Best MIG Welders Under $500 Reviews 2019

Last updated on April 14th, 2019 at 07:02 am

Gas Metal Arc Welding serves as the preferred technique when it comes to production of premium quality welds without shelling out high quantum of money. It makes use of solid electrode from an externally supplied source and electrical power for melting the electrode and accumulating the molten material in the weld joint. The MIG process enables motorsports enthusiasts, farmers, hobby artists and DIY welders to engage in fabrication and repair work on material ranging between 24 gauge to 1/2 inch of thickness. People turn to this method of welding for the increased flexibility and easy usage. Some even claim that the entire process is as simple as that taken up with a glue gun.

NameImageInputWeightPriceCheck Price
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 115V
26 lbs
$$
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Lotos MIG140 140 Amp 110V
54 lbs
$$$
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ARKSEN MIG-130 Welding Machine115V
36.8 lbs
$
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Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i MIG Welder120V
19 lbs
$Check Price
Goplus MIG 130 Welder110V

35 lbs
$
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Factors To Be Considered Before Purchasing An MIG Welder

Input Voltage

The different input voltages of the MIG welders earmark them against various types of electrical outlet. Most of the welders belong to 110/115/120V or 220/225/230V category with some having capability of taking on both.

Multifunction or MIG/Flux-Cored Welders

The MIG welders might either require a gas cylinder or may be flux cored while some have capability of both. Initially the flux core models might seem to be more appealing since the gas cylinder does not require to be hooked up. However, a layer of slag is created by flux core models which require to be chiselled away. For ensuring maximum diversity, it is advisable to opt for welders having both these functions available.

Transportability and Size

The machine needs to be easily portable if you are planning on using the same in multiple locations. The same might not pose as a big threat if you wish to get your job done in a workshop. However, if your power requirements cannot be encompassed within a portable size, then you can place the same on a wheeled cart for being moved around. High quality MIG welders weigh a minimum of 25 pounds and come with inverter technology which aids in bringing down its weight while the heavier options can weigh anywhere around 200 pounds.

Output Power

The power requirement varies in accordance with the type of welding you are trying to achieve. Several manufacturers provide with a custom chart which can be of great yield in choosing the correct settings and benefitting from the highest quality weld.

Spool Gun

If you wish to weld aluminium, then it is essential to purchase a welder capable of attaching a spool gun which is not the case in most of the smaller sized versions. You can take the example of Hobart 140 which in spite of being a brilliant welder does not include this functionality like that of the Longevity 140. While purchasing a spool gun it is recommended to go ahead with one having quick release feature.

Brand & Warranty

It is always advisable to proceed with a trustworthy and reliable welder brand. Various welder manufacturers bring along different support levels but Hobart, Miller, Lincoln and Everlast are some top-notch brands which have been delivering quality products for quite some time now. Also, make sure to check your welder’s warranty which usually extends up to 5 years in top models and provides extra investment assurance. If you wish to try out lesser known brands, then make sure to conduct a thorough market survey before purchasing the same.

Duty Cycle

The length of welding time can also be a determining factor especially if you require using the MIG welder for long stretches. Welders having higher output power and lower duty cycle require increased span of time for cooling down. If you are worried about the machine being overheated, then you should purchase a welder having thermal overload protection thus preventing damage to the welder by keeping the duty cycle from getting exceeded.

Price

Last but not the least, budget also plays the role of a determining factor while bringing home a MIG welder. Contrary to popular belief, the most expensive one might not suit you best at all times. If you know exactly what you are looking for given the specific budget, then you can pick the optimum welder to usher in finest performance at diminished expense.

Browse through our carefully collated guide presented below to have a clear understanding of the top five MIG welders belonging to the under 500 dollar price category.

