Finding a MIG welder that produces quality welds and serves you for a lifetime can be a hectic task – especially when the under $500 threshold. However, you don’t have to worry because I (Jaxon J.) and my fellow welder friends have made this list of best MIG welders under $500 to buy in 2021.
I’ve been working in the welding industry for years and we have worked with almost all welders that are reviewed below. So, let’s just not waste any more time and start introducing you to our top picks for best welders under 500.
Best Deal Around $500
Hobart Handler 140 is certainly the best MIG welding machine you can get around $500. The built-in wire feeding system, multiple voltage settings, and thermal overload protection system make it the best deal.
The machine has an input voltage of 115V, so it can run a regular power outlet at home. Certainly, the best choice for beginners and intermediate welders.
A Quick Comparison
|Hobart 500559 140 Handler||Check Price|
|Forney Easy Weld 140 MP||Check Price|
|Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy||Check Price|
|LOTOS MIG140 AMP||Check Price|
|Forney 291 Easy Weld||Check Price|
|WeldPro MIG155GSV 155 AMP Inverter||Check Price|
Best MIG Welders Under $500 Reviews
1. Hobart 500559 140 Handler MIG
Power Settings: 5-position voltage control selector; Hobart 140 handler operates off standard household current.
Hobart 140 Handler is a compact flux-core and MIG welding unit. Even though its features are comparable to other welders out there, its amperage range is quite extraordinary. It deserved the top place on this list of best MIG welders under $500.
The duty cycle, 20% at 90 amperes is quite enough for household welding projects. Hobart 140 handler’s MIT function allows the user to weld thin materials including aluminum and stainless steel. However, the flux-core function can be used to weld slightly thicker materials.
Hobart 140 welding unit has an input power of 115V, it is suitable for thin metal and steel sheets up to 3/16 inches. It can also weld steel sheets of 1/4″ thickness. However, I’d recommend getting a 230V welder for thicker metal sheets.
if you come across thick metal sheets, feel free to learn more about the Hobart 210 MVP. It runs both on 115V and 230V.
Therefore, making it a great choice for home repairs, maintenance, and construction.
Hobart 140 Handler can work on its best with an input power of 115V. For better results, you will need a 20AMP circuit – you can have one installed in your garage (if not already there).
Though can use it on 15A circuit, but with compromised duty cycle and welding quality. There’s no doubt that Hobart 140 Handler is a highly rated welder under $500. Though it gets a few complaints, I doubt that it’s due to the inadequate input power.
Invest in a 20-amp circuit to achieve maximum performance of the welder unit.
2. Forney Easy Weld 140 MP
Power Settings: 3-position selector to change between MIG welder, stick welder, and TIG welder.
Forney Easy Weld 140 MP is the only best MIG welder under 500 with the ability to switch between 3 processes, MIG welding, TIG welding, and stick welding. The versatile, 3-in-1 unit allows you to perform gas-shielded and flux-core welding when it comes to MIG welding.
The TIG welder mode can only be operated in DC mode but that’s the best you can expect from a welder under 500. The lift arc start function protects your tungsten. However, you can’t weld aluminum with the unit’s TIG welder.
Forney easy weld offers an amperage output of 140 at 120V. A multi-process welder with high power output will help you weld thick materials. And, let’s not forget the unit’s easy interface- one switch to change between 3 processes. However, you will have to change the welding torch and polarities manually.
Novice welders can use wire speed and infinite voltage control settings for absolute precision.
3. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy Welder
Power Settings: 4-position voltage selector; operates on an input voltage of 115V.
Are you looking for a small yet best MIG welder under 500? Do you want to invest in a welder for everyday house projects and activities? If yes, Lincoln Electric k2185-1 handy is a great choice.
It is probably one of the best MIG welders under $500 because you can weld using 4 varying voltage settings. The highest voltage setting of the unit will allow you to weld thicker materials. The convenient yet low voltage input makes it perfect for household projects.
As suggested by the manufacturer, it is compact and lightweight. The unit is fairly easy to carry around as the rugged case includes a comfortable handle.
Lincoln k-2185 handy performs MIG as well as flux-core welding. This convenient welder was designed to perform at low amperage. Hence, reducing the overall cost of a welding project.
Due to minimal functions, it is easy to use, especially for novice welders. Moreover, the cold contractor safety feature keeps the wires cold until you pull the gun’s trigger.
Use the maximum voltage for smooth arc and make sure you use flux-cored wire.
