MIG welding is one of the commonly used types of welding. The process of MIG welding is quite easy to learn. Even a person that has not welded before does not require days of instructions in order to learn how to “MIG weld.” In MIG welding, electricity is used in melting and joining pieces of metal materials together. The term MIG is an acronym for metal inert gas. But now the name has been changed to Gas Metal Arc Welding abbreviated as GMAW. However, this term is not yet known by many people and this is why it is not widely used. So, if you use the term GMAW for MIG, you will get many people confused.
MIG welding does not work in the same manner as stick welding in which a gas is formed when the flux on the electrode melts in order to protect the puddle from the atmosphere. Hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other which are contained in the atmosphere will make the weld defect when it is allowed to get into the weld pool. But MIG welders feature a liner through which a spool of solid-steel wire is fed from the machine and it comes from the contact tip of the MIG gun. At the pulling of the trigger, the contact tip becomes electrically charged and hot so that it will melt the wire for the weld puddle.
The first MIG welder was first introduced in the 1940s during the World War II for the purpose of quick production of equipment and weapons used during the world. Owing to the portability of MIG welder and the swiftness with which metal can be melted and joined together, this method of welding has become very popular and widely used. The process of MIG welding has not changed but MIG welders used today have been improved greatly as a result of improvement in technology. Many manufacturers of MIG have introduced a lot of features in their models. Some have multiple functionalities and can be used to do other types of weldings. But some are solely designed for MIG welding. This guide is meant to help you to choose a good MIG welder whenever you want to purchase one. The guide does not only provide tips on how to choose the best MIG welder on the market, it also examines the process of MIG and reviews some quality products. Take time to read this guide before hitting the market for the purchase of quality MIG welder.
Hobart Handler 140 Wire Welder
Hobart is one of the companies known for the production of quality product. Hobart 500559 embodies the durability, performance and quality for which the product is known for. One remarkable feature of this product which sets it apart from some of the models of this great company as well as the models of other companies is that once you get your package, you do not require any extra kit before you will be able to utilise the product. It is available in a portable design and with its portability, you will not have any problem moving it from one location to another. Its drive system is of superior quality as it consists of industrial cast aluminum drive system. The handler is designed to last for years. It is made under strict quality control in Troy, OH, USA.
The Hobart 500559 Handler has impressive versatility as it can be used in a number of environments and on different applications. You can use it for welding in auto repair industry shop. You can also use it for work around the house. Hobart 500559 Handler is strong and powerful and thus it can also handle heavier farm projects where strong welding power is required. The recommended amperage circuit is 20. It is a wire welder that delivers industrial performance. Given its performance and versatility, it is a product that can be used by professionals and beginners. Hobart 500559 Handler uses 115 old household current. Users are able to turn their arc through the 5-positioned tapped voltage control selector that it comes with. This features also ensures that you get smooth stable arc regardless of the thickness of the metal that you are handling.
Hobart 500559 Handler is created to be used for welding of different kinds of items such as autobody panels, mower decks, exhaust systems, trailer frames & hitches, law & garden equipment, farm equipment, tool carts, metal sculpture, fences, PTO attachments, gun/bow racks and other kinds of materials constructed with metals. The fact that it can be used for welding different kinds of items constructed with metals means that it can be used for work under different establishments and applications.
Hobart 500559 Handler does not require much set-up before it can be used for welding. The package includes a set-up guide and with this guide even first time welder will be able to make use of this product for welding. The package comes with 10ft. MIG gun with liner, 10ft power cord, 10ft. work cable & clamp, additional .030 contact tips, owners manual, 8 inch spool adapter, .030 flux-cored wire, set-up guide and owners manual.
Forney 299 125FC
If you are just starting to weld and you are looking for a MIG welder for beginner or that is very easy to use, Forney 299 125FC is a product that you should know of. Expert welders can also achieve impressive results with this welding machine. It is a product of a well known company, namely, Forney Industries which is a family-owned company that started operation since 1932. This product is an embodiment of excellent workmanship for which the company is known for. This welding machine comes with a number of features that make it great for beginners and that distinguish it from other welding machines. Forney 299 125FC does not require any gas set up before it can be used for welding. It is 125 amp MIG welder with stunning versatility thanks to its ability to run 10 lbs. spools. It is 125 amp unit which you can utilize to weld up to a 1/4 inch. It requires 120 voltage input to weld using only Tweco consumables.
