Tools

TOP 10 MIG/MAG Welders

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Unless you are a farmer, auto bodywork enthusiast or household repairs workaholic odds are a welding machine is at best an afterthought on your 2020 equipment wish list, most likely a virtual nonentity. We can definitely relate to that! So we introduce below, in our opinion, the best mag/mig welders on the market.

There is also the inescapable fact that a welding repair inevitably rolls around in an average Joe’s life, most often when he least expects it!

So, if you are the do-it-all-by-yourself type person, or wish to become one we have 10 differently sized, priced and calibrated Mig/Mag welders lined up for your inspection – some of them would make a grizzled pro welder a happy camper, others are tailor-made for callow rookies! Take your pick, if you are seeking for a decent MIG/MAG welder. 

Forney Easy Weld 261

Are you sick and tired of schlepping around heavy gas tanks or setting up bulky windshields? Don’t like to worry about the erratic wind throwing your gas shield off? Hate to squander valuable time warring with dust, rust, dirt or oil on base metal? This machine will save you all the unnecessary hassle while giving you five-star flux core welding quality, power, and functionality.

So what propelled it into our top ranking slot? Multiple factors! It’s a real cool cat! Flashy and hip design-wise but at the same time efficient, easy to use and with awesome cool-down capabilities: you can run this welder for three minutes straight at ninety amps and it will take it on the chin and gratefully ask for a second helping after a few short minutes of recuperation.

Both dabbling and professional mag mig welders will like it! It gives you excellent penetration on the thick and heavily decreased risk of burn-through on thin metals.

Don’t think for a second that ninety amps of welding current are all it’s capable of – its configured to generate a hefty 140 amps wallop and the fact its 120 volts input limited does not put any kind of dampener on this machine’s welding efficiency, sidewalls fusion or base metal penetration.

As we’ve already mentioned it works like a charm on thin twenty-four-gauge and thick quarter-of-an-inch metal and gives you exemplary deposition rates. Weighing in at nineteen pounds it’s by far the lightest welder on our top 10 list: don’t make light of this fact, as anyone who’s toted around your 60-80 pounds AC welding behemoths will tell you – there’s little fun involved in the process!

This machine uses standard .030 flux core wire and if pinpoint-precision welds are high on your agenda than its no-limit voltage and wire feed speed controls will go a long way towards making them a recurrent reality for you.

Worried about poor arc control, inconsistent penetration, excessive spatter or bad bead profile? Forget about these common afflictions for your cheap, underperforming MAG/MIG welders. This one can cope with anything a base metal has to offer, plus it’s a no-nonsense heavy-duty unit that can absorb anything a rough work environment brings along!

If you want to insert your wire spool during initial installation and forget about it, there is the option of swapping the two-pound one for a bigger ten-pound version.

And, last but not least, this welder is ultra-cheap and puts most direct rivals in the shade when it comes to the budgetary factor! We can surely see a stellar purchase opportunity when it comes knocking on our doors. Take the cue, if you will!

Key Features

  • 120 volts input
  • One hundred forty amps output

Specs

  • Weight 19 lbs
  • Model 261
ProsCons
• Superb value for your buck
• Broad functionality
• Very portable
• Six feet power cord

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Hobart Handler 210 MVP

Hobart has a zero-tolerance policy for poor product quality and their 210 MVP exemplifies this concept to a tee!

If you are having second thoughts about purchasing this model due to its fat price tag, a short acquaintance with the specs will dispel them! Granted, this one is almost four times as expensive as our number one selection but it makes up for that with a noticeable power and versatility increment!

First off, dealing with fickle non-ferrous metals such as aluminum will become a child’s play for you with this MIG powerhouse. It’s designed to weld an entire spectrum of metals going from thinnest all the way down into your two gauge territory and has the muscle to do so in one single pass! Both professional and amateur welders will find its whopping 210 amps of current, multiple voltage/wire feed speed adjustment settings and easy to manage design a gift that keeps on giving.

