Buying one of the best MIG Welder doesn’t have to be a Herculean task.
In order to make sure that you purchase the most suitable one for your needs, there are certain things to check before making your choice.
Knowing what your exact goals are, the types of materials you intend to join and how often you’d use you welder are few boxes you’d also need to check.
If you are looking to save a good sum of money while purchasing one of these excellent welders without necessarily compromising on quality and durability, then our comprehensive review will interest you.
Top-Rated MIG Welder in 2018
What is MIG Welding?
“MIG” stands for “Metal Inert Gas.” The slang name is “Wire Welding,” whereas, the technical name is GMAW which stands for Gas Metal Arc Welding.
It is an arc-welding process where a continuous wire electrode is fed into the weld pool through a welding gun to join two materials together.
Also, a shielding-Gas is sent through the welding-gun to protects the weld-pool from contamination.
Types of MIG Welding
1. Short-circuit transfer
As the name implies, this occurs when the welding electrode touches the metals being welded. A short-circuit is created as an electrical current from the welding gun courses through the wire.
The welding-wire heats and then drips several times a second producing a fast crackling sound. Short-Circuit transfer is Short-circuit is achieved by using a combination of low-voltage and a CO2 shielding gas (or gas mixture).
In short circuit transfer, the required shielding gases aren’t expensive, and this is its major advantage. On the other hand, one limitation of short-circuit transfer is the thickness of the metal it can handle.
2. Globular transfer
This is almost similar to the short-circuit transfer. Their major differences are the intensity and the speed of the drips from the welding wire to the metals to be joined. Rather than multiple drips per second, it drips only a few times a second.
The globular transfer is achieved by a combination of argon shielding gas and a high voltage. One advantage of globular transfer over the short circuit transfer is that it is capable of handling/welding thicker metals. One shortcoming of globular transfer is that the drops are very difficult to control.
3. Spray Transfer
This occurs when the welding-wire melts down into fine droplets and mists or sprays onto the metals being welded. Rather than popping or crackling sound, a good spray transfer makes a hissing sound. And this is achieved by a combination of an Argon gas and a high voltage.
In a case where there is more than 15% CO2 mixture, regardless of how high the voltage is, the electrode will not make a transition from globular to spray. This form of transfer is more preferred to weld thicker metals.
4. Pulsed-spray transfer
The pulsed Spray Transfer requires a high-end welder unlike the other three types of transfer. When set to pulse, the pulses occur multiple times a second. And results in a form of transfer that alternates between the globular and Sprays transfer.
This type of transfer is ideal for welding pipes and most difficult projects. Its main drawback is that it is very expensive.
Best Rated MIG Welder Reviews 2018
Price Range Under 1000 Dollars.
1. Best 220v MIG Welder – Everlast PowerMIG 200 welder dual voltage 110v/220v
The improved digital-IGBT inverter design reduces weight/foot-print of the unit IGBT-inverter hence making it portable. Its dual-design makes it easy to use the unit anywhere there is a receptacle.
It is best among the MIG Welders Of its class. The digital virtual display allows the operator to read both amps and voltage and to also make a precise adjustment.
Other features include the Arc-force control which manages the Arc performance in both stick and MIG modes. In the MIG mode, the rise-time is controlled affecting bead contour, puddle fluidity, and penetration.
Whereas, in the stick mode, the Arc-force control functions as a DIG-control function, hence improving the Arc performance.
The Automatic pre/post flow control increases the weld quality during starts and stops thereby reducing porosity for good and high-quality results.
- Features Adjustable Burn-black control.
- Digital IGBT Inverter design makes it stable.
- Arc force control.
- Eurostyle quick coupler.
- Capable of SMAW welding.
- Packaging is lousy.
- Very difficult to get the spare parts.
2. Best MIG Welder for Auto Body – Forney MIG Multi-Process Welder
It is great for repair and maintenance of farm tools, industrial work, boats, automotive and general fabrication. The Forney is the MIG welder for Auto Body because of its features like the Gas Hose and regulators for easy switches in the welding process.
