Best MIG Welder For Beginners, 6 For When You’re On a Budget

By Ben Norton / February 16, 2019
Best MIG Welder For Beginners

The best MIG welder for beginners when you're;

  • On a budget with limited funds and
  • You're new to MIG welding, a beginner really. And
  • You want a MIG welder that will get you started the right way.

You want a MIG welder that is easy to use. One that you're not fighting with or struggling to understand how the machine works.

​​Our Pick

Hobart 140 What's in the box

Hobart Handler 140

Good duty cycle at 20% at 90 Amp.

Easy to Use, the Hobart Handler 140 is a fantastic MIG for a beginner or the more skilled welder alike.

​​I picked the Hobart Handler 140 after several weeks of research looking at the MIG welder contenders. I concentrated on MIG welders that are under $500. Ones that run on 120 volts from a normal 3 pin plug available in the home workshop or garage - as that is where a beginner will start their welding.

And of course I chose those MIG welders that were easy to set up and use.

Best MIG Welder For Beginners 2019​

​MIG Welder

​$ Est./

Rating



1. Top Pick

Hobart Handler 140

Hobart Handler 140

$$$

4.8/5

2. Runner Up

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG

​Lincoln Handy MIG

​$

4.7/5

3. Also Great

Lotos MIG 140

​Lotos 140


​$$

4.6/5

4. Also Great

Forney MIG 140 Side View

​Forney 309


​$$$

4.6/5

5. Worth A Look

Everlast MIG 140 Front

Everlast MIG 140


​$$

4.5/5

​6. Worth A Look

​Campbell Hausfeld Pro MIG 140

​$

4.5/5

This article focuses on welding machines that can MIG Weld - machines that can use solid welding wire and a separate tank of shielding gas to weld.

MIG welding uses the GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) process. ​Not sure what that means? Read this article.

All the welders picked can also weld using the flux core welding method.

​Table Of Contents

The Criteria I Used to Pick The Best MIG Welder For Beginners

1. I focused on the home, small workshop or hobby user. This means that the welders I've chosen have to run on the power available in the home or home garage. This in my view is usually up to 120 volts.

Because you may not have the money available, or be able to put 230 volts in your workshop.

2. The welders I've chosen had to be easy to set up and use. Nothing complicated. I want to get you up and welding as quickly as possible.

3. As a home based beginner and hobby user you'll want something that won't let you down. All the MIG welders I've reviewed have high user recommendations.

4. I've gone for the best MIG welder brands, why waste your money on the here today and gone tomorrow makes and find out later you can't buy what you need for your welder.

No 1 and the Winner

Hobart 140 What's in the box

Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder

​Hobart Handler 140 Pros

  • ​Good clear manual
  • ​Several good YouTube videos to help you set the Hobart 140 up
  • ​A clear welding parameters chart inside the cabinet door to help a beginner get their welding settings right
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    ​Hobart's 5/3/1 Warranty. Five years on the transformer, three years on electronics, one year on the welding torch, means should you have any issues with this welder the warranty is there for you

​​Cons

  • ​Is at the top end of the $500 budget for this list. If you can stretch to it you'll be getting yourself a quality welder and be quickly producing some nice welds
  • ​Claims to weld Aluminum, however there is no spool gun attachment available

​​Summary

When you really want to do some actual welding this is the best MIG for the beginner.

When you want something that is better than the norm, and you can run to $500 in your MIG welder budget, then you really should consider getting the Hobart Handler 140.

Those who have been around the market for a while know, this MIG has a great reputation. Designed by Hobart in the USA, built in the USA.

YouTube Video Hobart Handler Demo

Video Credit: Hobart Welding Products

Features

Aimed at light to medium duty welding tasks the Hobart Handler will give you great performance in a 115 volt package on a standard 3 pin plug.

Inside the cabinet is a helpful welding guide chart that you can read along to find the welding setting for the gauge of metal you are wishing to weld and the size of wire you want to weld with.

Which is really useful for someone new to welding.

Duty Cycle

The Hobart 140 has a decent duty cycle, it operates at 20% at 90 Amp. But it is not the highest duty cycle of all the MIG welders.

​Best Beginner Welder Duty Cycles Compared

MIG Welder

​Duty Cycle

Hobart 140

20% at 90 Amp

Lincoln Handy MIG

20% at 70 Amp

Lotos MIG 140

20% at 90 Amp

Forney 309 140

20% at 115 Amp

Everlast 140e

20% at 140 Amp

​Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140

20% at 90 Amp

​The Everlast 140e takes the crown for the best duty cycle out of all the welders compared.

