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MIG welding is considered to be the easiest type of welding to learn. MIG welders are simple to operate, easy to maintain and repair. You can use them to repair household items, restore equipment or customize vehicles. However, it’s also a product of choice for many professional welders, as it offers high quality and accessible welding. So if you’ve decided to invest in the best MIG welder for home or industrial use, our comparison table and MIG welder reviews of the top rated products in 2021 will guide you in the right direction.
- Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC
- Voltage: 120V
- Amperage: 125A
- Duty cycle: -
- Material thickness: 24 gauge up to 1/4"
- Weight: 42.85 lbs
- Hobart 500559 Handler 140
- Voltage: 115V
- Amperage: 25–140A
- Duty cycle: 20% at 90A
- Material thickness: 24 gauge up to 1/4"
- Weight: 57 lbs
- Goplus MIG 130
- Voltage: 110V
- Amperage: 10–105A
- Duty cycle: 15% at 105A
- Material thickness: up to 3/8"
- Weight: 35 lbs
- Lincoln Electric K2185-1
- Voltage: 115V
- Amperage: 35-88A
- Duty cycle: 20% at 70A
- Material thickness: 24 gauge up to 1/8"
- Weight: 46 lbs
- Hobart Handler 210 MVP
- Voltage: 115/230V
- Amperage: 25–210A
- Duty cycle: 115V 20% at 90 amps; 230V 30% at 150 amps
- Material thickness: 24 gauge up to 3/8"
- Weight: 87 lbs
- Hobart 500554001 Handler 190
- Voltage: 230V
- Amperage: 25–190A
- Duty cycle: 30% at 130A
- Material thickness: 24 gauge up to 5/6"
- Weight: 68 lbs
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 MIG Welders Reviewed
- 2 Hobart Handler 140 500559 – Best Value MIG Welder in 2021
- 3 Goplus MIG 130 – Best Gasless MIG Welder
- 4 Forney 299 125FC – Best For Beginner
- 5 Lincoln Electric K2185-1 115 Volt- Best Under 500
- 6 Hobart Handler 210 MVP – Best Dual Voltage
- 7 Hobart Handler 190 500554 – Best Under 1000
- 8 LOTOS MIG175 – Best 220V
- 9 Longevity Migweld 140 – Best 110V
- 10 Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Welder
- 11 Everlast MIG140E
- 12 What Is MIG Welding?
- 13 Best MIG Welder Buying Guide
- 13.1 How many amps do you need?
- 13.2 Duty cycle
- 13.3 Power Supply
- 13.4 Feed Speed
- 13.5 Gas vs Gasless
- 13.6 Choosing the Type of Shielding Gas
- 13.7 Wire Selection
- 13.8 Avoid Permanently Live Torches
- 13.9 Spool Gun Capacity
- 13.10 Safety Features
- 13.11 User-Friendliness
- 13.12 Portability
- 13.13 What’s In the Box
- 13.14 Warranty
- 13.15 Top Welding Brands
- 14 MIG Welding Tips For Beginners
- 15 Welding Safety Gear
- 16 Bottom Line
Top 10 MIG Welders Reviewed
Hobart Handler 140 500559 – Best Value MIG Welder in 2021
Our top pick is the Hobart Handler 140 500559 MIG welder. This is the best MIG welder on the market that keeps ahead of the competition in terms of quality and features. It’s sturdy, versatile and provides an excellent level of workmanship.
What Is it For?
This welder is the most suitable MIG welder for a beginner and it will handle almost any household project. It works best for welding thinner metals, such as steel, aluminum, and other. The maximum thickness it can weld ranges 24 gauge to ¼ inch. The duty cycle of 20% at 90 amp is more than enough for most household projects.
- Easy to use. The machine comes with everything you need to get started with your MIG welding. Just set it up, plug it in, and you can start working.
- Superior build quality. The welder is made from strong, sturdy steel and features a robust aluminum drive system.
- Versatile. Hobart 500559 offers a huge range in amp capabilities: 25-140 amps. Also, with its 5-position voltage control selector, it allows you to customize the arc to meet your needs. This will give you a smooth and steady arc at all times.