Other important features are the spool gun capability, synergic and standard MIG modes, quick euros-style, stick electrode holder, a long gun with common consumables, long power cord and HD Cast-Aluminum Drive System.
All these features and more are found on this MIG welder under $1000. The high-quality performance of this machine is surely impressive.
In addition, it comes with Stick/ MIG set up. The foot pedal and the TIG torch are not included but are to be purchased separately.
The input power is 120/240V, and the maximum output is 190Amps. 10 foot MIG Gun, 15-foot power cord and weight only 19.4 Kg.
- Processes include Flux Cored (No Gas), MIG (Gas), Stick and TIG.
- HD Cast-Aluminum Drive system.
- Flowmeter and gas hose included.
- Synergic and Standard MIG modes.
- Comes with MIG and Stick set-up.
- TIG-torch and foot-pedal not included.
- Spool gun, foot Pedal and Tig Torch sold separately.
3. Best MIG Welder for Aluminum – Hobart Handler 125 MIG
The Hobart Handler MIG Welder operate off 115V household current. Ready to weld with or without shielding gas using 0.8-0.9mm electrode.
MiG ready signifies that this welder is well equipped with inbuilt gas-valve and an additional regulator. Uses C-25 gas, 75 argon and 25 CO2 On 24 gauge for a less spattered cleaner weld.
Use stainless wire and Tri-Mix gas for welding on 15-10 ga. Has a dimension of 10x12x17 (LxWxH), cart No, wire feed speed control, power cord, stainless steel, Weldable Metals Steel power cord and Gas-Hose not included.
With the quick release roll tension, the lever inbuilt contactor makes it easy to use. The 4 output voltage system and wire feed tracking provide quick-easy adjustment for various materials of different thickness.
The Dual-groove drive rolls make switching from 0.23/0.25 into 0.30-0.35in easy. Also among its features of the best MIG welder for Aluminum is the Self-resetting thermal overload.
- Safety Features included.
- The new gas valve installed.
- Ready to weld without shielding gas.
- Welds 24 Gauge 3/16 inch steel.
- Has the ability to use 0.23-0.25 inch wire.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Gas Hose not included.
- No fans.
Price Range Under 500 & 600 Dollars
4. Best MIG Welder for Beginners – LOTOS MIG175 Mig Welder
You can weld or repair your aluminum material with the spool gun. The modern technology and design of the LOTOS MIG175 have been proven to be efficient, reliable and durable.
It can easily be connected to any 220v wall outlet and the setup is also easy and very fast, in less than 10 minutes and you are good to go.
The LOTOS MIG175 handle industrial standard of 4 or 8 wire pools. It also incorporates a resettable overload protection, this is to ensure a very long operating life.
Excellent for welding mild steel, aluminum materials, stainless steel and other metal materials.
Among its features are the high-speed MIG spool gun meant for Aluminum welding, 4 prong end connection, 1lb aluminum wire, and 0.9 mm dia. All included. Capable of welding 3/8″ or even thinner aluminum plate.
- Resettable overload protection.
- Easy and fast setup
- Operates on 200-240V.
- Suitable for welding aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, and other metal materials.
- Automatic dual frequency (50/60Hz).
- 80% power efficiency.
- Requires different wires and gasses to weld different materials.
- Cost for the initial set-up is very high.
5. Best MIG Welder for Home Use – ViperMig 180amp Mig Welder
If you are looking for the best quality MIG welder for home use, then the Viper MIG180 is what you are looking for. It is an inverter based portable and reliable MIG welding machine that is worth paying for.
The VIPER MIG180 has some very interesting features which make it be listed among the quality MIG Welder under 500 like Arc Function, Stinger, and Flowmeter.
The MIG function Make it great for Gas-shielded as Gasless wire applications. The stepless adjustment of the voltage and the wire feed allow easy setup of the welding parameters giving you excellent welding results.
