Activities such as woodworking or carpentry have evolved from vocational skills to become enjoyable hobbies that people do to pass the time, and the same is becoming true for welding! More and more people are picking up welding torches to make something beautiful out of metal. From artists to your regular homebody, people are finding welding to be a fun and even profitable hobby.
If you’re one such person looking to start welding but have no idea of where to begin, we’ve got your back. But before embarking on your new hobby, you must first discover the best MIG welder to suit your needs!
If you're reading this and thinking about taking up the torch, you’re probably at a loss as to which welder to purchase. We bet that you're also a little worried about messing up and blowing a hole through your garage. Don't worry, first-time jitters are common when picking up a new hobby, and we’re here to help you choose the best MIG welder for beginners.
Before we proceed with the best cheap MIG welder to buy, let's quickly explain what exactly MIG welding is.
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) is an arc welding method that combines two metals. This arc forms a continuous filler electrode between the waved surface. The method uses a shielding gas to protect the molten metal pool from reacting with atmospheric elements. The DCEP (Direct Current Electrode), also known as Reverse Polarity, is essential to MIG welding.
MIG welders are famous in the welding community for how well they can connect many types of metal for both residential and commercial applications. Whether you’re a professional or still learning the ropes, MIG welding should be a part of your skillset.
Many professional welders acknowledge that one of the best things about MIG welding is its speed. Compared to TIG and stick welding, MIG welding produces great results at a much faster rate. A bonus is that it's certainly more cost-effective than both the aforementioned options. This is the reason why MIG welding is often used for commercial purposes.
A MIG welder is also very comprehensive. When you purchase one, you will have most of the necessary welding gear in the same package. Setting up a MIG welder should take less than an hour, so you'll be welding in no time. In contrast to other welding processes, MIG welding is also easier to understand and learn.
The Best MIG Welder in 2021
Now that we've explained what MIG welding is, let's talk about the best MIG welder for beginners. Our team of expert researchers have worked with professional welders all over the nation and scoured the internet for every MIG welding machine to give you the best MIG welder for home use.
Hobart 500559 Handler 140
Since 1917, American welding giant Hobart has manufactured professional and quality machines. Frequently mentioned as the best MIG welder for beginners, the Handler 140 is an inexpensive and user-friendly unit straight out of the gate. With its build quality and decent warranty period, the hobbyist will have years of service from this machine.
When beginners think of welding, many think of giant machines, carts, and gas cylinders. But with the Hobart 500559 Handler 140, you don't have to worry about any of those things. This machine is relatively easy to carry and to use, perfect for the home welder looking to do repairs.
Quality that doesn't break the bank
The Handler 140 is a heavy-duty machine that delivers quality welding at a low price. Usually, heavy-duty machines come steep but not the Handler 140.
This machine can weld from 24-gauge to ¼ inch thick metal. You can weld almost anything with this machine: roofs, cars, metal art, steel stairs, benches, and the list goes on! This machine can handle a heavy workload without needing much maintenance or repairs.
Whether you're welding just for fun or you're thinking about running a business, the ability to bring a welding machine around is essential. Heavier equipment means less mobility, keeping you stationary at work and limiting the number of projects you can work on. The Handler 140 only weighs 57 lbs. meaning you won't have to lug around a large piece of equipment. While it’s by no means the lightest welder around, it’s still very much portable.
- Runs on a 110-volt socket, perfect for many home grids
- Provides excellent arc output which is steady and smooth
- Has industrial grade cast aluminum wire control systems and specialized features with a long-lasting wire feed performance
- Relatively light at 57 lbs.
- Convenient polarity change-over capability
- Less welding splatter when offering high-precision arc output
- Reliable wire feed-out
- Dual-processing capability, making it possible to work on a wide range of materials
- Low operator skills needed
- Fast & straightforward set-up time
- May require an additional gas cylinder for MIG welds
- Not ideal for larger jobs
The Hobart Handler 140 is a user-friendly, adjustable, and affordable welding machine perfect for those who are starting their welding journey. Although regular heavy-duty use will damage the product, Hobart’s warranty and customer service are top-notch making replacement and repairing a breeze.