Rest assured, welding versatility will become the order of the day from day one! This device has all the tools to make your indoor welding projects a success but working outside is a totally different kettle of fish. Hobart had that in mind fixing their product with all the right technical trappings to make the switch between MIG and flux core go off in a jiff. Plus it comes with a spool of high-quality flux core wire – you can get down to serious welding business from the word go.

What else sets this model apart from many others jockeying for a better market position?

The dual voltage option, for one! It lets you use both the 115 and 230 V inputs, depending on the seriousness of the project you are undertaking. If you hate fiddling with various plugs Hobart offers a multi-voltage facilitator that makes the transition between the two a breeze! An automatic voltage recognition capability in an additional valuable bonus – spares you the need to manually re-configure the machine every time you are using a different input – talk about a great time saver!

There is no big secret about it, high precision welding is a prized asset in any kind of soldering operation and the seven different voltage settings this machine boasts conspire to make any kind of intricate bead profile, deep fusion or penetration into the base metal an easily achievable goal even for unfledged rookies, never mind seasoned mag mig welders!

Plus this device has an insane thirty percent duty cycle at one hundred fifty amps and running off a 230 volts outlet. This effectively means you can lower the boom on a quarter of inch steel for three minutes straight without a break – outstanding endurance and heat resistance capacity!

A lot of manufacturers unwittingly put a spatial chokehold on mag mig welders by outfitting their devices with short cables – no such issues here. As has become their custom over the years Hobart made sure their MIG gun, ground clamp and power cables all have liberal 10 feet range and you won’t have to use any extension cords.

If you don’t like to change your wire spools during the daily grind there is the option of swapping the four-inch spool for a bigger eight-inch one.

210 MVP is a rather expensive model but it’s a worthwhile investment that’ll keep paying dividends for the rest of your life.

Key Features

  • Runs off 115 and 230 volts
  • 210 amps max welding current
  • Seven different voltage controls

Specs

  • Model 500553
ProsCons
• Excellent value for money
• Highly versatile
• Perfect fit for beginners and professionals alike
• No detectable flaws
DEKOPRO MIG Welders

We know, we know, this “editors choice” is going to be a real curveball for a lot of you welding aficionados! It goes without saying, this 2019 Johnny-come-lately is dirt-cheap but we do realize it does not own the power specs, marketing clout or brand recognition to rival a few of the models placed below on our top 10 list! So how did it make the cut in the first place?

Don’t worry, there is a method to this madness!

First of all, we really like the attention to detail and the many nifty traits this model features. It combines a flashy exterior with good overall efficiency. It sports a high strength easy-grip handle, a non-skid base, a potent radiator for increasing your duty cycle – and it does boost it with a vengeance enabling this machine to work at sixty percent power – 85 amps – for more than three minutes at a stretch. Power and overheating indicators, as well as a digitalized current meter, put an extra layer on its thick appeal.

Are you ready for the real highlights?

Drum roll, please! Cast an appreciative glance at the eight-level wire feed speed regulator and six-level voltage controller. Wow, we haven’t seen this type of adjustment range on units five times as expensive as this MIG overachiever!

Granted, its an alternating current unit that’s 110 volts input limited but it makes you forget about it quickly by generating respectable 140 amps of welding current, which is more than sufficient to successfully tackle a quarter of an inch thick steel.

User-friendliness runs in its blood – it has 10 feet long cables for the ground clamp and electrode holder and tipping the scales at twenty-one pounds it’s one of the lightest units on our top 10 list!

And, yes, we’ve saved the best part for last!

This one combines the ubiquitous MIG function with the die-hard MMA stick welding capability. The switch between MMA and MIG regimes is astonishingly easy and uncomplicated. Your old school welders must be chomping at the bit to give this dynamo a shot!

