When you plan on buying a welder, there is a wide range of factors that you must consider. Welding is a process of joining two metals by applying intense heat. Welders are useful in carrying out a wide range of tasks that include hobby welding, maintaining equipment, and welding different kinds of metals for everyday uses. It is important to buy a good quality welding machine that is cost effective and easy to use at the same time.
What is MIG Welding?
MIG welding is commonly known as an arc welding process. In technical terms, the process is also called Gas Metal arc welding or GMAW. MIG welding is a process where a continuous solid wire electrode helps is joining two metals. The process is carried out by feeding the electrode through a gun into the weld pool. It is usually used to join two metals together. The electrode is burnt through the consumable wires that help in the welding process. The heating and welding method releases a lot of contaminated gas that is shield using a welding gun. It also works as a safety measure while carrying out the welding process.
Difference Between MIG and TIG Welding
- MIG welding is also known as inert gas welding. TIG welding is called tungsten gas welding.
- MIG welding uses less power in comparison to TIG welding.
- MIG welding works well on thinner metals only. TIG can be applied for thicker metals.
- MIG welding welds faster than TIG. TIG welders are delicate and require more time.
- MIG welding is easy to learn and simple to use. TIG welding is more advanced and requires the user to take the time to learn the steps of usage.
- MIG welding process is faster than TIG welding process.
Types of MIG Welding
The process of welding is almost similar between the various types of MIG welding that exists. The difference usually lies in the type of material it’s being used on like steel, copper, aluminum, magnesium, nickel, silicon, bronze and various other alloys. MIG welding is known by a different name under various circumstances and uses:
- Metal Inert Gas
- Gasless MIG welder
- Mas Metal arc welding
- Wire feed welder
- Metal in Gas
Factors to Determine Before Choose the Best MIG Welders
Multifunctional: Most of the MIG welders have the capabilities of gas cylinders, flux cored, or sometimes both. When the MIG welder has only flux core, it comes as appealing because the welder need not be connected with a gas cylinder. You may opt for any of the one functional MIG welders, but it is recommended that you choose a multifunctional MIG welder that has both flux core and gas cylinder.
Input Voltage: The compatibility of the input voltage is very important when choosing the MIG welder. Not all welders will be compatible with the electrical outlet. While some MIG welding machines work well at 110/120V, some may require 220/230V. If you are using the welder as a hobbyist, then you may go with 110/120V. However, for industrial work, you will have to go for a higher input voltage.
Output Power: The output power must be chosen at correct settings when you are using a MIG welder. Buy a machine on which manufacturers list out the correct settings to yield high-quality welds.
Size and Transportability: If you are considering MIG welding as a hobbyist, you must go for a portable one that can be transported from one place to another easily. However, if you are planning to use it for your workshop where you do not want it to move regularly, the weight and size may not be an issue. The lowest weight of a MIG welder is 25lbs, and the heaviest ones are available at 200lbs.
Spool Gun: In order to use MIG welder on aluminum, you must ensure that the welder comes with a spool gun. There are many small welders that lack this facility. Hence, you must be sure of your usage before making a purchase.
Duty Cycle: Another factor that you must consider before purchasing a welding machine is the duty cycle. This represents the total time that you are going to weld at a stretch. If you planning to use the welder for a long time, then you must invest in a heavy duty cycle welding machine. Often the heavy duty cycle welding machine takes longer time to cool down. Small welding units that have a low duty cycle are sometimes not equipped with a cooling system at all. However, many larger units have powerful fans within the unit for faster cooling.
Brand and Warranty: The brand and the warranty period are very important when choosing a MIG welding machine. If you are planning to use the welder regularly, then it is important that you buy a branded unit with maximum possible warranty. Try to avoid the risk of buying a cheap unit with less or no warranty.
Prices: As a hobbyist, you may not require the welder every day. Thus you can choose the ones with limited functions, and it will cost you very less. Likewise, if you are buying for your workshop or industry use, you may go ahead with the one that is a bit pricey but is equipped with multiple functions and has a high-speed fan for cooling.
Repair and Maintenance: There are no machines that do not require regular maintenance or repairs. It is necessary that you check for the repair shop near you before you finalize on buying the machine. In case there is no designated repair shop nearby, avoid buying that brand.
Below are the Best MIG Welder:
1. Lincoln K4195-1:
The Lincoln K4195-1 multifunctional aluminum welder is one of the best MIG welder available in the market today. The unit is extremely light-weight with dual voltage inputs. If you are looking for a welder that runs on common power supply and offers multifaceted utilities, then the Lincoln welder is one of the best to choose from. The unit is equipped with push and turn digital buttons that make the whole setup a breeze. With the large-collared display on the screen, the unit allows the users to keep a check on the heat and duty cycle of the unit. It helps to regulate the fluctuating voltage as well. The Lincoln unit is backed by a Spool gun that gives you high rated precaution when using the welder on metals like aluminum. The setup is simple and the unit is very easy to use. It is one of the best MIG welders for beginners.
