If you are in the market for the best MIG welder under $500, you’re reading the right page. Perhaps you are new to welding or have limited experience. Well, a MIG welder that is easy to use and fits your budget is a great beginning.

Don’t waste your valuable time attempting to navigate through tons of various products because I’ve researched them for you and would like to share with you the details of my testing to assist you in making your choice.

Our top pick
Eastwood Dual Voltage MIG 180A Welder
  • Operates on either 120V or 240V
  • Welds mild and stainless steel, 24 gauge to 5/16″ (3/16″ on 120V)
  • Welds aluminum, 14 gauge to 1/4″ with a Spool Gun (available separately or with the MIG 180)

Best Overall MIG Welder under $500Eastwood Dual Voltage MIG 180A Welder

This dual voltage MIG welder by Eastwood operates on either 120 volts or 240 volts and can produce 120A for welding ¼-inch plates or 180A for 5/16-inch steel pieces.

Best Entry Level MIG Welder under $500: Hobart Handler 100 MIG Welder 500572

Not designed for heavy-duty welding with a thickness of up to 3/16-inch pieces, it can perform a 60% duty cycle.

Best Value MIG Welder under $500: Sungoldpower MIG/Multi-Process Welder

The Sungoldpower MIG welder is not only MIG but can weld just about any material with an impressive 200 Amps power output, even aluminum. A multi-process welder does MAG, ARC MMA, and Stick.

Best Compact Portable MIG Welder under$500: Forney Easy Weld 261 Welder

At 120V, 140A power lets you weld mild steel up to ¼ inch thick without a problem. The welder’s duty cycle is 30%@90A and it weighs only 19 lbs.

Best Budget MIG Welder under $500:  YesWelder MIG Pro 135A Gasless Welder

This MIG Pro offers an impressive duty cycle of 60%@135A using 110V voltage and can weld plate thicknesses up to 5/32-inch for mild steel.

Is A MIG Welder Under $500 Worth the Money?

welding a iron

It may seem that a welder for under $500 is pretty cheap, so this may lead you to wonder if MIG welders under $500 are worth the money. Much will depend on what kind of welder you are looking for.

If you are considering 240 volt MIG welders, you won’t necessarily get top quality for that price, so while the welder may perform well initially, it probably won’t last.

On the other hand, welders that run on 120 volts, especially if a recognized brand name like Century, Forney, Lincoln or Miller, you might be better off saving a bit more money before investing.

Should you decide that a 120V welder is fine for your needs, remember that the output on this type of welder will run to about 140 amps. If that is sufficient for your welding needs, go for it.

Another aspect to factor in is the Duty Cycle. This will express how long your welder can run within a time frame of ten minutes before it needs to stop and cool down. If the welder you are considering buying stipulates a 20% duty cycle, your machine will only be able to run for 2 minutes continuously. Then it will overheat. Factor your welding time needs into what a MIG welder under $500 can offer. And don’t forget to add into the equation the amperage: The higher the amperage, the shorter the duty cycle. Here’s it’s important to see what the manufacturer is promising.

the best welding equipment

Will You Need Gas?

When considering a machine priced under $500, think about whether of not you need gas to weld. If you plan on welding aluminum or stainless steel, the answer is yes. However, if your welding needs are met with a flux-core-only welder, you probably can find more features, more warranty, and a bigger brand name for the $500 you plan on spending.

One reason for choosing a MIG welder is that stick welding or flux core welding can quickly burn through thinner metals. It’s a great tool for welding metals including magnesium, aluminum, copper, carbon steel, silicon bronze, nickel, and stainless steel along with other alloys.

The decision to buy an MIG Welder under $500 is ultimately your, and yours alone. We’ve prepared some options that we think are solid choices in this price range , however, the final choice will depend on what your specific welding needs are.

We suggest always purchasing the best quality tool with capabilities and features geared to your welding necessities at a price that you can afford or have budgeted for.

welding machine in this picture

Types of MIG Welders

MIG welders are wire feed welders that are extremely efficient for general welding applications. They will often be identified with various names including:

  • Gasless MIG welder
  • Mass Metal Arc welder
  • Metal in Gas
  • Metal Inert Gas
  • Wire Feed welder

But despite these different names, they are MIG welders.

