10 Best MIG Welders for the Money – Top Picks & Reviews

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Over the last couple of decades, MIG welders revolutionized welding.

With prices at all-time lows, the problem is narrowing the selection.

A professional welder needs quality and reliability above all else.

The DIY guy is most concerned over the actual price.

We’ve found some pro machines and a few for home welders.

Quick Comparison

Img Product Weight Price Voltage Processes Max Thickness Controls Where to Buy
Best Bang for the Buck MIG Welder
Eastwood 180 MIG
Eastwood 180 MIG
25.3 lbs $ 120/240V MIG, Flux-cored Mild steel up to 5/16 in. Analog
Best MIG Welder for Beginners with pulse MIG
YesWelder YWM-211P
YesWelder YWM-211P
39.60 lbs $$$ 110/220V MIG, Pulse & double pulse MIG, Flux-cored, TIG, and Stick up to 1/4" Digital
Best Gasless MIG welder
Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i
Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i
19 lbs $ 120V Flux-cored up to 1/4" Analog
Best All-round MIG Welder
Firepower FP-200
Firepower FP-200
28.7 lbs $$$ 115/230V MIG, Flux-cored Mild steel up to 3/8 in. Digital
Best time-tested MIG welder
Hobart Handler 210 MVP
Hobart Handler 210 MVP
79 lbs $$$$$ 120/240V MIG, Flux-cored Mild steel up to 3/8 in. Analog
Best Multi-process MIG Welder Package
Klutch MP230SiDV
Klutch MP230SiDV
33 lbs $$$$ 120/230V MIG, Flux-cored, TIG, Stick Mild steel up to 5/16 in. Digital
Best Industrial MIG Welder for Professionals
Hobart Ironman 240
Hobart Ironman 240
186 lbs $$$$$ 220/230/240V MIG, Flux-cored up to 1/2" Analog
Best MIG Welder for Aluminium
Everlast Cyclone 212
Everlast Cyclone 212
65 lbs $$$$ 120/240V MIG, Flux-cored, and Stick up to 5/16" Digital
Best Portable MIG Welder For Professionals
Miller Millermatic 211
Miller Millermatic 211
38 lbs $$$$$ 120/240V MIG, Flux-cored up to 3/8" Analog
Affordable Brand Name MIG Welder
Lincoln Electric Easy MIG 180
Lincoln Electric Easy MIG 180
56 lbs $$$ 230V MIG, Flux-cored up to 3/16” Analog

Best MIG Welder for the Money with Reviews

Here's a list of the best MIG Welders we found on the market.

1. Eastwood MIG 180 MIG Welder

Best Bang for the Buck MIG Welder
Eastwood MIG 180 MIG Welder

Eastwood MIG 180

4.5 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

The Eastwood MIG 180 is made by a USA brand and is one of the most affordable MIG welders. It’s lightweight and includes valuable features, which makes it the best bargain MIG welder and an excellent alternative to the Hobart 210.

  • Brand:
    Eastwood
  • Model:
    180 MIG
  • Weight:
    25.3 lbs
  • Price:
    $
  • Duty Cycle:
    60% at 130A, 100% at 100A
  • Voltage:
    120/240V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored
  • Max Thickness:
    Mild steel up to 5/16 in.
  • Screen:
    None
  • Controls:
    Analog
  • Max Output:
    180A
  • Warranty:
    3 Years

The Eastwood MIG 180 is the most affordable, high-quality MIG welder with useful features. This machine is an update to the popular Eastwood MIG 175, which was a heavy transformer-based welder. If you don’t need to weld thicker than 1/4-inch steel, you might want to opt for the Eastwood MIG 140 and save some money.

Inverter technology makes the Eastwood 180 light by comparison to its predecessor. It weighs just 25 lbs. and also adds digital functions like 4T and tack welding. The 4T lets you weld without keeping the MIG gun trigger pressed. So, it’s perfect for long welds. The tack welding mode creates uniform tack welds and prevents sheet metal distortion from unequal heat input.

