Best Flux Cored MIG Welders to Work With Metal

Review & Comparison, Last Update April 5, 2017
If you don’t need a powerful welder for large metal projects but still seek a device that would cope with all the work you’ve got, MIG welder is a great solution. It won’t rip you off and yet suit most home projects perfectly, delivering more power you’d even expect. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Input power
Output range
Rated Output / Duty Cycle
Welding Type
Wire Size / Type
Material thickness
Extras
Dimensions
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS
A high quality of this welder is proven by a long warranty period.
CONS
A considerable weight might be a nuisance.
OUR VERDICT
Hobart MIG welder is a versatile machine for indoor gas welding as well as outdoor applications and elevated jobs involving a gasless welding.
detailed parameters
Type
Transformer
Input power
115V, 20A, 1PH
Output range
25A - 140A
Rated Output / Duty Cycle
90A / 20%
Welding Type
MIG / Flux-cored
Wire Size / Type
Up to .030" / Cored
Material thickness
Up to 1/4"
Extras
Excellent Arc Performance, Industrial cast aluminum wire drive system, 5-position voltage control, Dual-groove quick change drive roll, Convenient polarity changeover, Sloped control panel
Dimensions
12.3" x 10.6" x 19.5"
Weight
57 lbs
Warranty
5 years on transformers, 3 years on the electronics, 1year on guns
PROS
The cold contactor feature provides safe welding.
CONS
The machine can't weld metal over 1/8" thick.
OUR VERDICT
This model will be nice for home welding touchups and DIY amateurs. A good outfit, light weight, and a year of warranty make this welder a convincing choice.
detailed parameters
Type
Inverter
Input power
115V, 20A, 1PH
Output range
35A - 88A
Rated Output / Duty Cycle
70A / 20%
Welding Type
MIG / Flux-cored
Wire Size / Type
Up to .035" / Cored
Material thickness
Up to 1/8"
Extras
Welds up to 1/8" mild steel, Welds both MIG (shielding gas sold separately) and flux-cored, Compact, Great for home repair and hobby projects, Fan-cooled for long life expectancy
Dimensions
12.8" x 8.8" x 18"
Weight
46 lbs
Warranty
1 year
PROS
A compact size provides easy transportation and storage.
CONS
The welding shield is made of plastic.
OUR VERDICT
A competitively priced and powerful welder that will be a cool choice for novice welders. The absence of gas tanks will make the welding easy and mess-free.
detailed parameters
Type
N/A
Input power
120V, 20A, 1PH
Output range
N/A
Rated Output / Duty Cycle
105A / 15%
Welding Type
Flux-cored
Wire Size / Type
Up to .035" / Cored
Material thickness
Up to 1/4"
Extras
4 voltage settings, Thermal overload protection, Steel frame
Dimensions
13.4" x 7.3" x 11.4"
Weight
35 lbs
Warranty
Contact the seller directly
PROS

A long duty cycle allows welding without recurring breaks for a cooldown.

CONS

The manual is superficial.

OUR VERDICT

Super Deal is one of the most affordable MIG welders on the market with a wide output range and a smooth wire feed. Due to its light weight it's very easy to handle and use it.

detailed parameters
Type

Transformer

Input power

110V, 1PH

Output range

50А - 120A

Rated Output / Duty Cycle

60A / 35%

Welding Type

Flux core only

Wire Size / Type

Up to .035" / Cored

Material thickness

Up to 1/4"

Extras

Variable Feed Speed Control, Torch With Full On/Off Safety Control, Automatic Thermal Safety Protection, 4 adjustable heating settings

Dimensions

18.6" x 16" x 9.6"