Benefits of Using a MIG Welder

MIG welders are very popular for a number of reasons. Consider:

  • Clean and efficient – Since the arc is protected by shielding gas, there is no slag that necessitates removal and very minimal splatter.
  • Easy to learn – because MIG welding is a simple application, it can be learned quickly and requires more time to clean the weld than to actually make it.
  • Faster – Thanks to continuously fed electrode wire, your hands are free to weld. This increases weld speed, efficacy, and quality.
  • High productivity
  • Simple welds – thanks to better visibility of the weld and wire that is auto-feed, producing a weld is much simpler.
  • Versatility – MIG welding can weld many different metals and alloys and it can be performed as semi-automatic or fully automatic.

My Top 5 MIG Welders Under $500

Best Overall MIG Welder under $500: Eastwood Dual Voltage MIG 180A Welder

Voltage Dual 120V and 240V ç Amperage 120 at 120V and 180 at 240V çDuty Cycle 30%@180A, 60%@130A  çPlate Thickness Maximum 5/16-inch steel at 180A 

What We Liked
  • Drive motor has been upgraded
  • IGBT inverter technology
  • Has its own regulator
  • MIG gun is Tweco-style
  • Optional aluminium spool gum is available
  • Dual input voltage
What We Didn’t Like
  • Only achieves 120 A at 120V
  • Leads measure only 10 feet in length

This dual voltage MIG welder by Eastwood offers you the option of operating on either 120 volts or 240 volts. When running on 120 V, you can produce 120Afor welding ¼-inch plates. The 240V option will get you a power output of 180A allowing you to weld up to 5/16-inch steel pieces. The minimum amperage is 30 for either voltage. This will allow you to weld fine 24-gauge sheet metal. The wire drive is completed manufactured in metal and can mount both 2-pound and 10-pound wire spools.

This welder operates with a MIG gun that is Tweco-compatible so consumables can be easily acquired. It is equipped with a 2T/4T lock for the trigger and a regulator. If you wish to weld aluminum, this machine can do it if you purchase separately the aluminum spool gun. Leads, as always in this price range of welders, could be longer, but all things considered, this is a quality welder that has input that is dual voltage and yet costs under $500.

Best Entry Level MIG Welder under $500: Hobart Handler 100 MIG Welder 500572

Voltage 120V ç Amperage 30A to 100A çDuty Cycle 60%@45Amps çPlate Thickness Maximum 3/16-inch

What We Liked
  • Easy wire threading access
  • Convenient 120V power input
  • Hobart or Miller consumables are used
  • Duty cycle of 60%@45Amps
  • Light for temperature indication
What We Didn’t Like
  • Without MIG shielding gas capability

This is a nice little affordable entry-level MIG welder for a home workshop. It boasts some impressive features and still is a budget-friendly choice. Noteworthy is the 5-year warranty from Hobart for the transformer. This little welder is not designed to perform heavy-duty welding with the maximum welding thickness limited to 3/16-inch pieces.

The wire feed can mount either 4-inch or 8-inch spools and has an amperage range of 30 to 100. This makes this machine ideal for small home repairs such as wheelbarrows, automotive repairs of gates. It can perform with a 60% duty cycle, so you’ll manage 6 full minutes of welding time before needing to rest, so you can accomplish quite a bit.

It does not offer gas MIG capability and can only be used with flux core wire. Consumables are Hobart or Miller, so client support and service are simple to obtain.

Best Value MIG Welder under $500: Sungoldpower MIG/Multi-Process Welder

Voltage Dual 110V/220V ç Amperage 50-200A çDuty Cycle 60% çPlate Thickness Maximum 1/4-inch

What We Liked
  • High amperage
  • Good quality
  • Lots of settings
  • Dual voltage DC IGBT inverter
  • Aluminum welding capability
  • MIG gun switch for switching welding guns
What We Didn’t Like
  • Leads are short
  • Instruction manual needs improvement

The Sungoldpower MIG welder is not only MIG but can weld just about any material with an impressive 200 Amps power output, even aluminum although the aluminum spool gun is not sold with the welder. One can be mounted. We had to include this welder because of the high amperage it boasts, yet still costs under $500.  Made with quality components, it can weld 1/4-inch-thick metal.