Miller Electric Millermatic 211
Founded in Wisconsin, Miller has been an industry staple since 1929. Expert and amateur welders alike trust in the Miller brand. No different from the rest of their line, the Millermatic is a solid choice for a first-time welder purchase.
One of the handiest and lightest welders on our list at only 38 lbs., the Millermatic is extremely mobile. However, it is also one of the more expensive options clocking in at over $3300, so keep that in mind while you read on!
The Millermatic 211 is a very popular choice among welders, and it's not hard to see why. Portability has always been Miller Electric's bread and butter, and the Millermatic does not disappoint. With the addition of the adjustable welding settings, Miller Electric doubled down on user-friendliness with this machine.
The All-in-One Millermatic 211 is user-friendly, making it one of the best welders for beginners. If you frequently have to work remotely, this product is perfect for you, weighing only around 38 lbs. It is conveniently compact and lightweight, yet Miller didn’t skimp on its build quality either.
If you need to work remotely and there are no power outlets in the nearest area, the Millermatic 211 can be powered by a robust generator. But aside from doing remote work, this welding machine is so light you can easily use it for simple welding jobs around the house. It's why some people think the MIller Electric Millermatic 211 is the best MIG welder for home use!
A multi-voltage welder such as the Millermatic 211 can work on any DC circuit from 110V to 220V. Thanks to its wide variety of input control, it can be used with both basic power circuits and the most complicated manufacturing grounds. Whether you're a beginner hobbyist or an experienced welding specialist, this is a great tool to have in your arsenal.
- Dual input voltage at 110V/220V
- Simple to use for beginner welders
- Capable of welding thick material
- Multi-functional tool able to handle both MIG and flux-core
- Infinite Voltage Control System for manual set-up
- Beginners may not be able to utilize all the extra features
- Built-in fan is likely to become unstable over time
The Millermatic 211 is the best option for those looking for outstanding MIG welding efficiency for various welding jobs. Its design features greatly minimize configuration time, and the machine’s build is of exceptionally high quality, typical of Miller welders.
Goplus MIG 130
At just around $100, the Goplus is an amazing deal for what it's designed to do. It is unmatched as the best MIG welder for beginners, and it is also known as the best cheap MIG welder. With the Goplus MIG 13, you get precisely what you pay for, so don’t expect heavy-duty welding from this tool anytime soon, but for its price point it is an excellent choice for a welder just starting out.
If you need reliable yet light welds, the Goplus MIG 130 is a great tool for you. Its maximum output is 105 amp, rendering it unusable for fusing thick metals. However, this machine can connect steel and auto sheets well.
Perfect for beginners
The Goplus MIG 130 is perfect for the home welder doing small projects to hone their skill. It also has thermal overload protection to protect your machine from burning up. It works by having the welding machine turn itself off after a period of time has passed. This feature also prevents amateur welders from overwelding.
The welder works on a voltage of 110V/60Hz and has a maximum output of 105 amps. The voltage is appropriate for light workshops and most home ventures. When buying, keep in mind that the machine will not fuse thicker metals. If you're looking for a machine for your professional workstation, we suggest a more advanced welding unit.
Dynamic yet affordable wires
The advantage of flux-cored arc welding is that it does not depend on solid wires to function – solid wires can be challenging to find and are much more expensive. Cored wires, on the other hand, are constructed of unique alloy materials and are much more flexible.
The welder provides ten wire-feed speed stages which offers you ample room for customization. You will probably need to use higher speeds when dealing with thicker materials. Reasonable wire-feed speed and heat settings also provide you with a broader range of applications.
- Compatible electrical power input with domestic plugs
- Dual air cooling technology that lowers the instances of chemical burns
- Sturdy steel frame
- Non-conductive plastic handle
- Need a close circuit breaker to weld
The Goplus MIG 130 welder is a fantastic rig which can do most basic welding tasks. The tool is suitable for lightweight jobs, and this narrow specialization makes it ideal for beginner welders and hobbyists alike.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy
The Lincoln K2185-1 Helpful MIG is more of a convenient welder than a heavy-duty welder. It is primarily designed for small welding operations, which explains its small size and lightweight nature.
The famous Lincoln Handy MIG welder is perfect for first-time welders, as it is easy to set up, handle, and bring around. Its low amperage also decreases the chances of sustained injuries during welding procedures, as the unit cannot be used for heavy-duty welding. The Lincoln Handy MIG really shines in jobs to patch small defects in hard-to-reach areas.
