Best MIG Welder for the Money | Good Portable Professional Machines

MIG Welding is considered an easy and most common approach but did you know that the unsuitable machine can make it difficult and challenging? It’s not a guessing game and no one can get the perfect device without research. We know that you are in search of an ideal machine that should meet your requirements and most importantly your budget.

We have organized a list of the best mig welder after days of research and consultation with hundreds of consumers to decide on some machines. We have a lot of expertise with these products, but user feedback is always valuable. All machines are chosen based on their performance, durability, brand value, and trustworthiness, as well as feedback from specialists.

Comparison Table 

IMAGE PRODUCT FACTS PRICE
Bright PICK

Forney easy weld 261, 140 fc-i

Forney Easy Weld 261

 

  • Portable
  • Flux Core Wire
  • Infinite Volts
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EDITOR PICK

Eastwood MIG 180

Eastwood MIG 180
  • Purge feature
  • Use Inverters
  • Heat Levels
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PRO CHOICE

Weldpro Inverter MIG1555GSV

Weldpro Inverter MIG1555GSV
  • Easy To Use
  • Quality Parts
  • Diversity
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BEST FOR EVERYONE

Hobart Handler 140 MVP MIG Welder

Hobart Handler 140 MVP
  • HF arc start
  • Stable arc
  • Easy controls
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Lotos MIG 175 Lotos MIG 175
  • Industrial Unit
  • Dual Voltage
  • Spool Gun
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Millermatic Electric Mig Welder Millermatic Electric Mig Welder
  • Smooth Start
  • Offer Chart
  • Metal Drive
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ETOSHA MIG 160 Unit ETOSHA MIG 160 Unit
  • Waterproof
  • Gasless Unit
  • Cooling System
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7 Good MIG Welders

Favorite Pick
Best Small MIG Welder

Forney Easy Weld 261 – Best Small MIG Welder

Specifications:

  • Power Source: AC
  • Material: Metal
  • Weight: 19 Pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Here is the first machine that is known for its versatility, performance, and portability. The welder is quite easy to setup within a few minutes. The front panel is simply designed to wrap up things quickly. 140 Fc-i in the product’s name indicates that the unit uses a flux core inverter that can deliver 140 amperes. Moreover, these transformers are more lightweight than others.

forney weld 140 fc mig welder

The green-colored gasless welder runs on an AC source with 120V power input. The interesting aspect is that it offers infinite voltage and wire feed control. The wire feed control helps in efficient welds and avoids extra use of wire.

Many users ask how it provides shielding? It delivers shielding by evaporating the flux because it’s using flux core wire. The unit sometimes may not gives the high-quality result and it’s not designed for industrial tasks. It’s created for novices, hobbyists, and medium-level mig welding projects.

The 140 amps are good enough to weld ¼” mild steel plate or 24 gauge sheets with good stacks. However, the 30% duty cycle at 90 amperes is mentioned in the manual and it delivers the same.

Two things make it prominent from its opponent machines in this price bracket, duty cycle and the quality components included in the box. In addition, an adapter is included with a one-year warranty.

In terms of performance, the unit offers extreme performance without any issues if you follow proper instructions. Even newbies can do better after a little bit of practice. Here is the result of our one weld with this small mig welder.

What We Like
  • Infinite voltage
  • Lightweight unit
  • Very easy to use
  • Great for learners
What We Don’t Like
  • Can’t weld aluminum
  • Slow feed rate

The unit comes with quality accessories and complete instructions. Manufacturers provide only a 1-year warranty for this unit, which is still good when compared to its price. An interesting fact about the unit is it’s much more popular in other countries especially considered the finest mig welder in Australia & UK.

 

Our #2 Pick
Eastwood MIG 180 - Best MIG Unit for Auto Body

Eastwood MIG 180 – Best MIG Unit for Auto Body

Specifications:

  • Power Source: AC
  • Material: Metal
  • Weight: 42 Pounds
  • Warranty: 3 Year

The MIG 180 unit from the Eastwood has a separate fan base and it’s updated in July 2021 with the latest and innovative features as well as replaced with MIG 175. The metal drive wheel in the updated model allows the smooth and clean weld operation.