Weight

20 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS
A light weight surely facilitates the use.
CONS
Only 2 voltage settings.
OUR VERDICT
It is a splendid welding machine for both small repairs and large welding projects. A lightweight body, stylish design, and convenient controls of this model won't make you regret the choice.
detailed parameters
Type
Transformer
Input power
120V, 20A, 1PH
Output range
25A - 125A
Rated Output / Duty Cycle
80A / 20%
Welding Type
Flux-cored
Wire Size / Type
.035" / Cored
Material thickness
Up to 1/4"
Extras
Gasless flux-cored welding only, Easy to use, Portable, Torch wrap
Dimensions
24.6" x 12.6" x 18.5"
Weight
32.6 lbs
Warranty
6 months

What is a Mig Welder

If you are a diligent homesteader, you must have faced metal works, not to mention joining and installation. Yet, if you have some experience and you are ready to pick up the gauntlet of repairing metal gates or welding a pedal to a bicycle, a MIG welder is what you need!

A few welding methods are known such as MMA, TIG, MIG, and MAG. We will look through MIG welders in our review. A MIG welder employs a streaming inert gas that acts as a shield and expels air contaminants from a weld zone. If no gas is used, the seam is porous and infirm. We will review household MIG welders plugged to a power outlet. Such welders can fuse stainless steel sheets and weld cracks and holes on cars, etc.

We will examine 5 best MIG welders to help you buy an appropriate model for your welding needs.

Also, we advise considering sandblasts that will help you prepare the surface for welding, as well as our review of angle grinders for metalworking projects.

...Read more ...Read less

What Features to Compare

Type

MIG welders are divided into transformer and inverter models. Briefly, the transformer machines feature only mechanical parts that can adjust the output voltage “sequentially” while the unit is off. The output voltage is not stabilized and may decrease under load. Still, a simple design is the main benefit of transformer welders that facilitate their maintenance. Also, they are often cheaper. Inverter MIG welders are fitted with electronics that allow smooth adjustment of the voltage that is not susceptible to drops and does not fall under load. Of course, power is the main feature of any electric tool. As for MIG welders, their power depends on the maximum amperage, more usually, the output range. This range determines the unit's field of application. The powerful models can be used on small construction sites or in repair shops, while less forceful models are usually used for private needs. For example, the welders of up to 200A would be great for home use; the 300A models are suitable for small repair shops, and if you need a high output and continuous work, consider welders over 300A.

Performance

The MIG welder performance depends on several parameters. The duty cycle is among them. The duty cycle is the percentage of a 10-minute period the welder can work until it gets overheated. For example, “90A / 20%” means that a welder can work for 2 minutes at 90A before an 8-minute cooldown, i.e. 20% of 10 minutes. Now, about the material. We should note that the maximum material thickness a welder can handle depends on its amperage and welding wire thickness. Lastly, consider the thickness of the joint a welder can make in a single run. The household models can weld metal parts from 18-gauge to 1/4” thick at the output of 70A - 180A respectively.

Extras and Conveniences

The gasless welding, also called “Gas Less” or “No Gas” welding, is the main convenience of contemporary MIG welders. That means they can make welds either with or without gas. This is possible thanks to the use of a special tubular wire filled with a flux and metal powder called a flux-cored wire. In a nutshell, when a flux-cored wire is used, its components generate a shielding gas under a high temperature that is essential for a quality joint. The thermal overload protection is also a useful feature that will switch the unit off automatically when the temperature reaches a certain level. Surely, a MIG welder is not something you will carry every minute. Yet, if a machine is lightweight and fitted with wheels, the handling would be much more pleasurable. Finally, pay attention to the welder kitting. Some models come with a welding shield, coil, attachment for flux-cored welding, hammer, or brush. So, take into account these features when buying a welder.

...Read more ...Read less

Hobart 500559

5 Years in Business

Let's look at a portable MIG welder made by the company with almost 100 years of experience in welding equipment production. We see the unit with transformers that have an output range from 25А to 140А. The duty cycle is 20% at 90А, so you use the welder for 2 min, taking 8 minutes to cool it down. Having acquired this model, you will be able to weld metal from 24 ga. to 1/4" thick. The welder features a special controller that allows you to set the voltage to 5 ranges for fine tuning of the arc. The unit needs 115V of the input current at 20А, so you need no converters to weld. Plug in and use! Our findings showed the extra feature that purges the welder gas line and adjusts the flow rate, so you have no mess with the unit operation. To top it off, the manufacturer provides a 5-year warranty for transformers, so the welder will work like a dream!