4. LOTOS MIG140 AMP Welder
Power Settings: 2T/4T switch with digital displays for fine voltage and wire feed speed control.
The Lotos 140 amp easily made it on our list of ‘best MIG welder under 500’ for its ability to weld without gas. With output amperage from 30 A to 140 A, you can weld a lot of materials including stainless steel and aluminum.
While the unit is ideal for MIG welding, you won’t be disappointed to use it for flux-core welding. Lotos 140 amp can be used with or without gas, however, you won’t get a gas cylinder.
Unlike other models, this unit has an aluminum wire feeder and thermal-cut protection system to avoid damage from overheat or power overload. This feature does not only protects the built-in components but also extends their lifespan. Therefore, making it a great choice.
The 2017 version of this welder unit has a 2T/4T switch and 2 digital display controls to vary voltage and wire feed speed precisely. The manual/semi-automatic switch allows the user to adjust the voltage and wire speed feed at the same time. Moreover, it displays accurate digits on the displays so you can weld conveniently.
Use the ground cable quick connector to switch between negative and positive polarities.
5. Forney 291 Easy Weld
Input Power: 120/230 V
Duty Cycle: 30% for 120V and 25% for 230V
Weight: 14 lbs.
Amperage: 10-90 A; 10-180 A
Power Settings: Dual voltage settings; 230/120 input power and adapter.
Forney 291 Easy Weld is a fantastic machine for amateurs and the best welder under 500, as claimed by the manufacturer. With this unit, you do not need to buy separate machines as you can do stick and MIG welding when working on different projects.
Forney is known for creating easy machines and 291 is no exception. With accessible and easy-to-use controls, you can switch between modes (dual voltage settings) and control wire feed speed even while wearing thick welding gloves.
Moreover, the unit is generator-friendly. It can provide a stable arc when operated on a power generator. The welder unit package includes various accessories including a ground clamp, an electrode holder, a 230-120 power adapter (for dual voltage mechanism), and a power cord.
Forney 291 easy weld is conveniently portable. You can even move it around the yard all day or lend it to a family member for quick welding work. That being said, a lightweight structure does not mean it can’t compete with the best MIG welder under 500. At 180 amps, it can weld ½” thick steel.
Produces quite a stable arc with a power generator. The lift start features also eliminates the need for a foot pedal.
6. WeldPro MIG155GSV 155 AMP Inverter
Power Settings: Dual input voltage selector with heat and adjustable wire speed settings.
The Weldpro Stick/MIG Welder has everything to offer that the best welder under 500 does. It is compact, portable, ideal, and offers unparalleled welding opportunities. The innovative features of the unit enhance its value.
Like other welder units, Weldpro 155 provides infinitely adjustable wire feed and heat settings. You can adjust both the settings for a perfect weld. The unique reactor circuit control short-circuiting and mixed transfers, resulting in better performance.
Moreover, the dual voltage settings allow you to use it for both, household and industrial projects.
The welder does not create electromagnetic noise and creates less splatter as compared to other MIG welders. The rugged case does not include tapped controls, usually found on other inexpensive welder units.
If we talk about accessories, the packaging includes a MIG torch, a MIG gun, a quick connector, an electrode holder, a gas hose, a cable, clamps, a hammered brush, a flow meter, and a sample flux-core and MIG welding wire. All of the accessories will help you get started right away.
The innovative safety features prevent the components of the machine from getting damaged. However, the various features prove to be a weakness as it gets difficult for novice welders to dabble between the welder’s functionalities.
Switch to 220V voltage if you want to weld ¼” thick material with the stick welder.
7. HITBOX 200 AMP MIG Welder
Power Settings: Display screen with controls is available to monitor voltage settings and wire feed speed.
It will take a glance to tell that this welder unit is ideal for house-based welding projects. Hitbox 200 AMP MIG is robust, versatile, powerful, and light if you need to move from site to site. The Hitbox welding machine comes with a euro connector and twisting large gauge connectors.
Moreover, the digital system allows you to control and monitor voltage settings easily. The power switch and membrane controller are dustproof for added protection and visibility.
Hitbox uses 220 DCV power input with reverse polarity to ensure that welders have a higher arc work as compared to those that use AC.
As an amateur welder, you would be much satisfied with the machine’s performance, however, the package does not include a spoon gun. This can be a big disadvantage for most people. The unit does not come with an instruction manual. So, you might need help if you are learning to weld or beginning with a project.