- Portability. The unit weighs only 57 pounds, so you can easily move it around and set it up anywhere where you can connect it to a 115v household current. Additionally, the 10 feet work cable and clamp, as well as the 10 feet power cable, also give you plenty of freedom to move around your workspace.
- Quick Select Drive Roll. This Hobart’s trademark technology allows the user to quickly and easily switch drive rolls.
- Safety features. They include a thermal overload system, wire safety mechanism, dual gauge regulator.
- It can’t be used in outdoor locations with a generator for power supply.
- Not recommended for thicker steel or aluminum welding with higher current.
- Gas cylinders need to be bought as extras.
Goplus MIG 130 – Best Gasless MIG Welder
If you’re looking for the best cheap MIG welder, where cheap doesn’t mean bad quality, we’d recommend having a look at Goplus MIG 130. It’s versatile, portable and is suitable for most light welding projects in industrial and home settings.
What Is It For?
It’s the best budget MIG welder, so it can be a good choice for entry level welders to practice on. But keep in mind that it’s flux-cored only welder, meaning it won’t work with a shielding gas.
- Performance. The maximum absorbed power is 3.7KVA, while the maximum output current is 15% at 105 amps. It’s a 110v unit, so you know that it packs a lot of power. The welder works best for ⅜ inch metal. It can also be used on ⅛ and ⅙ inch metal.
- Adjustability. There are two switches for current flow, giving four selections. Additionally, it offers 10 levels of wire feed speeds (higher speed for more powerful weld on thicker sheets) and 4 heat settings, so you can weld easily over a range of applications.
- Portable. This machine weighs only 35 pounds and has an easy carrying handle, so you can conveniently move it around wherever you need it.
- Comes with everything you need to start welding and extra accessories, even a free welding mask. However, it’s a handheld one, so you’ll probably still want a mask that will have your hands free.
- Does not have a battery powered option. You’ll always need an outlet to make it work.
- Works only with flux-cored wires.
- No information on warranty.
Forney 299 125FC – Best For Beginner
The best MIG welder for the money that is perfect for a beginner is the Forney 299 125FC. This affordable MIG welder is easy to learn, offers great versatility and is ready to use right out of the box.
What Is It For?
It’s the best 120v MIG welder, considering its features to price ratio. However, this MIG welding machine works only with flux-cored wires, which should cater to most of the novice needs. No shielding gas. It is able to weld 24 gauge up to ¼ inch but works best with ⅛ inch. And it accepts 2 lbs and 10 lbs spools and uses a 0.030 inch wire.
- Easiest welder to use. All you have to do is plug it in and you’re ready to get started with your welding. The kit also includes a comprehensive user manual, where you can find very easy to understand instruction on how to install the wire and operate the machine. Additionally, it offers safety instructions, welding and troubleshooting tips, and other information.
- Versatility. The 10-position wire feed speed adjustability allows setting the machine according to the thickness of steel you’re welding. It also offers two voltage settings: high voltage for a thin plate and low voltage sheet metal. It does limit fine tuning your arc, but for a beginner welder, this should be enough to learn the ropes.
- Portability. Forney 299 features a durable, portable design with a convenient carry handle.
- Forney offers only a 6-month warranty for this welding machine against defects in material or workmanship.
- It has only 2 voltage settings, which limits the ability to fine-tune the machine for perfect performance.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 115 Volt- Best Under 500
Another great all around MIG welder is the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 machine. It offers both gas and flux-core welding options and has great welding and safety features.
What Is It For?
Lincoln K2185-1 is suitable for welding steel from 24 gauge and up to ⅛ inch thick. It’s popular among beginners and is also perfect for experienced welders that don’t require more power.
- Great power. With a 35-88 amp output, the power of this machine is on the lower side, but it’s enough for most light hobby projects. The welder also plugs into 115 Volt outlet, so it’s compatible with the common household outlet. The duty cycle is rated at 20% at 70 amps.
- 4 voltage settings. This gives you more control over the weld. So, for example, if you’re welding thicker metal, you can adjust it to a higher voltage setting.
- Continuous wire speed control, allows welding to be done faster and more accurately.
