10 Best MIG Welders for the Money 2021 – Reviews & Guide

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Last Updated on March 26, 2021

Welding Helmet
Frank Wilson

Frank Wilson

Senior Editor

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), the most popular welding method at hand. Its subtype—Metal inert Gas Welding (MIG) is the most well-known. That’s because MIG welding is quite easy to learn and needs almost no cleanup; it also allows for a higher-rate of productivity. Of course, that’s only if you have the right welder.

After meticulously reviewing the most popular MIG welders available, we found that the Hobart Handler 190 is the best MIG welder for general use. It is, however, the most expensive, and you probably need to pay that much if you’re just starting out or using a welder for projects at home only. That’s why we’ve included a number of different welders on this list. With these ten to choose from, you should have no problem finding the one that’s right for you.

In a Rush? Here is Our Top Choice

Hobart Handler 190

  • Ease of use, power, and portability
  • Tackle every type of welding job
  • Selector switch for spool gun
  • Built-in gas valve
  • Well-built and of great quality
Hobart Handler 190

How to Choose Which MIG Welder To Buy?

The best MIG welder is one that you can use on any job site that has everything you need. With our buying guide, you can check out the top features that you should consider before getting one of these welders.

Voltage

One of the first things to look at is the amount of voltage that the welder needs. You can then compare this to the voltage you have at home or work. Most MIG welders require 110 or 220 volts.

The voltage that it needs can give you an idea of the type of steel it will weld. Those with a 110V capacity typically only work on steel up to 3/16-inches. If you choose a 220V machine, you can weld steel up to 1/2-inch thick.

Spool Gun

You may want to consider MIG welders that come with a spool gun. This gun connects to the handle on the torch and lets you control how quickly the metal moves. Spool guns are especially helpful when working with aluminum.

Even if you buy a machine that lacks a spool gun, you may find that it is compatible with guns from the manufacturer. You can purchase a separate spool gun and use it on certain applications.

Safety Features

Make sure that the MIG welder you choose comes with some basic safety features such as overload protection, which ensures that you do not overload the system. Many welders have overheating protection too that keeps the motor from running so fast or hot that it burns out.

With thermal overload protection, you get more use out of your MIG welder. If you opt for a model without this feature, any overload to the system can turn the machine into a nonfunctional unit.

Weight

The weight of the welder is important for anyone who doesn't work in a dedicated garage or area. Carrying a welder that weighs 50 to 100 pounds or more can put stress on your body and limit where you can work. Some of the top portable models weigh only 20 pounds or less.

With the portable models, you'll also want to look for features such as a handle or case. The handle makes it easy to carry the machine from your car to the job site. A heavy-duty case ensures that it can stand up to your work.

Speed and Temperature Settings

We highly recommend narrowing down your search for a top MIG welder to those that come with adjustable temperature and speed settings. The speed adjustment settings let you go at your own pace and use a speed that works for the job at hand.

If you want to adjust the heat or temperature of the machine, you need to make sure it has an adjustable temperature range too. This typically looks like a small knob on the front that you can twist to change the heat that it produces. It's helpful to look for MIG welders that have air vents to prevent overheating and durable knobs that won't break too.

Our Favorite MIG Welder

10 Best MIG Welders - Reviews

Hobart Handler 190

1. Hobart Handler 190 MIG Welder - Top Pick

30% @ 130A

Duty Cycle

220/230/240V

Input Voltage

25A - 190A

Amperage Range

68 lbs

Net Weight

40 IPM - 740 IPM

Wire Feeder Speed

5 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • 7 voltage settings selections.
  • Integrated spool-gun control circuitry is standard.
  • Industrial cast aluminum wire drive system.
  • Self-resetting thermal overload protection
  • Built-in contactor.
  • Door chart with initial settings.

What We Think:

Nothing defeats the Hobart 500554 Handler 190 Wire Feed Welder when it comes to easy to use, portability and power. Its stylish compactness is perfect for use by professionals as well as hobbyists. In fact, the brand name itself is synonymous with high quality and style when it comes to welding.

You can surely tackle every type of welding job with the use of this powerhouse machine. You can use it for your exhaust systems, auto body panels, mower decks, tool carts, trailer frames and hitches, bow racks, metal sculpture, fences, farm equipment, and other DIY projects. It is also designed to weld flux core steel, mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.

The Hobart 500554 Handler 190 can weld 24-gauge up to 5/16" steel in a single pass, and it operates at 230V power and is also operable at 115V by simply changing its plug. It is very easy to set up and quick to adjust for various thicknesses, materials, and wires.