The amperage output of 120A at 120V input is a tad low. But, when plugged into a 240V socket, it outputs up to 180A at a 30% duty cycle. So, you can weld as thin as 24-gauge or as thick as 5/16-inch. While designed for auto body welding, DIY hobbyists or light shop users can get most jobs done with the Eastwood MIG 180.

Other USA brands like Hobart, Lincoln, or Miller have more durable machines, but Eastwood is a perfect budget alternative. Plus, it’s lighter and more portable than most MIG welders on the market. The bottom line is that this is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to splash out on the Hobart 210MVP.

Pros

  • Excellent cheaper alternative to the Hobart 210
  • Stable arc
  • Great build quality
  • Recently updated IGBT inverter
  • 2T/4T and tack welding modes
  • Spool gun compatible
  • Industry standard Tweco-type torch
  • Cast aluminum wire drive
  • Straightforward to set up and start welding
  • Infinite adjustability
  • Portable and light at just 25 lbs
  • 3-Year warranty

Cons

  • No digital display
  • MIG torch lead is just 8.5 feet long
  • Slightly lower maximum output at 120V input compared to others on our list

2. YesWelder YWM-211P Double Pulse Aluminum MIG Welder

Best MIG Welder for Beginners with pulse MIG
YesWelder YWM-211P Double Pulse Aluminum MIG Welder

YesWelder YWM-211P

4.5 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

This is a one-of-a-kind welder at an entry-level price. It offers the pulsed MIG welding process, meant for high-end welding applications. Plus, the YWM-211P combines all the features from competing brands at a great price, making it a perfect choice for beginners.

  • Brand:
    Yeswelder
  • Model:
    YWM-211P
  • Weight:
    39.60 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    60% at 200A
  • Voltage:
    110/220V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Pulse & double pulse MIG, Flux-cored, TIG, and Stick
  • Max Thickness:
    up to 1/4"
  • Screen:
    Digital
  • Controls:
    Digital
  • Max Output:
    200A
  • Warranty:
    1 Year

While this welder offers pulsed MIG welding meant for high-end aluminum fabrication, we believe that the new YesWelder YWM-211P welder is best suited for beginners. It’s an affordable hobbyist-grade machine that probably wouldn’t survive shop production work.

But, since it’s loaded with useful functions and supports a spool gun, dual voltage input, pulsed MIG, and has a low price, it’s perfect for beginners. You get to try everything out and see which welding process you like the best. It can MIG, TIG, and stick weld.

The YesWelder YWM-211P also works great for light shop use. Just don’t push it too hard. It does have a sturdy body, cast aluminum wire drive, and a large digital display. Pulse, we are happy with the provided 1-year warranty because this machine is for the DIY market. But it is not professional-grade.

This new model was launched by YesWelder recently. While double pulsed MIG technology approximates TIG welding quality, nobody can say how the YWM-211P will perform long-term. Still, the YWM-211P removes the barrier to professional-level MIG welding for hobbyists, thanks to the GMAW-P.

Pros

  • Stable arc
  • Excellent build quality for the price
  • Pulse and double pulse MIG makes exceptional quality welds resembling TIG welding appearance
  • Incredible value for the price considering that GMAW-P is only available with extremely expensive welders
  • Supports MIG, FCAW, DC TIG, and MMA
  • Dual voltage input
  • Long duty cycle
  • Loaded with functions, includes all the features found in competing models
  • 2T/4T and 4TL for maximum heat input control
  • Tack welding mode
  • Welds aluminum with a spool gun or natively using the provided graphene liner
  • Large digital display
  • Launched in 2022
  • Runs E6010 electrode
  • Memory function

Cons

  • Spool gun, TIG torch, and gas regulator not included
  • It’s new to the market, no long-term real-world use yet
  • Lacks TIG foot pedal support

3. Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i Gasless MIG Welder

Best Gasless MIG welder
Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i Gasless MIG Welder

Forney 140 FC-i

4.0 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

If you are a DIYer or a hobbyist that doesn’t need to MIG weld, this welder offers a stable flux-cored welding experience. In addition. It’s exceptionally low priced and made by an American brand.

