MIG welders are by far the most used and highly appreciated welders by many experts and my favorite. And over the years, MIG welders have evolved in many categories, from price to power to size and weight. They are also some of the cheapest in the market, but the size concerns everyone. If it is your concern too, you have come to the perfect place.
For experienced ones, it is easy to select the size, but for beginners, it is tough. So to know what size of MIG welder is perfect for your needs, read this article until the very end so that your investment falls exactly where you want.
So let’s start together!
My Top 5 picks
|Forney Easy Weld 261||
|Buy on Amazon|
|Lincoln Electric K2185-1||
|Buy on Amazon|
|Reboot Stick Welder||
|Buy on Amazon|
|SUPER DEAL PRO Commercial MIG||
|Buy on Amazon|
|ESWELDER MIG-250 PRO Aluminum MIG Welder||
|Buy on Amazon|
The 5 Best Small MIG Welders Reviews
Forney Easy Weld – Best Overall Small Welder
Forney Easy Weld comes first on our list. Why? Because we gave it a try, it impressed me with its user-friendly features and interface, and most importantly, its power and this small size were plus points for us. When it comes to the wire, it uses 0.30 flux core wire which is enough for less demanding welding work but not for intensive work, so make sure you do this.
If you want to weld any metal of steel with a thickness of ¼, I think this model from Forney can be a perfect choice because its 140-amp output power enables you to weld the thickness of the steel. But make sure you don’t exceed this limit; otherwise, there can be burning issues, etc.
As this article is about small welders, its body dimensions are quite adequate, which is 16.75″ L x 8.125″ W x 12″ D which makes it only 19lbs (8.618 kgs). I think it can be perfect for small placing and on-the-go welders.
I don’t like weaker welders, and this time I found myself liking this one because it comes with an infinite wire speed and voltage so that you can change it according to the project at hand. Moreover, I recommend you run it on a 15A breaker because, at this point, you can be able to weld easily.
But the good news is that it is not only too compact but cheaper than Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder, so this is the best point that impressed me a lot. Above all, as a gasless MIG welder, you cannot hook up an inert gas. That means the welder outputs plumes of smoke. You can curb the fumes a little by buying quality wire. But you’ll need ventilation if you plan to run this thing inside.
- Infinite Amperage/Voltage Output and Wire Feed Adjustments.
- It Doesn’t Overheat Quickly, Thanks To Multiple Air Vents.
- Lightweight and Portable.
- Accommodates 10 lb. Wire Spools.
- Handles Most Stick Electrodes Well, Even the E308L for Stainless Steel.
- No Ability to Weld Aluminum.
- Low Duty Cycle.
- Low Wire Feed Speed on the High End.
After using it personally for welding small body panels of cars at my mini garage, I found that it can be a perfect choice for you, too, because it is powerful, cheap, and comes with a compact body that you can place everywhere.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder: Long-Lasting Welder for Less Demanding Work
Lincoln has gained a great name in the world of welding because it manufactures some of the best, cheapest, and smallest welders for all types of welders. The same is with this one because it is simple and lightweight that you can take with you wherever you go for outdoor welding jobs. Its duty cycle is
With its 12.8″ H x 8.8″ W x 18″ L, you can place it in the closet, but don’t do it; I am only telling you how much smaller it is. But when I compared it with Forney Easy Welder, I found that its Width is bigger than Forney, so make sure you read both and compare.
With a welder, you weld any metal, which is its primary purpose, so this welder can weld mild steel of ⅛ thickness, which is lesser than a Forney welder. Subsequently, it is a MIG and Flux-Cored Welder, which means you are welding with shielding gas and gasless self-shielding flux core wire, which makes it a versatile piece.
Welding is an intensive job, so your welder will get hotter easily within a few minutes. So that is why Lincoln added a Cold Contactor Safety feature which will keep your welder wire cold until the gun trigger is pressed. So this is a great compact welder that every welder should have, and most interestingly, it comes with Four voltage settings that give you the diversity to switch between voltages according to your need.
- Ease of Use.
- Easy To Set Up.
- Compact and Portable.
- Low Skill Level Needed To Operate.
- One Year Warranty with Parts and Labor.
- Fan Cooled.
- Not Intended For Industrial Use.
- Welds Only Low Carbon Steel Up To 1/8”.
- Low Duty Cycle.
Feature-wise, it is no more different from the Forney Easy Weld because both perform better in almost all situations. But what makes it different is that it comes with four voltage settings, and luckily you will even get a chart to learn how to set up these voltage settings.
Reboot Stick Welder: Best Small Arc Welding Machine
It has become a myth that China cannot give quality. It does give quality products when you search properly. So after learning about this welder from China, I decided to try it. After using it for a few months in my garage, it impressed me because of its quality, compact design, overall body construction, and much more.
