Best Flux Core Welder Under 200 Dollars, The 4 Best To Buy

By Ben Norton / February 24, 2019
Best Flux Core Welder Under 200 Title Image

Well you only have $200 to spend on a flux core welder and that's it.

Maybe you want to learn welding or perhaps you have the odd job that needs welding up and you really can't justify spending a lot of money on a welder.

Don't despair. I've put together a round up of the best flux core welders under 200 dollars. I hope you enjoy it!

Let me cut to it. My pick for the best flux core welder under 200 dollars, is the Forney Easy Weld 29901 125FC.

​​Our Pick

Forney Easy Weld 125 FC Front

Forney Easy Weld 29901 125FC

​A great flux core welder for beginners and the more experienced alike. The flux core welder for those who want a reliable, light duty and portable welder.

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​​I'll walk you through the important points of the Forney Easy Weld 29901 along with the runner up's. Please read on to find out more.

This article only covers flux core welders. Those welders that use an electrical arc and flux core welding wire to weld with. The welding wire is special in that it is self shielded. A wire manufactured as a tube, with the mild steel on the outside and special chemicals called flux on the inside.

Want to know more?

I have an article that goes into much more detail for the curious on what is flux core welding. ​

And if you are not sure what self-shielded flux core welding wire is then I have you covered there too. ​

Most MIG welders can also weld flux core. If you would like to take a look at some of those then do take a look at my document.

Welder Comparison Table

Best Flux Core Welder Under 200 Dollars

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​Flux Welder

​$ Est./

Rating



1. Top Pick

Forney Easy Weld 125FC Front Dial and Switch

​Forney 29901

$$$

4.8/5

2. Runner Up

Ironton Flux Core 125 Side On

​Ironton Flux Core 125​

​$$

4.7/5

3. Also Great

MIG 130

​​MIG 130


​$-$$

4.2/5

4. ​Well Worth A Look

Forney 140 FC-i Side On

​​Forney 140 FC-i


​$$$

4.8/5

​​The Criteria Used

To help you decide if this top 4 best flux core welders under 200 dollar list is suitable for you here are the points I considered when choosing the flux core welders to appear on the list.

1. Of course they all needed to cost under 200 dollars as this is the budget ceiling. There is one flux core welder I have included that pushed the budget a shade higher. But it was so good I though it deserved a mention.

2. When you're at this end of the market you can relax, as all these welders will run on the power in the typical home or home garage workshop. That means up to 120 volts.

3. The welders I've chosen must be easy to set up and use.  They all have automatic thermal safety protection that will stop the welder from welding when the duty cycle is exceeded.

4. They are all light to medium duty welders. I am afraid for the budget you're not going to have the power to weld much more than mild steel. Or much above 1/4 inch but then I imagine you already know this anyway. And to help these welders give you their best, remove and grind off mill scale, rust and other contamination if you can.

Hold on to your welding helmets (by the way you will need one when you start welding), here follows the quick reviews. Some of the flux core welders selected have longer reviews with images and video's here on the site so don't be shy, take a look around and stay a while.

No. 1 and the Best Flux Core Welder Winner

Forney Easy Weld 125 FC Front

​Forney Easy Weld 29901 125FC Flux Core Welder

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Forney Easy Weld 29901 Pros

  • ​Easy to use and set up, with a clear manual and Forney's YouTube video's to get you started
  • ​Manufactured with durable internals that make the Forney Easy Weld 29901 a reliable flux core welder, if toward the higher end of our budget
  • ​Want to fix up your fences and gates, perhaps do car maintenance or produce art? You should find you are good to go with this Easy Weld 125FC welder

​​Cons

  • ​​Six foot cords to the torch head and to the ground clamp is short. You might find this restricting in the long term
  • ​Just the two welding output settings, so may be too inflexible for some
  • ​A 6-month manufacturer’s warranty covering any defects in manufacturing and workmanship - which I have to say is less than its peers. There is also a 90 day cover on the welding gun

​Summary

One of the better quality flux core wire welders from a great brand name. Whether you are new to welding or you have some skills already, the Easy Weld 29901 is a solid option under the $200 budget, for light-duty flux core welding jobs.