  • Brand:
    Forney
  • Model:
    140 FC-i
  • Weight:
    19 lbs
  • Price:
    $
  • Duty Cycle:
    30% at 90A
  • Voltage:
    120V
  • Processes:
    Flux-cored
  • Max Thickness:
    up to 1/4"
  • Screen:
    None
  • Controls:
    Analog
  • Max Output:
    140A
  • Warranty:
    1 Year

The Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i only handles flux-cored wire. You cannot hook up and run shielding gas with it and use solid MIG wires.

The flux-cored welding process creates more spatter and smoke and produces less appealing welds. But, for many home hobbyists on a limited budget, flux-cored is a good alternative. But, in windy conditions, the flux-cored process works when MIG will not, as shielding gas is blown away.

Comparing the Forney 140 FC-i and the YesWelder YWM-200 is like comparing an 80s sedan passenger car to a 2022 Lamborghini. Still, Forney’s meager cost is tempting. If you just need to weld a few metal pieces together from time to time, the Forney 140 FC-i is an excellent choice.

This gasless MIG welder has a short duty cycle. It can hardly handle the 0.035 flux-cored wires because the duty cycle gets even shorter since the thicker wire requires additional energy to melt.

Also, the integrated leads are too short, just 8 feet. Replacing them would be a pain because you’d have to disassemble the unit and rewire the leads on the inside.

Additionally, the Forney 140 FC-i has a plastic wire feeding system, which is not recommended for demanding users. That’s why most brands use cast aluminum drives nowadays.

Pros

  • Exceptionally priced
  • Decent arc stability
  • 120V input welds 1/4-inch thick steel
  • Supports 10 lbs wire spools
  • Everything included
  • Lightest welder in our review at just 19 lbs
  • Infinite adjustability settings

Cons

  • Flux-cored only. Cannot MIG weld
  • Short 8-foot leads
  • MIG torch and ground clamp are integrated and hard to replace if damaged by spatter
  • Plastic wire feeding mechanism
  • Low duty cycle. Plus, using the 0.035 flux-cored wire shortens the duty cycle

4. Firepower FP-200 MIG Welding System

Best All-round MIG Welder
Firepower FP-200 MIG Welding System

Firepower FP-200

4.5 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

Since ESAB owns Firepower, their machines are made to high standards. But, they’ve also cut prices aggressively. So, the FP-200 is a great choice for professionals on a budget.

  • Brand:
    Firepower
  • Model:
    FP-200
  • Weight:
    28.7 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    60% at 100A, 15% at 200A
  • Voltage:
    115/230V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored
  • Max Thickness:
    Mild steel up to 3/8 in.
  • Screen:
    Digital
  • Controls:
    Digital
  • Max Output:
    200A
  • Warranty:
    3 Years

If you are a professional on a budget, and you don’t regularly make long welds on thick metal, the Firepower FP-200 may be for you. It has excellent build quality and numerous professional features for arc control. But, its duty cycle at 200A is a meager 15%, which limits it to welding either thin stock or short welding periods with thicker metals.

ESAB makes the FP-200, so we expect this unit to provide many years of performance. Plus, the manufacturer warrants the machine for 3-years.

With functions like MIG inductance, wire run-in, wire burn-back time, and pre/post gas flow settings, you can modify arc behavior and the resulting welds to your heart’s desire. Plus, the FP-200 supports 4T operation for long welds on sheet metal.

Thanks to the large digital display and infinitely adjustable knobs, it’s easy to set up. This machine supports dual-voltage input, even though it’s designed for professionals. We recommend the Firepower FP-200 for experienced welders, small to medium shops, and hobbyists who want a strong warranty. There is also a 120V-only version if you don’t need extra features and high amperage output.

