If you ask for a welding solution that can weld any type of metal you work on, you should be looking for a MIG welder. MIG welding is by far the best welding method that you can use for mild steel to heavy metal. Choosing the right MIG welder that can fulfill all your needs can be a daunting job, especially if you’re a beginner to welding. Therefore, you need to know the things you should check before buying a MIG welder.
If you’re wondering how to choose a mig welder with the right checklist, I’ll get you through them extensively. Our welding expert team has listed the things you must consider having in your new MIG welder. Stick to the article to choose your next MIG welder for your next project:
Types Of Mig Welder
In terms of shielding methods, there are two types of MIG welding machines you can go with:
- Gas shielded: This type of MIG welders use argon or CO2 (Carbon dioxide) gas for shielding the molted puddle. The welders come with an intake hose for a cylinder that contains the high-pressure gas.
- Flux-Cored welding: This type of MIG welders don’t use external gas to shield the puddle. Instead, they use a self-shielded electrode that has flux inside to protect the molten puddle.
When it comes to Transfer Types of MIG welding, there are four different for MIG welders:
- Short Circuit transfer: It uses only CO2 (Carbon dioxide) gas for shielding the welded area and low-voltage transfer method.
- Globular Transfer: It uses argon gas with high-voltage MIG transfer that melts the wire into drips to join the workpieces.
- Spray Transfer: This process melts the wire into fine droplets and sprays on the hit molten joint area of the workpieces.
- Pulsed Spray Transfer: It’s a transfer method in between the Globular and Spray method and used mostly for industrial usage.
You’ll find the MiG welding process less painful than stick welding if you’re used to the stick welding. if you’re interested to know the differences between these two, be sure to check this article on MIG welder vs stick welder.
How To Choose A Mig Welder?
You may find the MIG welding amusing, but there are many features to consider having in the machine you’re choosing. Here are the features and facilities that you must look for, while you’re wondering how to choose a mig welder:
220 Volt or 110 Volt?
The first thing you have to choose a MIG welder is the power you need in the machine. Choosing the right voltage depends on the thickness of the metal you’re going to weld and the penetration you need. If you’re planning on DIY projects or welding mild steel with your home current supply, go for a 110V machine.
However, if you have outside welding jobs or have thicker metals to work on, you want to go with a 220V Machine. The power consumption will affect the amp output; so, make sure your machine comes with a great duty cycle as well.
Multipurpose welding capability
There are two types of MIG welding machine in terms of usability. Either you can get a machine that must need gas shielding or you can opt-out for a machine that also works without gas. Both processes have pros and cons when they are in action.
The gas-shielded machines need external cylinders in the worksite, and self-shielded flux-core machines don’t need any external shielding. However, the self-shielded machines will produce more slags to chip off after the welding is done.
The unite size of the machine matters a lot when you have a limited place as your workstation. If you have a dedicated space with a large shade on, you can go with a bigger unite. You have to set up a big machine permanently, it’s hard to move around and takes quite a space.
However, if you need portability, you must look for a lighter machine that you can move around easily. I recommend getting a handheld smaller machine if you need to carry the machine a lot. Gasless flux-core machines come in handy at this point.
The budget for the machine plays a big role when you’re choosing your MIG welder. There are two types of power-consuming welders you will find in the marker, Modern inverter or traditional transformer machines. Inverter machines are expensive, but they’re electrically efficient, which is a great thing if you want to weld cost-efficiently.
The transformer machines consume more electricity which is a bad decision is you’re up to a cost-efficient welding solution. Furthermore, the transformer welders and hit up early, so you cannot keep welding for a long time.
Filler wire spool
Working with the MIG welder will require filler electrodes, no matter if you’re using a gas-shielded or gasless welding machine. The machines come with an electrode spool holder in them and there are typically 3 sizes in total. If you’re planning for personal DIY projects or small home repair jobs, a smaller electrode spool holder is enough.
Small electrode holders are 100 mm in diameter when the medium diameter is 200 mm. You should go for the medium one if you’re planning on small to heavy works. The highest spool size you can go with is 300 mm, which is common in industrial use and pricier.
Why Should You Buy A Mig Welder?
MIG welding method is by far the easiest welding method that you can learn with a few hours of practice. The peripheral equipment and consumable electrodes of MIG welders are less expensive than other welding methods.
The MIG welding method produces the least amount of slug to clean once you’re done welding. There are so many other reasons why choosing a MIG welder is the best method to start with. To know the in-depth reasons for buying a MIG welder, check this article on the Advantages of mig welding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about MIG welders that you might have in your mind:
Do I need gas to MIG weld?
Yes, you’ll use Argon, Carbon dioxide or a mix of them both to shield the puddle with MIG weld.
Can I weld aluminum with my MIG welder?
Yes, with a 100% argon gas shield, you can weld aluminum with the right MIG welder.
Can mig welder weld stainless steel?
Yes, you can weld stainless steel with MIG welder, you have to use matched flux-core in that case. And, you cannot use argon gas to shield the steel.
Using the MIG welding method comes with tons of advantages if you can pick the right MIG welder for yourself. Especially if you’re a beginner in welding, getting a MIG welder is the best option for you. I hope after reading the above-mentioned checklist on how to choose a mig welder, you can choose the best MIG Welder you need.
However, if you need an expert suggestion to choose the best MIG welder, here is a MIG welder reviewed in detail. Our expert team has been through the best MIG welders available in the market and picked the best one to review. Best of luck with your welding journey and MIG welder shopping!