Expert Buying Advice for MIG Welders under 400
MIG welding is easy for beginner welders, which is why it’s becoming a more viable option these days. Just as with other types of welding though, you are going to need the right tool if you want to get good results. MIG welders can be expensive, but don’t worry because this guide will give you reasonably priced options. Before anything else, you’ll need to know what makes the best MIG welder under 400.
Never choose a MIG welder for price alone. Understandably, you would prefer a cheaper MIG welder, but note that China–made welders typically have low quality. However, keep in mind that just because a MIG welder is pricey does not mean that it is high quality, although generally, the more expensive it gets, the better the quality. A MIG welder should have decent wire feed units (e.g. wire feed motor) and electronics. The best MIG welder under 400 also usually features automatic wire feed control.
Good quality MIG welders can make clean welds on stainless, steel, and aluminum. Adjustable settings (mid to high welding speeds) are also convenient for those who engage in a variety of activities and projects. Take a look at the specifications list closely, particularly the minimum and maximum amps. Your choice should depend on how often you’ll be welding, and the thickness of the material you’re going to weld. A minimum of 30 amps should work fine on 1.0mm sheet. For 3mm steel, 130 amps max is required. If you’re going to be working on auto chassis, you might need higher amps.
This is the amount of time that you could use the MIG welder without having to put it down to allow it to cool. The really cheap ones usually have a duty cycle of 10%, which means that for an hour you’ll be spending on a project, you only actually get to weld for only about 6 minutes – the rest would have to be spent allowing the machine to cool down. Of course, you probably won’t have to weld for an entire hour. Still, higher duty cycles mean that you get to do more welding. A 20% duty cycle would be pretty sweet for MIG welders below $400.
Most Reliable MIG Welders Under 400
Even with these specific pointers, it can take a while to browse through all of the MIG welders in the market for comparison. To help you in finding the best welder for your needs and budget, here are three suggestions.
This 70-amp entry-level MIG welder can help you complete your welding projects quickly with its compact, lightweight, and portable features. It’s easy to handle, which makes it perfect for beginner welders. It also has the cold contactor safety feature, which keeps the welding wire “cold” until you press the gun trigger. It may be small but it comes with decent speed adjustment features. It features continuous wire feed adjustment and 4 voltage settings. With this MIG welder, you can work on steel ranging from the 24 gauge variety to those with 1/8” thickness. The 20% duty cycle is pretty rare for its price range too.
If you are a complete newbie to welding, the Handy MIG Welder is a good choice because the package comes with all the parts and tools you need to get started, from the spool of solid wire, work cable and clamp, gas regulator and hose, gun and cable assembly, to the contact tips and hand shield. The model is ideal for small welding projects. It is portable so it can be easily transported to different locations.
The Hobart 500495 Handler 125 MIG Welder is a beginner-friendly, mid-range machine. At this price range, it offers versatility that is pretty hard to match. It can be used to run solid wire, stainless steel wire, and flux-cored wire. It does not come with a shielding gas but the package comes with a 10 ft work lead, 6 ft power cord, 8 ft gun assembly, and some flux-cored wire so you can use it for welding right out of the box. It’s easy to assemble and comes with a built-in gas valve, so once you’re done with the setup, you can already start welding.
It has dual-groove drive rolls that make it possible to switch wire sizes without the need to slow down. It also has a built-in contact safety feature which keeps the wire electrically cold when not in use. This model also has voltage settings you can use to make adjustments for different materials and metal thickness.
All in all, it’s a great choice for those who need a durable MIG welder that can be used for simple welding tasks.
This model is a bit pricier but is definitely worth it considering the higher amp output when compared to the other MIG welders in this list. It will not let you down in terms of performance and capacity. A 20% duty cycle is already great at this price range, but the Everlast Power MIG 140E blows the competition away with its 35% duty cycle. Its maximum amps rating is at 140, which means that it can be used for a wide variety of materials.
The higher amp output is made possible by the IGBT design which also reduces power consumption and consequently, your carbon foot print. Operation is also relatively quiet. At 20 pounds and with dimensions of 17” x 8” x 14”, it is easy to transport.
If you have already tried MIG welding, you can easily get used to this model, thanks to the basic, familiar design. Assembly can get a little tricky though, but taking a look at the manual should help with that.