Welding Output Range

The welding output is controlled via a stepped dial. The output voltage ranges from 25 Amp at its lowest setting to 140 Amp with five tapped positions on the control switch. 

You have infinite control on a dial controlling the wire feed speed.

Types Of Metals Welded

The Hobart 140 will weld;

  • Mild steel, with both solid wire using MIG or flux core wire
  • Stainless Steel with solid stainless steel wire
  • Galvanized steel using flux core wire
  • Aluminum welding is claimed however there is no spool gun option

Attempting to weld Aluminum without a spool gun is difficult and not something a beginner or even the skilled would normally attempt.

Metal Gauges Welded

Metal gauges from 24 gauge as its thinnest up to 1/4 inch can be welded. Though you will need the skill to do multiple weld passes to weld quarter inch steel.

Wire Spool Sizes, and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

Showing its flexibility the Hobart Handler will manage both 4 inch and 8 inch wire spools (2 pounds or 10 pound spools).

You have the choice of feeding in 0.023 inch or 0.030inch or 0.035 inch diameter wire.

Which means should you want to do some auto repairs on thinner plate metal, then you can run 0.023 inch solid welding wire with shielding gas.

The wire feed speed is 40 - 700 inches per minute on a dial that runs from 10 to 100.

Size and Weight

Portable, the Hobart 140 MIG measures 19.5 by 11 by 12 inches and weighs in at 57 pounds. Portable yes, but you may want to think about having a cart for this baby sooner rather than later.

Round Up Of Other Notable Features

Aluminum Drive - The welding wire is not fed through some plastic drive system. No.

Inside the Hobart 140 you have a well made, quality Aluminum drive system feeding your welding wire.

Dual Gauge Gas Regulator - For your Argon/Carbon Dioxide gas tank you have included in the package a top class gas regulator. No need to buy one unless you are using pure Carbon Dioxide as those cylinders need a regulator designed for Carbon Dioxide.

Bundled Options - Instead of buying the welder on its own, you can purchase the Hobart 140 MIG bundled with different accessories. Such as;

A tub of MIG nozzle gel to stop your splatter from sticking to your work piece or the nozzle.

Not interested in that?

or what about a bundle that includes Hobart's quality multi-function pliers.

No?

Then the best bundle I think is purchasing the Hobart Handler 140 with Hobart's cart. That way you can easily move your 140 MIG welder with its cylinder of gas.

Material Thickness Gauge - is supplied in the box useful for when you're not quite sure of the thickness of the metal you are welding. You can quickly use this gauge to check. Really useful for a beginner.

No. 2 and Runner Up

Lincoln Handy MIG

​Lincoln Electric Handy MIG K2185-1

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Pros

  • ​Easy to use and set up. I consider the Handy MIG to be the best starter MIG welder
  • ​A reliable MIG welder from the trusted Lincoln brand
  • ​Lighter than the Hobart 140, the Handy MIG weighs in at 46 lbs
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    ​Extras included: a spool of solid welding wire for mild steel, a spool of flux core welding wire for mild steel, a hand held face shield, integrated chipping hammer and brush. The extras do give this welder a 'welding kit' type aspect
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    ​​The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG welder has been around in the market for a long time and has proven itself to be a hard working and reliable MIG welder

​​Cons

  • ​​The smallest welding output range of all the welders chosen means you will be a shade disadvantaged with welding the thinnest or thickest gauges of steels
  • ​​Only being able to hold the lighter 2 lb. spools does position this welder towards the occasional beginner welder
  • ​It is a pity that the regulator supplied with the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG has no gas gauge dial, which makes it difficult for a beginner to judge when their cylinder of gas is running low

​​​Summary

The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG is a capable welder for around the $350 mark. Yes, it may not be as flexible as some of the other MIG welders featured in the list. But it is a solid welder from a great brand name for light home hobby use and the best starter MIG welder.

YouTube Video Lincoln Electric Handy MIG

Video Credit: Northern Tool

Features

The Handy MIG just like the Hobart 140 meets our criteria of using a normal 3 pin plug suitable for a 120 volt home circuit.

Similar to the Hobart 140 there is a welding settings chart on the inside of the cabinet door. These settings are also detailed in the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG's manual should you want to do some research ahead of pulling out your welder.

