Whether you’re working on DIY metalwork or you’re a pro welder just starting your career, MIG welders are the best option to get the job done affordably.
Flux core welding is an attractive and inexpensive alternative if you don’t really need an actual gas MIG system.
But there’s such a huge array of choices, it can be mind-boggling to find one with the power, options and price to fit your needs.
You don’t want to spend more than you have to, but you still need long-lasting quality and enough power to do the job.
You’re also looking for options like TIG adaptability, a wide range of current settings or newer technology like the latest arc control systems.
You don’t want to spend more than 1000 bucks and also don’t want to worry about a cheap machine leaving you high and dry.
Check out the seven machines we looked at that beat the thousand-dollar ceiling and you can sleep easy.
Want to go even cheaper? Check out our guide on the best MIG Welders for Under $500.
In a Rush?
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
Best MIG Welder Under $1000 with Reviews
Heres some of the best MIG welders we found for under $1000
1. Forney 190 MIG/Stick/TIG Welder - Top Choice
- 3 in 1 stick, MIG and TIG welder
- Cast aluminum, gear-driven drive system
- Dual-voltage 120/240 input
- Includes regulator and gas hose
- 5-year warranty
- 100 percent duty cycle at 85 amps
- 15-foot input power cable
- Only weighs 50 pounds
- Torch has a 10-foot lead
- Dual digital displays
- TIG welding is DC only
- TIG hookup is sold separately
The Forney brand’s not as well-known as some others, but it’s an American classic that’s been around since 1932. The Forney 190 MP is a multi-process welder providing gas MIG, DC TIG and straight stick arc welding up to 190 amps. This machine features dual 120/240 volt input, allowing you to plug in anywhere.
The 190 MP ships with a gas regulator and a hose, making it MIG ready out of the box, except for a gas bottle which can’t be shipped. It’s necessary to purchase the TIG torch and a wire feed pedal separately, but the machine is capable once you’ve got the accessories.
The Forney 190 MP features a cast aluminum wire drive system and accepts either 4-inch or 8-inch wire spools. It will run welding rods up to 5/32-inch as long as you’re hooked to 240. One amazing specification is the 100 percent duty cycle at 85 amps. That’s good enough for single-pass, continuous welding on ⅛-inch steel.
When combined with its 5-year warranty, Weld Guru has to pick the Forney 190 MP as our Professional’s Choice for Best MIG Welder Under $1000.
2. Hobart Handler 190 230V MIG Welder - Best Value
- 25 to 190 output amperage
- 7 voltage selections
- Weld 24 gauge sheet to 5/16-inch plate
- Includes dual-gauge regulator with gas hose.
- 10-foot grounding clamp
- 30 percent duty cycle at 130 Amps
- 10-foot torch connection
- Built-in gas solenoid valve
- Spool drive mounts 4- or 8-inch spools
- Optional spool gun plugs in with no kit
- Some reports of wire feed binding up
Hobart’s Handler 190 is a professional, industrial grade welding machine that only runs on 240 volt input. It’s MIG ready right out of the box, shipping with a two-gauge Miller regulator and a 10-foot gas hose.
It will weld sheet metal from 24 gauge thickness all the way up to single-pass runs on 5/16-inch steel plate. Hobart’s optional SpoolRunner spool gun plugs right in with no kit needed, giving instant aluminum MIG capability.
The Handler 190 offers 7 voltage settings, a double spool drive with a quick change feature and 10-foot connections for both the work lead and the MIG torch.
When you consider the fact that it features a 30 percent duty cycle at 130 amps, most welders will never experience a thermal shutdown on this machine.
This MIG machine will mount either 4-inch or 8-inch double-groove spools and comes with a gas control solenoid built in.
With its 5-year warranty, the included MIG gear and its optional instant spool gun plugin capability, we’re giving the Weld Guru Pro Value Pick to the Hobart Handler 190.
