mig-welder

10 Best Welding Machines (2021 Review)

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The best welding machines should be portable enough for onsite work. They should have long duty cycles so they can run for longer before needing a cooling off period. Duty cycles with higher percentages are better when comparing the same output current for different machines. But the duty cycle will increase for lower amperages. For temperature control fan cooling and thermal overload protection are worthwhile features to consider.

 

A hot start function is a very useful feature so you don’t have to wait for the unit to warm up, especially when working in difficult conditions. Arc force stabilization and electrode anti-stick are also very handy.

 

For MIG welding look for a welding torch gun with a Euro standard connection and a long cable (at least 2m). A smooth wire feed mechanism and, if the machine uses gas, a good quality CO2 or Argon gas regulator.

 

Don’t forget to check out the accessories – the range of electrodes it can work with, the electrode holder and lead, earth clamp, clipping hammer and wire brush. You could even get a welding mask thrown in.

 

MIG, TIG and Arc (Stick) welding machines all have their own strengths – choosing the right welder very much depends on what you’re working on. I discuss this in detail in my comprehensive welding machine review below. I’ve also heavily researched the best welding machines available right now, so you don’t have to. Let’s dive in…

What is the Best Welding Machine For You?

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Comparing the Best Welding Machines

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Type
  • Inverter
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only)
  • Output Current Range
  • Duty Cycle
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length
  • Maximum Weld
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Welding Machines

R-Tech 180A Portable MIG Welder and InverterR-Tech 180A Portable MIG Welder and Inverter

Best MIG welder for performance

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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R-Tech 180A Portable MIG Welder and Inverter Review

Specifications

  • Type: MIG Gas / MMA
  • Inverter: Yes
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): Gas
  • Output Current Range: 25-180A (MIG)
  • Duty Cycle: 35%@160A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 3.0m
  • Maximum Weld: 0.8mm
  • Weight: 14.0kg

The R-Tech MIG180 is probably the best MIG welder you can get right now. It’s a reliable and high performance tool that comes from one of the best names in the business. R-Tech are a UK based specialist welding company that pride themselves on quality customer service and have a stellar reputation.

The welder itself is versatile. It’s rated for MIG and MMA, or stick welding, and can also handle aluminium welding if you buy a separate spool gun. If you’ve got access to a 16 Amp input, you can make the most of this welder’s huge 180 Amp capacity. However, it still packs a punch with a standard 13 Amp three-pin plug you can use in any socket.

Weighing in at just 14 kg, as the name suggests, this is a portable MIG welder with a useful carry handle on top. The standard Euro connecter on the front of the welder means you can use a huge range of welding torches, but the one supplied is of a high quality anyway. The controls and switches are well laid out and easy to read too.

Loading up the wire is easy, and you can switch between 0.6 and 0.8 mm without special tools. What makes this one of the best MIG welders in my opinion is the smooth wire feed, it makes the torch easy to handle and creates tight pools of weld when in operation. It’s great.

Pros

  • Users have commented on how easy this welder is to set up. Even though it’s a capable machine, it’s suitable for beginners because of it.
  • The torch supplied with the kit is excellent. I prefer this one compared to the one supplied with the Röhr. It’s more comfortable and helps to produce excellent welds.
  • The 3m torch cable length is huge. Compare it to the limited 1 m cable on the MightyMig 100, and you’re not going to be dragging the whole kit around quite as much.
  • I would rather use an inverter welder where possible. You get infinitely more control over temperatures and they’re more energy efficient compared with standard arc welders.

Cons

  • It’s probably a bit too expensive for a beginner to get started on. It’s too much of an investment for complete beginners who just want to try out welding.
  • Some users have complained that the screen is temperamental. It shows actual welding Amps but it’s not always reliable.
  • If you want to get the full power out of this welding machine, you need a 16 Amp power supply. To achieve this, you’ll need to purchase a separate plug and adapter.
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Rohr MIG / ARC Welder Inverter Rohr MIG / ARC Welder Inverter

Best MIG welder for heavy welding

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
5
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Rohr MIG / ARC Welder Inverter Review

Specifications

  • Type: MIG Gas / MMA
  • Inverter: Yes
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): Gas
  • Output Current Range: 50-200A (MIG)
  • Duty Cycle: 60%@150A,35%@180A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 2.0m
  • Maximum Weld: 0.8mm
  • Weight: 16.0kg

German engineering firm Röhr have made an inverter welder that punches way above its weight, literally, because it only weighs 16 kg. And because it’s an inverter, it’s capable of creating an enormous 200 Amp output. It’s powerful enough for the heaviest welding you might want to do in a DIY setting.

