hobart-500559-at-work

MIG Welder Reviews

MIG Welder reviews

How to pick the right Welding machine for your needs? Use this comparison table along with the expert MIG welder reviews and you’re ahead of 95% of people picking their first welder.

We’re constantly improving this document. To date, we’ve looked and compared top rated MIG Welding machines from brands like Hobart, Millermatic, Longevity, Lotos, Lincoln Electric, Hot Max Torches and Eastwood. Click on the link in the Reviews column to read Mig Welder Reviews from previous purchasers.

Latest updates:

January 3rd, 2017 – updated for 2017
November 2016 – added MIG welder reviews
August 24th, 2016 – added 110V & 220V comparison tables and Hobart Handler 140 review
August 5th, 2016 – updated for 2016
Feb 8th, 2015 – updated pricing and review counts (Mike)
Sept 3rd, 2014 – added new Millermatic model

Today, MIG is the most common industrial welding method, preferred for its versatility, speed and the relative ease of adapting the process to robotic automation.

Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding or Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is a type of welding method in which an electrical arc forms between a consumable wire electrode and the workpiece metal or metals. The metal arc heats the metals, causing them to melt and join together.

Originally developed in the forties for welding aluminum and alternative non-ferrous materials, GMAW was soon applied to steels because it provided faster welding time compared to alternative welding processes.

Best 110V MIG Welders

If you have no plans of ever getting 230V run into your garage then get one of the 110V machines, they’re cheaper and consume less power. They won’t allow you to weld as thick of a metal as the 200V ones but they are more than enough for most DIY welding jobs.

The upside of 110V machines is that they are very portable and can be run from most 110V household outlets. They usually only reach their max rated power if used on a dedicated 20 amp line, so on average they run at a reduced power level.

110V welding machines are suitable for most simple welding jobs that are needed around the house or farm and they’re a great choice as your first welding machine.

Looking for 220V welders? Scroll down for our top 220V welding machine reviews

WelderWelder ModelPriceRatingReviews
#1 Bestseller
Hobart Handler 140 Wire Welder 500559
*Welds 24 gauge to 1/4 inch mild steel
*Operates off 115 volt household current
*25 - 140 amps
$599.99 $469.994.9Read all 228 customer reviews
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder$508.16
$323.50
4.6Read all 83 reviews
LONGEVITY Migweld 140 - 140 Amp Mig Welder Capable Of Flux-Core And Aluminum Gas Shielded Welding 110v$419.99
$390.61
4.2Read all 63 reviews

Best welding machine for beginners

Hobart Handler 140

Probably the most suitable MIG welding machine for a beginner.

Of course, there is no one welding machine that is suitable for all jobs but if I was to start welding all over again and was looking for a first welding machine for myself or any beginner, I would go with the Hobart Handler 140 MIG Wire Welder.

hobart handler 140hobart-500559-at-work

 

It’s a 115V MIG welder. Welds mild steel 24 gauge to 1/4 inch. You can also weld aluminum. 

The welder comes with everything you need to start welding (flux core wire included) so just plug in, select appropriate voltage and wire feeder speed and you’re good to go. It is MIG ready as it comes, no additional equipment required.

Handler 140 is Hobart’s most popular wire feed welder, it is extremely versatile and suitable for the welder that wants to work on:

  • auto body,
  • household repairs, or
  • even some heavier farm projects that require extra welding power.

A 5-position tapped voltage control selector gives you the ability to fine-tune your arc offering a smooth stable arc on all thicknesses. Built with an industrial cast aluminum drive system and a heavy duty work clamp the Handler 140 delivers a wire welding package with industrial performance.

Most importantly Hobart is a quality welding machine that you can trust to last (designed and built in Ohio, USA).

The new model (500559) has some useful upgrades over the previous model too:

hobart-handler-140-upgrade1
Industrial cast aluminum wire drive system
hobart-handler-140-upgrade2
5 option Voltage control

Also, check out the great customer reviews it has.

As you can see Hobart Handler 140 does a great job for a 110V.

Product specs:

ProcessesMIG (GMAW), Flux Cored (FCAW)
Input115V / 60Hz / 1 phase
Current25 - 140 A
Duty Cycle90A @ 20%
Material ThicknessWelds 24 gauge up to 1/4 inch
ApplicationsMaintenance, Construction, Auto Body, Farm/Ranch, Rental, Home
Weight57 lbs (26 kg)
WarrantyHobart's 5/3/1 Industrial Warranty
AboutDesigned, assembled, serviced and supported in Troy, OH USA
Wire.023 –.035 in. (0.6 – 0.9 mm) mild steel or stainless steel, .030 –.035 in. (0.8 – 0.9 mm) flux-cored, and .030 in. (0.8 mm) aluminum

Buy Hobart Handler 140

 

Best cheap MIG welder for under $300

Want to try out welding?

Not everybody has an unlimited budget to spend on their first welder. I get it. Especially if you’re not sure if you’ll be using it often.