3. Forney 140 FC-i 120V MIG Welder
- Welds from 24-gauge sheet to ¼-inch plate
- Built-in fan
- Wire gun and ground clamp are both 8 feet
- Adapter connects from 20-amp to 15-amp
- 30 percent duty cycle at 90 amps
- Voltage and wire feed are infinitely adjustable
- Holds 10 pound wire spools
- Weighs only 19 pounds
- No gas MIG capability
- Won’t run hard wire
When you’ve been around in the American marketplace for 88 years, you’ve got to be doing something right. This machine is one of the first that Forney has aimed at the amateur home workshop craftsman. Weld Guru chose this machine as the Weekend Warrior Pick in our “Best MIG Welders for the Money” roundup.
The 140 FC-i is powered by an inverter instead of a transformer to deliver 140 amps of DC current from 120 volt household power at a very affordable price. With a 30 percent duty cycle at 90 amps, this welder has a lot of satisfied fans. It’s not intended to be a professional tool for industrial welding. For one thing, it doesn’t offer true gas MIG capability. It’s strictly flux core wire feed only.
The 140-amp setting can weld ¼-inch steel, but that’s pushing things pretty hard for a 120 volt welder. However, 90 amps will get you single-pass welding on ⅛-inch plate for 3 minutes at a time.At the other end of the spectrum, 20 amps is fine enough to let you weld 24-gauge sheet metal for restoration work or appliance repairs.
4. Lincoln K2698-1 MIG-Welder
- Wide 30-180 amp welding output range
- Smooth arc starts with minimal spatter
- Weld 24 gauge up to 3/16-inch
- Numeric drive tension indicator
- Ground cable and torch are both 10 feet
- Brass-to-brass gun connection
- Solid aluminum gear box
- Simple two knob control
- 50 to 500 inch-per-minute wire speed
- Includes a Harris gas regulator
- Some reports of inconsistent wire spool feeding
The Lincoln Easy-MIG 180 is a 240 volt professional rig that’s also easy to use for serious home workshop welders. The 180 amp capability is powerful enough for pipe fences on farm or ranch and it’s got fine control with MIG gas shielding to finesse 24-gauge sheet metal for auto body or HVAC work.
Lincoln’s smooth-arc system delivers arc control that prevents spattering and buys you time to get your settings just right, especially when you’re running with gasless flux core wire feed welding.
This machine comes with industrial grade details like a steel cabinet, stainless steel hinges, brass to brass connections and full adjustability on the solid metal wire feed gear drive.
Lincoln’s patented Power Chassis runs an active fan that keeps air flowing over the enclosed circuitry and has internal wires and cabling securely mounted to minimize jarring impacts and vibration effects.
The main board is embedded with epoxy and mounted in a tray that protects its components from damage. If you ever wonder why some brands cost much more than others, it’s features like these that account for it.
5. LOTOS MIG175 MIG Welder
- Cast aluminum wire feed drive
- Includes a regulator
- Fits 4-inch or 6-inch spools
- Welds mild or stainless steel from 18 Gauge to 1/4-inch
- DC welds aluminum up to 3/16-inch
- Includes gas connector hose
- Comes with a spool gun for feeding aluminum wire
- Good customer service from Lotos
- 240 volt transformer means better amperage control
- Many reports of broken hinges on arrival
- Poor packaging results in dents during shipping
The LOTOS MIG175 ships with a spool gun, regulator and gas hose, making it completely ready to weld aluminum out of the box. However, the box itself seems to be a problem. There are a lot of user complaints of machines damaged in shipping. Many complain of dented cabinets and broken hinges.
LOTOS does seem to be responsive to customer service issues, with many users giving good marks for company efforts to make good on these damages.
This machine is a 240 volt transformer-powered true gas MIG that delivers 175 amps and fine control down to 18-gauge sheet metal. With a 10-foot spool gun included, LOTOS delivers an aluminum-capable gas shielded MIG machine at less cost than some makers charge for a plain flux core wire feed welder.
It loads either 4-inch or 6-inch wire spools and 175 amps can theoretically weld ⅜-inch aluminum, though at that setting the duty cycle would be about 10 percent. However, this is probably the only welder available in its price range that includes a spool gun. Get a respirator and you’re ready for aluminum.
6. Forney 140 MIG Welder
- Welds up to 1/4 inch
- Regulator and gas hose included
- MIG and flux core wire welding
- Euro-connect MIG gun
- Tweco-compatible consumables
- 10-foot torch connection
- Runs off of household 120V power
- Cast aluminum wire drive system
- Mounts both 4-inch and 8-inch spools
- Several user reports of bad customer service
- Instruction manual is printed in Italian
The Forney 140, model 309 is a light duty 120 volt machine providing 140-amp power for home shop craftsmen who need true gas MIG capability that’s easy to power.
