Best MIG Welder Under 500 Reviews – 2018 Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Most Suitable MIG Welder
Photo by Ctd 2005/ CC BY

Are you having trouble deciding what the best MIG welder under 500?  A MIG welder is versatile and makes your work a lot easier.

However the difficulty is not finding one, but trying to figure out which of the thousands online is most suitable.

That’s going to take a lot of time and I know how frustrating that can be. Well you don’t need to waste time as I have compiled a list of the top 10.

There are a lot of quality MIG welders,  but I trimmed the list to 10 for your convenience. Without further ado, let’s take a look at them.

Top 10 MIG Welder Under 500: Comparison Table Guide

Here is a table highlighting the features of the MIG welders I have reviewed here.

Product NameCapacityAmpWeightView  on Amazon
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V24 ga up to 1/4 in mild steel14065 lbsCheck Price
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder1/8″ mild steel7049 lbsCheck Price
Forney 29901 125 FC MIG Welder Start-Up Kit1/4 inch mild steel and aluminum14064 lbsCheck Price
Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder18 gauge – 3/16″, stainless steel, aluminum14054 lbsCheck Price
MIG Welder, Handheld, 120VAC24 ga. to 3/16″ mild steel14050 lbsCheck Price
Everlast mig140 MIG welder 110/120 volts FLUX 140AMP3/16″ single pass steel/stainless/aluminum14025 lbsCheck Price
Forney 306 MIG Welder 130FI-A Flux Core1/4 inch mild steel13053 lbsCheck Price
LONGEVITY Migweld 140 – 140 Amp Mig Welder3/8″ mild steel and aluminum14054 lbsCheck Price
Klutch MIG 140SI Inverter-Powered Wire-Feed MIG Welder24ga. to 3/16in. steel14037 lbsCheck Price
ARKSEN MIG-130 Gas-Less Flux Core Wire Welder Welding0.030″ – 0.035″ aluminum, 0.023″ to 0.035″ steel & stainless steel12038 lbsCheck Price

Best Picks Of MIG Welder Under 500

1. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
The 500559 Handler is an all-around MiG welder, ideal for household repairs, car work and other projects that require welding power. This 140 amp welder runs on 115V current so compatibility won’t be an issue.

The 140 Handler has a 20% duty cycle at 90 amps, and its heavy-duty feed improves performance. Its wire drive system is industrial cast aluminum, and it welds 24 gauge of steel up to 1/4 inches.

The Handler works best with a 20 amp circuit, and with its voltage control system, you’ll be able to tweak the arc accordingly. Its solid construction complements the work clamp, providing excellent performance.

The Handler 140 takes only a few minutes to configure and the user guide is detailed. As far as usability goes, the Handler is good for fences, PTO attachments, sculpting metal and repairing garden and lawn equipment.

The 140 Handler is also suitable for bow and gun racks, carts and various car parts.  The package includes an 8 inch spooler and contact tips.

What I Like
  • Excellent welding capacity
  • Easy to use
  • Stable performance
  • Runs on regular 115V current
  • Versatile performance
What I Didn’t Like
  • The cooling fan vibrates a bit
  • The wire feed knob turns easily

Bottom Line

The Handler is a very good MIG welder, suitable for a wide range of metals and operates reliably. Easy to use and with a good duty cycle, this is one welder you’ll want to keep.

2. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
The Lincoln Handy makes it to my list of the best MIG welder for under 500 as it has a lot of useful features. It is lightweight and compact, ideal for hobby projects and repair involving mild steel.

This 70 amp welding tool also comes with an 8 ft clamp cable and power cord. The gas hose and regulator are bundled so you’ll be able to use this right away. For a versatile MIG welder, the Handy Welder isn’t that hard to use if you follow the guidelines.

With a welding wire diameter of 0.035 inches, the Handy is suitable for light gauge and mid steel, and its adjustable wire feed gives you optimum control over the process.