Designed for both MIG, MAG and “stick” welding, the components installed in this welder are impressive for the price. IGbT transistors are usually found in more expensive professional equipment. They help, among other things, to keep electrical consumption low.

The build quality of the welder is good, and you get a quality Euro standard torch. It has a nice long cable and comes with a stick welding clamp too. They even throw in a little cleaning brush and hammer for clearing off slag. A little hidden feature I like is the wire power feed button inside the case. Instead of pulling the trigger on the torch, you can feed the wire through the cable with the press of a button.

I’m really impressed that Röhr can make such a powerful welder that looks and feels solid for such a competitive price. Hopefully, it lasts for a long time.

Pros

  • The MIG current output range is enormous. From 50 – 200 Amps, there’s a wider range compared with the R-Tech MIG180.
  • Run the unit from a standard 13 Amp 3 pin plug. No adapters necessary.
  • An inverter welder like this uses less energy than a standard arc welding machine. Compared with the Sealey SuperMig 140 it’s much more efficient.
  • The duty cycle of 35% at 180 Amps is seriously impressive. It means you need less down time between welds. You’ll get the job done more quickly.

Cons

  • It’s good that Röhr have included a slag cleaning tool, but it’s not the best quality. If you’re planning on doing a lot of welding work, I would upgrade it.
  • The reputation of this Röhr welder, according to lots of users, isn’t up there compared with the R-Tech Mig180.
  • Some users have complained that the customer service offered by Röhr leaves a lot to be desired. In comparison with the stellar reputation of R-Tech, you know why they cost a lot more.
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Sealey Supermig 140 MIG Welder Sealey Supermig 140 MIG Welder

Best MIG welder for home mechanics

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.75
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Sealey Supermig 140 MIG Welder Review

Specifications

  • Type: MIG Gas
  • Inverter: No
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): Gas
  • Output Current Range: 30-140A
  • Duty Cycle: 50%@55A,20%@80A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 2.0m
  • Maximum Weld: 0.8mm
  • Weight: 22.0kg

British professional tool and workshop equipment experts Sealey have been in the game since 1978. They definitely know a thing or two about producing the best MIG welders. I looked at their SUPERMIG140 and think it’s a brilliant bit of kit for home mechanics and other metalworkers.

First off, it’s a big and solid welder that weighs more than 20 kg. Sealey have put wheels on the back to make it more portable though. The build quality is great, it’s got a tough frame, and everything feels chunky and robust.

You can select anywhere from 30 – 140 Amps, but this will be limited because it’s supplied with a standard 13 Amp plug. Controlling the power is as simple as it gets, there’s only a single dial to fiddle with to get the right welding temperature.

The wire feed mechanism works well and feels nice and smooth, and the regulator for CO2 or Argon is of a good quality too. For the money, this is one of the best budget MIG welders out there. It’s not got some of the features of a professional level machine, but if you want simple, reliable MIG welding, this is a great choice.

Pros

  • The build quality of the welding rig is obvious. It’s a solid kit that will last the knocks and drops expected from metalworking.
  • The forced air cooling system does a good job at keeping the transformer cool. That can be seen in the duty cycle stats: 100% @ 36A, 75% @ 41A, 50% @ 55A, 20% @ 80A.
  • Sealey include a spool of wire as well as 0.6 and 0.8 mm tips. Not a bad set of accessories to get you started.
  • You can choose from a decent output current range, 30 – 140 Amps should cover you for most welding applications.

Cons

  • Some users have complained about the quality of the regulator. It’s not as well made compared with the Röhr or R-Tech.
  • The torch has a shorter nib than some of the competition. It makes it harder to get into tight corners.
  • Compared with the Sealey MightyMig 100, this is a gas only welder. You’ll need to purchase gas bottles with CO2 or Argon separately.
  • Weighing 22 kg, this isn’t the lightest welder. Especially when compared with the lightweight 14 kg Dirty Pro Tools Mig130.
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Sealey Mightymig 100 MIG WelderSealey Mightymig 100 MIG Welder

Best MIG welder for DIY enthusiast

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.5
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Sealey Mightymig 100 MIG Welder Review

Specifications

  • Type: MIG No-Gas
  • Inverter: No
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): No-Gas
  • Output Current Range: 55-100A
  • Duty Cycle: 60%@55A,20%@90A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Maximum Weld: 1.0mm
  • Weight: 15.4kg

Another entry from the good people at Sealey is the MIGHTYMIG100 no-gas MIG welder. Aimed at the DIY market, no gas is a bit messier than gassed systems. But it’s an excellent starter step to get into the world of welding.