Where you're looking for a welder that is straight forward to use, and reliable, with the extra bonus that it is reasonably portable too, I think this Forney has you covered.

YouTube Video on the Forney Easy Weld 29901

I like this video, it is short and takes you from when the Forney 29901 125FC turns up in its box, along with an overview of the welder.

Unboxing the Forney Easy Weld 125FC

​Video Credit: Forney Industries

The Features

There are two Forney flux core welders in this list and for good reason. Forney is a great welder brand that has been in business for the last 80 plus years. Forney has produced in the Easy Weld, a flux core wire only welder for both novices and professional welders wanting an easy starter set.

Duty Cycle

Knowing the duty cycle is one of the important pieces of information you need for any welder when you are new to welding. The duty cycle of 20% at 80 Amp, giving you 2 minute continuous welding at its 80 Amp setting, is pretty good for a welder of this class.

Best Flux Core Welder Duty Cycles Compared

​Flux Welder

​Duty Cycle

​Forney Easy Weld 29901

20% at 80 Amp

​Ironton 125

20% at 80 Amp

​MIG 130s 

​10% at 105 Amp

​Forney 140 FC-i 

​30% at 90 Amp

The thing to note with all the duty cycles of these welders that they are not measured at the maximum welding output each welder is capable of. This means using any of these welders at their maximum settings will give you much less time welding than these duty cycles might lead you to believe.

In this comparison the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i wins by an extra full minute of welding time before it would overheat. The Easy Weld 29901 and the Ironton 125 come in a respectable second.

Welding Output Range

The Forney 29901 has a welding output range of 65 Amp to 80 Amp with a maximum output of 125 Amp. It is a 120 volt welder that you can plug into a normal home 3 pin power outlet. To get the maximum out of this welder it is best to have the power socket fused to 20 Amp.

A single switch adjusts the welding voltage output of this welder between two voltage settings. Thin plate is the higher voltage setting, sheet metal is the lower.

Some will find the restriction of only two heat output settings restrictive.

The quick reference welding chart on the inside of the cabinet shows examples of the thickness of metal, compared with the voltage output setting and suggested wire speed for a successful weld. 

Useful for when you're starting with a new welder. It gives you somewhere to start with your output settings.

You may need to adjust those settings for your particular welding situation. But then that is what welding is all about.

Types of Metals Welded

Mild steel. Using 0.030 inch flux core wire, a single pass should see you welding sheet metal ranging from 24 gauge up to 3/16 of an inch thick.

Beveling and several passes mean you can also weld 1/4 inch mild steel.

Wire Spool Sizes and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

Forney recommends the use of 0.030 inch flux-cored wire. And for its welding output it would be the wire size best suited to this welder. 

You do have the ability to use 0.035 inch wire as well with this welder. Though you will need to get a set of 0.035 inch contact tips as those are not supplied by default.

The Forney 29901 will use 2 lb. or 10 lb. spools of flux core welding wire (4 or 8 inch spools). So you can take advantage of the lower cost per pound of the larger spools, if you have a lot of welding to do.

Size and Weight

The Forney Easy Weld is a portable welder with dimensions of 24.6 by 12.6 by 18.5 inches and weighing 42.6 pounds.

Round Up of Other Notable Features

A quality Forney 2 lb. starter spool of 0.030 flux core welding wire is provided. Plus two 0.030 inch spare contact tips are supplied, along with the contact tip on the welding torch head itself.

There is an option to purchase the Forney's Easy Weld 29901 125FC Flux-core in its Start Up Kit guise.

The startup kit provides the basics you need to get welding. Although this will blow through your 200 dollar budget. The kit includes a welding helmet, welding gloves, grinding wheel, and a wire scratch brush. They are all Forney products so they are great quality.

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​No. 2 and Runner Up

Ironton Flux Core 125 Side On

Ironton Flux Core 125

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Ironton 125 Pros

  • ​A welding parameters chart on the inside cover of the Ironton flux core 125 will give you your initial welder set up for the metal gauge your welding
  • ​Has some accessories included, spare 0.030 Tweco style contact tips, a integrated chipping hammer and brush

​Cons

  • ​​Plastic wire feeder
  • ​No flux core welding wire is provided in the box of the Ironton Flux Core 125. So order yourself some when you buy.  I quite like the INETUB 0.030 flux core wire.

