Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: June 23, 2021
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Professional and entry-level welders are moving past gas welding to take advantage of flux-cored arc welding technology. By plugging directly into a wall socket and being easily moved from one project to the next, 120v welders are modern marvels when it comes to blacksmithing and home repairs. The best 120v welders make for a compact, heavy-duty helpers for all your sheet metal, auto body, and repair projects. When looking to buy MIG, ARC, TIG, or other leading welders, it’s essential to consider their dimensions, weight, functionality, duty cycle, warranty, and range.
These were the main features used when evaluating these eight top welders. When comparing these aspects, we concluded that the Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder is our Editor’s Choice in best welders for its portability, current range, safety features, and variability in MIG and flux-cored welding settings. Particularly for projects involving thicker steel, Hobart’s quality technology not only outperforms the competition relative to its price, but also keeps itself compact and relatively light for an easier experience bouncing between repair projects in the yard, house, or garage.
The tables below feature each of the eight best welders and a breakdown of their specs. We assessed each one for positive features and potential drawbacks to giving you this essential buying guide to choosing the best 120v welder. No matter your home repair or yard art needs, 120v welders are an essential piece of your welding arsenal. Here’s a breakdown of every type reviewed and the score we gave it on its features and performance.
"This welder is on the pricier side, but it has thermal overload protection and a built-in solid-state contactor circuit. It’s also very compact and has automatic settings along with customizable ones."
For its durability and overall design, the Hobart Handler is our Editor’s Choice for the best home 120v MIG welder. From its competitive amperage output (25-140) to its 5-position voltage controls, the Hobart gives you variable functionality and control over your arc all on a standard 115v household outlet. Both the best MIG welder and one of the best hobbyists’ welders as well, the Hobart is ideal for a variety of projects, from home repairs and farm duties to bodywork and sheet metal art projects. It’s also great as a gas shielded wire and flux core welder.
Despite its mid-high weight at 65 lbs., you should be able to easily move this welder between projects and get the same stable arc and efficient amperage that Hobart has become known for. Its competitive 5-year warranty ensures that you have a safety net if anything goes wrong on your foreseeable repair projects. For MIG processes in cast iron, copper, titanium, and most of the common alloys, Hobart boasts a stable arc, a mid-range weight, and a heavy-duty clamp and drive system for an industrial-grade performance.
This is another welder great for MIG and flux core welding. Like the Hobart, it’s portable, and handheld comes with an above-average warranty and has an impressive current range. The features on the Miller Electric are what make it stand out. It’s spool gun-compatible, making it ideal for welding softer metals like aluminum. Its angled durable cast aluminum drive system is designed to make your life easier when setting up and calibrating your Miller Electric, as is its built-in solid-state contactor circuit, a safety feature designed to make positioning the welder safe before use.
This is one of the best starting 120v MIG welders in its category with the automatic settings and manual features combined to give you a customizable experience for whatever project you’re working on. Along with similar thermal overload protection features to the Hobart, the Miller Electric also boasts a versatile range of viable uses, including in the motorsports, arts, home repair, mechanical contracting, and ranching industries. Even though the price tag of the Miller means that you’ll be paying for premium, it’s our Premium Pick because you get a lot of functionality for the money.
One of the best 120v flux core welders on the market, the Forney Easy Weld, boasts an extremely competitive price tag to boot. It’s one of the lightest models as well, making it ideal for DIY projects around the house, including being one of the best hobbyist welders out there. For a wide range of fabrication and maintenance needs, the Forney Easy Weld boasts infinite voltage and wire feed speed control. In fact, it’s one of the best wire feed welders for home use that you can buy. Therefore, the Forney is widely considered an ideal welder for beginners and hobbyists.
You’ll notice right away when you see its rugged, all-metal case that the Forney Easy Weld is built to withstand being hauled around to different hobbies, garages, and maintenance locations. Of all those listed, it’s the easiest to use. It includes an adapter for 15A welding, a ground clamp, and a 12-month warranty. That may not be as long as some of its competitors, but the Forney Easy Weld is built for versatility and sturdiness, so we doubt you’ll need it in the first place.
What makes it stand out?
Wire feed speed control
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Not as versatile outside of flux core welding as the 271
Hobart’s second entry on the list is even heavier but no less versatile. It’s capable of welding up to 3.8-inch mild steel. It’s equipped with a spool gun for aluminum work and is one of the best MIG welders available despite the higher weight and heftier price tag. The Hobart Handler 210 is easy to use and safe to keep as an all-purpose welder around the house. It comes with a diverse array of settings to give amateurs a logical starting point and enough customization options to give experts the room they need to create their own projects.
Its safety features are plentiful as well, including a built-in contractor that keeps the wire cold until you’re ready to start welding. It’s spool gun-compatible without any extra controls or adapters to clutter up your garage and make transporting the Hobart more complicated than it needs to be. Despite the heavier weight and steeper price tag than the more novice-level welders on this list like the Forney, the Hobart 201 is still one of the best MIG welders on the market.
For its extremely low price and weight relative to its features, the ARCRAFT Inverter Flux Core 140 Welder is our pick for the Best Value on the list. Despite its low cost, you won’t sacrifice any of the vital safety features of the bigger welders, including overload protection, cold start wire feeding, and a top-loading drive.
Like the other lighter entries on the list, the ARCRAFT is great for novice welders with its built-in torch and robust inverter technology – it’s one of the best inverter welders on the list. If you’re looking to upgrade from a gas welder with a rugged, day-to-day option in 120v welding, this ARCRAFT has the wire feed speed control, safety features, and lightweight case that you need to get started.
