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.
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Last updated: February 23, 2021
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A MIG welder is an essential tool for both beginner and seasoned welders. It is used to melt and shape metals. You can also use it to combine various metals for added strength and durability or for furnishing purposes. With the best MIG welder, you can efficiently weld multiple metals at your home garage or farm.
There are numerous brands and models of MIG welders in the market, thanks to the industrial revolution. Therefore, choosing the best MIG welder under $500 is going to be a tad tricky especially for welding novices. We came up with this guide to help you focus your choices on the best MIG welder for the money. We considered 19 products for review but ended up with a refined list of the top 5 welders. Our best pick was the LOTOS MIG175. Its premium quality, durability, heavy-duty build and adjustable settings set it apart.
You can trust our product list to have the best MIG welders under $500 owing to the great time and sources efforts we put on our research. Some of the features on which we based our choices and rankings include; maximum output, wire diameter, duty cycle, input voltage, weight, among others. These features determine the quality and performance of a MIG welder and must be considered before purchasing one. There are a comparison table, detailed product reviews and a buying guide with all the ideal information you need to know to make the right buy.
This is the best overall MIG welder on this list for all the right reasons. It is powerful, reliable, and durable. You won’t have to invest in another welder as it features multifunctional properties.
The welder comes in a robust build that will undoubtedly serve you in the long term. Its transformer technology also adds to its durability and reliability. The unit is easy to set up once you have connected it to a 220v wall power outlet. You will not spend more than 10 minutes to get started.
With 175 amps power output, you can weld mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and many other metal items. It can weld up to ¼ inches of mild and stainless steel as well as 3/16 inches of aluminum.
Its ability to weld aluminum is because of the favorable spool gun it features. Also featured is a durable aluminum wire feeder that offers a much better and steady welding experience.
Additionally, the welder operates on a powerful voltage of 200-240v and a dual-frequency of 50/60 HZ. This is enough to get your welding done in no time with fewer efforts. In fact, it is one of the best 220v MIG welders under $500.
There is a 2T/4T switch that will allow you to adjust the welding voltage appropriately for optimal results with every kind of metal.
LOTOS backs up all the fantastic features of this MIG welder with a 30-day refund and 1-year warranty so you can buy with confidence.
In conclusion, this welder’s superior features and multi-functionality is worth every penny you will spend on it.
This is one of the top models from the famous Hobart welding machine manufacturing company. It is an excellent option for anyone looking for a premium upgrade of professional performance from a MIG welder.
The welder is built with Hobart’s durability and quality. It is even the most popular welder from Hobart. It is constructed with a heavy-duty work clamp and an industrial cast aluminum drive system that will provide you with exceptional industrial performance.
The welder can weld a couple of metals, including; flux-cored aluminum, copper, brass, iron, magnesium alloys, and titanium. It is capable of welding 24ga up to ¼ inches of mild steel.
You can use the efficient welder at your home garage or for farm repairs as it is easy to set up and uses only 115v standard household currents.
The 5-position voltage control selector offers a smooth and stable arc on several metals with varying thickness.
With a duty cycle of 20% at 90amp, you will be able to weld for extended periods before stopping for the machine to cool down. Additionally, its 25-140amp gauge range offers high flexibility that will come in handy for welding different metals.
Other than a few quality control issues, this is one of the best MIG welders under $500 with high-end features and industrial performance. It is an excellent choice for the money.
LOTOS is known for its high-quality and reasonably priced welders. This one is not an exception with several convenient features and great performance best suited for your home and farm use.
The welder is not built for heavy-duty performance, but it is durable and reliable enough to handle your DIY and repair tasks. Like other LOTOS machines, it is pretty straightforward to set up and use. Even beginners will find it very user-friendly thanks to the incorporated newly designed ground cable quick connector.
The welder has a wide range of wire-feed and amperage settings. This allows you to fine-tune your arc for optimal performance and results while reducing spatter.
You can easily connect the welder to your basic home power outlet since it only uses 110/120v power input.
With a maximum output of 140A, you can weld various metal items including; mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Though you would have to buy a spool gun separately in order to weld aluminum. Though the welder has short leads, its torch is exceptional and can stand frequent medium-duty welding of up to 3/16 inches of steel
Moreover, the welder features a 2T/4T switch that allows you to release your finger for a long-time welding job.
