Best MIG Welders Under $500 [2022 Buying Guide]

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If you want to invest in a MIG welder for your workshop and you’re on a budget, you can get a solid welder for less than $500. In this article we go over the 7 best picks for reliable MIG welders under $500 that we’ve found.

A MIG welder allows you much more productive than traditional stick (arc) welding. They’re a bit easier to use and create less smoke and fumes when you are welding with gas (GMAW). MIG welders are also significantly cheaper and less complex than TIG welders. This is important when you’re not a professional welder and you just need to get welds done properly with a minimum of experience and practice.

Best MIG Welders

That right MIG welder that matches your requirements will have enough power to weld different metal thicknesses with maximum control over the weld bead. The end result is strong, good-looking welds for a reasonable investment.

Our 7 Best Picks

Here’s a quick view of the 7 best MIG welders under $500 we’ve found in 2022, listed top down by the most features to fewest.

NOTE: Given global supply chain challenges, the price and inventory of these MIG machines may vary. We advise that you check out the Amazon links below and shop around to get the best deal.

MIG WelderProduct NameQuick RatingMore Details
YESWELDER MIG-205 MIG TIG Arc WelderYES WELDER MIG-205
MIG TIG Arc Welder
(110/220V Dual Voltage)
4.5 / 5
Mophorn MIG270 200 Amp
MIG TIG Arc Welder
(110/220V Dual Voltage)
4.0 / 5
WeldPro 155 Amp Inverter
MIG Stick ARC Welder 
(110/220V Dual Voltage)Weldpro 155 Amp
MIG Stick ARC Welder
(110/220V Dual Voltage)
4.5 / 5
Hobart 500559 Handler
140 MIG Welder (115V)
5 / 5
Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i Flux Core Gasless MIG Welder (120V)Forney Easy Weld 261
140 FC-i Flux Core Gasless
MIG Welder (110V)
4.5 / 5
KickingHorse F130 Flux Core Gasless MIG Welder (120V)KickingHorse F130
Flux Core Gasless
MIG Welder (110V)
4.5 / 5
Goplus MIG 130 Flux Core Gasless MIG WelderGoplus MIG 130 Flux Core Gasless MIG Welder (110V) 4.5 / 5

The Best MIG Welders Under $500

You will find a lot of MIG welders out there in the $200-700 price range. This makes choosing the right one for your needs and budget challenging. After doing in-depth analysis on over 100 MIG welders here are our 7 picks for the best MIG welders under $500 available today.

1. YESWELDER MIG-205 MIG TIG Arc Welder (110V/220V)

YESWELDER-MIG-205-welder

The YESWELDER MIG-205 MIG is a high-quality multi-process welder (MIG, TIG and Arc) at a buget price. The multi-process design gives you the ultimate flexibility to weld any common metal so you will never need another welder. This is the most versatile welder under $500 you’re likely to find.

The MIG-205 comes with a 10 ft MIG gun, 10 ft stick electrode holder, ground clamp and accessories. In MIG mode it can weld with inert gas and solid wire (GMAW) or with flux-cored wire (FCAW). It easily converts to a DC stick Arc welder that handles 7018/6011 electrodes up to 5/32″ at 220V. It will also weld with lift TIG but a TIG gun is not included and must be purchased separately.

You can run the YESWELDER MIG-205 from either 110V or 220V outlets, providing the flexibility to weld anywhere with access to an electrical plug.

The YESWELDER MIG-205 has a detailed control panel that helps you finely adjust the machine to run efficiently and create near-perfect welds. The controls allow you to change voltage level, welding method, wire feed speed, wire diameter, gas level and mode. The 2T mode (spot and short welds) and 4T mode (long or out-of-position welds) can be changed with a touch of the controller. The MIG-205’s synergetic technology allows you to finely tune the weld arc to the material and position you’re welding.