Sungoldpower also features the possibility to make adjustments with the amperage dial as well as the wire feed controls to help you control the spatter. Leads are short on most machines priced under $500, and this one is no different, but the quality is good. The winning features remain the high amperage and the fact that it is a multi-process welder including MAG, ARC MMA, and Stick.

Best Compact Portable MIG Welder under$500: Forney Easy Weld 261 Welder

Voltage 120V ç Amperage 140A çDuty Cycle 30%@90Amps çPlate Thickness Maximum 1/4-inch

What We Liked
  • Affordable
  • Very easy setup 
  • Easy to operate
  • Rotary knob controls wire-speed 
  • Lightweight at 19lbs.
  • DC current power output
  • Ergonomically designed handle
  • Functions fine with a generator if no power outlet is available
What We Didn’t Like
  • Wire feeder is made in plastic
  • The round clamp is a bit weak
  • Not to be used with shielding gas
  • Lead limited to 8-feet

This is a great-performing welder for basic repair or maintenance and DIY repairs. It features low amperage at a price that is affordable. Forney also provides you with a 12-month warranty. The Forney East Weld 261 welder works with DC power output and can handle 10 lb. reels of electrode wire. A 10 lb.-sized reel means that you will be changing wire spools much less often than if they were smaller. Thanks to the fact that it can function with a generator, its portability rating increases.

The set-up for this welding machine is quick and easy and clean-up afterwards is equally easy and rapid, as is storage. If you need to weld thicker metal you will probably need to do several passes to produce a clean quality weld, however, when considering everything, this little welder offers great value for the money you spend. The MIG welding gun is highly functional, but the ground clamp provided could be a bit more heavy-duty.

For your wire feed speed, this Forney welder implements a handy dial control. The entire machine is encased in a sturdy metal housing. Nonetheless, it is lightweight at only 19lbs. This means it offers terrific portability. 140A power lets you weld mild steel up to ¼ inch thick without a problem. The welder’s duty cycle is 30%@90A. 

Best Budget MIG Welder under $500:  YesWelder MIG Pro 135A Gasless Welder

Voltage 110V ç Amperage up to 135A çDuty Cycle 60%@135Amps çPlate Thickness Maximum 5/32-inch

What We Liked
  • 135A power output 
  • Easy operation
  • Exceptional portability
  • Automatic settings assist beginner welders
  • Clear operating manual included
  • Very Affordable
What We Didn’t Like
  • Built-in MIG gun does not allow for easy substitution and requires disassembly 

Yes Welder MIG Pro offers an impressive duty cycle of 60%@135A using 110V voltage. That’s quite a bit for a small home welder.  Automatic speed settings enable wire feed and voltage settings that will adjust in accordance with the amount of amperage in use. This automatic setting feature is helpful to beginner welders. The YesWelder MIG Pro can weld plate thicknesses up to 5/32-inch for mild steel.

The only apparent disadvantage to selecting this welder is that it has a built-in MIG gun. Unfortunately, if you want to attach a different gun you will need to the welding machine and disassemble it to make any type of substitution. YesWelder MIG Pro operates with 0.030-inch and 0.035-inch diameter flux core wire on four-inch spools. A clear and well-written operator’s manual in English comes with the machine. At fifteen pounds, it’s lightweight and portable.

The Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for When Selecting Your MIG Welder

If you are new to welding, choosing a MIG welder can be a little confusing. Here are some basic factors to consider when beginning your search. Here’s what I looked for when I chose these MIG welders under $500 for you.

Design

Is the MIG welder portable and space-friendly? If equipment is too large, you may not have sufficient workshop space for it, and it may be cumbersome to transport. Larger machines tend to weigh more. Consider where you plan on placing your welder and what kind of portability you may need for your planned projects.

Durability

While there are lots of MIG welders that cost more than $500, this price range is nonetheless a substantial investment. So, the MIG welder you choose should warrant the money you are investing. A solid, sturdy MIG welder needs to have a considerable lifespan. Quality materials, design, good construction are characteristics to look for. Also, read customer feedback about the MIG welder you might like to purchase.