- Safety features. The cold contractor feature keeps the wire cold until the gun is triggered, while the fan-cooling system prevents the machine’s overheating.
- Portability. At 46 pounds, it’s compact and lightweight, so you can maneuver it to where the job requires.
- 1-year parts and labor warranty. However, for the gun and cable, it’s only 90 days.
- Not recommended for industrial applications. Can weld maximum ⅛” metal.
- Can’t be used on site where there are no household power outlets available.
Hobart Handler 210 MVP – Best Dual Voltage
Hobart Handler 210 MVP is the best dual voltage MIG welder, which means that you can use it with either 115V or 230V receptacle. The machine packs a lot of quality and durability for both novice and experts.
What Is It For?
The amperage output ranges from 25A to 210A, making it suitable for both novice and more experienced welder. It offers a duty cycle of 30% at 150 amps and is capable of welding steel, as well as aluminum using the optional SpoolRunner 100 spool gun. It can handle 24 gauge and up to ⅜ inch steel.
- Dual voltage. Depending on the task at hand, you can choose either 115V or 230V.
- Infinite wire feed speed control, which ranges from 40 to 680 IPM. This gives you maximum control over the amount of weld penetration.
- 7 voltage selections for 230V and 4 settings for 115V, giving you ultimate control over your weld for creating high quality arc and at the same time having less cleanup and spatter.
- Spool gun ready. You can buy an optional spool runner and plug it in directly to the machine. This helps alleviate feeding issues when working with soft aluminum wires.
- A Quick select feature allows quick change of wire type and size without the use of additional tools.
- Safety features: built-in contactor, thermal overload and motor protection.
- The spool hub assembly is designed to accommodate 4 or 8 inch spools.
- Weighing 87 pounds, this welding machine is not very portable. You will probably need a wheeled cart to transport it. However, the heavy size of the machine is due to its sturdy design and amplitude of features.
Hobart Handler 190 500554 – Best Under 1000
Another great welding machine from the Hobart Handler series is the Hobart 190 500554. It’s robust and sturdy, packs a range of features and power, while still being surprisingly easy to use.
What Is It For?
The welding tool designed to meet the meets of both entry level and expert welders. It offers a wide range of output power from 25A to 190A, while the maximum duty cycle is 30% at 130A. It’s ideal for materials 24-gauge thin and up to 5/16 inch thick. The machine is applicable for MIG welding aluminum, stainless steel, mild and flux core steel.
- Excellent control. Hobart Handler 190 offers 7 voltage settings, infinite wire speed control and enhanced magnetics. This provides improved arc performance with minimum spatter and a better bead.
- Large welding range. As we’ve mentioned above, the machine offers a wide range of power output and can handle thicker materials, so it can deal with whatever work you throw at it.
- Built-in wire feed technology and quick-select drive system.
- Easy aluminum welding. The preinstalled spool gun circuitry eliminates the feeding issues when dealing with soft aluminum wires.
- Built-in reference manual. On the inside of the cover, you can find a setup guide that will help you quickly set your welder.
- Improved safety: built-in contractor, short circuit protection and thermal overload system.
- It doesn’t operate on standard household outlets and needs either a special 230V outlet or a generator that is at least 7000 watts.
- It’s not a cheap welding machine, but it does offer high power, quality and features that you won’t usually find on cheaper products.
LOTOS MIG175 – Best 220V
Lotos MIG 175 is the best 220V MIG welder that offers superb weld penetration and a functional wire feed motor system. Its versatility and power is perfect for a weekend enthusiast or professional welder with light projects.
What Is It For?
This multi-purpose MIG welding machine can weld almost anything, such as stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, and other metals. It connects to a 220V outlet, but can also operate on 200-240V. Its welding capacity ranges from 18 gauge to ¼ inch for mild steel and stainless steel, and ⅜ inch and thinner for welding aluminum.
- Flux-core and aluminum gas shielded functions.
- Spool gun included. For aluminum welding you can use the included the high-speed MIG spool gun.
- The welder can handle 4” and 6” wire spools.
- Infinitely adjustable wire speed and amperage.
- Safety features include resettable overload protection, an internal cooling fan, and two automatic circuits for motor protection.