MIG Welder Features:

  • Multi-mode gas MIG, flux-core gasless MIG, lift TIG and stick Arc capability (TIG gun sold separately)
  • Comes with 10 ft MIG gun, 10 ft stick electrode holder, 10 ft ground clamp, gas hose, contact tips, 110V/220V adapter, hammer, wire brush
  • Welds mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal and aluminum
  • Instantly select 2T mode for short/spot welding work or 4T mode for continuous welds with the flip of a switch
  • Dual 110V / 220V capability
  • Rated power: 200 amps at 220V and 160 amps at 110V
  • Duty Cycle: 110V: 60% at 160 amps and 100% at 123 amps. 220V: 60% at 200 amps and 100% at 154 amps
  • Handles 2 and 10 pound wire spools
  • Easy-to-use control panel and display with voltage, wire diameter, wire feed speed and mode
  • Automatic Protection Function to prevent over-current, over-voltage and over-heating
  • IP21 protection against splashing water
  • Weighs 33 pounds

2. Mophorn MIG270 200 Amp MIG TIG Arc Welder (110V/220V)

Mophorn MIG270 200 Amp MIG TIG Arc welder

The Mophorn MIG270 multi-process MIG Welder has MIG, TIG and stick Arc capabilities to weld carbon steel, mild steel, iron, stainless steel and aluminum. It is equipped with an IGBT inverter that helps control the power output and ensures protection from over-voltage, overheat, etc. It has a high-quality wire feeder that ensures smooth and consistent delivery of material to the weld arc for stronger, more consistent welds. At only 21.7 pounds this welder is highly portable.

The Mophorn MIG has an easy-to-read LCD monitor that shows all the input and output parameters needed to finely tune the performance. It has 4 knobs to change the welding process, voltage level, wire speed and current. The advanced IGBT converter technology is 85%-plus energy efficient and produces 20-200 amps of consistent power from either a 110V or 220V wall socket. A cooling fan keeps the machine cool, extends the duty cycle and protects from overheating while welding. Its 60% duty cycle lets you weld for longer with smooth performance.

MIG Welder features:

  • Multi-process MIG, TIG and stick Arc welding capability
  • Comes with a 10 ft MIG gun, 10 ft TIG gun, 10 ft Arc electrode holder / stinger, 7 ft ground clamp, gas tube, 2 pound wire spool, welding glasses, slag hammer, wire brush
  • Welds carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal
  • Innovative IGBT inverter technology provides high-quality and stable welding performance with over-voltage, under-voltage and overheating protection
  • 20-200 Amps of power from 110V or 220V power source
  • Duty cycle: 60% duty cycle enables long welds and continuous work without interruption
  • Handles 2-2.2 and 10-11 pound wire spools
  • Automatic cooling fan protects the machine from overheating and ensures longevity
  • IP21 protection against splashing water allows more flexibility for outdoor use
  • Weighs 21.7 pounds

3. Weldpro 155 Amp MIG and Stick ARC Welder (110V/220V)

Weldpro 155 MIG / stick Arc welder

The Weldpro 155 Amp MIG/Stick Arc Welder welds with gas MIG (GMAW) or flux-cored (FCAW) wire. It works with both 110V and 220V outlets. You can run this machine down at low voltages and it will weld thin sheet metal smoothly. Or you can switch over to Arc welding on 220V and weld up to 1/4 inch plate with a 1/8 inch 7018 electrode. The Weldpro 155 is a highly versatile welder that’s easy to use and produces quality welds right out of the box.

The Weldpro 155 features both 2T and 4T modes optimized for short/spot welds and long/out of position welds. It ouputs between 30-155 amps of rated power. An advanced IGBT inverter for smoother welds and over-voltage, under-voltage and overheating protection. Weldpro MIG welders are designed for easier arc starting, deep penetration, excellent weld pool control and high duty cycles. The controls are simple and easy to use with no digital screen.

This MIG easily welds mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel and iron. It is designed to handle 2 lb wire spools. It has two infinitely adjustable control knobs for wire speed and voltage. It weighs only 21.2 pounds with a solid handle so you can easily carry it anywhere you need to weld.

The Weldpro 155 comes with a 7.5 ft MIG gun, 7.5 ft arc electrode holder, 7.5 ft ground clamp, gas hose, valve/regulator and 110V/220V cord and adapter.