Both 2 and 10 pounds wire spools can be used on the machine which can handle .030 wire. Forney 299 125FC is available in a lightweight design. With a product weight of 41.9 pounds, moving it from one location to another may not constitute a big problem to you. It has a product dimension of 23 x 11 x 18 inches. It is not very bulky meaning that it will not take up much space of your workspace. The product is covered with six months warranty against any defects from the manufacturer. But you will have to provide evidence of purchase before you can claim this warranty in case you have an issue with your product. Secondly, the warranty does not cover damages resulting from misuse, negligence, accident and improper use. But you don’t have to bother about the product damaging because it is constructed with metals. The metal construction means that it will last longer for you.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1
If you are looking for a portable, lightweight and compact size welder for work around the house and welding up to 1/8 inch, Lincoln Electric K2185-1 is a product that you should know. It is a versatile product which every hobbyist welder will find useful for a number of projects that require welding of light gauge mild steel. This welding machine is 35-88 20 duty cycle at 70 amps machine which works on any 115V, 20 Amp cold. Lincoln Electric k2185-1 comes with a number of features which explains why it is very popular among welders especially do-it-yourself welding hobbyist. First, the designers of this product takes the safety of the users into consideration. The welding wire remains electrically cold when you are welding with it or when the gun trigger is not pressed. This is possible thanks to the Cold contractor feature that it comes with.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 can be used for MIG and flux cored welding thanks to its adjustable wire speed control. However, the shielding gas required for MIG welding is sold differently. The user-friendly welder works on 115V, 20 Amp outlet. With the unit, you will be able to weld mild steel of thickness of between 24 gauge to 1/8 inch thanks to its continuous wire feed speed adjustment. It comes with four voltage settings making it a versatile product. Once you get your package, you only require to purchase a cylinder shielding gas because the product comes with everything that you need for welding. The package contains the work cable and clamp, gun and cable assembly, gas regulator and hose, gas nozzle, contact tips, spool of solid wire, lens and hand shield with filter plate, contact tips, flux-cored wire, flux-cored wire, a spool of self-shielded, contact tips and chipping hammer/brush which makes it possible for the welder to function gasless.
The unit has a product dimension of 18 x 16.8 x 10.3 inches with a product weight of 49 pounds. It is a corded welder of 76 volts which comes with a one year warranty on workmanship and materials. Though the product has been discontinued by the manufacturers, the already released ones are still available on the market.
Lotos MIG140 MIG Wire & Flux Core Welder
Lotos Technology is one of the well-known brand today as far as welders are concerned. Lotos MIG140 which uses ac/dc power sources and works on 110.00 Volts is one of the products of this brand that have become very popular among consumers. It should make the list of the welders that you should consider purchasing when it is time for you to purchase a welder which you can use for work around the house and in your workshop. It is packed with features. First, it is constructed with strong plastic and metal materials. With these strong materials used in making it, the unit will be able to withstand the impact of everyday usage. It is designed to operate on any existing 110/120V Wall Outlet.
It is a versatile welding machine as it can be used to melt and join a number of metal materials of varied thickness. It can be used to weld up 1/4 mild steel and stainless steel of 24 gauge. It can also be used to weld other metal materials including aluminum. Its ability to weld different kinds of metal materials makes it a good welder for work around the house and other workspaces such as auto repair workshop. Its wire range for flux cored is 030 inch – .035 (0.80.9mm) while that of solid steel is .025 inch to .030 inches. If you want to get enhanced features, then you should go for the 2017 upgraded version which feature 2T/4T Switch and 2 digital displayers from where users are able to adjust the wire feeder speed as well as the voltage for wedding. The upgraded version also delivers superior user experience.
Lotos MIG140 MIG Wire Welder weighs 54 pounds and it has a product dimension of 16 x 14.5 x 9.6 inches. This dimension and size can easily be managed without requiring much help. You can easily move it from one job site to another. If you want to purchase this product, you should not have any double mind regarding its functionality because it comes with 30-day money back guarantee if you are not 100 percent satisfied. It also comes with a one year limited warranty. The package comes with a gas hose, ground clamp cable, MIG torch, argon regulator, welding mask, wire and contact tips.