The Handy Welder does a good job of welding metals up to 1/8 inches as long as its mild steel. At 70 amps, the duty cycle is 35-88 20, more than enough for most hobbyists. It also has the Amps Cold contactor that keeps the welding wire cool until activated.

What I Like
  • Great welding power
  • Works with any 20 amp outlet
  • Suited for flux core and MIG
  • Versatile performance
  • Easy to operate
What I Didn’t Like
  • Settings may confuse beginners at first
  • Regulator doesn’t have a gauge

Bottom Line

The Lincoln Electric Handy Welder deserves its name as it is very convenient to use. Performance is reliable and it does not compromise in terms of usability, so it’s a good buy.

3. Forney 29901 125 FC MIG Welder Start-Up Kit

Forney 29901 125 FC MIG Welder Start-Up Kit
Are you new to welding? If so, there’s no need to purchase a very powerful model as a start up kit is more suitable. That is what you get with Forney, as this set is aimed at new welders who want to learn more.

This welding tool has a capacity of 1/4 inches, exactly what you need for budding welders. Even so, the Forney kit can still handle a lot of welding tasks, home repair and some auto panel work too.

The Forney kit includes the gas hose and flow meter so you can get to work right away. The kit also has a MIG gun as well as a 10 ft welding torch and a ground clamp.

The 309 has a 120V output / 140 amp range, good enough for cast iron, mild steel, aluminum and stainless steel. The cable wrap is well integrated and its wire drive system is heavy duty too. A detailed user manual is also provided for your perusal.

What I Like
  • Available in different amps
  • Designed for the DIY enthusiast
  • Clear instructions
  • Easy to use
  • Durable built
What I Didn’t Like
  • Wire feed design could be better
  • Stinger is a little short
Bottom Line

The Forney Start Up Kit is an excellent MIG welder, capable of handling various home projects without difficulty. For DIY buffs and anyone who wants a quality MIG welder, the Forney Start Up Kit will suffice.

4. Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder Flux Core Welder and Aluminum Gas Shielded Welding with 2T/4T Switch, 110V, Red

Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder Flux Core Welder and Aluminum Gas Shielded Welding with 2T/4T Switch, 110V, Red
The Lotos MIGI40 is for those who want more from their wire welder. The first thing you’ll notice is the MIGI40 has very good welding output, suited for aluminum, mild steel and stainless steel.

The tool welds 1/8” or thinner aluminum, 18 gauge – 3/16” mild steel and 3/16 stainless steel. With this level of versatility, you’ll be able to use it for different types of projects.

The Lotos aluminum wire feeder is one of the most versatile I’ve seen. With its superior design, the end result is greater stability without compromising performance.

The Lotos Transformer Technology increases the device’s stability and durability. This also makes the unit easier to use and hook up to a 110V. Even if you are new to welding, set up should not take more than ten minutes tops.

The Lotos MIGI40 has a 2T4T switch so it’s easier to weld for long periods of time. Unlike other welding tools, the MIGI40 doesn’t induce fatigue. Lastly its drive system is fully adjustable.

What I Like
  • Excellent welding capacity
  • Durable built
  • Welds different types of metal
  • Reliable performance
  • Easy to adjust and tweak
What I Didn’t Like
  • The instructions are a bit confusing
  •  Wire feed roller installation is a bit tricky

Bottom Line

The Lotos MIG140 is a powerful MIG welder, offering reliable performance and durability.  For home welding projects and various types of metal work, the Lotos is more than capable.

5. Lincoln Electric MIG Welder, Handheld, 120VAC

MIG Welder, Handheld, 120VAC
The Lincoln MIG Welder is a no-nonsense tool capable of welding aluminum, stainless steel and mild steel. This MIG welder is also configured to work with gas shielded welding and gs free flux core welding.

The Lincoln is built for heavy duty use thanks to its cast aluminum construction. It also comes with a sturdy drive that improves wire alignment.

Its gun connection is brass to brass that improves conductivity. The Lincoln drive system is easy to adjust and minimizes crushing and tangling of wires. The wire speed is 50 to 500 IPM, and it handles flux core wire with ease.