Duty Cycle 

The Duty-cycle will tell you how long you can operate your welder for ten minutes without the machine overheating. This is indicated in percentages. An example is, “40% at 90a”. This signifies that the machine can perform non-stop for a total of 4 minutes, then rest for six minutes. A power output that is lower lets welders work for a longer period of time before the mandatory rest period.

Performance. 

Look at performance stats when searching for your MIG welder. What is the set-up time? Which welding processes can it perform? What are the MIG welder’s limits? 

Power 

Power capability may differ from one manufacturer to another, and it is an important factor when selecting your welder. When referring to power I’m talking about the voltage necessary for the welder to function well. You’ll need to ascertain if your workshop has the correct voltage for the welder you want to acquire. Some may use a voltage from 110 to 140 volts while others may need 220 volts of energy input. So, check your workshop’s power source before purchasing.

Protection from Thermal Overload

When considering safety, there can never be enough. This is a great feature when using electrically powered equipment. This particular feature will allow you to work without fear of overheating and of the machine shutting down in the middle of an application. If your welder overheats and shuts off, you lose time, and it takes longer for you to complete your work. 

User-friendly 

Is the MIG welder user-friendly? This should not be underestimated. Logically, you will have to invest a little time to understand the machine functions and to practice using them. As a beginner welder, MIG machines with user-friendly functions that help you determine the correct settings for welding applications will help you complete better quality welds.

Versatility

Consider welder features. More options translate into how much you will be able to do with your welder. If you hope to weld several alloys, make sure your MIG welder can fuse differing metals such as iron, steel, stainless steel, and maybe aluminum.

Warranty

Does the manufacturer offer a warranty and for how long? This is the best indication if the manufacturer stands behind its product.

Weight 

Weight affects the portability of a welding machine. The easier it is to move around, the easier it will be to position correctly for various jobs.  If a MIG welder is heavy, you might be confined to using it mostly in your workshop. Heavy weight may prevent you from doing outdoor repairs. Many newer model welding machines weigh less just for this reason. 

Welding Capability

If a welder allows you to weld various types of metal, this will give you an advantage. The majority of MIG welders do welds for aluminum, mild steel, and stainless steel, however, some may also fuse alloys, iron, and cast iron. The more versatility the welder offers, the better for varying applications. Also, consider the metal thickness as welders will have varying capacities for welding differing thicknesses.

Wire Feed

Some welders feature an automatic feed setting. If wire feed velocity is too slow, the wire will dissolve as it touches the metal resulting in a messy weld. An exaggeratedly rapid speed will feed too much wire and result in spatter. Automatic settings can adapt to the power output.

Tip:  Last but not least, take time to read customer reviews and feedback with regards to the machine you think you might want to buy. This can save you energy, time, money, and a load of problems.

Top Brands

The marketplace offers lots of choices and almost as many brands, but a reputable brand name is a guarantee when purchasing. Most major manufacturers have earned their reputations for quality products that they stand behind with great customer service and warranties.

Some of the top brands of MIG welders include:

  • Everlast
  • Forney
  • Hobart
  • Lincoln Electric
  • Lotos
  • Miller
  • Weldpro

FAQ

Do MIG welders do all types of welding applications?

No, they do MIG applications only. 

Is welding stronger than bolting metal pieces together?

Yes. Welding equally distributes pressure over a surface. Bolting will concentrate pressure only immediately near the bolt.

Is there a metal that is more difficult to weld?

Aluminum. Professional welders regard welding aluminum as a challenge.  It contains specific chemical and physical properties. Normally a good spool gun is preferred for welding aluminum.

The Bottom Line: The Best MIG Welders Under $500

If you know what you need in a MIG welder, it will be easier for you to get the most for your investment. Your ideal MIG welder will be able to do simple, clean welds and will allow you to perform these welds on various metals with varying thicknesses.

You also need it to operate cost-effectively. Thus, even if your budget maxes out at $500, quite a few of these welders will offer exceptional performance. If you are a beginner welder or hobbyist, you’ll be able to acquire a lot of experience within a specific budget. 

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