It is important to choose the best MIG welder with features and specifications that are suitable for your welding projects.
The machine must be suitable for your choice of metal type and thickness, and more important, must be easy to set up and operate.
Mig welding, also called GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding), is appropriate for use in welding many kinds of metals such as aluminum, copper, magnesium, nickel, copper, bronze, and many other alloys.
MIG welders vary in features and accessories, and thus, the price differences can be substantial.
In this review, we have chosen MIG welders from three different manufacturers: Miller, Forney, and Hobart
Millermatic 211 MIG Welder with Advanced Auto-Set
The Millermatic 211 MIG Welder features a convenient multi-voltage plug (MVP) that allows you to plug the machine into any convenient power supply socket of 120 to 240 volts. It also has
and an auto setup feature that determines the wire speed and appropriate voltage once you have selected the wire diameter and the thickness of the material to be welded.
Set-up of the machine is made quicker by the Select drive roll that offers three wire grooves, one for flux-cored wire and two for different sizes of solid wire.
This all-in-one wire welder works with 24-gauge to 3/8-inch thick wires in a single pass through a Smooth-Start feature that prevents spattering.
- Multi-Voltage Plug suitable for 120 or 240-volt power supply
- Duty cycle of 30% at 150A
- Suitable for aluminum, mild steel, and flux cored material
- Fan-on-demand cooling system
- Automatic detection of a connected spool or MIG gun
- Auto-Set feature
- Smooth start with minimal spatter
- Possible existence of non-aligned grooves in the drive wheel with the centerline of the input spindle
The Millermatic 211 ensures consistent wire feeding through a cast-aluminum drive system equipped with a calibrated tension knob. It automatically detects the connection of a spool gun or a MIG gun for an easy setup that eliminates the use of a switch.
The welder handles mild steel wires of 0.8 mm (24 gauge) to maximum 9.5 mm, 1.2 mm (18 gauge) Aluminum, and Flux Cored Material of up to 9.5 mm thickness.
A notable feature is the Fan-On-Demand, a cooling system for the power source that kicks on only when it is needed, thus reducing power usage and minimizes noise and the introduction of contaminants to the welding process.
Forney 309 140-Amp MIG Welder, 120-Volt
The Forney 309 140-Amp MIG Welder requires a 120-volt power source and is equipped with a hose and gas regulator for MIG and flux cored welding.
It comes complete with a gas hose and flow meter, and a 10-foot Euro-connect Mig gun that accepts 4-inch and 8-inch wire spools.
Is ideal for use in farms and households that require welding repair jobs and automotive repairs. The Euro-connect feature of the Mig gun allows easy and safe disconnect for cleaning the liner and swapping the torch.
- Euro-connect Tweco Mig gun
- Handles both Mig and fluxed cored arc welding (FCAW)
- Welds up to 1/4-inch thick metals
- Supplied with a longer gun and torch, including consumables
- Rugged and durable cast aluminum drive system
- Not suitable for major welding projects
- Poorly written instruction manual
The Forney 309 requires a 120-volt current and operates with a maximum output of 140 amps. The machine has an HD cast aluminum feed and drive system equipped with drive rolls and geared idler, and an upgraded despoiler that provides easier spool access.
With its 56-pound weight, it is easy to transport the welder to various welding sites.
Hobart Handler 500554001 190 with SpoolRunner 100
The Hobart Handler 500554001 190 with SpoolRunner 100 is a packaged offer for the Mig welder and an extra 10-foot, 150A Spoolgun in addition to the standard 10-foot Mig gun.
The welder handles solid wire (Mig) and flux core (FCAW), and is suitable for mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
The machine requires a 230-volt power supply and is equipped with a 6-foot power cord and a 10-foot ground clamp cable.
The welding wires accepted by this welder are with diameters of 0.024, 0.030, and 0.035 inches, and has a 30 duty cycle at 130A.
- Output range of 25A to 190A, with 7 output voltage settings
- Portable Mig and wire-feed flux core welder
- Packaged with a 10-foot Mig gun and a 10-foot Spoolgun
- Excellent build
- Built-in gas solenoid valve and a gas hose with a dual-gauge regulator
- Flimsy ground clamp
The Hobart Handler 190 is packed with features that include:
- a quick change dual-groove drive roll
- seven settings for the output voltage
- and the SpoolRunner 100 that promotes easier welding of aluminum.
The welding parameters allow the processing of 24 gauge to 5/16-inch thick steel and 16 gauge to 3/16-inch thick aluminum in a single pass. This small-frame Mig welder is one of the most affordable options for welding aluminum.
Conclusion – What is the Best Welder for Beginners?
The best Mig welder for beginners must be simple and easy to operate and must be versatile enough to handle many kinds of welding jobs using various metals.
A lightweight model is ideal for home and farm use because it will be easier to transport or carry around to various welding locations.
Because of its affordable price, powerful performance, excellent build, and versatility, the Hobart Handler 190 is the top choice for novices among the reviewed Mig welder models.
The seven settings for the output voltage that range from 25A to 190A allow welders to work on various thicknesses of aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel.
It operates with a duty cycle of 30 at 130A, which is ideal for repair of light and heavy farm machineries, car body repairs, household repairs, and metal fabrications.
Other Options for a Beginner Welder
The second choice among the reviewed Mig welders is the Forney 309 140-Amp MIG Welder, 120-Volt, which is easy to operate and ideal for small welding jobs.
The Tweco Mig gun accepts wire sizes of 023, .030, and .035 inches, and is suitable for welding stainless steel, cast iron, mild steel and aluminum metal. It is ideal for use in farms and household where small welding repair jobs and fabrications are routinely required.
Finally, the third model recommended for beginners is the Millermatic 211 because it is quite pricey, though the most powerful and versatile among the reviewed models.
This well-built machine packs plenty of features that improve the quality of the weld, such as minimal spatters at the start of an operation.
Its most notable feature is the Auto-setup that facilitates startup and reduces material wastage because the machine decides which combination of wire feed rate and voltage setting is most appropriate for each welding job.