The best 110v MIG welder will create strong, clean welds, especially for body work.
A metal inert gas welding is probably the easiest to learn — compared to ARC and TIG.
Metal inert gas units are small and can operate of household current. Let’s look at what to consider when getting one.
Factors to consider choosing a good 100 volt metal inert gas welder
Duty cycle: One problem MIG welders can have is overheating after only a short time in use. This results in a low duty cycle. If you can only use a welder for 2 minutes before it shuts down and you have to wait 8 minutes to restart, that’s a 20% duty cycle. A good MIG welder should offer a duty cycle range of 60% to 80%. Ask about that before you buy.
Flexible: Quality metal gas inert welders should be able to weld aluminum using wire feed flux core welding. A quality unit should also be able to do both gas and gasless welding. Superior models can even do stick welding.
Is it easy to use? Welding itself is not easy. You don’t want a complicated machine that’s hard to operate. Look for MIG welders that have easy-to-read digital displays. Control buttons should be within easy reach. The instruction book should be written in a style and language that’s easy to understand. Top models even have automatic arc adjusters and duty overflow indicators. What’s important in the end is the welder you choose should be user-friendly and easy to operate.
Power: Welding machines should be powerful and designed for heavy usage.
Portability: If you’re going to be moving your welder around, ease of portability is a huge factor. Look for models with built-in wheels. This will save the strain on your back from having to lift it. A good welder will also have a shelf on the chassis to hold a standard gas bottle.
What brand should I buy? This is a tough one. There is no one correct answer. It’s like choosing between a Ford or Chevy truck. According to many Internet forums, there is a consensus of opinion among experienced welders that boils the choice down to two brands: Miller and Lincoln Electric. Hobart, Clarke and other brands are noted as excellent, too, however. The best choice for you will probably be the one that fills all of your needs for the right price.
Is it priced right? A metal inert gas welder should be reasonably priced. Depending on the features described above, prices range across the board from three figures to four figures. Shop around. Compare brands and models with similar features. Research to come up with the best pricing.
Warranty: New units come with a manufacturer’s warranty — usually around 5 years.
Mistakes to avoid when buying a wire feed welder
Wrong input voltage: Be sure you know what the voltage is where you will be using the machine. A 220 volt welder is not going to work for you if you only have 110 volt power supply available.
Excess features: Sometimes machines have too many bells and whistles. If you plan on using the welder for only one function, use the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) formula when choosing control options.
Overpaying: Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean best. First-time buyers and amateur welders don’t need the high-end, costly machines. Let the pros who are concerned with high accuracy and the aesthetic look of the weld pay the big bucks. Settle on a mid-range price first, then graduate to the big leagues if your skills improve and the welding jobs demands it.
Research, read reviews
It is important to find a high quality MIG welder that will not break on you in a few years, which why it’s important to read reviews and product descriptions before making a decision.
Google and read 110 volt MIG welder reviews: You probably wouldn’t buy a new car without first reading the reviews in several automobile consumer guides. The same should hold true before investing your hard-earned money in a welder.
There are many online sources you can go to that compare welding machines by brand and models. These product reviews are usually written by professionals in the welding industry. One forum to check is weldingweb.com. Also, amazon.com features customer reviews and can provide quality, honest feedback about units.
Buying any new product has some risk, but Product Warranties have eliminated the old problem of “buyer beware.”
If you live close enough to a dealer who carries the welding model you’ve chosen, there’s nothing better than an on-hands demonstration. In any case, common sense mixed with research should produce the right welder for you.