Metalwork has played a significant part in the collective development of the modern world—but it’s not just used for making infrastructure! Metal work can be used for art, science, or industrial trade; the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.
Today you can even learn how to manipulate metal in the comfort of your home! There are tons of MIG welders out there that are safe for use, regardless of the amount of skill that you have.
So, whether you are a beginner or a professional, this guide hopes to cover everything you need to know about the best MIG welders on the market. Here is my attempt at making this big and confusing industry more understandable and navigable.
So what are you waiting for? Dive straight into this article and find out what these welders are all about!
- Best MIG Welder for the Money – Comparison
- Top 10 MIG Welders Review
- Hobart 210 MVP
- Hobart Handler 140
- Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i
- Weldpro 200
- Lincoln Electric #K2185-1
- Lincoln Electric 210 #K3963-1
- SUNGOLDPOWER 140A
- Lincoln Electric K2278-1
- Forney Easy Weld 29901125 FC
- Super Deal Pro Commercial MIG 130
- What To Consider When Buying A MIG Welder
- Using Your MIG Welder Properly
- Maintaining Your MIG Welder
- Frequently Asked Questions On MIG Welders
- Making The Most Out Of Your MIG Welder
Best MIG Welder for the Money – Comparison
|Hobart Handler ||210 Amp||115V/230V||87.5 pounds|
|Hobart 500559 Handler||200 amp||115V ||65 pounds|
|Forney Easy Weld 261||140 Amp||120V||19 pounds|
|Weldpro Multi Process Welder||200 Amp||220V/110V||30.4 pounds|
|Lincoln Electric K2185-1||70 Amp||115V||26 pounds|
|Lincoln Powermig #K3963-1||210 Amp||120V or 230V||61.8 pounds|
|SUNGOLDPOWER MIG Welder ||140Amp||110/220V||30 pounds|
|Lincoln Electric K2278-1||88 amp||115V||45 pounds|
|Forney 29901 125 FC||140 Amp||120V||19 pounds|
|Super Deal PRO ||120 AMP||110V||38.1 pounds|
Top 10 MIG Welders Review
These machines have been tested by hundreds of different welding enthusiasts and have proved themselves to be capable of delivering a superior welding experience. Each welder has its own unique features to offer, so your first priority is to understand what you need from your MIG welder and how you plan on using it.
It’s in the name—the Hobart 210 is truly an MVP in its own right. This is the only Hobart welder to register 210A of power.
While most MIG welders are strict about the kind of voltage that powers the machine, this model can easily switch between 115V or 230V using its own multi-voltage plug. This is an advantage in case you need to travel between workshops or move to certain areas to get the job done.
One aspect of this device that I truly appreciated was how easy it was to pick up and work with. Hands down, this is the model that I would recommend to any beginner because it comes with a clear instruction manual, the labels on the machine are clear and concise, and finally the set-up process only takes a few minutes.
In terms of safety, the Hobart 210 MVP comes with thermal overload guard and motor protection capabilities. The thermal overload guard means that it will automatically detect signs of overheating and immediately work to cool down the machine through a variety of processes. The motor protection monitors the welfare of your machine’s engine as it works and ensures that there is no undue damage caused to it.
In addition, this MIG welder also comes with all the accessories you will need to start off. The package will contain a dual gauge regulator and gas hose, one sample spool of .030 flux-cored welding wire, and some extra 0.30 contact tips.
In case you run into any unexpected problems with the Hobart 210 MVP, you do not need to worry. This model comes with a three-year limited warranty to cover a variety of issues that you may face in the long run.
Take note that this model is one of the heavier MIG welders on this list and you may find it hard to just carry it from one place to another. I highly recommend investing in its cart (it does not come with the package) so that you will not have any difficulties with transporting it from one area to another.
Overall, this is a strong option for die-hard DIY enthusiasts who regularly commit to making metalwork projects at home.
If you are a welder who constantly works on delicate metalwork, then this is the machine for you. The Hobart Handler 140 is by far the most popular MIG welder by Hobart. Part of its popularity can be attributed to its sheer versatility—it can even for heavy farm projects!
