Are you just starting out as a welder? If it’s your first time buying a MIG welder for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. This post lists the 8 best MIG welders for beginners to buy in 2021.
Purchasing the most expensive or premium MIG welder on the market is not the right choice.
Some MIG welders require years of experience and technique to make quality welds. They’re specifically made for welders that have been in the business for years.
Thereby, it is recommended to conduct adequate research before you make the final purchase decision.
Hello! I’m Jaxon and I’ve used almost all kinds of welders (MIG/TIG/STICK/MULT-PROCESS welders, over the last few years. I’ve got to help you now! I, along with my welder friends, have complied this top-rated MIG welder list for beginners.
Let’s just not waste any more time and start our beginner’s MIG welder comparison.
A Quick Comparison
|Hobart 500553 Handler 210||Check Price|
|Forney 261 MIG Welder||Check Price|
|Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG welder||Check Price|
|LOTOS MIG140 Welder||Check Price|
|Super Deal MIG130 Welder||Check Price|
|MIG MMA 190A MIG/STICK Multifunctional||Check Price|
|SUNGOLDPOWDER 150A MIG Welder||Check Price|
|HOBART 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder||Check Price|
Best MIG Welders for Beginners 2021 – Our Top Picks
1. Hobart 500553 Handler 210
Hobart is a 100-year-old welder manufacturer that aims to enhance its lineup of welders with each passing year. When it comes to the best MIG welders for beginners, it’s easy to put Hobart welders on top of the list.
Hobart strives for producing efficient, powerful, and versatile MIG welders both for beginners, and expert-level welders to take on their perspective welding jobs.
The Hobart Handler 500553 210 MVP is one of the best-selling beginner welders on this list.
It is recognized as the people’s chocie for the best beginner MIG welder and has the potential to serve you for a lifetime.
The Hobart 210 MVP is a versatile welder and you can weld cast iron, cast steels, aluminum, mild steel, and more metals with this beast machine.
As a beginner, it’s hard to take a smooth hold of the machine but its high-end performance allows super-smooth welds, even for a first-timer.
This beast offers dual-voltage of 115V and 230V. Thus, you don’t need a special power outlet to use it at your place. The dual voltage system is another reason why Hobart 500553 is the best choice for both DIYers and professional welders.
Hobart 500553 is designed to be portable and easy-to-carry. Still, it can supply power-output of 210A to facilitate welds through mild steel (3/8 “) in a single pass.
The 7 different voltage settings allow fine-tuning and precise welding that results in improved arc performance, no popping, and spatter-free welding.
Moreover, the advanced drive system of Hobart Handler 210 MVP increases the performance of wire feed as compared to other machines in the same price range.
You don’t have to worry about machine assembly as the smooth drive-roll system involves 3 different types of grooves i.e. two to fit wires (separate sizes) and one for the flux-core wire.
Hobart Handler 210 MVP is one of the best MIG welders for beginners that have never disappointed us in terms of safety. The short circuit protection, built-in contactor and safe arc performance are some of the features of this machine to ensure a safe welding experience for beginners.
You won’t need third-party tools to connect the MIG welder to the power receptacles. It adjusts automatically to the input power. If you want to weld aluminum with this welder, use the spool runner 100 gun (optional) that connects directly at the device’s mouth.
2. Forney 261 MIG Welder
Forney 261 MIG welder, also known as Easy Weld 140- FC-1 easily took the second spot on our list of best beginner MIG welders.
Forney 261 MIG is great for new hobbyists and enthusiasts who are looking for light-duty, high-performance machines for their home projects.
Like Hobart Handler 5500553, it does not require any assembling. All you have to do is get it out of the box and get straight to your welding projects.
The flexible wire feed speed and infinite voltage control can get you a perfect weld on steel, mild steel, and other similar metals. If you are a perfect entry-level welder, this is one of the best MIG welders to invest in.
The power output of 140 Amperage allows you to weld steel smoothly up to ¼” (plate). However, for normal usage, it works excellent with welding sheet metal of up to 3/16” with a single pass.
Unlike most MIG welders on this list, you won’t need a wheeled cart to carry Forney 261 around. It weighs only 19 pounds – making it easy to carry and transport for any metal fabrication task, DIY project, maintenance weld, or hobbyists’ project.
The Forney 261 MIG welder pack includes an 8” ground clamp, an 8” MIG gun, a 20-15 A adapter and an integrated handle with torch wrap. It also comes with a 12-month warranty.
You can utilize the 10-speed wire feed control to vary the heat while welding.
3. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG welder
The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 is more of a convenient MIG welder rather than a powerful one. It is specifically designed for small welding projects, particularly done by beginners and hobbyists. This explains its small, easy-to-carry size, and weight.
