Last Updated on May 7, 2021
MIG welding is considered to be one of the most flexible techniques out there. It can be used with various materials, making it the method of choice for several industries. To top it all off, MIG welders can be used by professionals and beginners alike.
The best MIG welders can make your job easier while producing beautiful results. These tools are equipped with everything you need to tackle projects big and small. In the MIG welders reviews, we’ll go over everything you need to know about MIG welders and guide you to find a machine that’s right for your needs.
Reviews of the 10 Best MIG Welders
1. Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder – Top Overall Pick
This MIG welder is a simple and effective tool for most applications. Unlike other welders, this machine has a relatively easy control system. There are only two dials on the control panel, which are used for voltage and wire feed speed.
Despite the device’s simple looks, it can do a lot. It performs well with aluminum, steel, and stainless steel up to 3/8 of an inch thick. As a result, it’s the best MIG welder for auto body work. You can do customizations and repair work without any issues.
When it comes to power, this welder is quite versatile. It’s a dual-voltage machine that comes with a simple plug adapter. Plus, it has multiple voltage settings and can output as much as 210 amps. At 150 amps on 220-volt power, you can expect a duty cycle of 30 percent.
Overall, the Hubert Handler 210 MVP is a great machine that can serve you very well. It has many different control settings to customize your weld how you need it. Yet, the control panel is streamlined and accessible to all skill levels. For these reasons, the welder is our top overall pick.
2. Forney Easy Weld 261 MIG Welder – Best for the Money
If you’re looking for a lightweight and portable MIG welder, consider this option from Forney. In terms of design, this machine has a lot to offer welders on the move. This under $500 MIG welder unit only weighs 19 pounds. There’s also a built-in handle for easy transport. Despite its portable nature, the shell is made out of metal for durability.
Take one look at the control system and it’s obvious that this unit was made with beginners in mind. There are only two knobs that you have to worry about, making it easy to find your settings and start working.
While the welder doesn’t have as much power as our top choice, it can weld mild steel that’s 1/4 of an inch thick. You can set the voltage output as high as 140 amps. There are also simple voltage settings.
The Forney Easy Weld 261 is our top choice for the “Best for the Money” category. Ultimately, it all comes down to performance and price. The machine is relatively affordable, yet it has all the features you need to take care of most welding jobs.
3. Hobart Handler 190 MIG Welder
The 190 MIG welder from Hobart is a flexible machine that can tackle stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum. You can weld stainless steel sheets that are as thick as 5/16 of an inch in a single pass, which is great for working quickly. While it’s not as powerful as the other Hobart welder on this list, its capabilities are great for novice welders.
The machine runs on 230 volts only. Unfortunately, it’s not a dual-voltage unit. However, the extra power you get from 230 volts does result in higher amperage. At its maximum, the welder can output 190 amps.
Controlling this equipment isn’t hard. There are only a couple of knobs that adjust power settings. You can also fine-tune speed to avoid splatter and ensure that your weld is clean.
The Hobart welder is our top choice for working with aluminum because of its unique spool system. While other machines require you to connect control boxes to overcome some of the issues that aluminum feeds cause, this one doesn’t. You can plug an aluminum spool gun into the machine and start welding immediately.
4. Lincoln Electric PowerMIG 210 Mp – Premium Choice
The PowerMIG from Lincoln Electric is a great option for those who want to invest in a feature-rich machine that lasts. The Lincoln Electric brand is synonymous with superior quality, and it’s not hard to see why with this unit.
The most notable feature is the color display panel. A small screen allows you to make fine-tune adjustments to your weld. You can use the knobs to cycle through menus, change the power level, and much more. Plus, the digital display makes reading your output settings a breeze.
One thing that we like about this machine is that it’s not just limited to MIG welding. It’s a multi-purpose welder, so you can use it for standard stick welding and more advanced TIG welder.
All in all, this equipment covers all your bases. This multi-process welder is powerful enough to work with a range of materials and provides you with all the flexibility you need. Weighing in at only 40 pounds, this is a welder that you can bring with you to any job. Because of those reasons, the Lincoln Electric PowerMIG 210 is our top premium choice.
5. Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder
Like the rest of Hobart’s line of welding equipment, the Handler 140 MIG welder is very easy to use. However, this particular model offers even greater simplicity. It can be plugged into any standard 115-volt outlet, allowing you to work at home.
Once you have everything set up, getting the right settings is as simple as turning a couple of knobs. All you need to do is select the proper voltage for the material you’re working with and adjust the wire feed speed. Everything else is pretty much automated.
The welder gets rid of any unnecessary settings. The 5 voltage settings allow you to weld most metals up to 1/4 of an inch thick. All this can be done without having to worry about finer adjustments.
