Last updated on February 19th, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Are you tired of the overload of information in your search for the best MIG welder? Do you want quick facts that will aid you in selecting an MIG welder? Then you’ve come to the right place. All the information you want and more in one location.
MIG welding is one of the easiest forms of welding out there. You don’t need to be a professional to make use of this tool. MIG welding is particularly useful in the joining thin metal sheets as well as heavy steel tubes.
MIG welding not only works on steel. It also works on nickel, copper, magnesium, aluminum, bronze, silicon and other metallic alloys. The MIG welder is the choice tool of most beginners as it is easy to use. This welder makes it easy for everyone to get a good finish.
When it comes to choosing the right MIG welder, many questions arise. Do I need a spool gun? Does output affect the performance of the MIG welder? Is thermal overload protection necessary in an MIG welder?
All these questions and more will be answered in our best MIG welder reviews. Our recommendations, guides, comparison and review will help you pick the MIG welder that is a right fit for you.
Here is a round up from our MIG welder review.. Detail comparison would follow soon.
How does a MIG welder Work?
In MIG welding, a short circuit with an inert gas (usually argon or helium) produces heat. This heat melts a metal electrode into the particular location you’re welding. The welder feeds and melts the electrode at a constant pace so the pre-selected arc length is maintained.
When you stop the MIG welder, the metal work piece starts to cool and fuse together as one piece. The tool controls the electrical properties of the arc. You can regulate travel speed and direction with semi-automatic MIG welders.
Why use a MIG Welder
MIG welding allows for joints to be more ductile and sturdier. It also has fewer distortions than other forms of welding. MIG welders allow you join two different metals together.
MIG welders can be used for small fabrications, repairs, shipbuilding, DIY projects and robotic welding.
Types of MIG welders
You’ve got two possibility for getting an MIG welder. They can basically be divided into two types:
Gasless MIG welders
They are easier to move around. They allow deeper permeation when welding overhead and perpendicularly. The only downside to these types of MIG welders is that they can be harder to use on thin materials if you are a not a pro.
Shielding Gas MIG welders
These welders use a shielding gas which is usually a combination of gases (argon and others). A regular wire is used with a shielding gas. These types are more expensive.
They give a cleaner weld than the gas-less kind. Only problem is that they are harder to move around because of the shielding gas.
MIG vs. TIG welders: Which is better?
The main difference between MIG and TIG welders lies in their welding process. MIG welders use a continuously feeding wire while TIG welders use long welding rods that are gradually fed into the weld puddle. Both types of welders use an electric arc to create the weld.
An MIG welder is easier to use than the TIG welder. MIG welders have a wider range of materials that it can weld. Thickness and thinness of material is no problem for the MIG welder. The TIG welder is commonly used for thinner materials that require delicacy and precision.
Choosing between an MIG and a TIG welder depends on the task you want to use both for. For a wider range of cuts, the MIG welder is a better option. For cuts that require delicate working, TIG welder is the better option.
Choosing the Best MIG Welder: What You Should Know!
To choose an MIG welder, here are some factors we believe you should take into consideration. They go a long way in helping you pick the best MIG welder for you.
The thickness of your metal work piece determines the voltage of welder you ought to buy. Most welders are offered either as 110V or 220V.
Thin materials would work best with the 110V while thicker materials require a higher voltage. To get the best MIG welder for both worlds, some machines offer dual voltage capabilities. Those welders are the kinds you should opt for.
The amount of time you can run your welder in 10 minutes is the duty cycle. For example, a welder with a duty cycle of 50% allows you weld for 5 minutes out of a 10 minute period.
MIG welders with a higher duty cycle allow you weld for longer periods. Therefore the best MIG welder would have higher duty cycle thereby getting more work done.
Wire Size and Type
The wire size and type is determined by the welding machine you buy. Not the other way around. There are two main wires used by MIG welders. ER70S-3 is an all-purpose wire.
ER70S-6 requires more de-oxidizers and is used on rusty/dirty metal work pieces. Dont forget to take this into consideration!
This is one must have feature on every good MIG welder. An automatic thermal shutoff means your welder will shut it off when it gets too hot. This saves the machine from damage and also prevents damage to your person and work-space.
Ease of Use
Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, everyone wants a machine that is easy to use and understand.