Pros

  • Firepower is an ESAB brand, a leading welding manufacturer
  • Affordable
  • Stable, crisp arc
  • Excellent build quality
  • Dual voltage support
  • Supports numerous advanced functions for arc control (e.g., MIG inductance, wire run-in, and wire burn-back time)
  • Large digital display
  • High-quality Tweco MIG torch, ground clamp, and gas regulator included
  • Spool gun compatible
  • Lightweight and portable
  • 3-Year warranty

Cons

  • Requires manually switching the button for 115/230V input
  • Low duty cycle

5. Hobart Handler 210 MVP

Best time-tested MIG welder
Hobart Handler 210 MVP

Hobart Handler 210 MVP

4.0 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

This welder may be a good choice if you must have reliability in a portable unit. While heavy at 79 lbs, the Handler 210 is still relatively mobile for a high-quality transformer-based machine.

  • Brand:
    Hobart
  • Model:
    Handler 210 MVP
  • Weight:
    79 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    30% at 150A
  • Voltage:
    120/240V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored
  • Max Thickness:
    Mild steel up to 3/8 in.
  • Screen:
    None
  • Controls:
    Analog
  • Max Output:
    210A
  • Warranty:
    3 Years

The Handler 210 MVP is a popular MIG welder from Hobart, but it’s also becoming dated since newer welders offer more features. Still, it’s transformer-based, relatively portable, and made in the USA. So, if you need maximum longevity, Hobart is likely to outlive most of the inexpensive inverter welders.

But, this additional longevity comes at a cost. The Handler 210 MVP doesn’t even include infinite voltage adjustability, which is pretty much standard nowadays. Even the low-priced Forney 140 FC-i supports fine-tuning the voltage output.

Additionally, the Hobart Handler 210 MVP doesn’t have digital functions for arc control. There is no display, and the integrated ground clamp makes changing polarity challenging. We hope Hobart updates the Handler 210 to meet today’s standards. But, as it is, we can only praise its exceptional build quality (full review here).

The Hobart Handler 210 also supports Hobart’s spool gun (SpoolRunner 100), which is also very durable. Plus, this welder has an industrial-grade aluminum wire drive system. It’s much denser and sturdier than wire drives from Eastwood, Firepower, and Yeswelder.

Pros

  • Excellent arc stability
  • Made in the USA
  • Transformer-core for maximum longevity
  • 115/230V input
  • It supports a spool gun
  • Portable
  • Industrial-grade cast aluminum wire drive
  • Quick select drive roll allows efficient wire switching
  • High 770 IPM wire feed speed improves bridging joint gaps and penetration
  • Hobart’s 5/3/1 warranty

Cons

  • Heavy at 79 lbs
  • Integrated ground clamp. Switching polarity for flux-cored welding requires manually rewiring lead connectors inside the wiring compartment
  • 7 fixed voltage settings, doesn’t support infinite voltage adjustability like most modern welders
  • No digital display or advanced features for arc control
  • Low duty cycle for professional work
  • Poor price-to-value ratio compared to competing machines

6. Klutch MP230SiDV Multi-Process MIG Welder

Best Multi-process MIG Welder Package
Klutch MP230SiDV Multi-Process MIG Welder

Klutch MP230SiDV

5.0 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

Compared to most multi-process welders, this Klutch offers the best value for professionals. It’s feature-rich and includes everything in a package from a spool gun to the TIG foot pedal - so you don't need to buy any extras.

  • Brand:
    Klutch
  • Model:
    MP230SiDV
  • Weight:
    33 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    40% at 90A, 20% at 200A
  • Voltage:
    120/230V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored, TIG, Stick
  • Max Thickness:
    Mild steel up to 5/16 in.
  • Screen:
    LCD
  • Controls:
    Digital
  • Max Output:
    200A
  • Warranty:
    3 Years

Klutch is a Northern Tool brand, and the MP230SiDV offers the best value for a MIG-capable multi-process welder. Compared to welders like Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 MP, this Klutch provides the same features at a lower cost. Plus, it includes the spool gun, TIG torch, and foot control, which is unheard of at this price point.