In terms of build quality, it’s not up there with some professional level setups. However, it’s not flimsy and is solid enough for a DIYer that isn’t going to take this machine on site with them. It’s a thankfully lightweight piece of kit at 14.5 kg. Seeing as it’s a no-gas model, you don’t have to lug around bottles of CO2 or Argon either.

One of the benefits of this system is that you can convert it to gas if you want and use standard welding wire rather than hollow core flux wire, so it’s versatile as well. There’s not much in the way of settings to fiddle with except the wire speed and low or high power, so don’t expect to be able to finesse the torch heat to a specific level.

If you’re a beginner and not sure if you’re going to get into serious welding, then I reckon this is an excellent place to start. Or, if you’re an experienced welder who needs a small and portable rig for home garage use, it won’t take up much room and is perfect for welding outside on a windy day.

Pros

  • No gas systems are ideal for beginners. There’s less equipment to buy and maintain, and they’re generally cheaper compared with gassed systems.
  • Compared with the R-Tech MIG180, this is a totally affordable welding system. It comes from one of the best names in the business as well.
  • If you want to get into gas welding, it’s totally possible. You can purchase a gas conversion kit if you want to up your game over time.
  • The max weld width in one pass is an impressive 1.0 mm. That’s wide compared to the Röhr and R-Tech MIG180.

Cons

  • This is a much less refined welding rig compared with the inverter welders like the R-Tech MIG180. You don’t have anywhere close to the level of control over temperature.
  • Some users have complained about the earth clamp. It’s not the best quality and might need an upgrade after a while.
  • This isn’t a welder designed for heavy duty work. It will start to struggle with steel over 4 mm thick.
  • Compared with the R-Tech MIG180, you can’t use this to weld stainless steel. You’ll need to stick with mild steel projects only.
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Display4top MIG 130 Welder Display4top MIG 130 Welder

Best MIG welder for beginner

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.5
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Display4top MIG 130 Welder Review

Specifications

  • Type: MIG No-Gas
  • Inverter: No
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): No-Gas
  • Output Current Range: 50-120A
  • Duty Cycle: 10%
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 1.9m
  • Maximum Weld: 0.9mm
  • Weight: 16.7kg

If you’re looking for a complete beginner’s welding kit, try the Display4top Mig130. It comes with everything you need to get started. I think it’s a one of the best budget 130 Amp MIG welding set ups available right now. It really does come with everything, including safety gear.

If you’re looking for a professional level MIG welder, this isn’t the setup for you. It’s definitely a hobby or DIY level of tool. It’s priced low enough for just about anyone who wants to get into no gas welding without emptying their wallet.

Setup and operation are wonderfully simple. Open the side door, connect the spool of included flux wire. Feed it into the torch, set the dial to match the gauge of wire and switch on. It’s as simple as that. Weighing in at under 17 kg, it’s light enough to be considered portable as well.

What makes this the best starter welding kit is the accessories. There’s everything here to get you started, but don’t expect professional level safety gear for this price. They’ve included a handheld face mask and little wire brush for cleaning off welds. You’ll want to upgrade them eventually, but you can avoid any extra spend if you’re just trying out welding for the first time.

Overall, this is a solid little budget no-gas MIG welder. Don’t expect to fine tune the temperature or weld much more than thin sheets of steel, but for the price you can’t complain.

Pros

  • Everyone needs to start somewhere when it comes to welding. This kit gives you enough to get practising straight away without overspending.
  • The 1.5m earth clamp is long enough for most projects. The last thing you want is to move heavy welding gear when your earth lead can’t reach the workpiece.
  • This is a wonderfully compact welding kit. It’s got a small footprint size, that makes it easy to store away compared with the Sealey SUPERMIG140.
  • For beginners, there’s not many settings to get confused by. Change the power between 1 and 2 and change the wire speed. That’s about as simple as it gets!

