The art of welding, though a mere hobby for some, could also be a skill that requires adequate professional expertise for some others. Welding for whatever purpose either as a hobby or for professional reasons, cannot be effectively enjoyed or done without the use of the right pieces of equipment.
MIG welding uses electricity to melt and join pieces of metal together. It is generally regarded as one of the easiest types of welding to learn. The advent of MIG welders which is a universal welder that makes use of a metal inert gas unlike other conventional welders has brought about a wide range of usability and applications to materials of varying thickness. Though it uses gas, it has been designed in such a way that the gas used is un-reactive and it, therefore, doesn’t interfere with the property of the metal.
Based on specific features of different MIG welders available for sale, there is a variety to choose from hence the need to make a purchase based on the type of job at hand.
|HOBART 500554 Handler 190 MIG Welder||Hobart||$$$$||Excellent|
|Welder MIG/Flux core, 120v 90A||Miller Electric||$$$$||Excellent|
|Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG welder 115v||Hobart||$$$||Excellent|
|LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K2697-1 Easy MIG 140||Lincoln Electric||$$$$||Excellent|
|LOTOS MIG 175 MIG Welder||Lotos Technology||$$$||Excellent|
|FORNEY 309 140Amp MIG Welder||Forney (FORNB)||$$$||Excellent|
|FORNEY Easy weld, 140 FC-1 MIG||Forney||$$||Excellent|
|EVERLAST POWER MIG 140E Welder||Everlast||$$$||Excellent|
8 Things to Consider about How to weld with a MIG welder
1. Know the Advantages
- The ability to join a wide range of metals of varying thicknesses
- All position welding can be done at any angle with the aid of a MIG welding
- You’d enjoy a good weld bead
- A minimum of weld splatter, provided you opt for any of the products that would be indexed.
- Quite easy to learn.
2. Components to look out for:
The Welder: This consists of a spool of wire and a series of rollers that pushes the wire out of the welding gun.
The Gas Tank: This is used alongside the welder. It may contain either 100% Argon or a mixture of co2 and Argon. The gas shields the weld as it forms and without it, the weld looks brown, splattered and not very nice.
The Welding Gun: Consists of a trigger that controls the wire feed and the flow of electricity.
The Ground Clamp: This is the negative end that completes the connection between the welder, the welding gun and the project itself.
The manual would aid you in the assembling of the product that you’ve purchased. However, in a case where the details on the manual are not explicit, then you’d have to check the manufacturer’s website for more enlightenment.
4. Personal Preparation
You’d need to use the manual for guidance if at all you’re a newbie about its use. After that, you’d need to put on safety wears so as to remain safe while using the unit.
5. Alignment and Making Ready
Ensure that the surface of the base metal is well cleansed so as to ensure that no impurity is lying on the surface. You can also align the rims that you want to weld so as to make your work easy while welding.
6. Basic steps involved in the welding process
- Attach the ground clamp to any metal surface that can provide an adequate ground
- Ensure the adjusting screw is loose so as to open the cylinder which gauge determines the pressure at which the welding is done.
- Determine the welding settings which helps in regulating the voltage and wire speed. This is essential because the thickness of the material goes a long way in determining the voltage and wire speed to be used.
- Turn on the welder using the switch and adjust the wire speed and the voltage dial to desired levels.
- You might also want to lay a bead that is, take a piece of scrap metal and make a weld in a straight line on its surface to test the equipment.
- The actual welding involves basically using the welder to create a scintillating motion across the top of the metal. Ideally, you weld from the bottom up to the top pushing the weld forward with the tip of the gun.
- Grinding down the weld is another process that can be done without but could be a very important phase if you desire a nice looking weld. How is this done? Grinding is achieved by slapping a grinding wheel on to an angle grinder and in the case of a neat simple weld, grinding won’t take so long to be accomplished.
7. Safety Precautions
- Not enough shielding gas from the can lead to the weld not penetrating easily and the pieces of metals will not join properly when this occurs.
- Welding with too much power input/application creates a hole right through your material but tilting the spool against the base metal succor you in joining of metals.
- Too much metal in the weld spool as a result of too much wire coming from the gun. However, that’s if at all you’re using a flux-core wire for arc welding.
You can practice this again, again, and again. The information provided is what you need for the continual operation of the unit.
Our Picks of 8 Best MIG welder for Home Use
1. HOBART 500554 Handler 190 MIG Welder
This product has been adequately designed to weld mild steel, painted steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.
Its design enables you to work on all kinds of equipment such as automobile body parts, household repairs and even farm projects that require extra effort to handle.
The wire feed system, on the other hand, aids users in eliminating feed problems which are usually associated with aluminum wire hence it can also be used with mild or stainless steel wire.
- An inbuilt spool gun circuitry so no extra kits or controls are required.
- An optional direct plug-in spool runner gun thereby eliminating feeding problems.
- This has a 7 output voltage settings and a dual-groove quick-change drive roll.