Review of Hobart 500559

Change Wire with a Sweep

Hobart 500559 may look somewhat complicated, but simple and clear controls will surely add to its convenience in use. For a start, we should inform that this machine can weld both with gas and without it, but provided that flux-cored wire is used. The unit is equipped with a dual-groove drive roll for quick and easy wire changing. Also, we found that a triple-groove roll to feed a wire up to .024” thick is available additionally. The face panel includes two controls; the upper is dedicated to wire feed adjustment, while the lower one sets the voltage. Besides that, the welder features a power switch and a special overheating indicator. It should be noted that the machine has a built-in cooling fan; still, high ambient temperature and hours of welding can make the unit pretty hot. If the welder gets overheated, the indicator light will flash, signaling you to cease the welding. However, you might not notice the light while you are engaged in your job. In such case, the welder will shut off automatically upon reaching a specific temperature thanks to the self-resetting thermal overload protection. Studying this MIG welder, we could see that it’s pretty heavy. But then, we believe that a couple of lifts should not be a problem for you. The unit is supplied with a cabled ground clamp and the gun with a liner. The cabling is 10 ft long, so you can use the welder freely. What is more, the package includes a gas hose and a dual gauge regulator.

Hobart 500559 in the use

More Products To Consider

Hobart 194776 Small Running Gear/Cylinder Rack - pick a cart for your welder and forget about the pain in your hands and back.

Hobart 770439 Rust/Black Welding Gloves - these branded gloves will protect your hands from sparkles and metal splashes. The product is made of cowhide and stitched with a kevlar string.

Hobart H222106-RTP 0.030-Inch 4-Pound E71T-11 Flux-Cored Welding Wire - a pack of 2 spools of a .030" flux-cored wire.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Hobart Handler 140 Wire-Feed MIG Welder - 115 Volt, Model# 500559
Hobart 500559
Hobart 500559
 

Lincoln Electric K2185-1

Cold Contactor

Back in the 50s, the engineers of Lincoln Electric designed the so-called “self-shielded” flux-cored wire called the Innershield®. Funny thing, but the company itself was established in 1895 by John C. Lincoln with a start-up capital of just $200! But let's go back to welders. We picked K2185-1, the inverter welding machine. It is able to make a straight and strong joint for 20% duty cycle thanks to a stable and smooth output power. The output amperage will let you handle a mild steel of 24 ga. and more, as well as steel sheets up to 1/8" thick. The cold contactor safety feature is one of the obvious advantages of this welder. This feature means that the welding wire will remain de-energized until you press the gun trigger, so your safety is ensured. This MIG welder is capable of welding with either gas or flux-cored wire, so you'll always have a choice to make for successful welding projects.

Review of Lincoln Electric K2185-1

More Than You Expect

The front panel of the welder features the ON/OFF switch, a voltage selector, and a wire feed speed adjustment knob. In addition, the machine has a light indicator that will warn you of a thermal overload. Our in-depth analysis showed that the welder interior is cooled with a fan that minimizes the heating. The package of this model exceeded all our expectations. Besides a common gun and a ground clamp, the manufacturer added a gas hose, a gun, 6 contact tips for wire thickness, a tip for gasless welding, a hand shield with a filter plate and a lens, and a contact hammer/brush for cleaning and leveling weld joints. Though, the Lincoln Electriс kit is not limited to that; 2 coils of welding wire are included, too. Lastly, we couldn't put aside the welder's weight being merely 46 lbs. This is a cool figure for a machine with such specs.

Taking everything into consideration, we could advise this MIG welder for small home repairs and DIY enthusiasts. A rich kitting, light weight, and a 1-year warranty are the benefits that play a crucial role in choosing a welder.