Additionally, the Klutch MP230SiDV is made by an American brand. It’s a well-built machine covered by a 3-year warranty, just like the Lincoln Power MIG 210 MP. Plus, the Klutch’s LCD and menu quality are comparable to the very expensive ESAB Rebel 205ic.

The MP230SiDV includes MIG inductance, wire run-in, hot start, arc force, and adjustable pre/post gas flow times. So, you can modify the arc behavior and resulting beads as needed. Plus, it supports automatic settings that are very easy to use thanks to the intuitive LCD controls.

The only downside to this Klutch welder is the short duty cycle. You can expect about two minutes of welding time at 200 amps output before waiting for the machine to cool.

Pros

  • Stable, crisp arc
  • Excellent build quality
  • Fantastic value, considering what’s included
  • Multi-process machine
  • Dual voltage input
  • Large, color LCD appropriate for professionals
  • Supports automatic and manual settings
  • Includes MIG inductance, wire run-in, pre/post welding gas time, hot start, and arc force control
  • Supports VRD for safe stick welding
  • 2T/4T and tack welding modes
  • Ability to save and recall settings
  • Includes TIG foot pedal, spool gun, and TIG/MIG/MMA torches
  • Cast aluminum wire drive
  • Lightweight
  • 3-Year warranty

Cons

  • Short duty cycle for professional use

7. Hobart Ironman 240

Best Industrial MIG Welder for Professionals
Hobart Ironman 240

Hobart Ironman 240

4.5 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

If you run a professional shop with high weld volumes, this welder will provide the best longevity at a reasonable cost. The long duty cycle, high amperage output and wire feed speed are up to the task no matter the job.

  • Brand:
    Hobart
  • Model:
    Ironman 240
  • Weight:
    186 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    60% at 200A
  • Voltage:
    220/230/240V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored
  • Max Thickness:
    up to 1/2"
  • Screen:
    None
  • Controls:
    Analog
  • Max Output:
    280A
  • Warranty:
    5/3/1 warranty

Made in the USA and transformer-based, the Hobart Ironman 240 builds on top of its highly popular Ironman 230 predecessor.

Whether you weld aluminum or steel, the 280A output with 700 IPM wire feed speed has you covered. The Ironman 240 can weld 1/2-inch steel in a single pass and bombard the joint with filler metal to close gaps quickly. So if you need a heavy-duty MIG welder for professional work, you should consider the Ironman 240. Make sure to buy the package with the spool gun to save buying it separately.

Apart from the fixed wire run-in that some people dislike, the Ironman 240 offers that beautiful Hobart arc. It sizzles like bacon in the morning and creates even, deep penetrating welds.

However, this welder is quite heavy and omits advanced functions for arc control. The Ironman 240 is a stripped-down version of Millermatic 252 that’s too costly for most individuals and smaller shops. So, the Hobart Ironman 240 provides the same build quality at a lower price but without advanced arc control and digital display.

Therefore, we only recommend the Ironman 240 to welders that genuinely need this level of durability. If you are a hobbyist, you will do much better with Eastwood, YesWelder, or Klutch.

Pros

  • Top-of-the-line build and arc quality
  • Made in the USA
  • Transformer-based for ultimate longevity
  • Long duty cycle
  • 280A of power welds up to 1/2-inch thick steel in one pass
  • High 770 IPM wire feed speed for quick metal deposition and bridging root gaps
  • Supports a professional spool gun rated for 200A with a 20ft. long lead
  • 15ft long MIG gun lead
  • Angled, industrial-grade cast aluminum wire drive
  • Integrated running wheels and gas cylinder tray
  • Fan-on-demand reduces noise
  • Supports 45 lbs wire spools
  • Hobart’s 5/3/1 warranty

