If you like to work with sheet metal fabrication and other thin metals on a regular basis then you know the importance of having your own welder. One of the problems with purchasing your own welder is that not everybody has 220 Volt electrical supplies available to run them.
Fortunately, many companies have started developing some excellent MIG metal welding machines that now run off of 120 volt service; so many, in fact, that choosing the right one for you can be a little difficult. Luckily, like tireless little beavers, we’re here to help.
After looking at several different models, we’ve narrowed the search to 4 products. These are, in our humble opinion, the best 120v MIG welders on the market (and we go into what you should look for in selecting such welders after our recommendations):
Hobart 140 500559 Handler Wire Metal Welder
If you want to purchase your MIG welder from a company that has a solid reputation of manufacturing fine welding products then there are simply no bigger names in the Industry than Hobart. This machine is a little pricier than some of their competitors but not a lot considering all the bells and whistles you get with it.
When we took a look, we really loved some of its many features (see full specs). One of the most impressive things about it is that it can weld anything from 24 gauge sheet metal all the way up to soft metals that are ¼” thick. And all this welding can be done using a variety of amp settings that range from 20 to 140 amps.
That makes the Hobart Handler 500559 as versatile as any MIG welder you will find in its class.
Add to all this a quick-change, dual-groove spool roll and you can really do some quality work at a pretty fast rate. Likewise, the consistently high marks of the Hobart Handler 500559 left us with no doubt that this is a high quality 120 volt MIG welder.
ARKSEN© MIG-130 Gas-Less Flux Core Wire Metal Welder
We will quickly go from the most expensive MIG welding model on our list to the least expensive. But don’t be fooled by that into thinking that this machine can’t do some nice welding work for you. It made our list of recommended products because it works very, very nicely for the price.
Operating on 120 volt electricity that makes this nice little machine a very portable unit also. It can also be set up to do flux-core or aluminum gas welding in addition to MIG welding.
It has several amperage positions to choose from with a range all the way up to an impressive 140 amps. Throw into the mix the ability to weld up to 3/8” inch thick metal and a decent wire spool feed and you have yourself a great little MIG welder for an extremely friendly price. This just might the best 120v MIG welder for the money.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Metal Welder
If you are looking for a good mix of price and performance in a 120 volt MIG welder then this unit made by Lincoln Electric may be just right for you. It is capable of welding any size soft metal up to 1/8” thick. The package comes with everything you need to be up and welding within just a few minutes of opening the box.
This unit has a built in 70 amp safety feature which keeps the welding wire cold until it reaches the hot tip and it has four voltage settings to choose from also. It has a solid wire spool feed that allows you to work without having to constantly reload wire. One of the nicest things about this unit is the manufacturer backs it up with a full 1 year warranty on everything but the weld gun and cable (90 days on these).
LONGEVITY Migweld 140 – 140 Amp Mig Metal Welder
Longevity has designed a nice little 140 amp MIG welder here. It is a product that consistently gets high marks by those that have used it and we totally concur after looking at it ourselves. It is a moderately priced unit that still comes with a lot of extras. The Migweld 140 proved to be a powerful machine despite the fact it only requires a standard electrical outlet and is fairly portable as far as welders are concerned.
It is quite capable of handling welding jobs on up to 3/8” thick soft metals and its wire-spool feeder can handle rolls of wire as heavy as 11 pounds. This 54 pound unit (see full specs) comes with everything you need to start welding and it takes just a few minutes to set it up right out of the box.
Its manufacturer touts it as the perfect welder for use by both novice and professional welders alike. With just a little bit of practice, any user can lay down a very good bead of weld with or without the use of gas. Hands down, this is one of the best 120v MIG welders period.
Important Features to Look for When Buying a MIG Welder
1. Multiple Amperage Settings
You don’t need the highest amount of heat a MIG welder can produce for every job. As a matter of fact, on some types of welds a lower heat setting is preferable. So make sure any MIG welder you buy has multiple amperage settings to help you control the amount of arc and in turn the heat they produce.
2. The Unit Should Be Able to Weld up to 1/8″ Thick Metals
Although they are great for welding thin metals such as sheet metal for auto body work, you still want your MIG welder to be as versatile as possible. In order to fulfill this requirement it should be able to weld metals that are up to 1/8” thick. If it does more than that even better but don’t settle for a MIG welder that won’t do at least that. Its just a recommendation by the metal fabrication specialists at Australian General Engineering in Melbourne.
All of the welders reviewed here fit all the above requirements very nicely, and each could qualify for the best 120v MIG welder on the market. If you are into doing auto body work or other thin metal work then they will all do the job for you nicely. Good luck!