The Lincoln Welder is compatible with 120V outlets so compatibility is not an issue. You can also use the tool on 22 to 10 ga aluminum and 24 ga and 3/16” mild steel.

For small and medium jobs the Lincoln welder does what you’d expect it to. The tool works great for gas and gasless wire and welding results are excellent, good enough for hobbyists and professionals.

What I Like
  • Quality build
  • Excellent conductivity
  • Good adjustment options
  • Can be used for different types of metals
  • Delivers consistent results
What I Didn’t Like
  • The controls take some getting used to
  • The user manual could use more detail

Bottom Line

This MIG welder from Lincoln is exceptionally good, with superb welding capacity and reliability. This is an ideal welding tool for anyone who won’t settle for low quality welds.

6. 2017 Everlast mig140 MIG welder 110/120 volts FLUX 140AMP

2017 Everlast mig140 MIG welder 110/120 volts FLUX 140AMP
The Everlast mig140 is an outstanding welder, and it does a good job of welding 1/4 inch metal. It’s connectors are well made and don’t come off easily like those on other products.

The Everlast comes with a mask that serve as protection, and its slag hammer and wire brush to speed up your work.

The Everlast mig140 is built with performance in mind, and it has been upgraded for greater performance. A quick look at the specs shows how the Everlast is superior to other models.

A typical MIG welder has 90 amps of power and 20% duty cycle, but the Everlast has a 35% duty cycle and the power is up to 140 amps. The more power it has the more tasks you’ll be able to accomplish.

Not only does the Everlast have more power, but it is also more efficient as it uses less amp. The Everlast is also lighter than other Mig welders.

What I Like
  • Works with 4” and 8” wire spools
  • Easy to controls
  • Consistent welding results
  • Spool gun ready
  • Reliable performance
What I Didn’t Like
  • Ground clamp is barely adequate
  • The spring could have been more durable
Bottom Line

The Everlast is a good welder, suited for basic projects but with enough power to handle some heavy projects too. This is the welder to use if you want to go beyond the poor quality entry level welder.

7. Forney 306 MIG Welder 130FI-A Flux Core Gas/No Gas, 120-Volt, 130-Amp

Forney 306 MIG Welder 130FI-A Flux Core Gas/No Gas, 120-Volt, 130-Amp
Back in the days, buying a cheap MIG welder meant settling for a low quality product, but that is no longer the case. With the Forney 306 welder you’ll have an easier time welding different metals up to 1/4 inches.

The welder has a Euro connect MIG gun plus consumables which are Tweco compatible. Its processes also include no gas (flux cored) and MIG (gas). You also get a gas hose and flowmeter so you can do more work.

The 306 welder works with several wire diameters including. .035, .030 and .023, an indication of its versatility. With 140 amp power, this 120V welder is suitable for small repair jobs, car repair and farm-related tasks.

The unit runs on 115V current and is MIG ready with gas hose and regulator. Its processes in include Flux Cored and MiG, and this version has been enhanced so it’s superior to the older versions. The Forney has been amplified so it has a better duty cycle and more reliable performance.

What I Like
  • Solid built
  • Consistent results
  • Face shield installs easily
  • Easy to operate
  • Versatile and reliable
What I Didn’t Like
  • The wire installation takes a few minutes
  • Instructions could be better

Bottom Line

The Forney 306 is a MIG welder that works exactly as it should. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy features, but that isn’t a problem as its welding capacity is superb.

8. LONGEVITY Migweld 140 – 140 Amp Mig Welder Capable Of Flux-Core And Aluminum Gas Shielded Welding 110v

LONGEVITY Migweld 140 - 140 Amp Mig Welder Capable Of Flux-Core And Aluminum Gas Shielded Welding 110v
Longevity carved out its reputation by making quality welders, and the Migweld is a good example of that. Its portability and versatility makes this one of the best MIG welder under 1000 dollars.