At its core, however, this is a strong MIG welder that has mostly been optimized for household projects and small workshop jobs. It can run seamlessly off of 115V household current and is small enough to be carried around if you need to move to multiple places. In my opinion, this would be one of the best MIG welders for home use.
Beyond the welder itself, you also get a spool of wire and some spare contact tips. This will be more than enough to get you started on the right foot. In my personal experience, I found this model to be a very solid build. It has a stable exterior and the quality of its construction is evident in its welding prowess.
Like all Hobart machines, the Handler 140 is covered by the 5/3/1 warranty. This means that you are guaranteed to be supported across multiple levels in different time frames. It is comprehensive coverage and really goes to show how invested the brand is in your customer experience.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this machine to anyone who is looking to invest in a household welder. It has all the basics that most DIY welders will ever need to get started—plus some extra consumables, a sturdy build, and a comprehensive warranty.
Here is another MIG welder that is good for beginners. The Forney 140 FC-i is a small, green, and attractive machine that is capable of some serious work.
One feature that sets this welder apart from the others is that it uses flux-cored wire. Flux wires are used in welding thicker metals as well as applications that are out of position. In terms of slag, it is easier to clean up when using this kind of wire. If you are looking for a MIG welder that is a bit low-maintenance yet capable of performing some serious work, then the Forney 140 FC-i is the model for you.
The Forney 140 FC-i is also remarkably lightweight. It is only 8.6 kilograms, which makes it one of the lightest on the list. You will not need a cart to transport it from one place to another.
In addition to its portability, this machine gets plus points for easy setup. You can move immediately from unpacking it out of the box to working on your first bead in a few minutes. The simplicity of the process is definitely a plus for novices in welding.
Overall, this is a good welder for people who are on a budget. It is simple enough for novices to use, but powerful enough to take on more complex jobs. The Forney 140 FC-i would be a good long-term investment if you are someone who is serious about welding.
The Weldpro 200 is a versatile, all-around machine that is definitely worth its mid-range price. I say this because it is easy to use, powerful, and clearly designed with the end user in mind. Let’s go over these qualities one by one below.
This machine is multifunctional in that sense that it goes beyond its MIG and Flux core capabilities. The Weldpro 200 is also capable of TIG welding, stick welding, and aluminum welding. This allows you to easily switch from one mode to another, depending on the metal you need to work with and the work you need to do. It is a definite plus for welders who need a small yet affordable machine in their arsenal.
One distinct advantage that the Weldpro 200 has over other machines is that it has a clear dual digital display. This makes it so much easier to monitor everything that is going on with the welder as it is working. As a result, you spend less time checking up on all the individual details of your work and more time focusing on the work itself.
It is just a small feature, but I like how this machine has all the important buttons highlighted in yellow. This makes it easy to understand and comprehend in just one glimpse, which is a crucial aspect to consider when you are in the middle of work.
The Weldpro 200 is covered by a two-year factory warranty. This just goes to show how invested the brand is in your experience with the machine because they are willing to continue supporting you long after you have completed the purchase.
This multipurpose welder is definitely a good addition to any home or workshop. It is a good place to start if you’re into DIY projects.
The Lincoln Electric #K2185-1 is a cost-efficient MIG welder that is ideal for light household projects and mild steel.
I noticed that this machine is very durable. While other MIG welders within its price range may have difficulties making it beyond the three-year mark, this model has served some people for more than ten years. If you ever decide to invest in this particular device, rest assured this machine will be with you for the long haul!
However, it goes without saying that this welder is not for serious work. If you need to do any heavy or prolonged welding, then it will quickly overheat and you will spend more time waiting for it to cool down than working. This is a machine that is best suited for infrequent home projects and repairs.
The Lincoln #K2185-1 can be powered by your everyday household outlets. It runs on 115V, which is one of the lowest input voltages available.
This machine has four different voltage settings that you can choose from as well as a continuous wire feed speed adjustment, which allows you to weld mild steel that is between 24 gauge to ⅛” thick.
When you purchase the Lincoln #K2185-1, you will also receive the following materials: one pound of flux cored wire, 2 pounds of solid MIG wire, three 0.035 inches contact tips, another three 0.025 inches contact tips, a welding handshield, and a chipping hammer or brush. The full package needed for any welder in the making.
