There are several types of welding processes, and these are arc welding, tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, and stick welding. Among these processes, metal inert gas (MIG) welding will be the main topic here.
Metal inert gas is also known as gas metal arc welding (GMAW). The MIG device makes uses of inert gases, which are elements that do not combine with other elements. These welders are wire fed, making use of thin wires as electrodes. The wires fed into the MIG gun come out melted.
This article is about MIG welder reviews, which will be discussing six various MIG welding brands, and the features that each welding device has to offer. Also included in this article are the benefits of using MIG welders and how to choose the right MIG welder that will suit your needs.
Best MIG Welder Reviews 2016
Table of Contents
- 1 Best MIG Welder Reviews 2016
- 1.1 Hobart Handler 500554001 190 with SpoolRunner 100
- 1.2 Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
- 1.3 Everlast Poweri-MIG 140E MIG Welder, 110/120-volt
- 1.4 Forney 318 190-Amp MIG Welder, 230-Volt
- 1.5 Millermatic 211 MIG Welder 120/240VAC, 1 Phase
- 1.6 Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder Flux Core Welder
- 2 Perks of Using an MIG Welder
- 3 Picking the Right MIG Welder
- 4 Conclusion
First on this list is the Hobart Handler 500554001 190 with SpoolRunner 100. This good MIG welder garnered a superb score of 4.7 out of 5 stars from customer reviews. Users claim that this is a great heavy-duty, mid-sized welder than executes welding tasks with good quality. Customers are also pleased with the SpoolRunner that is included in the package.
The Handler 190 is the ideal tool for various tasks such as maintenance, home tinkering and repairs, construction, and auto body. It is a powerful portable MIG welder that is wire fed with a flux core. It is capable of welding metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, and mild steel. Additionally, this welder offer 7 voltage selection settings
This MIG wire welder is powered with 100 to 230 volts of current. Its ampere (A) output ranges from a minimum of 25 A to a maximum of 190 A. This has a gas solenoid and valve that is built-in. Also, it is equipped with a regulator that has dual gauges, together with a gas hose.
In terms of material thickness, the Handler 190 can weld steel with widths ranging from 24 gauge up to 5/16 inches. For aluminum, this tool can handle 16 gauge up to 3/16 inches. The speed control for the wire feed is infinite.
The package of this Hobart wire feed welder contains several items. These include a 150 A SpoolRunner, a 6 feet power cord, a 10-foot work cable with a clamp, a MIG gun, a 10-foot power cord, and a plastic case. The SpoolRunner, which accommodates from 4 to 8 inches of spool in its assembly hub, assists in welding aluminum more efficiently.
Another welding machine that has landed on this wire welder reviews is the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder. It has garnered an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Users are satisfied with its performance because it is a compact welder that can deliver a great deal of power, welding through thick materials with ease.
According to Lincoln, the K2185, weighing in at 40 pounds, is a lightweight, compact, and portable MIG welder. It is the best device for jobs such as household repairs and projects for hobbies. In addition, this welder is fan-cooled, which contributes in lengthening the life expectancy of this tool
This small wire welder is powered by 115 volts of current and operates with a 20 A household outlet. It is equipped with 4 voltage selection settings. Also, the wire feed has an adjustable speed, allowing the welding of mild steel, from its thinnest width of 24 gauge up to its thickest measurement that reaches 1/8 inches. It has an ampere output of 35 A to 88 A.
The package of this 115 V welder has various items for easy MIG welding. These include an 8 feet power cord, a gas nozzle, a MIG gun, an 8-foot work cable with clamp, contact tips, a gas regulator with the hose, a spool of flux-cored wire, a hand shield, and a chipping brush.
Lincoln offers a year’s warranty for the parts and labor of the package excluding the MIG gun and its cable. The warranty for these two items only lasts for 90 days.
Next on the list of wire welder reviews is the Everlast Poweri-MIG 140E MIG Welder, 110/120-volt. This has received a total average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. User reviews claim that this is a small yet powerful inverter that is energy efficient and delivers quality output.
This is the best 120v MIG welder since it is lightweight, weighing at only 28 pounds. Everlast recommends this MIG welding machine as ideal for portable repairs, home shop, garages, off-road use, and even for farm usage. It can weld through metals such as chrome-moly, mild steel, and stainless steel. The minimum welding capability of this unit is at 24 gauge while its maximum is at 3/6 inches for single pass and 3/8 inches for multiple pass.
It is an inverter-based MIG welder equipped with an insular-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT). This design enables the release of a higher output for amperes, and contributes to the durability of the device, ensuring a longer life span. Moreover, this small MIG welder operates with a 120 volt connection. i-MIG 140E accommodates an ampere output starting from 25 A and reaches up to 140 A. In total, it has an average ampere capacity of 200 A
Additionally, this is the best 120v welder that includes a spool gun. This is engineered in a way that enables it to make use of 4-inch and 8-inch wire spools. The package of the Everlast Poweri-MIG 140E MIG Welder consists of an Argon/CO2 regulator, a work clamp, and a 10-foot 15 V series MIG gun. The company offers a 5 year warranty for the parts and labor of this unit.
