What to Consider When Buying a Top MIG Welder
If you’re the type who prefers to repair or salvage something that is broken instead of simply tossing it out, you most probably have gone through your share of the best MIG welder reviews. MIG welding is just one type of welding process that can work well in some applications but not in all. This doesn’t discount the fact that you need to be well-informed on what elements to check out in a machine for this particular process.
Thermal Overload Protection
When considering any product from those featured in the best MIG welder reviews, be sure that your prospect has thermal load protection. This innovative feature switches the unit off then activates a visual alert light to tell you when the duty cycle is exceeded or if the airflow is blocked. In some models, the machine will automatically reset once the fault is corrected and the MIG welder cools down.
With thermal overload protection, you get not just safety but an assurance of longer tool life.
While we’re on the topic of safety, it is best to put your money in a machine equipped with solid-state contactor circuit, which keeps the wire electrically disabled until you pull the trigger. This element makes the welder safe and the torch easy to position before you start the process.
The MIG welding process is designed for general repair and maintenance, home repair, farm and ranch purposes and auto body. That being said, it is but natural to expect the best MIG welder 2021 to be capable of providing more than just the ability to work on the common materials for this process such as steel, aluminum alloys and stainless steel. Some models can also handle copper, magnesium, nickel, silicon bronze and other alloys. Other machines are usable for applications that need extra welding power, including trailer hitches and frames, tool carts, lawn and garden equipment, fences, metal sculpture, PTO attachments, etc.
Some models can be used for Flux-Cored Welding as well, which is a wire-feed process that doesn’t require a shielding gas.
With a voltage control selector, you can fine tune the arc to a smooth, consistent arc that can be applied on all thicknesses, including mild steel from 24 gauge to 1/8 inch thick.
The money you save on a cheaper MIG welder will just be spent on getting a second machine if the low-end unit breaks down beyond repair. The top rated MIG welders 2021 typically come with a slightly higher price but quality does pay for itself in the long run.
Slightly more expensive units come with a wire feed control that automatically adapts to the required power. They can also have a quality wire feed mechanism and wire feed motor.
Amp ratings can vary between 90 amps to 180 amps, ideal for maximum thicknesses from 2.0 or 3.0 mm to 5 or 7.5 mm. Minimum amps may be pegged from 20 to 30 amps.
A good duty cycle is a huge plus. This refers to the percentage of every five or ten minute period that the user can weld before the unit overheats. To illustrate, a 60% duty cycle at 100 amps over ten minutes means the machine can run continuously for 6 minutes at 100 amps before requiring a 4 minute break. Fan cooling can elevate the duty cycle in some models.
Top Rated MIG Welders in 2021
Investing in a MIG welder requires that you do the corresponding amount of research to ensure you are a more informed buyer. For people who aren’t willing to put some time into getting enough information about any purchase, this may prove to be inconvenient indeed. In order to make things easier, we present three quality products that are worth the money.
Engineered and assembled in the USA, the Hobart 500559 Handler MIG welder can tackle 24 gauge to ¼-inch mild steel effortlessly. Running on 115 volt household current, this machine has minimum and maximum amp ratings of 25 and 140, respectively. It boasts an industrial cast aluminum drive system that ensures a quality build for reliable durability. The Hobart 500559 Handler is the brand’s most popular wire feed welder that comes at a pocket friendly price. It requires no additional kits as it is optimized for MIG welding applications. The Hobart Handler is a portable machine that is easy to transport so it can be brought anywhere.
The Hobart 500559 Handler MIG welder offers a stable arc performance and is extremely versatile. Use it to do household repairs, auto body work or heavy farm projects that need extra welding power. The five-position tapped voltage control selector enables you to control the arc to be a smooth, stable component suitable for all thicknesses. The heavy duty work clamp enhances the value of this machine to deliver industrial performance. Easy to setup and use, the Hobart 500559 Handler MIG welder is great for even first time welders seeking to do DIY welding projects.
Able to weld all types of carbon steel, the Pro-Series MMIG125 is ideal for small to medium size welding jobs in the home, garage or farm. The Pro-Series MMIG125 is equipped with thermal overload protection, which is a unique safety feature that turns the machine off when the duty cycle is exceeded or the airflow is blocked. Once the MIG welder cools down or the problem is corrected, the machine automatically resets. This ensures lasting durability and operator safety. With two voltage settings, the machine can handle maximum metal thicknesses of 18 gauge and 3/16 inch while operating off a standard 120 volt outlet.
The Pro-Series MMIG125 has a minimum amp rating of 80 and a maximum of 125, enabling it to handle various thicknesses. It has a duty cycle of 20% at 80 amps, meaning it can run for two minutes at 80 amps before it needs to cool down. The Pro-Series MMIG125 ships with the needed accessories for out-of-the-box functionality:ground cable with clamp; welding gun; face shield; brush hammer; spool of flux cored wire.
Designed to get into confined or tough spaces, this welder runs with little splatter. It can weld stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, copper, magnesium, nickel, silicon bronze and other alloys.
Capable of welding up to 1/8-inch mild steel, the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG welder offers versatile use. It can handle both MIG and flux-cored applications easily. Deriving its power from household 115 volt current, the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 boasts a solid-state cold contactor safety feature that ensures the welding wire remains electrically inactive until the operator presses the gun trigger. It has a duty cycle of 20 percent at 70 amps, meaning it can run for two minutes at 70 amps before requiring that it cool down.
The handy MIG welder is a compact and portable machine that is easy to transport due to its light weight.This user-friendly machine is equipped with four voltage settings plus continuous wire feed speed adjustment so you can weld mild steel from gauge 24 to 1/8 inch thick. The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 starts easy as it ships with everything you need in the package: work cable and clamp; gun and cable assembly; gas regulator and hose; gas nozzle; contact tips; hand shield with lens and filter plate; spool of solid, flux-cored, self-shielded wire; chipping brush/hammer.
Just get some shielding gas and the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 is ready to go. You also get a one-year warranty on parts and labor and 90 days on the gun and cable.