MIG Welder features:

  • Welds carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe and sheet metal
  • 2T mode for short/spot welds and 4T mode for long/out-of-position welds
  • Dual 110V and 220V input with 30-155 amp rated power output
  • Wire feeds 78-472 inches per minute
  • Handles 2 pound wire spools
  • IGBT inverter reduces over-voltage, under-voltage and overheating
  • Comes with 7.5 ft MIG gun, 7.5 ft stick electrode holder, 7.5 ft ground clamp, gas hose, gas valve, contact tips, 110V/220V cord and adapter, 2 lb wire spool
  • Weighs 21.2 pounds

4. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder (115V)

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG welder 115V

Hobart welders are renowned for their quality and performance. In fact, the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 is the only MIG welder on our list with a 5-star rating. This welder has run the gauntlet of real world users from beginners to professionals and come out shining. If you’re looking for a top-quality lightweight 110-120V MIG welder for gas (GMAW) and flux-core (FCAW), the Hobart 500559 will not disappoint you.

The Hobart 500559 features has 2 simple and fail-proof control knobs, a 5-position voltage selector knob and an infinite increment wire speed knob. It has automatic thermal overload protection that shuts the welder down if it gets too hot.

The quick-change wire feed mechanism is made of industrial-grade cast aluminum, not plastic, and feeds wire smoothly from 2 pound spools at 40-700 inches per minute. The gas regulator is heavy duty brass (manufactured by Miller). The metal case is made of thicker steel that resists impacts and can take a beating. Even the user manual is top-notch and highly descriptive and logical. 100% all-around quality at a fantastic price.

MIG Welder features:

  • Comes with a 10 ft MIG gun, 10 ft ground clamp, 110-120V power cord, gas regulator and hose, contact tips, sample spool of flux-cored wire, material thickness gauge
  • Welds 24 gauge to 1/4 inch carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal, aluminum
  • Cast aluminum quick-change wire feed mechanism
  • Simple 5-position voltage selector knob and infinite wire speed knob
  • Ouputs 25-140 Amps of power from 110V input source
  • Duty cycle: 20% duty cycle at 90 amps
  • Uses 2 pound wire spools
  • Weighs 57 pounds
  • Made in the USA

5. Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i Flux-Core MIG Welder (110V)

Forney Easy Weld 261 140 Amp flux-cored MIG welder 110V

The Forney Easy Weld 261 MIG welder delivers excellent flux-core gasless (FCAW) welding performance at a bargain price. It runs on a standard 110 volt house outlet, delivering up to 140 amps of power output that lets you weld up to ¼ inch plate mild steel.

This Forney MIG welder features two control knobs, with infinite voltage and wire feed adjustability. This lets you dial in the perfect weld. It comes with an 8 foot MIG gun and 8 foot ground clamp that wraps securely around the large carrying handle. It handles both 0.030 and 0.035 inch flux-core wire and uses 2 pound or 10 pound wire spools.

At only 19 pounds, the Forney Easy Weld 161 is lightweight and highly portable — perfect for moving around the shop or outdoors. This MIG welder can be stored and carried almost anywhere. It’s perfect for light-duty jobs from fixing chairs to building barbecues.

MIG Welder features:

  • Comes with a 8 ft MIG gun, 8 ft ground clamp, 110V power cord (wire spool and extra contact tips not included)
  • Welds up to 1/4 inch carbon steel, mild steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal
  • Nylon quick-change wire feed mechanism
  • Infinitely adjustable voltage knob and wire speed knob
  • Ouputs from 20-140 Amps of power from 110V input source
  • Duty cycle: 30% duty cycle at 90 amps
  • Uses 2 and 10 pound wire spools
  • Weighs 19 pounds

6. KickingHorse F130 Flux-Core MIG Welder (110V)

KickingHorse F130 flux-core gasless MIG welder

The KickingHorse F130 is one of the best flux-core gasless MIG welders for beginners in the market. It’s a powerful welder in a small package that features an advanced IGBT inverter for smoother welds. It automatically adjusts for too much or tool little current based on the welding arc conditions. This helps less experienced welders lay down clean, strong welds with minimal practice and less spatter.

