Last updated: November 21st, 2019

Are you thinking about getting into the world of welding, either as a hobby or as a potential future business you can do?

If you’re new to welding, there is a lot to consider before just jumping in. Different metals will require different techniques or materials. Some methods are far more suited to certain jobs than others. Some methods easy to learn while some others need much skill.

Metal arc welding, also called arc welding is a popular process for joining metals. Have ten types of arc welding are widely used in industry. Of these, three types can be considered the best welder for the Beginner is MIG, Stick welding, and TIG welding.

According to the experienced welders, MIG is the best welders for the beginners.  So why MIG welder is best for the beginner? How does the MIG welder work? Difference between Mig welder with Stick Welder, TIG welder, and flux core welder? the last, what is the best Mig welders for beginners?

All questions will be answered in our article. To begin with, let’s look at some of the categories you can choose.

ImageMig WeldersVoltRank forPrice
Hobart Handler 210 MVP 115/230V Best Overall
Miller Electric 120/240 VAC 120/240V Best Single Phase
2017 Everlast Mig 140 110V Best 110v
Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC 220V Best Budget
Lincoln 210 Mp 120/230V Best 220v

Best Mig welder for beginners – Our Pick

Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder

Hobart is a famous name known to anyone who’s in the welding business. Their products and services are legendary. The Hobart 500553 Handler 210 MVP is just another example of what they have to offer for the DIY Welder. It’s also one of the best MIG welders for beginners. Though it comes with its own gun.

It is set up to handle Hobart’s SpoolRunner 100 automatic feed gun along. The SpoolRunner 100 spool gun alleviates feeding problems with soft aluminum wires. It is also usable with mild or stainless steel welding wires. The Hobart 500553 Handler 210 MVP comes with the normal amenities, you would expect that would come with a product made by one of the best welding supply companies in the world.

Each unit is designed and manufactured in Troy, OH USA with the great reputation of the Hobart welder, the Hobart 500553 Handler 210 MVP will help you are peace of mind when starts with your’s first welder.

Overview of welding processes

Les’t introduces the four welding processes involved.

Read more: type of welding process

What is Mig Welding?


MIG was developed in the late 1940’s and is also called GMAW/MAG Welding. Since then it unfolded into becoming a major element in the industry today. It is suitable for welding a variety of ferrous and nonferrous metals.

The arc continuously melts the wire as it is fed in the weld puddle. The weld area is shielded by a flow of gas such as argon, helium, carbon dioxide, or gas mixtures. The consumable bare wire is fed automatically through a nozzle into the weld area. Metal can be transferred into the weld−bead in three ways: Spray, Globular and Short-circuiting.

The process is rapid, versatile, economical and can easily be automated (continuous welding without electrode changing).

The MIG process can be used to create a high-strength weld with great appearance and little need for sanding or cleaning. The use of a shielding gas allows the welder to operate at a continuous rate, making the process fairly quick. MIG welding can be used on any metal surface and has the capability to weld materials as thin as 26-gauge.

Advantages of MIG Welding

  • Welds most metals.
  • Simple technique and very easy to learn and use.
  • Higher deposition, greater speed and a lot more efficient than most other forms of welding.
  • Minimized weld defects.
  • Produces little or no slag.
  • With the correct wire and settings, can be welded out of position.


  • Fabrication and Manufacturing
  • Due to increases in speed and efficiency, MIG welding is well suited for Fabrication and Manufacturing.
  • Clean up time is greatly reduced due to little or no slag.

Repair and Maintenance

  • Lightweight MIGs can be portable.
  • Easy for the D-I-Yer to learn.
  • Welds various types of material.
  • Great for the farming industry with the use of gasless wire which makes it possible to weld outdoors is known as Flux Core welding.
  • Single phase domestic power supply MIGs are available.

With features and advantages of own, Mig welder worthy is one of the best welders for beginners.

What is Stick Welding?

Stick welding is also known as SMAW is one of the oldest, and quite versatile joining processes. The electric arc is generated by touching the tip of a coated electrode against the workpiece.

