Welding in the MIG-IC process means combining the metals by adding the gas and the electrode. The electrode, made of Tungsten, is a low-cost metal that conducts electricity very well, extremely strong and durable.
The metal electrode is then used to connect the electrode's to the welding rod. With MIG welding, an in-line attachment is used to transfer the weld from the electrode. This process of has been used since the early years of the twentieth century.
MIG welders are versatile and this alone makes them worth adding to your tool supply. You can perform equipment maintenance, fix the body of a car, or even just for fun projects.
The best MIG welder should easily perform reliable welds, even on a wide range of projects, and the best part is that these machines won’t cost a limb. After all, they are an investment for you to learn a new skills, as well as utilize that skill to help you save money or make money.
With so many different machines out there, it can be hard to choose one. We’ve rounded up the top 8 best MIG welding machines, discussed the pros and cons, and even picked the best one.
Top MIG Welding Machine in 2023
1. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 is a compact and lightweight machine that will provide clean welds and stable arcs in MIG welding and flux-core.
This machine includes a cold contractor in order to keeping your wires from overheating over long usage as well as a built-in cooling system to extend the life of this welder.
This is a 70-amp machine and the clamp cable length comes in at 8 feet long. The regulator and gas hose is included with the machine. This welder offers a low power setting, which operates great for small DIY projects and is easy to control.
This little powerhouse operates on any standard 20 amp, 115v household outlet. This is also a good pick for somebody who is trying to get into welding as it has all the basics included right inside the box. Your gun and cable assembly, spool of wire, regulator/hose and gas nozzle are all in there plus a few other extras to help you out.
The Lincoln Electric Handy is perfect for home projects and smaller jobs, it's easy to set up while giving you great control over your welds. Check out Miller Electric's Millermatic 211 MIG Welder if you want a more powerful machine for heavy-duty projects.
2. Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder
The Hobart Handler 140 can also function as a flux-core and MIG welder, providing versatility for high performance.
It welds 24 gauge up to ¼ when it comes to mild steel, and can handle MIG welding of copper, titanium, brass, cast iron, and magnesium alloys. It runs a 20% duty cycle at 90 amps, which is more than enough for welds around the house.
This welder is great to carry around for small projects and operates off a standard electrical current of 115v. The amp output is 25 to 140, which will allow you to do a wide amount of projects. There is a voltage control selector as well, which gives you a smooth and stable arc no matter your thickness.
This Hobart Handler 140 offers features that are useful for protection and maintenance, it has a built-in contractor to keep the wires safe at cold temperatures.
3. Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i MIG Welder
The Forney Easy Welder 261 features a 140v amp output that lets you weld ¼ in plate mild steel. Although it's both a MIG and flux-core welder, it's does not do great with aluminum.
This unit weighs in at just 19 lbs. and you will find it easy to carry around to any of your household or hobby jobs. This welder is perfect for light repair tasks as it provides a strong stable arc. It has a duty cycle of 30% at 90A, which is impressive for the money.
The machine is quite rugged, it can handle 2 and 10 lb wire rolls. Inside the box you get an 8’ MIG gun, a torch wrap, 8’ ground clamp, and an adapter designed for 20A-15A. This welder is truly flexible and will give you to have clean welds with ease.
4. WeldPro 155 MIG Welder Dual Voltage 220V/110V
This is a machine that can run on 110/115 V, or 220/230V. You can pick it up and move it anywhere, and it comes with all you need to get started on small DIY or household projects.
The working voltage on this machine is 115v/230V, and the welding range is 30 to 155 amps. You will be able to easily weld 1/4 in mild steel provided you properly prepare it, and use a 220v input, not only in MIG welding but also in stick and flux-core welding. The power that comes with this machine is astounding, easy to use and precise welds.
The wire feeds in at 78 in to 472 inches per minute, and features adjustable wire speed plus heat settings. This allows you to customize and tailor the settings, which will help you weld on a wide range of projects.
The advanced IGBT inverter prevents overheating and over-current welding protection. It's the key to keep the WeldPro 155 healthy.
5. Miller Electric Millermatic 211 MIG Welder
The Miller Electric Millermatic 211 is a top of the class welding machine for home use as well as industrial grade. It provides you with clean welds and excellent performance throughout the process.
This is considered a compact MIG welder with smooth start technology that allows a stable arc from beginning to end. It produces good clean welds and the amperage is on point for this machine.
Other features such as advanced auto-set, thermal overload protection, fan-on-demand, and more are reasons why welders trust Miller Electric. They build quality machines with the welder in mind.
Aside from being able to do great MIG welding, you can also do gasless flux-cored welding and gas shielded MIG welding with this machine.
You will find it easy to adjust the voltage and wire feed mask so that it’s easy to set the parameters you want for the welding style you will be using.