Cons

  • Fixed wire run-in (starting wire speed), which some people don’t like. It makes the arc pop until the set wire feed speed kicks in. This is troublesome for stitching sheet metal because the wire run-in resets every time you tack weld.
  • Doesn’t support 120V input
  • No digital display or advanced functions for arc control
  • Requires manual rewiring inside the welder to switch polarity
  • 10ft ground clamp is too short for such a high price
  • Heavy at 186lbs

8. Everlast Cyclone 212

Best MIG Welder for Aluminium
Everlast Cyclone 212

Everlast Cyclone 212

4.5 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

This welder supports MIG welding aluminum natively, so you don’t have to buy an optional spool gun. Plus, it has numerous digital functions for professional work.

  • Brand:
    Everlast
  • Model:
    Cyclone 212
  • Weight:
    65 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    35% at 200A
  • Voltage:
    120/240V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored, and Stick
  • Max Thickness:
    up to 5/16"
  • Screen:
    LCD
  • Controls:
    Digital
  • Max Output:
    230A
  • Warranty:
    5 Years

Thanks to high maximum wire feed speeds and amperage output, the Everlast Cyclone 212 easily handles MIG welding aluminum and steel. Plus, you don’t have to buy an optional spool gun because the Cyclone 212 can us the included polymer liner and U-groove roller to weld aluminum “natively.” The digital function for aluminum is pre-installed and doesn’t require a spool gun to be connected.

Tuning the wire feed speed and voltage for the MIG spray transfer necessary to MIG weld aluminum is challenging. Thankfully, the Cyclone 212 also includes automatic settings. So, all you need to do is select the wire diameter and the material thickness, and you are all set to weld.

The Everlast Cyclone 212 is feature-rich like the Klutch MP230SiDV and YesWelder YWM-211P. So, you can independently set the MIG inductance, wire burn-back time, hot start, and arc force. Plus, it supports VRD for safe stick welding.

However, if you are a hobbyist looking to weld aluminum, we still recommend the YesWelder YWM-211P over the Everlast Cyclone 212. But, if you are a demanding user, the Cyclone 212 offers a more extended warranty (5 years) and better build quality.

Pros

  • Stable, crisp arc
  • Excellent build quality
  • Dual voltage input
  • Supports MIG, FCAW, and stick welding
  • Manual and automatic settings
  • Wire burn-back time and MIG inductance settings
  • Pre and post-flow shielding gas adjustability
  • 2T/4T, spot, and stitch welding modes
  • Welds aluminum with a spool gun or natively using a polymer liner and U-groove roller
  • Up to 600 IPM wire feed speed for a spray transfer mode necessary to weld aluminum
  • Large LCD
  • Intuitive and straightforward to operate
  • 5-Year warranty

Cons

  • 160A maximum output for stick welding
  • It doesn’t support the E6010 electrode
  • Heavy at 65 lbs
  • Spool gun not included

9. Miller Millermatic 211 Portable MIG Welder

Best Portable MIG Welder For Professionals
Miller Millermatic 211 Portable MIG Welder

Miller Millermatic 211

4.0 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

Welders who require maximum reliability for jobs on the go should consider the Millermatic 211. It’s light and portable, powerful, and has exceptional build quality.

  • Brand:
    Miller
  • Model:
    Millermatic 211
  • Weight:
    38 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    40% at 150A
  • Voltage:
    120/240V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored
  • Max Thickness:
    up to 3/8"
  • Screen:
    None
  • Controls:
    Analog
  • Max Output:
    230A
  • Warranty:
    3 Years

The Millermatic 211 is a portable, inverter-based MIG welder with exceptional build quality. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support advanced arc controls, but it does have automatic settings.

If you are a professional welder on the go that welds at the site often, the Millermatic 211 is a good choice. It’s rugged, sturdy, and has the most durable angled cast aluminum wire drive of all the welders in our review. The impressive wire drive alone probably pushed the price up. So, unless you need this level of reliability, the Millermatic 211 may be overkill.