1st – Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Built to usher in maximum portability, the Lincoln Electric k2185-1 weighing just 46 pounds can pave the way for output power ranging between 35A to 88A thus making it easy to repair mild steel ranging between 24 gauge to 1/8 inches of thickness. It is also the perfect tool for the DIY user brigade who often engages in routine repairs around the house and in the garage on light gauge steel. Tailor made for being used for the body panel replacement of vehicles, work on bumpers, custom fabrication and roll cages, the Lincoln model can be used seamlessly by beginners paired with its easy user interface.

It can also serve the purpose of experienced welders who wishes to benefit from highly portable devices which can pave the way for precise and strong welds on the go. The machine’s capability of welding an array of materials ranging from mild steel to aluminium comes as a big bonus especially for craftsmen wishing to engage in artistic fabrications. This highly affordable welder easily plugs into regular household outlets of 115V and 20 amp. The four voltage settings and continuous wire feed speed adjustment imparts precise control to this MIG welder meant for catering to smaller projects.

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PROS:

  • Gasless nozzle aids in flux-cored welding.
  • Requirement of minimal maintenance compared to its peers.
  • Basic safety features such as voltage control and cooling-fan.
  • Ranks high on durability meter and can easily weld a large variety of metals.
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CONS:

  • Not suited for industrial or heavy duty usage.
  • Portability might get constricted with the added accessories.
  • Hand-held flimsy welding mask might create safety vacuums.

2nd – Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder

Perfect for being used in small workshops and home, the Lotos MIG140 has brought along a fresh upgrade in 2017 paired with additional features such as the 2T/4T button which provides with enhanced versatility perfect for long time welding. Beginners can utilise this easy to set up machine for welding steel up to 1/4th inch. The front housed control panel can be operated with utmost ease. The power switch is set on the top-left of the panel and two dials for changing wire feed speed and voltage are located underneath. There are two digital displays on the right showing wire inches per minute and arc volts.

The MIG140 can be used for welding stainless steel and steel ranging from 24 gauge to ¼ inch by either opting for MIG or flux-cored welding. For welding aluminium, users shall need to purchase a spool gun additionally. This Lotos welder comes with a duty cycle of 20% at 90 amps and power output ranging from 30A to 140A. Its required input voltage of 110v can be in perfect sync with the household power outlet. In spite of weighing 54 pounds, the MIG140 can be carried around easily by tugging the large handle located at the top.

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PROS:

  • Optimum value for money.
  • Easy to use control panel.
  • Additional accessories such as ground clamp, MIG torch, one gauge regulator and gas hose.
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CONS:

  • Earmarked against small to medium sized projects.
  • Features not as advanced as it peer.

3rd – ARKSEN MIG-130 Welding Machine

This inexpensive MIG welder by ARKSEN comes coated in durable yellow paint thus making it tailor-made to take on heavy duty usage at your factory premises.

It runs on 115-volt power which is the standard domestic power supplying state in most households.

You can thus easily use it in your home garage without having to get any additional electrical work done.

This welder is strongly recommended for those who are afraid of the hazards related to uncontrolled gas movements as it does not require gas in its operation.

Requiring between 50 to 120 amps of power, this versatile welder runs on an excellent duty cycle of 35% at 60 amp and a moderate one of 10% at 105 amp.

The elimination of gas ushers in greater reliability to this machine. However, the same cannot be stated about its penetration power which does not come in as a big shock given its relatively low capacity.

The thermal overload protection stands out as another stellar attribute of the ARKSEN MIG-130 which sends warning signals and automatically shuts down the machine if its gets excessively hot due to air blockage or breaching of the duty cycle.

This Flux Core Wire welder offers supreme versatility in terms of welding a diverse array of metals including aluminium so that you can take on larger number of hobby or professional grade projects.

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PROS:

  • Comes with a mask having a large viewing area.
  • Compact welding machine weighing 36.8 pounds can be easily carried around the workplace.
  • Welding speed can be adjusted through the rotary knob amongst 10 different speed settings.
  • Makes use of self-release metal-inert gas and flux-cored wire while welding for preventing oxidation.
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel body further adds to its longevity.
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CONS:

  • Instruction manual is not very helpful in tutoring about wire feed and similar aspects.
  • Cannot penetrate more than ¼ inch steel.