LONGEVITY Migweld 140
Does your work requires you to weld on aluminum? If the answer to the above question is yes, Longevity Migweld is a product that you should know. It is a versatile product and this means that it can be used to weld other types of exotic metals. So, you can use it to do various projects and in different workshops. The product is designed to hold about 11 lbs. spool. Whether you use gas or not, this welding machine will deliver impressive welding result for you regardless of the material you are welding. You can utilize flux-core gasless for welding or use gas to operate the unit. Migweld 140 is of moderate dimension and weight and yet it boasts of high industrial performance. Given its industrial performance and superior functionality as well as its amazing features, it can be used by both first time welders and professional welders. It is a product that you can use for work around the house as well as for welding in a professional setting such as auto repair shop, construction sites and others.
Migweld 74136025308 is a corded welder designed to work on a 110v standard outlet power. It has a product dimension of 16 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches and a product weight of 54 pounds. The weight and size will not constitute much burden to users. You can easily move it from one work site to another or change its position when you are working with it. Given its size, storage will not constitute much problem to you. It is also suitable for work in an environment with small workspace. Given its ease-of-use, superior performance and features, it can be used by both professionals and beginners. It does not require any battery and no battery is included in the package.
Everlast PowerMIG 140E
If you are on a budget and you are looking for an affordable welder that delivers superior quality, Everlast PowerMIG 140E is a product that you should know. Everlast Power-MIG is not found wanting in any aspect even though it is an economy welder. It is available in IGBT inverter design which delivers better performance in terms of duty cycle and Amperage output than welders in transformer based MIG design. It has a maximum amperage power of 40 at 35% duty cycle. It functions very efficiently at a lower amp draw while doing this. Everlast Poweri-MIG delivers a smaller foot print even though it has lighter weight design. But these does not result in the reduction of the 8 inches maximum diameter wire roll of this product which is designed to work on 120 volts. Given its compact design and lightweight, you will be able to pick and take this product to any location you want without causing any strain or dislocation of muscles to you. With a product weight of 20 pounds and product dimensions of 17 x 8 x 14 inches, it is a suitable option for welding in a location where there is little or no space.
If you are buying this product, you should not be afraid of anything because you are covered by a 5 year warranty on parts and labour. This means that if any part of the machine becomes faulty or it starts to malfunction, there is no cause for alarm. With the guaranty, the cost of the repair will be taken care of and the cost of changing the parts will be taken care of by the company. Having a five year product warranty shows that the product is highly reliable. This welding machine comes with steeples control for the voltage and wire speed. With this feature, no tapped settings are required. It has a standard drive rolls which is able to feed wire diameter of between .023 inch to .030 inch. Considering its price and high welding result that it delivers, it is a good value for money.
Tips for choosing the best MIG welder
As it has been pointed out elsewhere in this guide, MIG welders are today made by a number of equipment producers and each of these producers have introduced different models of their products. The available MIG welding machines do not have the same features, performance capability, functionality and specifications. With the availability of plenty of MIG welding machines in the market, first time buyers or amateurs will definitely become confused when it comes to making a choice. The tips given here will help to make an informed decisions.
Knowing your needs
MIG welders are available in different specifications and features to meet different welding needs. Before you choose a product, you should understand the welding needs it is meant to serve. For example, some machines are simply made to be used for industrial purposes while some are meant to be used at home. There are some that are meant to be used in a unique work environment such as garage. You may want a versatile type that can do all job but yet one with too much power will not serve you better given the environments under which you may be working with. So, it is important that you first of all understand your welding needs or the purpose that you will like to achieve with the welder. Knowing this will help you to make an informed decision as you will not want to purchase a product with features that are redundant or more power than you actually require.
Another important factor that you should take into consideration when shopping MIG welder is the versatility of the machine that you want to purchase. There are some products that can use flux core wires which means that shielding gas is not required. But you will find other MIG welders that do not support flux core functions but requires shielding gas. A third type of MIG machine support MIG/flux cored functionalities. Some products are also designed to be used for welding under different environments and for different kinds of welding functions such as general home repair, maintenance, auto body, ranch applications, repair and others. It is advisable that you purchase a machine that is versatile so that you will not be limited or so that you will be able to do different types of welding with it. When you are purchasing a MIG welder, there are certain features to look out for as they increase the versatility of a machine. These features include standardized built-in solid contractor circuits, thermal overload protection and auto-set system.
Consider your basic primary power requirements
It is also important that you purchase a unit that satisfies your power requirements which depend on the type of project that you are doing. If you are looking for a MIG welder for work around the house or for small projects, then you should go for one that operates at 115V. With such a power, you will be able to weld thin metals which are normally required in most works around the house. But if you are welding on thick metals, you should consider using a product that has got higher power. If you are going to work on different metals of different thickness, then you have to go for a product that has dual voltages or one that functions on 120V or 230V.
