When I started welding just 5 years ago, I had no idea what welding process to start with, much less how to pick a welder.
I struggled with the MIG welding basics when I started out, but I stuck with it until I taught myself the MIG welding techniques that would create great welds
If you’re in the market for a MIG welder and you’re just starting out then you’re making a GREAT decision.
I’ve been helping beginners & hobbyists learn to weld online for several years now. I’ve helped thousands of people just like you get started learning to mig weld with my beginners guide to welding.
Check it out if you’re stuck or you need help getting started.
MIG welding is well known for beginners to learn.
Whether you want to learn how to MIG weld steel or how to MIG weld aluminum and you’re a complete beginner, just know that a MIG welder is a great place to start.
If you need an efficient welder for hobby welding, automotive work, maintaining farm equipment, and mechanical work… a MIG welder will do an excellent job.
Not only do MIG welders produce very nice looking welds, it’s also very easy to learn and very inexpensive to get started. In fact, out of all the welding processes MIG is the best and the easiest welding process for beginners to learn.
When it comes to buying a MIG welder you need to make sure you purchase a welder that fits your needs.
Click below to download my MIG buyers guide, and to learn the MIG welding basics… and what today’s MIG welders have to offer to the market.
In this MIG Buyer’s Guide you will discover MIG welding tips on how to pick the right welder for you that will do what you need it to do… without spending more money than you need to spend.
I’m going to be talking about the Longevity line of MIG welders today. I happen to own both a Hobart and a Longevity, besides the pricing difference they’re pretty much the same.
Whether you choose to weld steel, stainless steel, or aluminum with your MIG welder, there are some things you need to know before you jump in.
MIG Buyers Guide: How To Select A MIG Welder
When it comes to selecting a MIG welder you will want to make sure you buy something that has the capability to hook up a gas cylinder to it.
Regardless of what brand you buy, you will want some beginners course welding instructions to help you along.
There are MIG welders on the market that are only capable of welding with flux core welding wire.
The problem with that is that flux core creates a slag coating on the weld that needs to be chipped away because it doesn’t use a shielding gas.
Sooner than later you’re going to want to hook up a gas cylinder because of the nice weld appearance and the fact that you can see the weld puddle much better.
MIG Welding Tips On Power
Welders are classified by the amperage they produce at a given duty cycle.
The amperage is the heat it can produce, and the duty cycle is the length of time during a 10 minute time period that the welder can operate at a specified amperage without overheating.
In a nutshell, if you are welding non-stop for long periods of time at a high amperage (for thicker metal) you want a welder that has a high duty cycle.
It isn’t as necessary to get stuck on the duty cycle of a welder when you’re deciding which one to buy.
Just know that if you plan on cranking up the amps and welding continuously on thick metal without a break, then you want a welder with a high duty cycle.
110 Volt vs. 220 Volt
Before you go buying a MIG welder make sure you have the correct electric outlets installed. The awesome thing about the 110 volt MIG welders is that you can plug them into any household 110 volt outlet.
This makes it very convenient to buy a welder, plug it into your household outlet, and be welding in no time.
However, the flip side of that is that you are limited to the amperage your welder will produce with a 110 volt outlet.
So if all you need is to be able to weld metals no thicker than 1/8” in a single pass then a 110 volt welder will do fine. In fact, for most hobby welders a 110 volt welder will work just fine.
If you need more power because you’ll be welding, say ½” thick metal in one pass, then you will want a 220 volt welder.
This of course involves having a 220 volt outlet installed if you don’t already have one.
Do You Want Spool Gun Capability?
The MIG welding tips I’m sharing with you could save you a lot of money, especially if you bought a MIG welder without spool gun capability.
One question to ask yourself when you go to buy your first MIG welder is do you want the ability to hook up a spool gun.
Getting a MIG welder that has this ability means you can weld aluminum. Not a lot of hobby sized welders give you this option, and my Hobart 140 does not do this.
However, the Longevity MIG 140 I own does give me this option. All you have to do is buy the optional aluminum spool gun, hook it up, and you’re ready to weld aluminum.
How Do I Know If I’m Buying A Good Welder?
Make sure your welder offers a good warranty. It’s pretty obvious, but don’t go flea market shopping for a MIG welder unless you want a lot of disappointment.
Both my Hobart and Longevity welders come with a 5 year warranty.
MIG welders start with low amperage 110 volt machines that weld up to 3/16” steel, and go all the way up to big 220 volt machines that weld 1/2″ steel in one pass.
Keep in mind that the low amperage units often only come with the ability to weld using flux core wire. Many of them don’t have the ability to hook up a gas cylinder.
This is a desirable feature that you are going to kick yourself in the butt in the future if you don’t get.
Now that you’ve read my MIG buyer’s guide, it’s time to go and buy your first MIG welder so you can build that much awaited welding project you’ve been waiting for.
I hope these MIG welding tips have been helpful to you.