Forney ships this welder with a regulator and a 10-foot gas hose. The torch connector and work lead are also 10-foot connections. Unlike the Forney 140 FC-i which is not gas MIG capable, this machine uses standard US gas hose connectors.
Another step up from the 140 FC-i is the geared cast aluminum wire feed drive. Forney also gave the model 309 a larger cabinet for cooler operation and easier spool access. The MIG torch uses standard, easy to find Tweco-compatible nozzle tips and torch parts.
This machine uses a stepped voltage transformer for power instead of an inverter, giving a more rugged, heavier unit with a higher duty cycle rating. Forney offers a 5-year warranty on the 140 Model 309 and equipped this unit with dual spool capability, meaning it’s able to load both 4-inch and 8-inch wire spools.
7. Lincoln K2697-1 MIG Welder
- Fully adjustable drive system
- Brass-to-brass gun connection enhances conductivity
- Durable cast aluminum wire drive gear box
- Smooth arc starts with minimal spatter.
- 120 volt input power plugs in anywhere
- Does MIG or flux core wire feed
- Wide 30-140 amp welding range
- MIG weld 24 gauge up to 3/16-inch steel
- Flux core welding up to 5/16-inch steel
- Some reports of wire feed failing
The EasyMIG 140 is capable of both flux core and gas MIG operation on household 120 volt current. It will weld sheet metal as thin as 24-gauge with gas shielding and can run single-pass welds on plate up to 3/16-inch thick. With flux core wire feed, single pass welds can handle steel plate up to 5/16-inch thick.
Lincoln warns against running the K2697-1 on generators, probably because most use a clipped square sine waveform. A true sine converter or an inverter generator with true sine ability would be one possible way around this limitation, but at significant cost.
This machine offers a 30 to 140 amp operating range, fairly wide for a 120-powered welder. Lincoln backs the K2697-1 EasyMIG 140 with its 3-year warranty. These welders come with extra strong cabinets and component boards that are embedded in epoxy and mounted in a tray to minimize impacts.
It’s pretty pricey for a 120-only welder, but it’s got Lincoln quality and gas MIG capability.
The Under-$1000 MIG Buying Guide
The most amazing thing about the 1000-dollar price point is the sheer number of machines on the market.
Here’s how you sort through the chaos to get the right machine in your shop.
110/115/120 Volt Machines
With 120-volt power, you’re limited to about 140 amps, still enough to get a lot done. Most household circuits aren’t capable of just plugging in and running a welder without blowing a breaker. The most common breaker size in American homes is 15 amps. You need at least 20 amps to run a welder, with 30 amps even better.
220/230/240 Volt Machines
If you have a 30-amp dryer circuit that runs on 240, you can plug in a pretty powerful machine and get control and power for that roll cage in your dune buggy and beautiful sheet metal work, actually able to do pro work or earn extra money.
Duty cycle is the percentage of 10 minutes you can weld continuously before the welder needs to cool. The Forney 140 FC-i is rated 30 percent at 90 amps. That means it will run for 3 minutes continuously at 90 amps. At the full 140 amps, that might drop to only 1 minute, probably less before it shuts off to cool down.
Accessories and Other Points to Ponder
- Spool gun – For welding aluminum, you’ll need a spool gun that mounts near the torch. Aluminum wire is soft and kinks up when fed from the spool position in the cabinet.
- Repair and maintenance – Chinese machines have attractive pricing, but some use parts unique to that maker. Look for industry standards like Tweco gun parts and European or American connectors.
- Weight and Size – How hard is it to move the machine around? 60-120 pounds for a 240 machine is common.
- Warranty – This is both a high tech device and a heavy tool that may get kicked, knocked over, banged around by other tools and stop working.
The Forney 190 MP, when set against these guidelines, is our Professional’s Choice for Best MIG Welder under $1000. The 100 percent duty cycle at 85 amps is an incredible specification. There really isn’t another machine on this list that measures up to the same standards.
For more MIG machine picks, check out the Best Mig Welder Overall