The one thing I suggest you is this… Stay away from the cheap no-name $100 welders that come from Asia.

For 300 bucks you can get a decent machine from a US manufacturer that is durable and doesn’t break down on the second use.

Lincoln Electric K2185-1

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder
Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder

I got one for my father for Christmas a couple of years ago. He needed one for welding sheet metal like car panel replacement. I knew that a 220-volt unit would be an overkill.

I also looked at other 110V units but they were either unknown names or cost even more than this unit. I own a few Lincoln machines myself so I put my trust in them.

What surprised me was its ability to also weld thicker material and on just 110 volts. And as expected, it works really well with 18 gauge sheet metal. One thing I missed at first was an infinite dial for power output. It comes with 4 settings and I’ve learned to pick one that will work for the job at hand.

Before getting this machine I had always thought that these cheap portable 110V machines are a joke and for people who can’t afford a real welder. Now, after using it for some time, I realize that this Lincoln machine has plenty of power to be the only welder I need for my household and hobby projects.

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 wire feed welder plugs into a 115V, 20 amp outlet.

Four voltage settings and continuous wire feed speed adjustment allow you to weld mild steel from 24 gauge to 1/8″ thick.

Lincoln Handy is a super easy welder to get started with since it comes with practically everything you need to MIG weld: gun and cable assembly, work cable and clamp, gas nozzle, gas regulator and hose, a spool of solid wire, contact tips and hand shield with filter plate and lens. Just add a cylinder of shielding gas and start welding away.

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG capabilities

This welder is for you if you don’t have more than $300 to spare but want a reliable welder from a known manufacturer to use in your household and on hobby projects. I think it’s the best cheap welder you can get.

Product specs:

ProcessesMIG (GMAW), Flux Cored (FCAW)
Input115V / 60Hz / 1 phase
Current35 - 88 A
Duty Cycle70A @ 20%
Material ThicknessWelds 24 gauge up to 1/8 inch mild steel
ApplicationsMaintenance, Construction, Auto Body, Farm/Ranch, Rental, Home
Weight46 lbs (21 kg)
WarrantyOne year warranty on parts and labor.(90 days warranty on gun and cable)
AboutHeadquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln Electric has more than 40 manufacturing locations
Wire.035 in

Currently, the best price for this unit we’ve found is on Amazon: 

Buy Lincoln Electric K2185-1

Longevity MigWeld 140

The MIGWELD 140 comes with a Tweco torch, 1 lb mild steel welding wire roll, a welding mask, chipping hammer and steel brush, gas flow regulator gauge, and a 300A grounding cable. Can be setup easily in minutes – start welding steel right away.

There’s an optional spool gun available for aluminum welding if that’s what you need.

Longevity MigWeld 140 review

Product specs:

ProcessesMIG (GMAW), Flux Cored (FCAW)
Input110V / 50/60Hz / 1 phase
Current140 A
Duty Cycle90A @ 20%
Material ThicknessWelds 24 gauge up to 1/4 in. steel
ApplicationsLight Industrial, Fabrication, Farm, Motorsports, Maintenance, Repair Shops
Weight54 lbs (unit 40 lbs)
WarrantyOne year Warranty, parts and labor.
About
Wire.025”-.030” (0.6-0.8mm) solid steel, .030”-.035” (0.8-0.9mm) Flux-Cored

Buy Longevity MigWeld 140

If you need more power from your welding machine then read on for the 220V and dual-voltage MIG welders.

Best 220V MIG Welders

These welding machines are true workhorses. They’re for you if you’re a professional or want to weld like one.

110V MIG welding machines are typically very good for sheet metal and body work, however, they don’t have the power to produce good welds on heavier steel. These welding machines max out at 1/8″ steel and that’s when using flux core wire on a welder rated at 140A. Because of the low max output, 110V machines aren’t really suitable for any work with alum. A common issue with small MIG welders is that you can make a good looking bead on a thick steel but because the machine lacks penetration, the nice looking weld has no strength.

Most of the 220V MIG welders have been designed to run a spool gun for alum, and machines 200+ amps will run 3/16″ alum and more, depending on max power output.

Smaller 220V machines usually top out at 5/16″ or 3/8″ steel with flux core wire or gas. Larger MIG welders can weld in excess of 1/2″. These machines can also be turned down and used for welding thinner metal with no problems.

The only downside is that the 220-only machines require a 220V outlet, so they’re not as portable.

However, nowadays many MIG welding machines are dual voltage capable (110V/220V) meaning they have more power and can weld thicker metals but can also be used to plug into the 110V household current when needed.

