If you are just entering the field of welding, you are bound to have multiple questions. It doesn’t matter if you want to master this skill so that you could work on DIY projects, or on the other hand, boost your business because there are a lot of things you have to know.
As you surely know, there are many welding processes and techniques you have to choose between, and these depend on your skill, as well as the tools you use. In this article, we will focus on the latter. Choosing the right MIG welder can prove to be quite a challenge, so here are some tips on how to make the best decision possible.
What will you be welding?
Even if it may seem odd at first, this is a question you have to answer before start the search for a MIG machine. Why? Well, each of these includes specific sets of features, and as you may assume, not all of them are suitable for the same materials.
So, the first thing you have to think about is what types of materials you will be welding, and you have to choose the MIG machine accordingly.
Naturally, there are machines that can be used on a wide variety of metals, but understandably, these are quite expensive. Due to this reason, you should set a budget and find a functional MIG welder that is within your price range.
Is it appropriate for beginners?
One of the main reasons why this machine is so popular is the fact that it can be used by people who are just entering the welding field. The truth is that the MIG process is the easiest to learn, which is what makes it perfect for novices. It doesn’t matter if you want to use it for a hobby, mechanical work, equipment maintenance, and so on. If you want to learn about some basic features, visit here.
Think about the power
All MIG welders are classified according to their power. To make the right choice, investigate the amperage the machine produces at a duty cycle. In a nutshell, you have to learn how long the welder can operate during the period of 10 minutes without overheating. This is especially important if you will be using it on thick metals over a longer period of time because then, you will have to use it at the highest amperage.
Once again, you have to this about the projects you will use it on. For example, 110 volts one will work great for some basic tasks and maintenance. The great thing about this option is that you can plug it into a regular outlet in your garage. However, at the same time, it means that 110 volts will be the limit. On the other hand, if you will primarily work with thick metals, you should go with the 220-volt option, but keep in mind that you will also have to upgrade the outlets.
Consider the reels
The type of reels you need to use depends on the type of machine your purchase. For example, if you are looking for a simple welder for DIY projects, you will need the reels between 0.45kg and 1 kg. Smaller welders require 5kg reels, and the big ones need 15kg reels. Choosing the right reels is of crucial importance since they can affect the quality of work you do.
Air-cooled or water-cooled
This feature is the next thing you have to consider. Naturally, many factors affect this decision, such as the type of welding, place where you will do it, and budget. Basically, the air-cooled one uses the temperature of the environment and shielding gas to maintain its temperature, while the water-cooled one uses a specially designed cooling solution.
It goes without saying that you should consider the above-mentioned factors when making this choice. If you are looking for a portable machine, you should go with the air-cooled one since it doesn’t include any additional equipment. At the same time, keep in mind that you cannot use it for longer periods of time.
Do you need a spool gun?
The main benefit of having this option is that you can weld aluminum. This is not an essential feature, meaning that you will need to look for a specific machine. As you can assume, these are often a bit more expensive than those that don’t enable you to hook up this attachment. Also, you will need to buy this gun separately, which means that your initial investment will also increase. As you can see, this is another reason why you have to think about the projects and types of metals carefully before looking for a MIG welder.
Weight of the machine
Naturally, this isn’t a vital feature that may affect your decision, but it is important if you plan on moving and carrying the machine to different locations. Generally speaking, most MIG welders weigh around 50lbs, even though there are those that do not exceed 30lbs. Obviously, it will be easier for you to move the lighter one around, but keep in mind that this is an option even if you go with the heavier machine. In this case, you will need to invest in a wheeled cart.
Don’t forget about the warranty
It is vital that you purchase this machine from a well-respected manufacturer. Even though you can purchase a specific welder at a significantly lower price from an unlicensed vendor, our advice is not to do this. We understand this temptation, but the truth is that you can never be certain of the machine’s quality when you go with this option.
Instead, always go with manufacturers that can provide you with a warranty. The duration of it may differ, but generally speaking, it will be somewhere between 3 and 5 years. This document will provide you with a sense of security since you won’t have to think about expensive repairs if something malfunctions.
Finally, you should go with a company that not only offers the warranty but the one that has the top customer service. They have to be at your disposal at any time, and also, they have to be able to complete the necessary repairs as soon as possible.