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Metal Inert Gas or MIG welders for short have come and taken the world of small-scale welding by storm.
It is one of the most commonly used welders for both commercial and domestic use because of its efficiency and performance.
The MIG welder offer an entry-point for people who are new to welding with minimal risk.
Although TIG and Stick welders are both popular choices in the welding industry, it cannot match the efficiency and speed of a high-quality MIG welder.
And on the plus side, a MIG welder is quite affordable. Even with a budget of 500 dollars, you can find a decent tool if you know where to look.
Furthermore, this device poses no challenge even for an amateur because of its simple set up and straightforward functions.Make no mistake, however, the power it brings is not a joke.
At the hands of a professional, a MIG welder is capable of taking care of any of the welding tasks you throw at it without question.
In this article, we will give you a complete breakdown of everything you need to know when you are looking for a MIG welder under 500 dollars.
Top 5 MIG Welder under 500 Dollars Review
For a MIG welder, a budget of five hundred dollars is a decent one. You might not find the most premium product in the market, but the quality you can expect is not too shabby.
However, you must also be careful as there are plenty of low-end models available at this price range.
To protect your investment and keep you away from those cheap knock-offs, here are our recommendations for the top five MIG welders under 500 dollars that you can buy today.
MIG155GSV 155 AMP INVERTER MIG
Kicking things off, we will be looking at one of the most reputed brands in the industry, Weldpro.
The MIG155GSV by the brand is an excellent little unit that features an inverter design resulting in a lightweight yet powerful product. And its affordable price tag is extremely appealing to both hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts.
The unit comes with dual voltage capabilities, allowing us to use it with either 110V or 240V outlets.
As a result, even if you are a professional, you can make use of it by hooking it up to a higher-powered outlet. With this toolset at 220V, you can chug through ¼ inch of mild steel effortlessly.
You can operate this unit not only as a MIG welder but also as a Flux-cored, TIG, and Stick welder, further enhancing its versatility.
It comes with a practically endless adjustable option in terms of wire speed and heat settings. On the contrary to the tap controls you find in cheaper models, this one features a robust dial to control the settings.
The IGBT inverter design allows the unit to be quite lightweight, thanks to the smaller primary transformer.
In addition, it features protection against overheat and overcurrent, ensuring you get a long lifespan out of it.
The unit offers a welding range of 30 to 155 amps, giving you complete freedom over your welding prowess.
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YESWELDER Digital MIG-205DS MIG Welder
Here, we will be looking at a brand known as YESWELDER. This digital MIG welder by the company is an excellent tool to have, whether you are a professional or an amateur.
With a handy list of features and fantastic welding performance, it offers a great budget investment for just about anyone.
The unit is capable of both Gasless and Gas MIG welding, which is an excellent addition for people who need it.
Gasless welding, although not as powerful as gas welding, is extremely easy to use and convenient for lightweight applications. With this unit, you can do that easily.
You can operate the device at both 2T and 4T mode. So, when you are working on a simple task that does not require a long welding operation, switch to 2T.
However, for projects that require continuous welding, switch to 4T so that you can let go of the trigger while the unit keeps welding.
Another excellent addition to the unit is its large built-in display. It allows you to monitor different statuses such as thickness and feeding speed to quickly adjust the welder to your liking.
In addition, the large value knob allows you to switch between different functions and welding conditions conveniently.
SUNGOLDPOWER MIG Welder 140A Gas and Gasless Welding 110/220V Dual Voltage
Now, we will look at an excellent MIG welder by the brand SUNGOLDPOWER. At the price point that it comes at, it is difficult to find a unit with so many features.
Even if you are a trade expert who requires a lot of power, this machine will deliver perfectly without any complaints for a long time.
It features dual-voltage power, allowing you to power it with any wall sockets you can find. You can use it with 110V outlets if you are a casual user who needs it for basic repairs and home maintenance, and for power users, it can also work with 220V outlets without an issue.
The unit also allows gasless Flux-cored welding along with gas-shielded MIG welding to add to its versatility.
You can use both Flux-cored wire and solid core wire along with adjustment options for wire feed speed and welding current.