4th – Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i MIG Welder

With versatile wire feed speed control and infinite voltage, the Forney Easy Weld 261 can serve as your best bet for undertaking welding activities especially when you are running on a stringent budget.

This perfect entry level welder makes use of 0.30 inch as well as 0.35-inch flux core wire for carrying out its welding operations.

You can easily weld mild steel ranging up to ¼ inch plate coupled with its 140amp output.

At just 19 pounds, this highly portable welder can be carried around in a hassle-free manner especially while carrying out maintenance, metal fabrication, repair and D-I-Y projects.

The welder comes packed in an all metal case which can easily handle about 2-10 pound rolls of wire.

In spite of having a small stature, this welder is ideal for slicing through stainless steel in a smooth fashion.

This welder is accompanied with an 8’ ground clamp, 8’ MIG gun, an integrated handle having a torch wrap and 20A-15A adapter.

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PROS:

  • Comes backed with a 12-month warranty against all manufacturing defects.
  • Welder is accompanied with a flow meter; quick start guide and gas hose.
  • Can be carried around easily to the work site making it ideal for jobs which require a lot of repositioning.
  • It has a 30% duty cycle at 90A.
  • Ideal for undertaking fixing as well as light garage welding works.
  • Helps welding in tight spaces without the requirement of gas.
  • Plug-and-play setup makes it perfect for being used by amateurs who are trying to learn the art of MIG welding for the very first time.
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CONS:

  • Wire feeder is not very long.

5th – Goplus MIG 130 Welder

If you thought that it was impossible to find a portable MIG welder, then it’s time to say hello to the Goplus MIG 130 which weighs just 35 pounds.

Such attributes make it a crowd puller in a cluster of peer welders weighing more than 80 pounds.

Its lightweight build leads to minimal welding power which is absolutely okay while undertaking hobby and DIY projects.

This compact welder is crafted using heavy-duty stainless steel which comes coated in durable yellow paint for ensuring its longevity.

It works exceptionally well with steel and can be used in an array of welding processes such as car bodywork.

The Goplus MIG 130 has four adjustable welding speed settings meant for users to take their pick from.

You can thus toggle between maximum, minimum, 1 and 2 by adjusting 4 current flow buttons.

A rotary knob also helps in adjusting the wire feeding speed to work with 10 different levels of your choice.

Although both multi and single pass wire are compatible with this welder, it is advisable to stick to either 0.30 or 0.35 for best results.

While using this welder, you need to give extra caution to adequately preparing the welding surface of materials as working on oily or dirty surface can lead to a poor outcome.

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PROS:

  • Oxidation of welded part is prevented by self-release of metal-inert gas while welding.
  • Offers hidden built-in storage to minimise clutter at your workplace and keep things organised in the right fashion.
  • Comes with a carry handle which helps in transportation and storage.
  • Dual air-vents help in effective heat dissipation to increase it longevity.
  • Offers the flexibility of choosing amongst 10 different wire feeding speeds for catering to your requirements.
  • Comes accompanied with a plethora of accessories such as 55lbs welding wire,0.9mm reel, chipping/brush hammer and a protection mask.
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CONS:

  • Not meant for professional level usage.

Final Thought

In most of the cases people end up purchasing welders which cannot serve their requirement properly. However, braced with our MIG welder guide you can bring home the perfect equipment which shall be in sync with your aspirations. However, having just, a quality MIG welder is not sufficient unless you pair it up with required accessories to enhance its safety parameter. Soapstone for example can be used for labelling the metal parts while chipping hammer eliminates welding slag and splatter. You can benefit from having an extra grip courtesy the gauntlet gloves having stronger finger pockets to render enhanced flexibility while moving your wrists. A helmet is also highly recommended since it acts a shield against sparks and debris.