The welder runs on a 110V so compatibility won’t be an issue. Once you’ve set the welder up it can weld up to 3/8 inches of mild steel. The portable nature of the welder means it’s easy to carry.

You can plug and utilize the welder anywhere so it’s suitable for welding repair, small projects and even use at home. This level of versatility is what separates this from the others in its class.

The Migweld 140 takes just a few minutes to configure, and it holds up to 11 pounds on the spool. With or without gas, performance is consistent and you should be able to complete various projects using it.

The Migweld may be small, but it has a lot of power, and its amp control is well implemented so that’s another plus.

What I Like
  • Easy to set up
  • Good for repair work
  • Easy to use
  • Gas and gasless welding compatible
  • Heavy duty construction
What I Didn’t Like
  • The plastic bezel looks flimsy
  • Need to purchase a spool gun to weld aluminum

Bottom Line

The Migweld 140 is a well made welder, solidly designed and versatile. If you’re looking for a dependable, the Migweld should be on your watch list.

9. Klutch MIG 140SI Inverter-Powered Wire-Feed MIG Welder – 140 Amp Output

Klutch MIG 140SI Inverter-Powered Wire-Feed MIG Welder - 140 Amp Output
The Klutch Welder is an inverter based welding tool, suitable for commercial, industrial and heavy duty tasks. The industrial quality means you’ll be able to use this for industrial level task projects as well.

Since the system is based on the inverter, the Klutch generates more power than a typical MIG welder. It is also able to produce this kind of power with a more compact transformer, so it is more convenient to use.

With the amount of power that it generates, the welder provides you with more control while providing a good amp output range. The amount of power the MIG 140SI generates is good enough to handle aluminum, stainless steel and mild steel.

A power cord and clamp cable are included, and it is MIG ready as well. A lot of welding projects often require a gas hose and regulator so they’re both included in the set. It also has a 30 duty cycle @ 90 amps that allows it to weld 3/16 steel.

What I Like
  • Durable construction
  • Excellent welding
  • Easy to adjust
  • Can be used on different metals
  • Powerful
What I Didn’t Like
  • Some settings may confuse new users
  • The user manual could have used more details

Bottom Line

The Klutch Mig Welder is powerful and provides the kind of performance you need from a powerful welder. Easy to use and flexible, this is the type of welder you’ll want to use for home repair projects.

10. ARKSEN MIG-130 Gas-Less Flux Core Wire Welder Welding Machine Automatic Feed, Yellow

ARKSEN MIG-130 Gas-Less Flux Core Wire Welder Welding Machine Automatic Feed, Yellow
MIG welder reviews have given the Arksen good feedback, and it’s not surprising given its quality and features.

The Mig 130 is a no gas single phase welder, and this 50 – 120 amp welder has a 10% duty cycle at 105 amps. At 60 amps the duty cycle goes up to 35%.

The Mig 130 is also versatile, capable of welding 0.035″ aluminum, stainless steel;0.030″ – and  0.023- 0.035 steel. This level of versatility is hard to come by in under $1000 welders, and this tells you how flexible it is.

The welder runs on 115V input so you don’t need to buy special apparatus to use it. Once you’ve set it up, you’ll have no trouble getting this ready to weld. Most use this for household welding repair, but it is also useful in other applications.

The Mig 130 has enough power to handle farm work, and it is also versatile enough for and repairing cars.  In fact you can use this welder on any object that is made of aluminum and stainless steel.

What I Like
  • Chipping hammer is of good quality
  • Excellent welding
  • Durable motor
  • Comes with a welding mask
  • Easy to operate
What I Didn’t Like
  • The user guide isn’t comprehensive
  • No settings chart included

Bottom Line

The Arksen welder is ideal for new users and if you just need an entry level unit. While it is not the most powerful welder around, it is more than adequate for those starting out.

 

Different Types of MIG Welder

If you want to get the best MIG welder for the money, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the different types of welders.