The machine is quite capable to produce high welds in all types of home-based welding projects. In the end, welding power is all that matters for a welder.
It’s a multi-process welder so if you want to make clean welds, there’s always an option to switch to TIG welding mode.
8. Reboot MIG130 Gas and Gasless Welder
Power Settings: Infinite voltage and wire feed speed control selector.
Reboot MIG 130 is a top-class welder unit for entry-level users. It equips all the necessary accessories and provides a great welding experience. Even though it does not have a dual voltage input system, it is equipped with advanced IGBT inverter technology so that welders can make the best selection while doing multiple welding projects at once.
The power overload and overheat protection system of the unit is phenomenal. The exceptional versatility of the unit offers unlimited welding opportunities.
The IGBT inverter technology provides seamless amperage control, excellent arc stability, force adjustability, hot start, and anti-sticking function. This arc welder is the best for beginners, provided it has a duty cycle of 60%- enough for smooth welding. Due to its lightweight structure, it is portable.
Reboot MIG 130 also allows you to do TIG welding, however, you have to buy the TIG torch separately. The unit is ideal for metal fabrication, repair, maintenance work, and DIY projects. The switching frequency is almost inaudible, thus, preventing noise pollution.
If you want to weld through a galvanized or rusted surface, switch to gasless MIG welding mode.
Buyer’s Guide to The Best MIG Welder Under $500
First time buying a MIG welder? You’ve landed on the right page. If you have browsed enough, you probably already know that MIG welders are quite expensive and some models go as high as $2000.
All the MIG welders reviewed above are best in their price range. The question is, “what can be the best choice for you?” and that depends on your usage.
So, let’s find you a cheap MIG welder that is not only under $500 but will also serve you for a very long time.
Following are some important factors that you should consider before making the final purchase decision.
We have highlighted the amperage range of each welder on this list. If you are not aware, amperage is the capacity of any MIG welder to weld different gauge metals. The higher the amperage, the hotter the welder can get, and you’ll be able to produce quality welds on thicker metals.
To give you a close estimate, note that 1 amp can weld 0.001 inches of metal thickness. That makes it 125 amps for 0.125 inches.
I use the following settings for any quality welder like Hobart, Forney, Lincoln Electric, or Weldpro:
In my experience, you should buy a MIG welder with amps range slightly more than your daily use. Who knows what you come across someday?
Duty cycle is another key factor to consider when buying a MIG welder. It is the time that your MIG can weld before it needs to cool down. Duty cycle is measured in 10 minutes duration. For example, if the duty cycle of a welder is 30%, it can weld for 3 minutes before you must give it a rest.
In my experience, for beginners to intermediate level welders, a MIG welder with 20% or more duty cycle is good enough. We hardly use a welder for more than 2 minutes continuously.
If your MIG welder is just going to sit in your garage or backyard, then the weight shouldn’t be a problem.
However, if you’re most likely to move it around, make sure to choose a portable welder. Otherwise, you’ll need a wheeled cart to transport it. Some MIG welders seem portable but the added weight of the gas can make them quite heavy to transport. Keep that in mind!
As the name suggests, input power is the voltage a welder needs to work. Now, we’ve all kinds of MIG welders on our list so you’ve quite some options to choose from.
Make sure the welder you select supports the power outlet at your place or you might need a special power outlet to make it work. I suggest choosing a 110-140 volts MIG welder as the standard power outlets are of the same range.
Will $500 Welder Features Be Enough for Me?
Well, MIG welders under 500 can’t offer the same features as compared to premium machines that are worth three times. However, you still get MIG, stick, flux core, and TIG welding functionalists with some models above.
About the high-end features, the beast LOTOS 175MIG offers 2T/4T switch that allows you to instantly switch from manual to a complete automatic welding feed trigger. How’s that?
Rest assured that the welders on our list are the best welder deal under $500.
FAQ- Frequenty Asked Questions
All welders on our list are from reputed manufacturers and have thousands of satisfied customers. Moreover, most of them are tested personally by us.
To have a better insight, we’ve included a pro tip with each MIG welder that should help you work out your welding tasks.
In a nutshell, our favorite amongst them all is the Hobart 500559 140 Handler and Forney Easy Weld 140 AMP.
Your ideal choice depends on your usage and with all the useful information and a detailed buying guide, I hope you’ll be able to select the best choice for your welding ventures.
In case of any question or suggestion, feel free to leave a reply or simply fill this contact us form.