It is highly appropriate for beginners using welder for the first time as it is easy to move, handle, operate, and work with. The low output power and amperage also protect a beginner from potential injury during light welding operations.
Lincoln k2185-1 specializes in flux-core as well as MIG welding – making it one of the best beginner MIG welders on our list and a versatile machine to take home with you.
This MIG welder has a low output of 88-amperage, making it one of the low power devices manufactured by Lincoln. However, the built-in features are quite impressive, such as the 4 different voltage settings for smooth arc performance.
The highest voltage setting allows you to weld thick materials and works conveniently on 115V. It means that you can connect it to a standard household power outlet and get started with your DIY welding projects.
Lincoln k2185-1 is highly portable. It weighs only 46 pounds, making it easy for you to move it around your backyard, garden or even garage.
The best part is that its portability do not affect its durability.
It comes with a sturdy handle to easily carry the welder everywhere with you.
The continuous wire feed speed settings help you to weld better and complete the job smoothly and accurately.
Lincoln k2185-1 has a fan-cool design that protects the machine from getting overheated. The cold contractor feature ensures that the wire stays cool until you pull the gun trigger.
If you want to use it specifically for MIG welding, connect the welding gas cylinder and start working with one of the most portable welders, right off the bat.
4. LOTOS MIG140 Welder
The LOTOS MIG 140 welder is ideal for small workshops and home-use, making it one of the best MIG welders for beginners looking to weld steel of up to ¼”.
The machine takes only 10 minutes to set up and the latest upgraded model, that came out in 2017 has added features, including a 4T/2T button. If you want a reliable device with great performance, here’s a device to consider.
Thanks to its high transformer technology applied in the welder, the secondary voltage is adjustable as per your welding project.
This makes the machine sturdy, dependable, and well-wearing. The macro adjustments the user can make to the welding current means that the device can conveniently connect to a standard household power outlet.
The machine supports efficient flux-core welding that allows you to weld stainless steel and other metals at 140 amperage. It can also be usedat industrial point at some point.
As stated above, the 2T/4T switch is an added feature of the LOTOS MIG 140 Welder. In the 2-touch operation, you can disconnect and connect the switch cable to the Amphenol connection (placed in the front unit) by means of a foot pedal.
The welder uses preset settings, so, you can press and hold the switch down to activate the torch.
However, the 4T operation is quite complex to understand but gives a great deal of convenience. It allows you to control various welding stages. To be simple, the 4T switch allows you to control wire feeder speed and voltage while welding.
The welder has 2 digital display screens and both of them are used to highlight the changing welding procedures.
The ground cable quick connector provides a safe welding experience for beginners.
If you change the welding voltage, make sure to double-check the speed on the digital display screen. The digital screen is a huge benefit that comes with this welding beast by LOTOS.
5. Super Deal MIG130 Welder
For a welder-manufacturing brand to name itself, ‘super Deal’ seems pretty doubtful but its MIG welder 130 is in fact pretty ideal for beginners. It is suitable for automotive and household applications. If you want a welder for welding thin metal sheets, then this is a considerable choice.
The Super Deal flux-core welder is made of high-quality PVC material and has a sturdy design. It does not require delicate treatment and operates easily with a comfortable grip. The machine’s best-selling point is its high-precision welding.
You can adjust the current flow of the device through 4 buttons i.e. MAX 1, MAX 2, MIN 1 MIN 2. To adjust the wire feeding speed, you have to manipulate the in-built rotational knob as per the material you are working with.
The rotatory knob has 10-speed options for wire feeding control alongside the ON/OFF safety feature.
The machine is equipped with advanced control technology with an adjustable indicator to control inductance as per your welding requirements. This feature allows top-notch welding performance, fusion depth increment, minimized spatter, and soft electric arc. The machine itself allows you to tackle all the automotive applications with ease.
In terms of power, this MIG welder is perfect to weld stainless steel, steel, and mild steel. The whole set comes with a protective mask, 0.55 pounds welding wire, 0.9 mm wire reel, ground cord, a 2.5M torch 2 additional tips and a chipping hammer.
If you want to protect metal oxide on the welded surface, use the automatic release feature of inert-gas while welding. The metal tip of the welder won’t let the slags of metal to gather.
6. MIG MMA 190A MIG/STICK Multifunction Welder
Input Power: 110/220 V
Duty Cycle: 60%
Weight: 34 lbs.
MMA Welding Range: 20-200 Amps
MIG Range: 50-190 Amps
MIG MMA 190A MIG/stick multifunction welder is one of the best beginner MIG welders with great value for money.
As the name suggests, it is a multifunctional welder. You can either turn it into a MIG welder or a stick – turning it into the best application for your projects.
You can switch between the 2 modes easily by pressing and holding the button.
