Are you looking for the beginner’s best MIG welder? Look no more we got you covered.
Welding metal can be one of the most satisfying experiences imaginable. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of turning on your welder and bending sheets of raw metal to your will.
There are other welding options out there, but few offer a better combination of power, accuracy, and versatility. MIG welders can be used by hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts, and professionals alike.
That begs the question, however – which MIG welders are best, and what do they have to offer?
Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use mig welders.
Short on time? Take a look at my top 10 Best MIG welders:
3. Miller Electric 120/240VAC
Table of Contents
Is ARC or MIG Better for Beginners?
MIG welding is considered the most beginner-friendly type of welding. It is a fast and easy process to learn, and it is forgiving of mistakes. On the other hand, stick welding is also easy to learn and versatile, but it has limitations for welding very thin metals and requires frequent rod changes.
Ultimately, the choice between MIG and stick welding depends on the type of material you are welding and the project’s size and scope. For larger and thicker materials, MIG welding is the better option, while stick welding is more suitable for versatile welding needs.
What Is The Easiest Welder to Use?
For beginners, the easiest welder to use is MIG welding. MIG welding, also known as metal inert gas welding, is often considered the most beginner-friendly type of welding. It uses a wire welding electrode on a spool that is fed automatically to the weld joint.
This makes MIG welding easier to learn and allows for a cleaner weld with less cleanup required.
However, it is recommended to start with stick welding before proceeding to MIG welding. TIG welding is also a common welding technique, but it requires more skill and experience.
Smart MIG welders are even more user-friendly and require less skill from the beginner.
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
Here you can find our Overall #1 Rated Pick.
The Hobart Handler 210 MVP is the best MIG welder out there.
Purchase: I really like the Hobart Handler 210 MVP. It’s not terribly expensive but gets amazing reviews. If you are interested in this, then just follow the link to Amazon where you can see current pricing.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes a good MIG welder, 10 of the best MIG welders on the market, and how you can choose which one is right for you.
Each of these MIG welders have their own pros and cons and are designed to tackle different tasks.
Read also >> How Many Amps Do I Really Need for a MIG Welder?
Read also >> Why is My Mig Welder Pulsing? How To Fix That
1. Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder
- Dual-voltage (115V/230V)
- Seven voltage settings
- Fine-tuned precision
- Quick change drive roll system
✔️ The first thing that stands out about this MIG welder is its dual voltage capabilities. It starts at 115V and can go all the way up to 230V, more than enough to handle most professional jobs.
A multi-voltage plug makes changing voltages and tasks as easy as changing plugs. With seven voltage settings, this unit can run the gamut of welding tasks.
It is also reasonably portable, making it a good choice for situations where ease of movement is key.
✔️ Of special note is this model’s duty cycle. It boasts 20% at 90 amps and 30% at 150 amps, allowing you to weld longer without the unit overheating. This can be especially useful for jobs that require extended welding times.
No one wants to have to stop and start in the middle of an intense welding session. When the heat is on, this welding system is up to the task.
✔️ The quick change drive roll system also stands out. The accessibility of this model makes it remarkably easy to change settings without having to use any tools.
With all of these features, it should come as no surprise that this unit is priced among the higher tier of MIG welders. Some users have also reported that the control board is more fragile than other models, and can burn out early.
✔️ That aside, this is one of the best MIG welder options for a combination of power, convenience, a good duty cycle, and an accessible drive roll system.
- 230V max voltage
- Seven voltage settings give you a wide range of options
- Good drive roll system
- Good duty cycle
- Professionally priced in the higher tier among MIG welders
- Control panel can be more fragile than other models
2. Forney Easy Weld 140 MP
- 10′ MIG gun
- 8′ electrode holder
- All metal case
- 3 in 1 setup
✔️ This MIG welder features a 3 in 1 setup that offers a Stick, MIG, and TIG Welder. That gives you a lot of options in one package, making this a quite versatile option.
It doesn’t come with TIG accessories, which can be a bit of a minus, but the very fact that you have these three options to begin with is a plus that more than makes up for it.
This is arguably the best MIG welder for switching between settings easily.
✔️ The voltage settings and wire feed make this an easy model to control, though it can splatter more than some other MIG welders.
The casing is on the larger side without being too obtrusive. This is a case built to last. It is big enough to handle between two and ten pounds of wire.
✔️ This model does not come with a regulator. Given how useful those are in tracking your gas levels and usage, that is a bit of a minus, though it is worth noting that, as is, this model is on the affordable side.