- 1-year warranty.
- Great for hobby welding, but not for industrial work.
- Weighs 85 pounds, so might be difficult to move around without a wheel cart.
Longevity Migweld 140 – Best 110V
This portable MIG welder provides enough power for professionals and amateurs alike. It brings quality results, a variety of functions, and makes it easy for a beginner to learn to weld.
What Is It For?
Longevity Migweld 140 makes a great choice for anyone looking for an inexpensive welder for home or small shop use. You can also handle an occasional heavy job, but still not recommended for heavy industrial use.
It’s suitable for MIG and flux-core welding. It operates on a 110v power outlet and welds mild steel in a thickness of up to ⅜ inches. The best accuracy it provides on metals ⅛ inch thick.
- Power. The machine offers a range of 25-140 amps with the duty cycle of 20% at 90 amps.
- Thermal overload protection to protect the machine in extensive use situations.
- Portability. The machine weighs 54 pounds. Though it’s possible to carry it around using the built-in handle, it might still be easier to do it on a wheel cart.
- Affordable price. It’s a simple no-nonsense product that comes at a low price but offers only the basic features.
- Works with or without gas.
- Optional spool gun.
- Using an adjustable knob, you can change wire feed speed and voltage
- 1-year warranty.
- The flux-core wire needs to be purchased separately.
- Not suitable for heavy-duty industrial use.
- Some have reported the wire feed system being unreliable.
Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Welder
Another great MIG welder for beginners is the Lotos MIG140. It’s an easy to learn machine that comes at a great price point. It might not be the top of the range product, but it still comes with all the useful features.
What Is It For?
It’s a perfect choice for DIY-ers that need a welder for garage projects and home repairs. It’s also a multi-purpose welder, meaning it can be used on stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, and other.
It connects to a 110V power outlet and with just under 10 minutes of setup, it’s ready to use. The thickness range varies for different materials. For stainless steel and mild steel, it’s from 18 gauge to 3/16 inch. For aluminum, it’s ⅛ inch and below.
- Works with both flux-core and solid wires. So you have the option of running it with or without gas. If you’ll be using gas, you can also adjust the CFH using the pressure gauge.
- The adjustability of the wire type, wire feed speed (10 positions), wire thickness (0.025-0.030 inches for flux-core and 0.030-0.035 inches for solid wires), as well as voltage.
- Can accommodate 2-pound spools.
- Overload protection against overheating.
- 2 digital displays allow more precise parameters adjusting.
- For welding aluminum, it requires a spool gun, which needs a separate purchase.
- Spool gun needs to be purchased separately.
Everlast MIG140E is one of the brand’s entry level MIG welders. It’s perfect for all sorts applications at home or shop use. It has easy to understand and use features, that also offer power and versatility.
What Is It For?
It’s a dual voltage welder that needs either 110V or 120V to operate. It comes with a 35% duty cycle at 140 amps of power. It works with multiple materials, such as steel, stainless steel and aluminum with a minimum 24 gauge and a maximum 3/6 inch thick.
- Portable MIG welder. Weighing only 25 pounds, this is the lightest MIG welder on our list. It achieves it with the IGBT inverter based design, that allows minimizing the weight and power consumption of the machine while improving arc performance and duty cycle.
- Stepless control of wire speed (10 position dial) and voltage (10 option dial).
- Spool gun ready if you will be welding aluminum.
- You can use it with or without gas.
- Takes both 4” and 8” wire spools.
- Over temperature and over current safety features.
- Not suitable for heavy duty welding.
Other MIG Welders To Consider:
What Is MIG Welding?
Mig welding is considered to be one of the easiest processes to learn. For some people, it could take just a few hours to learn how to run good beads.
MIG (metal inert gas) welding is also known as Gas Metal Arc welding (GMAW). This process was developed in the 1940s for welding aluminum and non-ferrous materials and has since been more developed. It is one of the most popular welding processes, especially in industrial environments. It’s commonly used in sheet metal and automobile industry.
In the process, a continuous solid wire electrode is fed from the machine to the gun. Then an arc forms between the electrode and the workpiece metal, heating up the metal and causing it to melt and join. The welding gun also feeds shielding gas in order to protect the process from contamination.