The electrodes are in the shape of a thin long stick (stick welding). The heat generated, melts a portion of the tip of the electrode, it’s the coating and the base metal in the immediate area of the arc. A weld will be formed the molten metal (a mixture of the workpiece and the electrode metal) and substances from the coating of the electrode, solidifies in the weld area.

The electrode coating deoxidizes and provides a shielding gas in the weld area to protect it from oxygen and nitrogen in the environment. Electrodes are available for welding most carbon, low alloy, and stainless steels, some non-ferrous metals, and a wide range of maintenance and repair applications.

The major downside to stick welding is the fact that the finished product is not nearly as ‘neat’ as with Mig Welding. Molten splatter is a common occurrence and requires a fair amount of cleaning and sanding when the weld is finished. This leads to a more significant cost and work time.

The stick welding process is also very inefficient when it comes to a welder’s time. Between frequent electrode changes, intensive post-weld cleaning, and other similar factors the welder spends only an estimated 25% of their time actually laying weld.

What is TIG Welding?


GTAW is also known as TIG welding (Tungsten Inert Gas). The filler metal is supplied from a filler wire and is similar to the metals to be welded.

The tungsten electrode is not consumed in this operation and the shielding gas is usually argon or helium or a mixture of it. Welding with GTAW can also be done without filler metals, as in welding close−fit joints.

GTAW is used for a wide variety of metals and applications, particular aluminum, copper, brass, magnesium, titanium, and high alloy metals. It is especially suited for thin metals.

In general AC power supply is preferred for aluminum and magnesium because the cleaning action of AC removes oxides and improves weld quality. DC power supply is also possible. The cost of the inert gas makes this process more expensive than SMAW, but it provides welds with very high quality and surface finish.

When it absolutely has to look perfect, and you have some time to put into it, TIG welding is far and away the preferred technique. TIG is perfect for artwork, ornamental designs, stainless steel, and automotive applications.

TIG is much harder to learn than the other methods. It requires a highly skilled operator, as it demands the simultaneous use of both hands and a foot. TIG welding is also significantly slower than either MIG or stick and demands that the surface of the workpiece be absolutely immaculate. All paint, rust, and debris must be removed, and the weld area should be clean enough that you could eat off it.


Metal Type Steel, Stainless, Aluminium Steel, Stainless ALL
Skill Level Low Medium High
Operation Semiautomatic (Movement of Gun controlled by hand) or automatic Manuel Manual or automatic
Welding Speed Fastest Slow Slowest
Energy source DC AC or DC usually between 50 A and 400 A AC/DC
Operating Cost Low High High
Field of application General construction, general metal fabrication, car body, workpieces from 0.75 mm and 12 mm thickness − with multiple techniques easily to extend. General construction, shipbuilding, pipelines, maintenance, workpieces from 3−19 mm thickness − with multiple techniques easily to extend. Vessel, tank or boiler fabrication; a tool or die repair; aluminum casting; pressure valves or regulators; pipe fittings; bicycle frames; airplanes
Pros Easy to learn; Good quality welds with little spatter; Reduced clean up time Can be used outdoors in windy conditions; Portable – No shielding gas or wire feeder is needed; Produces strong welds, including on rusty surfaces and steel does not need to be clean. Higher quality welds than MIG; Reduced clean up time; Good for precise welds that require attention to detail

How To Choose The Best MIG Welder For Beginners?

Welders in the market for a MIG welder will have quite a lot of information to read through. You are a beginner, want a machine that can handle all of the work you have, but you don’t want to spend all of your vacation money or put yourself in the red by purchasing a welder that has more power than you need. While every welder’s situation is a bit different. It may seem daunting to figure out. Worry no more I’ll give you few factors when choosing the best MIG welder for beginners.

How Much Power Do You Need to Weld Effectively?

You will see welders advertised with a maximum Amp figure.

Welders and the power they can produce are measured by the amount of output voltage – Amps available to you.

More Amps equal more power and the wider variety of thickness of metal and type of metals you can weld.