​​​Summary

If you are a DIY enthusiast but you only need a welder three or four times a year. What if you already have a big boy's welder and just need something to port along to those little jobs.

If that is the case, you don't necessarily want or need a flux core welder that costs 500 dollars. This Ironton 125 flux core wire welder could you have you covered, and for the price there is a lot to like.

Ironton Flux Core 125 YouTube Video

Ironton Flux Core 125, 115V Flux Cored Welder

​Video Credit: Northern Tool

Features

This made in China 115 volt welder needs a standard 3 pin, 110 to 120 volt household outlet fused to 20 Amp.

Unlike the MIG 130s whose welding guns become electrically 'hot' as soon as the main power switch is turned on, the Ironton only passes electricity to the welding gun when the welding trigger is pressed.

The Ironton has a decent manual that'll help you get started with this welder.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle for the Ironton 125 is 20% at 80 Amps, pretty good and certainly reasonable for this class of welder.

Welding Output Range

The Ironton Flux Core 125 has a welding output range of 60 to 80 Amp, with a peak the same as the Forney 29901 of 125 Amp. Similar to the Forney 29901 the output is controlled via a single rocker switch on the front. The two output voltage settings are 1 and 2.

Wire feed speed is set on a dial that runs from 1 to 10 and is infinitely controlled.

Best Flux Core Welder Output Ranges Compared

​Flux Welder

​Output Ranges

​Forney Easy Weld 29901

​65 Amp to 80 Amp

​Ironton 125

​60 Amp to 80 Amp

​MIG 130s 

​​50 Amp to 120 Amp

​Forney 140 FC-i 

​​32 Amp to 140 Amp

​​On this measurement of flexibility of welding range the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i wins. The MIG 130s come in second and the Ironton third.

Types of Metals Welded

Mild steel and metal thicknesses of 18 gauge to 3/16ths of an inch.

Wire Spool Sizes and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

The Ironton 125 will feed 0.030 and 0.035 flux core wire but clearly works best with 0.030 flux core.

Will take 4 inch or 8 inch spools, 2 lb. or 10 lb. spools of flux core wire. It comes with an included spool adaptor to allow you to accommodate the larger spools of welding wire.

Size and Weight

17.7 x 9.3 x 14.4 inches and 38 lbs.

Round Up of Other Notable Features

6 foot power cord, 6 foot lead to the ground clamp and 6 foot hose to the flux core gun. A little short, but the same as the Forney Easy Weld 125FC.

1 year limited warranty.

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​No. 3 and Also Great

Super Deal MIG 130 Front Controls

​MIG 130s

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The MIG 130s is your entry into the flux core welding marketplace.

I've grouped them under the one heading, as they are essentially the same flux core welder. They look the same (some are painted yellow), same fronts, controls, and internals. They are sold under different brand names. You'll see them referred to as a Zeny, Arksen, SunCoo, Superdeal, Goplus, FDS, and others.

MIG 130 Pros

  • ​They are for light and occasional welding tasks and in that role they have found their niche and will get you up and welding
  • ​The MIG 130s are portable and lightweight, enough to carry from one place to another easily, for the welding job outside or at your buddy's place
  • ​If you get a good unit you may be surprised at what you can weld up with one of these

​​​Cons

  • ​​All the MIG 130s come with basic accessories. And I am not joking, they are basic and not of the best quality
  • ​The instruction manual is not very instructive; some would even say it is a waste of paper
  • ​No welding parameters chart on the welder or in the manual. Beginner welders take note, you will be experimenting to find the right settings to use with these MIGs
  • ​​Watch out, because as soon as the MIG 130's main power button is switched on, the torch head is live. Be mindful as you place it down and keep the torch head away from metal surfaces. That way you won't get any accidental arcing and risk giving yourself arc eye
  • ​These MIG 130's are just for light welding tasks and the occasional, quick medium duty weld. They will only take 1 lb. and 2 lb. spools of flux core welding wire

​Summary

Whether it is the Zeny MIG 130, the Goplus MIG 130, or Super Deal black Commercial MIG 130 or Arksen MIG 130 or even SunCoo MIG 130 these flux core only welders are;

a. for those who are new to welding and just want a simple starter flux core welder to get them going

b. And for those who want to weld medium thin steel and don't want to or just can't justify spending several hundreds of dollars on a welder. 