At the end of the day, this welder is really good but still a bit of a wild card due to its recent market roll-out. This noted, the ludicrously low price, appealing design and good functionality put it into our good books!

Key Features

  • 140 amps welding current
  • One hundred ten volts input
  • 10-foot cables

Specs

  • Weight 20.6 lbs.
ProsCons
• Lots of bang for your buck
• Super light
• Good options range
• 110 volts limited
Hobart 500559 Handler

Hobart is the New York Yankees of the soldering world – they don’t always dominate their competition but their winning track record surely speaks for itself! The 500559 model is yet another poster child for the kind of quality Hobart is known for.

For just under half a grand you are being offered a welding fireball perfectly capable of addressing any kind of metal thickness available within the standard USA gauge denomination.

Dealing with 24 gauge paper-thin metal and concerned about burn-through? Take it easy! The five different voltage adjustment settings will enable you to keep your arc control under lock and key. The infinite wire feed speed control effectively eliminates the chance of inconsistent penetration into the base material, poor bead profile, excessive spatter, etc – that is, if you know how to efficiently harness this power.

Don’t expect to be gobsmacked by the power specs of this device. At 140 amps welding current and 115 volts input voltage it’s perfectly middle-of-the-road average. However, there is nothing average about its ability to go to town on your base metal for two straight minutes at 65 percent working capacity.

It’s a real tank as well – rugged and well-built, all the cable connections are tight, cables supple and with sufficient 10-foot length to amplify your operating room.

As per custom, it’s sold with a complement of flux core wire but in case you are more into MIG welding, a silk-smooth quick release system makes spool change transpire in a flash. If you don’t like the two-pound spool there is an option of applying a bigger eight-inch version – installing it is easy as pie via a specially designed adaptor.

Welding can become quite an exciting pursuit after you get through the usual gut-wrenching rookie trial and error phase. If you like to go all guns blazing but tend to forget about the overheating hazard Hobart has your back from start to finish with a thermal overload protection indicator and, if you turn a blind eye, ensuing automatic shut-down! Safety above all else!

Key Features

  • 115 volts input
  • One hundred forty amps current
  • Infinite speed for your wire feed

Specs

  • Weight 65 lbs.
  • Model 500559
ProsCons
• Great investment
• Good for novices and pros
• Excellent versatility
• Heavy weight
Lincoln Electric POWER MIG welder 210 MP

Have you ever seen a one-man-army of a welder? No, but we do have your curiosity piqued? Check out this special offering from Lincoln Electric!

Granted, its daunting price tag is fit to give any parsimonious buyer fits but you won’t be able to deny the welding prowess of this T-rex once you see it first-hand!

Versatility-wise no other unit on our top 10 lists can even come close!

As a MIG welder, it delivers the goods ten times out of ten – through the entire spectrum of low and max welding parameters. No metal thickness, electrode size, arc voltage or welding current is off-limits to this monster! Don’t believe us? How about its lights-out 590 max amperage? Or the gargantuan .045 electrode size – its daily bread and butter when serious base metal challenges rear their ugly head?

It runs off one hundred twenty and two hundred thirty voltage inputs and has a vast array of power settings. There are multiple parameters that define a “good bead” and the laser-like precision and welding capacity of this unit will enable you to incorporate them ALL into your project if need be.

If you work outside a lot but don’t like the varied hassles associated with running gas shielded arcs it offers the less burdensome flux core alternative. It goes without saying, nothing accommodates your trickier welds better than tungsten inert gas welding, – this option is prolifically provided for by this model. If you are nostalgic for the good old days when stick welding was all the rage, you can relive them all again courtesy of Lincoln Electric.

You surely do expect to get some extra perks for your top dollar, aside from the five-star power specs, don’t you? Lincoln Electric is quick to oblige with a cool digital-color display – it’s well-sized, easy to read and comes with a quick response push and turn digital controls. Take it from us, this machine has a gazillion settings but it’ll give you an absolute minimum amount of installation trouble.