Amps is also a function of the input power. A basic MIG welder for home projects will run at 115 V, like the Hobart 500559 Handler 140. This will weld thin metals, but it won’t handle thicker metals. However, the jump to a more powerful industrial MIG welder such as the Hobart 500554001 Handler 190 will provide both a ton of power and a higher price.

A good option for welders who will have a wide range of projects is an All in one MIG welder like the Millermatic 211, which operates at either 120 V or 230 V. You just need to switch from a low voltage plug to a high voltage plug in order to get started. While a combination unit won’t give as much power as the heavy-duty Millermatic 252, it will also be quite affordable.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that these welders will need a dedicated circuit, with a good ground connection fused to 20 Amps or 30 Amps to be able to operate at their maximum welding output

Thermal Overload Protection

The duty cycle of a welder will determine how many minutes you can weld in a ten-minute cycle before the welder has to cool off. The higher the duty cycle, say 60%, the longer you can weld.

If you do weld too long, your welder could overheat, and then you’ll be rereading this article in order to pick out a new welder. You can save yourself from overheating by choosing a model that includes thermal overload protection. Considering that your welder is a long-term investment, thermal overload protection is like an insurance policy.

Which Welder Brand Is the Best

You may find no-name brands hawking their ultra-cheap MIG welders and you may be tempted. If you are, you risk ending up with a welder model that breaks down far too easily.

What I would suggest is to get a welder made by a reputable company with an established welding history.

They will undoubtedly be the best welders for the money. Some better-known MIG welder brands with good reputations are Hobart, Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric, and Forney.

These companies have been around over 70 years and are known for their good welders. Understandably you do tend to pay for the good name. Newer entrants onto the market are Everlast, Lotos, Arksen and Super deal. They have a good if shorter history for reliable models.

Check that it is Easy to Use

Clear, the best welder for beginners must easy to use.

You can read customer reviews about the MIG welder. YouTube is your friend here, so also check if you can easily find YouTube videos that demonstrate how to set up and how to use the particular MIG welder you are looking at.

Does the manufacturer have a forum that you can join? A forum is a good place to get hints, tips and a place for you to ask your beginner questions and get helpful answers. If the manufacturer doesn’t have a forum you can look for a welding forum to join.

Check out the type of questions asked and how they are answered to make sure it’s a friendly place for beginners.

Best Mig welder for beginner overall

Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder

If you are looking for the best Mig welder for beginners then Hobart Handler 210 MVP here for you.

This welder can be set up in a matter of minutes, it’s so easy to use, and it gives great results. And it’s small enough to carry around with you, so you can set yourself up almost anywhere. Best suited to light projects and small workshop items, it’s perfect for continued everyday use also as the first exercises.

The Hobart Handler 210MVP MIG Wire Welder offers a maximum 210 amps in the small portable case. Its compact and portable form factor makes transporting the tool easy, while the maximum current draw delivers the power to weld 3/8″ mild steel.

The ability to switch between domestic 110 and 230 V and some other units requires major rewiring. With the MVP, it’s a simple plug change in your raring to go with whatever power is available at the work site. It offers 7 voltage selections (in 230V mode) and 4 voltage selections (in 115V mode) that offer easier fine control of the output parameters for improved arc performance. This delivers less spatter a better bead appearance and less clean up at the end of the weld.

Aluminum is no problem when you have the SpoolRunner 100 that you can buy optionally. However, you can well most other materials using the supplied H100S4-10 gun. You get inside the box that contains the MVP unit.

You can be up and welding within minutes of plugging everything in. And when you do purchase a SpoolRunner 100 will discover that there is a convenient selector switch the changes operation between MIG welding with the 4 or 8-inch spool reel contained inside the cabinet or with the spool gun that you bought separately. This means you can switch back and forth with style and panache. Don’t worry about wiring voltages or gas pressure as it is all handled automatically.