Colour coded control knobs; digital display, comfortable gun and even an easy to read operation manual are some things that go a long way in making it easy for you to use your welding machine.
The best MIG welder comes with all these basic features to make it easy and safe to use.
This is important depending on what you plan to do with your MIG welder. If you’re going to be working in a garage or workshop and won’t be doing any fieldwork, then a stationary machine would work for you.
If you’re going to be working in the field, then a portable welder you’d have no problem carrying around is a safe bet.
Taking note of all these factors would ensure you get the best MIG welder irrespective of the price.
Quick Review of the FIVE Best MIG Welders for 2016
Now, we’ve gotten to the most important part of this entire guide, the review proper. We’ve compared, researched and tested, almost all of the MIG welders you will find.These ones below made the cut. Check them out!
1, Lotos MIG175 MIG welder review
If we had to list the best MIG Welder, we’d definitely add the Lotos MIG175 to that list. Check out what makes the MIG175 is number one on our MIG welder reviews.
Lotos MIG175 is a welder that works with 220V. It has rated amperage of 175A. This welder can handle anything you throw at it; from steel to aluminium to nickel. You just name it.
You can weld 18 gauge to 1/4” steel material with this bad boy. It uses wires that are between 0.025 to 0.030” in size. We can hear the welders out there screaming for joy.
Lotos MIG175 has an 8ft heavy duty ground clamp for added protection. Its power cord is 8ft. This is enough length for most workshops and garages.
The MIG175 is a bit on the hefty side for an MIG welder with 85lbs. This welder comes packed with enough features to make other welding machines jealous. It comes with a spool gun, protection mask, argon regulator and 5ft hose as well as a torch that is 8ft long.
Do you know you can also use a flux-cored wire to weld with Lotos MIG175? It gives you the power to handle any metal of any thickness with either its argon shielding gas or with the flux-cored wire.
You can work both indoors and outdoors without worrying about the wind blowing your shielding gas around.
Lotos MIG175 is one of the best MIG welders we’ve come across in a long time. Professional welders and hobbyists who need to do heavy duty work often should absolutely buy this welder.
2, Hobart 500559 MIG welder review
When it comes to choosing the best MIG welders, look no further than the Hobart brand. Hobart 500559 comes packed with amazing features.
Hobart 500559 is a compact flux core welder. It works on the standard household voltage of 115V. It has an amperage range of 25-140A. This is great for working on automobile repairs, tractors and even airplanes.
Also called the handler 140, Hobart 500559 welds 24 gauge to 1/4 “steel. It has a wielding wire diameter of 0.023 to 0.035” and a duty cycle of 20% at 90A.
A gun, solenoid valve, dual gauge regulator and gas hose are some of the accessories included with the Hobart 500559.
There are 5 position voltage control setting which helps to fine tune the arc to the appropriate metal thickness. The handler 140 has a 10ft power cord and 200amp 10ft heavy duty welding ground clamp. Its thermal overload feature is one you cannot afford not to have.
Weighing 57 lbs, the handler 140 is a bit on the hefty side for many tools but not for MIG welders. It is a light weight welder. Its wire feed speed control is another feature that ensures you get the best out of your welding work.
One of the things we love about the Hobart 500559 is the quick release feature for easy wire change. Another feature we’re loving is the fact you can convert this flux core welder into a shielding gas type with a gas hose which is included. Hobart definitely wants us hooked on this welder.
Hobart 500559 is one great MIG welder. All this is why we think it’s worth the number two position on our best MIG welder reviews list.
Any professional and hobbyist who want great portability, a shielding gas and flux cored MIG welder that is an absolute beast would be foolish to buy anything that isn’t the Hobart 500559.
3, Lincoln Electric K2185-1 MIG welder review
The manufacturers of the Lincoln K2185-1 definitely knew what they were about when they made this welder. Check out why it makes it to our best MIG welder review list.
Lincoln K2185-1 works on the standard 115V household voltage. The welder is rated at 70A. This is enough power to work on most home and farm repairs.
This MIG welder can weld 24 gauge to 1/8” steel. It has a duty cycle of 20% at 70A and comes with contact tips, flux cored wire, chipping brush/hammer, gun, gas hose and regulator.
You can use this welder with both shielding gas and flux-cored welding.