While the Millermatic 211 doesn’t include a digital display, its automatic settings work great thanks to intuitive labeling and the easy-to-use, infinitely adjustable knobs.

The Millermatic 211 supports 120/240V input and accepts generator power, making it highly versatile. Its duty cycle is similar to the Klutch MP230SiDV, giving you about two minutes of welding at 200 amps.

In our opinion, the Klutch MP230SiDV, Firepower FP-200, and Everlast 212 offer better value for professionals. However, if you are willing to pay more for a brand name and superior build quality, the Millermatic 211 is a good choice.

Pros

  • Excellent arc with minimum spatter
  • Top-of-the-line build quality
  • Best angled cast aluminum wire drive in our review
  • Dual voltage input
  • Spool gun compatible
  • Automatic and manual settings
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Fan-on-demand
  • Quick select drive roll for fast wire switching
  • Supports using up to 15-foot MIG guns
  • 3-Year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t have digital functions for arc control or a display
  • Short duty cycle
  • Integrated cable for the ground clamp. Switching the polarity requires manually rewiring the clamps inside the welder
  • While excellent, the spool gun is too expensive

10. Lincoln Electric Easy MIG 180

Affordable Brand Name MIG Welder
Lincoln Electric Easy MIG 180

Lincoln Easy MIG 180

3.5 Weld Guru rating

Weld Guru’s rating is dertmined by a variety of factors including features, performance, independant research and real user ratings. Scoring is not influenced by the manufacturer.

This Lincoln welder may be a good choice if you want a brand-name entry-level machine and don't mind it’s shortcomings.

  • Brand:
    Lincoln Electric
  • Model:
    Easy MIG 180
  • Weight:
    56 lbs
  • Price:
    $$$
  • Duty Cycle:
    30% at 130A
  • Voltage:
    230V
  • Processes:
    MIG, Flux-cored
  • Max Thickness:
    up to 3/16”
  • Screen:
    None
  • Controls:
    Analog
  • Max Output:
    180A
  • Warranty:
    3 Years

The Lincoln Electric Easy MIG 180 is an older, transformer-based MIG welder like the Hobart Handler 210 MVP we reviewed earlier. But, unlike Hobart’s unit, the Easy MIG 180 supports a 230V input only and has a lower duty cycle. On the plus side, the Easy MIG 180 is lighter and less costly.

The sturdy sheet metal body and angled cast aluminum wire drive are of better build quality than most entry-level welders. However, missing features like DINSE connectors, dual-voltage input, digital display, and advanced arc control make the Easy MIG 180 overpriced by today’s standards.

We recommend the Eastwood MIG 180 over the Lincoln Electric Easy MIG 180. It offers the same 3-year warranty and amperage output. But, it provides more features, better portability, and a longer duty cycle. However, if you like Lincoln welders, the Easy MIG 180 is their premiere entry-level machine. But you may still want to consider the Eastwood MIG 180. It’s also an American brand with a long history and excellent customer support.

Pros

  • Very stable arc
  • Great build quality
  • Angled cast aluminum wire drive
  • Spool gun support
  • Portable
  • Long leads
  • 3-Year warranty

Cons

  • Somewhat heavy at 56 lbs
  • Short duty cycle
  • 230V input only
  • No digital display or functions to improve arc control
  • Changing polarity requires manually switching clamps inside the welder
  • Integrated ground clamp lead

MIG Welder Buying Guide

The following summary presents the items you should look for to get the most from your budget when selecting a MIG welder.

Of course, you don’t have to get a machine with every feature, but buying a welder that works for your most common welding jobs is best. Look for and prioritize the features needed to get your work done.

Dual-Voltage Input

Look for MIG welders that use 120V and 240V for the best versatility. Unless you have a 220/240V outlet available at all times, you should consider a dual-voltage machine. The power output and duty cycle are lower with a 120V input. But, at least you can do light welding jobs when all that’s available are 120V outlets.