The unit is simple to operate and is perfect for the DIY, beginner, and pro that need some lightweight fabrication work done. The controls are intuitive and everything is clearly marked in the big simple to read numbers. Pop open the side cover of the unit and you will see all the information you require to get a perfect weld the first time and every time. The manual that comes with the welder is extensive and Hobart’s customer service is known throughout the industry as one of the best in the business.

Best Single Phase MIG Welder

Miller Electric 120/240 VAC

Start welding quickly and easily with the Millermatic 211 Autoset MIG welder, which is one of the best Single Phase MIG Welder on the market. It comes with a whole range of automatic features which are bound to make any welder’s life easier makes it ideal for novices who want to get the hang of the technique first and fine-tune the features later. It has the capacity to weld aluminum, steel and stainless steel at a variety of different thicknesses, so offers great versatility in terms of potential projects.

All-in-one the design very much user-friendly, the Millermatic 211 perfect for amateurs, but also good for the experienced welders. It weighs around 38 pounds, due to which it’s easily portable and good for remote welding sites. In case you need to use the welder for remote sites, this tool can be powered by generators, but the generator has to be very powerful.

One more advantage for less experienced and professional welders alike is the Smooth-Start action. This has become fairly common with the use of inverter technology. The Millermatic 211 has one of the best start-up current control mechanisms for a welder in this category. It controls the current when initiating the arc so that your weld starts easily without any splatter.

It can handle both solid and flux cored wire using an input voltage of either 110V, 115V, 120V, 220V, 230V, or 240V. The welder comes with Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP) so it adapts easily from using a standard household power outlet to a 240V outlet or you can use this machine on a commercial site. In order to switch between the two different voltage types, all you need to do is rotate the ring on the back of the plug and remove it. Then replace with the other supplied plug. When using 120V you can weld 24ga – 3/16″ steel and 18ga – 1/8″ aluminum in a single pass, with a duty cycle of 20% @ 115A. Alternatively, at 240V input power, you can weld 24ga – 3/8″ steel and 18ga – 3/8″ aluminum. The duty cycle is 40% @ 150A output.

Instead of having to manually set the voltage and feed speed, then having to test these settings on scrap material you can use the auto set feature to remove the guesswork. To use you need to select the wire diameter you plan to use (0.24″, 0.30″ and 0.35″), as well as the material thickness. You’ll see on the front of the control panel a blue auto set light will illuminate, which requires you to select the process type – Flux-cored, MIG Stainless Steel, MIG Steel C25 (25% carbon shielding gas), MIG Steel C100 (100% carbon shielding gas) or MIG Aluminum. Finally, you need to select the material thickness, and the auto set feature will set up the parameters for you perfectly.

The general specs of the Millermatic 211 are up there with the best of them and it offers all the power and functionality that you’d expect from an inverter MIG welder of this size. In conclusion, the Millermatic 211 is a great all-round MIG welder, boasting a wide range of helpful and backed by a generous 3-year warranty. The welder has many positive reviews online, and plenty of in-depth documentation should you run into issues. Miller is an established brand known for quality products, which is shown in their warranty.

Best 110v Mig Welder

2017 Everlast Mig 140 MIG Welder

Another amazing Mig welder that fit for the beginners is  Everlast Mig 140 MIG Welder.

Hailed due to its IGBT inverter and driver roller (cast alloy). The latest in Transistor technology with an IGBT inverter that gets you the power you need to weld with the best and that is Everlast Power MIG 140e Mig Welder.

It uses a spool gun and is Tweeco style gun that provided by one of the most recognized makers ready for all your welding conveniences.

Wire reels mount on the side and the gun attaches to the front. The pro and nonprofessionals alike easily understand the controls. Setup is easy and feeds in the wire for the initial start is self-explanatory with a little help from the manual.

It weighs 20 lb which makes it man-portable and travels to a work-site. From there it is versatile and can do most of what you ask of it. It has a better duty cycle over transformer powered MIG welders. With a green coat finish, its 35% duty cycle is at 40 degrees at 135 A and 21 V. Since it’s also 120 on the voltage, you can easily look for an outlet to plug it in.

