Best MIG Welders under $1000 – Reviews and Top Picks

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Whether DIY metalwork or pro, a MIG welder is an affordable way to get the job done.

If you don’t need a gas MIG system, flux core welding is an inexpensive alternative.

You don’t want to spend more than you have to, but you need quality and power.

You’re looking for TIG adaptability, a wide range of settings or the latest arc controls.

Check out the machines we looked at that beat your thousand-dollar ceiling.


A Quick Comparison

Product
Image Product Details
Best Dual Voltage MIG Welder Overall
Hobart Handler 210
Hobart Handler 210

Aluminum wire feed

Includes regulator

Dual input voltage

Best 240v MIG Welder Under $1000
Lincoln Easy-MIG 180
Lincoln Easy-MIG 180

Solid All-metal drive

Professional quality, DIY simplicity

Mounts 2 and 10 pound spools

Power Dual Voltage
Eastwood MIG 250
Eastwood MIG 250

All-metal drive

High-quality Trafimet torch

Welds up to 1/2" steel

240v-Only MIG Welder
Hobart Handler 190
Hobart Handler 190

Powerful & highly portable

Highly rated

220v / 240v input only

Vulcan MIGMax 215
Vulcan MIGMax 215

Spool gun ready

Dual 120/240 volt power

Automatic settings

Titanium Unlimited 200
Titanium Unlimited 200

Optional spool gun

4- and 8-inch spools

120 and 240 volt power

Cheap 120v choice
Forney 140 FC-i
Forney 140 FC-i

Extremely popular budget model

Ideal for the DIYer or novice

110v / 120v input only

Best MIG Welder Under $1000 with Reviews

Heres some of the best MIG welders we found for under $1000

1. Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder

Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder
  • 25-210 amps output range
  • Dual 120/240 volt input
  • Mounts 4- and 8-inch wire rolls
  • Spoolgun ready
  • 4 power ranges on 120, 7 on 240

Pros

  • 10-foot MIG torch and grounding
  • Includes dual-gauge gas regulator
  • Quick-select wire drive
  • Solid aluminum wire feed
  • Easy polarity changes

Cons

  • Weighs a lot
  • Some wire feeding issues

Overview

The Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder is an industrial quality, heavy-duty MIG welder with dual 120V and 240V power input. MVP stands for “Multi-Voltage Plug” and it enables you to quickly put the machine into action by plugging the 120V plug into a 240V power source using an adapter.

We found this is a great alternative to the Miller 211 MIG welder. Featuring a solid metal drive with three groove selections, the Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder offers choices for two sizes of solid wire for gas MIG use and an additional drive groove for flux-core wire feed. This machine does have some wire feeding problems at times, but user reports indicate this can be solved by experimenting with different brands to find the best MIG wire for your application.

The Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder features an output range from 25 to 210 amps on 240 input and up to 140 amps on 120-volt power. There are four output settings on 120 power and seven on 240. This machine comes with a dual-gauge gas regulator, 10-foot leads, and easy polarity changes for fast changeover from gas MIG to flux-core welding.


2. Lincoln K2698-1 Easy MIG 180

Lincoln K2698-1 Easy MIG 180
  • 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Some reports of inconsistent wire spool feeding

Overview

With simple 2-knob tapped control, the Lincoln Electric Easy-MIG 180 welder is easy to set up for gasless, flux-cored welding. They’re designed for deep penetration on thicker steel or gas-shielded MIG welding on thin-gauge steel (stainless or aluminum). They feature smooth-arc starts with minimal spatter and a wide 30-180 amp welding output range. You can MIG-weld sheet metal from 24-gauge up to 10-gauge in a single pass.

The special, precise wire drive gives brass-to-brass gun connections for enhanced connectivity and full adjustment to reduce the chances of wire tangling and crushing. The Lincoln Electric Easy-MIG 180 welders’ Power Chassis funnels in airflow to cool power systems, structurally secures key components and traps wires and cables to avoid unnecessary abrasion. Some owners have reported issues with the wire feed kinking flux-core wire, but that seems to be related more to wire quality than the machine itself.

The Lincoln Easy-MIG 180 is a good all-around compromise between professional quality and DIY convenience and is also an alternative to the Hobart 190. This machine comes with a built-in gas solenoid and mounts either 4-inch or 8-inch wire spools. Lincoln offers a spool gun for the aluminum wire that plugs in with no kit needed.


3. Eastwood MIG 250 Welder

Eastwood MIG 250 Welder
  • 60 percent duty cycle at 250 amps
  • Infinitely adjustable from 30-250 amps
  • 4-inch or 8-inch wire spools
  • Trafimet ERGOPLUS24 10-foot torch
  • Dual 120 volt and 240 volt input

Pros

  • 20 gauge sheet up to ½-inch plate
  • Optional spool gun for aluminum
  • 10-foot torch and ground leads
  • Includes a gas regulator
  • All-metal drive mechanism

Cons

  • Needs a 50 amp dedicated line for 240 power
  • Some reports that it lacks penetration at full power

Overview

The Eastwood MIG 250 Welder provides professional performance for the home shop. This is a dual voltage machine with 120v and 240v capabilities. It will weld from 20 gauge sheet metal up to 1/4-inch plate on 120 volts and 1/2-inch plate on 240. The power and the wire speed are both infinitely adjustable from 30 to 250 amps. Eastwood offers a similar machine for 240-only power at a lower price.