The unit gives out 180 amps on 240 volts and 120 amperes on 120 power sources. It can go a minimum of 30 amperes, which allows you to weld thin sheet metals. Moreover, this versatile unit can plug into 120 or 240 volts of power outlets.

Those folks who always ask about mig unit for auto body, you can consider it. Fabricators or DIYers who lay down the long bead can quickly finish the task, thanks to its 2T/4T features. The latest inverter technology also enhances the weld performance.

If we talk about its performance, the unit is capable to weld 24 gauge metal or 5/16” mild steel or stainless steel. If you want to weld an aluminum piece, don’t forget to connect the spool gun with it and weld ¼” aluminum. You will be impressed to see the car’s front part which is designed by us. No doubt, its performance is extremely impressive and working nicely in our lab and we appreciate its arc start.

eastwood mig 180

One can effectively control the machine through the different heat levels and infinitely flexible wire speed. An interesting aspect is that you can also use flux core wire in case you don’t have enough gas.

What We Like
  • Updated unit
  • Dual voltage
  • Best for autobody work
  • Modern inverter technology
  • Tack feature
  • Tweco mig gun
  • Pulse MIG Welder
What We Don’t Like
  • Short torch leads
  • Spool gun not added in box

The tack function is the most striking feature. The work can be sped up by pulsing the arc. The unit comes up with the all necessary accessories but you have to purchase a spool gun separately. All of the components are well-made using high-quality materials. All Eastwood products come with a 3-year guarantee and free technical support.

 

Our #3 Pick
Weldpro Inverter MIG1555GSV - Top Inverter MIG Welder

Weldpro Inverter MIG1555GSV – Top Inverter MIG Welder

Specifications:

  • Volts: 110/220
  • Material: Metal
  • Weight: 21 Pounds
  • Warranty: 3 Year

Weldpro brand is quite known and much popular in creating world-class welding unit and accessories. The device is a good one for hobbyists and specialists who are looking for the best mig welder at a reasonable price.

Like the above explained unit, this one also heat settings and allows users to adjust wire speed and prevents excessive use of wire. An surprising thing is that the unit uses the IGBT inverter, which automatically protects the unit from overheating and overcurrent.

The 2T & 4T feature allows users to weld in awkward and difficult positions. You can say that it’s an automatic and manual process of wire feeding.

You can’t use the 10 pound spool wire on this model.

The unit can easily weld ¼” mil steel piece with a proper 220 volts power input. You can get 155 amps by connecting it to 220 volts and weld some little bit heavy pieces.

You can use the flux-core option for weld, but a mig is a good option with this. Most users are worried about welder settings, it was very simple to connect and can hardly take five to ten minutes to complete setup.

The one point that distinguishes it from other machines is its economical price. Other units with similar features, such as the 155GSV, are more expensive, however, this one is not. We are happy with its reliability and durability.

What We Like
  • Simple to use
  • Different settings
  • 2T/4T feature
  • Lightweight
  • Small size
What We Don’t Like
  • Short gun leads

The only drawback is its short gun leads and you have to buy longer leads separately. Overall accessories are well made with quality material. It’s been a favorite unit of welding schools and instructors because of its parts and performance, so recommended for new guys. Also, you’ll get three years warranty with excellent customer support.

 

Our #4 Pick
Hobart Handler 140 MVP MIG Welder

Hobart Handler 140 MVP – Professional MIG Welder

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Material: Steel, Aluminum
  • Weight: 57 Pounds
  • Warranty: 5 Year

If you’re looking for a pro welder with industrial-grade features and performance, go no further than the Hobart Handler, which can meet all of your welding goals with excellent results.

The MVP stands for the multi-voltage plug that helps the unit to do weld on 115v and 230v. So, you can weld ⅜” thick mils steel metal to the thinnest aluminum sheet. In addition, five-position voltage control modes offer good adjustability and make the arc very stable and smooth throughout the weld.