The Everlast Mig 140 operate very simply, You control the arc, wire flow, and gas. Everything runs like clockwork to get your welding work done fast and without wasted effort. The connection is industry standard and you would have to worry if anything is going to fit or not. Gas hoses are included with this model.

This is also a ready to weld product because the flux core welder is already set up right out of the box. The amp breaker needed for the optimum performance is about 30 amps.

Another great thing about this welder is that it is priced reasonably; it has a smooth arc and is beginner-friendly. Adding to its energy efficient capabilities that let you do the job without having to worry about the energy and time you are possibly wasting. It does the job well and can outperform most cheaply-priced MIG welders of the same level.

The customer service and shipping are also great. Almost no buyer experience any shipping damage or bad customer service. Warranty for this product is up to 5 years with parts and labor. For the spool gun, you can purchase it separately.

If you want an affordable MIG welder that actually works better than your expectations of its pricing, then consider this one. It really is one of the best welders for beginners as well as the best 110V Mig welder which fit for you.

Best Budget MIG Welder

Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC

The Forney Easy Weld 299 is a great machine to learn MIG welding with. The word ‘easy’ is in the name, after all. It may not perform like a 220v Miller or Lincoln, but it is a great value for a beginner MIG welder for the budget.

This welder is very easy to use, even for newbies. It features a plug-and-play design, just plug it in and it’s ready for welding. There’s no hassle with shielding gas. The set up is so simple that within 5 minutes you can already be working on your first weld.

The Forney Easy Weld 299 can handle up to a quarter inch and run 10 lbs spools. Its capacity, coupled with its portability (weighing in at only 14 lbs), makes this the perfect on-the-go machine.

It can help you weld in tight spaces and work without gas for automotive repair and other “off the grid” jobs. Having this little machine handy for DIY car maintenance or home metalworking projects can offer added convenience to your hobby welding.

The “plug and play” machine is best for learning how to MIG weld, on-the-go projects, or hobbyist/DIY welding.

The welder is rated for 20% at 80 amps. So you can weld for 2 minutes and then the welder needs to rest for 8 minutes. This prevents overheating of the welder.  Two voltage settings help you switch between a setting (lower) for sheet metal and a setting (higher) for thin plate welding.

On the inside of the cabinet, you will find a quick reference chart where you can check the appropriate wire feed speed and power setting for the thickness of steel you’ll be welding.

In the end, we can say that this is the most dynamic and terrible great welder for doing small repairing welding work flux cored welding pattern are also available in this portion of the MIG welder machine. This Forney 29901 125 FC MIG Welder Start-Up Kit is the best choice of welder for working on farms project, small garage repairing work and so on. This is also a great performing welding machine with the household gardening project.

When you compare the pricing strategy with other similar pricing tagged welder, you will surely found that this is the best welder to get better final welding output. The Forney welder 29901 125 FC MIG deserves to be on our list of the best Mig welders for beginners.

Best 220v MIG Welder

Lincoln Electric Powermig 210 Mp

if you are the beginner and want to increase skill, start from MIG welding. You must choose the welder that is the ability to tackle several different types of welding tasks with different strategies. And PowerMIG 210 MP is that welder, this makes it suitable for everyone.

This welder comes with intuitive digital controls and a large color display that makes it easy to set up and operate. What this all means is that the PowerMIG 210 MP does not require advanced skills to operate. This makes it suitable for a beginner to use quickly and efficiently.

This welder is incredibly portable given its compact size and weight. Lincoln PowerMIG 210Mp weighs only around 40 pounds, so it’s very light and more portable in comparison to other welders in its class. It is, therefore, easy to carry around from job to job. If you often need to transport the tool around, this welder is really good for your need. It might be a little disappointing for some buyers because this tool doesn’t have inverter technology, so it can’t be powered by generators.

Lincoln PowerMIG 210Mp has a dual-voltage input feature and can be operated on either power supply of 120V or 230V. The adjustable power input makes it possible to use at any common plug at home or a heavier duty plug on an industrial site.