K2185-1 comes with a heavy duty ground clamp that is 8ft long. Its power cord is also 8ft. An adjustable wire feed speed control is also included in this welder. It also has a weld wire diameter of 0.025 to 0.035”.
Weighing just 49lbs, Lincoln K2185-1 is light enough to be carried from place to place. If you want to use it in a stationary manner, you can just hook it up to a shielding gas. You get the best of both worlds with this welder.
The safety feature on the Lincoln K2185-1 is one we absolutely love. The welding wire is kept electrically cold till you press the gun trigger. How awesome is that?!
The only issue with this welder is that it doesn’t have as much power as we’d hoped it would. Lincoln K2185-1 would test the patience of anyone who requires too much power at once.
Lincoln K2185-1 is a quality MIG welder. Hobbyists and DIYers who need a welder for home repairs on mowers, automobile bodies and exhaust would enjoy using the K2185-1.
4, Hobart 500536 MIG welder review
Something about the Hobart brand screams quality tool. Hobart 500536 joins our best MIG review list at number four.
Hobart 500536 is a heavy duty welder with an amperage range of 30-250 A. It works with 200 volts. If you’re thinking of heavy duty work on any material, the 500536 has got you covered. Fabrication, construction, auto repair and more can be done with this welder.
Ironman 230 as this welder is also known can weld 24 gauge to 1/2″ steel. It has an amazing duty cycle, 60% at 175A. It has a 12 position voltage control setting that enables you get the best arc out of this machine.
A 200 amp MIG gun that is 15ft long and a 5ft gas hose come with the Ironman 230. It also comes with a 10ft work cable with clamp. You can use wires that are 0.030 to 0.035” with this welder.
Hobart 500536 weighs a whopping 270lbs. It makes up for its heft by having wheels that enable you pull it from place to place. Ironman 230 also has a thermal overload protection function built in.
The tool-less brake tension knob and automatic wire alignment are two features we definitely love on the Hobart 500536. This welder just screams use me with its many great features.
Only issue with this machine is the fact that roller pressure keeps seizing up. If you don’t open the machine and release the pressure roller, you will waste wire while welding.
All in all, Hobart 500536 is a good MIG welder. Professionals and DIYers who have much heavy duty work and a wide range of thickness in materials should buy this welder.
5, Eastwood 175 MIG welder review
We present MIG 175 courtesy of the engineers at Eastwood. Read on to find out why it makes our best MIG welder reviews list.
Eastwood welder works with 220V. It has rated amp of 175A. You can tackle aluminium, steel and many more metals with this welder.
This welder works on 24 gauge to 5/16” steel and 14 gauge to 1/4″ aluminium as well. It has a duty cycle of 30% at 130A. It comes with a gas regulator and hose, tips, spool gun with 9ft cable, 0.030 steel and aluminium wires. Long and short of it, this welder has enough accessories to get you started on your MIG welding journey.
Eastwood 175 welder comes with an 8ft ground cable. It has an adjustable wire feed speed control to ensure you get the best wire fill in the wire pool. This is one of those features that mark up the worth of this welder in my eyes.
The 175 from the guys at Eastwood weighs 62 lbs, not too heavy for our tastes. But it can be lifted from place to place which is one good thing if you have to work away from your usual workspace. The heat setting on this welder is great.
A quick set weld chart that comes with the Eastwood welder. This helps you accurately predict the settings for different materials. And ensures you get better penetration.
As much as we’d love to tell you there is nothing bad about the Eastwood welder, we can’t. Our only issue with this machine is that it is not as high quality as we expected. The hinges on the access panel snapped during use.
Eastwood 175 welder isn’t bad. It is perfect for hobbyists and DIYers who want a machine that can weld both aluminium and steel.
And this is the end of our review and guide. We hope you’ve been enlightened by our little review. If you need some more help, check out our recommendations below:
- If you want the best MIG welder for aluminium, Lotos MIG175 is the welder for you. It can weld anything you can think of and has enough power that will blow you away.
- The best MIG welder for the money would have to be the Lincoln K2185-1. Great power output for a good price.
- If you’re a DIYer, the best DIY MIG welder is the Hobart 500559. You get professional level welder that is easy to understand. Also, it’s a welder that will last many years as your proficiency increases.
If you have more questions or need more help, leave us a comment and we’d get back to you.