We have chosen this Hobart as the best welder for beginners. Thanks to its simple control scheme, it’s easy to get the hang of. While it doesn’t have the same high-level performance capabilities as some competitors, that’s actually an advantage for beginners. You can learn the art of welding knowing that there are fewer ways that things can go wrong.
6. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
The Handy MIG from Lincoln Electric is specifically designed to help you out with projects around your property. It’s very small and weighs a mere 26 pounds. Thanks to the durable handle on top of the machine, you can carry it around anywhere.
Power capabilities are not as high as some other choices. However, the device is not meant to be used for robust projects. At its maximum settings, the welder can output 70 amps and has a duty cycle of 20 percent.
One thing we like about the machine is the simple design. There are only a single amp knob and a power switch. So, it provides a great opportunity to hone your welding skills without getting bogged down with the setting details.
Because the welder is made for casual use around your home and garage, it works with any standard residential outlet. It’s our best choice for the 110-volt MIG welder. The equipment is simple, compact enough to fit anywhere, and easy to use. For the average hobbyist or home handyman, it’s more than capable of completing simple welding tasks.
7. LOTOS MIG175 175AMP MIG Welder
Whether you’re working with stainless steel or thin aluminum, the Lotos MIG175 has you covered. The welder is easy to use and doesn’t feature a ton of settings that you have to focus on. The front panel of the unit only has a power switch, wire feed knob, and voltage knob.
At its maximum setting, this device can output 175 amps. It has a duty cycle of 30 percent. One thing we like about this welder is that it has a thermal overload protection feature built right in for safety. The equipment even has an indicator light to let you know when you’re pushing things and need to take a break.
Another we appreciate is the included aluminum wire feeder. Instead of having to invest in a separate device, you can connect the feeder in minutes. The feeder lets you weld aluminum smoothly without having to deal with spool problems.
We have selected the Lotos unit as our top-rated choice for 220-volt MIG welders. The machine runs on 220 or 240-volt power to give you powerful welding capabilities when you need them most.
8. Everlast PowerMIG 200Amp MIG Welder
This dual-voltage MIG welder from Everlast is filled with a number of great features. First, it has Arc Force Control. This feature is meant to reduce splatter and provide you with a more stable weld. It does this by manipulating the arc itself and making the weld pool more fluid.
When it comes to power, you have several options. You can set the output to as high as 200 amps. At that setting, you will have a 35 percent duty cycle. However, you can achieve a 100 percent cycle at 130 amps while connected to a 240-volt outlet.
The welder has a flexible control system. Because this machine does stick and MIG welding, there’s a button to select your technique and knobs to control various settings. One knob even performs multiple functions depending on what welding mode you’re in.
Ultimately, we decided to choose the Everlast PowerMIG 200 as our pick for the best dual-voltage welder. With the option to choose your input power, you have greater control over what you can weld and how much you can work. You can easily modify your setup to accommodate the materials you’re dealing with.
9. LOTOS 140 Amp MIG Welder
If you’re on the hunt for a good universal welder you can use around your property, check out this model from Lotos. It may not offer the most power output available, but the welder does a pretty good job with most common metals. You’ll have no problem working with steel that’s 3/8 of an inch thick or aluminum that’s 1/8 of an inch thick.
The unit itself is relatively light, weighing in at 54 pounds. The shell of the welder is covered in metal for durability and to protect the components inside. There’s also a handle bolted on top for easy transport.
On the front, you’ll find a couple of control knobs. One adjusts arc volts while the other changes wire feed speed. Both of these settings are displayed on large digital LCD screens for better visibility.
We chose the Lotos MIG welder as our top choice for home use because it has just enough power to handle most residential projects. It offers plenty of ways to adjust your weld. Yet, it’s not overly complex or intimidating to use in your garage. Plus, it can be used with a standard home outlet.
10. Goplus MIG 130 MIG Welder
The Goplus 130 is one of the best small MIG welder options on the market. It has an impressively compact footprint. At only 13 and a half inches long and less than 8 inches wide, this machine won’t take up much room in your shop. Plus, it’s compact enough to carry with you anywhere.
The welder has a unique control panel. Rather than using knobs to adjust output, the machine uses two switches. As a result, you’re not able to make fine-tune adjustments. However, it does make it easier for beginners or those working with simple materials.
In total, the welder can output as much as 105 amps. At this setting, there’s a short duty cycle of 15 percent. You can control wire speed for convenience. There’s also an overload protection light for added safety.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about this welder is its price tag. It’s very affordable. Thus, it is our recommended pick for budget welders. Despite the lower purchase price, the machine has a lot to offer in terms of performance, flexibility, and portability.
Buyer’s Guide (Tips & Tricks)
How Does MIG Welding Differ from Other Techniques?