For me, the duty cycle should be a little higher because the recommended one is 30%, and luckily this machine has a great duty cycle for MIG is 60% at 160A, which is quite outstanding at this size and price as well.
The size is also a plus point because its body dimensions are 14 in. H × 6.1 in. W× 11.4 L that you can store aside in your room, garage, etc., but at this size, you don’t need to think about extra power, so don’t use it for heavy-duty tasks. Being an arc welder, you may find it difficult to use thin materials appropriately when you are a beginner, but for professionals, there is no issue. And in addition to this, it produces more waste products than its competitors like Forney Easy and Lincoln.
- High Duty Cycle Of 60%.
- Compact Body Dimensions.
- It Is Lightweight Because Of Its Small Body.
- It’s Less Sensitive To Paint, Dust, Etc., So There Is No Need To Clean It Again And Again.
- It Doesn’t Need External Shielding Gas.
- It May Perform Well For Thin Materials.
- Not For Heavy-Duty Industrial-Level Works.
- Some Advanced Features Are Missing.
If you ask me whether I should buy this one or not because it is made in China, I would say a big YES. But why? It is compact, lightweight, and comes with a 60% duty cycle which is great for this lower-priced welder. Overall, it is your life, and decisions are up to you.
SUPER DEAL PRO Commercial MIG Welder: The Cheapest One
This American brand is quite sturdy, powerful, user-friendly, and advanced settings and can weld different types of metals of 3/16 inches easily but can not weld thicker ones because this machine is small and can be used in the home and workshops, so small means small motor.
Now come toward its body construction, it is made of pure PVC material with a black finish. Above all, a small welding grip is quite important because they are used mostly for on-the-go jobs. Therefore, SUPER DEAL has added an excellent top handle that provides a great grip.
Moreover, the most important thing for successful welding work is precise welding at the exact position so that your welding remains steady and beautiful. Luckily, this welder does the same, which is one of the things I like about it.
I don’t like feature-poor welders because, with them, you may not perform well even if you are an expert welder; therefore, I think this welder is perfect because it comes integrated with 4 buttons for MIN/MAX, 1 / 2 that gives you control over current flow by these adjustability options.
Well, as everything has two sides, bad and good, the same is with this machine because with its 120 Amp maximum output voltage, you have to accept that this flux core welder is just for light, easy welding, and not much else. And most importantly, its 10% duty cycle is pretty less but as said, it is for less demanding jobs and comes with a smaller body dimension of 29cm H × 34cm L × 18.5cm W.
- It’s Made Of PVC Material for Longevity.
- Four Amp Settings to Choose From.
- It’s Easy Enough to Carry Around And Compact As Well.
- The Automatic Thermal Protection Keeps The Unit From Overheating If You Forget Yourself.
- Adjustable Current Flow by Four Buttons.
- It Cannot Weld Stainless Steel.
- It Is Not Compatible With Shielding Gas.
- Lower Duty Cycle Of 10%.
If you ask me, I would say buy and skip for some reason. Why? It is an entry-level welder, which can only be used for less demanding jobs such as mild welding steel. But if you want to weld stainless steel, you cannot because it is incompatible with the shielding gas required by stainless steel. So further purchasing is up to you.
YESWELDER MIG-250 PRO Aluminum MIG Welder: Great for Welding Aluminum
If you mostly weld aluminum, I mean you work in the small-scale aluminum industry, then this one from YESWELDER is perfect because it is made keeping in mind the smoothness of Aluminum which is harder to weld. Then you don’t need to purchase the welds mentioned above if your work is Aluminum specific.
It has one of the best and most advanced features, the MIG synergistic setting, which provides good welds because the Synergic Program takes all the guesswork out of balancing the Power and Wire Feed Speed. The balance between Power and Wire Feed Speed can be changed from the machine’s default if necessary.
Coming towards its duty cycle, it has a 60% duty cycle at 250V which means you can use it for 6 minutes non-stop, which can speed up your welding work greatly. Make sure you don’t use it above the limit to make it long-lasting.
When it comes to Duty Cycle, then you need to notice this carefully because it can perform different types of welding. So for MIG duty cycle will be 60% at 250A, for TIG, it is 60% at 220A, and for MMA, it will be 60% at 225A. You may have noticed that the duty cycle is the same, but the Amperage varies, so make sure. But I didn’t particularly appreciate after my research that you will not get a regulator when you buy this machine. I don’t know the exact reason, but for me, due to its low price, they may have cut corners here. And some of its users also said that the manual is not well-written and organized, BTW, it is not a major issue, but it is good that you know pre-hand.
- Excellent Value for The Power.
- 60% Duty Cycle at 220V.
- Decent Quality MIG Torch, Rated For 250A.
- Additional Teflon Liner for MIG Welding With Aluminum Wire.
- 2T and 4T Methods
- Spool Gun Compatible.
- It Runs On 220V Input Power Only.