Even if you feel you are really not much of a welder but you need a welder for occasional use then the MIG 130's of whatever brand or flavour is cost-effective and is well liked. 

Yes, you'll get the occasional crappy, broken on arrival unit. Identify those and send them back for a replacement.

Most find their MIG 130's welders work great. If you accept that these welders are designed to hit a price point. Choose the brand name and company that you feel will offer you the fast delivery, and backup support and you'll have yourself a flux core welder that is the best value for the money.

YouTube Video Showing MIG 130 Unboxing

I like this video. It's fun yet useful. Watch the first five or so minutes or all if you like. It shows you the MIG 130 being unboxed, the wire being fed through for the first time and some first welds.

My New MIG 130 Welder

​Video Credit: Pickles Builds

Features

They are Chinese imports that have opened up the cheap flux core welder end of the market. You'll be looking to spend between 80 dollars to 150 dollars on one of these.

These flux core welders have proven to be a reasonable entry for those on a low budget to get into flux core welding.

They all use MIG in their titles but don't be fooled; these are not Metal Inert Gas welders. They are flux core only and only use gasless self shielding flux core welding wire.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle is 10% at 105 AMP and 35% at 60 AMP.

This means that you have over a ten minute interval, one minute of welding time at the its 105 Amp setting before the welder overheats.

Welding Output Range

The welding current ranges from 50 to 120 Amp in 4 adjustable heat settings. The 4 output heat settings are accessed through two rocker switches. Through their different positions you have your four heat output options.

This is a real plus for the MIG 130's. You get more flexibility in the output settings than the Forney Easy Weld 29901 or the Ironton with their single switch and two output settings.

The MIG 130s have infinitely variable wire feed speed control.

Types of Metals Welded

18 gauge mild steel through to 3/16th of an inch. With some skill you can weld moderately thick (1/4") mild steel with this welder

Claims made for some of the MIG 130 welders:

That they will weld with 0.023'' to 0.035'' Stainless-steel wire.

However, flux core stainless steel wire to work, will need the welder to be able to change polarity and these welders cannot. These MIG 130s also do not use gas so cannot use solid stainless steel wire.

The marketing claims they will weld with 0.030'' to 0.035'' Aluminum wire.

As flux core only welders, they are not able to weld with solid Aluminum welding wire as they cannot feed Argon gas. And there is no such thing as flux core Aluminum wire - want to know why? Read my article here. ​

These statements are more marketing than anything else for this welder - don't be fooled, you won't be able to weld stainless steel or Aluminum.

Best Flux Core Welder Gauge of Metals Welded Compared

​Flux Welder

​Metals Welded

​Forney Easy Weld 29901

​24 Gauge to 3/16ths​

​Ironton 125

​18 Gauge to 3/16ths

​MIG 130s 

​​18 Gauge to 3/16ths

​Forney 140 FC-i 

​​24 Gauge to 3/16ths

​Looking at the metal gauges welded the Forney 29901 and the Forney 140 FC-i are able to weld thinner gauges (when looking at metal gauges the high number is thinner).

All the welders will weld thicker 1/4 inch mild steel as long as the steel is prepared through beveling. And multi pass flux core wire is used and the person welding has the skill to do multi-pass welding.

Wire Spool Sizes and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

The marketing materials show that you can use 0.023'' to 0.035'' diameter wires. Flux core welding wire doesn't come in the 0.023" size and you can't use solid MIG welding wire which does come in this size. The marketing here is miss leading and may fool the beginner who doesn't realise this.

So in reality these welders use 0.030'' to 0.035'' flux-cored wires.

The MIG 130s will not take the larger 10 lb. (8 inch) spools. Emphasizing these are really occasional use welders they use the 1 lb. or 2 lb. spools of flux core wire.

Size and Weight

There is a small difference in size and weight of these welders

Goplus, FDS, Suncoo

14 x 8 x 12 and around 34 lbs.

SuperDeal, Zeny, Arksen

Size of 20 by 16 by 12.5 it weighs 38 lbs.