WelderWelder ModelDuty CyclePriceRatingReviews
Top Rated
Millermatic 211
40% @ 150A$1,317.00 $1,246.004.9Read all 26 customer reviews
Most Popular
Hobart Handler 500554001 190 with SpoolRunner 100
30% @ 130A$899.00 $848.994.8Read all 53 reviews
Super Heavy Duty
Hobart 500536 Ironman 230 250 Amp MIG Welder With Wheel Kit & Cylinder Rack
60% @ 175A$1,904.39
$1,539.99
4.8Read all 17 reviews
LOTOS MIG175 175A Mig Welder with FREE Spool Gun, Mask, Aluminum Welding Wires, Solid wires, Argon Regulator,...20% @ 175A$629.004.6Read all 28 reviews

#1 Millermatic 211

 

Millermatic 211 MIG welder

I would say that Millermatic 211 is the ultimate portable MIG welder. It’s super lightweight, weighing only 38 lbs and it’s a dual-voltage machine, so you can use it with both 110-120V and 220-240V input.

211 welds mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum (need a spool gun). It can weld steel up to 3/8 inch thick in a single pass.

It runs really quiet and one of the aspects that surprised me the most is how clean the welds are. There’s almost no spatter.

And it’s easy to set up, too. Very positively surprised.

Product specs:

TitleMillermatic 211
ProcessesMIG (GMAW), Flux Cored (FCAW)
Input110/115/120V
220/230/240V
Current30 - 230 A
Duty Cycle150A @ 40%
Material ThicknessWelds material from 24-gauge to 3/8 inch in a single pass
ApplicationsDIY / Home Hobbyist
Farm and Ranch
Metal Art / Sculptures
Racing / Customizing / Restoring
Weight38 lbs
WarrantyWelder is warranted for three years, parts and labor. Gun warranted for 90 days, parts and labor
WireSolid Steel 0.024 in 0.035 in
Stainless 0.024 in 0.035 in
Flux Cored 0.03 in 0.045 in
Solid Steel 0.6 mm 0.9 mm
Stainless 0.6 mm 0.9 mm
Flux Cored 0.8 mm 1.2 mm

Buy Millermatic 211

#2 Hobart Handler 190

Hobart Handler 190 MIG welder

Great low-cost option for aluminum welding.

Handler 190 comes with the spool gun circuitry already built into the kit. Plus when you buy this package, you’ll also get the spool gun (10 ft, 150 Amp), so no extras other than a cylinder of Argon gas are needed to start welding aluminum.

It can weld steel from 24 gauge up to 5/16 inch thick and aluminum 16 gauge up to 3/16 inch thick.

If you want to weld 1/2″ or thicker material you want to look at a size bigger unit, like the Hobart 230.

Product specs:

TitleHobart Handler 190
ProcessesMIG (GMAW), Flux Cored (FCAW)
Input230V
Current25 - 190 A
Duty Cycle130A @ 30%
Material ThicknessWelds 24 gauge up to 5/16 inch steel
ApplicationsMaintenance, Construction, Auto Body, Farm/Ranch, Rental, Home
Weight68 lbs (31 kg)
WarrantyHobart's 5/3/1 Industrial Warranty
WireSolid Steel 0.024 in 0.035 in
Stainless 0.024 in 0.035 in
Flux Cored 0.03 in 0.045 in
Aluminum 0.030 in 0.035 in

Buy Hobart Handler 190

#3 Hobart IronMan 230

Hobart IronMan 230 MIG welder

True heavy duty machine with a duty cycle of 60% @ 175 amps.

The arc of the new IronMan 230 is optimized to deliver a flawless weld, making spatter and post-weld cleanup almost non-existent.

Does not come with a spool gun for aluminum. If you want to weld aluminum just add the optional Hobart DP-3545-20 spool gun and you’re ready to weld aluminum from 18 gauge to 1/2 inch.

Product specs:

TitleHobart IronMan 230
MetalsSteel
Stainless Steel
Aluminum
Material ThicknessWelds 24 gauge up to 1/2 inch steel
ProcessesMIG (GMAW)
Input230V
Current30 - 250 A
Duty Cycle175A @ 60%
ApplicationsMaintenance, Construction, Auto Body, Farm/Ranch, Rental, Home
Weight185 lbs (84 kg)
WarrantyHobart's 5/3/1 Industrial Warranty

Buy Hobart IronMan 230

#4 Lotos MIG175

Lotos MIG175 MIG welder

Product specs:

TitleLotos MIG 175
MetalsSteel 18 gauge - 1/4"
Stainless Steel 18 gauge - 1/4"
Aluminum 1/8" Plate or Thicker
Material ThicknessWelds 18 gauge up to 1/4 inch steel
ProcessesMIG (GMAW), Flux Cored (FCAW)
Input200 - 240V
Current175 A
Duty Cycle175A @ 20%
135A @ 30%
ApplicationsMaintenance, Construction, Auto Body, Farm/Ranch, Rental, Home
Weight85 lbs (39 kg)
Warranty1-year warranty

Buy Lotos MIG175

Not sure if MIG welder is the right choice for you?

Check out this video that explains the differences in types of welding (MIG, TIG, STICK) and gives recommendations on which welder to go with when you’re starting out.

Mike

I'm just a good guy