Cons

  • You’ll need to get good at one-handed welding if you want to use the mask. It doesn’t attach to your head and needs to be held by the handle.
  • Weighing nearly 17kg makes this a little too heavy for dragging around without wheels. Compared with the big Sealey SUPERMIG140, I know what I’d prefer to pull behind me.
  • Even though this is a simple welder to operate, don’t expect detailed instructions. Like me, you’ll be checking out videos online to get everything figured out.
  • They’ve included a chipping hammer and brush tool, but it’s not great. Ideal for learners, it wouldn’t last long around an experienced welder.
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Dirty Pro Tools MIG 130 Welder Dirty Pro Tools MIG 130 Welder

Best budget MIG welder

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.5
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Dirty Pro Tools MIG 130 Welder Review

Specifications

  • Type: MIG No-Gas
  • Inverter: No
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): No-Gas
  • Output Current Range: 50-120A
  • Duty Cycle: 15%@105A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 2.0m
  • Maximum Weld: 0.9mm
  • Weight: 14.0kg

Dirty Pro Tools sell a huge range of products from sofas to petrol generators. I didn’t know what to expect from their 130 Amp no-gas MIG welder kit, but it’s a handy beginners kit. And you can get hold of it for a seriously low price.

For the money, don’t expect a premium quality professional level welding kit. The build quality is adequate for DIYers and beginners, but there’s everything there to get you started including a face mask.

Running at 130 Amps, the welder comes supplied with a standard three-pin 13 Amp plug. You can connect it up to your normal home electricity supply without any problems. As you might expect from a kit at this price, you can’t adjust the heat any more than low or high. The main adjustment knob simply controls the wire feed speed only.

The accessories it comes with are fine for beginners. Holding the face mask means you’ve only got one hand free for welding though. There’s a wire brush thrown in too, which you’ll need. For the price, this is a good no-nonsense kit that will hopefully get you hooked on welding.

Pros

  • A solid budget no gas welder for DIYers and beginners. You can’t fault what you get for the price. Compared with the professional kits like the Röhr, it’s an absolute bargain.
  • You get more working time out of this compared with the Display4top Mig130. The duty cycle of 15%@105A is good for a budget machine.
  • I like that you get what amounts to four heat settings. High and low and 1 and two. Between the two switches you can usually find a decent temperature.
  • You can use welding wire ranging from 0.6 – 0.9 mm. It’s a good range of thin welding wires for a budget welding rig.
  • The 2m torch gun cable length is just a bit longer compared with the Display4top Mig130. That extra 10 cm is sometime exactly what you need.

Cons

  • Don’t expect the cleanest welds around. There’s quite a lot of spatter that will need to be cleaned off. It takes a while to learn the right feed speed to create anything clean looking.
  • It’s surprising that this serious piece of kit is supplied with the minimum of instructions. You’ll need to teach yourself how everything works.
  • It comes with a mask, but you need a hand free to hold it. It’s ok for starters, but you’ll do much better with a proper auto-darkening helmet.
  • Some users have found that this isn’t the best welder for thin metals. It’s not refined enough to deal with delicate metals you might find on cars, for example.
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Röhr TIG Welder Portable Inverter 240V / 160 Amp Röhr TIG Welder Portable Inverter 240V / 160 Amp

Best TIG welder

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Röhr TIG Welder Portable Inverter 240V / 160 Amp Review

Specifications

  • Type: TIG / MMA
  • Inverter: Yes
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): n/a
  • Output Current Range: 20-160A
  • Duty Cycle: 60%@85A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 4.0m
  • Maximum Weld: 2.4mm
  • Weight: 9.0kg

The 160 Amp Röhr Portable TIG Inverter Welder is one of the best TIG welders on the market. You get a bit more control over a TIG weld compared with a MIG, and this capable machine makes it easy.

This TIG welder has an impressive arsenal of features to help make your TIG welding projects better. These include auto hot start, anti-stick, arc force stabilization and thermal overload protection. It’s also rated at a 60% duty cycle at 85 Amps, allowing you to weld for longer and reduce your down time.

This machine is ideal for beginners because it comes with a full set of accessories. An earth clamp, clipping hammer, wire brush and mask mean you get to work straight away.

Weighing in at just 9 kg, taking this welding rig with you is no problem. The combination of portability, light weight, range of good features and reasonable price is ideal. I recommend it if you want to get into TIG welding.

