So you have decided to try your hand at welding. As a beginner, you will most likely be welding thin sheets of steel and other types of metals. As such, a powerful 220v welder will be overkill. I mean where will you even get a 220v power plug in your home garage or farm.
The best option for a beginner like yourself is a simple 120v welder. In particular the best 120v MIG welder. But which is the best 120v welder for MIG sheet metal welding? There are thousands of welding models out there that are marketed as the best.
However, just because it is advertised as the best does not mean it’s the best for you. To help make things easier we have compiled a list of the best 120v MIG welder for the money. This list is based on extensive research on the subject.
That being said here are our top five picks.
The best 120v MIG welder reviews
Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder
Ready to use out of the box, this Hobart welding machine can weld 24 gauge up to 3/8 inch of mild steel. This means it is ideal for all kinds of welding tasks. From auto body repair works, construction and household jobs.
Versatile and powerful
There is no need to buy a new machine when you transition from beginner to pro. This machine can run off a regular 115v wall voltage as well as a more industrial 230v voltage. At 230v you get 7 different voltage settings and 4 at the lower 120v.
When it comes to power output you get a range of 25amps to 210 amps when using a 230 power plug. For the 115 v power plug, you get 25 amps to 140 amps.
Welds non-ferrous metals
With this welding machine, you can easily weld non-ferrous metals such as aluminum. There is the option of buying a spool gun separately.
- 40 to 680 wire feed speed range
- 25 amps to 210 output amperage on the 230 plug
- 25 amps to 140 amps output amperage on the 115 plug
- 7 voltage settings with the 230 plug
- 4 voltage settings with the 115 plug
- 20% at 90 amps duty cycle with the 115 plug
- 30% at 150 amps duty cycle with the 230 plug
It is not the cheapest model and neither is it the most lightweight. But what it lacks in portability it more than makes up for in power and versatility. Capable of both MIG and flux-cored welding, this is a machine that appeals to beginners and pros alike.
Forney Easy Weld 180 ST 120V/230 V Welder
Speaking of dual voltage, this welder works with the 120v power plug as well as the 230 v power plug. As expected its power output is a bit lower than that of the previously reviewed Hobart. However, it is still sufficient for most domestic welding tasks.
Impressive power output
With its dual voltage feature, you get to choose which power plug to use. When you opt for the 120v plug you get a power output of between 10 amps and 90 amps. On the other hand, if you choose the 230v plug you get between 10 amps and 180 amps.
This power output is sufficient to weld up to ½ inch mild steel. Also, this welder is capable of TIG welding as well as DC stick welding.
Compact and portable
Unlike its competitor that weighs upwards of 70 pounds, this weighs 14 pounds. This is a significant difference. As such, you can easily transport this welding machine to different locations.
- Does not come with welding clamps
- Easy start technology
- 14 pounds weight
- 8-inch electrode holder
- 8-inch ground clamp
- 30% at 80 amps duty cycle with the 120v plug
- 25% at 180 amps duty cycle with the 230v
This welder is more suited to MIG welding. However, when you think of the best 120v tig welder, it would be on the list. It has a lift start capability for tig welding hence no need for a foot peddle. Given it is a lightweight and compact welder it is an ideal option for beginners.
Forney 324 MIG/Stick/TIG 3-in-one 190-Amp Welder
While it is the best 120v MIG welder for the money, it is capable of other welding processes. In particular, you can stick, and TIG weld. This makes it a useful welding machine to have. And can weld steel of up to 3/8 inch in thickness.
Inverter welding machine
One of the best things about this welder is that it is an inverter welder. This means it comes with all the perks of inverter welding machines. This includes portability and compact design. Also, it is easy to use and you can adjust the power to suit your welding.
This is a feature you do not get in other welders. The digital readout feature displays the voltage readings of your welding arc. This way you are able to manage your functions and data.