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 in the use

Interesting Facts

- NASCAR and INDYCAR racing are closely cooperating with Lincoln Electric which is their official sponsor and welding equipment supplier.

- If you've ever watched “Home Alone”, “The Green Hornet” or either of “Iron Man” movies, you can see Lincoln Electric equipment there. Besides, their hardware was used for making vehicles for such movies as “Drive” and “Need for Speed”.

- The Lincoln Electric products are featured not just in filmmaking. You surely know the Willis Tower, the second-tallest building in the US. Well, equipment and materials of Lincoln Electric were used for this skyscraper construction too.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Lincoln Electric K2185-1
Lincoln Electric K2185-1
 

Goplus MIG 130

Down With the Gas!

Here comes a MIG welding machine made by Goplus. The welding type is the first aspect we'd like to elucidate. This welder features only a flux-cored welding, so if you wish to use gas welding, consider the other models. Nevertheless, this welder is worth a note. It is able to weld metal plates of up to 1/4" with its duty cycle of 1.5 min at 105А. The output voltage can be adjusted to four positions for various welding needs. We believe that a gasless welding is simpler and more convenient than the welding that employs gas, as the seams will be neat, and the metal won't splash, so the welding process will run faster and more efficiently. You need to control the feeding of the welding wire into the gun to avoid burning the metal through, for example when you deal with thin stainless steel sheets. For this purpose, the welder is equipped with a special control to tune the speed in 10 positions.

Review of Goplus MIG 130

A Good Welder is not Always a Heavy Welder

While reviewing this MIG welder, we instantly spotted its light weight. This may be explained by the absence of accessories for affixing gas tanks. Also, we'd like to point out a handle convenient to carry the unit. This is an advantageous feature as the welder can be used both indoors and outdoors. The fan mounted in the welder's back provides cooling to the unit, and the channels on each side of the body ensure the air circulation and improve the cooling. Additionally to an agreeable price, we were pleased with a package that includes a welding mask, a brush, and a spool of welding wire. So, you'll have a full kit to start welding.

In the upshot, this is an inexpensive and efficient welder that will be a nice choice for tyros, and no mess with gas tanks will make the use easy and fast.

Goplus MIG 130 in the use

The Story of Welding

Vasily Petrov, a Russian physicist, held the first experiments that led to the discovery of an electric arc in 1802. Then, at the beginning of the 80s of the XIX century Nikolai Benardos and later Nikolai Slavyanov developed an electric arc welding. A. P. Strohmenger and Oscar Kjellberg released the first coated electrode at the start of the XX century. The automatic welding was invented in the 20s, and the 40s were marked with the patent for welding with aluminum and magnesium, also known as a heliarc welding. Later in the 50s Lincoln Electric presented their first self-shielded flux-cored wire titled Innershield®. The laser welding is among the recent innovations in the welding industry, originated in the 60s after the invention of a laser.


VIDEO
Goplus® MIG 130 Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine
Goplus MIG 130
Goplus MIG 130
 

Super Deal MIG 130

Heaviness Is Not a Must...

Let's take a look at the Super Deal Black Commercial MIG 130 welder. Casting a quick look at the tool, you will find three control switches on the front panel - one for turning the power on/off, and the other two for adjusting voltage and amperage. On the left side of the tool, there's a wire feed adjustment knob and the indicator lamp. A carrying handle on top of the tool allows its convenient transportation and use. The weight of the MIG 130 isn't big too and makes average 20 lbs. Beneath the top cover of the welder, you will find a wire coil and a feeding unit. Taking into account the compact dimensions and light weight of the welder, it could easily be used even by girls (if needed). 