Even though this MIG/stick welder has dual voltage input, its auto-detective feature can adjust to the voltage in the power outlet. So, you can use it for household projects as well as various automotive applications.
There are 2 welding functions available for this machine i.e. the gas-shielded MIG welding and gasless flux-cored welding.
For flux-cored welding, the set comes with 0.023″ to 0.039” flux-cored wire. Whereas, solid core wires are available for MIG welding. The machine itself can handle 10 pounds and 2 pounds rolls of wire.
It is one of the most adjustment-friendly welders we have ever reviewed.
Moreover, MIG MMA 190A has adjustable welding current and voltage and wire feed speed control that you can adjust whenever you want as per the welding application.
When you switch the mode to stick welding, the anti-sticking feature provides protection against overload. Hence, you can expect easy removal of arc force and the electrode.
Even though it is well-suited for outdoors, it has a compact design for easy storage and installation. You can carry it easily with you anywhere and get the job done.
To weld joints or to weld alloys, switch the MIG welder into a stick welder and get a smooth welding experience.
7. SUNGOLDPOWER 150A MIG Welder
SUNGOLDPOWER 150A MIG welder is a gasless-operating model that’s quite portable and functional for beginners. As you have nothing to worry about shielding gas, it is suited for outdoor welding.
Considering its lower price and a great starter package, SUNGOLDPOWER is great for a beginner to use.
It is a user-friendly machine with loaded features. Moreover, it can operate easily on standard household current.
The thermal overload protection feature ensures the safety of every welder as it automatically shuts down the device’s motor whenever an internal sensor malfunction happens. Whenever the machine gets overheated, this feature protects the device from encountering serious component-damage.
Until the components are back to normal temperature, the machine does not start up again. It has 4 heating controls (adjustable) and a torch, featuring an ON/OFF safety control. All the protection features work together to improve the machine’s lifespan.
It is a gasless MIG welder, so you don’t have to buy a gas cylinder separately to get started.
The MIG welder packages include a 0.5 kgs flux-cored welding wire spool, a protective face mask, contact tips, a comprehensive user manual, a chipping hammer, an earth/ground clamp with 59 inches cable and a welding torch with 98.4” cable.
If you’re not ready to invest a lot in your first welding machine as a beginner, the SUNGOLDPOWER 150A might be the right choice for you. It has all the basic functions of a good-working machine welder so, it’s a win-win deal.
It is certainly a budget friendly choice and can be a good addition to your workshop for small welding tasks.
Following are some pros and cons of this powerful machine.
For smooth welding for the very first time, you can use a 0.6-0.9 mm contact tip. It works best for beginners.
8. HOBART 500559 Versatile MIG Welder
HOBART 500559 is one of the smallest yet best MIG welders for beginners. Every small welder we HAVE come across has limited capabilities that only work with materials about 1/8” thick.
However, Hobart 500559 tells an entirely different story when it comes to versatility. With a variable output, ranging from 25 to 140 amperage, it can weld up to ¼” in mild steel with a range of 24 gauge.
Guess what? No additional tools are required and the machine requires no assembly time.
It works with steel and stainless steel just the way it welds mild steel. With 20% duty performance, it provides smooth arc performance, like any other Hobart Handler welder.
Even though it works on household current, it works best on a 20-amp circuit. Otherwise, the machine keeps tripping on the 15-amps circuit.
The tapped voltage control system provides 5 positions, allowing the user to stabilize or even smooth out the arc, regardless of the material’s thickness.
The 200-amp clamp and heavy-duty aluminum drive system give you an industrial-level welding performance for your household projects.
At 57 pounds, it is not as portable as other lightweight welders but it is not difficult to move. If you can lift a 10 kg dog food bag, you can definitely carry this easily.
Or just go for a wheeled cart.
Setting up this welder is quite easy as it takes only 15 minutes at most.
With the 10-foot MIG welding gun, a 10-foot long work cable, dual gauge regulator, and clamp, this welder machine is pretty simple to use. The MIG welding gun comes with a liner and the power cord is about 10-feet long. So, you should use a 0.030 wire as that tends to provide the best welding results.
A Beginner’s Buyers Guide to his First MIG Welder
As a beginner, if it’s your first time buying a MIG welder, try asking yourself the following questions before the final purchase decision.
How much can you spend on a MIG welder?
Now, there are two approaches to answer this question.
First, just go through the best MIG welders for beginners list above and buy the cheapest one. As you’re a beginner, you’ll make mistakes and will have little to no idea about using advanced MIG welding features and techniques.
So, there’s no using purchasing a welder with a lot of features and functionalities.
Second, you can spend more to buy a welder with advanced features. There will always be a room of improvement and within no time, you will become familiar with heavy-duty welders.
The accurate answer to this question lies somewhere in between. I suggest you buy the best MIG welder that you can afford.