Well-built and of great quality, this machine is fine tuned for excellent welding. It is spool-gun ready for welding aluminum, so it eliminates any feeding problem that comes with aluminum wire welding. It also has a selector switch for spool-gun or MIG gun operation. Moreover, it only takes a few minutes to set up the Hobart 190, and with its easy-to-follow manual, you can quickly and properly set it up.

The Handler 190 comes with a built in gas valve, 10-ft work cable and clamp, dual gauge and gas hose, and MIG gun. It also comes with an 8 inch spool adapter, .030 contact tips, a spool of 0.030 flux core wire, and a manual and set-up guide. It is equipped with short circuit protection, self-resetting thermal overload protection, and self-resetting motor protection.

You can virtually do any type of welding with the Hobart 500554 Handler 190, making it our first choice when it comes to MIG welding.

Goplus MIG 130

2. Goplus MIG130 Welder - Best Value

15% @ 105A

Duty Cycle

110V

Input Voltage

50A - 120A

Amperage Range

35 lbs

Net Weight

1-phase

Input Phase

6 month

Warranty

Pros

  • Low price
  • Smart and compact design
  • Adjustable speed control settings

What We Think:

Our choice for the best value MIG welder is the MIG 130 from Goplus, which has a stainless steel body and can help you with both MIG and flux core welding. With the adjustable speed and temperature settings, you can easily pick the best settings based on your materials. You can choose from four speed and heat settings.

Located on the side of the welder are two air vents that allow cool air to get inside and around the motor to prevent high temperatures and overheating. Thanks to the automatic thermal protection, you don't need to worry about your safety.

The MIG 130 is a solid choice for budget shoppers because it comes with several tools such as a welding mask that you can wear to protect your face and welding wire for different applications.

Millermatic 141

3. Millermatic 141 MIG Welder - Professional Choice

20% @ 90A

Duty Cycle

110/115/120V

Input Voltage

30-140A

Amperage Range

51 lbs

Net Weight

15 IPM - 360 IPM

Wire Feed Speed

3 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Auto Spool Gun Detect.
  • Quick Select drive roll.
  • Thermal Overload & 'Tip Saver' Short Circuit Protection.
  • Manual Mode.
  • Smooth-Start™ - It provides a smooth, spatter-free start.

What We Think:

Although the design of the “Millermatic” has always been minimalistic, it doesn't mean that it is less reliable. The brand name itself speaks voluminously of the quality and reliability of this model.

It packs a lot of power and is definitely a very useful tool to have. Moreover, it is very easy to operate and maneuver even for those who are just beginning to learn how to mig weld.

The Millermatic 141 comes with an auto-set feature that automatically sets the machine to its right parameters. When in manual mode, it affords fast flexibility when welding. It has a solid all-aluminum drive system with a robust wire drive with quick select. Its quick select drive roll makes it easy to set it up with its three grooves offering.

Its auto-set mode likewise offers a quick set up advantage, plus less spattering. It also helps safeguard your unit against any short circuit.

This unit can handle materials with a thickness of up 3/16" with its 140 A maximum power output. So, if you are looking for a sleek design, packed with awesome power, you should look into the Millermatic welder.

Hobart 500559 Handler 140

4. Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder - Beginners Choice

20% @ 90A

Duty Cycle

110/115/120V

Input Voltage

25A - 140A

Amperage Range

57 lbs

Net Weight

40 IPM - 700 IPM

Wire Feed Speed

5 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Excellent arc performance.
  • Convenient polarity changeover.
  • Five-position voltage control.
  • Self-resetting thermal overload.
  • Quick Select drive roll.

What We Think:

Just like the Hobart 500554 Handler 190, the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 is designed for quality and durability. It is a top pick for its ease of use, power, and portability. It is also very compact and stylish and can be easily used by both professionals and hobbyists.

With this powerhouse machine, you can surely tackle every type of welding job. It is also designed to weld aluminum, mild steel, flux core steel, and stainless steel.

The Hobart 140 is capable of welding 24-gauge up to ¼” mild steel and is recommended for MIG welding iron, copper, brass, magnesium, titanium, alloys, flux core aluminum, cast iron, copper, titanium, magnesium.

It operates using 115V standard household current with an amperage output of 25-140. It also operates via the 5-position voltage settings selector and creates a very stable arc for all welding thicknesses.

It’s extremely versatile to use and is perfect for welders who work on household repairs, auto body, farm projects, or any yard project. Its spool of wire acts as the filler material. This type of feed head offers a quick-release roll level that enables you to have perfect control over the weld. Moreover, it doesn't create slags.

As a veritable master tool, the Hobart 140 MIG welder is our top choice for beginners.

Visit this link for full review of Hobart 500559 Handler 140.

LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K2697-1

5. Lincoln Electric K2697-1 Easy MIG Welder - Top Choice for Home Use

20% @ 70A

Duty Cycle

115/160V

Input Voltage

30A - 140A

Amperage Range

71 lbs

Net Weight

50 IPM - 500 IPM

Wire Feed Speed

3 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Diamond Core Technology.
  • Industrial Cast Aluminum Drive.
  • Spool Gun Ready.
  • Toughest PC Board Protection in the Industry.

What We Think:

When it comes to easy usage and portability, the Lincoln Electric Handheld is definitely one of your best MIG welders, especially, if you are a beginning welder. Professionals also find its performance on par with the other primary MIG welder brands.

As a go-to option for tyros and amateurs, the Lincoln’s Power 189C provides a hassle-free and easy to handle machine with a 30% duty cycle. It also allows you to uniformly run the beads on any type of specimen.

Using this machine, you can readily set up for gas-free flux cored welding or gas-shielded MIG welding for steel and aluminum, or stainless steel. It offers a 50-500 IPM wire feed speed control. This Lincoln Electric welding unit also comes with a fully adjustable drive system that lessens wire crushing and tangles.

A brass-to-brass gun connection that allows for enhanced conductivity. With its cast-aluminum body and rigid drive, you can easily align the wires.

The Lincoln Electric K2698-1 is very portable at 2 pounds net weight. It is also designed for handling heavy-duty commercial welding jobs. It can provide a maximum output of 180 amps and can be conveniently plugged into a 230V household outlets.

This MIG model is ideal for use in fabrication and automobile welding, as well as home projects. While perfectly good for professional work, it’s also the top choice for Home Use.

LOTOS MIG175

6. LOTOS MIG175 Welder

30% @ 135A

Duty Cycle

220/240V

Input Voltage

30A - 175A

Amperage Range

85 lbs

Net Weight

50 IPM - 400 IPM

Wire Feed Speed

1 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Durable, heavy-duty welder.
  • Two step trigger.
  • Automatic dual frequency @50/60Hz.
  • Spool Gun Ready.

What We Think:

If you're looking for a versatile welding machine, the Lotos MIG175 175amp  should be your choice. It is characterized by a durable and solid case with advanced transformer technology and awesome wire-feed motor function. It is operable at 200V to 240V and has an automatic dual frequency.

It’s suitable for welding mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and other types of metals. Lotos MIG 175 MIG welding machine is easy to work with and can be set up within ten minutes. In fact, we would quickly agree with those who say that this is one of the easiest MIG welders to assemble.

This MIG welder is capable of aluminum welding with a spool gun, and its transformer technology has been proven to be very reliable and durable. It can handle industrial standard 4" or 5" wire spools. Incorporated within the system is a resettable overload protection system to make the unit last longer.

The MIG175 175amp welding unit thrives in welding stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum plates with its power efficiency of 80%. Its performance is very stable, and its safety gauge is commendable.

If you’re looking for versatility and reliability, the Lotos MIG 175 should be in your top choices. It’s our pick for the top choice for aluminum.

Forney Easy Weld 261

7. Forney Easy Weld 261 MIG Welder

30% @ 90A

Duty Cycle

120V

Input Voltage

25A - 125A

Amperage Range

19 lbs

Net Weight

50 IPM - 180 IPM

Wire Feed Speed

1 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Easy to use for entry level.
  • Portable and lightweight.
  • Suitable for MIG and flux core welding.

What We Think:

If you want a MIG welder that is suitable for beginners and both flux core and MIG applications, look to the Easy Weld 261 from Forney, which is easy to use. It has a portable design and weighs less than 20 pounds to help you work on any job site. All the included tools connect to the front and won't get in your way when you use the built-in carrying handle.

With both an 8 inch MIG welding gun and an eight-inch ground clamp, you can easily connect the welder to your gas and get the stability that you need. It comes with a torch wrap and can create welds of up to 1/4-inch thick. The Forney Easy Weld 261 works with the nozzles, clips and other accessories from Forney too.

8. Everlast PowerMIG 140E Welder

20% @ 90A

Duty Cycle

120V

Input Voltage

25A - 140A

Amperage Range

25 lbs

Net Weight

50 IPM - 400 IPM

Wire Feed Speed

3 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Standard drive rolls.
  • Durable IGBT components.
  • Inverter based design lowers weight and power consumption.

What We Think:

The Everlast Power 140e is a uniquely-designed welder. It comes with an IGBT inverter design that sends high ampere output as compared to other transformer-based models. It also has good duty cycle.