The KickingHorse F130 can use both 0.030 and 0.035 inch flux-core wire and uses 2 pound pound wire spools. With 50-130 amps of power output from a standard 110V plug, you can weld steel from 24 gauge up to 1/4 inch plate. For thicker metal jus prepare the surface properly, turn the voltage and wire speed up, weld slowly for short bursts and let the machine self-adjust for good weld penetration. Metal gates, chairs, fences, pipes, brackets, even trailers can be welded securely with the KickingHorse MIG.

The standout feature of the KickingHorse F130 is it’s light weight and small size. It weighs only 10.8 pounds and comes with an adjustble shoulder strap so you can literally carry it anywhere. This is great for welding projects around the house or ranch, job sites with 3000W generator power, and for smaller, older or disabled people who cannot lug around a heavy welder.

The only downside of the KickingHorse F130 is its low duty cycle of only 15% at 90 amps. This small machine is powerful, but lacks the cooling fans and heavy-duty features to keep it cool enough to run continuously for long periods. Also, for full power welding on 1/4 inch steel your 110V circuit needs a 30 amp breaker because the F130 draws up to 28 amps. Otherwise you will trip the breaker.

Bottom line, the KickingHorse F130 is a quiet, easy-to-use, easily transportable yet powerful flux-core welder that does a fantastic job. Just allow the machine to cool regularly and it will deliver great performance.

MIG Welder features:

  • Comes with a 6 ft MIG gun, 6 ft ground clamp, 5 ft 110V power cord and shoulder strap
  • Welds 24 gauge sheet metal up to 1/4 inch plate carbon steel, mild steel, cast iron, pipe
  • Quick-change wire feed mechanism
  • Infinite voltage and wire speed adjustment knobs
  • Ouputs 50-130 amps from 110V household outlet
  • Duty cycle: 15% duty cycle at 90 amps
  • Uses 2 pound wire spools
  • IGBT inverter with 80% efficiency that facilitates quality welds and reduces overheating, under-voltage and over-voltage
  • Weighs only 10.8 pounds

7. Goplus MIG 130 Flux Core Gasless MIG Welder (110V)

Goplus MIG 130 flux-core welder

Our final pick for best MIG welders under $500 is the Goplus MIG 130 flux-core welder. While this welder is the cheapest one on our list, it has a reputation for producing consistent good quality welds. If you’re on a bare-bones budget or just need a welder for a few projects per year, the Goplus MIG 130 is an excellent choice.

The Goplus MIG 130 has four current settings “MIN/MAX,1/2” which are equivalent to low, medium-low, medium-high and high. It has an adjustable wire speed knob with 10 steps to tune in your weld quality. It also comes with heat control fan and overheating protection that automatically shuts down the machine if it starts to overheat.

The MIG 130 comes with a flux-core (FCAW) welding gun, gun tip for 0.030 inch wire, ground clamp, starter spool of 0.030 inch wire, wire brush and slag hammer. It also comes with a handheld face shield, but we strongly recommend buying an auto-darkening welding helmet because the shield is basically useless.

It features a maximum power output of 130 amps, but realistically outputs 80-90 amps for continuous work. This is a good “hobby” flux-cored MIG welder for welding chairs, fences, gates, cages, railings and doing metal repair on thin steel up to 1/8 or 3/16 inch. We recommend using it with a 110V outlet that has a 30 amp circuit breaker if you plan to turn it up the max power for thicker metal.

Similar to the KickingHorse F130 above, the Goplus MIG 130 is small and light. It measures only 14 x 12 x 8 inches and weighs about 35 pounds with the gun, ground, power cord and wire spool. This makes it easy to transport and store — perfect for small welding jobs.