The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy is mainly targeted at hobbyists or beginners who need a basic machine to start and study MIG welding with. This welder works well on light metals but is not ideal for thicker or heavy-duty jobs, with a full capacity of 88A. It has four voltage levels, and it also comes with a map to help you change settings for different thicknesses.
The Lincoln Handy MIG welder comes with features to keep the welder as cool as possible for reduced chances of overheating and damage. It comes with a built-in cooling fan and a cold contractor that enhances its cooling mechanisms by keeping the wire cold.
Making sure welding machines don't overheat is the primary concern for most welding manufacturers. Overheating happens when your device is being used for long periods of time; the more efficient a machine's cooling system is, the longer you can use it. However, because the manufacturer chose safety over extreme welding ability, the Lincoln Handy MIG is not suited for large-scale welding jobs.
Because this welder operates at a much lower amperage, the costs are lower when using this machine. However, don't let its low amperage fool you. This welding machine can still deliver high-quality results and is considered one of the best cheap MIG welders in the market.
In the unlikely event that the welding machine suffers from damage, customers are eligible for a full one-year warranty and replacement. But this should not be a point of concern as Lincoln is a well-respected company with great service.
- Easy to use and set up
- Compact and portable
- Low skill level required
- One year warranty on maintenance and repairs
- Home-use only
- Welds only low-carbon steel up to 1/8"
- Low duty cycle
Besides the Miller Electric Millermatic 211, many consider this Lincoln as the best MIG welder for home use. The Lincoln Electric MIG welder is a welder built for comfort rather than power. Though it provides enough strength to cut thinner material, it won’t support you with serious, heavy-duty work. As long as you’re mindful of this welder's capabilities, it can deliver excellent work.
Hobart Handler 210 MVP
The Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG follows up on Hobart's legendary status as a world-class welding manufacturer. This welder runs an incredible 210A of capacity considering its reasonably limited size. Its strength makes this product one of the best MIG welders for home use out in the market. However, with a weight of 79 lbs., you're going to need a wheeled cart to bring this welder around.
All in all, this welding machine is one of the best MIG welders in the market. It operates with both the standard 120V home outlet and 220V outlets. It also comes with connectors to suit all types of outlets.
The 210 MVP MIG is an extremely flexible welder that ensures a clean, high-quality weld. This Hobart Handler welder comes with seven voltage settings, making this a sought-after model by even professionals. The seven voltage settings allow precision welding for neater welds.
You can tweak the settings to suit your needs. It can do everything from delicate jobs like metal art to more heavy-duty jobs like basic construction projects. While most of the welders on this list focus on home use, the Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG can do all that and more.
Although this model weighs roughly 79 lbs., it’s body is compact measuring at 19 1/2 x 10 5/8 x 12 3/8 inches. If you’re still concerned about its weight, we suggest getting a cart for this welder to increase its mobility.
- Adaptable and flexible – Runs on 120V/220V
- Small dimensions
- Maximum of 210A
- Seven voltage configuration
- Quick to use
- Extra security features
- Detailed manual
- Weighs 79 lbs.
- Cables are on the shorter side
- Only 30% duty cycle at 150A
In short, the Hobart Handler 210 MVP lives up to the company’s reputation. With its flexibility, responsiveness, cost, and reliability, it's a great welder to invest in, with the only real drawbacks being its weight and short service time.
LOTOS MIG175 175AMP
LOTOS Technology is a company that has only been around since 2007. Nevertheless, the LOTOS MIG is impactful enough to be a part of our list. The LOTOS MIG175 175AMP is a flexible machine that costs a reasonable $400, give or take. The device can be set up in a matter of minutes, provided that you have the requisite 240V outlet.
The LOTOS MIG175 175AMP comes with everything one would want for welding. It has an argon protection mechanism and a roll-feeding power of 175 watts to be sustained at the required arc.
The LOTOS MIG175 175AMP is ideal for significant industrial projects because of its high service cycle. Steel, stainless steel, and aluminum can be welded with this machine due to its central flow alternative and gas regulator.
Time and space saver
The included spool gun saves you time and effort when you solder. This machine can create a decent weld very quickly. The machine can also be moved around, although with a weight of 85 lbs. it’s definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum.