Duty Cycle

20% at 70 Amp. Note that this duty cycle measurement is not taken at the maximum welding output the Lincoln Handy MIG is capable of. If you want to run this welder at its maximum setting of 88 Amp you will have less than two minutes continuous welding time.

Welding Output Range

The welding output is set using two rocker switches. One that can be flipped from low to high. The other from 1 to 2. The combination of the two switches give you the four output settings.

Low and 1, Low and 2, High and 1, High and 2.

Best Beginner Welders Output Range Compared

MIG Welder

​Output Amp

Hobart 140

​25 Amp to 140 Amp

Lincoln Handy MIG

​35 Amp to 88 Amp

Lotos MIG 140

​25 Amp to 140 Amp

Forney 309 140

​30 Amp to 140 Amp

Everlast 140e

​25 Amp to 140 Amp

​Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140

​25 Amp to 140 Amp

​Types of Metals Welded

Lincoln only claims that this welder is capable of welding mild steel, or low alloy steel with either solid wire using its MIG guise or with flux core welding wire.

Galvanized steel of the right gauge for this welder could also be welded using flux core wire.

No welding of stainless steel is claimed, and really this welder doesn't produce enough welding voltage output to weld stainless steel.

No Aluminum as there is no spool gun option and this welder really isn't powerful enough to attempt to weld Aluminum.

Metal Gauges Welded

24 gauge up to 1/8th of an inch. 

The 1/8th maximum metal gauge listed for this welder is the same whether you are MIG welding with solid wire and shielding gas or using flux core welding wire.

20 gauge steel is the minimum size gauge for welding with flux core wire. Understandable as flux core welding is a 'hotter' welding process.

Wire Spool Sizes and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

The Handy MIG uses a maximum of 2lb spools also known as 4 inch spools so unlike much of its competition here it is not able to feed the larger 10lb spools of welding wire.

0.025 inch or 0.030 or 0.035 inch diameter wire can be used in the Handy MIG.

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

Wire feed speed from 0 to 300 inches per minute.

Size and Weight

  • Size 12.8" H x 8.8" W x 18" L
  • Weight 46 lbs.

Round up of Other Notable Features

A quality Aluminum drive system feeding the wire.

Gas regulator - a simple regulator and hose is supplied with the Handy MIG. The regulator is designed for Argon or Argon, Carbon Dioxide gas mixes. There is no gas gauge dial on this regulator.

Starter 'Kit' - Includes supplied Lincoln quality solid wire for mild steel, Flux core welding wire for mild steel, a hand held face mask, combined chipping hammer and brush. All good starter MIG welder accessories.

​No. 3 Also Great!

Lotos MIG 140

​Lotos MIG 140

Lotos MIG 140 Pros

  • ​Quick set up should mean as a beginner you are up and running with this welder in 10-15 minutes
  • ​The Lotos features a LED display both for welding output and for wire feed speed
  • ​A 2T/4T Switch on the welder for easy welding
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    ​​​​​Is spool gun capable, which means that with the purchase of the Lotos spool gun you can weld limited sizes of Aluminum with this welder
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    ​​The latest design of this welder means you can change welding polarity from MIG welding to flux core welding quickly and easily

​​Cons

  • ​​No welding guide chart in the manual should you as a beginner want to check welding settings without getting out your welder

​Summary

A mid range priced welder, the Lotos 140 MIG welder is a very capable welder for a beginner. And the optional extra of a spool gun gives this welder the flexibility of Aluminum welding even if it is limited.

YouTube Video Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Welder Installation Guide and Demonstration

​Video Credit: Lotos Technology

Features

Runs on normal household power needing input voltages of 110 volts to 115 volts on a circuit fused to 20 Amp minimum. Lotos recommends a 30 Amp fused circuit to get the maximum welding output from this welder.

And you'll need to move to a 30 Amp fuse on the circuit when welding Aluminum. As that really will draw all the welding power this welder can produce to weld Aluminum well.

Duty Cycle

The Lotos MIG 140 has a decent duty cycle rated at 20% at 90 Amp. This welding duty cycle isn't set at the maximum output this welder is capable of which is 140 Amp.  This means that you will have much less than the 2 minute welding time suggested by the duty cycle at the maximum setting of this welder.

Welding Output Range

A output range of 25 Amp to 140 Amp means on this measurement the Lotos 140 matches the Hobart 140 and the Everlast 140e in terms of its lowest welding output, through to its highest welding output.

