Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welders are handy tools for all your welding chores. It can shape, melt, and combine different metals together for furnishing, strength, or durability purposes. With the help of the right welder, you can easily weld different types of metals for domestic and outdoor purposes.
The problem is, it is not easy to find an affordable MIG welder that can pay themselves off in under a day’s work. These handy tools come in many varieties. Different models come in different shapes, sizes, and features. We have compiled 5 of the best MIG welder under $500 and some tips to help you find the right tool.
Best MIG Welder under $500 Reviews
Check out our top 5 MIG welder pick in the market right now under $500.
1. Forney 261 Easy Weld, 140 FCi MIG Welder – Best Overall MIG Welder
The Forney 261 Easy Weld is our top pick because it is basic enough for first-time welders yet efficient enough for professional welders. In other words, this is the best MIG welder for the money according to us. Instead of gas, this welder uses flux–core welding mechanism which comes with safety benefits like reducing the likelihood of associated injuries, burns, and even explosions.
With control apparatus like the wire feed speed control and infinite voltage, you will be able to get precise outcomes. You have full control over the amount of speed in your welding, thanks to the speed control which in turn will give you just the perfect weld.
This MIG welding wonder can give you as much as 140 amp output, just about enough to help you weld through ¼” thick materials. This purchase will last you a very long time as the metal cage is top-notch and can withstand any level of wear and tear. The materials used in this welder are of high quality, making it highly durable. We love the accessories it comes with such as the MIG gun, torch wrap, adapter, and ground clamp.
- Easy to use with wire feed speed control and infinite voltage
- Easy to transport at just 19 lbs.
- Sturdy enough for 2 and 10 pound wire rolls
- Not meant for heavy-duty welding
- Maintenance costs may be high for some
2. Hobart 500559 Handler-140 MIG Welder-115V – The Runner Up
Whether you are looking to weld normal steel, stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron, the Hobart 500559 can work well on any material. Its welding capacity ranges from ¼ mild steel to 24 gauge. It is a breeze to weld with this model and will not require much effort from you.
It has decent power, just about enough to handle small to medium duty tasks. That said, you will be blown away by how well it performs on small duty welding tasks.
This is a light weight machine and comes with an ergonomic handle to help ease the load as you carry it in your hand while working. Thanks to the compact size, storing it will also not be a problem.
Its features may be at a minimum but you will find that no other tool is as reliable as the Hobart 500559. Thanks to the voltage 5-position control selector, you will achieve smooth and stable results at all welding thicknesses and points.
- Helps in fine-tuning arcs
- Speed range is comfortable
- Compatible with the standard household 115V outlet
- Is not meant for professional chores
- Has a relatively fewer number of uses
3. SUNGOLDPOWER 150A Flux Core MIG Welder – Best Budget MIG Welder
If you are shopping under a budget but still does not want to miss out on quality, SUNGOLDPOWER 150A Flux Core MIG Welder is your best choice. This cheap MIG welder is perfect both for beginners as well as professionals. You can use it both for heavy-duty and DIY projects but it is best to avoid using it in industrial-grade tasks. It comes with a gasless operation and you can use it both indoors and outdoors.
If you are a novice welder, this best budget MIG welder will give you all the features you need to get the job done, along with some more accessories to save you some cash. As it is meant for beginners, its design is simple and easy to use yet it comes with a user manual that answers all your questions. Since it’s a 150V MIG welder, you will require s 150 power outlet every time you use it.
We have tested several MIG welders before and very few provide safety features. SUNGOLDPOWER 150A MIG welder is one of the few and we love the thermal overload protection that automatically turns off the machine whenever it senses an overheat.
- Gasless operation
- Protection for thermal overload
- Not meant for industrial-grade projects
- Can be a little noisy
4. MIG 160 Flux Core Gasless Welder
If you are looking to weld mild steel or stainless steel, this MIG 160 flux core gasless welder will get the job done for you. It comes with 0.6 to 0.9 mm flux core wire and a dedicated 60 Hz, 110 AC power input.
It has overheating protection, which means the welder will shut down completely whenever it gets overheated. Another safety feature that you will not easily find in other welders is the water splash protection. It has an IP21 protection rating for waterproof capability which means it will not break down if you were to accidentally drop it in water. Another safety measure we appreciate is the overload protection, a feature that will automatically stop the welder whenever it is overloaded.
The MIG 160 Flux core Gasless Welder is perfect for home improvement and DIY projects thanks to features like easy-to-start arc, comfortable handle, and capability to weld white steel, raw steel, metal cage, staircase, sheet metal, and square pipe.
It has a heavy-duty stainless steel construction with an advanced cooling system for longevity and efficiency. It may be made from heavy-duty materials but it weighs only 39.68 lbs, which is light enough to be carried around anywhere you go.
It has a large radiator with a dual-ball bearing which maximizes the airflow to make the environment cooler.