- Two-step trigger lets you release gas before using the arc to get the weld
- Timed for 3 second bursts
- Great for aluminum welding
- Adjustable wire speed
- Not recommended for commercial use and high production
The LOTOS MIG175 175AMP is the perfect option for both a novice and veteran welder. It also comes with all the stuff one needs to begin a welding project. For this price, finding a welder with an included spool gun is a steal!
Forney 309 140
If you want to produce high-quality welds at home, the Forney 309 140 is the welder for you. This machine was recently revamped, with Forney updating several features to respond to the previous model's input. The changes include incorporated legs that hold the welder off the floor and make it more secure, a torch that has been pre-installed with pressure relief, and a torch wrap so that it can be more coordinated.
The Forney 309 MIG welding machine is the best option for fields, automobiles, and small repair shops. These typically require tools needing 115V of input power if you're looking to weld a wide variety of metals as well as various thicknesses. If you're one who's into souped-up cars, then this might be the best MIG welder for home use that can fit your garage as well!
The Forney 309 is easy to use and effective, but lacks many additional features. The range of this welder is crazy. It can weld 1/16 to ¼ of an inch of mild steel, stainless steel, and even cast iron, making this one of the most versatile welders on this list. From simple home repairs to farm maintenance and even as far as commercial use, the Forney can weld many metals for you.
Forney has made this welder a powerful piece of equipment by creating a premium wire feeder made out of cast aluminum. Both components are replaceable and are capable of feeding wire in sizes 0.23, 0.30, and 0.35 inches very quickly with a new dual-geared drive roller and an upgraded de-spooler. This welder also incorporates European designs and uses a detachable welding gun to remove for easier liner replacement.
- Compact and lightweight
- Multi-step transformer
- Amazing compatibility
- Good build quality
- Not advisable for constant heavy-duty welding jobs
- Some settings are not appropriate for certain welding jobs
If you're looking for an affordable yet sophisticated welder, the Forney 309 might be it for you. Although it's not as powerful as many welders, Forney assures that it can make quick work of quarter-inch-thick steel. That being said, the welder is not for finer welding and not for significant work, so keep that in mind before biting the bullet on this one.
LONGEVITY Migweld 140
LONGEVITY Inc. is a corporation that has been around since 2001. Although they haven’t been around for too long (and their machines are made in China), their builds can compete with the more well-known brands in the market.
Aside from the gas cylinder, this welder has all you need to start welding immediately. With everything included, along with the welder’s reliable performance, this machine is priced reasonably at less than $400.
The LONGEVITY Migweld 140 is one of the highest performing welders on the market and is significantly cheaper than welders from major brands. It's ideal for an entry-level hobby welder who doesn't want to spend too much money but wants a comfortable, reliable machine to do light work around the workshop.
The MIG welder is compact and lightweight. The scale of this device is 16" X 14.5" X 9.6" and it weighs 54 lbs. There is a handle at the back of the engine, and two knobs in front used to control the system's functionality. This device uses a wire feed mechanism--that is, there's a drive made out of metal, and there's a belt attached to it so that the belt can spin.
There's a trigger, though one can use a spool gun as an alternative. The lead it uses is 10 ft. long, and there is also a power cord that is on the longer side. Included is a pressure gauge and a flow gauge that precisely measures your usage, while its rheostat can manage the heat.
This welder can operate well with a 110V power outlet and uses a 36A current. The device needs to be assembled and wired-in before it can be used. The instruction booklet contains all the support required to operate the machine, and it comes with all the attachments for the immediate use of the unit after setup.
- Smooth set up
- Safe from thermal overloads
- Cutting-edge design and technology
- The feed mechanism could use some improvements
- Gauges may stop working at random
- Sourcing replacement parts can be complicated, if not impossible
The LONGEVITY 140 is designed for amateur welders working on a tight budget or beginner welders looking to purchase a welding machine without spending a ton of money. With that being said, this unit is extremely efficient and was built with quality in mind. Nothing about this machine feels poorly made, and if you're looking for a great welder at a low price point then this machine should be at the top of your list.