- A selector switch for MIG gun operation thereby making switching guns quick and easy.
- A guide comes with it to set welder properly before use.
- An excellent and efficient built which makes it capable of welding equipment that require more power.
- Provides a low-cost option to weld aluminum with a small frame MIG welder.
2. Welder MIG/Flux core, 120v 90A
This equipment is ideal for use on a variety of metals with varying thickness, it is ideal for home use due to the power voltage it requires, 120V.
Buyers of the product have also attested to the fact that it welds with a perfect finish with little or no need for grinding. It has the functionality to be used automatically and manually.
As a matter of fact, you can use it for welding mild steel, aluminum with ease. You can use gases with it and you can choose not to.
You can switch from MIG to flux-core function by utilizing the function on it. There are even two handles on it that you can choose to use with it.
The good thing is that it comes with pressure gauge and other accessories that you need for its functionalities.
- A breakthrough control that automatically sets your welder to the right parameters.
- A manual mode which gives you the flexibility to manually set the machine when welding.
- Drive system can be used at all angles.
- A robust wire drive with quick select.
- A quick select drive roll which makes set up quicker by offering three grooves.
3. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG welder 115v
This is Hobart’s most popular MIG welder. The equipment delivers a wire welding package with industrial performance as the welding is done with no splatter and perfect finish criteria which is not so common to modern day welders. Welding is done with little or no need to go through the grinding process of obtaining a very neat finishing.
The Handler 140 is extremely versatile and perfect for anyone who desires to work on various pieces of equipment including those that require extra power such as automobile parts, farm equipment. It operates on a 115 voltage and a 20A current is recommended for its use.
The equipment is quite easy to set up even for a first-time welder hence an additional advantage to those who are new in the field.
- A 5 positioned tapped voltage control selector which gives you the ability to fine-tune your arc offering a smooth stable arc on all thicknesses.
- An industrial cast aluminum drive system and a heavy duty work clamp.
- Built-in gas valve, 10ft MIG gun with liner, dual gauge regulator and gas hose, 10ft work cable and clamp.
- MIG ready with no additional kit required.
- Portable hence easy to transport to wherever it is needed.
- A breakthrough control that automatically sets your welder to the proper parameters.
- Robust wire drive with quick select.
4. LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO K2697-1 Easy MIG 140
Unlike modern gadgets that are well known for their inability to deliver as expected, this equipment has been effectively built to perform accurate welding jobs.
It welds carbon, stainless and even aluminum quite well. It is a highly versatile welder known for its ability to work on a variety of projects with varying metal thickness.
This product comes with a pressure and flow gauge. The unit can be used for both MIG welding and flux-cored arc welding.
There are dials on it which one can use in regulating its performance. In fact, with the purchase of this product, there’s nothing else to purchase as per se it comes with all the needful accessories.
- The dimension of this product is 20 x 15 x 16 inches and it weighs 2 pounds only.
- FLUX and MIG welding capabilities
- Aluminum welding with spool gun
- Requires 120v input power which is ideal for home use.
- Can be used almost anywhere due to its simple 2knob tapped control.
- Easy to set up for gasless flux-cored welding which is ideal for deep penetration on thicker steel.
5. LOTOS MIG 175 MIG Welder
This is one of the most versatile welders able to weld aluminum with the spool gun. As an additional feature, it has a transformer technology which has been proven to be reliable and durable.
It is easily connected to a 220v power source and the set up can be done within 10minutes. It is suitable for welding stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum and other metal materials.
This is highly functional and it comes with all the accessories that you’d need to have immediate use of it. There are dials on it which one can use in regulating its performance.
In addition, the amperage capacity for this is 174 amp and it’s great for aluminum that’s 3/8”. The whole compartment of this unit is safe. There is a handle on it which you can use in lugging it around.
- The dimension of this 18 x 12.5 x 10.5 inches and it weighs 85 pounds.
- 175amp MIG welder with spool gun, stand torch and regulator
- Operates on 200-240v automatic dual frequency.
- Suitable for welding stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum and other metal materials.
- Has a power efficiency of about 80%.
- Comes with a mask which helps to protect one during the welding process.
6. FORNEY 309 140Amp MIG Welder
This is an ideal machine for farms, automotives and small repairs. It uses 115v power voltage with suitable household current. There is a multi-step transformer at the base of the machine with four taps.
The welder comes with several upgrades such as a higher duty cycle, quick euro style disconnect torch, longer gun torch with common consumables, HD cast aluminum feed system with geared idler and drive rolls, cable wrap and upgraded despoiler with a larger cabinet and easier pool access.
The cord that it uses is 8 feet and it’s currently one of the few products that home hobbyist are raving about its compactness and functionalities.
- The dimension of this product is 10 x 16 x 20 inches and it weighs 62 pounds.
- Welds up to ¼ inch.
- Includes a flow meter and a gas hose.
- Operates basically by MIG(Gas) and Flux cored (gasless).
- Euro connect MIG gun with Tweco compatible consumables.