- All metal construction
- Stick and MIG weld set-ups included
- 50 pounds weight
- 0.35-inch maximum wire diameter
- 15-inch input power cable
While it is capable of TIG and stick welder it is ideally an MIG welder. The upgrades you need to effectively carry out the other two welding processes cost money. Thus, while it may not be the best 120v tig welder it is the best 120v inverter welder.
Miller Electric 120/240VAC, 1 Phase
One of the things that makes this an ideal option for beginners is the auto set feature. With this, all you need to do is put in the wire diameter measurement and welding material thickness. The machine will then automatically set in the right settings. This feature makes work easy especially to someone who is new to welding.
As with some of the other models on our list, this one supports dual voltage capabilities. With it, you can opt to use the 120v power plug or the more powerful 240v. Meaning it can be used in a home setting as well as in an industrial setting.
Portable and compact
Weighing about 38 pounds it is lightweight enough for use in remote welding projects. You can easily transport it from one location to another. Also, thanks to its versatility it is ideal for beginners and pros alike.
- M-10 MIG gun
- 10 ft work cable with clamp
- Dual gauge regulator
- Thermal overload protection
- 40% at 150 amps duty cycle
- 38 pounds weight
This may prove not to be for everyone. However, it does offer welding simplicity and versatility. Granted you will have to purchase a spool gun to weld aluminum, but for welding mild steel it is great. No additional accessories are required for welding mild steel.
Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 Mp
If money is not a problem for you, then you can go for the Lincoln Electric Powermig 210 Mp. Costing upwards of $1000 it is the priciest model on our list. So is its price tag justified? Let us find out.
For $1000 and over you should expect lots of welding power. And this is what you get, with this Lincoln Model. With it, you can weld steel of up to 3/8 inch in thickness. For aluminum, it can handle aluminum sheets of up to 3/16 inches thick.
Easy to use
You get a large color digital display that helps in setting up the machine. You also get push and turn digital controls for amperage and voltage. These controls make using it easy and intuitive. There are other advanced features to use.
This is an inverter-based model and thus is built with portability in mind. Weighing 40 pounds it is not the heaviest option out there. It is possible to transport it from one welding task to another with relative ease.
- Dual 120v and 230v power plugs
- 40% at 100 amps duty cycle
- 24 gauge to 3/8 inch weld thickness
- 50 t0 500 ipm wire feed speed range
- 20 to 220 amps amperage output with the 230 power plug
- 20 to 140 amps amperage output with the 120 v power plug
While it is one of the priciest models on the market, it is well worth it. It comes with advanced features you do not get with other models. However, for some people, it may be a bit of an overkill. Thus, it will depend on you.
Why Choose a 120V MIG Welder
There are several reasons why you should opt for a 120v MIG welder over another type of welder. The first being ease of use. Compared to other welding machines 120v MIG welders are easy to learn.
Also due to the use of a shielding gas, there is no slag that you need to remove after welding. This is unlike other welding machines that require removal of slag after welding. There is also minimal cleaning required after welding.
FAQs about 120v MIG Welder
Which metals can be welded with 120v MIG welders?
A 120v MIG welder is capable of welding a wide variety of alloy metals including nickel, steel, stainless steel and even aluminum. However, MIG welding is not recommended for welding rusted or dirty metals.
How easy is it to learn MIG welding?
MIG welding is one of the easiest welding processes to learn. And with a 120V MIG welder you can learn at home by plugging it into one of your house power outlets.
What are the limitations of MIG welding?
While MIG welding has alot of benefits it has limitations as well. For starters, MIG welding cannot be accomplished outside. Since it relies on a shielding gas, welding has to be done inside. Doing it outside presents the risk of the shielding gas being blown away from the weld.
Can a 120v MIG welder weld thick metals?
120v MIG welders will not have a problem welding thin sheets of metal. But will struggle when it comes to thicker sheets of steel. You may not get the right penetration with this tool for welding thicker sheets of steel.
There are numerous 120v MIG welding machines out there. The best 120v MIG welder is, of course, the one that can offer you real value for money. This means a welder that will meet all your welding needs. Some welders while good maybe a bit too much, especially if you are starting out.