You can also easily adjust the welding voltage and wire feeder speed accurately with the 2 digital displayers.
The 30-day money return and 1-year limited warranty offered by LOTOS affirms its superior quality. With all its features combined, this MIG welder is a rare gem with excellent value.
This is not LINCOLN’s best welder, but it is built with durability in mind and it is a perfect choice for welding light metal sections. What sets it apart is its lightweight design. It is the ultimate pick for anyone looking for a highly portable MIG welder.
This welder boasts of a high-quality construction with durable parts that will undoubtedly stand the test of time. Interestingly, it comes with extra gear like a chipper and a welding mask, thus, an ideal choice for beginners.
With an output power in the range of 35 to 88amps, you can easily weld mild steel as thick as 24ga to 1/8 inches. It can come in handy for your domestic repairs, custom fabrication, roll cages or panel body replacement on vehicles.
Another great thing about this welder is that it is a low power consumer. It runs on a mere 115v, which you can get from your standard home power output. This will save you time and money.
What’s more, you will be able to adjust the voltage power according to the thickness of various metals, thanks to the 4 voltage levels.
It also has a pretty adequate duty cycle of 20% for 70amps. You can weld for 2 minutes after every 8 minutes before the welder overheats.
As if that’s enough, you can use the welder for flux-core and MIG welding. No more transporting gas cylinders over long distances.
With all these fantastic features, a reasonable price point, and a 1-year warranty, you possibly could not want more.
What we liked:
Easy to use and set up
Consumes less power
Adequate duty cycle
What could be better:
Not meant for heavy-duty or industrial welding tasks
Do you have a tight budget but need something that will do the job? Well, this is your best bet. It is the cheapest welder on this list but does not operate cheaply. Its durability, portability, ease of use, and advanced features make its price a huge steal.
This exquisite MIG welder comes in a durable stainless steel body painted in yellow for a long-lasting service. It uses a convenient flux-cored wire and a self-release inert gas to weld. Its portable design makes it one of the best gas MIG welder under $500 in the market.
It is lightweight, compact, and features a handle for easy carrying and storage. With this convenience, you can use it anywhere you like.
Don’t be fooled by its mini size, this welder is a beast when it comes to welding iron and thin steel. It offers professional finishes in welding, thus perfect for DIY projects and domestic repair and maintenance tasks.
You will be able to adjust your welding speed owing to the wire feeding speed adjustment rotary knob. You are provided with 10 different levels of welding speed to choose from.
Moreover, the welder features a dual air vent for heat dissipation whenever it gets hot. It also has automatic thermal safety protection that protects it from overheating damage and keeps you safe as well.
With more focus on your safety, the welder’s welding gun is built with a full-on/off control button.
Furthermore, the welder does not consume much power as it only uses 115v that you could simply get from your standard home power outlet. With a welding current of 50-120 amp, you can efficiently weld mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum.
It is hard to find a MIG welder with such exceptional features and first-rate performance offered at such a low price.
What we liked:
Lightweight and portable
Easy and safe to use
On/off control on the welding gun
What could be better:
It cannot be used for industrial tasks
Things to Сonsider
There are plenty of options to consider when buying a MIG welder. In order to make the best buy, there are certain aspects that you have to consider. This buying guide has all the right information to help you buy the best MIG welder under $500. You will understand better what a MIG welder is, what to expect from one under $500, and the features you have to consider when choosing one.
What is a MIG welder?
A MIG welder is a wire-feed type of welder that is used to melt, shape, and combine various metals for strength and durability or furnishing purposes. It uses metal inert gas which is pumped through the welding cable from its metal tank.
The gas comes out of the welder’s cable nozzles and creates a protective cloud around the arc during welding. It can be used to efficiently weld several metal items at home, farm, or for industrial purposes.
What to expect from a MIG welder under $500?
There are features that most MIG welders under $500 have in common. Just because they are cheap doesn’t mean they are inefficient. They will get the job done, and you will save a few coins. Here’s what to expect from any MIG welder under $500:
Convenient power output
Most MIG welders under $500 do not consume a lot of power because they run on a low voltage ranging between 110v to 120v. This is because they are meant to be portable and highly convenient to use. You can plug them into your standard home power outlet.
Light duty cycles
Most MIG welders have a low duty cycle between 10-20%. This allows you only 1 or 2 minutes to weld within a period of 10 minutes. You just have to ensure you have a reliable power supply to make the most out of them.