For starters, I recommend purchasing a welder that supports flux core welding and you’ll start producing good welds within no time.
Why Do You Need a MIG Welder?
Are you a DIYer looking for an affordable welder to carry on with your metal welding projects? Maybe a car modifier who vitally need a long term solution to vehicle repairs? Maybe some side work for your neighbors or friends? Or maybe you will go all pro when you’re good at welding?
All these options have different priorities for MIG welder features, prices, quality, and materials it can weld.
For example, if you’ll just be messing around in your garage, there’s no point choosing an expensive welder with heavy-duty features.
On the other hand, if you will be repairing equipment or vehicles, purchasing a $100 welder is not an ideal choice either.
Other Things to Consider
The accessories that come with a MIG welder also adds to its value. A beginner MIG welder should have great portability. If it’s too heavy, you might want to purchase a wheeled cart too.
It’s not rocket science. Some of you may want to buy a big brand welder to benefit from its accessories. While some of you may purchase a cheaper welder for its one nice feature that is a must for you!
Choosing The Best MIG Welders for Beginners
Buying your first MIG welder can be quite hectic. Let’s have a look at some key factors to consider when filtering out the best beginner’s welder on the market:
If you’re new to welding, choosing a welder with standard input supply should be on top of your list. This is because some premium or cheaper welders run at 220 volts and in most cases, you don’t find the required outlet at home.
A MIG welder with 110-120 volt should be more than enough to do 90% of your welding jobs as a beginner.
However, if you’re looking for a long-term solution, you can choose dual-voltage MIG welders. These welders offer dual voltage options, let’s say 120-220 volt, and you can use varying power depending on the welding job required.
As a beginner, you don’t have to confuse yourself with the wire feed, electric output, and voltage. Therefore, almost all of the welders we listed above automate all these all by themselves.
Welding market is saturated with different types of machines that can handle a wide range of metal types, voltage outputs, and transfers.
However, make sure to select a machine that offer simple and easy controls – until you master your welding skills and techniques.
It is quite simple to learn how to weld, but it will surely take some time to master your welding techniques.
Duty cycle is the duration that you can weld before the machine needs to rest. For example, a MIG welder with a duty cycle of 30% can work for 3 minutes before it needs a break.
Similarly, a MIG welder with 60% duty cycle can work for 6 minutes before it needs a rest.
Overall, a 20-30% duty cycle is more than enough for beginner welders. You wouldn’t get past 2-3 minutes straight welding.
Thermal Overload Protection
Constant use can heat up MIG welders and can damage its components. Therefore, thermal overload protection should be on top of your list when selecting a welder for yourself.
Thermal overload protection protects the welder from heating up. It also increases the life-span of any welder.
If your favorite welder doesn’t come with this feature, try browsing through the above list again!
MIG Welding For Beginners – How To Start?
If it’s your first time buying a MIG welding machine, you may find it difficult to set it up. It can take you hours before you can start your work.
There are some I’d like to discuss that are often overlooked by both novice and expert welders.
MIG Welding Checklist
Following is the complete MIG welding checklist to follow after you make a purchase:
- Make sure to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE). It enhances the whole welding process. This includes welding gloves, a dark shield mask (preferably #10), welding apron, ventilation mask, heavy-duty pants, and work boots.
- Make sure there are no flammable materials near your working space. Clean your metals and workbench before you start working. Welding sparks can reach far away so make sure there are no flammable materials at least 25-30 feet around the workspace.
- It is recommended to have a CO2 fire extuingisher and a large bucket of sand near you, to douse any unexpected flames ASAP.
- Tune the polarity of the welder to reverse (DCEP). This option may not be available in some welder.
- Use the right wire for your MIG welder. Read the welder’s instruction manuals to avoid wire slack and spool it the right way. These settings vary per the metal type and thickness.
- Place the welder on your workbench or clamp it to the grounding bolt. You can also test the spooler. Just feed the wire through the welding nozzle for a quick check.
- Use appropriate shielding gas for ideal results.
- Last but not least, take a scrap metal and test the welder to check if you have the required speed, accurate wire feed, and smooth weld bead.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
In a nutshell, welding is an easy skill to learn but it takes a lot of practice and hard work to master your welding techniques. The welds you’ve been seeing on YouTube, welding forums, and other platforms are the result of years of experience.
Do not expect yourself to produce the same results overnight.
What you can do is select the right machine to start your welding journey. As stated above, Hobart 500553 is the best overall beginner MIG welder in 2021. The runner ups are Forney 261 and LOTOS MIG 140 welder.
Still, go through the complete list and you may find a better option; a welder with one specific feature that you definitely need.
Read the complete reviews of the best MG welders available on the market here.
In case of further questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a reply below or simply contact us.