At the start, because there are so many questions about MIG welding, this review of Welding Units will begin with the basics. If you are a serious and experienced welder already, feel free to skip ahead, but many are not.

MIG Welding, which stands for Metal Inert Gas, for you trivia buffs, is a process of fusing metal where a continuously-fed wire electrode is melted during the arc of the weld, and this metal fuses with the base subject metal you want it fused to.

For under 1000 you can get a very decent MIG fusing kit, but regardless of your budget, there are a few things you need to know first.

1. The Amperage Available For Your Work Space
Let's say you are going to use your MIG welder in your garage for the occasional welding project, but you only have 120 volt's of power into your garage.

Unless you get things rewired to provide a full 240 volts, you won't be able to use a MIG welder that requires 240 votes.

2. Understanding Duty Cycle
Because MIG fusing units get quite hot, they can't be run continuously. They're not like a microwave, where you can heat a baked potato for 20 minutes.

MIG welders have what's called a duty cycle. Some have a duty cycle of 30 percent, 25 percent or 20 percent or lower.

If you have a welder with a duty cycle of 20 percent, that means, you can run the welder constantly for 2 minutes, during a 10 minute period, before it starts to overheat.

Most modern welders have a temperature gauge, and will automatically shut down if
you try to use it in excess of its duty cycle. Then the welder needs to rest, often for 10 minutes, maybe even 15 minutes.

3. How Thick Is The Metal You Are Welding?
If you are welding 3/16ths or less, you can generally get by with a less expensive welding units If it's thicker than that, you'll need a more expensive welder.

4. Make Sure There Is Plenty Of Ventilation
Ventilation is important because of the fumes produced and the slag formed on the weld has to be removed between passes of the welder.

5. Other Essentials
Some MIG kits come as a stand-alone unit, and some are kits that come with needed additional equipment such as a welding helmet, gloves, jacket, etc., so keep that in mind.



Top MIG Welding Machines Under $1000 in 2020

1. Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welding Unit

If you have a birthday or anniversary coming, you know what your wife wants. Diamonds, perhaps in a tennis bracelet. But when she asks what you want, print out Amazon Description for the Hobart Handler 210 Welder and say, "I want this!"

Your wife may not even know what a welder does, but trust us, is she buys this one, you can be guaranteed to spend long, happy hours in your garage.

The Hobart Handler is a dual voltage, a welder with a multi-voltage plug, so it's ready for use with both 115 and 230-volt power sources.

Best of all, the Hobart comes with 11 voltage settings and will handle virtually any type of welding wire, so that you can tailor your welding to your precise specifications and needs.

With accurate wire/amperage charts, and an industrial heavy-duty cycling capacity at 30 percent with 150 amps, and a three-year warranty, there is just about nothing you will not like about the Hobart Handler Welder.

Pros

  • 30% duty cycle which is rated at 150 amps
  • 110/120 and 220/240 voltage input
  • 11 Voltage settings
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  •  Heavier than competitors at 90lbs.

2. Miller Electric, 907612, Welder, MIG/Flux Core

A solid welder for those with 120-volt electricity only, this welder will weld aluminum material to a thickness 14 to 18 gauge, stainless steel to 20 ga. to 1/8 of an inch, and Mild Steel up to 24 ga. to 3/16 of an inch. It has a 20 percent duty cycle.

Although we'd prefer a dual voltage arrangement, we do love Auto Set, a program that allows you to instantly get the right welding parameters dialed in. Just set the wire diameter, set the material thickness, and start welding!

Pros

  • A solid weldin​​​​g kit, manufactured in the USA
  • Comes with Auto-Set, to let you instantly dial in welding parameters
  • Solid reputation with a 3-year warranty 

Cons

  • For 120 voltage only

3. LOTOS MIG175 Mig-Welder

This is a powerful, 175 Amp welder that sits way atop of other welders. It works with mild/stainless steel 18 Gauge to 1/4" and Aluminum of 3/16 inch thickness or thinner.

Surprisingly, for the price, it comes with a spooler, which saves you quite a bit of money if you want to work with aluminum wire.

The Lotos MIG175 has inputs of 220 and 240 volts which is one of our top welders for the money.

Pros

  • 30 percent duty cycle which is rated at 135 amps
  • Comes with an aluminum spool gun 
  • Comes with a welding mask
  • Comes with a MIG torch, Aluminum Spool Gun, Ground Clamp Cable, Gas Hose, and Argon Regulator 

Cons

  • Heavy. Weighs 85 lbs.
  • 220/240 input only 
  • One year warranty 

4. Forney Easy Weld 261

For the price which is about 1/2 the price of other welders, don't expect perfection, but for a basic Welder, the Fortney Easy Weld is fairly functional for the price.

It's a little on the slow side, but if you don't mind making more than one pass on your welds, and don't do a ton of welding, this is a great little unit.