MIG welders are known as the “hot glue gun of the welding world.” That’s because the process is very easy to pick up. The machines are designed for simplicity, allowing people of all skill levels to take advantage of what they have to offer. The best MIG welder can also join most of the metals you’ll be working with. Whether you’re dealing with super-thin 24-gauge steel or half-inch thick aluminum, MIG welding can take care of it all.
At first glance, MIG welding looks very similar to TIG welding or stick welding techniques. However, the process is quite different.
A MIG welder uses electricity to power an electrode. The electrode is usually a steel wire, though the aluminum can also be used. When the wire makes contact with your work metal, both pieces are heated up. So, you’re creating a suitable weld pool and a metal adhesive in one single step.
The process is much simpler than TIG welding, which requires you to use two hands to create the weld pool and feed the filler metal. When compared to stick welding, MIG welding offers more versatility. Stick welders are notorious for burning through thin materials and being ineffective with thicker ones. MIG welders can handle both without any issues.
Another key difference between stick welders and MIG welders is how your work is protected. As you may know, exposure to oxygen and contaminants in the air can result in a weak weld. To combat this, stick welders use flux. MIG welders, on the other hand, use gas. MIG stands for “Metal Inert Gas.” The technique may also be called Gas Metal Arc Welding, or GMAW.
In addition to feeding the wire electrode through to your work metal, MIG welding guns emit inert gas. The gas is pumped onto your work surfacing, creating an effective shield to keep things clean. Some MIG welders will use flux-cored electrodes, though they require careful examination and cleaning afterward. In most cases, welders will just connect a canister of carbon dioxide, argon, or helium.
Things to Look for in a MIG Welder
Thanks to all the benefits MIG welding can provide, there’s no shortage of welding accessories on the market. Unfortunately, you’ll run into your fair share of poorly-made machines during your search. To pick a high-quality machine that lasts, you need to keep the following considerations in mind.
Power Capabilities and Amperage
Input and output power will have a big effect on how you work. The great thing about these devices is that most are built with portability in mind. The best MIG welder will have flexible power settings to let you use the machine anywhere and work on a range of materials.
When it comes to power input, dual-voltage welders are always best. You can use the 110-volts welder on any standard outlet you have in your garage or workshop. This a great for hobbyists or welders working in limited environments. With 220-volts, you can work on more robust materials. More power is required for thicker metals, so having this voltage ability can open up your work possibilities.
Output power is measured in amps and directly affects the performance of the welder. Higher amperage settings allow you to work on thicker metals without experiencing any issues. A machine with a maximum output of around 140 amps should cover all of your bases.
The duty cycle reflects how long you’re able to work before having to take a break. This figure is represented as a percentage. A full welding cycle is 10 minutes. So, a 30 percent duty cycle means that you can weld for 3 continuous minutes before the machine requires a 7-minute rest.
Ultimately, the right duty cycle for you will depend on how you plan to use the equipment. Keep in mind that high amperage settings will result in a lower duty cycle. To stay safe, go with machines that have thermal overload protection. This feature will cut the welder off if you surpass the duty cycle to ensure that your welder stays in good shape.
Adjustable wire feed settings are crucial for creating even welds. As you increase or decrease amperage settings, the way the wire melts will be changed. The gun is attached to a large spool and continuously feeds the wire through regardless of whether or not the electrode has been melted.
If the feed is too slow, you run the risk of melting the wire before you even apply it to the work metal. Plus, you can ruin the gun. If it’s too fast, you could experience splatter and a shoddy finished product. Having the ability to make fine adjustments to the wire feed speed is paramount when it comes to flexibility.
Regardless of your skill level, it pays to have a user-friendly welder. Simple controls and convenient features can make all the difference. Take a look at the equipment’s control panel. Stick with machines that have visible labels, easy-to-use knobs, and a large digital amperage display.
Size, Weight, and Portability
Finally, consider the physical size of your welder. MIG welders are versatile enough to be used in many different ways, so having a portable machine that you can take anywhere is a big plus. Larger machines tend to be quite heavy. Thus, they’re best kept in your shop.
If portability is a top priority, a smaller footprint is always best. You can also find machines that have portability features, such as built-in handles, shoulder straps, and more.
With all of the products on the market, it’s easy to get bogged down by cheap or substandard machines. Truth is, a good welder is a solid investment that will pay off for years. Of all of the equipment on this guide, the Hobart Handler 210 MVP welder is the best MIG welder that money can buy. When you take a look at the capabilities of the equipment from Forney, Lincoln Electric, and Lotos, the Hobart welder is a clear cut above the rest.
None of the other machines have an amp output as high as 210 amps. While it may not be as small or lightweight as the Goplus device, it makes up for that in sheer power alone. Ultimately, the welder checks off all the boxes. It has a user-friendly control scheme, many power and wire feed settings, and a respectable duty cycle. For this reason, the Hobart Handler 210 welder takes the cake.