However, this is a very generator-friendly model, boasting a minimum rated continuous output of around 4,500W and, among other things, can handle farm and light industrial work nicely.
- Stick, MIG, and TIG welding options
- Easy to switch between settings
- Can handle lots of wire
- Is generator-friendly
- Affordable unit
- TIG accessories not included
- Can splatter more than other models
- Regulator sold separately
3. Miller Electric 120/240VAC
- 30 to 230V output DC
- 10’ MIG gun
- 10’ work cable
- Dual gauge regulator
- Input voltage 240V AC
✔️ This is another good example of a model with a considerable upside in terms of voltage, boasting as much as 230V output. It comes with a large 10’ MIG gun as well as a 10’ work cable, giving you sizeable options for each.
While bigger isn’t always better, especially in a field that requires as much of a marriage between finesse and power as MIG welding, this model’s larger options are a definite plus.
✔️ It also has a large range of voltage output at 30 to 230A DC. This is good because it allows for a wide range of different options in this regard.
If you are looking to do some hobby welding, you should have more than enough power for that. On the other hand, there is still more than enough power in this unit to take care of minor to medium-range maintenance and repair jobs.
It shouldn’t shock anyone to learn that MIG welding can be a bit noisy. Still, this offering from Miller Electric distinguishes itself in part with just how quiet it is.
The model is a bit fast, and because of that, it may not be the best for beginners. For experienced welders, however, this may be the best MIG welder for those looking for a quiet option.
- 230V output at the high end
- Large MIG gun and work cable
- Quiet operation
- Can be a bit fast
- Not for beginners
4. Lincoln Electric Co K2698-1
- 208 to 230V input
- Brass to brass MIG gun
- Numeric drive tension indicator
✔️ This is another model that tops out at around 230V input. That amount of power as delivered by the brass to brass MIG gun included with this model should be more than enough for farm work as well as light automotive and DIY home work.
The practical upshot of all of that is that this model can weld thicker materials than some of the lighter options on this list.
✔️ Adding to its value is a two knob control system that makes it easy to control the model. In keeping with that added control, this unit boasts a smooth arc, which in turn translates into smoother welds and less splattering.
This is also another model that is on the quiet side for a MIG welder.
✔️ The drive indicator included with the model can help you evaluate at a glance the optimal range for different diameter wires.
Some users have found the MIG gun to be too short. The quality of welds with this unit have also been called into question for a lack of consistency.
Even so, if you can solve those issues, or don’t experience them at all, this can be one of the best MIG welder options for farm use especially.
- Good for auto, home, and farm fabrication
- Easy-to-use, two-knob control system
- Drive indicator helps you identify the optimal ranges for wire diameters
- Smooth arc
- Less splattering than other models
- Can weld thicker metals
- Quiet operation
- Short MIG gun
- Unpredictable welds
5. LOTOS MIG175 175AMP
- 175-amp MIG Welder
- High-speed MIG gun
- Input voltage between 220 and 240V AC.
- Argon regulator
✔️ The first thing to note about this model is that it’s durable. While that’s true of pretty much all of the MIG welders on this list to varying extents, it warrants special mention here given how well this model is able to handle the pressure, especially when it comes to handling aluminum.
It has a first-class aluminum wire feeder and does a great job of feeding it consistently and without a hitch.
✔️ This may, therefore, be the best MIG welder for dealing specifically with aluminum. This in turn can make it a good option for the types of welding jobs where that metal is particularly prevalent, such as automotive and hobby-related welding.
✔️ That said, this MIG welder is also good for other welding tasks as well. Given the right setup, it can also handle everything from stainless and mild steel to other metal alloys.
The fact that the gun offers high-speed welding is definitely a nice touch. You never want to find yourself getting bogged down in a long job with no end in sight.
As with other fast MIG welders, this may make it a bit difficult for inexperienced welders.
That said, this remains a solid choice for welding different metals – and especially aluminum – for hobbyist and light automotive purposes.
- Works well with aluminum
- Can work with stainless and mild steel
- Good voltage
- Fast rate can make it difficult to handle for new welders
6. Weldpro 155 Amp Inverter MIG/Stick
- 220V input
- Can weld can weld up to ¼” of mild steel
- IGBT inverter design
- Automatic overheating protection
✔️ The first thing to note about this MIG welder is that it is far and away one of the most affordable options on this list.