At its price, it is definitely a steal if you are looking to have a home companion. This machine comes with enough reference materials to help you get on track, including a chart on the inside of the welder which indicates the settings you need to use based on the thickness of the metal you are working on.
Essentially, going for the Lincoln #K3963-1 is like buying four different machines packed into one tiny frame. This little monster isn’t just a MIG welder, but can also work on FCAW, Stick, and TIG welds as well.
Its versatility and consistency in work is a testimony to how the Lincoln brand has worked to manufacture top-quality machines for more than one hundred years. When I had the opportunity to use this model, I could clearly see the effort that they put into developing this model and the reason why they are still one of the top dogs in this industry.
Part of what makes this model attractive is its large color display. It is easy to go through the setup process with the digital display telling you what to do. In addition, it is also helpful while you work because it keeps track of how your machine is doing. This is a strong advantage for people who may have trouble remembering the right settings for each job and helps prepare you for the welding process faster.
One unique aspect of the Lincoln 210 #K3963-1 is that it has dual voltage inputs. This means that regardless of whether you need to use it at home or in a workshop, you can plug it into any power supply. One input can handle 120V, while the other works on 230V.
The Lincoln #K3963-1 is covered by a three-year warranty, ensuring that you get the support you need long after you purchase the machine. If you would like to extend this warranty, you can pay around a hundred dollars more to do so.
This is definitely a pricey investment to make, but think of how comprehensive your purchase will be. With this machine, you don’t have to look for any other teacher or instruction guide. It is all you need to get started on the right foot.
This model is a relatively new inverter-based portable MIG welding machine. Inverter-based means that it can do both gasless flux-cored welding and gas-shielded MIG welding, which makes this useful to have if you need to work on different metals.
Admittedly, this is not a very well-known brand if you compare it to the other machines on this list. But in my experience, it held up remarkably well when I tried it out on different household projects. This goes to show that while the brand can be an assurance of quality, there are some exceptions to this rule and the Sungoldpower 140A is one of those exceptions.
To supplement your efforts, when you buy this machine it also comes with some flux cored wire as well as some solid core wire. From the very start, you will be well-equipped with this purchase.
One small issue I had with the Sungoldpower 140A was that the manual was difficult to follow on its own. It took a bit more research on the internet and with fellow welders to grasp the machine’s full capabilities. However, I did not see this as a complete deal breaker when I considered the quality of this device’s work as well as its capacity to hold its own in rough environments like the outdoors.
Overall, this is a sturdy and reliable MIG welder that you can rely on for outdoor work. It is a bit spartan in the sense that it lacks the additional features and technologies that most modern welders have. However, this could be an advantage for people who just want to invest in a durable, no-frills, and multifunctional MIG welder machine.
The bold and distinctive red exterior of any Lincoln welding machine is enough to inspire confidence in any welder. This specific model, the K2278-1, is part of a line of welders that have been optimized for beginners.
For those concerned with the risk of electrocution, this machine comes with a cold contractor safety feature that works to keep the wire “cold” until the gun trigger is activated. It minimizes the likelihood of getting electrocuted, which is a very common safety concern among welders.
The Lincoln K2278-1 is best used for household repairs and maintenance. It can easily run on 115V household outlets. Just make sure to turn off any other appliances if you plan on working with it so that it has exclusive access to your entire electrical circuit. If it does not, then the inconsistent source of power could affect the performance of the Lincoln K2278-1 and you will not be able to get the best out of this machine.
In addition to the solid build and seamless setup, this model also comes with a clear instruction manual. It is easy to follow, and will definitely be of use for beginners.
This machine is small and lightweight, which makes it perfect for people who may need to do welding work in different areas. With minimal effort, you can carry it from one area to another and you no longer need to spend more money on a cart.
Overall, this is another solid welder that comes at an affordable price. It comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor as well. For beginners that want to start their welding journey with a reputable brand and a low-maintenance machine, the Lincoln K2278-1 is the answer!.
Right off the bat, the Forney 29901125 FC really does have it all. When you buy this package, it does not just come with additional consumables for an easy start. It also has a pair of black welding gloves and a helmet. Let’s take a look at each item comprehensively.
