How To Choose a MIG welder: buy your first welder

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MIG welder is an arc welding machine. Choosing the right MIG welder for your welding project can be tricky. There are certain factors one needs to keep in mind while buying a MIG welder for the first time. Purchasing the right one which will be suitable for your application requires basic knowledge. This article will assist you in gathering fundamental knowledge about how to choose a MIG welder.

Power Output

The first fact that you need to decide while picking a MIG welder is the power output. The general rule is that a MIG welder needs around 30amps of power for every millimeter of the thickness of the material. For example, if you are aiming to weld 5mm material, you will need around 150 amps to be able to do that.

Duty cycle

One should take the duty cycle of the machine under consideration to avoid overheating machine issues. It is a reasonable way to judge the robustness of the welder. It instructs you about how long you can use the machine and when you have to stop.


MIG welder having 110-volt can be used for light metal welding, which can also be plugged into a usual domestic electric socket. Heavy welding requires a 220-volt welder. Buy one that matches your intention.

Shielding gas

It is equally important as the other factors to make the perfect combination of the gas to make the best use of your welder. The ideal combination is 25% of carbon dioxide and 75% of argon. 100% of carbon dioxide is needed for deeper penetration.


Consider your budget before you get to the market. Does it depend on what kind of welding you intend to perform? Yes, it is! If you are a hobbyist or someone who has simple welding operations to execute, it is better not to buy a super expensive one. If you are a beginner, keep your budget between 300 to 500 dollars. These can be the best welders for home use. For professional work, you can spend even more than 1000 dollars on a welding machine. It can serve you with fantastic performance. Choose the best welding machine that suits your goal. Know your purpose and set your budget.


It is an excellent guide to identify the quality of a welder. Generally, three years of warranty is good enough. It is one of the first layers of knowing how to choose a MIG welder.

Read more Basic MIG Welding Techniques

Key features

Some of the additional key elements of a MIG welder are-

Capabilities to handle short-circuit: Some welders can modify electric current when a short circuit is about to happen. Consider buying one of those to prevent spatter.

Spool gun: While welding with aluminum, a spool gun is a lifesaver. It feeds the aluminum filler wire directly into the gun. Standard wire feed spool can cause aluminum to get tangled.

Cooling mechanism: To prevent you welder from over-heating, you can include the feature called thermal overload protection. Again some of the MIG welders are air-cooled, and some are water-cooled. The air cooling system is sufficient enough for light jobs. Else choose a welder with a water cooling mechanism. It might be expensive.

Final thoughts

A beginner might get puzzled while buying a MIG welder for the first time. It is better to dig a little bit about MIG welder before you hit the market. Having the basic ideas about how to choose a MIG welder will help you to figure out what is best for you. You will learn to trace more facts about a MIG welder once you buy it and start working with it. Because experience is the best teacher one can have.

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