So, you have complete control and flexibility over the thickness of the material you want to work with.
The unit comes with a compact IGBT inverter, making it extremely lightweight and portable. It delivers 140A of total current, making it a true powerhouse.
For people who are looking for a compact and portable welder for outdoor repairs, this unit offers excellent value for the price.
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Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder
This impressive unit on our list of reviews is an extremely user-friendly unit by the brand Forney.
People who do not have a lot of experience with this type of work are often intimidated by the idea of a welding machine.
But the design and performance that comes with this machine are perfectly safe for absolute beginners.
It operates at 120V only, which already gives you an idea of where it primarily focuses. People who require a lot more power might not benefit from this tool. It also delivers 140A of current, which is enough to weld mild steel with a thickness of ¼ inches.
The unit uses 0.30 Flux-core wire. With the help of the two dials on the front, you can control the voltage and wire feed speed easily to adjust according to your requirements. Despite being an entry-level tool, it offers you plenty of options to experiment and learn the ropes.
In addition to being easy to use, it also comes in a very lightweight and portable design. As a matter of fact, the total weight of the unit is only 19 pounds. It even features an oversized carry handle for easier handling.
However, do not misunderstand its lighter weight. It features a rugged metal casing that can take a lot of abuse like a champ.
Lincoln Electric K2278-1 Handy Core
Wrapping up our list, we have another handy little unit by the brand Lincoln Electric. Similar to the last unit by Forney, this unit caters to the needs of a beginner.
And at the budget price point, it offers an excellent entry point for people looking to get into this sort of work.
The unit can plug into any 110/120V outlet at your home for power. It is not compatible with 220V outlets, and to be fair, the design of the unit is not for the heavy-duty users.
However, if you want a secondary welding machine on the side for some lightweight projects, this is a nice tool to have.
It can weld up to 1/8 inches of mild steel. Although not the best welding power, it is quite respectable and usable for beginners.
With its large dial at the front, you can easily adjust the wire feed speed, giving you some form of control and flexibility in how you use it.
The unit delivers a current of 35-88A and has a cold contactor safety feature. What it does is it prevents the wire from getting too hot until you actually press the trigger.
In addition, the unit is compact and lightweight, making it super portable. It even comes with a strong handle on the top for easier transport.
Things to Look for When Buying the MIG Welder
Now that you have seen our featured products, you should have a decent idea about the quality you can expect at this price range.
We picked each of the units after extensive research and considering some of its crucial features to ensure it comes with everything a welder might need.
If you want to be fully sure of your investment, you cannot overlook these features. Unless you know exactly which model you want to buy, you must weigh your options critically to assess which one of the products will give you the best performance for the money you spend.
So, without further ado, here are a few things you want to consider when buying a MIG welder under 500 dollars.
The first thing you must address when buying your MIG welder is obviously the input voltage. A MIG welder operates at either 110V or 220V of power. The welding capacity of the unit varies depending on its operating voltage.
With 110V, you will get a bit less power. However, most wall sockets in a domestic environment are rated at 110V.So, you will be easily able to find a viable power source for your machine.
On the other hand, a 220V unit might come with more juice in the tank, but unless you are a trade professional, you might not benefit from it too much. Furthermore, you have to convert a wall socket in your workshop into 220V.
Another option you have in selecting a MIG welder is dual-voltage. This type of unit can switch between 110V and 220V, eliminating some of the hassles on your part. However, they can get quite expensive.
This is what helps you measure the power output of a welder. A lot of other factors, such as its duty cycle, how thick of a material it can cut, depend on the amps value of the unit.
So, you must check the total amperage it can give and the adjustability range you get with it before committing to a particular model.
At 500 dollars budget, you have a lot of different options. The best way to proceed is to understand how much amps you need for the type of work you do on a regular basis.
If you plan on doing occasional house repairs, you do not need a high amp unit. But for a professional, the amperage requirement is definitely higher.
Typically, the type of material a MIG welder can work with varies from one model to another. A few materials that are common across the board are mild steel, aluminum, stainless steel, etc.