Pros

  • Röhr are one of the best known and trusted welding brands around. The build quality and range of features on this machine make it ideal for welders of any skill level.
  • The 4m torch cable length is enormous! Compared with the GYS 030077 it’s double the length. It’s a nice touch for when you’re working with larger pieces of metal.
  • Compatible with a range of metals. You’re not confined to just mild steel. You can work with stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, and other coloured metals if you want!
  • This machine is set up for wither TIG gas welding using Argon, or as an MMA Arc welding rig. I like having the option to use different methods for different jobs.
  • The duty cycle of 60%@85A is what makes this such a workhorse. There’s barely any downtime compared with the ParkerBrand PIW-200.

Cons

  • TIG welding takes more skill and coordination compared with MIG welding. In comparison with the super simple Dirty Pro Tools MIG 130, you need to hold a filler rod in one hand and the torch in the other.
  • Although the included welding mask is slightly better quality compared to the one that comes with the Dirty Pro Tools MIG 130, it’s still not great. I would upgrade it.
  • The torch supplied with this TIG welder is not the more refined “flexi” style. It’s not as easy to get into tight spots.
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GYS 030077 Gysmi 160P – 160 Amp Welder GYS 030077 Gysmi 160P – 160 Amp Welder

Best portable MMA/Stick welder

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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GYS 030077 Gysmi 160P – 160 Amp Welder Review

Specifications

  • Type: MMA
  • Inverter: Yes
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): n/a
  • Output Current Range: 10-160A
  • Duty Cycle: 60%@85A,14%@160A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 2.0m
  • Maximum Weld: 4.0mm
  • Weight: 4.2kg

The GYS 030077 160 Amp Welder is an amazingly light and portable MMA/Arc welder. It comes from one of the more established names in welding. French firm GYS have been making specialist welding and cutting equipment since 1964. They know what it takes to make one of the best MMA welders in the business.

Thanks to its high voltage capability the unit supports an immediate start up function. This is a great feature because there’s no more waiting around for the unit to get to temperature. It’ll save you time on every weld.

Its inverter technology helps to keep energy consumption down. The onboard microprocessor controls everything. It enables you to finely control the thickness of your weld as well as the bead size precisely.

One of the things I like about this welder is the range of electrodes you can work with. Choose from basic, rutile, stainless steel or even cast iron, for working on almost any type of metal.

The unit is small and neat and measures just 34 cm in height, including the carry case, making this portable welding machine easy to store and transport.

All in all, a good choice for a powerful yet portable TIG welder.

Pros

  • If you need a lightweight and portable welding rig, look no further. Weighing in at just 4.2 kg, it’s easy to carry around. Compared to the ParkerBrand PIW-200 it’s quite a bit lighter.
  • Adding to this unit’s “take it with you” characteristics, GYS have packed everything into a sturdy black plastic case. Ideal for storage, it’ll keep everything safe between uses.
  • There’s more than enough power in this Arc welder for dealing with steel up to 4 or even 5 mm. For such a small unit, it really punches above its weight!
  • One of the benefits of short cables means you can easily stow them away in the carry case. I’ve never been a fan of forcing a tangled mess of leads back into a tiny plastic case.
  • This welding machine is proudly made in France. It’s always pleasant to see European manufactured goods, the quality control process is usually excellent, along with customer services.

Cons

  • Compared with the welding kits on my list like the Display4top MIG 130, you don’t get any accessories. You need to buy welding rods and all safety equipment before use.
  • The power cord is far too short. It keeps the overall size of the unit down, but you’ll need to carry an extension lead around as well. Make sure it’s a heavy duty extension cord as well.
  • The earth cable is also a bit too short. Unless the workpiece is easy to move, you’ll find yourself re-positioning the welding unit quite a lot.
  • Several users have complained that the manual instructions are tiny and hard to read. Unless you have a magnifying glass, it could be a bit of a pain.
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Parker Brand PIW-200 Inverter Welder - MMA Portable Welding Machine Parker Brand PIW-200 Inverter Welder - MMA Portable Welding Machine

Best stick welder for power

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Parker Brand PIW-200 Inverter Welder - MMA Portable Welding Machine Review

Specifications

  • Type: MMA
  • Inverter: Yes
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): n/a
  • Output Current Range: 30-200A
  • Duty Cycle: 30%
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Maximum Weld: 3.2mm
  • Weight: 6.5kg

The ParkerBrand Portable 200 Amp Inverter Welding Machine is a powerful bit of kit. It’s been designed to work on thicker, more heavy-duty metals than other Arc welders.