That combined with its relative accessibility makes it one of the best MIG welder choices for new welders as well as those operating on a budget.
✔️ This is also a very compact MIG welder. While you might be a hobbyist in love with the MIG welding world, you may not have a ton of space in which to fit a behemoth of a unit. If this sounds familiar, then this might well be the MIG welding option for you.
✔️ This unit also has the ability to run on anywhere from 110V/115V to 220V/230V. That makes this an incredibly versatile option, which is doubly impressive for how affordable this option is.
This also means that this option is on the lighter and more portable side, so if moving your welder from site to site is a huge concern, this may be one option to consider. The output voltage is around 115V to 230V.
The 4T design also means you don’t have to hold down the trigger to weld effectively. Some users have expressed concern about how long this unit will last. That said, for such an affordable rate and that many features in a small package, it may be worth the risk.
- Affordably priced
- Compact design
- Extra heat protection
- Good for out of position welding
- Longevity may be an issue
7. MIG Welder Flux Core Gasless
- Gas and gasless design
- Multi use options
- Duty cycle of 70%
✔️ If you are looking for the best MIG welder for gasless options, you may well have found your answer in this model. Most of the other models on this list make use of gas, and that’s certainly the main choice for most welders today.
That said, if you’ve decided that gasless is the way to go, this option allows you to weld without it – and if you ever change your mind, it has a separate setup for gas as well.
When using the gas option, you’ll be able to take advantage of a duty cycle of around 70%.
This can enable you to weld for extended periods of time without having to worry about the unit overheating.
✔️ This makes it a surprisingly versatile option, especially given that this is another model that ranks on the more affordable side.
The unit has a rated current output of around 150. It can take care of a variety of different types of metal, including stainless steel.
✔️ There are a few things to look out for when using this unit, beginning with consistency. Some users have complained that the model has quit on them.
Alternatively, some have reported that it can give off particles, which can lead to bumpier results.
That said, with this being another affordably priced model, the risk may be worth the reward.
- Allows for both gas and gasless options
- 70% duty cycle
- Versatile usage options
- Affordable model
- Can give off particles
- May have consistency issues
8. SUNGOLDPOWER 200Amp MIG MAG ARC
- Multifunction setup allows for 110V/220V dual voltage
- Offers MIG, MAG, ARC, and MMA welding options
- IGBT inverter design
- Gasless options
- Gas shielding
- Adjustable wire feed
✔️ There is a lot to like about this model, beginning with the fact that it is another MIG welder that boasts a multifunction setup.
You can switch between MIG, MAG, ARC, and MMA welding setups, making this one of the most versatile welding options on this list.
✔️It is also another model that makes use of a gasless option while still allowing for it as well. As with the other options listed above, you can switch between gas and gasless options with ease.
The adjustable wire feed also makes it that much easier to suit your welding style to the task at hand.
✔️ In addition, this model can handle both mild and stainless steel as well as aluminum and different types of metal alloys. This gives you a lot of options when welding, which is always a plus.
At between 110 and 220, this is another MIG welder that offers a good range of voltage options, though some users have reported the model as being low on the amp side.
All of these factors make it one of the best MIG welder choices for handling welding jobs as well as auto repair.
- Compatible with both gas and gasless setups
- The selector switch makes it easy to toggle between guns and settings
- Can handle a wide range of different types of metals
- Some users have reported low amp
9. HITBOX MIG Welder 200Amp Inverter MIG ARC
- Capable of handling a wide range of welding wire
- 100% duty cycle
- Multifunction machine with MIG, TIG, and ARC welding options
- Gas and gas-less options
✔️ This is another option that can handle a wide range of welding possibilities, beginning with the potential to weld stainless steel and even iron.
The latter can be notoriously tricky to weld even for experienced MIG welders.
That said, this is also another welder that offers a multifunction setup, allowing users to toggle between MIG, TIG, and ARC. In doing so, it makes welding iron and some other materials that might otherwise be difficult to weld suddenly seem in reach.
✔️ This is also another choice that offers both gas and gasless setups. As mentioned with other models, that offers a much wider range of options for welding different materials.
On that note, in terms of the best MIG welder for multifunction options that can also tackle iron, stainless steel, and metal alloys.
✔️ With all of those possibilities, you might think that this would be a challenging welder to use. However, this model is actually quite accessible for newcomers.
Some users have reported issues with the packaging, and as with some other welders, consistency is a concern. That said, there is a lot to like about this model.
