In this guide we’ll look at the best MIG welder.
We’ve compared power, performance, design and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Are The Best MIG Welders?
More Detailed MIG Welder Reviews
The MIG Welder Inverter Gas/Gasless MMA 3-in-1 is the best MIG welder because it is highly portable, has a 60% duty cycle and runs efficiently.
This MIG welder is very lightweight and small relative to its power output. This makes it very useful if you need to move it around. The 60% duty cycle is beneficial as it allows you to be efficient with your welding and limits the amount of down time where you must wait for the MIG welder to be ready to use again.
This product has modern inverter technology. This means it reduces the amount of power that is required to weld, increasing efficiency by 30% relative to other MIG welders, saving your energy but also creating a stable power.
This MIG welder also features hot start, anti-stick, arc force stabilization and thermal overload protection all of which enable you to create strong, neat welds as well as protecting your welder from damage.
This welder also comes with an earth clamp, clipping hammer, wire brush and mask so you have everything you need to get started except the wire.
This is an ideal MIG welder as it’s portable, efficient and easy to use even for inexperienced welders.
The Sealey MIGHTYMIG100 Professional No-Gas MIG Welder 100Amp 230V is another good option as it has a 60% duty cycle, works without gas, and is easy to maintain.
This MIG welder also has a 60% duty cycle keeping you welding for longer and increasing your efficiency.
This welder works without gas which is perfect if you use the welder for odd jobs where finish is not so important. Being gasless, this welder saves money and fuss on choosing and buying gas. However, if you decide you want to upgrade you can by the conversion kit that will convert this item into a MIG welder that can use gas.
This product is easy to maintain and keep clean. This, in turn, will improve the quality and efficiency of your welds. The torch is equipped with a fast connection so you can easily remove it to clean and it simply clicks back into place.
This is a great product for someone looking for an option that doesn’t require gas but would like to be able to upgrade it if required.
The MIG Welder 180A 240V Portable Inverter, inc. Torch & Leads is another good option because it offers high control of settings, is robust and well-built and works off mains power or a generator.
This product offers you a wide range of settings that you can control. It allows you to take control of how the gas is released and the heat and speed of the wire. This means you can dictate how the MIG welder is functioning to create the exact weld you are looking for.
The product is built very well and has a robust metal chassis. This product is designed to work well with a generator but also works of mains electricity which is useful if you weld in places without mains.
This product is aimed at people looking for a heavy duty MIG welder. It is perfect for anyone that wants full control over the welding process and the resulting weld, as it has settings to adjust wire speed, heat and gas control.
The Dirty Pro Tools Professional MIG Welder Gasless 100A 100 Amp 230V is a good beginner option because it’s inexpensive, runs without gas and is small and lightweight.
This product is a great tool to start MIG welding as it performs well and can handle most tasks. It does this while remaining inexpensive and simple to use, making it ideal for a beginner.
The product runs without gas saving you another expense and skipping the learning curve required to use gas. It’s also lightweight and small so it can be tucked away if you don’t yet have a designated spot for your MIG welder.
This is a great beginner option, being inexpensive and simple to use compared with more complicated MIG welders.
The Autojack MIG100 MIG Master 100 AMP Portable GASLESS Welder is another good beginner MIG welder because it is small and portable, features internal turbo fan cooling and is a gasless.
This product is small and lightweight and comes with a carry handle. This is handy if you need to move it around or store it out of the way. The internal turbo fan helps to keep the MIG welder cool so you can keep it running for longer than with other inexpensive options. This product is a gasless operated MIG welder, perfect for beginners who want to practice and save money and fuss working out the right gas ratios.
This is a great, simple MIG welder to get an introduction to welding without having to go all in and break the bank.
The Sealey SUPERMIG140 MIG Welder 140Amp 230V is another good option because it uses forced air cooling, has a safety torch and gas regulator.
The forced air cooling allows the unit to stay cool whilst you are welding thereby increasing the duty cycle so you can weld for longer and more efficiently. The torch is a safety torch that is not active until the button is pressed, reducing the chance of accidents. This welder is designed to work with gas and has a good regulator that allows you to control how much gas you are using to optimize your gas flow and get the best performance.
This MIG welder has good controls and safety features as well as being powerful and versatile.
MIG Welder Buyer’s guide
The motor amperage of a MIG welder effects the thickness of metal it can weld. Ideally, you want enough amperage to weld in one pass. For example, to weld, ¼ inch steel in a single pass will require 180 amps. There are good resources available online that will help you to find out the required amperage for different metals and metal thickness.
Gas or no-gas
Some MIG welders require gas and some don’t. The benefit to a gas welder is that you can use the correct gas for the type of metal you are welding. This will improve the quality of your weld and reduce the amount of splatter, in turn, saving you time by reducing the clean up required after your weld. With the correct gas and the correct amount of gas, you will also get a much nicer finish to your welds.
However, gas is not essential to MIG welding, so if you are doing smaller tasks or don’t use your welder regularly it will be easier for you to accept that there is more cleanup required by not using gas and buy a gasless unit. This will save you money and makes your MIG welder more portable as you don’t have to move the gas canister with it.
