As an Amazon Associate, SelectSafety earns commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.
Since aluminum has a low melting point and high oxidation potential, it can be quite complicated to weld properly. Having the best welder for aluminum goes a long way toward creating high-quality welds.
We’ve analyzed over 75 welding machines and narrowed them down to the 5 best welders for aluminum in this buying guide. Let’s get started…
Our 5 Best Picks
Here’s a quick view of the 5 best welders for aluminum we’ve found in 2022. NOTE: Given global supply chain challenges, the price and inventory of these welders may vary. We advise that you check the Amazon links below and shop around to get the best deal.
The 5 Best Welders for Aluminum
Read below for a full analysis of each of the 5 aluminum welders above. These are truly impressive machines!
1. Hobart 500554001 Handler 190 with SpoolRunner 100 (230V)
We’ve put this welder at the top of the list for its outstanding quality and industrial performance. The Hobart Handler 190 is ideal for a wide range of jobs including automotive and aluminum welding work. Hobart’s welder package comes with a SpoolRunner 100 aluminum MIG wire spool gun to ensure smooth feeding without wire kinks. With its 25 to 190 output amps it has a very wide operating range.
This machine has 7 voltage selections and infinitely adjustable wire speed, giving you fine control over your weld quality.
You get a built-in gas valve, dual gauge regulator, gas hose, 10 ft MIG gun, spool gun, high-quality 10 ft ground clamp/cable, 10 ft 230V power cord,and many more accessories.
The SpoolRunner 100 aluminum wire spool gun is optimized for 150 amps and handles 4 inch and 8 inch aluminum wire spools. The spool gun eliminates feeding problems when aluminum wire welding. It’s a direct plug-in with no additional control box or adapter is required. There is a simple selector switch for MIG gun or spool gun operation that makes switching guns simple and quick.
With Hobart’s legendary performance and made in the USA quality, you can’t go wrong with the Handler 190 with add-on SpoolRunner 100 spool gun.
Hobart 500554001 Handler 190 Features:
- Comes with a 10 ft MIG gun, 150 Amp SpoolRunner 100 aluminum welding spool gun, 10ft cable in plastic case, 10 ft ground clamp, 10 ft 230V power cord, gas regulator and hose, 0.030 inch contact tips, sample spool of 0.030 inch flux-cored wire, material thickness gauge, welding set-up chart, manual.
- Built-in gas solenoid valve and dual gauge regulator with gas hose
- Welds 24 gauge to 5/16 inch carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal, aluminum
- Cast aluminum quick-change wire feed mechanism
- 7-position voltage selector knob and infinite wire speed knob
- Ouputs 25-190 Amps of power from 230V input source
- Duty cycle: 30% duty cycle at 130 Amps
- Uses 4 inch or 8 inch wire spools
- Weighs 89 pounds
- Made in the USA
2. AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC TIG/Stick Welder (110/220V)
If you’re focused on buying a specialized welder for aluminum, the AHP AlphaTIG 200X is a great choice. Its advanced IGBT inverter technology and pulse width modulation capability is optimized for welding aluminum and stainless steel. You get the flexibility of 110V and 220V dual input voltage with 200 hertz PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) technology to increase weld quality and consistency.
The AHP AlphaTIG 200X also comes with a stick arc capability that lets you weld steel and iron when you don’t need the fine heat control of pulsed TIG. Striking an arc is very smooth and stick welding has the same quality and consistency as the TIG process.
With wide range 10-200 amp output you can weld thing gauge sheet metal up to 1/4 inch aluminum and 3/8 inch mild steel. With the TIG foot pedal you can modulate the heat very well.
The AHP AlphaTIG features high frequency (HF) and Lift start TIG and a sensitive high-quality metal foot pedal for great TIG control. The pulse modulation has 3 settings to fine tune it to your needs. It has a 2T/4T Sequencer function to control pre/post flow control and start/end amps without the use of a foot pedal. This is super useful for welding out of position or when foot pedal may not work.