Related read: The best 110v MIG Welders

Welding Thickness

Typically, the higher the amperage output, the thicker you can weld. But, this is not always the case. A machine’s weldable thickness also depends on the wire feed speed and output voltage ranges. So, ensure that the welder you are interested in can handle the maximum thickness you need to weld.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle is the time a welder can run continuously before needing to cool down. It’s “caclulated” as the number of minutes a machine can run per a 10-minute period. After that, the remainder of the 10-minute period is needed for the machine  to cool down. You may sometimes see the duty cycle as “minutes,” but it is most often presented as a percentage.

So, a 20 percent duty cycle at 90 amps means you can weld continuously for 2 minutes before the welder needs to cool off for 8 minutes. If your 140-amp welder is rated for 20 percent at 90 amps, it probably won’t be able to weld longer than a minute at the full 140 amps.

MIG Welding Aluminum

If you need to MIG weld aluminum, ensure that the machine supports a spool gun connection. Some models can also “natively” weld aluminum with a regular MIG torch after replacing the steel liner with a graphene liner. For example, the YesWelder YWM-211P and Everlast Cyclone 212 support spool guns and native aluminum welding.

Digital Functions

  • MIG inductance lets you modify the spatter amount and slightly influences the bead shape.
  • 2T/4T setting switches between standard (2T) welding and 4-touch MIG trigger control, allowing you to make long welds without pressing the torch trigger.
  • Tack welding mode makes consistent, uniform tack welds and removes most human error from the equation.
  • Wire run-in modifies the wire feed speed during the arc startup. It’s best to change run-in speed if you can because if you don’t like the fixed value offered by the manufacturer, you’ll have a hard time making tack welds.
  • Wire burn-back time adjusts how long the MIG wire is burning after you stop the arc. This setting helps prevent the wire from fusing to your copper tips and prolongs their life.
  • Pre/Post welding gas flow settings specify how long the shielding gas should cover the weld puddle before and after the arc. Correct gas flow settings can prevent oxidation and porosity.
  • Automatic MIG settings make welding far easier for beginners. Look for “Auto settings” or “MIG Synergic” mode to see if a welder has auto-set features.

Physical Features

  • Transformer-based welders often have a longer lifespan than inverter-based machines but are far heavier.
  • Inverter-based welders are lightweight, portable, and offer more advanced functions for arc control.
  • DINSE connectors for positive and negative polarities are standard nowadays. They make switching polarity and replacing worn leads simple.
  • Euro-style MIG torch connectors are preferable because replacements are more readily available.
  • Digital display allows easy adjustments and readability. It’s particularly handy for beginners.
  • Fan-on-demand reduces noise and unnecessary dust inflow by running the cooling fan only after the machine heats up.
  • Wire drive systems should be made from metal, not plastic. Cast aluminum drives are standard nowadays, and angled drives feed wire better.

Summing It Up

The most cost-effective welder on the market is the Eastwood MIG 180. It’s an excellent alternative to the Hobart 210, and it provides the best blend of durability, features, warranty, and cost. This machine works great for hobbyists and light shop users.

However, if you are a hobbyist that prefers more features, the YesWelder YWM-211P is the next best choice. Hobbyists should also consider the Klutch MP230SiDV because it’s relatively inexpensive, considering all the accessories included. Finally, if you only weld occasionally and don’t want to spend much, consider the gasless MIG welder from Forney.

If you run a professional shop, the Hobart Ironman 240 is the most affordable industrial-grade welder. Since this machine is not portable, you may also want to check out the Millermatic 211. But since the Millermatic 211 is overly expensive, some pros will want to save money with the Firepower FP-200 by ESAB.

Other MIG guides

Top Rated MIG Welders for Under $1000

Top Rated MIG Welders for Less Than $500


About Jeff Grill

Jeff Grill hails from Long Island, a 118 mile stretch of land that starts just off the coast of Manhattan and stretches deep into the Atlantic ocean. He has always been interested in welding from an early age and has the cuts and bruises to prove it as he set out to work with a variety of metals.


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