It’s vastly advanced technologically for its 2016 year of manufacture but at the same time nails-tough structurally – a rare combination indeed! You won’t have to worry about dislodging some vital part in its interior or exterior every time it gets inadvertently jolted or bumped.

Light, just forty pounds, easy to tote, craftily designed and with a slew of juicy options to accommodate amateur and professional welders alike this product has “Can’t-Miss” written all over it.

Key Features

  • 120 and 230 volts input
  • Multiple power settings
  • Staggering amperage
  • Four different capabilities

Specs

  • Weight 40 lbs.
  • Model K4195-1
ProsCons
• Awesome versatility
• Lots of bang for your dollar
• For beginners and pros alike
• Very expensive 
Super Deal PRO

If you are down and out financially but in a dire need of a welding machine, this could be the easy escape route. Super Deal Pro surely lives up to its name with a miniature price tag! For just under one hundred bucks you are being offered a unit that does hold some promise!

Of course, if you are planning on some serious welding shenanigans – dealing with a quarter of inch steel, producing flawless beads in terms of fusion, profile, and penetration – perish the thought. This device is not designed to give you any of those delicacies!

This noted, its specs are good if not great! Running off regular 110 volts outlet this machine is capable of generating one hundred twenty amps of welding current at its maximum capacity – not exactly the stuff legends are made of but perfectly okay for your beginner just learning his ropes.

It’s also not overly overheating-prone – you can run it for three and a half minutes straight at sixty amps – not too shabby of a duty cycle if you ask us. Of course, if your crank the device up into a one hundred five amps overdrive it’ll start begging for mercy after just one minute of operation. 

On the bright side, you can set your wire feed speed in ten different ranges using a simplistic dial as well as set your minimum/maximum power settings at the push of a button.

This model is at its most efficient running your standard .030 wire for both solid and flux-core, however, the manufacturing specs suggest it can also accommodate the .035 electrode size. A protective mask and a chipping hammer are two small bonuses from the Super Deal Pro!

The limitations? There are a few worth mentioning, the most notable one being lax wire feed speed controls, which seem to go haywire even at the minimum speed level. Say “hello” to inconsistent weld beads, scarce penetration, over the top spatter and potential burn-through!

Key Features

  • 110 volts input
  • 120 amps max current
  • 10 level wire feed speed control

Specs

  • Model B00XXVFH2Y
  • Weight 38.1 lbs
ProsCons
• Great price
• Good options range
• Lack of power
• Lax welding current settings
LOTOS MIG175

Did you like the cult bodybuilding flick Pumping Iron with The Governator himself in the lead role? If the answer is affirmative, this welder will be right up your alley. Weighing in at humongous 85 pounds it’s the heaviest on our top 10 list and will give you that nice pump all bodybuilders crave as you haul it from point A to point B!

Said strictly tongue-in-cheek, of course!

This unit is the goods and has the specs, sales stats and numerous ringing endorsements from satisfied users to vouch for itself as a worthwhile potential acquisition!

Granted, it’ll set you back half grand but quality-wise it’s worth every cent of the hefty investment.

This tough guy will take any kind of base metal to the mat and make mincemeat out of it in bare minutes. It runs off two hundred and two hundred forty volt outlets and is capable of generating 175 amps of welding current. Strong, durable, high-quality welds and heavy deposition rates will be right at your fingertips once you get a handle on this beastie!

Every experienced welder knows the importance of having as many power and wire feed speed adjustment settings as possible and this model gives you a boatload for both. You’ll be able to travel ultra slow without fear of burn-through or poor penetration or jazz it up and still keep your arc control and sputter levels on an even keel.

Its spec-listed inches per minute output is something else, however, we were a little flabbergasted by the fact this powerhouse can’t run a standard .035 electrode size for solid wire. No such aberrations for flux core – reason enough to sit down and count your blessings!