Thermal Overload Protection and the Duty Cycle
There are some MIG welders on the market that overheat after a short period of work. With such a product you will only achieve a little at a time as you have to wait for the machine to cool down. So, to avoid such a problem, always look for a product that comes with thermal overload protection anytime you want to purchase a MIG welder. With the thermal overload protection, you are covered against such occurrence.
Go for one that comes with shielding gas regulator features
Normally, MIG welder requires the shielding gas as it helps to displace the wind. However, you need to purchase as soon as it finishes and this can attract more cost. You can avoid spending much on that by purchasing a type that comes with a shielding gas regulator. Besides helping you to cut cost, it will also help you to save time.
Consider the reliability and reputation of the brand that you will like to purchase their product
MIG welders are available on the market with different brands names and these brands differ in their popularity and reliability. It is always advisable to purchase a MIG welder from a reliable brand known for quality products and excellent workmanship. In this way, you will have a rest of mind that you have purchased a solid machine.
Other factors that you should take into consideration are as follows:
- Portability, size and weight of the product that you want to purchase
- Ease of maintenance and repair
- The welding results
Precautions to take when using a MIG welder
MIG welder is widely used today to weld different metals under various environments and settings. With improvement in technology, many safety features have been added to the various MIG products that are available today. However, you still need to apply some cautions when using a MIG welder. First, you should be mindful of the environment where to use the MIG welder. It is more secure and safer to use it in the open workspace. The shielding gas is used to displace the wind but based on the experience of most welders, the wind can displace the shielding gas making welding in the field to be difficult. If you are using MIG welder in a close workspace, you should apply caution with that. If you are welding in a close space, bear in mind that it is possible for the oxygen in your brain to be displaced by the shielding gases like argon. Such shielding gases can also collapse the lungs. When these situations occur, it can kill you. To MIG weld in an open field efficiently, it is advisable that you build a wind block with plastic sheets around the welder to prevent the wind from displacing the shielding gases. In this way, welding will become more efficient and safer.
Advantages of Using a MIG welder
MIG welder is widely used today thanks to the numerous advantages that users obtain from it. Below are some of the benefits that comes from MIG welding.
- When you are MIG welding, there is no need for you to stop welding in order to change chips or rods. MIG welding also does not require you to brush the weld regularly as you are welding. Given the nature and the process of MIG welding, you are not required to smoke cigarette unless you stop and go somewhere. It requires concentration and thus nothing like talking to your friend, counting money or doing other things. The absence of all these things means that you will devote more time to what you are doing which will result to higher productivity.
- MIG welding is one of the easiest welding methods to learn. If you have not welded before, it will not take you many hours to learn how to weld with this product. MIG welders are easy to use and most models available on the market do not require much set up. With the user guide you will be able to set up the machine and start welding with it.
- It delivers impressive cleaning results. MIG welding does not require you to be brushing the weld. MIG welder leaves clean welding environment.
- If you are using a MIG welder, you will be able to weld in all positions. This is one feature of this type of machine that gives it an edge over other types of welding machine.
- MIG welders are highly versatile when it comes to the type of metals that they can be used to weld on. You can use it to weld on different kinds of metals such as aluminum, stainless and mild steel.
Using this type of welding method also has some drawbacks. It is good that you know the disadvantages before you can decide whether or not to purchase this product. But these drawbacks do not out weigh its benefits. Here are few disadvantages of MIG welding and MIG welders.
- You wont be talking to a friend, counting money, smoking your cigarette or even checking your watch. Most people may not like this aspect of MIG welder.
- You may find the bottle of shielding gas to be cumbersome and annoying sometimes.
- Using MIG welders give you some extra cost as you will have to purchase tips, nozzles and consumables.
- It cannot be used for welding of thick steel as it does not have enough force to achieve the right penetration.
This buying guide is prepared to help you to make an informed decision when you want to purchase a MIG welder. Each of the products reviewed here has gained impressive comments and feedbacks from the previous consumers. You are likely going to be happy with any of them depending on your wedding needs. Besides, all the tips and pieces of information provided are well researched. If you carefully apply the tips, definitely, you are going to be happy with the choice you make. However, they are to be used only as guide.