The wire inch allows easy setting of the welding wire during set-up with less gas wastage. The Burn-back adjustment leaves wire out-ready for next weld.
The Arc Welding ability delivers easy electrode welding and high-quality results for Aluminum, cast iron and stainless steel. The dual voltage makes it more versatile. This welding machine is ideal for DIY and home workshop.
- Very competitive price.
- Stinger and Flowmeter included.
- Portable and reliable.
- 115/220V Dual Voltage.
- Excellent for both Gas Shielded as well as gasless applications.
- 1-year warranty.
- A little too
Price Range Under 300 Dollars
6. Best Small MIG welder – Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder
The Lincoln Electric MIG is one of the top MIG welder under 300 for its versatility, portability lightweight, and compactness.
This makes it the best option for home repairs and other hobbies on mild steel and light gauge. Featuring a clamp cable of 8ft length, 8ft power cord, Regulator and Gas Hose but the cart is sold separately.
Shielding gas not required, weld thickness of 1/8, adjustable wire feed control, MIG-ready, capable of welding all metals including Aluminum, mild steel and stainless steel. Has a dimension of 12×818 (LxWxH) and operate off any 115V household outlet.
Welding gun, work cable with clamp, cable assembly, gas-nozzle, gasless nozzle for flux-cored welding, Hose and gas regulator for MIG welding included.
All these and more make the Lincoln Electric mig welder the best Small MIG welder that is worth paying for.
- Capable of Weld even thinner mild steel.
- No shielding gas required.
- Welds both MIG and flux-cored.
- Compact and powerful.
- can be plugged into a household 115V outlet.
- Cart Sold separately.
- Only 90 days warranty on gun and cable.
- shielding gas sold separately.
Price Range Under 200 Dollars
7. Best 110v MIG Welder – Super Deal Black Commercial MIG
The super deal black MIG130 Welder is a top on the line for household and automotive application. It is light-weight, compact powerful and above all intuitive, the super deal MIG130 is made of high-quality PVC material.
This welding machine is best 110v MIG welder which integrates comfortable grip with high precision and easy to operate. Uses flux cored wire and self-release MIG while welding to prevent oxidation.
The user-friendly interface allows the setup to be fast and easy. The super deal MIG welder gives you the power that can be used to tackle even the bigger jobs with all ease and confidence.
The variable feed speed control allows for easy Current flow adjustment. Other features of this welding machine include ONN/OFF Safety Control, 4 adjustable heating, and protective face mask.
Compact and very powerful, weighing less than 40 lbs. Ideal for home, shop and field use. Excellent for welding stainless steel and mild steel.
- Welding Face Mask included.
- Variable feed speed control.
- Chipping Hammer and Wire Brush included.
- Compact and powerful.
- Ground Cord.
- Cannot withstand very long hours of use.
- A few complaints that the machine is quite expensive.
8. Best Cheap MIG Welder – Goplus MIG 130 Welder
You will experience a lot of advantages to the MIG welding machine with this welding unit. Why don’t you get one today?
Made of heavy-duty steel body making it compact and durable. Uses flux-cored wire, self-release MIG during welding preventing the oxidation of the already welded material. Also featuring a 4-level of current-flow adjustment.
The Goplus is considered to be an excellent and the good MIG welder under 200 by many. It is excellent for welding iron and thin iron metals. It is also great for Home use and other repairing work.
The Goplus MIG130 is one of the best cheap MIG welder that features thermal safety protection, ON/OFF safety control, wire feed speed adjustment, compact design, and lightweight and easy carrying case with a handle making it easy to carry for transportation and storage. To reduce unnecessary overheating, the machine features 2 air vents.
- Stainless steel body
- Thermal Safety Protection.
- Perfect for welding steel
- Torch with ON/OFF thermal control.
- Protection face mask.
- Two air-vent to make temperature lower.
- Difficulties welding thinner materials.
- Produce heavy smoke while working.