MIG Welder features:

  • Comes with a 6 ft MIG gun, 6 ft ground clamp, 110V power cord, starter spool of 0.030 inch flux-core wire, wire brush, slag hammer, handheld face shield
  • Welds 24 gauge sheet metal up to 1/4 inch plate carbon steel, mild steel, cast iron, pipe
  • Quick-change wire feed mechanism
  • 4-stage voltage and 10-step wire speed adjustment knobs
  • Ouputs ~50-130 amps from 110V household outlet
  • Uses 2 pound wire spools
  • Automatic thermal protection shuts off the welder if it gets too hot
  • Weighs 35 pounds with gun, ground clamp, power cord and wire

Comparing MIG Welders Under $500 Dollars

Power Input

The first thing you should consider is the power input. Power input will tell you the compatibility of the welder with your home or garage. If you choose a 110V input welder, it will be compatible with your home outlets. A 220V input welder is incompatible with 110V household outlets, but can be run from a 220V washer-dryer outlet with an adapter, or a dedicated 50 amp 220V outlet. A dual voltage welder can be used with both 110V home outlets and 220V outlets.

The other aspect of input power is amperage. Most household 110V circuits run on 20 amp breakers or fuses. With a few higher-powered 110V welders like the ones we recommend above, your 110V power circuit should have a 30 amp breaker or fuse. Otherwise, you will not be able to get maximum voltage out of the welder without triggering a power shutoff. This is a problem when welding thicker steel with a 110V welder. For 220V welders, we strongly recommend a 50 amp circuit breaker and appropriate wire/cable size on the input end.

Welding Power Ouput & Penetration

The power (rated amps) and weld penetration of a MIG welder are essential to consider. Our picks above include both 110V and 220V powered welders.

A MIG welder with a rated power of 90 amps can reliably weld up to 1/8 inch thick steel (3.18 millimeters). This is the maximum for most 110V welders — you must be an expert welder to get safe weld penetration from a 110V welder on anything thicker than 1/8 inch steel.

In comparison, a 180 amp output MIG welder safely can weld up to 1/4 inch thick steel (6.35 millimeters). 180 amps requires a 220V machine. You can do it with multiple passes using a lower-power welder, but that requires higher level expertise to avoid weld failures.

Efficiency

Efficiency is also important. You want your MIG welder to generate maximum power output with less input current. Modern IGBT inverter technologies are designed to extract maximum power with the greatest efficiency. Highly efficient welders create cleaner, stronger welds with greater penetration and consistency. They are free of oxidation and spatter, and utilize less welding wire for the same strength, reducing cost and increasing strength.

The 7 high-quality IGBT inverter MIG welders in our list above are rated at 80%+ efficiency, which is what you should be looking for in a modern inverter MIG welder in the $300-500 range. Top quality inverter MIG welders with advanced digital controls have efficiency ratings of up to 93%. This compares to traditional transformer welders with analog controls that rarely achieve more than 60% efficiency.

WelderEfficiency (estimated)
YES WELDER MIG-20580%
Mophorn MIG27085%
Weldpro 15580%
Hobart 500559 Handler 140NA
Forney Easy Weld 261NA
KickingHorse F13080%
Goplus MIG 13080%

Duty Cycle

Duty cycle refers to the percentage of defined time period your welder can weld safely at or above a specific output power level. Typically the time period is 10 minutes. So if the welder’s target output is 90 amps and it can weld continuously at that level or above for 3 out of 10 minutes, this means the welder’s duty cycle is 30%.

If we look at the welders above from our list, we can compare their duty cycles at a target high output power level for their input voltage.

WelderInput VoltageTarget Output AmpsDuty Cycle
YES WELDER MIG-205220V200 amps60%
Mophorn MIG270220V200 amps60%
Weldpro 155220V150 amps30%
Hobart 500559 Handler 140110V90 amps20%
Forney Easy Weld 261110V 90 amps30%
KickingHorse F130110V 90 amps15%
Goplus MIG 130110V90 amps30%

Portability

The ability to transport, carry and store a MIG welder determines how easy it is to use. Portability is especially important if you need to take the welder in a vehicle or carry it on job sites or around a ranch or shop. Portability is also important if you are smaller in stature, have a disability or injury of some sort, are getting up there in age.