The Handler 140 has a unique function that allows you to utilize a spool gun to weld aluminum panels. The hook is ready to use; all you have to do now is plug in the gun, establish the polarity, and insert the spool of aluminum wire.

This machine can be used with a 115v common home power outlet and has a fast wire feed speed. Its drive system is the cause of its industrial performance.

With the excellent features and specs, some users are not happy with the low duty cycle that is only 20% at 90 amps. At this price, it should be at least 40% at the stated amperes. The five fixed output voltage points are useless nowadays because other machines provide infinite voltage adjustments. One more flaw is that you need a welding cart to move it around because of its weight and we’ve successfully designed its cart with this welder.

Hobart Handler 140 MVP mig welder

You may think why it’s far better than other models? The main reason is its wire feed mechanism. The system is too simple and users can change the roller for different wire sizes by using their fingers. The mig welder reviews will surprise you that how well it works in real life.

What We Like
  • Stable arc
  • Spool gun option
  • High-level performance
  • Allows flux core welding
What We Don’t Like
  • A bit heavy
  • Not happy with Low duty cycle

The unit comes with a five-year warranty which is something very special and you can realize the trust of manufacturers in this model. Furthermore, the Handler 140 includes all necessary welding accessories.

 

Our #5 Pick
Lotos MIG 175

Lotos MIG 175 – Best Value MIG Machine

Specifications:

  • Power Source: DC
  • Material: Metal
  • Weight: 85 Pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year

What about trying lotos mig 175 which offers much diversity in mig welding? It’s the complete featured-packed welder with much variety. The spool gun is added with the aluminum wire feeder, which is a great addition.

Instead of inverter technology, it uses transformer technology that delivers reliable results. Remember one thing it’s not designed for industrial or heavy-duty tasks, so only use it for small-medium projects.

The brown color welder can only be operated at 220/240 volts and users can weld 3/16” thick plates and thin aluminum metals. The dc unit has a 175 amp unit output with 220/240 volts. For mig weld aluminum, Lotos 175 is an ideal unit to consider.

If you are well expert and know how to use the correct setting, you can get spatter-free welds with stunning beads. Some owners complain about its quality and I respond to them that you can’t get the quality of Miller in this range and doubtlessly, the unit delivers good results according to its capacity.

What We Like
  • Durable
  • User-friendly
  • Offer aluminum welding with spool gun
  • Can handle 6” or 4” wire spools
What We Don’t Like
  • Heavier than others
  • Not for commercial use

This product comes with a one-year warranty and free technical assistance. Although all of the accessories, such as the mig gun, clamp, regulator, and welding wires, are well-made, we’ve heard a few concerns about them. In addition, you’ll get a free welding mask.

 

Our #6 Pick
Millermatic Electric Mig Welder

Millermatic Electric Machine – Best Single Phase MIG Welder

Specifications:

  • Volts: 230V
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 0.010 Ounces
  • Warranty: 3 Year

Here is the premium machine that is considered ideal in mig welding and every expert welder will recommend this model because of its high quality, stunning performance, and durability. This one is an expensive unit and we all know that quality comes with the price.

millermatic electric mig welder

If we talk about the duty cycle, it will be 40% at 150 amperes and it’s relatively low on 110v with 20% at 115 amps. Nothing to worry about because the 115 amps will support you to weld ⅛: thick metals

Its two features are incredible which other machines don’t have such as auto spool gun detection and thermal overload protection feature. The detect feature will quickly indicate to eliminate switch when mig or spool gun will be connected to it. The thermal load protection will protect the transformer and rectifier from overheating and burning.

Specs don’t define the quality of the gadget but performance. So, we welded several pieces and every time got a perfect result. Due to its smooth start technology, no spatter will be produced. The image clearly shows the result of this machine, if you use it with proper settings.

millermatic electric machine result

It’s mostly used for auto body work and a more surprising fact is that industrial experts weld furnaces with it. Another important factor behind the good performance is a solid metal drive that you can check in the image.

millermatic electric machine wire feed

What We Like
  • Industrial unit
  • Extreme quality material
  • Spool gun detect feature
  • Featured packed unit
  • Can weld heavy metals
  • Five years warranty
What We Don’t Like
  • A bit pricey
  • Only for experts
  • Not satisfied with ground clamp

The unit can be run at very low amps to weld light gauge steel metal. Moreover, the chart inside the door will help you with recommended voltage and amperes during welding. Because of its high price, it’s suitable to purchase it through Amazon to prevent any mishap.