Founded in the early 2000s, this California company is fairly new to the welding industry with only a decade and a half of experience under their belt. Despite being a new name, Everlast has created one of the most lightweight and powerful welders in the market.
This machine boasts of one of the best duty cycles on this list. Like all the welders here, this is ideal for beginners looking to get their feet wet in the welding game. With its multiple voltages and wire speed settings, it’s a breeze to find a comfortable setting to start with before slowly ramping up to higher settings.
If you've already dabbled in welding, you know that it's not easy. The tempo is quick, and there are many things to consider. You're going to need a high-power machine that doesn't discriminate against metal or job style. The machine you pick needs to be advanced, cost-efficient, yet lightweight enough to bring around.
There are simple controls that are easy to use. However, there is no map for you to pick your configurations conveniently, so it would help if you have previous experience in setting up a welder. The Everlast 140 is not built with a flux-cored feature. If you need to use a flux-core welder, we recommend checking out other machines or getting a separate drive roller.
This is better suited to home welders and garages for soft steel or stainless steel welding. You can use it to weld aluminum by purchasing a spool pistol. The machine is lightweight, but it can still pump a reasonable amount of power and is comfortable welding from 24 gauge to 3/16. We’ve used this to solder 1/4 in. with good performance.
One of our favorite characteristics of the Everlast 140 is how lightweight it is. It has inverter-based architecture, so it uses a much smaller transformer to reduce power and weight to just 28 lbs. This low weight, plus the added handle, makes it very easy to take anywhere.
- An IGBT Inverter configuration
- Works with heavier metals
- Compatible with optional spool pistol
- Variable output voltage
- Wire-speed to set the welding output
- You'll need to buy a different drive roll to operate the flux-core welding cable
- No welding parameter reference board
We recommend the Everlast MIG 140e for home maintenance and casual welding. The Everlast MIG 140e MIG welder achieves a higher weld performance with less power draw than many of its competitors. It's weight also makes it a fantastic choice for a welder with a range of jobs to do.
Hobart 500536 Ironman
The Hobart Ironman 230 MIG welder is a beast: this heavy-duty machine is both a MIG welder and a shielded flux-cored welding machine. With a whopping 250A limit, the Ironman 230 is robust enough to withstand anything you throw at it. No matter what your needs are, be confident that this unit can handle them.
If you need a machine with the best performance possible and that can be used as either a MIG or a flux-cored welder, the Ironman 230 is ideal. Easy-to-use features such as reversible drive rollers and unlimited wire speed were added to make welding as quick and as painless as possible.
Although the Hobart Ironman 230 MIG welder is versatile enough to be used by consumers of all skill levels, it provides professional performance on all tasks. All the components inside the package are made of high-quality parts that will withstand years of extensive use.
Hobart has a reputation for building user-friendly welding machines that anyone can use, and the Ironman 230 is no exception. Included is a guide that details the things you might need while welding, which is comprehensive and illustrated enough to make it easier for beginners to understand.
- A hinged door for easy access to the wire-drive mechanism
- True high-duty MIG welder
- Weld washing is non-existent
- Spatter-less welding
- Solid and smooth process
- The included rack accommodates hoses and wires
- Many customizations and quick modifications
- You may have to buy your own spool gun
- The MIG pistol seems to be of poorer quality than the rest of the welder
- Quick control and land cable
This welding machine was made with professional welders in mind. This welder will be your best bet if you're looking to tackle heavy-duty projects, yet you aren’t ready for more sophisticated welding machines. The variety of projects you can handle with this machine makes it a favorite for welding hobbyists. Still, it is highly recommended that you pick up an extra spool gun which will set you back an additional $200.
Final Thoughts for the Best MIG Welder
Welding is an art and craft that has become more accessible over the years. With the best MIG welders becoming more and more affordable, novice welders have more opportunity for growth. MIG welding is an excellent place to start your welding journey, but welding is a skill that needs consistent practice and education to improve.
Remember that MIG welding isn’t suited for all projects. As we described above, there is only so much difference in thickness that MIG welders can accommodate. Learning stick and TIG welding can prove valuable during certain jobs that MIG welders can't handle.
This article gives an overview of the best MIG welders in the current market, but there are many more brands and models out there waiting to be discovered. You can't go wrong with asking for further advice and doing your own research before taking the plunge. Happy welding!