gas cylinder that is used to displace oxygen. The latter on the other hand uses a compound that is within the wire to provide protection. Both have advantages and disadvantages but the good thing is that you can find a welder with both options.

Most people prefer welding with shielding gas as it simpler and it gives you a better view of the weld area. It also produces fewer spatters. On the downside, you cannot weld on windy environment plus you need to dig deeper in the pockets for the cost of gas.

Gasless welding, on the other hand, allows you to weld outdoors but it does not give you a clear view of the weld pool. There is also a lot of spatter and slag which might affect the quality of the weld unless it is brushed off properly.

v. Functionality and Controls

Another key consideration is the machine functionality. For example, you need to look out for responsiveness of the gun’s trigger, the ease of installation, and other important aspects such as the length of the cables. In addition to this, a good MIG welder should have controls systems that are well calibrated, easy to use and manipulate for consistency and quality results. How good machine look should be replicated on the ground.

vi. Safety Feature

The best MIG welder should feature some safety features the most important ones being;

  • Thermal overload protection-Any welder can run the risk of overheating when it reaches certain temperatures. To protect it from this, the machine should feature an inbuilt thermal overload system which enables it to shut off automatically at the end of the duty cycle.
  • Inbuilt contactor- The contactor promotes a safe working environment by keeping the wire cold and also automatically switches on the power supply only when the trigger is pulled..

vii. Availability of Accessories and Spares

The number accessories included with your welder vary from brand to brand but ideally, you should receive it with some items. They include;

  • Gas cylinder for shielding gas.
  • Regulator
  • Torch
  • Welding helmet

However, there is no guarantee that manufacture will provide these items so you may be required to purchase them on your own. Over time, these items and the machine in general may wear out as such you may want to consider a welder with readily accessible spare parts.

Conclusion

We now believe that buying the best MIG welder should not be a daunting task if you will follow the guidelines provided herein. Knowing what to look for will save you a lot of time and ensure that your investment is channeled in the right direction.

Make sure to check on the specific MIG welder power settings, safety features, shielding, feed speed, controls and when all these is said and done, rest assured that you can never go wrong.

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