This machine features a solid metal drive that loads 4-inch and 8-inch spools. Eastwood offers an optional spool gun for added aluminum capability. The Eastwood MIG 250 Welder comes with a gas regulator and a 10-foot Trafimet torch and ground connections. One issue for some shops is that the 240 side of the machine requires a dedicated 50-amp line, so that’s a requirement that could add to the overall cost of the machine.

Owners are very satisfied with the Eastwood MIG 250 Welder’s performance in general, but some reported a lack of penetration with the settings adjusted to full power and speed. That may be a reflection on the need for a 50-amp dedicated line.


4. Hobart Handler 190 230V MIG Welder

Hobart Handler 190 230V MIG Welder
  • 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Some reports of wire feed binding up
  • Preset power levels, not infinitely adjustable

Overview

Hobart’s Handler 190 is a professional, industrial-grade welding machine that only runs on 240v input, which is one of the main differences compared to the 210. 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, the Hobart Handler 190 is definitely worth a serious look. It’s our choice for the best 240-volt-only MIG welding machine.


5. Vulcan MIGMax 215 MIG Welder

Vulcan MIGMax 215 MIG Welder
  • Dual input 120/240 volts
  • All aluminum drive
  • 10-foot MIG gun
  • Gas MIG/flux core
  • 30-215 amps output

Pros

  • Auto settings
  • Tool free spool change
  • 24 gauge sheet to 3/8-inch steel
  • Spool gun ready
  • Advanced arc start technology

Cons

  • No 8-inch spools without adapter
  • Controls not infinitely adjustable

Overview

The Vulcan MIGMax 215 MIG Welder is an industrial MIG and flux core welder with dual 120 volt and 240 volt input power. This is a versatile machine with automatic settings capability. Set the material thickness and type, select the process you want to use and the machine takes care of the actual settings so you don’t have to.

This machine lets you weld at up to 140 amps on 120 volt input, power enough for 1/8-inch steel. 215 amps on 240 volt power lets you weld up to 3/8-inch plate. The bottom end for either power source on the Vulcan MIGMax 215 MIG Welder is 30 amps, cool enough for 24-gauge sheet metal.

The Vulcan MIGMax 215 MIG Welder features an all-metal drive for the wire spool. This MIG welder will run both 2-pound and 10/12-pound wire spools, but you’ll need to buy an adapter for the larger spools (full Vulcan 215 review here). With the optional spool gun, you’re ready to start welding aluminum. The easy-starting arc technology and CSA Certification round out a great deal for its price range.


6. Titanium Unlimited 200

Titanium Unlimited 200
  • Flux core, MIG, TIG and stick
  • Digital display
  • Includes TIG torch
  • Cast aluminum wire drive
  • 120/240-volt power

Pros

  • Optional spool gun
  • 24-gauge to 3/8-inch steel
  • Lightweight 24 pounds
  • 2T/4T torch Lock
  • Handles 4 and 8-inch spools

Cons

  • Scratch-start TIG
  • Not footpedal compatible

Overview

The Titanium Unlimited 200 Multi Process Welder provides MIG, TIG, flux core and stick processes. The machine comes ready to connect an optional spool gun for its MIG process. Buy one and plug it in for instant aluminum capability. This machine offers dual-voltage 120/240 volt input power. It welds with 30 to 140 amps on 120 volts and gets up to 200 amps on 240-volt power.

This welder features a cast-aluminum wire drive for durability. Adjustable inductance lets the Titanium Unlimited 200 control the width of your MIG bead. Along with the 10-foot MIG gun, you also get a TIG torch, although this machine uses scratch starting and isn’t able to use a foot pedal.

The Titanium Unlimited 200 Welder has a digital display and only weighs 24 pounds. A 2T/4T trigger lock makes those long bead runs a lot easier on the hands. This machine uses a DC TIG process. You can’t run TIG on aluminum, but you can make beautiful joints on sheet metal and exposed welds. For aluminum, get the spool gun.


7. Forney 140 FC-i 120V MIG Welder

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

Pros

  • 30 percent duty cycle at 90 amps
  • Voltage and wire feed are infinitely adjustable
  • Holds 10 pound wire spools
  • Weighs only 19 pounds

Cons

  • No gas MIG capability
  • Won’t run hard wire

Overview

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. We chose this machine as our Value 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 a 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 a ⅛-inch plate for 3 minutes at a time. At the other end of the spectrum, 20 amps are enough to let you weld 24-gauge sheet metal for restoration work or appliance repairs.


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.

Power Needs

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.

Related read: 110v MIG Welder Reviews

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

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.

Rounding It Up

The Hobart Handler 210 MVP is our choice for Best MIG Welder under $1000. It’s got industrial build quality, dual-voltage input convenience and an all-metal drive mechanism.

The Vulcan MIGMax 215 MIG Welder compares favorably to the 210 MVP, while saving you some cash over the Hobart.

The Eastwood MIG 250 offers an alternative with similar features and synergic arc control.

If you’re looking for multi-process capability, the Titanium Unlimited 200 Multi Process Welder is a great choice and it includes both the MIG gun and a TIG torch in the package.

For more MIG machine picks, check out the Best Mig Welder Overall

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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