It features a 60% duty cycle. This allows you to work more efficiently as the welding machine will run for longer before it needs a cooling off period. Other nice features are anti-stick and thermal overload protection.

The welding unit is fan cooled and has regulated DC power output, so it should keep at a stable welding temperature all the time. The welder comes with electrode holder and lead, earth clamp, wire brush and welding mask.

I like this little powerhouse. It runs off a regular 13 Amp plug socket, but you can get into some heavy welding with the right electrodes and a bit of practise. It’s not the most refined bit of kit, and it will blow holes in thin metals if you’re not careful, but I’m still a big fan.

Pros

  • You can’t say that this welding rig is underpowered. With a maximum current output of 200 Amps, it’ll stick together whatever you touch it to.
  • The 60% duty cycle is a welcome feature for any busy welder. There’s a lot less downtime compared with the Dirty Pro Tools Mig130.
  • It’s another handy little welding machine that can be carried around easily. At 6.5 kg it’s light, and it comes supplied with a handy carry case. Not bad at all.
  • Even if it is a hand-held welding mask, it’s good to see that ParkerBrand have your safety in mind.

Cons

  • This welding machine might be too powerful for some welding jobs. If you’re working on sub 3 mm sheet steel, it’ll burn holes in it. Make sure you dial in the right settings first!
  • I’m always pleased when manufacturers include safety gear, but the mask is not going to last for long. Invest in a proper welding helmet and thick leather gloves!
  • Compared with the GYS 030077 welding rig, this one doesn’t have a hot start function. You’re not waiting around for long for it to heat up, but it can get frustrating.
  • Although you can use it comfortably with a 13 Amp plug, it will blow the fuse at high temperatures. Swap it out for a 16 Amp one to get the most out of it.
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Hyundai HYMMA120 Inverter WelderHyundai HYMMA120 Inverter Welder

Best stick welder for the money

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Hyundai HYMMA120 Inverter Welder Review

Specifications

  • Type: MMA
  • Inverter: Yes
  • Gas / No-Gas (MIG only): n/a
  • Output Current Range: 20-120A
  • Duty Cycle: 100%@70A,35%@120A
  • Torch / Electrode Cable Length: 2.0m
  • Maximum Weld: 3.2mm
  • Weight: 6.0kg

Coming from one of South Korea’s biggest manufacturers, the Hyundai HYMMA120 is an affordable Arc welder. It’s portable and lightweight and has one of the best duty cycles I’ve tested out.

Weighing in at just 6kg, this is a portable welding rig. The big chunky handle on the top means you can take the welder to the work, and not the other way round. It makes a difference compared to huge MIG rigs that need to be wheeled around behind you.

The inverter puts out a variable DC output between 20 – 120 Amps. It’s not as powerful as some of the MMA welders on my list, but it’s ideal for lightweight and DIY jobs. It’s also a little less power hungry than a 200 Amp welding machine.

Pros

  • Hyundai are probably best known for their cars, but they’re one of the most respected heavy industry companies in the world. They know how to make one of the best MMA welders.
  • The copper plated grounding clip is a sign of quality. It makes the lead a better conductor and should help to make a solid arc every time.
  • The earth cable is 2m long. Compared with the tiny one on the GYS 030077, you’ve got a lot more lead to play with. There’s less chance you need to move the unit between welds.
  • Hyundai have included a chipping hammer and wire brush tool. It should come in handy when you’re learning how to weld without too much spatter.

Cons

  • There’s quite a lot less power in this machine compared with the mighty ParkerBrand PIW-200. The maximum output of 120 Amps is not the most powerful I’ve come across before.
  • Even though 6kg is light, it’s still 1.8kg heavier than the GYS 030077. If your biggest goal is the lightest welding rig, I’d choose something lighter than this one.
  • You can’t convert this welding system to TIG. You can only carry out MMA or stick welding with this rig. In comparison with the Röhr Portable TIG Inverter Welder, you’re a bit limited.
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Things to Know Before Buying a Welding Machine

Getting into welding is a step up for most DIYers, so getting the right MIG welding setup for your needs is important.

Types of Welding

There are several different ways to attach one piece of metal to another one, but all welding involves creating a molten pool of metal that joins different parts together. Most welding equipment uses electrical energy to create enough heat to melt the wire onto the workpiece.

The cheapest welding equipment is usually for arc welding, sometimes known as “stick” welding- you hold the welding torch in one hand and a welding stick in the other and touch them together on a metal surface to make a pool of metal.