 

Our #7 Choice
ETOSHA MIG 160 Unit

ETOSHA MIG 160 Unit – Best DIY Welder

Specifications:

  • Material: Steel Frame
  • Weight: 36 Pounds
  • Warranty: Replacement Period

Etosha unit claims to polish your welding skills with its unique features. Like Forney 261, this one is also a gasless welder and fully relies on an AC source of 110V. The device uses a 0.6mm-0.9mm flux core wire feed for shielding.

The Etosha 160 is not suitable for aluminum welding but provides sufficient results on mild and stainless steel. The device has an interesting feature to protect it from water commonly known as IP21 protection.

This compact welder is equipped with an advanced cooling system and a cooling fan that maintains its durability and performance.

From a performance standpoint, it has proven to be an excellent device, especially for stainless steel. For more better results, use the 1lb spools of Lincoln 0.035. Instead of all this, some users may not like its duty cycle which is only 15%.

What We Like
  • Portable
  • Heavy cooling mechanism
  • Simple front panel
  • Gasless unit
What We Don’t Like
  • Low duty cycle

 

What to consider when buying the best MIG welder?

Most welders look similar in shape and what distinguishes them from other models? Of course, it’s their features and specifications that set them apart from the competition. If you’re not aware of this, the following points can help you. Must check these points before adding any tool to your cart.

Multifunction Unit

Metal inert gas units can also perform flux core welding and most machines have both capabilities. For more versatility and diversity, you should consider multipurpose machines.

Spool Gun

For aluminum welding, you will definitely need the spool gun. In the list, some of the units including Hobart 140 and Lotos 175 offer spool gun but little welders or low-priced machines doesn’t include this.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle of a machine is the ratio of its overall working capacity in ten minutes before cooling down.

A 30% duty cycle at 90 amperes means that you can only weld for 3 minutes and the welder needs to cool off for the next seven minutes.

Input Power

Some units are compatible with 110/115 volts and 220/230 volts while others can work with both input powers. They are classified into two categories: 110v & 220v mig welders.

The 110v units work nicely on medium projects. You can use them in your garage and shops. The only drawback is that they can’t weld thicker materials at the low voltage due to less power.

The 220v machines are powerful machines and these are mostly used for commercial and high-duty tasks.

Output Power

Remember that in the case of mig welding, the output power is directly proportional to the thick metals. More power is required for thick pieces and low power is needed for light materials. The concept is too simple as compared to tig welding.

Fortunately, many welders come with the proper chart which explained the complete details about it. Check it for more clearance.

Brand & Feedback

Always choose a well-reputed brand that has some sort of experience with welding machines. Because of high business, many irrelevant companies are selling mig units so be careful.

Another important point is customer response to that brand or machine. Actually, these reviews help others to judge the performance of welders out of the box.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Which gas is used for shielding in mig welding?

CO2 gas is used to shield the weld pool, although argon gas can be added to CO2 for more appealing welds. This mixture helps to stabilize the gas, preventing spatters on the weld surface.

Q2: Why do we use spool gun?

The spool gun is mandatory for mig aluminum welding. It helps in reliable wire feeding for the aluminum.

Q3: Which is the best unit to weld thick metals?

Welding thick metal parts are best done using 220-volt units since heavier items require more energy, and these models provide more power than others.

Conclusion

The list of GMAW machines is too vast but you can find the best mig welder from this list. We have reviewed all the machines after proper testing and checking. If you’re still undecided about which unit is best for you, here are a few suggestions from the bottom of my heart.

Forney East Weld 261Compact Size Machine

Lotos MIG 175Rated Welder

Hobart Handler 140 MVPDesigned for Specialists

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