From the design standpoint, it’s five stars out of five. The MIG gun owns a liberal ten feet long cable and will not cramp your style space-wise. If you don’t like the standard four-inch wire spool there is an option of switching to a bigger eight-inch alternative. There is an overload indicator plus re-configurable overload protection. 

This welder is powerful, versatile, as reliable as they get, technologically state of the art and, last but not least, suitable for both beginner and experienced users.

Key Features

  • 240 volts input
  • 175 amps max current
  • Multiple controls

Specs

  • Model BC-QJA8-561N
  • Weight 85.0 lbs
ProsCons
• Good value for money
• Very powerful
• Broad adjustability
• Not very portable
Goplus MIG 130 Welder

If you are looking for a simple, low price solution to simple, mid and low thickness base metal projects this could be a viable option – ultra-cheap and comes with an assortment of features that make it worth a shot.

This flux core model is just ordinary! It runs off 110 volts input and the one hundred five amps of welding current are perfectly okay to handle welding challenges of average complexity. Of course, you’ll be bringing a knife to a gunfight if you plan to generate high-quality welds or tackle 0.25-inch metal using this baby of a welder.

It makes the grade design-wise, at least to a degree. Spacious ventilation ducts keep the device marginally cool when you don’t overexert it. When you do, it packs it in after a minute and a half of its max welding current operation. It owns ten different levels of wire feed speed control and four power controls including min and max buttons. It’s light and portable plus outfitted with an automatic shutdown at overload. The five and a half feet reach on the welding gun could have been better.

Key Features

  • 10 controls for wire feed speed
  • Automatic overload protection

Specs

  • Weight 35 lbs
ProsCons
• Good value for money
• Very light and easy to handle
• Acceptable functionality
• Power deficit
Forney Easy Weld 299

Another top-notch flux core product from one of USA’s veteran welding manufacturers – Forney Industries. Comparing this model with our number 1 pick will be like comparing apples and oranges – a world of difference but the quality factor is set in stone! 

They are neck and neck price-wise but this machine is almost three times as heavy – portability is not one of its strong suits. 

Plus at one hundred twenty-five amps of welding current it’s not as potent. Don’t count on putting up analogous heavy inches per minute after a hard day’s work. It runs off the same standard one hundred twenty volts outlet, but the two power controls on hand are anticlimactic, to say the least. 

On the plus side, you can regulate your wire feed speed through ten different levels. This unit will make light work of a quarter of an inch thick steel, ditto your twenty-four gauge thin base mental. It definitely has the power to handle a .035 electrode, however, the manufacturer recommends to stick with a .030 size for your daily flux core operation. Keep this in the back of your mind if you decide to up the ante on the spur of the moment!

Key Features

  • 120 volts input
  • 125 amps output
  • 10 level wire feed speed control
  • 2 level power control

Specs

  • Weight 51 lbs
  • Model 299
ProsCons
• Good value for money
• Easy to use
• Great choice for beginners
• Limited power settings
SUNGOLDPOWER MIG 150A

Make no mistake about it, this model has all the makings of a potential best-seller! From its preposterously low price to the streamlined, user-friendly exterior and respectable specs it’s an interesting offer, to say the least.

It somehow manages to look flashy and simplistic at the same time. It’s light, easy to port, all cable connections are tight and secure. This is an exclusively self-shielded flux core machine and it does what it’s supposed to do – enable you to work hassle-free both inside and outside. It provides an excellent grip on dirtier steals and better sidewalls penetration and fusion than its MIG rivals. Granted, initially, you’ll be spending more on a flux-cored wire but the expense will be quickly negated via decreased production time. Its specs are rather impressive as well!

It runs off standard 110 volts outlet but can ratchet up its amperage all the way into 150s. Its electrode handling capabilities are not confined to the regular .030 size but can accommodate the .035 as well. Add in the prolific ten-level wire feed speed control – all base metal thicknesses can fall prey to this small but fierce welder. Four different power settings cap it off nicely!