The voltage output is selected on a dial that runs from 1 to 10 and the voltage selected is also shown on the LED display. A delight for a beginner as it is so easy to see the setting. This makes this welder unique in the group for allowing you the welder to vary the welding Amp output.

The wire feed speed is controlled on a knob that goes from 10 to 100.

Type of Metals Welded

  • Mild steel and low alloy steel
  • Galvanized steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum - using its optional compatible spool gun

Best Beginner MIG Welder Metals Welded Compared

MIG Welder

​Metals Welded

Hobart 140

​​Mild Steel, Low Alloy Steel, Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steel

Lincoln Handy MIG

​​Mild Steel, Low Alloy Steel, Galvanized Steel

Lotos MIG 140

​​Mild Steel, Low Alloy Steel, Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum

Forney 309 140

​​Mild Steel, Low Alloy Steel, Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steel

Everlast 140e

​​Mild Steel, Low Alloy Steel, Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum

​Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140

​​Mild Steel, Low Alloy Steel, Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steel

​Metal Gauges Welded

Mild steel, low alloy steel, galvanized steel, stainless steel from 24 gauge at its thinnest up to 3/16th of an inch maximum.

1/8 inch Aluminum with the Lotos spool gun.

The Lotos 140 is able to use 2lb and 10lb spools of welding wire (4 and 8 inch spools)

The size of welding wire the Lotos 140 is able to use is from 0.025" or 0.030" solid wire and 0.030 or 0.035" diameter flux core.

Size and Weight

The Lotos MIG 140 measures 14.5" height x 16" length x 9.5" width. A small MIG welder, in fact the smallest MIG of the six welders listed and it weighs in at 54 lbs.

Round up of Other Notable Features

A robust Aluminum drive to feed the welding wire.

Gas Regulator -  a dual gauge regulator is supplied with the Lotos 140 along with a  gas hose. Setting you up for your MIG welding.  Both the regulator and hose are designed for Argon or Argon/Carbon Dioxide gas mix of gas. 

Should you want to use Carbon Dioxide gas then a Carbon Dioxide compatible regulator will need to be purchased.

2T/4T switch on the welder - means you can use this switch to power the welding gun rather than depressing the trigger on the gun itself. Useful if you are doing a lot of welding. It lessons the strain on your trigger finger, as there is no need to keep the trigger depressed while welding.

Starter 'Kit' - which includes 2lb of 0.030 solid welding wire, two spare contact tips, Hand held face shield, a combined chipping hammer and brush.

​No. 4 Also Great!

Forney MIG 140 Side View

Forney 309 140 Amp MIG Welder

Forney 309 140 Pros

  • ​One of the highest duty cycles of the welders on this list
  • ​Euro style quick connector, means that should you want to replace the cord to the MIG gun or the MIG gun itself, it is easy to do
  • ​A 15 foot power cord and 10 foot cord to the MIG gun, the Forney 140 gives you the widest working area from the power outlet of all the welders looked at
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    ​​A clear and helpful manual - great for a beginner

​​​​Cons

  • ​​At the top end of the $500 budget along with the Hobart 140 MIG welder
  • ​No spool gun for Aluminum welding
  • ​You'll have to get your own spool of welding wire when you order this welder as a starter spool isn't supplied

​​​Summary

The Forney 309 140 MIG welder deserves to be on this list. It's a nice welder from a solid MIG welder brand name. With one of the higher duty cycles this Forney 309 140 MIG welder can weld thicker gauges of metal for longer. It could be the welder for you if you have the full 500 dollar budget to spend.

YouTube Forney 140 MIG Feature Video

​Video Credit: Forney Industries

Features

Nice little touches like integrated feet to keep your welder up off a dirty workshop floor, 'ears' to wrap your cables about for easy cable storage and organization.

Duty Cycle

The Forney 309 140 MIG welder has a duty cycle of 20% at 115 Amp using a normal 120 volt wall outlet. The second highest duty cycle of the welders featured is great but the duty cycle is still measured at less than the welding output this welder is capable of. This means you will have less than 2 minutes welding time at its highest output setting.

Welding Output Range

The Forney 140 has a welding output range of 30 Amp to 140 Amp on a stepped dial that runs from 1 to 4.

The wire feed speed dial runs from 0 through to 10. Even at position 0 the wire feed speed is 80 IPM (inches per minute).  The maximum wire feed speed is 700 inches per minute.