It’s easy to operate with 0.3 or 0.35 in. flux core wire, making it one of the most accessible flux core welders on the list, with DC output for stable, clean arcs without too many options to confuse beginners. Yet, it has enough varied control for experts to get their hobbies or fabrication work done on the go.
Another gasless MIG welder at a premium price, the KickingHorse F130, is ideal for welders looking for efficiency. It boasts the lowest weight on the list – at just 10.8 lbs., you can haul the KickingHorse around wherever you need it, to any of your DIY projects, or even to your friend’s garage.
KickingHorse gives you an advantage over other transformer-based welders with the ability to tune the voltage and wire feed speed independently. This allows you to work out sputtering problems on your project while you’re welding. The F130 is proof that the ability to fine-tune the experience doesn’t require a hefty price tag.
Most impressively, this is the best 120v welder for power consumption considerations, boasting impressively low electricity costs to save you 25% on your power bill relative to a welder of comparable amperage. The most compact welder on the list also doesn’t lack standard features like temperature and current sensors and corrosion-proof surface design.
This multipurpose welder is great for when you’ve advanced beyond your welding hobbies and want the full industrial-grade capabilities of the best TIG and ARC welding, in addition to MIG. The Eastwood Welder is viable for aluminum, sheet metal, and flux core welding projects. Compared to the other MIG welders we’ve reviewed, this one has an incredible number of features, including options for MIG torch, spool guns, and stick mode. This is a mid to high-priced welder that packs a punch for the price.
Our disclaimer is that this heavy welder only comes with the central unit when you purchase it online. You need to buy the MIG gun and ground cable yourself, making this the most expensive option on the list. Still, Eastwood is a powerful foreign alternative to the American home welding machines on this list. Particularly effective for heavy body work, Eastwood is heavy, expensive, and packed with options. We recommend it for experienced welders.
Why is it special?
Versatile welding types, including ARC, MIG, and TIG
The Forney 322 is one of the most versatile welders on this list. Not only does it have options for a spool gun, foot pedal, and TIG torch, it’s also the best 120v gas MIG welder on the list.
Like its competitors, the Forney 322 also has a non-gas flux-cored option and features the ability to be one of the best stick welders on the market as well. Whether you need a welder for auto body work and boat repair, a hobbyist welder, or a general-purpose machine that can give you multipurpose access to maintenance and light industrial repairs, the Forney 322 has a range of functionality to accommodate you.
The flowmeter and included gas hose give you options to use the Forney’s mid-range price tag to your advantage. This self-described “multi-process” welder has an enhanced design that includes a torch wrap and a duty cycle of 20%@100A output. The Forney 322 is a versatile light welder for all your DIY and home improvement needs.
Why did it make our list?
Multiple modes of welding provide versatility
Gas and TIG welding options
What is not ideal about it?
More reliable for light work than industrial welding
Things to Consider
When looking for a new welder, you must consider your needs. Whether you’re looking for a machine capable of light industrial work, heavy body work, or home repairs and DIY hobby projects, there’s an option for you on this buying guide. We have considered the variable prices, weights, and functionality of 120v welders, and here what to look for when buying them, and a bit more on how they compare to each other.
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.
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.
Beginners want to look for a welder with a nice array of options, manageable size, and average power capabilities. Our selection for novice welders is the Forney Easy Weld. It’s not only one of the cheapest models on the list, but it’s suitably portable and lightweight for anyone looking for a welder for their DIY projects that they can take on the go. It also includes a ton of safety features like infinite voltage and wire feed speed control. It doesn’t have a daunting amount of customization, and relative to the power is a safe option for welding around the house.
It’s absolutely safe to use the models reviewed on this list. That’s because the best 120v welders contain advanced features like thermal overload protection to keep your house and family safe. Cold start wire feeding, such as the Hobart Handler’s, makes sure that the welder isn’t creating active currents until you’re ready. Variable control and customization options give you the ability to weld within your means, customize your amperage based on your intended project, and keep your house outlets from shorting out. Following the manufacturer’s power requirement instructions and matching your welder to the work you do will ensure that you and your family will stay safe.
There are many smaller options for buying the best 120v welders. On this list, the most portable options are the Forney Easy Weld, ARCRAFT, and KickingHorse F130. Particularly for novice welders looking for multipurpose DIY welding machines, these machines weigh between 11 and 20 pounds and come with easy-to-handle dimensions that you can manage on your own. Consider how often you’ll need to haul your welder over farmland or to your business location when choosing the model that’s best for you. Since some of these are exceedingly portable without sacrificing too much on amperage and functionality, you should be able to find one as small or large as you need.
If you’re in the market for a 120v welder, you probably have specific home maintenance, auto body work, or DIY project in mind. We listed the eight best models currently on the market and reviewed them for their weight, range, functionality, price, and warranty. If you know the power requirements of your project and the manufacturer’s specifications on each of the models you’re considering (many of which we listed here), you should be able to choose the best 120v welder for your needs, whether it’s the Best Value ARCRAFT Inverter Flux Core 140 Welder, our Premium Pick Miller Electric Welder, or our Editor’s Choice, the Hobart Handler 140.
Make sure you evaluate the thermal protection features, the possibility of add-ons like spool guns and foot pedals, and the recommended uses for each welder before making your decision. Finding the best 120v welder is a combination of knowing the requirements of your project and appropriately evaluating the manufacturer’s specifications on each model before you make your decision.