The Forney 318 190-Amp MIG Welder, 230-Volt is also considered as one of the best welders available in the market today. This unit is given an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Customers state that this model can produce decent welds and can accommodate metals that are quite heavier in nature.
It is lightweight, weighing in at 78 pounds. It is one of the best MIG welders that you can purchase because of its versatility. Forney suggests this welder machine for farm, boat, automotive, fabrication, and repair use. This is MIG ready, operational with a flow meter, gas regulator, and hose.
Aside from MIG readiness, it is also equipped with flux-core welding abilities. This enables the machine to weld metals such as steel, aluminum, cast iron, and stainless steel. It can accommodate a weld thickness of up to 3/8 inches.
This functions with 230 volts of current. Its average ampere capacity is at 190 A while its ampere power output is from 30 A to 190 A. In addition, it has an input phase of 1.
In addition to the flow meter, regulator, and gas hose, there are other items also included in the Forney 318 190-Amp MIG Welder package. These comprise of a spool gun that can accommodate 4 and 8 inches of spool wire, a 15-foot power cord, and a 10 foot MIG torch that can be detached and changed at any time. Other items include HD cast aluminum for more efficient wire feeding, a cable wrap, a de-spooler, and a big cabinet for more storage space. With its amazing qualities, the 318 can be considered as the best wire feed welder.
With an average of 4.4 out of 5 star MIG welder ratings, the Millermatic 211 MIG Welder 120/240VAC, 1 Phase also belongs in this review. Customer reviews reveal that this welding machine’s dual voltage feature comes in handy. Also, some users are impressed with the clean welds that this unit can produce.
Weighing in at only 38 pounds, this is the best portable welding machine you can acquire since it can be handheld. The Millermatic 211 makes use of 240 volts of alternating current. It can weld stainless steel, aluminum, and mild steel.
This MIG welder can accommodate different weld thickness levels. For stainless steel, the range is from 20 gauge up to ¼ inches. Meanwhile, it can cater 18 gauge to 3/7 inches for aluminum, and 24 gauge to 3/8 inches for mild steel.
Moreover, this Miller dual voltage MIG welder makes use not only of MIG gas but also a flux core feature. It utilizes inverter technology because this is more forgiving in terms of travel speeds and arc length. The input phase starts at 1.
In terms of amperes, this MIG welding machine has an output ampere range that reaches from 30 A up to 230 A with direct current. Furthermore, it is equipped with a fan-on-demand feature that cools the system down and operates only when necessary.
The set for this unit includes an MIG gun that reaches up to 10 feet, a gas solenoid valve that is built in, a 10-foot work cable together with a clamp, a regulator with dual gauges, a gas hose, and contact tips.
Last but not the least for this article’s wire welder reviews is the Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder Flux Core Welder. It is given an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars by verified users.
This wire welder weighs about 54 pounds in total. Lotos claims that it is very versatile since it can be used by people engaged in do-it-yourself activities, home tasks, and even professional welding jobs. The MIG140 runs with 110 volts of current with a maximum ampere capacity of 140 A.
It can weld metals such as aluminum, mild steel, and stainless steel. The MIG welder can accommodate a wide range of weld thickness such as 24 gauge up to ¼ inches of mild or stainless steel.
Moreover, it has been upgraded for the 2017 version; making it the best 110v MIG welder. The upgrade offers a 2T/4T switch, and a total of 2 digital displays that can assist customers in giving precise adjustments on both the wire feeder and voltage. Aside from having MIG capabilities, it is also flux core enabled. Also, its quick connector on the cable is now designed to effortlessly switch positive and negative connections. Furthermore, it integrates a protection system against thermal overload to prevent overheating issues.
The items included in this set’s package are the following: an MIG torch, a ground clamp for the cable, a gas hose, an Argon regulator, 2 contact tips, a welding mask, and a wire. A spool gun that can handle 4-inch and 8-inch industrial wire is bought separately. There is a limited warranty of 1 year for this product.
Perks of Using an MIG Welder
Utilizing a reliable MIG welding machine can be very beneficial when it comes to welding jobs, whether it is heavy duty or light duty works. These are some crucial points as to why MIG welders are the best tools to be used when welding.
- Greater Productivity Levels – MIG welders are great welding devices since these provide clean, precise, and fast welds. There is no need to constantly brush away and by-product or chippings from the material. This enables you to concentrate in creating more welds, thus increasing your overall level of productivity.
- Can Easily be Learned – compared to tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding machines, MIG welders are easier to operate and use. You can be trained for at least twenty minutes and learn within that short span of time. The only process that takes most time is weld cleaning. MIG is best for beginners who are practicing for basic home and hobby projects.
- Slag and Spatter-Free Welds – only light clean-up is needed for MIG welds. This is because of the shielding gas released by the welder. This protects the welded product’s arc, thereby, lessening the transfer of metals. Slag is not a problem, as compared to the stick welding process.