The welding gloves are made out of leather and enhanced with heat-resistant Kevlar thread. In addition, it is also lined with cotton fleece on the inside to help with moisture absorption. No more worrying about sweaty hands when you are working on your piece!
The Premier Series CamoADF helmet is designed to minimize overall fatigue and prevent you from straining your head and neck.
I enjoyed using the Forney 29901125 FC because unlike other welders, it runs very quietly. This is an advantage for anybody who is sensitive to noise.
In addition to the machine itself, the Forney 29901125 FC also comes with a startup kit. It contains a spool gun, smooth and knurled drive rollers, and a copper hoop for TIG welding gas connection.
One look at the trademark bright green of the Forney brand and you know that you are in good hands—but the difference with this machine is that it can perform several welding functions.
It is important to note that while it does have a flux core welder, it does not have gas canister capabilities. Technically, this means that it is not a MIG welder.
Overall, this machine is definitely a steal. One small challenge you may have is that the manual is not very clear, so supplement your education with other sources of learning such as online videos and reading material.
The last but definitely not the least! This sleek MIG welder is the answer to all your household welding needs. The Super Deal 130 comes with a multitude of different accessories, including a spool of flux welding wire, a wire brush, a chipping hammer, one 2.5M torch, extra tips, extra electrodes, and extra fuses. Right off the bat, you are getting everything you need to finish whatever home repairs and maintenance that you need to work on.
One thing I appreciated about this machine is the simplicity of its controls. It has a simple and attractive exterior, with the controls clearly labeled and in white at the side. You will not have to worry about getting stuck on the learning curve because, in addition to the clarity in controls, it also has a comprehensive instruction manual that you can refer to.
The Super Deal 130 is built out of high-grade PVC material. This is pretty clear in the look and feel of the exterior. I personally felt confident with bringing this along for all sorts of jobs because it looked good, felt sturdy, and churns out solid welds.
In terms of operations, this machine uses waveform control technology. This means that it can be seamlessly adjusted from one current to another to accommodate many different kinds of jobs. For example, if you are out in the field or if you need to work in the middle of a power outage, the Super Deal 130 can simply be plugged into a generator. It is very low maintenance when it comes to power.
From delicate metal works to heavy welding jobs, this machine is equipped to handle all your needs. The Super Deal 130 is one of the machines I would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking for something new on the market, with all the capabilities required to handle any household need.
What To Consider When Buying A MIG Welder
Are you ready to make your first welding purchase? With all the developments today, you will definitely have a lot to choose from. This can be a good and a bad thing—good because you have a variety of features and models to look through, but bad because it can get a little overwhelming. To help with making the final decision, here is a list of factors you need to look into to get the best MIG welder for the money.
The Amount Of Money You Want To Spend
The biggest consideration in any investment is the budget that you have for it. You can go ahead and blow thousands of dollars on the latest model, but it may not be the right machine for your welding needs. Conversely, you could try scraping by with the most affordable welder on the market, only to find out that it is not capable of doing the job.
If you are just starting out, I would suggest going for a welder that is between 300 to 500 dollars. This is enough to get you going with a reputable brand.
Minimum And Maximum Amp Figures
Amperage measures the amount of heat and power that your MIG welder can generate. This is an important factor to consider because it draws on certain amounts of electricity so your welder can work on more kinds of metal. For some types of metal, such as aluminum and stainless steel, you will need to have a higher amp figure to produce a clean and effective weld.
The Right Amount Of Voltage
Should you get 115V, 120V, or 230V? The first two voltages are ideal for a home hobby workshop. MIG welders need a specific volt circuit before they can power up. If you try connecting a 230V welder to a 120V circuit, it will not turn on. On the flip side, if you try powering a 120V welder with a 230V circuit, it will not function well.
Keep in mind that MIG welders are demanding when it comes to electricity. While you are using the welder, it is best to dedicate your electrical circuit to the welder. Power down other appliances that are connected to this circuit. They could make your arc stutter or lose power.