Round Up of Other Notable Features

6 foot hose to the flux core gun, 6 foot cord to the grounding clamp and 7 foot power cord means you have a little more leeway on the length of power cord compared to the Forney Easy Weld 125FC or the Ironton 125.

The warranty on these MIG 130's is a grey area and isn't declared. Don't expect much.

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No. 4 Well Worth a Look

Forney 140 FC-i Side On

​Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i

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Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i Pros

  • Inverter rather than the usual transformer internal design found in most of the flux core welders here. Means that you get more power output for the input electrical power supplied to the flux core welder
  • ​The inverter design also means a lighter welder. And the Forney 140 FC-i is the lightest of all the welders featured
  • ​Infinitely variable welding output dial. Is a great feature in a circa $200 welder

​Cons

  • ​​It's a little more than the budget allocated. Costing a shade over the $200 spending ceiling

​Summary

I have cheated a little here and chosen a welder that is just a few dollars outside the 200 dollar ceiling set for this post. But I thought this was such a good little welder I would include it anyway.  If your budget can stretch just that little bit more, then this is the one I consider the pick of the bunch. Lightweight, flexible for the money it is a great little flux core welder.

YouTube Video On the Forney 140 FC-i

It is useful to have a look at the welding machine we're talking about here. This short video walks you through the unboxing and the main points of the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i.

Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i Unboxing

​Video Credit Forney Industries

Features

120 volt welder on a 20 Amp fused circuit. If what you are welding is going to drive this welder to its maximum then you will need to put in a 30 Amp fused circuit.

Duty Cycle

30% at 90 Amp, fantastic! A full three minutes welding time at the 90 Amp setting. Definitely the strongest welder of the bunch.

Welding Output Range

The welding output range on the Forney 140 FC-i flux core welder is 32 Amp to 140 Amp. It has a voltage output dial that runs from 1 to 10.

One of the best features of the Forney 140 FC-i is that you can set the welding output via a dial on the front that is infinitely variable. This gives you such great flexibility. You're not restricted to two or four output settings like the other flux core welders here. You can set the output to just what you want.

The wire feed speed is also infinitely variable and the dial runs from 1 to 10.

Types of Metals Welded

Mild Steel

24 gauge to 3/16ths of an inch.

1/4 inch mild steel can be welded with multiple passes and multi-pass capable flux core welding wire.

Wire Spool Sizes and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

The Forney 140 FC-i will use 4 inch or 8 inch diameter flux core wire. 2 lb. or 10 lb. spools.

This welder will weld with 0.030 flux core wire only, which let's face it, is the welding wire diameter size that is better suited to all the welders listed.

0.035 flux core wire takes more power to melt and weld with well. I have a complete document that outlines why and compares 030 versus 035 flux core wire.

Size and Weight

The Forney 140 FC-i due to its inverter design means you get more for the size of welder. It is a trim 16.7 x 8.13 x 12 inches and 19 lbs.

Best Flux Core Welder Size and Weight Compared

​Flux Welder

​Size & Weight

​Forney Easy Weld 29901

​24.6 x 12.6 x 18.5 inches and 42.6 lbs.

​Ironton 125

​17.7 x 9.3 x 14.4 inches and 38 lbs.

​MIG 130s 

​​up to 20 by 16 by 12.5 and 38 lbs.

​Forney 140 FC-i 

​​16.7 x 8.13 x 12 inches and 19 lbs.

​The Forney 140 FC-i is the winner here. The smallest and incredibly light, followed by the Ironton 125 and the MIG 130s.

Round Up of Other Notable Features

8 foot hose to the flux core welding gun, 8 foot cord to the ground clamp

1 spare 0.030" contact tip. Uses Tweco style contact tips, which should mean choosing non Forney branded replacement contact tips is easy to do.

1 year limited warranty

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​Last Words

I hope you enjoyed this article "Best Flux Core Welder under 200 Dollars, The 4 Best to Buy". The flux core welder that made it to first place, the Forney Easy Weld 29901 125FC and the runner up are close in their capabilities.

Either one could have won, but the Forney got there because of a great brand that makes reliable welders. It's just so amazing that you can buy one of their welders for less than $200.

But should you have just a few dollars more I would take a series look at the Forney 140 FC-i if I were you.

I wish you happy welding.