Review of Super Deal MIG 130

...For Nice Performance

Now, let's proceed with the capabilities of this MIG welder. First of all, we should note that this model delivers a pretty wide output range from 50А to 120А. It allows welding metal plates and sheets up to 1/4" thick. The duty cycle allows the tool's use for 3.5 mins at 60A before it needs cooling down. The power, though, could be adjusted and set to four positions:  “Min”, ”Max”, “1”, and “2” according to your needs. This welder is compatible with a steel welding wire from .023 to .035" thick and a flux-cored wire from .030 to .035". The package includes a wire coil, yet its gauge may vary, depending on a lot.

Super Deal MIG 130 in the use

Smooth Feed

Besides impressive capabilities, this MIG welder offers a great load of usability features. Right from the start you'll notice a red light indicator that starts flashing when the tool overheats. This is handy, as you can turn the welder off for a few minutes to let it cool without risking to damage the tool. The wire feeding is another great point about the MIG 130; replacing wires is easy and quick and won't take you long. Yet, the best part about the MIG 130 is that it comes equipped with a feed control knob, allowing you to set one of the 10 speed settings to weld metals of all types and sizes safely. The tool is supplied with a wire spool, a face mask, a chipping hammer/wire brush and two torch tips. 

All in all, the MIG 130 can become the right tool for those consumers, looking for a welder with a long duty cycle and a wide power range for welding metalware of various depths.


Super Deal MIG 130
Super Deal MIG 130
 

Forney 299 125FC

Choose What You Need

The history of Forney has begun in 1932 when James Donovan Forney run the business by himself selling "The Forney Instant Heat Soldering Iron". 4 years after he developed the first welding machines for home use. We decided to tell you about Forney 299 125FC and explain what we liked about it. In the first place, we need to emphasize a high-quality welding. Having made a seam, you can be confident in its stiffness even in heavy-duty use, considering that thin weld joints are particularly fragile. The welder can handle stainless steel, that is one more plus. It is worth saying that this transformer type welder outputs the current from 25А to 125A, and the duty cycle makes 2 min. The unit can fuse a welding wire up to .035” thick, yet the manufacturer advises using a .030” wire. Thereby, you will be able to weld metal pieces from 18 ga. to 3/16” for a single run, and materials up to 1/4" for two runs. We need to say that the welder allows only flux-cored welding, but you can find a lot of MIG modifications on the official website.

Review of Forney 299 125FC

Handy Welder

Once we glanced at this MIG welder, we were struck with its design. Of course, power tools are not necessarily dainty, but why not? A bright body, an unusually curved handle, and a strict cooling grid add to the relish of this model. By the way, the handle design is reasoned; it offers a place for winding the power cord. That is truly convenient. The front panel comprises a wire speed control, an overheating alarm, a power switch, and a voltage selector. The latter can be set to 2 positions; "Sheet Metal" is for a low output voltage, and “Thin Plate” for a higher power. So, having set the right voltage and wire feed rate, you'll get quality straight welds. In summary, we can allege that Forney 299 125FC is a wonderful choice for both minor repairs and large welding projects. Picking this welder with a durable and reliable casing, a spruce design, and convenient controls, you'll have no compunctions about your choice.

Forney 299 125FC in the use

More Products to Consider

Hobart 770069 Welding Hammer Chipping - with Wire Brush - a 2-in-1 accessory by Hobart. This tool allows easy cleaning of rusted surfaces or leveling of rough joints.

Forney 60171 Contact Tip For Mig Welding - a set of 4 contact tips by Forney designed for welding the wire of up to .030".

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Forney 299 125FC
Forney 299 125FC
 

Sources:

1. Buying a MIG WelderMIG Welding.

2. How to Select a Compact Wire Feed WelderThe Lincoln Electric.

3. Dan Anderson Stick versus MIG, AG WEB. December 9, 2011.

4. Welding Buyer's GuideNorthern Tool.

5. Mike Finnegan Welder Buyer’s Guide – Your First BurnerHot Rod. June 13, 2011.

6. Gas metal arc welding, Wikipedia. April 16, 2016.

7. What is MIG Welding? wiseGEEK.

8. Matthew Wright How Does a MIG Welder Work? About. April 12, 2015.