- Changing Wire Rollers Is Partially Obstructed By Housing.
- Power Switch is in the Rear (Annoying, So Some)
- DC TIG Only (Not For Aluminum)
So it is great news for those who mostly weld Aluminum because it can weld it professionally without melting it or causing any harm. Because of its versatile duty cycle, you can easily do MIG, TIG, and MMA
What Should Every Buyer Know?
Buying a compact welder is easier than you think only if you consider the below factors because the market is full of different welders, so selecting the best small welder can take you too stressed. So follow the below points:
Duty Cycle (The Working Capacity of the Welder)
The duty cycle is the first and foremost factor you should never skip when you go and buy the best small MIG welder. But why? Because Duty Cycle shows the overall welding capacity of a welder in ten minutes and is calculated in percentage.
Did you get it? Don’t worry. Let me explain this with an example. Suppose your welder has a 60% duty cycle which means you can weld any metal continuously for only 3 minutes, and the rest 4 minute will be rest.
I hope you now got it. So make sure your welder has at least a 30% duty cycle which is the recommended one according to my experience. Because for compact welders, anything higher than 30% can cause the welding machine to get hotter. As a result, it can cause a potential risk of damage or burn.
Wire Feed Speed (IMPORTANT FOR WELDING)
Now comes the speed of the wire feed. If you don’t know what wire feed is, it is used to add a filler material while welding. Without it, a welder is nothing, despite its price and brand quality. So make sure you know the exact wire speed for MIG welding work, but to make it more straightforward, a recommended wire feed speed would fall in the range of 240 to 290 ipm with travel speeds between 2 and 7 pm. A good rule of thumb is to keep the welding wire stick out at 5/8 inch or shorter for small-diameter wires. It helps control Amperage and, with it, heat input and more.
But I recommend you go through a manual with welders for the safe side.
Input Power (The Power of the Socket)
After the Wire Feed Speed, the next crucial factor is the only Input power because it shows the availability of electricity from home or workshop sockets to the welder. So make sure you choose the appropriate Volts because anything lesser or higher than the welder capacity will probably burn the motor of the welding machine, then you need to invest in a newer one. So let me tell you.
Suppose you have a standard home power outlet of 120 volts, plus a standard fuse of, say, 15 – 20 amps; you would be able to run a Mig welder of up to 140 Amps quite comfortably, which is perfect for a small MIG welder.
Got that? So follow this before finalizing anyone for your work because a bad purchase can take you stress, so be conscious hand.
Amperage (Power of Welder)
Amperage shows the power of a welding machine, so if your welder has higher Amps, it can weld thicker metals like stainless steel much more easily. The thickness of metal can determine amperage power, so let me give you a few examples. For thicker material, you need higher Amperage. Generally, you need about 30 amps to weld every .042″ or 1mm of steel thickness. If you want to weld a 1/8 inch plate or 3 mm, you need 90 Amps, 1/4′ or 6mm; you need 180 Amps, etc.
Cooling System (For Keeping Welder Safe)
Most buyers, especially newbies, skip this point, which is sad. Are you among them? If yes, don’t revise this problem again because the Cooling system increases the lifespan, in simpler words, the durability of the welding machine.
As welding work needs extremely high temperatures and for small MIG welders, the chances of heating are higher because all parts are near to motors. And luckily, due to technology, you have different cooling options, such as air cooling caused by air fans, and these days people use water for cooling. But stop. I will never recommend water cooling because it can destroy the torch, power source, and other non-resistant parts of the water.
So long story short, a simple fan cooling system can do a make-and-break to save your machine from overheating.
Inverter Technology vs. Transformer (A Quick Comparison)
Today we have both technologies in welders, but both have pros and cons. Subsequently, the main difference is that an inverter welding machine is significantly more efficient and lighter.
But, transformer welding machines are more reliable in the long run and better suited to harsher conditions. So when it comes to small MIG welders, I suggest you go for a transformer if you want to use it for the long term.
Size of Welder
As in this article, I have reviewed some of the best small MIG welders, so it will be clear that size matters. But how much? Because you don’t have too much space in your room or have a small workshop, then you may have come here. So the perfect size can be 12.6 L x5.5 W x9 H which weighs around 7.7 lbs, so I think this size is enough. But I have not restricted you to selecting only this size; it is only for your brain clearing. For that, read thorough reviews of all the above products where I have explained size with weights.
Small welders need time because all welding jobs are not heavy-duty, so in this case, you need a compact machine that is lightweight and easily transportable. So I hope you have read with zeal like I gave time to research. Overall, buying is your work, depending on your requirements and budget. But I want to conclude by telling my 3 favorites 5 explained above: Forney Easy Weld (best overall compact welder), YESWELDER (perfect only for Aluminum), and then Reboot Stick Welder (best small-sized arc welder).
So BYE for now!