Let’s face it, welding is an expensive hobby. With all of the high end equipment on the market today, beginners may feel intimidated by the cost of basic gear.
For newcomers that just want to weld in their garage or build small projects at home, there are some affordably priced MIG machines that are good options.
MIG is generally an easier process to learn than stick or TIG, and beginners will find that they can start to lay consistent MIG beads in a short timeframe.
It is also a convenient process for hobbyists and fabricators. A spool of MIG wire can last for weeks over the course of multiple projects. Beginners may find this more appealing than other processes.
This gear guide will outline our top picks for affordable MIG machines. These small welders can tackle basic projects, and will allow beginners to get a feel for welding before they splurge on a nicer machine.
Forney Easy Weld 261 MIG Welder
This is one of the top rated machines for beginners. It uses single flux core wire (not dual shield) which means that you won’t need a gas cylinder in addition to this machine. It offers up to 140 amps of capability, which means that you can weld up to 1/4″ steel plate.
The smooth dials allow you to finely adjust your voltage and wire speed. This makes it easy to set your machine at your desired settings, as other machines dials aren’t as nice as this models.
Forney also set out to make this machine very lightweight. Coming in at only 19 lbs, this machine is about as portable as it gets. It can handle 2 lb spools of wire as well as 10 lb spools of wire. The ground lead and work lead are included with this machine as well.
Considering that this machine can plug into most household outlets, it boasts some pretty impressive features.
Lincoln Electric Handy Core MIG Welder
If you want a name brand welder at an entry level price point, this is a great bet. It runs flux core wire with ease, and also plugs into most household outlets. This model comes with Lincoln’s 1 year warranty on parts and labor, which is a plus. Most entry level welders don’t come with any sort of warranty at all!
Although this is a great little welder, it only goes to up to 88 amps. This means that 1/8″ steel is the maximum thickness that you can weld with this machine. If you plan on working with lighter gauged material, then this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if welding 1/4″ steel is more of a necessity for you, then the Forney may be a better option.
Super Deal PRO MIG Welder
This model from Super Deal is actually a great value for the features it has. It runs off of regular household power outlets (120v) and runs single shielded flux wire.
Although it doesn’t have an option for a gas plugin, regular flux core wire is stronger than most people think. It is a messier process than hardwire due to the slag, but it penetrates steel very well.
This is one of the most affordable welders in the entry level category, which makes it great for hobbyists on a budget. It offers 10 wire feed speeds, and features a durable high grade PVC construction.
If you just want to give MIG welding a try, this is a great option to see if you enjoy the process.
TackLife MIG/Stick Welder
This welder is often overlooked since it is newer on the scene, but it offers some amazing features for the price. First of all, it can stick weld! We haven’t seen a multiprocess machine in the entry level range such as this one.
In terms of its MIG capabilities, it can go up to 140 amps (just like the Forney). However, the best feature on this machine is the digital display readout. Instead of just using the normal dials, you can actually see your exact amperage and voltage on the screens. This makes it easier to dial in settings for your specific projects.
So, if you want a MIG welder but stick welding also sparks your interest, this is a good machine to look in to. It will allow you to play with both processes to see which one you like best. It plugs into regular 120v outlets, so it is perfect for a garage or small workshop.
This is the big dog of the bunch. While it is generally more expensive than the other welders, it offers tons of different features.
First, it allows you to run off of 240v power and 120v power. If you’re not familiar with a 240v outlet, think of the big plug that your washer or dryer plugs into. This larger outlet gives your welding machine a LOT more power. You’ll have less of a chance of tripping the breaker at your house, and you’ll be able to weld thicker steel.
Unlike the other machines listed above, this model can run .023, .030, and .035 hardwire and flux core wire. It can even run a TIG torch since there is a gas port on the machine (cylinder not included).
If you’re looking for a multiprocess machine that you can grow into, the Weldpro is worth looking at. It will allow you to fabricate with hardwire MIG, stick weld, TIG weld etc.
It generally gets very good ratings each year, and many new welders have honed their craft with this awesome machine.
YesWelder Digital MIG/Stick Welder
Similar to the Weldpro model listed above, this machine is on the higher end of the entry level range.
It offers the option for a 240v plugin which will allow this model to run at 200 amps. That is a lot of power for a little machine. You can run gasless flux wire, hardwire (with gas), or you can stick weld with it. You can even TIG weld with it – but the TIG setup is not included with the kit.
This machine has a digital readout which is always a plus. Before recently, digital readouts were only found on high end machines. Now, even entry level machines allow you to view your amperage and voltage on their digital screens.
This model from YesWelder will take on 1/4″ steel with ease. We would definitely be comfortable using this welder for a fabrication project. If you want to bump up into a more robust machine, the YesWelder MIG is worth researching for yourself.
Similar to the Weldpro, it receives solid ratings every year.