Short power cords of about 5 or 6 feet are common with MIG welders under $500. After all, long extension cords are not recommendable as they maximize voltage drop. However, if you want high mobility around your work, you can always go for the longer cords.
With 120v input power, and about 90 to 120amps, you can weld mild steel as thick as 1/8 or 3/16 inches in one pass.
Features to consider when choosing a MIG welding machine
Before buying a MIG welding machine under $500, consider the following features:
Multifunction or MIG/Flux-Cored welders
You can buy a multi-function welder that can do both flux core and MIG welding. Since it allows you to smoothly transition the welding processes, you won’t have to buy various welding machines. It will save you time and money especially if you work various types of welding.
The input power, aka the voltage or amperage, is one of the most crucial things to consider before buying a MIG welder. The best input power is 110v to 140v because you can easily connect the welder to your standard home power outlet.
If you choose a higher power input, you will have to incur more costs and time to set up another power outlet.
The best recommendable output power is 140 amps for 115v. If you are looking to weld thicker materials, then you can go for a MIG welder with a higher output power like the LOTOS MIG175 reviewed above.
Size and weight
You have to be on the look for size, weight, and portability. If you want a welder for handling high volume jobs, then you must get a heavy-duty welder with a significant volume. Otherwise, if you only need one for light domestic projects at home, then you can settle for the compact and lightweight designs like the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 reviewed above.
This is the amount of time you are allowed to weld before the machine goes to rest. It is measured in 10 minutes enhancement. The higher the duty cycle the more efficient the welder will be.
The smaller diameter wires give the best welding results. They weld more stable at a lower current producing less arc force, which prevents a burn through. Bigger wire diameter welds are prone to causing burn through problems.
A good MIG welder with an input power o 115v and output power of 140 amps should be able to weld mild steel as thick as 1/8 to 3/16 inches.
A MIG welder with a higher output and input power can weld from 3/8 to ½ inches of metal.
Depending on your budget and welding needs, you should pick what suits your needs.
A spool gun plays a critical role in a MIG welder. Therefore, it is one of the key features that have to be considered before buying one. It is advisable to go for spool guns with the euro-connect because they are easy to use and are highly efficient.
Thermal overload protection extends the lifespan of a MIG welder. It prevents the machine from overheating. It shuts down the engine automatically when it is overheated and restarts on its own after sufficient cooling without hampering your time and work.
Manufacturers back up or affirm the quality of their products by offering a warranty. You should go for a MIG welder with a warranty as its quality is a sure bet and you can always get help if you encounter any trouble with it. You won’t have to spend a dime on repair and maintenance.
This is crucial as well as it determines a welder’s speed and accuracy. Welders have varying wire-feed speeds, and you should choose one based on your preferences. It is advisable to go for a more extensive wire-feed speed range for optimum welding functionality especially if you intend to work on various metal items.
With MIG welding, an arc is usually made, from the electrode to the workpiece. This requires a smooth flow of electricity through a complete electric circuit. A good electrical ground, therefore, minimizes resistance and ensures there is a smooth establishment of an arc.
Yes. Welding wires with a higher amount of deoxidizers allow you to make high-quality welds even on materials that have less-than-perfect surfaces. Smaller diameter wires also work better than bigger diameter ones. They reduce cases of burn through which are common with bigger diameter weld wires.
First off, check if the welder is installed correctly, and you are in a well-ventilated area. Then ensure you are wearing the necessary safety gear like a helmet, a mask, and eye protection. You also have to take precautions to prevent fires and keep a well-stocked first-aid kit for emergencies.
In this guide, we have presented you with the best MIG welders under $500 from renowned brands. They can come in handy for your domestic projects like industrial fabrication, automotive repairs, and farm works. However, do note that these MIG welders are not the best tools for welding thicker metals or tasks that require fine welding.
Of all the products we reviewed, the LOTOS MIG175 was our best pick. It is one of the best 240v MIG welders under $500 out there with multiple convenient features and superior functionality. The Hobart Handler 500559 and the LOTOS MIG140 followed closely in ratings with premium quality, excellent value, and multi-functionality.
There are more welders in the market with additional features, but below the $500 budget cut, the ones on our product list are the best you can get. You will be amazed how efficient they are and expensive does not always translate to better quality.