If the final finish of a piece is important to you then it is worth investing in a unit that uses gas as it will achieve a cleaner finish.
Auto hot start
Auto hot start allows you to start with the torch hot. This is important because, if you welder doesn’t have this feature, then, for the first portion of your weld, your torch might not be hot enough. This can lead to two problems. Firstly, the weld might not be as strong, as the metal hasn’t melted properly. Secondly, it will often not look the same as the latter part of the weld when the torch has heated up.
It’s often hard to manually heat up a welder as the torch heats up best when it is welding rather than just being on. This means you will have to heat the welder up by welding scraps which will cost time and money.
% duty cycle
The % duty cycle is an important thing to consider, especially if you plan to use your welder a lot and want it to be as quick as possible. If you are just doing small tasks infrequently this doesn’t matter as much. The % duty cycle effects how long you can use your welder for. As an example, a 30% duty cycle means after using the welder for 3 minutes it must then be out of use for 7.
As you can see, if you are using your welder for long periods or bigger jobs getting a tool with a higher % duty cycle will improve the efficiency of your welding by reducing downtime.
Air cooling system
Air cooling is linked to your % duty cycle. So, look for a MIG welder that has a good system in place to help keep the MIG welder cool. This, in turn, will increase your % duty cycle making you more efficient as you can weld for longer without having to let the MIG welder cool down.
Thermal overload protection
The thermal overload protection will automatically shut off the MIG welder in one of two cases.
Firstly, if you have hit the % duty cycle it will automatically shut itself off, so you do not damage the machine by running it too long. It will also shut off if airflow is restricted to protect the machine from overheating. This is very handy feature that protects your welder from damage.
Having a lightweight and portable MIG welder can be very handy if you don’t have a set location for your welder. If you need to weld on location portability and lightweight designs are a must. However, if you have a workshop with a designated spot for your MIG welder than portability and weight are not important, and you can go for a heavier, sturdier unit that can stay in its place.
Accessories are important for MIG welders, particularly if you are buying your first MIG welder and don’t have a range of accessories yet.
Commonly a MIG welder will come with at least a few clamps to fasten things down. They will come with a torch that is used in the welding process, tools to help you clean your machine and usually some wire to get you started but this is something worth checking.
There are a wide range of accessories you can get on top of this to help with specialized tasks. You will also need to invest in a good pair of gloves and eye protection before you start MIG welding.
Most MIG welders will come with a warranty. This can give you peace of mind that if anything goes wrong it will be fixed for you, but also reassures you that the supplier is confident in the effectiveness and quality of their product. Looking for a warranty of 1+ years is advisable when buying a MIG welder.
What is a MIG welder?
MIG welding is a process in which a wire is fed through a welding gun and into the weld pool to join two materials together. A shielding gas is simultaneously channelled through the welding gun in order to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination.
The technical name for MIG welding is gas metal arc welding but it is also often referred to as wire welding.
What is a MIG welder used for?
MIG welders are often used on construction sites as they are efficient and portable. They are used to weld thin or medium thick pieces of metal together and can create strong and good-looking welds. They are a particularly good choice when working outside in wind or when working with slightly dirty materials.
How to use a MIG welder?
MIG welders are a good welder to start off with as they are very multifunctional and capable of most welding tasks. They are suitable for welding thin or medium-thick metals which is what most beginners should start off working with. MIG welding is also an easier type of welding to learn.
How does a MIG welder work?
MIG welders work by feeding wire at a speed that is programmable on the MIG welder. This wire is fed into the MIG gun. The MIG gun uses electricity to create heat and melt this wire. This melting of the wire is what will create your weld. MIG welders normally also channel a gas through the nozzle while the weld is happening. This protects your materials from the atmosphere’s gases, creating a microcosm of the correct gas to get the best results and neatest finish in your welds.
What gas does a MIG welder use?
The gas used in MIG welding is called a shielding gas as it protects your weld from the atmosphere. For MIG welding, the main option is carbon dioxide either in its pure form or mixed with the inert gas argon.
The mixture of these gasses will affect your weld. Using pure C02 this will save money as it’s the cheapest option. It also gives you a deeper weld making it useful when working on thicker metals as it creates more heat.
However, commonly a mix of 75-95% carbon dioxide will be used with the rest of the mixture being argon. This produces a more stable weld and reduces the amount of splatter. This, in turn, will give you a cleaner and better-looking weld.
When working with stainless steel, helium is often used. A ratio of 25-75% helium to argon can be used to create good welds with stainless steel.
There are other gases that can be used with specific metals and the ratios will affect your welds. I have talked about some common ratios and gasses here, but my advice would be to double check what gas is most suitable for your project to ensure you get the best results.
What can you weld with a MIG welder?
MIG welding can be used on a wide range of metals. It can also be used to join different metal thickness together. Common metals that are suitable for MIG include carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminium, magnesium, copper, nickel and many other alloy metals. The only restraint you have when using a MIG welder is the thickness of the metal as MIG welders can’t handle really thick pieces.