How to Choose the Right MIG Welder

Welders in the market for a MIG welder will have quite a lot of information to read through. You want a machine that can handle all of the work you have, but you don’t want to spend all of your vacation money or put yourself in the red by purchasing a welder that has more power than you need. While every welder’s situation is a bit different, here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for a new MIG welder.

  Mig_welderImage Source: Lincoln Electric

How Much Power Do You Need to Weld Effectively?

A basic MIG welder for home projects will run at 115 V, like the Millermatic 140. This will weld thin metals, but it won’t handle thicker metals. However, the jump to a more powerful industrial MIG welder such as the Millermatic 252 will provide both a ton of power and a higher price.

A good option for welders who will have a wide range of projects is an All in one MIG welder like the Millermatic 211, which operates at either 120 V or 230 V. You just need to switch from a low voltage plug to a high voltage plug in order to get started. While a combination unit won’t give as much power as the heavy-duty Millermatic 252, it will also be quite affordable.

Can You Get By with Flux-Cored MIG Wire?

Some of the less expensive MIG welders run flux core wires that don’t need a shielding gas. As the wire melts in the weld, the flux rises to the top and creates a protective coating on the weld. This layer of flux needs to be removed, and the weld itself will be scratched up. This makes flux cored welding inappropriate for welds where a neat appearance is important. In that case, gas-shielded MIG wire will be a better choice.

Do You Need a Spool Gun?

If you’re welding aluminum, the wire often gets jammed in the MIG torch as it’s being fed from the wire feeder. By attaching a spool gun to your torch, you place the wire inches away from where it needs to come out of the torch and eliminate wire jams.

Regulate the Flow of Your Shielding Gas

Shielding gas will be a regular expense if you aren’t using flux-cored MIG wire. By investing in a good regulator for your MIG welder unit, you’ll save on fuel costs and spend more time on task.

Thermal Overload Protection

The duty cycle of a welder will determine how many minutes you can weld in a ten minute cycle before the welder has to cool off. The higher the duty cycle, say 60%, the longer you can weld.

If you do weld too long, your welder could overheat, and then you’ll be rereading this article in order to pick out a new welder. You can save yourself from overheating by choosing a model that includes thermal overload protection. Considering that your welder is a long-term investment, thermal overload protection is like an insurance policy.

Which Welder Brand Is the Best?

If you want to start a fight at a welding shop, get everyone talking about which welder brand is the best. Generally speaking, these top welder brands are all sturdy machines that will be a sound investment: Lincoln, Miller, ESAB, Thermal Arc, and Hobart. These brands are all available at Baker’s Gas and Welding.

Miller is the best-selling brand at Baker’s online store, but sometimes your choice of a welder will rest more on whether you can find a shop nearby that is capable of fixing your welder if you run into a problem down the line.

Baker’s has plenty of other resources to help you find the best welder: 


Related Products

Miller Millermatic 141 MIG Welder

Miller Millermatic 141 MIG Welder w/ Auto-Set

SKU: MIL907612

Miller Millermatic 252 High Output MIG Welder

Miller Millermatic 252 High Output Mig Welder

SKU: MIL907321

Miller Millermatic 211 MIG Welder

Miller Millermatic 211 MIG Welder w/ Advanced Auto Set

SKU: MIL907614

BSX FR Welding Jacket

BSX FR Welding Jacket – Khaki


8 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right MIG Welder”

  1. robotic welder says:

    This is a great list of what you need to start MIG welding. Sometimes you can overlook the simplest of items needed.

  2. Alex Dean says:

    With Father’s day just around the corner, I am gathering ideas of what to get my husband. He has been hinting at wanting a welder, but I need to know a little more about what to look for before making a final purchase. It’s good to know that one thing I need to look into is whether or not he needs a spool gun. That way when he is welding aluminum, he will be able to prevent wire jams.

  3. Marcus Coons says:

    It really helped when you mentioned how you should consider the type of project you will be doing and how much power you need before choosing a welder. I can understand that thinking about this can help you find the best machine that can weld the type of materials you have. Personally, I would want to hire a professional in this area and who can provide quality metal bonds with a reliable welding machine.

  4. Marc says:

    Thanks a lot for mentioning how you should consider how much current you need in order to find the best tools to weld. It is important to remember that doing some research and compare several machines can help you get the best results for your needs. I can see how anyone looking into this would also want to take the time to consult with a professional in order to find the best results for your construction.

  5. Hannah Neilson says:

    I agree that you need to consider how much power you need when you are welding. It would make sense to find someone who can do the welding for you if you are inexperienced. I’m looking for a welder, so I’ll have to make sure they have experience as well.

  6. Callum Palmer says:

    These are some good points; after all, there’s a lot you have to consider when choosing a welder. I particularly like that the article specifically recommends choosing one with thermal overload protection. After all, you want to make sure that you’ll be safe whenever you are operating your welder.

  7. Jim Breeden says:

    What should I consider as far as warranty in buying a MIG welder? I have heard that Miller is the best regarding coverage and parts for the longer term. Does anyone have any thoughts?

    Also for wire does it matter if I buy lower end wire vs name brand? Any advantages to the name brand?

    1. bakersgas says:


      Great question! Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric, and ESAB all have 3 year warranties. I will say that Miller is probably the best. They generally have more service centers and parts readily available. ESAB on the other hand is a little tougher to find a service center for. ESAB does have their 100% Satisfaction guarantee for the first 100 days which is pretty awesome! Baker’s is an authorized service center for all three if you are in our area!

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