The Welding Jobs You Will Be Taking On
Why did you decide to buy a MIG welder? How long do you plan to use it for each session and how frequently? These considerations factor into what kind of MIG welder model you should buy because there is a scale of machines that you can choose from. There are light welders that work best on mild steel for people who plan on bringing it out a few times a year for short and simple jobs. On the other side of the scale, there are heavy-duty welders that can cut through thick sheets of different metal types. Think of what you are trying to get out of welding in the long term, and make your decision accordingly.
The MIG Welder’s Duty Cycle
The duty cycle measures the length of time a MIG welder can be used before it overheats. For example, a 30% duty cycle means that you can weld for three minutes continuously throughout a ten-minute period before you need to give the machine a break.
If you do not stop at the recommended time, the welder will shut down by itself.
Take note that the duty cycle is calculated according to theoretical air temperature and at a setting slightly less than the top amperage that this welder is capable of. If you need to use your welder at its maximum setting on a hot summer day, then it would be shutting down all the time.
The Kinds Of Metal You’ll Be Working With
Even if you are just thinking of buying a MIG welder for the occasional DIY projects, it is always nice to have a welder that can work on a variety of metals. The most affordable MIG welders will not have the power to work on anything beyond mild steel. So if you want something that’s truly versatile, consider opting for something a little more powerful and a little more expensive.
Portability Of The Machine
It may seem intuitive to get a lightweight MIG welder because they are convenient and easy to carry around—and you’ll also be able to work in some difficult situations, such as on top of a ladder. However, heavy welders are usually an indication of better builds; they are more robust machines, with internals crafted out of sturdy metal.
How Straightforward The Controls Are
Even if you are already an expert in using MIG welders, it is always an advantage to own one that is easy to understand. Welders with a comprehensive manual and a welding parameters chart are good places to start. Look over the machine and see if everything is clearly labeled and the switches are in places that are easily accessible.
Using Your MIG Welder Properly
Now you are ready to start operating your MIG welder. This can be a long process with a lot of preparation required beforehand, so it is important to start off on the right foot. Here are some tips to making your first weld worthwhile—plus some important safety precautions!
Step 1: Put On Your Safety Gear
Never forget this step! You will be exposed to a variety of risks while you are operating a MIG welder. Here are some essential parts of your outfit:
Step 2: Welding Masks
Regardless of what arc welder machine you use, these devices will always emit an extremely bright light while operating. If you do not protect yourself, it can burn your eyes and skin.
Step 3: Gloves
Spatter is an inevitable part of MIG welding and so is the risk of UV burns. I would recommend using leather gloves to protect yourself from the molten metal. There are some people who prefer to use thin gloves so that they have better control over their work. Just make sure that you are covered up before you begin for your safety.
Step 4: Leathers Or Cotton Clothing
The heat from MIG welders will not be able to burn through leather, so it is more capable of keeping you safe. If you do not have leather, make sure to use cotton. It will definitely singe off if it comes into contact with molten metal, but at least it will not burn. With plastic fibers like polyester and rayon, the fabric will melt into your skin and burn you.
Step 5: Boots
Hot metal can fall onto the top of your shoes, so do not use any open-toed footwear or synthetic shoes with mesh. Wear leather shoes or boots when you are going to operate a MIG welder, or cover your shoes in non-flammable material.
Step 6: Examine The Machine
Before you begin, take quick stock of the welder. Tighten any loose parts, clean up any excess dirt, and just check to see if it is ready for the day’s work.
Step 7: Clean The Area
Before you begin, make sure that you are in a clean and clear location. If you are in a room with sawdust, paper, or plastic bags around the machine, then there is a chance that these materials can catch fire. When you are welding, you will be fully focused on the task at hand and it can be difficult to see what is happening with your surroundings.
Also ensure that you have a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher near the exit door. Water extinguishers are not recommended for MIG welders because it is operated by electricity.
Step 8: Choose A Well-ventilated Spot For Welding
Aside from the intense heat that you will be exposed to, welding also produces tons of hazardous fumes. This is another strong reason as to why you should always have a mask on. If you are going to be welding for a prolonged period of time, you should be wearing a respirator as well.