The power output ranges from 20-140A (120V) and 20-220A (230V). You also get a good duty cycle with the Lincoln 210, with 40% at 100A and 25% at 200A, which is a fair bit better than a lot of the other 115V input welders. One bonus is that there are 2 fans in the back of the welder help it to keep cool. This welder has a fair bit of power and when MIG welding you tackle up to 5/16″ stainless steel, and aluminum up to 3/16 ” (spool gun needed for aluminum). The flux-cored feature is better for the thickest metals and the DC Stick settings will take up to 5/32 ” electrodes.

The Lincoln 210 is a solid long term choice that’s suited really well for beginners who want the option to grow their range of welding processes without having to invest in a new machine down the line. It’s not the best-suited machine for TIG, but it’s great that it has that feature and it’s a good way to get started in TIG. Overall it’s a powerful machine that’s versatile, easy to use, and you’re sure to enjoy it!

How Does MIG Welding Work?

The Welding Circuit

All welding processes work on the principle of a series circuit known as the secondary or welding circuit.The circuit consists of a power source, referred to generally as the welding plant, the workpiece or workbench, a welding return lead, and clamps referred to as the earth. In addition to is a spool of wire and a supply of shielding gas.

mig welding setup
A typical layout of the welding circuit

The Welding Lead (MIG torch assembly)

The function of the welding lead is to bring the power (voltage) available from the machine to create the welding arc. The arc is struck when the continuously fed welding wire electrode comes into contact with the workpiece or joint faces. A typical swan neck torch is shown below.  You will see that an integral part of the torch structure is the gas supply tube.  The gas supply continues whilst welding is in operation and stops when welding stops.

The armored cabling provides protection to the electricity supply and the vehicle for providing the electric supply to the head of the torch. It also allows the gas supply and welding wire to get to their destination which is through and around the contact tip, out of the nozzle and into the weld pool.

The torch liner protects the welding wire during welding and prevents the wire from kinking and misfeeding into the weld pool.  Welding wire is ductile and can easily be misshaped by having the welding lead curled up or twisted.

The trigger once pressed and held switches everything on, everything being electricity, gas and wire feed. To start the welding press and hold the trigger and to stop welding let go of the trigger. Letting go stops everything instantaneously.

The contact tip charges the wire as the wire passes through the hole at the end of the tip.  The contact tip is made from copper because copper is a known good conductor of electricity.  The contact tip, or more importantly the hole, in the end, needs to be the same size as the diameter of the welding wire.  These come in sizes of diameter 0.6mm, 0.8mm, 1.0mm, 1.2mm, 1.6mm and 2.4mm.

As welding starts the externally supplied gaseous shield starts also.  The gas shielding has to be directed locally at the welded joint faces in order to provide a pocket of gas that dispels atmosphere from the joint.  Our atmosphere is harmful to the welded joint.

The welding wire has two functions; it is the heat source and provides the consumable filler material required to reinforce the welded joint.  It comes in the same sizes as the contact tip and must be compatible with the material type (parent metal) being welded i.e. for welding stainless steel a stainless steel wire must be used, for welding aluminum and aluminum wire must be used and for welding carbon steels a carbon steel wire must be used.

The Best Mig welder for beginners must offer the best comfort and operates at the coolest temperature allowed by the application can help productivity.

Grooved roller


Something else happens as the trigger is pressed. The rollers within the power source are activated and pull the wire from its reel. They consist of a smooth top roller and a grooved bottom roller plus a mechanism for tensioning the wire. Note that the grooved roller will have two grooves. The groove needs to be the same size as the wire diameter. It is essential for the correct feed of the wire electrode.

The welding return lead

The welding return lead returns the electric supply to the power source and goes to approved electrical earth through the machine and its isolation switch.

How Does MIG Welding Work

The welding arc between a small diameter wire electrode and the metal being welded creates the weld pool.

