Top Five Things to Consider When You’re Picking Out a Portable Welder or MIG Machine

September 15, 2017 1:43 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Buying your first welder can open up a whole world of projects that you can tackle. Anytime you’re buying a new tool for your workshop, you need to balance several variables to make sure you’re getting the right tool for you.

By simply asking yourself the following questions, you should have a better idea of what welder is best for you.

Where are you going to work?

Are you going to work in a workshop? Your garage? Outside? This is the first question to ask yourself, because this is essentially a health and safety issue. MIG welders use an inert gas to create a sort of gaseous shield around the weld to keep it from gathering impurities. Additionally, the welding process will create some smoke. Ventilation is important if you plan to MIG weld indoors.

What kind of metal are you going to weld?

MIG welders are great for steel and stainless steel and copper. If you’re doing aluminum, you might need a higher quality gun, as sometimes the wire-feeding mechanism in cheaper guns has trouble with jamming up when you’re welding aluminum. Also, how thick is the metal you plan to weld? The average portable MIG welder isn’t going to be able to handle steel much thicker than half an inch thick.

What kind of projects are you going to do?

For larger welds, a MIG welder is definitely superior to a TIG. It goes on faster and thicker. You can weld one-handed, rather than feeding the wire with one hand and aiming the welder with the other. If you’re planning to do something that requires a finer touch, like making jewelry for example, a TIG welder is the way to go, as their welds are smoother and don’t need to be touched up.

What kind of voltage is your workspace wired for?

Unless you have a 220V outlet in your garage or workshop, you’re going to need to get a 110V MIG welder. These have less power and are thus less versatile than a 220V MIG welder, but if you get a high quality 110V welder, you won’t notice that loss of power in the vast majority of cases. A 220V welder often has a longer duty cycle than a 110V, meaning it can work longer without needing to cool down. The difference is less noticeable in higher-quality 110V welders, which you can find at a welding supply store in Phoenix, AZ.

What kind of ease of use are you looking for?

Are you one of those handy types who can pick up how to use a new tool just by watching someone else doing it? Or do you need something that’s extremely easy to use, something you can just pick up and do a passable job with right away? Stick welders and MIG welders are fairly easy to use, but they’re also extremely difficult to get good clean welds with, especially for beginners. TIG welders get a cleaner weld, but the two-handed welding process is more difficult for beginners.

Visit a welding supply store in Phoenix, AZ

When it comes down to it, you’re probably going to make your final selection based on price. If you’re only going to weld occasionally, you can save a lot of money by going with a stick welder, which you can often find for under $100. But if you want a welder you can rely on for the longer term, and one you won’t have to replace in a few years, you’re going to be much better off getting a MIG welder. Welders in the $500 range should bring you that maximum combination of affordability and utility. We have a variety of new and used MIG welders at our welding supply store in Phoenix, AZ. Come see us today!

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