MIG welding can be an automatic and semiautomatic process. Automatic MIGs, for example, are used to weld car frames at an auto plant. And a semiautomatic MIG requires an operator to hold the MIG gun and navigate the weld pool.
Advantages of MIG Welding
- Can be used for welding different types of available metals and alloys.
- MIG welding allows high productive work, as you don’t have to stop and change rods or brush the weld regularly.
- It’s an easier to learn process compared to Stick welding.
- Works great for mechanized welding.
- It gives better weld pool visibility.
- Perfect for multi-pass welding.
- Generates very low fume rates.
- Allows deep weld penetration.
- Minimum loss of alloying elements due to the protection from the shielding gas.
- Minimum weld spatter and no slag to remove, resulting in cleaner and more efficient welding.
- The continuously fed wire allows faster welding with better quality and control.
Disadvantages of MIG Welding
- MIG welding equipment is quite complex and this affects the price. Also, in addition to the welder, you need to purchase the shielding gas, replacement tips and nozzles. All this can add up to a high cost.
- Most of the MIG welders are not very heavy. However, they are still not suitable for working outside because they need the shielding gas to protect the weld. The wind can blow away the gas, causing contamination of the puddle. So you can’t bring it out to the field to make some auto repairs, but it will work great in the garage.
- Unsuitable for thicker metals. It works best with materials up to ½ inch.
Best MIG Welder Buying Guide
If you’re on the market for a welder, it’s best to start with understanding what exactly to look for in the best MIG welding machine. You want something that can handle all the work you require, but at the same not have to spend all of your vacation money. For each welder, the situation can be different, but in general, there are certain features that you should look out for. And this MIG welder buying guide will help you understand what exactly you need in your new MIG welder.
How many amps do you need?
The first thing you need to decide is how often and what you’re going to weld. Will it be just for home use or will it be used in a workshop? Is it a small or heavy-duty workshop? You don’t want to end up with not enough or more power than you require.
The amperage of the welder shows the amount of heat it can produce. You can use the chart below to determine the required amperage for the welding projects you’ll be doing. For a more accurate number, you can also use this calculator.
So if you’ll be doing just small home projects with welding thin materials, 100 amps will probably be sufficient. However, you never know if you’ll need to weld something thicker, so you could spend a few extra dollars and get a machine with maximum of 140 amps.
Also, don’t forget to look at the minimum amps, cause otherwise, you won’t be able to weld thinner metals. An average MIG welder will have a minimum at around 30 amps, which is good for welding 18 gauge metal. For welding extremely thin sheets, 22 gauge, for example, you’ll need a minimum output of about 20-25 amps. If you have a welder with an amperage range of only 85-100, it will be useless for most jobs.
The duty cycle refers to the percentage of a 10 minute period that you can continuously weld before the welding machine starts overheating.
That means if you have a duty cycle of 20% at 90 amps, it means that you have a 2-minute period of welding before you need to let it rest for 8 minutes. Lowing the amperage will allow you to weld longer without stopping. And the other way around. Some units have a built-in protection system for automatic shut off when the cycle reaches its maximum.
In automotive repair work, duty cycles are usually not that important, as the process runs at low amps. However, if you plan on cranking up the amps and will be welding continuously, the thermal cutoffs can become annoying.
Most basic MIG welders will run on 115V. The benefit of this is that you can plug in your welder to any of your household outlets. However, this limits your amperage. 110V and 115V welders can handle most home projects with thin metals.
For thicker metal,s you’ll need more power. However, it also usually comes at a higher price. For metals ½ inch thick, for example, you’ll want a 220V welder. In this case, you’ll need to install a 220V outlet, unless you already have one. Another option is a dual voltage MIG welder, that allows to easily switch between 110V and 220V according to the task at hand.
Another important feature to look into is the wire feed speed. It’s the speed at which the wire is fed from the welding machine to the gun. If it’s too slow, the wire will disappear at once as it touches the metal, resulting in an ugly and uneven weld. And if it’s too fast, you’ll have too much wire and this will create a lot of spatter. The right speed will provide a constant arc and satisfying weld results.