Best MIG Welder for the Money
9. Best Dual Voltage MIG Welder – MIG Welder, 120/240VAC
With two welding processes (MIG and flux-cored), the dual MIG Voltage is perfect for welding mild steel Aluminum and stainless steel material of up to 24 ga thickness.
Very portable with rated outputs: 21VDC, 60Hz, Duty Cycle 40%. Among its features is the 10ft MIG gun. Dual Gauge Regulator, 0.030 sample spool, loop cord wrap and lots more.
In addition, this welding machine is capable of delivering high-quality results beyond your Belief.
Thermal overload protection to increase the lifetime of the machine, cast aluminum drive rolls system, Auto Spoolgun Detect, Auto setTm are some of the features that make it acceptable by all.
Its ideal for professional work, general purpose maintenance and repair on the farm or at home, Auto-cycle shops and Ranch Jobs.
- Perfect for welding mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel material
- Quick SelectTM Drive-rolls.
- Compact and easy to carry.
- Advanced Auto-SetTM.
- Thermal overload protection.
- Potentially sparks
- Less reliable.
10. Best Budget MIG Welder – Power 120V MIG Welder
Last but not the least in our list is LINK2471-1, this welding machine is truly the best quality MIG welder for the money that is worth paying for especially for its great features like the Great ARC starts for easy start-up.
The wide voltage sweet spot for quick setup, offering clean results with extremely low spatter. Outstanding stainless and aluminum performance and not just mild steel.
MIG welders, spot welders, 20% Duty Cycle Percentage, maximum Voltage: 120V, output Amperage: 140 Amps, and input Amperage: 20 amps are some of the specifications of this great welding machine.
Whereas the generic Specifications are:- 120V input power welder class, power MIG 140C, and dimensions of 14x10x19 (HxWxD).
Weighing 71lbs with an overall height of 14 Inches from top to bottom, 10.2 inches long from one side to the other and overall depth of 19 Inches.
- Free Shipping to more than 40 Continental
- Self-shielded wire.
- Three Year plus Lincoln Warranty.
- Weld up to 5/16″ steel.
- MIG weld 24 ga. Up to 10 ga. sheet metal in just a single pass.
- 30-140 Amperage welding output.
- It’s not shipped to some African countries.
- Environmental limitations because of the gas involved.
How MIG welders work
The MIG welding, otherwise called GMAW, which stands for Gas Metal Arc Welding. It is a process which uses a continuously fed solid wire (electrode), shielding gas and electricity to melt the electrode, depositing the molten material on the weld joint.
The MIG Welder works using an electrode that burns, melts and joins the base of metals together. With MIG welder, you can weld stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum.
Difference between MIG and TIG welder
Before going into what the difference between TIG and MIG Welder is, it will be nice for us to know what MIG and TIG stand for and how they work.
MIG stands for metal inert gas and works by using a continuously fed electrode that melts and fuses the base of metals together. MIG can be used to weld a variety of materials like Aluminum, stainless steel and mild steel of different thickness.
The TIG welder, On the other hand, stands for Tungsten Inert Gas otherwise called GTAW Meaning Gas Tungsten Arc Weld. It majorly used for thinner materials. Things made by this process are items like toolboxes and kitchen sinks.
The main difference between TIG and MIG welding is that the MIG uses a continuously feeding-wire while the TIG uses a long welding rod which is slowly fed into the weld puddle.
Another important difference is that the MIG is simple and easy to learn as compared to the TIG welding.
What to Look For When Buying MIG Welder
Once you have made up your mind that MIG welding is what you want, the most interesting part is buying the MIG welder. Beyond the brand, there are lots of other features to consider before making your purchase.
The Amperage is the strength of an electric current carried by MIG Welder. Thicker material needs a higher number of amps while thinner materials need fewer amps.
The manufacturer’s specifications should highlight both the minimum and maximum values for each machine. Make sure the machine you are buying has up to the amp numbers needed to serve your needs.
Generally, welders having a minimum amps number of 30 are excellent for automotive work, while thicker metals measuring 4-6mm are likely to need a higher amperage up to 150 amps and more.