- The ability to toggle between MIG, TIG, and ARC options
- Gas and gasless possibilities
- Accessible for newcomers
- Can handle a wide range of metals
- Some models may have packaging issues
- Consistency can be an issue
10. ESAB EMP215IC 120/230-Volt Dual Voltage
- Multi-process performance
- MIG and TIG welding options
- Large display screen with high pixel density
- Regulator included
✔️ One of the first things you are bound to notice about this model isn’t any of its capabilities, but the fact that it’s easily one of the higher-end options in terms of price. It is certainly not a model for beginners.
That said, there is still a lot this unit has to offer, beginning with the display screen. This is by far the best MIG welder on this list in this regard, as the display monitor keeps track of your welding tasks and the status of your unit is easy to read and boasts high-pixel display quality.
✔️ The unibody steel nature of this model’s construction makes it quite durable without being too hefty. On the contrary, this is actually a reasonably portable model.
This makes it a good choice for those with jobs that require them to take their MIG welders from site to site to weld different materials.
You can weld everything from aluminum to stainless steel with this model, and do so without having to lug around a heavy bulk of metal yourself.
This is helped by the fact that this model boasts a solid voltage input and output at 120/230V.
All of this makes that initial starting price potentially worth it for professionals.
- Large display screen makes tracking your unit’s status easier than ever
- Ability to weld different metals with ease
- Sturdy construction
- Portable unit
- On the expensive side
- Not necessarily designed for beginners
What To Consider When MIG Welding
Whether you’re a hobbyist or professional welder, these six factors are essential for evaluating MIG welding equipment.
1. Know What You’re Welding
First thing’s first – you need to know what kind of metal you’ll be welding. While it is tempting to try and go for a “one size fits all” solution when choosing tools, that simply is not possible when it comes to MIG welding.
Different metals require different welding approaches, and that includes different tools, amperages, and voltages.
If you are welding a few pieces of aluminum together, chances are you won’t need the most powerful MIG welder in the world.
Conversely, if you are trying to weld together solid steel, a little lightweight MIG welder won’t do, and you’ll need to turn to something at the upper end of the power and voltage scale.
These, however, are extreme examples at opposite ends of the welding spectrum. Most metals lie somewhere in between.
What’s more, many metal objects and parts that you may wish to weld are bound to be alloys composed of two or more types of metal.
Knowing what kind of metals make up the object you’re trying to weld and what their ratio is to one another in the object’s composition is key to making sure that you’re selecting the right MIG welder for the job.
2. Amount of Voltage
One of the most important questions for any welder to consider is how much voltage they want to work with. The greater either of these are, the more powerful your welding and, thus, the more you need to be able to control.
It is important to note that lower voltage circuits cannot power higher voltage MIG welders. If you are using a 120 volt circuit, for example, you’ll need to stick to voltage levels of 120 and below.
If you are just doing some welding as a DIY enthusiast or hobbyist, you’ll want to go for lower-end voltage and amperage. More power is necessary for bigger welding jobs and thicker materials.
If you’re just doing some light hobbyist welding, 110 to 120 volts should be sufficient for most hobbies. If you are a professional, on the other hand, you may require a voltage of up to 230 to 240 volts.
There is obviously a lot of variety within that range, so you’ll want to consider the power output of each MIG welder, what your power outlets can handle, and your level of expertise and control when choosing the right voltage levels for your needs.
3. Spool Gun Capability
Some MIG welders come with spool gun capability, which place small spools of aluminum wire on the gun. This makes it easier to feed spools of aluminum into whatever welding project you’re using them for, making the process go faster.
On the one hand, this can be hugely convenient. On the other hand, most basic spool guns lack this capability.
4. Gas and Gas Regulator
Most types of welding require gas. That said, any time you include gas in a project, you need to make sure that you have the right kind and that it’s properly regulated.
Choosing the wrong gas or failing to keep track of how much there is and the pressure at which it is contained and used can cause things to blow up in your face – literally.
The most common blend of gases used in MIG welding jobs is 75% argon and 25% carbon dioxide. When in doubt, this is a good safe starting point much of the time. That said, the more you need to penetrate into thicker metal, the more carbon dioxide you’ll need.
Stainless steel often requires helium being added into the mix, while for the thickest metals, 100% carbon dioxide is often necessary.