6. VIVOHOME Portable MIG 130 Welder
This is ideal for mild and stainless steel. Your auto body work especially will look great with this machine. The VIVOHOME MIG 130 welder comes with all the basics to get started, including a helmet and welding brush.
This is a no-reaction machine that makes use of flux-cored wire to prevent oxidation of your weld. The metal inert gas is self-released while welding, so you end up with a clean and professional looking result.
It hooks up to a 110v outlet, which is the standard for most households. This works well with home use welding where an outlet is easily accessible. This welder also has 4 levels of current flow setting for 10 welding speeds, which allows for customization that tailors to your needs.
7. LOTOS MIG140 Welder
The first thing we noticed about this great welder is the option to buy an aluminum spool gun. Most of the MIG machines we featured here today can weld aluminum, but unless you have a spool gun, it’s not going to feed soft aluminum wire. If you find yourself welding aluminum often, this could be the one for you.
The LOTOS MIG 140 comes with the option to use 2T/4T depending on the job you need to perform, and features two easy to read digital displays that help you adjust the voltage and speed as needed.
All in all, it’s a nice little machine and a top choice for this particular brand. You get the MIG torch, ground clamp cable, gas hose and argon regulator along with some other helpful supplies such as a mask and wire.
8. YESWELDER Digital 205-DS MIG Welder
The YESWELDER Digital MIG205-DS is a 4 in 1 welding machine that will have you doing not only gas MIG, but also Lift TIG/Stick/Gasless MIG. You will be able to use 1mm MIG solid wire for Gas MIG and 1mm MIG flux wire for gasless MIG.
The design is 2T/4T, and 2T and is great for spot welding and small jobs. The 4T is perfect for longer jobs.
Another great feature is the synergic circuitry. The synergic control on the MIG function makes for a smooth operating experience to give you clean welds and a stable arc.
Buying Guide For MIG Welders
If you’re learning how to MIG weld steel or aluminum and want to invest in equipment, a MIG welder is the perfect piece to start out with. Whether you’re focusing in on welding as a hobby or for your profession, these welders result in optimal looking welds if you invest in a good quality product. They’re also an affordable tool that will serve you well for years to come.
Make sure that you find a MIG welder that comes with a hook up for a gas cylinder. The brand is irrelevant if you’re just starting out. It’s more important to look for a multi-purpose MIG welder that does more than just welding with flux core welding wire. You want to avoid that slag coating on the surface of the weld that will need to be chipped away.
A welder will advertise a certain amount of amperage that is produced while in use. Amperage refers to the heat that is produced, and you’ll also see the duty cycle detailed. This is the length of time during a ten minute period that a welder will operate at its set amperage.
This is important if you’re going to be welding for longer periods of time at a high amperage level.
Depending on what kind of outlets you have available to you, you can choose between a 110 volt welder or a 220 volt welder. The 110 volt unit is a lot more practical, as it can be plugged into any 110 volt outlet in a home or building.
Keep in mind, the lower voltage may limit your amperage. If you’re not welding anything that’s thicker than 1/8”, then you’ll be fine with either voltage.
Spool Gun Capacity
You’ll want a MIG welder that comes with spool gun capability if you’re looking to weld aluminum. Your smaller sized units don’t typically come with this ability. You’ll likely have to invest in the spool gun separately, but it’s nice to have the option.
There are many other features that you’ll want to look at for a specific MIG welder that you’re considering. The warranty is a big selling point. Better quality welders come with a five-year warranty. This is the case if you’re shopping for a brand new unit. Beware if you’re trying to find something on the used market.
Frequently Asked Questions About MIG Welders
Q: Are all MIG welders portable units?
MIG welders come in all different shapes and sizes in addition to the difference features that they provide. If you’re planning on taking your welder to different job sites and locations, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the size of the welder you’re thinking of buying. Some are smaller and more portable than others.
Q: What should I know about the durability of a MIG welder?
If you want to make the most out of your investment, look at MIG welders that come with a sturdy metal case. This will ensure the interior components are properly protected from job to job. You should also safely store your MIG welder when it’s not in use.
Keeping up with routine maintenance on the unit will ensure it works well for years to come.
Q: How do I choose between 110 volt and 220 volt?
Think about the types of projects you’re going to be working on and where you’ll be welding. A 110 volt unit is perfectly adequate for many people, but 220 volt units give you room to grow.
There are multi-volt units that provide both 110 volts and 220 volts if you can’t decide.
Any of these great welders will serve you well, but we like the Millermatic 211 MIG Welder the best. It has high ratings and is perfect for hobbyists and serious welders.
With build in features like advance auto-set, fan-on-demand, inverter technology, dual voltage plugs, and more easily make the Millermatic 211 a strong contender. All these options will provide you with a smooth clean weld while keeping your welder in shape for years to come.
It’s got all you need whether you're a vet or beginner. Go check it out for yourself and do some research to find the best MIG welder for the money.