Types of Metal Welded

Mild steel and low alloy steel is welded with solid welding wire and gas in its MIG guise.

Stainless steel is welded with solid stainless steel welding wire and gas.

Forney claim this welder can weld Aluminum but there is no spool gun option. Trying to feed soft, wriggly Aluminum up a 10 foot cord to a MIG gun isn't for the faint hearted.

Metal Gauges welded

Similar to the Hobart 140, and the Campbell Hausfeld from 24 gauge to 1/4 inch with both solid wire and flux core welding wire.

Beginner MIG Welder Metals Gauges Compared

MIG Welder

​Gauges Welded

Hobart 140

​​​24 Gauge to 1/4 inch

Lincoln Handy MIG

​​​24 Gauge to 1/8th of an inch

Lotos MIG 140

​​​24 Gauge to 3/16th of an Inch

Forney 309 140

​​​24 Gauge to 1/4 inch

Everlast 140e

​​​24 Gauge to 3/8th of an Inch

​Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140

​​​24 Gauge to 1/4 inch

​​Wire Spool Sizes and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

Similar to all the welders except the Handy MIG the Forney can take 4 inch or 8 inch spools, (2 lb. or 10 lb. spools).

It can weld with 0.023" diameter welding wire or 0.030" or 0.035" diameter wire.

Size and Weight

The dimensions are 19" x 9.5" x 16.5" and the Forney 309 weighs in at 57 pounds the same as the Hobart Handler 140.

Round Up of Other Notable Features

HD cast Aluminum drive feed system for the welding wire.

Dual Gauge Gas regulator - and a supplied gas hose all designed to be used with Argon and Carbon Dioxide gas mixed or 100% Argon.

5/3/1 Warranty - A good solid warranty similar to the Hobart 140. 5 years on the transformer, 3 years on the drive systems, pc boards, motors and switches, 1 year on the MIG gun.

​No. 5 Worth a Look!

Everlast 140 And Accessories

Everlast i-MIG 140e MIG welder

Everlast i-MIG 140e Pros

  • ​The duty cycle is excellent at 25% at 140 Amp, the best of all the welders reviewed
  • ​It is extremely versatile, and it can deal with thicker metals (3/8ths) than its peers
  • ​It is also very compact and unbelievably light weight for its welding output due to its inverter design.
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    ​​​​​Euro type connector for the MIG gun makes changing out the MIG gun easy to do

​Cons

  • ​​No welding settings guide chart either on the cabinet or in the manual.  This makes it tough on the rank beginner welder.  It means more practice is needed to find just the right settings for what you're welding.
  • ​The ground clamp is poor and I recommend you order a replacement one for quality beginner beads

​​Summary

The Everlast 140e is a fantastic MIG and flux core capable welder to use when you only have 120 volts available and you need to get a lot of welding done. The efficiency, portability, and durability you get from this are simply terrific. Though this welder is not quite as newbie friendly as the Hobart 140.

YouTube Video Everlast MIG Welder Power I-MIG 140e

​Credit: Everlast Power Equipment Inc.

Features

​Unlike other comparable MIG welders, which are transformer-based, the Everlast Generator's 140e uses an IGBT inverter design that results in better duty cycles and a light weight welder. The Everlast 140e is set up out of the box to use solid wire and shielding gas, though you do have the option of using flux core welding wire and for that a flux core drive roll is an optional extra.

​Duty Cycle

The Everlast 140e has a duty cycle of 25% @ 140 Amp.

So let's think about that for a moment.

Most of the Everlast Power MIG 140e's competitors measure their duty cycles at an Amp output nowhere near the welder's maximum welding output.

And then they have the industry usual 20% duty cycle.

Here the Everlast can weld up to its maximum welding output 140 Amp, and still have a duty cycle at 25% - 2 and a half minutes straight welding!

From a duty cycle point of view, is the best in its class.

Welding Output Range

25 Amp to 140 Amp on a variable dial, when most of its competitors except the Lotos 140 use stepped dials or switches. Super easy for newbies.

Types of Metals Welded

Mild Steel, Galvanized steel, Stainless Steel and can weld Aluminum too. Though you will need to buy the optional spool gun to do that.

The Everlast MIG 140 will also weld Chom-moly which again makes this welder unusual compared its peers.

Metal Gauges Welded

This welder can deal with 24 gauge thick metal and has the power to weld up to 3/16 inch mild and stainless steel, welding either in a single pass. The Everlast can weld using multiple passes, 3/8th of an inch. Which is impressive.