MIG welders are called many names including the following, but they are the same:

  • Gas Metal Arc Welding
  • Wire Feed Welder
  • Gasless Mig Welder
  • Metal In Gas
  • Metal Inert Gas (MIG)

MIG welding is widely used, but it is not the only one, as some processes such as arc welding, TIG, and FCAW:

  • MIG (Metal Inert Gas): MIG welders welds two metal pieces via a wire. A shielded gas is utilized to heat the metals, and a current is needed for the procedure to work.
  • Arc Welding (Shielded Metal Arc Welding): in this process involves an electric current, producing an arc between the welding and the metals. This method is often used in steel structure and various industries.
  • TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas): this method uses a tungsten electrode to produce a molten weld puddle and base metal. The tungsten method is ideal for complex welding, but it is difficult and more suited for experts.
  • FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding): this method is akin to MIG except here a tubular wire is utilized.

Top MIG Welder Brands

Safe accessories are often chosen based on the brand name, and that also applies to MIG welders. The following are the major brands based on customer feedback, reputation and product quality.

  • Hobart: Hobart has made a name for itself by creating high quality but affordable welders. Hobart MIG welders are powerful, versatile and built to withstand long-term use. These welders are designed to work mostly with mild steel and aluminum.
  • Lincoln: Lincoln is another recognized brand, with MIG welders aimed at hobbyists, DIYers and anyone who wants a good welder. Their products are known for excellent duty cycles and are versatile.
  • Forney: Forney is another company that has become known for their quality. Apart from power, these MIG welders are also recognized for durability and varied applications.
  • Lotos: Lotos has cemented its reputation among DIY enthusiasts by producing all around MIG welders. While most buyers use their Lotos welders at home, they are good enough for car repair too.
  • Everlast: the name is synonymous with quality, so it’s not surprising their MIG welders are well built and versatile enough to be used in homes and shops.

MIG Welder Accessories

MIG Welder Accessories
Photo by Chris Davis/ CC BY

Having a quality MIG welder is not enough as you also need accessories for safety and increased productivity.

  • Safety Glasses: some MIG welders come with glasses. If it doesn’t, buy one as you’ll need one to protect your eyes.
  • Helmet: a helmet with auto darkening features is recommended as it protects your face from debris and sparks. Don’t settle for a low-quality helmet as your safety depends on it.
  • Wire Brush: a wire brush is useful for getting rid of debris that arise from your work.
  • Chipping Hammer: a chipping hammer is necessary to eliminate welding spatter and slag.
  • Gauntlet Gloves: gloves provide extra grip, stronger finger pockets and more flexible movement for your wrists.
  • Ear Protection: some MIG welders can be noisy, so it might be a good idea to wear ear protection.
  • Soapstone: soapstone is used to label parts of the metal where welding will be done.
  • MIG Pliers: these pliers are used for a wide array of welding functions.

Final Verdict

A MIG welder provides is versatile and makes a lot of welding tasks easier, so it’s no wonder they are often used by DIY buffs and professionals. Not all are made equal, however, which is why I had to narrow the list down to ten.

And as good as the ten are, there is no question in my mind that the Hobart 500559 Handler is the best MIG welder under 500.

It is easy to use, and it is capable of welding a wide array of metals to suit your specific needs. Unlike other MIG welders, the 500559 is especially good at complex welding without the difficulties that come with high-end MIG welders.

2 thoughts on “Best MIG Welder Under 500 Reviews – 2018 Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

  1. Deciding which MIG welder is best is hard. I go wrong 90% the time I decide on getting one and am left disappointed. This article has gone a long way in helping find the right welder. Am pretty sure I will not be disappointed this time round. I have learnt so much. I know I will choose wisely.

  2. Rotarytoolsguy.com is the bomb at least I know other types of welding the brands of mig welding and also other names of mig welding. Amazing information here. I’m so happy I choose to read this. I wanted to get a nice mig welder plus accessories now i know what exactly to get. Am so happy I will put in a good word

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.