In such a dangerous environment like the welding workshop, your number one priority should be your safety. There are various safety features that the MIG welder should have.
Welding can generate a very high temperature, in some cases, fire may catch up. To avoid this from happening, it is important the machine should have a thermal overload system.
This is a very important feature that found on some specific (best) MIG Welders. The AutoSet help make life whole lot easier.
With the auto set, instead of fine-tuning the settings yourself, you will input some basic measurements such as the wire diameter and material thicknesses and the machine will do all the rest of the job. This takes out all the trial and error of welding.
Size, weight, and portability
When choosing a welding machine with appropriate size and weight, make sure you have in mind what you will be needing the machine for. For easy movement, you will definitely need to buy the one that weightless.
The size of the machine is somehow related to the power of the machine. The bigger the size the more power the machine will have.
Generally, if you are going to need the machine for big projects, then the size of the machine also needs to be big.
Repair and maintenance
This varies with the brand and the type of the welding machine. Some welders come with warranties, so the company will help you fix the machine in case if the machine got messed up or any of its part need replacement within a stated period of time.
On the other end, some don’t have a warranty. Therefore, if the machine has no option for warranty, make sure you choose a welding machine that you can easily find its parts around or somebody who knows how to repair it. I would advise you go for the one with at least 5years warranty.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Q: What is Welding?
A: Welding is the act of joining of two metal together by heating their surfaces. Welding is performed using an electric arc, blowtorch, or any other type of weld.
Welding is achieved using either machinery or revolutionary technology, and this includes lasers, ultrasonic, beams and friction stirs. Used purposely making cars and other vehicles, bridges, construction building, Repair, and maintenance.
Q: What is MIG welding?
A: It is a wire-feed type welder in which a continuous wire electrode is fed through a welding gun, the wire electrode burn and melts fusing the metals to be joined. The welding occurs in an envelope of CO2, Pure Argon or mixture of both.
Q: what are the advantages of MIG-welding?
If you are new in the welding world, the MIG welding may likely be your best option. With very easy processes to learn, you can as well find union apprenticeships, collegiate learning classes and other training options to begin with. All these and more are the advantages of MIG Welding.
Q: How can I use a MIG welder?
Before you can use a MIG welder, you must first know what is MIG welding itself. Having understood what MIG is, you know it uses an electrode which is fed into the MIG gun. You start by feeding the wire to the torch gun, adjust tension and make sure you to use a proper shielding gas.
Q: What is TIG welding?
A: The Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) also called Gas Tungsten Arc Weld (GTAW). A tungsten-electrode is used in an envelope of Inert Gas (usually Argon or a mixture of Argon and other Gas) to make the Arc. A filter rod is introduced to complete the weld.
Q: What are the major differences between a MIG and TIG welder?
The main difference between these two is that the TIG uses a long welding-rods that is slowly fed into the weld puddle while the MIG uses a continuously feeding-wire. The proper name for the TIG is tungsten inert gas whereas Metal Inert Gas is for the MIG.
Q: Which is the best welder brand?
A: Research on different brands and going by their specifications and customer reviews, there are so many great welder brands like the Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, Thermal, and Everlast that have been proven to be efficient with a long-lasting impression and you will never regret spending your money on either of them.
Q: How do I arc weld?
A: you can arc-weld in 3 different ways. These include the TIG welding, stick welding, and MIG welding. Arc welding utilizes a very high voltage of electricity to give enough heat to make a weld.
If you are new into the welding industry, you’d have discovered from the details revealed in this review that MIG welding is one of the best options for you. It’s easy to learn, fast and efficient. You are going to find union apprenticeships, learning classes and some other training options with the basics of MIG-welding.
If you are looking for the best MIG welder, it is important to differentiate between FCAW and GMAW welders. Nevertheless, all these machines are true workhorses, these machines are made for you.
Lastly, I will advise you stay away from those cheap no-name welders that may not serve you well.