10 Best MIG Welders | April 2017

We spent 29 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Metal Inert Gas, or MIG, welding is easy to learn, requires virtually no cleanup, and allows for high productivity. Whether you are an automotive body worker, construction professional or home DIY enthusiast, our selection of MIG welders includes something for just about any type of project. Skip to the best mig welder on Amazon.
10 Best MIG Welders | April 2017
Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 9
Best Inexpensive
The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder is easy to use and great if you are a beginning welder, but professionals will not find its performance up to par on more difficult jobs. It conveniently plugs into any household outlet.
  • includes 1 year warranty
  • welds up to eighth-inch mild steel
  • lightweight construction
Brand Lincoln Electric
Model K2185-1
Weight 51.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
The Pro-Series MMIG125 Fluxcore Welder is capable of getting into almost any small or tough to reach space, and produces less splatter than other units, making it safer. It will weld continuously for 2 minutes at maximum amperage.
  • includes brush hammer
  • good for small to medium sized jobs
  • only works in 110v outlets
Brand Pro-series
Model MMIG125
Weight 42.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
The LONGEVITY Mig Weld 140 can either operate on gas or via flux-cycle gasless welding, making it perfect for use in the home, shop, or on any professional repair call-out in the field. It has a convenient carrying handle built-in.
  • works on all exotic metals
  • good for beginners or professionals
  • feed roller can be inconsistent
Brand Longevity
Model 741360253087
Weight 61.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
The Campbell Hausfeld WF2150 Flux Core welder features a consistent wire feed for smoother and more even welds, plus its rugged steel casing makes it a job site-tough choice. It also boasts automatic thermal overload protection.
  • trigger activated torch
  • welds mild and stainless steel
  • ideal voltage may vary
Brand Campbell Hausfeld
Model WF2150
Weight 43.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
The Forney 304 Welder has a wire feeder whose parts are individually replaceable, so if anything wears down you can keep working. This is a powerful little unit that will weld metal up to 1/4" thick. It has an automatic thermal overload protection for added safety.
  • large cabinet size
  • perfect for automotive projects
  • feed tube gets sensitive to kinks
Brand Forney
Model 309
Weight 62.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Lotos Technology MIG175 Welder is a versatile model that can easily be plugged into your existing 220V wall outlet, and can be completely set up and ready to weld within 10 minutes of first opening the box, especially as it comes with its own mask.
  • includes a gas regulator
  • 5-foot gas hose
  • only has a single-stage trigger
Brand Lotos Technology
Model BC-QJA8-561N
Weight 88.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
The Everlast Poweri-MIG 140E features an IGBT inverter design that puts out a high amp output with a better duty cycle when compared to transformer-based models. It allows for stepless control of both the wire speed and voltage.
  • unit is spool gun ready
  • efficient amp draw
  • cast alloy driver roller
Brand Everlast
Model Poweri-MIG140E
Weight 35.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
With a 20% duty cycle at 90 amps, the Hobart 500559 Handler is one of the more efficient units on the market. It features an industrial cast aluminum drive system for your welding wire, so the most sensitive moving part of the machine is built to last.
  • 5-position voltage control
  • quick change drive roll
  • wide gauge range
Brand Hobart
Model 500559
Weight 65.4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
The GCG Wire Feed Portable is a non gas kit that includes almost everything you need to start welding, such as a flux wire, a welding mask, a gun, and a ground clamp. The unit has an auto feed dial that is completely adjustable.
  • backed by a 1-year warranty
  • welds at 55-90 amps
  • weighs 30 pounds
Brand GCG
Model pending
Weight 37.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
When you're ready to upgrade to a professional-grade welding powerhouse, the Hobart Handler 500554001 welder is the way to go. This potent unit can handle projects of almost any size and scope, from auto repairs to construction.
  • hub accommodates 4 or 8-inch spools
  • built-in gas solenoid valve
  • comfortable 10' work cable
Brand Hobart
Model 500554001
Weight 89.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Go MIG Or Go Home

You may have noticed the sometimes awfully crude joints between metal pieces on the furniture you've purchased through the years. I know I've assembled a few pieces from a certain Swedish manufacturer the welds of which could be pulled apart with a little elbow grease. True craftsmanship in the age of mass production is a rare thing, but that doesn't mean it's particularly difficult for you to get the hang of it.