Below we compare the weight and dimensions (aka “portability”) of our top 7 best MIG welders under $500:

WelderDimensions (inches)Weight (pounds)
YES WELDER MIG-205‎20.7 x 16.2 x 11.3‎34.1
Mophorn MIG27018.1 x 8.3 x 13‎‎21.7
Weldpro 155‎14.9 x 13.6 x 6.7‎21.2
Hobart 500559 Handler 14019 x 11 x 13‎57
Forney Easy Weld 26116.7 x 12 x 8.1 ‎19
KickingHorse F13017.5 x 10.75 x 9.5 ‎10.8
Goplus MIG 13014 x 8 x 12‎35

The MIG Gun or Torch

A welding gun or torch designed for inert gas MIG (GMAW) has a substantialy different design than a gun only designed for flux-core wire (FCAW).

A GMAW MIG gun has a double-layer tube that directs both wire and gas from the welding machine to the tip of the gun. A FCAW gun does not have an integral gas feed tube and cannot be used for inert gas MIG welding.

The tip of the gun or torch is different between GMAW and FCAW, as well. Inert gas welding tips have a larger diameter shroud around the contact tip that creates a gas “bubble” around the weld pool to protect it from the atmosphere. The contact tip sits flush with the end of this shroud. Flux-core welding tips do not have an outer shroud — instead they have just the contact tip with an angled narrow shroud. The flux-cored wire generates its own inert gas cloud as it melts.

Dual-use MIG machines that can do gas MIG and flux-cored MIG typically come with a gas MIG (GMAW) gun. To use it as a flux-cored MIG (FCAW) you simply change the wire, gun tip and shroud. There is no need for an external shielding gas supply but the gas line does not interfere with flux-core MIG welding using the GMAW gun.

Welder Control Panel

The control panel is equipped with knobs and buttons that allow adjusting various functions. The two primary adjustments are output power (voltage or amps) and wire speed. There may also adjustments in higher end welders for the weld process (MIG, TIG, ARC), mode (short circuit, globular, spray, pulsed spray), polarity (AC, DC), stick arc electrode diameter, and others. The multi-process machines above all have adjustments for weld process (MIG, TIG, ARC), while the simpler flux-core (FCAW) welders do not.

Higher end MIG welders usually have digital screens as well. This helps visualize and dial in various settings like voltage and wire speed, but they are not necessary.

Electronics and Safety Protection

Every MIG welder on our list offers at least one safety mechanism to protect the welder, bystanders and environment from electrical damage or fire. In the U.S. these protection measures are required to qualify for UL and IP safety ratings. These include:

  • Thermal / overheating protection that automatially shuts down the machine if it gets too hot from welding
  • IGBT inverter digital controls that automatically adjust the welder output and current frequency to avoid over-voltage, under-voltage and overheating.
  • Shock protection that shuts the machine down if it detects electrical spikes and uncontrolled shocks coming from the gun tip, power supply, cord damage, etc.
  • Water protection (IP21) against splashing water on the machine.
  • Surge protection to protect the machine’s electrical systems from electrical spikes and/or shorts.

These safety measures are integrated to protect the welder or anybody in the vicinity from deadly shocks and fires. This can happen if the machine is overloaded, gets too hot and starts to melt down or fuse. Without these protective measures your MIG welder may catch fire if it’s hit with an electrical surge, water or excess heat.

MIG Welder Accessories & Consumables

When you’re looking at buying a MIG welder, part of the value package is the additinoal accessories and consumables that come with it. If you need to buy them separately then the total cost of your new MIG welder will be more than just the welder itself.

You want to look for these MIG welder accessories and consumables:

  • Welding gun(s) / torch(es). Do you get all the ones required for different welding processes? How long is the gun line?
  • Ground clamp and cable. What is the quality of the ground clamp? How long is the cable?
  • Power supply cable and outlet plug(s). How long is the cable? Is it large enough to handle maximum power output of the MIG machine? If the machine is dual 110V/220V does it include the adapter?
  • Welding wire spool (either solid or flux-cored wire) and how much wire you get
  • Wire brush
  • Slag hammer (for flux-core and stick arc welding)
  • Welding gun tips
  • Tool kit
  • Instruction manual

Summary: Best MIG Welders Under $500

In this Buying Guide we’ve presented 7 of the top MIG welders priced under $500 from our research of over 100 different welders. If you’re in the market for a good budget-minded MIG welding machine and you don’t want to give up performance and features, these 7 welders are all great choices in 2022. We hope you got great value from this article and “happy welding!”

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