It works on 120 volts and is for gasless, flux-core welding only.

Pros

  • Has a duty cycle of 30 percent which is rated at 90 amps
  • Very reasonably priced 

Cons

  • Fluxless welding only
  • One year warranty 

5. Weldpro Multi-Process Mig/Tig/Arc Stick Welder

This is a great combo MIG Unit, TIG Welder, Arc Stick Welder at a very reasonable price.

We love just about everything on it, other than the settings, which sort of set the rate of speed that the wire is fed in by the amperage you use.

But other than that, it's a dual voltage machine, has a 30 duty cycle at 200 amps, and is very lightweight.

Don't expect perfection at this price, but it's a very popular choice, with a nice, 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • Dual voltage, 120-240
  • 30 percent duty cycle which is rated at 200 amps
  • Two-year warranty
  •  Lightweight 

Cons

  • Synergistic controls need to be side-stepped for best use

6. Forney 318 190-Amp MIG Machine

This is a powerful, 190 Amp 230-volt welder that compares with all the big boys of other welders. It works within the 3/8th inch wire.

There is some confusion about using a spool. Manufacturers guidelines say it works with 4 and 8-inch spool, but Q and A's says it doesn't work with a spool at all.

Has a decent but complicated warranty, 5 years on some parts, 3 years on another, still one year with another part.

Pros

  • Long duty cycle for some amps - 15% @ 140A, 25% @ 120A, 60% @ 80A, and 100% @ 60A
  • Long warranty although somewhat confusing. Read Carefully
  • Made in the US Premium Welder 

Cons

  • Heavy. Weighs 76 lbs.
  • 230 input only

7. HITBOX 200Amp MIG Unit

This is a relatively inexpensive, 200 Amp welder that sits way works on gas or gasless.
The Hitbox has MIG, TIG, ARC functions, with maximum welding rod diameter up to 4.0mm.
It can also be used with generators. It has a 30 percent duty cycle at 200 amps and weighs on about 12 pounds.

Pros

  • 30 percent duty cycle which is rated at 200 amps
  • Runs on 115 volts

Cons

  • Only a 1-year warranty

8. Goplus MIG 130 Welder

Probably the cheapest no gas welder you can find, it even comes with a mask. Lots of beginners buy these to see if they are seriously interested in welding.

The GoPlus operates on ordinary household current and weighs only 35 pounds.

The biggest downside, besides possibly cheap construction, is that there is no warranty whatsoever. You have to buy that separately Never the less, it's a decent kit to see if you are interested in welding.

Pros

  • Comes with a welding mask
  • Weighs only 35 pounds 
  • Inexpensive 

Cons

  • You have to buy the warranty separately
  • Household current only
  • 20.4% duty cycle which is rated at 90 amps

9. Lincoln Electric MIG Welding Unit, Handheld, 120VAC

A versatile and transportable machine, this is a great little unit for DIY project. It has everything you need to get started with welding. And it works off standard electrical outlets. 

Essentially, this is perfect if you are just doing simple work for yourself rather then working on some heavy industrial task.

Pros

  • Surprisingly there is very little information and no customer reviews we could find on this product. It is inexpensive, and Lincoln Electric is a good company, but other than the fact that it is reasonably expensive there is little to go on

Cons

  • Taking your chances with this welder 

10. Forney 309 140-Amp MIG Unit, 120-Volt

This is a nice, 140 Amp welder that sits at the top for portable. It works with mild/stainless steel 18 Gauge to 1/4" and Aluminum of 3/16 inch thickness or thinner. 

Just because this is listed as number 10, it does not mean it is bad. All the main features you would need in a welder will still be for-filled if you are working on a light project.

Pros

  • 20 percent duty cycle when rated at 115 amps, 35 percent when rated against 90 amps
  • Comes a long but somewhat complicated 5 year/3 year warranty
  • Works on ordinary household current

Cons

  • Fairly heavy, weighs 57 lbs.
  • No 220/240 output 
  • Suitable for light welding

Conclusion

We recommend that you take your time when buying a welder. Consult other welders in your area, and buy USA made equipment with a good warranty only.

Our personal preference was it for us, would be the Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG, Welder. It has everything you could want in a welder, and in the end, you'll be happy you spent under 1000 dollars on quality equipment.

If we were buying a welder as a gift for a friend who's just getting into welding, then we'd go for the LOTOS MIG175 Mig-Welder. It's a great little welder for a beginner for the money and it even comes with a welding mask.

Pay special attention to the electrical requirements and the amps required so you don't blow all the fuses in your house, and if you buy a portable welder and want to operate it off a generator, call the generator company first to be sure your generator will power it.

Welding is a great hobby, but unfortunately, it's also somewhat expensive. So choose wisely and review some of the welding kits we recommend. Then plunge into it with open arms. Welcome to the wide world of welding.