- Weighs only 40lbs which makes it lightweight and portable
- Works on any common power supply
- Dual voltage inputs at 110-220V
- Push and turn digital controls
- Magnum Pro Spool gun
- Multiprocessor welder
- Works on aluminum
- Includes stick, TIG welding, and flux core
- Welds along sturdy steel material with ease
- Includes spool gun for safety measures
- Highly priced
- Not suitable for heavy duty cycle
2. Hobart 210:
The Hobart Handler 210 MIG welder has a 7 voltage settings for precise welding of metals with ease. This means that you can weld any type of thick metal with ease. With dual voltage input, the unit works well at 115V/230V. The unit works with a diverse duty cycle at different voltages. The welder automatically adjusts itself according to the available power supply. The unit can weld up to 3/8 thickness at one go without excessive heating. For the novice, Hobart Handler 210MVG provides the highest flexibility in terms of voltage and power usage. The unit is portable and makes it really ideal for hobbyists and novice users who can carry it from place to place as per the usability. The Hobart 210 is very flexible and simple to set up. It is equipped with a simple to-do guide which makes it one of the best MIG welder for beginners. The product is also backed by the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Can weld up to 24 gauge thickness
- Operates well on both 110 and 220V
- It equips 7 voltage settings at 230V and four at 115V
- Weighs 87lbs
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Dual voltage inputs
- Backed by industry warranty
- Equipped with a guide for the beginners
- Quick change drive roll
- One of the best MIG welder under 1000
- Does not weld aluminium
- Does not equip a spool gun
See Also: 10 Best Wire Feed Welders with Reviews
3. Hitbox MIG welder:
The Hitbox MIG Welder is equipped with an inverter technology and MIG, ARC, LIFT TIG functions. The average weight of the unit is 8kg that makes it highly lightweight and portable. It is one of the best MIG welders for the beginners and hobbyists. If you are looking for a welder that is compatible to weld any type of metal except aluminum, then Hitbox is one of the best MIG welders. The unit is equipped with MIG torch, electrode, gas tube and earth clamps that make it compatible for all types of usage. The Hitbox MIG welder works efficiently at 220V and no less. The unit is a multifunctional welder with gasless Flux core and gas cylinder as well. The unit comes with MIG and stick but does not have TIG stick. Hence if you want to use it for TIG welding, you might have to buy a big torch with the argon gas tank in addition.
- Smartly designed flux cored
- Fully digital controls
- 3D plastic panel
- Overheating protection
- The input voltage at 220V
- Extremely lightweight
- Equipped with a fan for auto cooling
- Highly portable
- Low power consumption
- Does not require shield gas
- Cannot weld aluminium
- You need to buy an argon gas tank for TIG.
4. Lincoln Electric MIG welder:
The Lincoln Electric Mig Welder is a fully adjustable gas free MIG welder. The unit works on flux core and is great for personal uses. The unit is highly adjustable and is free from any wire tangles. The cast aluminum body makes it extensively firm and sturdy. The Lincoln Electric welder can be used to weld aluminum, and stainless steel along with copper, nickel, brass and other metals of any thickness. Since it is gasless, there is no requirement of shield for the unit. The unit is extremely lightweight and portable which makes it easier to carry to any place of work. However, it is not suitable for heavy-duty industrial work. The unit works with a free speed control and has an enhanced connectivity.
- Enhanced connectivity
- Heavy metallic body
- Flux cored
- 50-500IPM wire feed speed control
- Welds all types of metals including aluminum
- Heavy duty sturdy body
- Works only for light duty cycle
- Not suitable for industrial purpose
- Works only at 220V
5. Super deal 110V black:
As the name says it all, Super deal MIG welder works great at 110V and is householder welder unit. The unit is extremely lightweight and sensitive. The body of the product is made of a lightweight plastic material that makes it extremely portable and easy to carry to any of your workplaces. The unit has a comfortable grip and high precision. Superdeal 110V black MIG welder has a user-friendly interface that allows the beginners also to use the unit efficiently. The unit is compact, powerful, and sturdy. It is perfect to weld all types of steels and alloys with ease. You can use the product for personal or industrial use at the same input voltage. The unit is backed by a variable speed control feature that allows you to use the machine at different speeds. Overall the unit is highly useful and one of the best professional MIG welder in the market.