Gas vs Gasless
MIG welding process needs the shielding gas to protect the weld from oxygen. The buyer needs to choose between gas shielded and flux-core wire. The gas shielded option has oxygen being displaced by inert or semi-inert gas coming from a gas cylinder. The flux-cored wire provides protection with a compound that is included in the wire itself. Each type has its pros and cons, but most people find the gas shielded option a much nicer method to use. However, if you still would also like to have the flux cored option, you can get a welder that can do both.
The advantage of gasless welding is that you can do it outside, just as effectively as indoors, without the wind affecting the weld. However, during gasless welding you can’t really see what you’re doing, there’s a lot of spattering, and the slag will need brushing off before painting.
Welding with gas shielding is easier. You have the view of the weld pool, allowing you to create neater welds with less spatter. However, it also has its disadvantages. If you’ll be welding outside, it’ll require wind shielding. Also, you’ll need to add up the additional cost of buying gas.
Choosing the Type of Shielding Gas
The type of shielding gas you use can affect the quality of your weld. Choosing one or the other depends on the material you’re welding.
- Carbon dioxide. This is the most common type of shielding gas and is considered the best for MIG welding. Usually, it’s used in its pure form for welding thicker materials, providing deep weld penetration. It can also be mixed with other gases for a more stable arc that will have less spatter.
- Oxygen is usually mixed with other gases, such as argon. Its concentration is usually small of 5% and less. Oxygen improves weld pool fluidity, providing better penetration, better weld bead, and requires no undercutting. It can be used for welding carbon steel, stainless steel and low alloy steel.
- Argon. This gas is heavier than air, giving good protection for the weld from the air. It can be used in a mix with carbon dioxide for providing better arc stability, better puddle control and minimum spatter. It can also be used in its pure form for welding non-ferrous metals (titanium, copper, aluminum).
- Helium. The most expensive of the mentioned gases and the least used is helium. It’s more commonly used for TIG welding. In MIG welding it creates wide and poor penetration. It’s usually mixed with other gases and can be used on non-ferrous metals.
For welding steel, you can use one of the two common wire types: ER70S-3 for all-purpose welding and ER70S-6 for situations when more deoxidizers are needed (for example, when welding dirty or rusty steel). 0.030 inch diameter is perfect for welding a wide range of metal thickness. For thinner materials, if you want to reduce heat output, you could use 0.023 inch wire. As for thicker materials at higher heat levels, you can also increase the wire to 0.035 inches.
Avoid Permanently Live Torches
Sometimes the manufacturers try to save a few pennies by not including a contactor in the welder. The contactor’s purpose is to switch the power supply to the torch when so is needed. If the contractor is missing, the torch is always live. In such a case, if you’d touch anything when positioning the torch, it will give you arc eye.
A permanent live torch is not very common nowadays. If you do find one though, it’s probably a product from a low quality, budget manufacturer.
Spool Gun Capacity
If you’re planning on welding aluminum with your MIG welder, then you should also look for the spool gun option. A lot of the hobby sized welders do not have this option. However, welders like the Longevity 140 do. It offers you to buy an optional spool gun that you can then easily hook up and weld aluminum.
A good MIG welder should come with all the necessary safety features. The main ones to look for are the following:
- Thermal overload system. Welding includes very hot work and the machine can reach very high temperatures. To protect the welder from reaching dangerously high temperatures, they feature a built-in thermal overload system. So when the welder reaches the end of the duty cycle, it will automatically shut off.
- Built-in contactor. As we’ve mentioned above it’s important that the welder comes with a built-in contactor. It works by keeping the wire electrically cold and switches the power supply only when you pull the trigger.
The quality of the weld the machine can create is determined by both the skill of the welder and the quality of the machine itself. The welder should be easy to learn and use. Check for a user manual with a clear to understand instructions for operating procedures, maintenance, safety and troubleshooting.
After evaluating the welder’s performance, it’s also important to take note of its portability. Especially if you have limited space in your workshop or will be moving it around a lot. So look up in the specifications of the product its size and weight.
On average MIG welders weigh 40-50 pounds. Usually, more power and features also transfer to more weight. However, you can also find compact MIG welders that pack a punch.