MIG welding is a fast, relatively easy welding method to learn, and it's pretty safe compared to other methods available. Let's break down the name before we go any further.

MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas, and it refers to the inert gas that flows from a tank separate from the welder, through the welding hose, and out the tip of a welding gun into the immediate vicinity of your weld. The presence of the gas–usually argon or a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide–keeps other gasses in the space like oxygen or water vapor from getting into the weld area, gasses that would reduce the quality of the weld.

Also sticking out of the end of the welding gun, at the end of the hose is the tip of a long wire, the material of which will change with whatever metal you intend to weld. That wire acts as a positively charged anode, and if you follow it back through the hose and into the welder housing, you'll find a big replaceable spool of it there.

Running out the other end of the welder housing is a clamp that greatly resembles the clamps you use to give your car a jump start off another car's battery. This clamp acts as the negatively charge cathode, and in order for your weld to work you have to either clamp it to the piece you intend to weld or to the table on which you're welding.

When you fire up the welder and bring the tip of the anode wire as close to the metal joint as possible, an electric arc forms the completion of the short circuit. The tremendous heat that this arc creates melts the intended metal, which immediately cools into its new shape and fusion when you let go of the trigger on the welding gun.

Power And Flux

Selecting from among the MIG welders on our list has as much to do with your experience level as a welder as it does with what materials you intend to weld. Since you're investigating MIG welders, it's safe to assume you have a shop or a garage in which you plan to work.

Some of the welders on this list operate from a standard 110V outlet, while others require a 220V connection. The 110V options are less powerful, to be sure, but for light work and a new welder these might be your best bet. There are other models on our list that actually have built-in transformers to take your 110V outlet and upcharge it to 220V.

If you're just getting started, but you know you want to be in it for the long haul, a transformer-based model will allow you to learn without changing anything about the electrical layout of your home. It's also a good idea, if you're just starting out, to see which welders on our list come with complete kits, including wire options, a shield, and a gas hook-up.

Speaking of gas, there's an option in MIG welding that bypasses the need to connect your welder to a tank of inert gas, an option that some of the welders on our list can handle. It's called flux core, and it's a bit of a double-edged sword. Flux core is essentially a hollow wire with a flux running through its center. When exposed to the heat of the weld, this flux converts into the shielding gas required to keep the weld clean.

The upside to flux core welding is that you don't need to lug around a big tank full of argon to get a job done, and it allows you to work outdoors in settings that otherwise would have necessitated a more traditional arc weld. The downside is that it can be a little smoky to operate, and the gas created by the flux doesn't keep the weld as clean as the flow from a tank will.

A Historical Arc

Early developments in arc welding corresponded to early developments in electricity. It seems as though, while men like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were trying to make electricity safer and safer, other scientists and engineers, like Nikolay Slavyanov were busy finding ways to use the dangerous aspects of electricity to an industrial advantage.

In 1920, arc welding methods began to gain some popularity thanks to the efforts of P.O. Nobel of General Electric, who used a direct current through a bare electrode to produce a weld in the absence of any shielding gas.

The use of inert gasses to curate a more conducive welding atmosphere wouldn't enter the picture until 1948, when the Battelle Memorial Institute, an Ohio-based charitable trust funding developments in the sciences, put forth the technology. The use of the inert gasses of the day was cost-prohibitive, however, so it failed to catch on an industrial scale.

In 1953, welders began to use carbon dioxide as the gas for their welding atmospheres, and since that development very little has changed in the methodology, with the notable exception of the development of flux core wire.

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Last updated on April 25 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.