- Made of high-class PVC material
- Uses Flux cored wire and inert gas as well
- User-friendly interface
- Features variable speed control
- Highly compact and powerful
- 10 levels of wire speeding controls
- Easy to adjust current flow buttons
- Lightweight and portable
- Best for personal and industrial uses
- Is not ideal for welding aluminum
- The wire feed mechanism is very poor
- Does not come with a guide
6. Forney 309 MIG welder:
The Forney 309 MIG welder is a lightweight and portable MIG welder for personal use. The unit can weld only thinner metals and is not good for aluminum sheets. The unit is a multifunctional product that uses only flux core and can be easily plugged in an 110V source for welding purpose. The unit is also equipped with MIG gun and consumable wires in order to make it easier to use the inert gas. The Forney MIG welder is ideal for small repair works, farms, automotive and hobbyists. The unit is a multi-step transformer based machine with four taps. The welder has a high duty cycle but takes longer to cool down. The unit is backed by 5 years warranty that makes it one of the best MIG welder.
- Welds only up to ¼ inch of thickness
- Includes gas hose
- Euro connect MIG gun included
- Manufacturer’s warranty up to 5 years
- Best MIG welder under 500
- Can be used at 110V
- High quality
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to set up
- Does not weld aluminum
- Take time for cooling
7. HYL MIG Combo:
The HYL MIG combo 130 series is the USA made MIG welder that comes with 2 years of manufacturer’s warranty. What makes it different from all other welders is the strikingly yellow color plastic body and portable design. The unit has a high duty cycle and is ideal for automotive industries, small repair workshops, and hobbyists. It is professional grade quality equipment and can be extensively used for the industrial purpose as well. The unit is also equipped with a smart gas regulator that allows you to use inert and argon gas for welding all types of steel and metals. The unit can also weld metal sheets of any type of thickness which makes the product unique. The MIG gas gun is detachable and you can use flux core additionally. The machine also supports TIG sticks for welding purpose.
- High duty cycle
- Best for professional welding
- Supports flux core, inert gasses, and tig sticks
- USA parts
- 2 years warranty
- Professional grade
- Can be used with flux core and inert gas
- The trigger does not work well
- Does not weld aluminium
See Also: Best Welders for Beginners Reviews
Accessories that You Need to Have for the Best MIG Welding
Gas Cylinder: The gas cylinder is a must for your MIG welding. The type of gas depends on the types of MIG welder you use. Carbon dioxide is one of the most popular gases that are being used in MIG welders. Some welders also use a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide gases. The mixture of these two gases provides a higher yield in comparison to any other gases available for the welders. If you are not welding any hard metal, you can also go for only argon gases.
Regulator: In order to use and control the gas cylinder, you must get a regulator as well. The regulators vary according to the type of welders you use. There are dual gauges, single gauges, and gauges regulators as well. The dual gauges are expensive in comparison to other types of gauges. The regulators control the flow of gas and inform the user about the amount of gas still left in the cylinder.
Torch: When buying a welder you must buy a torch as well. Many welders are accompanied with a torch. However, you must check that before buying it.
Welding Mask: A welding mask is your protective gear when you are welding heavy duty metals. The arc is bright and releases sparks that can be harmful to your eyes and leave burn marks on your face. Always buy a welding mask that gives you good visibility. Buy auto-darkening helmets or high definition helmets for extensive safety.
Clothing: Your clothing is the most important of all the accessories that you need when working on a MIG welder. You must cover yourself with a fireproof set of clothing to prevent any spark burns. The flying sparks are very hot and can give you deep burns. Thus, wear cotton or fireproof clothes when you use welders.
Tips and Tricks for MIG Welding
Here are some tricks that you must consider when using a MIG welder:
- The minimum distance between the electrodes and metal must not vary more than ¼ to 3/8 inches. The distance may result in stunning results in the welding process.
- A diameter chart can be a useful tool for better welding results
- Choose the wire type in accordance with the metals. Using a particular type of wire for a particular metal gives you better results.
- Some types of welding may need gas; however, many can be welded using flux core only. While aluminum requires argon gas, steel can be welded using helium, CO2, and argon gases.
- Always keep the base metal flat to obtain better results when welding. The placing is very important to get better welding.
- Keep the gun straight as much as possible.
- Keep the parts clean and tidy for longevity.
- Replace the tips often to maintain the quality of welder
- Clean the spatters more often.
- The welding parts must be in sync with the wire size. Dragging and pulling technique is the best to allow the gas to penetrate well into the nozzle head.
- Use a good quality clamp to weld
- Always use an auto-darkening helmet before starting the welding process.
It is always important that you go through the reviews before buying a MIG welder. Not all types of welders are best for hobbyists or industrial purposes. You must know your requirements first and then go ahead. It is also important that you have your safety gears like fire-proof clothes and safety welding helmets ready. If you are a novice, always go through the user guide provided by the manufacturer.
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