- Aesthetically-Appealing Welds – aside from its simple operations, using MIG welding machines can deliver visually-appealing welds. This is because the welder can provide smooth welds without the presence of slag.
- Versatility – MIG welding can be considered as a multipurpose device especially since it allows the melding of various solid materials. This can weld soft metals such as aluminum and hard metals such as stainless steel and aluminum. It can also weld metal combination also known as alloys. Moreover, MIG welders can operate semi-automatically or fully automatic.
- Speedy Welding Process – having the constant wire-feeding feature in MIG welders allows both your hands to maneuver freely, which speeds up the welding process while providing good control and delivering superb welds after every welding procedure.
- Ability To Weld Thick Metals – an MIG welder is not only capable of welding light, thin metals but also more importantly, can weld metals of thick structure by means of multiple passes. This is possible with the aid of a high amperage level.
Picking the Right MIG Welder
Buying and owning the best MIG welding machine is a sure way of making welding-related jobs and activities quicker to accomplish and ensuring the delivery of quality output. There are a number of considerations to look into before actually purchasing a welder. Here are some factors to check when looking for the MIG welding tool that is well-matched to your necessities.
- Power Required
Simple MIG welding machines that are usually used for household projects run with 115 volts of current. This type of tool can only accommodate metal materials with thinner structures. Thicker metals need MIG machines that provide higher power levels. Depending on what you need, you must always check the power levels of various MIG welding brands in order to learn which brands sell the lowest and highest levels.
- Importance and Use of Spool Gun
Aluminum is a tough metal to weld. It often jams an MIG torch when being fed from the wire feeding gun. Having a spool gun and using it as an attachment on your torch prevents wire obstructions, thus making it easier to weld the aluminum.
- Shielding Gas Regulation
It is important to buy an MIG welder that is equipped with a good gas regulator. It will allow you to control the gas, and you can focus on the tasks at hand. More importantly, this will help in saving fuel without having to constantly buy more shielding gas.
- Protection From Thermal Overload
Overheating is possible for MIG welders. Each welder has a duty cycle that determines the duration of time that you are able to use your MIG welder before it heats up. If you exceed the given time and weld for too long, the device could increase in temperature, which will result in permanently damaging your welder.
It is recommended to purchase a brand of MIG welder that is equipped with a thermal overload protective mechanism. This will prolong your welder’s life expectancy and let you save up without having to purchase new welders every time.
- Heavy-Duty Versus Light-Duty Welding
MIG welders with lower amperage capacities are best suited for light activities such as welding thin metals. These welding machines are best for home use, hobby projects, light repairs, and other tasks that do not require high heat levels. Usually, low-level ampere welders range from 100 A to 300 A. On the other hand, heavy-duty MIG welders are more inclined with jobs that require melding thicker metals such as industrial, manufacturing, and professional welding occupations. Generally, these high ampere machines range from 400 A to a maximum of 600 A.
The MIG welders reviewed in this article all fall under light duty welding capacity. Although some of the brands previously mentioned are capable of welding thick metal, these are not intended for heavy usage.
Thus, if you are in need of welders for light to moderate use, you may opt to choose among the mentioned brands in this article.
- Proper Amperage Level
In relation to the duty cycle of the MIG welder, it is also important to check on the proper amperage of the device. These are correlated with each other, and can affect the heat levels of the welder.
- Availability of Input Power
MIG welders vary in voltages offered for them to function ranging from 110 V up to 230 V. Also, not all welding machines have both alternating current and direct current voltages. This is why it is important to check what power input you can accommodate. The best option is to purchase a dual voltage machine. This offers you the option of using both currents when needed, depending on the type of welding job you are about to do.
- Excellent Quality
It is recommended to invest your money on high-end MIG welding machines that are priced quite higher than the common MIG welders sold. If you are lucky enough to find an affordable yet reliable device, then, this would be more preferable. Still, the best option is to pay extra and buy a durable welder that provides top notch performance.
- Great Warranty Coverage
Make sure that the unit you are about to purchase has a good warranty deal. Some MIG welder brands offer a period of 5 years warranty for parts and labor of the welder. This is to ensure that you are secured that the manufacturers will replace any defective parts.
Welding is a complicated task since it requires precision and proper handling in order to create decent, top quality welds. MIG welders are the best tools that can finish metal welding jobs with ease. The best MIG welders are advantageous tools for any welding job at hand. These machines can greatly help inconveniently in welding metals at home or in the garage.
Owning the best wire feed welder for the money ensures that you have an affordable yet a top notch device that can deliver excellent outputs. If you are seeking for an MIG welder, then, be sure to initially read online reviews about MIG welder brands and conduct full research for potential brands that may satisfy your welding needs before actually buying a unit.
Author Bio: This is the guest post by Beth from TopWelders.com. He is into welding training at such a young age, following his father footstep. He has a great interest in welding, and share his insights at TopWelders.com.
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