Step 9: Setup The Welder
Open the valve to the shielding gas. Attach the ground clamp to the welding table or to the piece of metal that you are working on. Bring the power and wire speed up to the appropriate settings.
Step 10: Clean The Metal
This is not a required step! If you’re in a rush, you can just go right ahead with the welding. However, if you want to have a strong and clean weld in place, you may want to consider spending a few more minutes polishing the metal and grinding down any joined edges to help with the weld.
Step 11: Experiment With The Bead
If you are new to welding, I would recommend you start with running a bead before actually welding your work together. Experiment on a piece of scrap metal—try and weld a straight line on its surface.
In this step, you should be getting a feel of the process and an idea of the settings that you should be using.
Step 12: Start Welding The Metal
Finally, you can begin welding the metal. Try going in a zigzag down the area you are welding, or in little sewing motions as you piece the metals together.
Do not spend too much time in one area. This could heat up the work piece and compromise the quality of the weld. I would recommend welding a little in one spot, moving to another spot, and then returning to finish what is left in between.
Step 13: Refine The Weld
If your weld is in a location that is easy to see and you want it to look nice, then get to an angle grinder and start working on the finishing touches. Take care when you are working on the surfaces so that you do not grind through your brand new weld or gouge out pieces of metal.
Maintaining Your MIG Welder
Keeping a MIG welder in top shape can be an extensive process because compared to other welders, these models come with a lot more parts. However, this is a fair trade when you consider the quality of the welds and how efficiently these machines can get the job done. Once you get into the routine of checking your device for any anomalies, it won’t be as much of a hassle as it is at the start. Here are a few steps to help you get started.
Check The Instruction Manual
The first step in maintaining any machine is to read through the instruction manual it comes with. There may be certain nuances in maintaining your welder according to the manufacturer and the model. For your safety as well as the longevity of the machine, carefully read through all the recommendations listed in the guide.
Wait For The Machine To Cool Down Before You Begin
If you have just finished working on something with your MIG welder, give it time to cool down first before you perform any maintenance. Disconnect the gun from the feeder and let the machine rest for a few minutes. This is to keep both the device and your self safe.
Check The Feeder Connection
Something as simple as a loose wire feeder can wreak havoc on your entire machine. If the wires are not properly cared for, it can lead to increased electrical resistance and an increased risk of overheating. This can culminate in an irregular arc, a voltage drop, or even the failure of the equipment.
If you need to clean your connection, use an electrical contact cleaner. The connection must be fitted tightly and kept clean at all times.
Examine The O-rings
O-rings help maintain your MIG welder by providing a completely airtight seal for the shielding gas to enter the cable hose. As you use your machine, the O-rings may become too dry and damaged. This can lead to splatters and other defects which can affect the quality of your work. Check them regularly and lubricate them with silicone lubricant when you detach the gun and feeder.
Check The Cable
If your cable shows any signs of wear or damage, then it will need a complete replacement. Any damages can expose the internal copper wiring and pose an increased safety risk. Check and ensure that the cable is always routed straight because if it is bent, it restricts the flow of gas and can cause improper arcs.
Check The Liner
Remove your liner completely and clean up any welding wire fragments that have chipped off and stuck in the liner. If these fragments do not get cleaned up, they can lead to poor feeding or burnback. In case you plan on cleaning the liner, set aside some time to do so beforehand because this is a very intensive task.
Inspect The Neck Connection
This is the part of the MIG welder that transfers the current through the cables to the consumables. Inspect this area to make sure that everything is secure and tightened properly so that you do not run the risk of having an improper conductivity of electricity.
Check The Consumables
The consumables on your welder will be exposed to intense waves of heat and they can contribute to spatter. It is a given that consumables need to be replaced on a regular basis, but with the right maintenance you can prolong the time in between having to switch them out for new parts.
This part of your MIG welder is responsible for guiding the electric current all the way to the contact tip. If there are any loose connections in this part, it will lead to gas leaks and will affect the functionality of your machine.
The nozzles handle shielding gas through the welding pool. If this area is not maintained, gas flow blockages can happen if spatter accumulates inside. When this happens, damage is caused to both the nozzle and the insulator. You will need to check up on your nozzles several times a day, depending on how frequently you use your welder.