7. FORNEY Easy weld, 140 FC-1 MIG
This machine doesn’t require any gas to start and run. It has been built in such a way that it can be carried easily from one location to another hence very portable.
Has a feed speed and voltage regulator which makes for an easy weld especially for beginners and hobbyist so as not to endanger the job at hand.
Has a 30% duty cycle at 90A, a 120v input and a 140Amp input. It’s simply a MIG machine that can use flux-core wire of 0.030 and 0.035 inches also.
As a matter of fact, it’s a lightweight MIG machine that is made of metal and vents for the control of heat. Lugging the unit from one place to another is easy with the insulated handle at the top. Of course, this is one that you’d enjoy for a long period of time.
- The dimension of this product 4.5 x 12 x 21.25 inches and it weigh 9.2 pounds.
- Gasless/flux core welding only
- Portable hence can be carried easily from one location to another.
- A torch wrap.
- Infinite voltage and wire speed control.
- 120V input and 140A output
8. EVERLAST POWER MIG 140E Welder
The everlast power welder comes with a 20% duty cycle at 90 amp while at the rated maximum output, it is 140Amps. It is lighter in weight when compared to conventional welders and offers a smaller footprint without reducing the maximum diameter wire roll.
This unit is made of stainless for long-term use. The cord that it possesses is long and it can be used for homes and commercial purposes. You can even save it easily due to its petite design.
- It has an inverter based design which lowers weight and power consumption while increasing duty cycle and arc performance.
- Step-less control of both the wire speed and voltage can be done.
- With its 120v input design, the equipment can find operation just anywhere.
- Efficient built quality and gives overall fit and finish to suit your job.
- Designed to be used with both 4” and 8” wire spools.
- Argon/Co2 regulator.
- A suitable ground clamp.
Buying Guide- How to Choose the Best MIG welder for Home Use
In a bid to shop for an efficient welder capable of delivering the desired expectations, several factors must guide one’s purchase and here is a few to be considered:
1. Ease of Usage
Some welders though highly efficient may not be a good deal when purchased due to complexity in their handlings. To avoid this, adequate knowledge should be gathered as regards the product to be bought to achieve optimum usage of the product.
2. Why is this an important criterion?
The ease of use of equipment should be of very high consideration when making a purchase especially for those who are just learning the art and also hobbyist who are not solely into the welding business. The welders come in varying complexity hence one with easy assemblage, easily understood instructional guides should be prioritized when buying.
3. Adjustable wire speed and Voltage regulator
An indispensable parameter in welding is the wire speed which is the rate at which the gun releases the wire while welding. Though a highly important factor, it is also largely dependent on the voltage applied hence this two work hand in hand to create a good weld. In the case of too little power, the wire speed is usually very slow thereby giving a splattered and not too perfect weld. Also, when power is too high, a very likely problem one might experience is that a hole might get right into your weld.
To avoid any of this, the most effective means is to adjust wire speed and regulate the voltage. Therefore, when shopping for a MIG welding, the presence of adjustable wire speed and a voltage regulator function is a criterion to look out for. This ensures the job is done at a desired speed and voltage thereby giving the desired result.
In addition, the varying thickness of several metals makes it mandatory to have equipment with adjustable wire speed and a voltage regulator because an already set voltage will be unable to weld all kinds of metals.
The capacity of various MIG welders available for sale varies due to product design. Some products have the ability to perform better than others in terms of the materials they are able to weld.
A highly versatile welder possesses the capacity to weld thicker metals than others. Some can even do as much as welding farm equipment, automobile parts and some other metals which require extra power.
Therefore, depending on the function the welder is to perform, its versatility must be put into great consideration. The welding capacity of the various pieces of equipment in this review have been painstakingly spelt out to avoid a wrong purchase or the feeling that a product has performed below due expectation.
In purchasing a MIG welder for home use, this is another factor that must guide your purchase.
Considering this is highly important because it takes up less space around the house, can be easily transported to wherever it is needed without any strenuous effect. The review speaks about pieces of equipment that come with all the required features, they are actually described as been MIG ready hence there is no need for added gadgets once they are purchased
6. Household Current /Voltage
Applied current is a basic principle required for the adequate functioning of a MIG welder seeing it makes use of electricity to melt and join metals together. Also, the current and voltage as earlier mentioned controls the wire speed which is what determines the look of a weld.
As a result, without the application of appropriate current, the gadget may not function as expected and even if it does function, some difficulties might be encountered during the process.
Therefore, to enjoy memorable welding experiences, the most suitable welder ideal for home use is one that requires a household voltage in other to enjoy utmost functionality of the product.
Several parameters of which a few have been listed must be considered before purchasing a MIG welder. The most important could be the suitability of the product to the job at hand. Every bit of these products come with their specific features which if not rightly deployed may end up been underutilized. The onus, therefore, lies on the buyer to efficiently conduct a market survey of the varieties available, understanding how they basically function so as to make the right purchase.