If you’ll also be moving around the welder a lot, look for a welder that has wheels. This way you’ll be able to avoid straining yourself.
What’s In the Box
Take note of what’s included in the box. Many welders will have all the necessary equipment to get started included in the package. However, you will probably need to additionally buy a spool gun and sample wire. If you’ll add to this also the expenses for a welding helmet and protective clothing, your costs might rise substantially. So try to remember all these add-ons to make sure that your expenses will fit your budget.
Buying a MIG welder is a pretty big investment, so a good warranty is important. Look for products with at least 1-year warranty period, even better if it’s 3-5 years. Most flaws and defects usually show in the first few months, but it’s still nice to know that you’re also covered if anything goes wrong later. Many sellers also offer a 30-day return policy, so if you notice any defects when the welder arrives, you can return it or replace hassle-free.
Top Welding Brands
There are 3 best MIG welder brands that really stand out among their competition: Hobart, Lincoln Electric and Miller. There are also a few other known brands that produce good quality MIG welders. They include Forney, ESAB, Everlast, Lotos and GoPlus.
MIG Welding Tips For Beginners
- Control your speed. If your speed is too fast or too slow, it can negatively affect all aspects of your weld.
- A perfect weld will come with practice. As you learn, takes notes of the techniques you did right and what looked wrong.
- To control the speed of your weld, work in a motion of drawing a letter “e” or “u”.
- Keep the gun at an even constant distance from the puddle, which should be around half an inch.
- Don’t pull the gun, but push it instead.
- Watch the gas flow. In case it starts to drop, you might need to pull the trigger to adjust the settings.
- During the welding process, try to keep your body stable and use both hands for the work.
- Get a reference book for your welding, so you can easily have it hand when you need to consult any information on your welding.
Welding Safety Gear
There are quite a few hazards a welder needs to deal with. Noxious fumes, UV and IR light, and molten metal are to name a few. So it’s important to protect yourself with proper equipment against these dangers.
If you’ll be directly involved in the welding process, it’s essential to have a good welding helmet. It will protect your face and neck from sparks and radiation. Without a proper helmet, the arc can seriously damage your skin and eyes.
It’s also recommended to wear under the helmet a pair of safety glasses. Make sure that they’re comfortable and meet the national safety standards.
Goggles and Mask
If the situation for whatever reason doesn’t permit wearing a helmet, you can put on goggles and a mask. The goggles, however, usually offer a maximum shade of #5, so that won’t be enough shade for more powerful welding. As for masks, most of them have handheld designs, which is inconvenient as it’s best to have both hands free for the welding process itself.
Your hands are kept in close proximity to the arc, which exposes them to high levels of heat and radiation. So it’s important to have a pair of protective gloves. You can find them in different styles and sizes, for women as well, that will suit any application.
Look for gloves that have heavy stitching and that are made from flame-resistant materials, and several layers of insulation.
If you’ll be doing light-duty welding, a cotton jacket with flame-resistant cloth might be enough. It can be engineered or treated flame-resistant cloth. For medium and heavy-duty applications, it’s better to opt for something with more protection. For example, a leather jacket provides great durability and flame resistance. The only downside is that it can get really hot under such a thick layer.
A hat probably won’t give much protection against the sparks and radiation, but it can just add a little personality to your welding equipment.
Aprons and Sleeves
You can wear the apron under your jacket to have extra protection for your legs and chest. Or if you’re doing light duty welding, you can wear it with a welding shirt and leather sleeves.
The process of melting metal produces big amounts of fumes. To keep the tiny particles of metal out of your lungs, it’s essential to have a good respirator. You can fit them under your welding helmet.
Choose leather work boots that meet local safety standards. Proper welding boots will also protect the top of your feet from sparks and heavy objects. If you don’t want to buy the expensive welding boots and only do occasional light-duty welding, you can get heat-resistant leather spats that will ward off sparks and spatter.
Ear Muffs or Ear Plugs
For ear protection against all the noise produced by the welding process, get a good pair of ear muffs or earplugs. Fire resistant ear muffs are a better option of course, as it will also protect your ears against sparks and spatter.
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