- Comes with multiple safety features
- Advanced cooling system
- Suitable both for DIY and heavy-duty projects
- Wire may splatter a little
- May pop circuit breaker a top setting
5. MIG-205 Gasless Dual MIG Welder 3 in 1
This synergic controlled 3 in 1 MIG welder comes with simple operation and is easy to use. You will love the gas and gasless MIG weld which makes it convenient and easy to be used without gas welding or with gas on heavy-duty MIG welders.
The 7018,6011 stick weld gives you a smooth weld and will give you faster results with the quick burn. Here the Lift tig in this welder is optional. If you want to use one, you will have to purchase it separately as it is not included in the product. One slight drawback is that this welder does not support a spool gun. In other words, you cannot weld aluminum with this one.
This welder has an attractive build with a sturdy metal case and top-notch synergic circuitry. It also has the ability to scratch start TIG, along with the stick welding feature.
If you love European style connection, you appreciate this welder. The roller that comes with the product is set for 0.030 and 0.035 wires. The dust shield is another nice touch with the high mounted display and deep set.
- Long-lasting with sturdy metal case
- Gives smooth weld with perfect beads
- Gives fast results with the quick burn
- Needs to buy tig lift torch as it is not included in the product
- Does not support a spool gun
Best MIG Welder Buying Guide
Here are a few of the main things that should be looked at while choosing the best MIG welder.
Quality of Welder
Before anything else, make sure that the MIG welder you are buying is good quality. This will ensure the welder won’t break too easily and will do what it’s supposed to do. Sure, even the best won’t last forever but purchasing a welder like a Hobart or a Forney will give you better results than a low-quality welder.
While making sure the welder functions well, remember to keep an eye out for a high-performing torch because that’s the thing that will do all the welding for you. What’s the use of a welder that lasts a lifetime when the torch is not doing its job or is falling apart as it will produce bad welding results.
Range of Amperage
The range amperage of a MIG welder is important because you will need different welding capacities to weld metal sections. With a high amperage capacity, you will be able to get the weld really hot, meaning you will have a broad welding capacity. Keep in mind that even with the same range of amperage, one welder may run hotter than others. This is why your purchase should not be based merely on the range of amperage.
Typically, with 140 amps you will be able to weld a ¼ inch thick metal or more. It is always a good idea to go for a higher amperage range than you normally tend to use. It’s better to weld with a hotter capacity tool than one that runs too cold or leaves small material margins than required for your welding.
Welders under $500 will normally have fewer features but this should not stop you because they still come with all the essential features like TIG welding capabilities, stick, and flux-core. For example, the 140 amp Lotos welder has a 2T/4T feature that can easily switch from an automatic feed trigger to a manual mode.
Similar welders under $500 include features like aluminum spool guns that will broaden the material range. Also, some welders are made with the spool gun itself. You need to buy this separately because it comes attached only with the more expensive models.
One vital feature in which all the difference in the welding ability is the wire feeding dial and amperage. With a high setting range, you will get a broader welding range to suit different materials. The setting range must be able to vary widely based on what it is you are welding as this will make sure you are able to achieve all welding capacities. It is good to tune your weld to the lower spatter limit because with a wrong adjustment, MIG welders tend to produce a lot of spatter.
MIG Welding FAQs
Here are 3 frequently asked questions about MIG welders and our responses:
What Gas Do You Use with a MIG Welder?
It primarily depends on factors like the composition of the metal you are trying to fuse and the welding process. If the metal you are welding does not contain any iron, you will need inert gases like helium or argon. For certain types of steel, a shielding gas composition of mostly argon and traces of carbon dioxide will do the trick.
Can You Weld Aluminum with a MIG Welder?
It may be hard to weld aluminum, but it is not impossible. The high conductivity and low melting point along with a soft feed make it easy to burn through. If you must weld aluminum, a MIG welder is your best choice. In order to get a professional finish, go for a 100% Argon shielding gas along with an alloy welding wire.
Can You Weld Stainless Steel with a MIG Welder?
Yes, you can weld stainless steel with a MIG welder but only the ones with a thin gauge. Stainless steel welds just like steel. Try welding with a tri mix and if you don’t have one, you can try welding with a 25/75. You can test it on a couple of scraps if you are not sure. MIG welders normally have the same capabilities for stainless steel as it has for steel.
Find the Best MIG Welder under $500 That’s Right for You
If you are still indecisive about the best MIG welder under $500 that we have recommended, don’t worry because most first-timers feel the same way. Just make sure you take your time to understand the features and read customer reviews. We have tested these products and have checked out countless customer reviews to bring the best for you. Give them a try, and we promise you, you will love it!
Jake is a tool guy – think Tim Allen from Home Improvement but with a much drier sense of humor. He lives in the great state of Ohio and plays the guitar on his downtime. He also spends his time writing on all things tools and DIY-related as this is his passion.