Key Features

  • 110 volts input
  • 150 amps output

Specs

  • Weight 39.5 lbs.
ProsCons
• Excellent value for money
• Very easy to tote and operate
• Limited duty cycle

Comparative table

  PriceEasy to useValue for moneyFor beginnersVersatilityPortabilityVoltage inputAmps outputMarket launch
Forney Easy Weld 261Best choice227554,94,85120140 2018
Hobart Handler 210 MVPSolid choice8284,94,84,954,7115 and 230 2102011
DEKOPROEditors choice
1154,74,94,74,64,9110140 2019

Buyer’s tips

These succinct buyer’s tips are strictly for your novice would-be welders who are just bracing themselves for a pilot MIG solid wire or self-shielded flux core welder purchase. No seasoned or experienced mag mig welders need to apply!

So what are the things to look for first and foremost when you mull over your MIG/self-shielded flux core welder options?

Firstly – The Work Load Factor

Determine what kind of workload you want your welder to tackle. Different objects have different metal thicknesses and will consequently require different power specs on your device.

We are not going to give you chapter and verse on how the metal thickness correlates to electrode size, arc volts, amperage, gas flow, and travel speed – suffice it to say they all play a vital part and they are all abundantly covered on the internet via recommended setting charts for all kinds of welders.

In addition to that, most manufacturers place quick reference guides on the back of the welder access door, allowing you to set up your machine without any of the precarious guesswork. Just pick the material you are welding, the thickness and the guide will key you in precisely on where to set your welding parameters. 

Secondly – The Price Factor

If you are viewing your first welder as a sort of a technical guinea pig – a springboard into bigger and better things, than a 100 – 300 dollars unit could be a perfect fit. Please note, when buying on the cheap you are also compromising your work results as inexpensive units while sporting upbeat specs are mostly incapable of materializing them into serious weld quality. A more potent welder will set you back $400-1500, but it’ll also be a great long term investment and a good learning curve at the same time.

Thirdly – Extra Expense

Your wedding attire should at the very least include a helmet or safety glasses, long-sleeved jacket, and gloves, varied hair protection from sparks. High-quality apparel seldom comes as a part of a package deal and needs to be purchased separately.

Fourthly – The Expediency Factor

There isn’t any appreciable difference between MIG and self-shielded flux core welders in terms of metal thickness they can tackle. They are both appropriate for novices. Flux-core is considered more efficient on thicker metals, however, it can’t do anything your correctly calibrated MIG won’t replicate.

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The Difference Makers 

Flux-core self-shielded welders have an inside track on MIG in a few specific situations, that need to be factored in: 

Flux Core is The Way to Go If:

Wind Factor

You are going to be doing a lot of welding outside – no gas in self-shielded flux-core welders renders the wind factor null and void.

Dirt Factor

You don’t like to tangle with dirt, oil, rust on base metal – it’s much more forgiving of these factors and doesn’t call for a meticulous clean-up (although it’s recommended).

Expense Factor

You want to save yourself the extra expense which comes with the territory of running MIG welders – buying and setting up windshields for one.

Time Saving Factor

You want to spare yourself the hassle of toting heavy gas tanks from point A to point B and the need to pick and choose between correct gas combos for different metals.

Inconvenient Positions Welding Factor

You are planning to do gravity-defying overhead or vertical welding, which partly puts your gas MIG welders out of commission.

Bottom Line

Please note that even a sumptuous $2000 device won’t make your welds look picture perfect during the learning curve period. It’ll surely help a lot but welding, much like any other process, involves the trial and error phase. The entire point of expediting your transition from a bumbling welder into an experienced operator is dependant upon how quickly you can learn on the fly and how well you can listen to and incorporate the advice more seasoned mig mag welders give you in to your personal welding practices. Good luck!

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