AHP AlphaTIG Features:
- Comes with a Nova Rotaflex 9/17 TIG Torch (12.5 ft, 35-70 DINSE Connection, 9mm Quick Connect), 250A Stick Electrode Holder (9 ft), 6 ft ground clamp, Nova Foot Pedal (25 ft cord), floating ball type billet brass Argon regulator, 240V to 120v Plug Adapter (NEMA 6-50R to NEMA 15-5P), Basic Consumable Kit (does not include tungsten), user manual
- Large high visibility LCD color display
- Welds 24 gauge to 3/8 inch carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal, aluminum
- Fully adjustable AC frequency and AC balance settings which improve penetration, tungsten life, arc cone and etching width
- Pulse modulation in AC and DC modes to minimize heat distortion and control puddle width and melt-thru. Pulse frequency 0.5 to 250Hz DC and 150Hz AC
- Water Cooler power outlet on rear panel
- 7-position voltage selector knob and infinite wire speed knob
- Ouputs 10-200 Amps of output power. Up to 200 amps TIG and 160 amps stick output from 230V, 140 amps output from 110V.
- Duty cycle: 60% duty cycle at 200 amps
- Weighs 40 pounds
3. Amico MTS-205 205 Amp MIG/TIG-Torch/Stick Arc Welder (110/230V)
The Amico MTS-205 is capable of welding up to 1/2 inch aluminum, aluminum alloy, stainless steel, mild steel, copper, cast iron and many more materials. It is a true multi-process welder with MIG, MAG, Flux core, Lift TIG, stick Arc and Spool Gun for aluminum welding. The 205 Amp MIG output and 170 Amp TIG output provides substantial penetration power to weld thicker aluminum and steel. The 110/230V dual input voltage and 27 pound weight makes this welder highly versatile for use just about anywhere.
The MTS-205’s advanced IGBT technology delivers 93% efficiency and excellent control to manage over-voltage, under-voltage and temperature.
For MIG welding aluminum, the Amico MTS-205 uses a large 8 inch internal spool of aluminum wire. No spool gun is included. This is unique for MIG welding aluminum. However, users report that the internal spool pushes out aluminum wire smoothly and aluminum welds are clean with minimal or no wire feed issues.
The unit also comes with a TIG torch (scratch start) with wave-form control system, short circuit and burning cycle controls. Several TIG sticks are included. No foot pedal is included.
One of the great features of the Amico MTS-205 is its ability to automatically detect the input voltage and easily switch between 110V and 230V. The power cord can be up to 700 feet long and the MTS-205 will resist cable attenuation and still allow the machine to work normally. This makes the MTS-205 ideal for construction sites, ranches, docks, airplane maintenance facilities and agriculture.
The Amico MT-205 user manual is not particularly well-written and customer support is somewhat limited. However, the high performance and unique features of this machine make it one of the best welders for aluminum.
Amico MTS-205 Features:
- Comes with 13 ft 200 Amp MIG torch, 13 ft 200 Amp TIG torch, 10 ft 300 Amp electrode holder, 10 ft 300 Amp ground clamp, 110V/230V power adapter, 8 ft air hose, 1 spool flux-cored wire, 1 spool steel wire, 2 tungsten needles, 4 electrodes, 1 V-drive roll for 0.023 inch and 0.030 inch wire, 1 U-drive roll for 0.030 inch and 0.035 inch wire, 1 V-drive roll for 0.035 inch and 0.040 inch wire, user manual
- Welds 24 gauge to 1/2 inch aluminum, aluminum alloy, carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal, copper
- Infinitely adjustable voltage and wire speed control knobs
- Uses 2 pound or 10 pound wire spools
- Ouputs 50-205 Amps of output power. MIG: 110V 50-150 Amps, 230V 50-205 Amps; TIG: 115V 10-130 Amps, 230V 10-170 Amps; STICK: 115V 10-130 Amps, 230V 10-170 Amps
- Duty cycle: MIG: 60% at 205 Amps, TIG: 60% at 170 Amps, STICK: 60% at 170 Amps.
- Efficiency: 93%
- Weighs 27 pounds
4. LOTOS MIG175 175 Amp MIG Welder with Spool Gun (220/240V)
The LOTOS MIG175 is the most affordable aluminum welder in this list. You get a MIG torch, aluminum spool gun, ground clamp cable, gas hose, Argon regulator, 0.023 inch and 0.035 inch contact tips, aluminum welding wire, welding mask and operating manual in one value-priced package.
With input voltage of 220-240V you get 175 Amps of output power. This allows you to weld up to 3/16 inch aluminum or steel plate. It can also weld aluminum alloy, stainless steel, mild steel, copper, iron and more.
The LOTOS MIG175 uses traditional transformer technology with modern controls to handle overload protection. Transformer welder designs are affordable, very reliable and durable, but do not have the same efficiency levels of modern digital IGBT inverter designs.
You can weld with gas MIG (GMAW) or flux-cored MIG (FCAW) with the LOTOS MIG175.