It is an electric fusion welding process where the mains AC voltage is stepped down and changed to DC.  Electricity charges a selected filler material and passes through it.  As the wire electrode touches the surface of the welded joint resistance heating and short-circuiting takes place up to 200 times per second, generates a local temperature of 6500˚C, local current values and raises the temperature of the materials locally

The wire is fed at great speed to produce weld beads at a very fast rate. The gas shield protects the weld from the surrounding air. The process requires less skill than other methods which fir for beginners and is easily mechanized. Setting up the welding return clamp is attached to the workpiece to complete a circuit.

The shielding gas is set to a welding pressure of between 15-20 liters/min. It is important that the contact tip is selected to suit the wire diameter. The wire diameter increases when welding thicker materials The wire feed speed controls both the rate at which the wire is fed and varies the current user.

For a right-handed person, the welding torch is pointed forwards at an angle of 70º-80º in the direction you want to weld. The arc length should be kept at approximately 5mm from the weld pool. The speed of travel must be constant to attain a satisfactory weld size.

MIG Welding Settings For Beginners

You are owning one of the best mig welders for beginners then starts welding right now:

First Steps…

Select your filler material/welding wire,

Select your shielding gas

Switch everything on & start welding.

Not quite!

It a lot of understanding and takes practice.  There are some fundamentals that we need to understand welding and your MIG welding machine.

As metal gets thicker more heat input needs to be created through the wire. Heat input is measured as the welding current (amperes).  Welding current is a result of correctly setting the voltage locally via the machine and the wire feed speed. Set these correctly so that the burn off rate sounds like ‘bacon frying’ and you have the resulting welding current. This sound is synonymous with the dip transfer mode of metal transfer.

Volts and wire feed speed are affected by the type of filler material (wire) selected, the size (diameter) of the selected wire, the shielding gas, and the welding position.

Wire Selection

As for wire diameter, .030-inch diameter makes a good all-around choice for welding a wide range of metal thicknesses in home and motorsports applications. For welding thinner material, use a .023-inch wire to reduce heat input. For welding thicker material at higher total heat levels, use .035 inch (or .045-inch wire if it is within your welder’s output range).

Shielding Gas Selection

The gas(es) used in MIG welding shield the weld from the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air. Oxygen and carbon dioxide aren’t inert gases, and removing them from the welding process makes MIG welding what it is – Metal Inert Gas welding.  The types of shielding gases used to impact the weld – how deep the penetration of the weld, what characteristics the welding arc has, even the mechanical properties of the joint.

To get started, set the gas between 25 and 30 CFH. Outdoor welding where windy conditions are likely will require higher output. Adjust it as necessary, keeping an eye on the weld. Too much gas pressure will cause problems around the weld, including discoloration and porosity.

A 75 percent argon/25 percent carbon dioxide blend (also called 75/25 or C25) works as the best all-purpose shielding gas for carbon steel. It produces the least amount of spatter, best bead appearance and won’t promote burn-through on thinner metals.

100 percent CO2 provides deeper penetration but also increases spatter and the bead will be rougher than with 75/25.

Voltage and amperage

MIG welders use voltage to produce heat for the weld; other types of welders use amperage. Proper voltage is crucial for your welding project to succeed. MIG welding has one standard voltage and polarity type, unlike another welding.

How much voltage and amperage a weld requires depends on numerous variables, including metal thicknesses, type of metal, joint configuration, welding position, shielding gas and wire diameter speed (among others).

Some Mig welder provides  tools to simplify setting proper voltage and amperage:

A convenient reference chart, located on the inside of the door housing the wire feed system

Auto-Set technology for simply select the wire diameter you’re using and dial in the thickness of metal on which you plan to weld. Auto-Set then selects the proper voltage, amperage and wire feed speed for you.

In general, thicker metals will require higher voltage, while thinner metals will require a low voltage.

Wire Speed

The wire used in MIG welding can also be called the electrode. The type(s) of metal or metal alloys you are welding will determine the content and diameter of the wire to use.

So, how do you know if you have the proper wire setting? To get started, judge the weld you make (or have problems making).

If the speed is too high for your voltage setting, the wire won’t melt, bonding won’t happen, and the wire will spool out of the gun – all clear indicators of this problem.