Metal Inert Gas, or MIG, is probably the most popular form of welding- instead of using both hands, you simply hold the torch, pull the trigger, and a wire is fed from the machine and out of the tip. On contact with the metal surface, the circuit is completed, and the wire becomes molten metal.

Gas and No-Gas MIG Welding

There are two main types of MIG welding- gas and no-gas. Both are types of wire welding- the welding machine feeds a roll of metal wire from a spool out through the end of the torch, where an arc of electricity heats it up on contact with a metal surface.

Gas MIG welding uses bottles of inert gas like CO2 or Argon connected to the welding machine to create a gas shield around the hot arc where standard welding wire meets the metal workpiece. This stops the weld from oxidising before it joins the metal parts together but can be affected by windy conditions.

In no-gas welding, the wire used is hollow and filled with flux which is used to generate a slag to cover the molten metal when you’re welding. This protects it from outside gases in the environment which weakens the bond you are making. The downside is that there’s more splatter when welding, meaning there’s more to clean up afterwards.

TIG Welding

Tungsten Inert Gas, or TIG welding is another way to attach two pieces of metal together. Like MIG welding, you use bottles of inert gas to shroud the hot pool of weld from oxidising. Unlike MIG welding, you need to use both hands when working with a TIG welder.

The main difference is that TIG welding doesn’t use a spool of wire fed through a torch head. Instead, you use long rods that are like the ones for MMA or arc welding. It’s a process favoured by some welders for “face” welding when you need to be neat. The downsides to TIG welding is that it’s a lot slower than MIG, and takes more skill to get accurate results.

Types of Wire

The two main types of welding wire are regular steel wire used in gas welding, and hollow wire filled with flux for no-gas welding. When you pull the trigger on a MIG welder, the wire that is fed out becomes an electrode, completing an electrical circuit that creates a high enough heat to melt it where you want a pool of metal.

Welding wire is available in different thicknesses, depending on the size of weld you want to create. Most light fabrication tasks that the DIYer welder will get involved with don’t need wire much thicker than 0.6 – 0.8 mm. Thicker wire up to 1.2 mm is useful for heavy welding applications, but it requires more power than is available in a domestic setting.

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Welding Machine FAQs

How can I make better welds?

Welding is an incredibly useful skill to have. The only way to get better is through practise- try using different heat settings if your welding equipment allows it, experiment with different gauges of wire and don’t be afraid of making an ugly mess on bits of scrap metal in the name of improvement.

The quality of the welding wire you use can make a big difference in the quality of your welds- decent wire isn’t always much more expensive than the rubbish stuff, so shop around and see what the professionals use.

What’s better, MIG, TIG or Arc welding?

All three of these welding methods are great for onsite work. They’re all portable and can join a range of metals together. The downside to MIG and TIG is you need to lug around bottles of gas, where Arc welding uses electricity only. Arc, stick, or MMA welding is not as refined though. MIG and TIG welds are strong and can work on a huge range or materials. If you need to work on very thin materials or need to create intricate, good looking welds, TIG has the others beat. There’s no one system that is outright “the best”, just the better system depending on the job at hand.

Is welding dangerous?

If you invest in the proper safety equipment, maintain your welding gear, and treat it with respect, welding is as safe as any other DIY task. Welding creates sparks that can set light to flammable materials, so make sure you have a fire extinguisher to hand and always keep your work area clean.

Got any welding tips?

If you want to create the perfect MIG welds, you need to take control of your torch. Once you’ve matched the wire feed speed to the correct voltage, the best technique is to move slowly in a tight coil, like you’re drawing a spring, or practicing your lower case joined up “e’s”. This creates an even puddle of weld and a superior join. It’s worth practising this one, a lot.

If you’re welding together a frame, you need to consider the heat that you’re transferring to the workpiece. Weld for too long and you’ll end up warping the entire workpiece due to the heating and cooling process. The answer is to take frequent breaks, don’t over weld and use as few passes as possible.

Whether you’re arc welding or MIG welding, you need a solid connection for the electricity to flow around the circuit and make a stable heat. Always grind back a rusty, painted, or greasy surface before clamping on your earth cable and getting to work. Always weld onto bare metal.

How can I improve the look of my welds?

There’s a saying that goes “A grinder and paint make me the welder that I ain’t” – and it’s true. You can always grind back ugly welds with an angle or die grinder, or paint over the whole thing to hide a multitude of sins.

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