You will typically also want a gas shield or similar safety mechanism to help keep the gases stored and separated safely while simultaneously keeping you safe while the gas is active.
MIG welders that can be connected to nearby gas sources can make the whole process that much easier.
Then, there are the regulators themselves. These are responsible for telling you how much gas is in the cylinders and tanks in which they are stored.
Ideally, your regulator should have dials that should tell you how much gas you still have as well as enable you to check and control the flow of gas, though not every MIG welder has these.
5. Duty Cycle
The longer you weld, the hotter your MIG welder can get, and at a certain point that heat can become dangerous if it is not properly regulated.
That’s why duty cycles are important. Duty cycles are measured in percentages, which tell you how long you weld continuously over a 10-minute period.
For example, a duty cycle of 30% would mean that you can weld continuously for three minutes over a 10-minute period before it overheats.
One difficulty with duty cycles is that they operate according to an assumed theoretical room temperature.
Given how hot things can get when welding, your room may be hotter, and you’ll need to keep that in mind and, thus, keep a close eye on your MIG welder while welding.
If it starts to show signs of overheating, stop immediately.
6. AC Versus DC
Should you use alternating or direct current machines for your MIG welding tasks? It depends on what other factors you care about most.
AC power supplies tend to be less expensive, but don’t offer as much flexibility as DC when it comes to making cuts.
Conversely, DC has more electrodes, and thus allows you to make different cuts with ease, but is often more expensive.
AC can be useful if only AC outlets are available and it is commonly used by shipbuilders, as well as maintenance and repair crews. However, it can create more splatter than DC, and often does not cut as smoothly.
By contrast, DC is often harder to control, hence why shipbuilders working in tight spaces opt for AC. That said, DC tends to be superior with vertical welding and thinner materials.
The Essence of AC/DC Capability
Few features are more important to a welder than AC/DC capability. But what does that really mean?
If you know anything about electricity at all, you probably already know AC and DC stand for “alternating” and “direct current.”
The latter is important if you plan on welding thicker pieces, while the former is better for instances where a light touch is needed.
If you plan on welding a piece of thin metal, or are welding something that is made from a softer metal such as aluminum, chances are AC will be needed.
If you are welding a thicker piece of metal, or are welding something like steel, you will probably want to use DC.
If you are looking to weld metals that are self-oxidizing, such as aluminum or magnesium, you will want to turn to AC.
This is because this type of electrical current can clear away oxidation while also cleaning the metal itself, and all without destroying it.
Direct currents, by contrast, can burn right through delicate metal and destroy it before you get a chance to weld it.
Balance Control for AC Operation
This is essential for any kind of balance control in a TIG welder making use of an AC arc. An AC balance control system lets you set the duration of the cycle.
This makes it easier for you to make the “cleaning” or “welding” cycle shorter or longer depending on what type of metal you are welding and the application for which you are using your welder.
This is a pretty basic feature, and any quality TIG welder in particular should feature balance control.
Some units automate it, while others allow you to have more control over adjusting the output amperage. Which one you prefer is up to you, but either way, consistent controlled regulation is key.
Making sure your welder has controlled balanced AC/DC welding options is essential.
Which is “best” will depend on your particular needs.
Some units offer both AC and DC options, which is obviously the best of both worlds.
Best MIG Welders FAQs
Let’s close out this page about MIG welders with answers to some of your most frequently-asked questions about them!
How Much Gas Flow Should I Use?
This is going to vary depending on the nature of your task. Too much gas and you’re basically burning money, but too little and your welding job may splatter and look sloppy. That said, 20 cubic feet is a good base number.
The thinner your material, the more you can turn down the gas. Conversely, when welding thicker materials at higher settings, you’ll likely need to turn it up a notch.
Which Setting Should I Use?
This will likewise vary depending on your job. If you’re burning holes in the metal, chances are you’ve set the power setting too high.
On the other hand, if the metal starts looking bumpy and uneven, your power setting is probably too low to effectively smooth it out like it should.
At the proper setting, your MIG welder should sound like a bee buzzing or bacon sizzling with a nice, even, consistent hissing hum.
As you can see, each of the MIG welders listed here have their own strengths. Which is “best” for you really depends on which best fit the job you’re looking to accomplish.
You will want to pay close attention to vital factors listed for each model, such as their input and output voltage levels, their setup, what metals they can handle, how portable they are, and any other special features that give them a special leg up on the competition.
By paying close attention to these features, you can find a MIG welder that can help you get the job done.