Why do you need to use a 120V welder?
120v welders operate on the amperage of a normal household outlet. Whether you need a portable unit for fabrication projects or a sturdier model for heavy-duty farm and home repairs, the best 120v welder will have the functionality and power you need to complete your work to whatever specifications and with whatever materials you need.
Features to consider before you buy a 120V welder
These are the essential qualities to consider when choosing the best 120v welder for your needs. The dimensions and weight are important considerations in terms of the portability you need for different household projects. The type of welding functions offered, power requirements, and duty cycle of each model is essential to compare when referencing your needs with the manufacturer’s guarantees on the performance of each model.
You may not have the storage space you want in your garage or workspace for all your projects. The size of your 120v welder could be a way to consolidate things since the models vary in size so drastically.
Consider your work environment when comparing these models.
For instance, if your garage is cramped with multiple cars and all your tools, you may not have room for the hefty 90 lbs. Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder or the even heavier Eastwood Welder. If you are transporting this machine often (maybe you do weld work at a business as well as at home), then you should consider how hard it will be to get it to and from your car.
This is one of the most variable aspects of the welders you will be comparing. The 11 lbs. KickingHorse F130 Flux Core Gasless MIG Welder can be hauled around easily from one DIY project to the neck. At the other end of the scale, the Eastwood Welder is close to 100 lbs. and has to be wheeled around. When comparing models, consider the work you intend to do with your welder.
If you’re a cosplayer or average homeowner that wants to cart it around to your friends’ garages and around the house for DIY projects and simple repairs, you may want a smaller model.
For light-medium industrial workloads, farm repairs, and auto body work, consider the heftier builds like the Forney 322 or the Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder.
We’ve listed not only some of the best MIG but best TIG and ARC welders as well. Some of them, like the Forney 322, are specified as multipurpose machines for stick welding as well. Since the work you plan on doing hinges heavily on the capabilities of your welder, you need to know if you’ll be working with heavy metals if you’ll need the capability of welding aluminum, and whether you’ll need additional features like the room to add a spool gun or a foot pedal. Since not all the models come with every type, depending on your needs and level of experience, you may want to opt for a multipurpose welder like the Eastwood or the Forney.
For more intense work, you want to ensure that you’re getting a duty cycle that gives you a stable welding current for as long as you need it. This may not be as important to smaller DIY projects, as the requirements aren’t as strenuous. The KickingHorse F130 Flux Core Gasless MIG Welder has a duty cycle of 15%@90A, meaning you can go longer on its little portable powerhouse without having to shut it down. On the other end of the scale, the Eastwood Welder has a duty cycle of 60%@250A, since it’s drawing so much power for so much more intense welding work.
Knowing the kind of work you’ll be doing will help you determine your power consumption needs and the amount of time you’ll be able to spend welding in each session before letting the machine cool down. Those looking to save power will need to make sure they’re working on an efficient duty cycle.
The range determines how the duty cycle changes with the different operating amperage capabilities of each model. Knowing the amperage, you intend to run the machine on will help you evaluate the manufacturer’s information on the machine’s range. Most duty cycles will drop at the maximum amperage of 120-160A. The Miller Electric Welder and KickingHorse F130 Flux Core Gasless MIG Welder models have the highest listed range of the devices we reviewed, both of them ranging about 80A from the smallest work, up to mid-rage maintenance welding.
This is a simple comparison. Check the manufacturer’s warranty on each of the models you’re considering, especially if you know you’re going to haul the welder around to different locations, which increases the risk of damaging it. The lowest warranty of any model we reviewed is 12 months, and that’s the Forney Easy Weld, which is also one of the cheapest models we reviewed, thankfully, and suited for light beginner’s use. Our Editor’s Choice, the Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder, has the longest warranty at five years.