Wire Spool Sizes, and Wire Diameter Sizes Used

The Everlast 140e can use both 4 in. and 8 in. wire spools. The equivalent pound weight is 2lb, 10lb. It can take up to 12lb spools of welding wire. Meaning you can take advantage of the price benefit of using larger spools of wire.

And can feed 0.023" or 0.030" or 0.035" wire diameters.

Wire feed speed 0 to 360 inches per minute.

Size and Weight

The welder measures 17 by 14 by 8 inches and weighs just 25 pounds which is way lighter than its competition, thanks to using an Inverter internally rather than a transformer.

MIG Welder For Beginners Size and Weight Compared

MIG Welder

​Size and Weight

Hobart 140

​19.5" x 11" x 12" and 57 lbs.

Lincoln Handy MIG

​​​​12.8" x 8.8" x 18" and 46 lbs.

Lotos MIG 140

​​​​14.5" x 16" x 9.5" and 54 lbs.

Forney 309 140

​19" x 9.5" x 16.5" and 57 lbs.

Everlast 140e

​​​​17" x 14" x 8" and 25 lbs.

​Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140

​​​​20" x 12" x 15.5" and 75 lbs.

​Round Up Of Other Notable Features

Cast Aluminum wire feed drive system

Single Dial Gas Regulator -  a gas hose is supplied and the regulator design is dial and floating ball for use with an Argon and Carbon Dioxide gas cylinder.

No. 6 Also Worth a Look

Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140 MIG Welder

Campbell Hausfeld 140 Pros

  • ​The lowest cost of all the MIG welders featured at circa $300
  • ​The best budget MIG welder
  • ​Overall capable MIG welder for a beginner looking to use in their home workshop

​​​Cons

  • ​​Lowest cost yet the heaviest of all the welders reviewed at 75 lbs. Get a cart or risk back strain with the baby
  • ​Claims to weld Aluminum but there is no spool gun option

​​Summary

The Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140 is the best entry level MIG welder. It is the welder to buy if your budget for a MIG welder is really tight. My general view of this welder is that is reasonably hard working for the price. It should do the job if not pushed too hard.

Features

A 115 volt welder running off a normal household supply of 120 volts.

Duty Cycle

The Campbell Hausfeld Pro 140 has a reasonable duty cycle of 20% at 90 Amp.

Welding Output Range

25 Amp to 140 Amp. The welding output voltage is controlled on a stepped dial that runs from 1 - 5, similar to the Hobart 140.  If you are welding on a 15 Amp fused circuit then you can weld up to welding output position 1 - 3.  You will need a 20 Amp fused circuit to weld at position 4 or 5 and drive this welder to its maximum output settings.

Types of Metals Welded

  • Mild steel and low alloy steel
  • Galvanized steel with flux core welding wire

The manufacturers, Campbell Hausfeld say this MIG welder can weld Aluminum. But with no spool gun option it takes a brave man to try and feed soft, wriggly Aluminum wire up 10 foot of hose to the MIG gun. Even after putting in a Teflon liner.

Ok, so maybe I am exaggerating saying you'll have to be brave. If not brave then patience will definitely be needed as Aluminum wire is notoriously difficult to feed.

Metal Gauges Welded

From 24 gauge to 1/4 inch which is very reasonable for the price of welder.

Wire Spool Sizes, And Wire Diameter Sizes used

There are two grooves on the roller. One which will feed 0.024" diameter solid MIG welding wire and the larger groove will feed 0.030 and 0.035 diameter wire.

The Campbell Hausfeld will take 2 lb. or 10 lb. spools of solid or flux core welding wire.

Size and Weight

20 x 12 x 15.5 and a weight of 75 lbs. the heaviest of this round up of beginner welders.

Round Up of Other Notable Features

Dual Gauge Gas regulator - and a supplied hose. The regulator is designed for Argon or Argon Carbon Dioxide gas mixes.

Two spare contact tips and a starter spool of 0.030" flux core wire.

The accessories provided are good for a budget MIG welder.

Wow! So which one should you get?

The most obvious answer here is that you ought to get the one that best suits your needs and budget. But how do you decide which?

More on that later.

What about getting the welder that came first on the best MIG welder for beginners list?

Even if you think you are only going to use the Hobart Handler 140 a few times a year, you may find yourself using that welder far more that you originally thought.