This welder enables you to have a step-less control of both the voltage and wire speed. In a way, this welding machine is a two-in-one machine that allows you to readily shift from Stick welding mode to MIG welding mode.

You'll quickly notice that this model is equipped with many more than other welder options you’ll find in this price range. It has an adjustable burn back control that immediately sets the length of wire at every start. It also comes with standard drive rolls that can feed .023" to .030" wire diameter.

It is also designed to be used with both 4" and the 8" wire spools. We can confidently say that this one is a real powerhouse. Other welding machines feature a 140 amp MIG welder with 20% duty cycle and 90 amps. Everlast Power MIG, on the other hand, comes with a 25% duty cycle and a rated maximum output of 140 amps.

Moreover, it is lighter than similar models from other brands. Of course, one of its best features is that it’s very affordable.

Hobart 500536 Ironman 230

9. Hobart Ironman 230 MIG Welder

60% @ 175A

Duty Cycle

230V

Input Voltage

30A - 250A

Amperage Range

185 lbs

Net Weight

1-Phase

Input Phase

3 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Smooth arc.
  • Maximum weld gauge of 24.
  • Heavy-duty design with various power outputs

What We Think:

The high price tag on the Ironman 230 from Hobart lets you know that this is a serious welding machine that can handle all of your daily jobs. It has a large amp range of 30 to 250 and allows you to set that range to the specific level that you need. You can weld materials of 0.5-inches thick in a single pass with a 24-gauge weld.

With the smooth and continuous arc that you get, you don't need to worry about splatters across your work area or getting control of the arc. It works with the optional spool gun that Hobart makes to help you weld even faster.

With 12-tap voltage settings, you can control where the arc goes and how it works. Thanks to the heavy-duty metal cabinet, the Ironman 230 can go anywhere you go also.

10. Forney 309 MIG Welder

35% @ 90A

Duty Cycle

120V

Input Voltage

30A - 140A

Amperage Range

62 lbs

Net Weight

1-Phase

Input Phase

3 Year

Warranty

Pros

  • Improved Design.
  • Upgraded cast-aluminum wire drive system.
  • Torch with built in strain relief which extends cable life.

What We Think:

This easy-to-use and portable Forney 309 MIG 140-Amp is perfectly reliable when it comes to gas/no-gas welding. It is also a decent tool for industrial-level welding jobs. It is a highly compact and functional welder machine that is easy to handle.

Its awesome portability allows for more flexibility and increased productivity. Its key feature comes in the form of multiple voltage settings, which allows you to have perfect control over the amount of heat you’re using.

The high sparks this MIG welder produces allow you to cut through a variety of materials. Because of this, it was necessary to integrate a cooling system into the machine.

The Forney 309 MIG can weld up to a ¼ inch workpiece. It also comes with a ready regulator and gas hose. It has a higher duty cycle as compared to its predecessor, and a quick-euro style disconnected torch. It also has a longer torch/gun with common consumables.

It comes with an HD cast aluminum feed/drive system with drive rolls and geared idler, plus a cable wrap and upgraded spooler. If you are looking for a topnotch welder on the lower end, this is definitely one to consider.

Hobart Handler 190

FINAL WINNER

Hobart Handler 190

Pros

  • Ease of use, power, and portability.
  • Built-in gas valve.
  • Well-built and of great quality.

There is no doubt that our top choice among these high-quality welding machines is the Hobart 500554 Handler 190 MIG Welder. It is a cut above the rest – even over the more expensive Millermatic!

It is a powerhouse when it comes to welding and is far superior over other welding units in most parameters. It is also very easy to use and very portable. Its compactness and stylish design are bonuses appreciated by professionals as well as hobbyists.

Hobart 500554 Handler 190 MIG Welder has a built-in gas solenoid valve and dual-gauge regulator with a gas hose. It also offers easy fine control of its output parameters for more enhanced arc performance with few spatter and better bead appearance. This means you'll be free from doing much clean up afterwards.

Moreover, its safety features are remarkable, being equipped with short circuit protection, self-resetting thermal overload, and self-resetting motor protection.

Furthermore, its 5-position voltage control setting is very satisfactory and provides great flexibility for its users. You can easily shift from 240V to 115V by simply changing its plug.

Its capability to weld 24 gauge up to 5/16” in a single pass, plus its ease of setup, and versatility for use in various thickness, materials, and wires make it an excellent choice for most users. You can use it for welding virtually any material - from auto body panels to farm equipment. Without a doubt, the Hobart 500554 Handler 190 should be the primary choice of those who want an extremely versatile and durable welding machine.

Learn more about MIG welding tips and tricks here.

We also have articles on top welding helmets for MIG and top TIG welders. Check these out if you are interested.