Amico MTS-205 Features:
- Comes with a 9 ft MIG spool gun for aluminum welding (4-prong end connection), 1 spool gun tip (0.035 inch), 1 pound of 0.035 inch aluminum wire, MIG Torch MT104 (10 ft long, 4 prong connection), MIG wire spool (0.030 inch), one MIG tip, 6 ft ground clamp, Argon regulator, hand shield, wire brush, wrench, user manual
- Welds 24 gauge to 3/16 inch inch aluminum or aluminum alloy, and 18 gauge to 1/4 inch carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal
- 10-step adjustable voltage and wire speed control knobs
- Uses 4 inch or 8 inch wire spools
- Ouputs 30-175 Amps of power
- Duty cycle: 20% at 175 Amps, 30% at 135 Amps
- Efficiency: 80%
- Weighs 85 pounds
5. ESAB Rebel EMP 205ic AC/DC Multi-Process MIG/TIG/STICK Welder (110/230V)
The final pick in our top 5 best welders for aluminum is the ESAB Rebel EMP 205ci. This is the Mercedes Benz of multi-process welders. It’s also the highest priced welder in the group, suitable for advanced users who want the absolute best technology available. The ESAB Rebel EMP 205ic welds like a $15k industrial machine at 1/4 the cost.
This welder is a true all-in-one solution. It welds gas MIG (GMAW), flux-cored MIG (FCAW), stick Arc, DC TIG and AC TIG. For welding aluminum you have the choice of using gas MIG or AC TIG. You can weld aluminum at either 230V or 110V input levels. If you want to MIG weld aluminum just add the Tweco 200A Spool Gun.
The AC TIG process uses high frequency (HF)starts, allows for frequency adjustment up to 400 Hz, has balance and offset controls and can flip from AC to DC TG. The DC TIG process also offers a pulse mode up to 500 pulses per second.
The MIG process uses ESAB’s cutting-edge sMIG (aka Smart MIG) Technology. If you thought you were a good welder before (or even a mediocre one) then sMIG will drastically improve your welds. You do not need to change voltage or wire speed settings at all with sMIG — the machine does it all for you in real time. You just set the dial to the thickness of the material you’re welding and start welding. sMIG continuously learns and adapts to your welding technique, creating a highly consistent and stable arc with superior weld penetration — the same weld after weld. Experienced welders become more productie with less fidgeting with controls and optimization effort. Beginning welders require far less training time and cost of wasted material. Smart MIG technology is a complete game-changer and well worth the price.
Other key features of the ESAB Rebel EMP 205ci are it’s low weight (only 49 pounds), “roll cage” outer skeleton design that offers protection and multiple grab points, and its digital control/display which works in multiple languages and has 4 memory settings for each welding process. The digital controls include trim adjustment, inductance control, pre/post flow control and spot weld settings.
ESAB Rebel EMP 205ci Features:
- Comes with power supply, 10 ft Tweco Fusion 180 Velocity MIG gun, 13 ft 200A stick electrode holder, 10 ft Heliarc HW-17 TIG Torch with accessory kit, 10 ft Tweco ground clamp, foot pedal, 6 ft power cable, 0.035 inch MIG wire, Atom Arc 7018 stick electrodes, Victor argon flow meter/regulator, 12.5 ft gas hose, power adapter, drive rolls, extra contact tips, owner’s manual.
- Welds 24 gauge to 1/2 inch aluminum or aluminum alloy, and 18 gauge to 1/4 inch carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron, pipe, sheet metal
- Controls: infinitely adjustable voltage and wire speed, trim adjustment, inductance control, pre/post flow control, spot weld settings, multi-language color display, 4 memory settings for each welding process
- Uses 4 inch or 8 inch wire spools
- Ouputs 5-235 Amps of power. MIG 235 Amps, TIG 205 Amps, Stick 170 Amps
- Duty cycle: MIG 25% at 205 Amps, TIG 25% at 205 Amps, Stick 25% at 170 Amps
- Efficiency: 83%
- Weighs 49 pounds
- Made in the USA
- Fact Sheet (PDF opens in new tab)
What To Consider Before Buying a Welder For Aluminum?