If you are not sure how make your decision on which welder to choose then read on, I have some advice that should help you pick the best MIG welder for a beginner.

​Picking the Best MIG Welder A Beginner in Seven Steps

The best beginner MIG welder for you may well be different to a great MIG welder for someone else. But that doesn't matter. 

Your needs will change over time so don't be surprised if you build up a collection of MIG welders.  You won't be alone.

1 You

First things first, think about you, your skills and the kind of MIG welding you want to do. Bear in mind that you’re a beginner and you'll want a machine that helps you get the best welding done that you can. And you do not want to be battling with the machine to do it. 

2. Where?

Where will you be welding? 

If you are going to be welding in your home garage, shed or workshop what power do you have available? If it’s a normal household electrical outlet then you'll want to look at the kind of MIG welders I have here in the best six list as they are all suitable for using at home.

Unplug everything else from that circuit to give your MIG welder the best chance of striking a good arc.

If you are going to be doing a lot welding away from your home workshop then a MIG welder that you can carry is a must. Or get yourself a good cart.

A MIG welder that will also weld with flux core wire will be helpful as that welding process is the welding method of choice for outdoor conditions.

MIG welding is an indoor process or you will need to get yourself some effective wind shields.

Consider the power requirements when you are MIG welding away from home. You may need a decent extension cable. Maybe one suitable for outdoor use.  Or you will need a generator to provide the power.

3. What?

What will you weld?

Now and in the future.  A MIG welder for the home running on 120 volt power will typically weld thin metals from 24 gauge and thicker metals up to 3/8th. 

A MIG welder working on 120 volts will see you being able to weld mild steel, which is the commonest metal.

Stainless steel and Aluminum MIG welding are going to be toward the top end of what your 120 volt MIG welder will be capable of as both those metals take power to weld well. And you'll be looking at welding thinner gauges of those metals with your 120 volt welder.

For MIG welding you will need a gas cylinder.  Where will you store your cylinder? How will you get it home? How will you move it around? What size of cylinder you will you need?

These are all important considerations. As the larger tanks cost more to buy and refill.  Will you be welding a lot to justify having a large cylinder of gas?

I have an article that should help you answer these questions, go ahead and take a look.

If you plan to weld Aluminum you will need a MIG welder that is capable and has a spool gun.

4. Amp and Duty Cycle

This how the welding output a MIG welder provides is measured. The thicker the metal, the more amperage needed to weld it.

A close brother to Amp is the duty cycle.

Basically it denotes how long you can weld continuously before you need to rest the welder before it overheats. It is measured over a 10 minute time span. 20% means two minutes welding.

The more continuous MIG welding you plan to do the higher the duty cycle you'll need. If you plan on light occasional MIG welding on thinner gauge metals, then you can get away with a low the duty cycle.

5. Why?

Why are you welding? For fun, for artistic reasons, necessary repair jobs around the ranch or home farm?

If you are welding for fun then you may not need the most expensive or strongest MIG welder. Welding thicker metals for necessary repair jobs, then get yourself a welder that can tackle the gauge of metal you are likely to weld.

Please when you are starting out welding avoid projects where someone's life or limb is dependent on the quality of your welding.  Get some experience, get your welds inspected by someone you trust.  You'll be really upset if someone gets hurt because your newbie weld failed.

6. Budget

For the most part, a great MIG welder for beginners is a good starter MIG welder. And the ones in this post range from around $300 to $500.

You'll also need to budget for your own safety equipment, welding helmet, gloves, apron, a table to weld on, welding pliers, consumables like contact tips, wire, tank of shielding gas, anti splatter gel etc.

7. Time

You'll need to allocate yourself practice time and materials. If you can it's probably a good idea to get yourself along to a local community college and pick up some skills under the eye of a tutor.  That said you can of course learn at home. Join an online forum so that you can ask your questions and get support there.

Tying it all Together

Work your way through the seven points I've highlighted above and give a score. Lets say out of five.

The closer to a score of thirty five you are the more you'll expect out of your MIG welder and the more you should expect to spend. 

You can even give a weighting factor for those must haves and nice to haves. 

Should you want a bit more help, I have an article dedicated to the subject of choosing a MIG welder. Feel free to take a look.

​The MIG welder you start off with maybe different to the one you buy yourself further down the line, so don't worry about that too much.

Score each MIG welder against your own personal criteria and you'll get yourself the best MIG welder for you.