These are the common material that you would work with as a hobbyist or a DIY enthusiast.
However, there are a few heavy-duty welders you can find that can work with alloys, iron, and even cast iron.
For someone who frequently works with these materials out of pleasure or business, a heavy-duty MIG welder is a necessity. Always weigh your requirements with your options before investing in a product.
As we mentioned before, the thickness of the material you can work with depends on the amperage of the material.
So, you need to determine what type of work you will be doing. Another thing to keep in mind about MIG welders is that they are typically used for a thinner gauge of metals.
When choosing your welder, make sure you look at how thick of a material it can cut through. If you are a power user, make sure you invest in a unit that allows you to work with materials of up to ½ inch thickness. For domestic use, 18 gauge or ¾ inches of materials should be sufficient.
To put things simply, the duty cycle is the efficiency of the machine that you want to buy. The value is typically shown as a certain percentage of duty cycle running at a certain amount of amps.
But a beginner might not understand what it fully means, which in turn can lead to bad decisions.
For example, if a unit has a duty cycle of 20% at 50 amps, then what that means is that for an interval of 10 minutes, it can run at 50 amps for two minutes.
After that, you need to shut down and let it cool off for the rest of the eight minutes before you can start using it again.
However, when you reduce the amperage, which you can do typically using a dial on the machine, you can get a longer usage time with the machine.
But it is worth looking for a unit that comes with a higher duty cycle. It means you will get a better uptime without having to push the unit above its limits.
Weight and Portability
Another element you want to check when buying a MIG welder is its weight. The weight of the unit directly affects its portability.
So, if you are someone who needs to move around with the MIG welder, it might be worth investing in a lightweight model to save yourself from a lot of hassle.
Most MIG welders weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 pounds. However, these days some modern models come at a much lighter design.
Another element you could look for is the inclusion of carrying handles at the top. That way, you will have an easier time carrying it around from one place to another.
Apart from the power and efficiency features, you also want the MIG welder to come with a few basic safety features.
These options will ensure that your unit will save itself if something goes wrong in terms of power supply or anything else. Without a few key safety features, the durability of the unit is compromised.
One such feature is thermal overload protection. It ensures that the unit does not overload, and when it detects abnormal amounts of power, it shuts itself down to protect the unit.
There are a few other different cooling solutions that come with different units. It is always worth checking out what safety options you get with your MIG welder.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the best things about a MIG welder is, although it requires a bit of maintenance, the process of taking care of it is simple and straightforward.
As long as you use your common sense and do not push the unit too often, it should give you decent performance for a long time.
For instance, if you have a dusty workshop, make sure you cover up your unit when you put it away.
When dust gets into the welder and builds up over time, it can cause a lot of issues. Furthermore, make sure you clean the contact tips of the MIG welder every few weeks to keep it at its prime condition.
Yes, the MIG welder that you are buying for 500$ is more than capable of being a long-term investment. If you take care of your tool and invest in something with a decent build quality, you can expect it to last you a lifetime.But the key thing here is your investment.
At your price range, there are a lot of decent products out there. However, there are also a few mediocre products with questionable durability.
As long as you stick with a well-made unit and take care of it from time to time, you can expect a decent lifespan out of it.
Yes. MIG welding, although on the easier side of welding, is still dangerous. So, you need to wear proper safety gear and take all the necessary precautions while operating this device.
Never take your safety lightly when operating a dangerous tool. Overlooking your basic safety needs usually ends in a disaster.
Basic safety clothing for MIG welding includes full-sleeved cotton or leather clothing and welding gloves or gauntlets.
In addition, make sure you wear a welding mask. The sparks that fly around while welding are extremely hot and can burn your skin if it comes in contact with it.
A MIG welder is a must-have tool even if you are a trade expert with years of experience in this field.
The utility it provides to auto repair shop or basic metal fabrication industries is an exception for the relatively affordable nature of the device.
At your budget, although you might not get the most high-end machine, you can find decent quality MIG welders quite easily.
Our article on the MIG welder under $500 should give you plenty of options when you want to invest in a unit for your next big project.