To get the best welding performance with aluminum, you need to consider several factors beforemaking your purchase decision. We’ve covered these factors above, but if our top 5 picks don’t suit your needs, here are the critical factors to look for:
Nature of Metal
Before choosing a welder, you have to keep in mind which types of metal you’re going to weld and their properties. For aluminum, you have to consider its low melting point and high oxidation — if you don’t prep, shield and weld aluminum properly you will end up with brittle and porous welds that break easily. You will absolutely need a MIG machine (with spool gun usually) or TIG machine with high amperage but excellent heat control at the weld puddle. TIG is the best process if you have the skills and budget. You will need the proper gas mixture and electrodes, which cannot be used with steel.
Also, you need a powerful welder and specific gas mixtures for stainless steel. With standard mild steel or carbon steel, you don’t need as much heat and control as stainless steel.
Voltage and Amperage Range
For welding aluminum, you typically want 220-240V input voltage and around 150 Amps of output. Some machines like the ESAB Rebel above can weld aluminum with 110V input power, but getting a good weld is tricky.
In short, here are the processes that work for each metal type:
- Aluminum: TIG, MIG
- Aluminum alloy: TIG, MIG
- Mild steel: MIG, TIG, stick
- Carbon steel: MIG, TIG, stick
- Stainless steel: TIG, MIG
- Iron: MIG, TIG, stick
- Cast iron: MIG, TIG, stick
- Copper: MIG, TIG
The welder package you buy should include these accessories. The more you get the higher value and less need to purchase them separately
- Power supply (main welding machine)
- Power cord (6-10 ft)
- Power adapter (110V/220V or 220V/220V outlet layouts)
- MIG gun and cable (8-12 ft)
- MIG tips (gas MIG GMAW and/or flux-cored FCAW)
- MIG wire (0.030 GMAW or 0.035 FCAW)
- Wire spools (4 inch / 2 pound, 8 inch / 10 pound)
- Wire feed roller(s)
- TIG gun and tube (8-12 ft)
- TIG pedal (10+ ft)
- TIG tungsten tips
- TIG electrodes
- Stick arc electrode holder and cable (8-12 ft)
- Stick arc electrodes
- Ground clamp and cable (8-12 ft)
- Gas regulator / flow meter
- Gas tube
- Tools: wrenches, slag hammer (FCAW), wire brush
Another crucial factor to be considered is your budget. This will determine the number of features and quality of welder you can purchase. Here are some budget ranges and what you can get for a welder capable of welding aluminum:
- $300-500 budget: Basic no-frills single process 220 Amp input / 170 Amp output MIG welder with aluminum wire spool gun. Minimal low quality accessories (short cords and cables), plastic pieces, etc. Minimal product support and warranty.
- $500-1000 budget: Good quality IGBT inverter MIG/TIG or MIG/TIG/Stick welder, usually 110V/220V dual voltage input with up to 230 Amp output. Good quality accessories. OK product support, 1-3 year warranty.
- $1000-3000 budget: Excellent quality Made In USA digital IGBT inverter MIG/TIG/Stick welder, 110V/220V dual voltage input with up to 230 Amp output. High quality accessories. Excellent product support, 3+ year warranty.
- $3000+ budget: Full-featured industrial welder with advanced electronics, high duty cycle, long-term support and warranty, etc.
Why Should You Buy a Welder for Aluminum?
Here are some of the core reasons for purchasing a welder specifically for aluminum:
- Versatility: You can weld aluminum, aluminum alloy, stainless steel, mild steel, carbon steel, cast iron and other materials with any welder capable of welding aluminum.
- Weld Quality and Penetration: Aluminum welds must handle significant forces, such as welding an aluminum boat hull or pipeline, machine, aircraft or bridges. To weld aluminum correctly the machine needs a wide range of output power (amperage), excellent heat control (e.g. TIG), smooth wire feeding (MIG spool gun) and excellent gas delivery control (regulator / flow meter). These requirements are similar for welding stainless steel and chromoly correctly. Welding mild steel does not require these stringent capabilities. Attempting to weld aluminum with a MIG welder designed for only general steel welding will result in poor quality aluminum welds.
- Multi-Function: Welding thin sheet aluminum requires the control of TIG. Welding thicker aluminum plate works well with a MIG and wire spool gun. Naturally, a multi-function MIG/TIG welder with a wide output range of 20-200 Amps, spool gun and a good quality TIG gun + pedal will allow you to weld any aluminum piece you need.
- Safety: Many modern digital inverter and control technologies used to optimize aluminum welds also keep you protected from accidents, shocks, overheating, etc.
Bottom line: if you need to weld aluminum, then you need a welder designed to do it correctly. Otherwise you must take your welding job to a skilled professional with the right equipment.
We hope you got great value from this Best Welders for Aluminum Buying Guide!