This consumable is the closest point of contact for the welding wire and the equipment. The wire goes through the tip. If it wears out while inside the tip it can lead to poor conductivity, a poor arc, and block gas coverage. Take a close look at the tip and always make sure you have some replacement parts on hand.
Frequently Asked Questions On MIG Welders
Are MIG welders good long-term investments?
With the right maintenance, MIG welders are capable of catering to your metalworking needs for several years. They are definitely investments that you make for the long run. However, you will need to consider the fact that MIG welders require more maintenance than other types. This is because they come with many more peripheral items, such as the gun contact tips, the gun liner, and the shielding gas hose.
Which gas or gases are best for MIG welding?
Usually, the gas for MIG welding is either 100% argon or a mixture of carbon dioxide and argon. Gas is needed to shield the weld as it is being formed. If you do not use gas in your welds, your finished product will take on an unsightly shade of brown and splatter all over the are you are working on.
You can also work with oxygen gas and acetylene gas. However, these are highly flammable and are best reserved for more experienced welders.
What does burnback mean and how do I take care of it?
This is a mistake that even the most experienced welders make every once in a while. Burnback is when your wire ‘burns back’ into your contact tip, which can possibly weld them together.
If this happens, I would recommend disposing of the tip and snipping the wire straightaway. You will definitely be tempted to just scrape out the tip and reuse it, but this just causes a whole new set of operational problems.
Minimize your chances of causing burnback by maintaining your distance from the metal and adjusting your wire feed speed to the right pace, according to the material you are using.
Should I push or pull when operating a MIG welder?
There is no definite answer to this because each type can be used in different situations. Both methods of MIG welding are capable of creating a solid bead. It will all boil down to what helps you work better in certain circumstances, which you will be able to discern through experience.
If you pull your weld, you can penetrate more deeply into the base metal and create stronger welds. However, it will not be as smooth and may require grinding if you are keen on aesthetics.
If you push your weld, you can create a flatter and smoother puddle. Push welding definitely makes up for what pull welding lacks. However, the end results will not be as durable.
How does spatter happen?
Spatter can be caused by multiple factors, the biggest one being a disturbance in the molten weld pool as the wire is being transferred onto the meld. This usually happens when there is a discrepancy between the MIG welder’s voltage and amperage.
MID weld spatter can also be caused by the gas you are using. Carbon dioxide is more likely to cause spatter than other gases, which is why it is usually balanced out with Argon.
Can I use my MIG welder in the rain?
It is possible but I strongly suggest you postpone any plans of welding if it is raining. Welders produce a current and if you operate it in the rain, you run a risk of it grounding out and electrocuting you.
In case you absolutely need to get a job done, try bringing your welder inside and out of the rain. With this, you will not have to worry about the wind and rain affecting your work or your personal safety. Additionally, wear dry clothes and use a pair of thick welding gloves while you are working.
Do MIG welders produce slag?
No, it does not. Slag is caused when the flux (otherwise known as the electrode coating) comes into contact with the weld bead. MIG welders do not have a flux in the welding process, so there is no production of slag.
This is an advantage in MIG welders because it eliminates the need for post-processing. Slag can lead to defects or changes in appearance, which is why additional work is required after it is generated.
Can I weld stainless steel with 100% argon?
Yes, but I would not recommend it because you will most likely end up with an unsightly weld. The best gas to use for stainless steel welding is a tri-mix shielding gas, composed of helium, argon, and carbon dioxide. Helium would help balance out the effects of argon by giving a flatter weld bead into the base plate.
Making The Most Out Of Your MIG Welder
Thanks for reading my guide on the best MIG welders on the market! It wasn’t easy to conduct all this research, so I hope that at the very least, this guide has helped point you in the right direction and clarified your biggest questions about welding. The industry is growing at an exciting pace and it is inspiring to see so many people starting to take up welding at home. As long as you follow the correct safety procedures and work on maintaining your machine, then whatever MIG welder you pick will be sure to last you for several years.
Here’s to your first few steps as a welder! Despite the hard work and learning curve, there are tons of exciting projects and opportunities that you open yourself up to once you finally get the hang of using a welder.