If the wire speed is too low for the voltage, the wire will burn up before it contacts the metal, also making a weld unlikely and nearly sure to create a mess in the tip of your welding gun which is an extremely common error.

Resetting wire speeds and continue striking an arc.

Shielding Gas for Mig Welding

Shielding gases for semi-automatic GMAW flow from the welding gun nozzle. They protect the melting electrode and weld zone from the surrounding atmosphere, which would contaminate the weld.

For beginners, having knowledge of gases for MIG welding machines is essential. This is one of the basic elements that you had to consider before starting welding.

Selecting the proper shielding gas can depend upon the metal being welded, the weld quality or metal properties desired, process performance and cost of the gas.


Argon is an inert gas (MIG−welding) which is used both singularly and in combination with other gases to achieve desired arc characteristics for the welding of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Almost all welding processes can use argon or mixtures of argon to achieve good weldability, mechanical properties, arc characteristics, and productivity. Argon is used singularly on non−ferrous materials such as aluminum, nickel-based alloys, copper alloys, and reactive metals which include zirconium, titanium, and tantalum.

Argon provides excellent spray arc welding stability, penetration and bead shape on these materials. Some short circuiting arc welding of thin materials is also practiced. When using ferrous materials, argon is usually mixed with other gases such as oxygen, helium, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and/or nitrogen. The low ionization potential of argon creates an excellent current path and superior arc stability.

Argon produces a constricted arc column at a high current density that causes the arc energy to be concentrated in a small area. The result is a deep penetration profile.


Helium is an inert gas (MIG−welding) which is used on weld applications requiring higher heat input for, deeper penetration and higher travel speed. In GMAW it does not produce as stable an arc as argon.

Compared to argon, helium has a higher thermal conductivity and voltage gradient and yields a broader and more shallow penetration pattern. Aluminum welding with pure helium does not give the cleaning action that pure argon experiences but is beneficial and sometimes recommended for welding thick aluminum.

The helium arc column is wider than argon which reduces current density. The higher voltage gradient causes increased heat inputs over argon thus promoting higher puddle fluidity and subsequent bead wetting. This is an advantage when welding aluminum, magnesium and copper alloys.

Helium is often mixed with various percentages of argon to take advantage of the good characteristics of both gases. The argon improves arc stability and cleaning action, in the case of aluminum and magnesium, while the helium improves wetting and weld metal coalescence.

Carbon Dioxide

Pure carbon dioxide is not an inert gas (MAG −welding), because the heat of the arc breaks down the CO, into carbon monoxide and free oxygen. This oxygen will combine with elements transferring across the arc to form oxides which are released from the weld puddle in the form of slag and scale.

Carbon dioxide is widely used for the welding of steel. Its popularity is due to the common availability and quality weld performance as well as its low cost and simple installation. It should be mentioned that low cost per unit of gas does not automatically translate to lower cost per foot of weld and is greatly dependent on the welding application. Factors such as lower deposition efficiency for CO2, caused by spatter loss, influence the final weld cost.

The advantage of CO2 is fast welding speeds and deep penetration.

The major drawbacks of CO2, are a harsh globular transfer and high weld spatter levels. The weld surface resulting from pure CO2, shielding is usually heavily oxidized. A welding wire having higher amounts of deoxidizing elements is sometimes needed to compensate for the reactive nature of the gas. Overall, good mechanical properties can be achieved with CO2,.

Argon is often mixed with CO2, to off−set pure CO2, performance characteristics. If impact properties have to be maximized, a CO2, + argon mixture is recommended.

Common Mixtures

Argon−CO2 − in different mixtures from 3 % CO2 up to 75 % CO2

Argon-Oxygen − in different mixtures from 1 % O2 up to 25 % O2

Argon−Helium − in different mixtures from 10 % He up to 90 % He

There are also mixtures with 3 or 4 different gases for special operations available.

For more details, we have a few suggestions for you:

The first you need to know GMAW Mode of Metal Transfer Selector:


Table Shielding Gas


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