Best MIG Welder for Aluminum – Hobart Handler 190
We’ve tried over 15 models to uncover the best MIG welder for aluminum, and it comes as no shock at all that Hobart’s Handler 190 is best equipped for the challenge. It can deliver a decent weld on aluminum sheets thanks to its flexible voltage and speed configurability.
Here’s what the Handler 190’s key specifications look like—
- 1/4-inch Welding Capacity
- 7-Step Voltage Settings
- 30% Duty Cycle @ 130A
- Spool Gun Ready
The Handler 190 has the ability to weld up to 5/16 of an inch on steel. When you swap the welding torch for the SpoolRunner 100, it can weld aluminum as thick as 1/4 of an inch with 0.03 diameter wire and a quarter-inch with 0.035-inch wire.
Handler 190’s 7-step voltage dial paired with the infinite-adjustable wire speed dial lets you fine-tune the machine to the manual’s exact specifications without trouble.
To solve the problem of tangled wire (bird-nesting), the SpoolRunner 100 is specifically designed to allow smoother wire feeding without the addition of a control box or adapter.
Hobart’s video of the Handler 190 will show you everything you need to know.
- Flexible controls
- Spool gun included
- Easy switch to spool gun
- Gas regulator included
- Power cord could be longer
Though not exactly the most robust MIG welder for mild steel, it does a beautiful job at welding thick, quarter-inch sheets or plates of aluminum—more than most DIY users would ever need.
Our reviews are unbiased, fact-based, and comprehensively researched to help you make the right buying decisions.
Aluminum’s low melting point and high conductivity make it a challenge to weld, and its density, or lack thereof, causes it to tangle at the welder’s drive roll.
When welding aluminum, only the best MIG welder will do. Today, we’ll show you our pick of the best MIG welder for aluminum.
After researching over a dozen models designed for the task, we’re confident you’ll find our best overall pick the perfect MIG welder for the job.
Comparison Table of Top MIG Welders for Aluminum in Market
|Product Image||Product Name||Features||Price
|Best MIG Welder for Aluminum – Hobart Handler 190||Check Today's Price
|Best Premium - Hobart Handler 210 MVP||Check Today's Price
|Best Budget - SUNGOLDPOWER 200||Check Today's Price
|Hobart Handler 140||Check Today's Price
|Lotos MIG175||Check Today's Price
Reviews of the Top MIG Welders for Aluminum
There are a handful of MIG welders that works weld aluminum with beautiful results. Here are our favorite picks of the bunch.
Best Premium - Hobart Handler 210 MVP
- 1/4-inch Aluminum Welding Capacity
- 115V/230V Input Voltage
- 30% Duty Cycle @ 150A
- Spool Gun Ready
The Handler 210 MVP is a lot like its little-brother model, the Handler 190, except that it’s a dual-voltage machine. Plug it into a 110V MIG welder or 220V, and you’ve got a versatile MIG welder ready for any welding task at hand.
It also presents the same 1/4-inch welding capacity on aluminum at 220V, giving you plenty of room to deal with thin and thicker sheets. The Handler 210 MVP comes with its own SpoolRunner 100, and the advanced drive system prevents tangling.
Everything you need to begin your welding adventure is available in the box, including a set of consumables. Simply attach whichever torch you need, turn the voltage and speed (infinite dial) to the correct settings, and weld away!
Watch this video to see the Handler 210 in all its glory.
- 210A max output
- 7-step voltage
- Spool gun ready
- Durable construction
- Power cord could be longer
If you’re working exclusively with aluminum or not, you can rest assured that the Handler 210 MVP is more than ready for any challenge.
Best Budget - SUNGOLDPOWER 200
- 5/16-inch Aluminum Welding Capacity
- 110V/220V Input Voltage
- 60% Duty Cycle @ 200A
As a budget-friendly MIG welder, the SUNGOLDPOWER 200 is packing quite a lot. For starters, it works with aluminum welding wire to join 5/16-inch pieces together with a single pass. It can deliver up to 200A output to weld up to quarter-inch mild steel at a magnificent 60% duty cycle.
But best of all, the SUNGOLDPOWER is a multi-functional tool that can stick and TIG weld on top of MIG. If you need to add minor touch-ups to outdoor metalwork or making trying to achieve fancy welds in thinner sheets, this 3-in-1 MIG welder can deliver.
- Great penetration through aluminum
- Stick and TIG welds
- Long, well-built cables
- Portable design
- Could come with a spool gun
The SUNGOLDPOWER 200 is an economical MIG/TIG/stick welder made for a wide range of welding applications, both at home and at the job site.
Hobart Handler 140
- 12-gauge Welding Capacity
- 115V Input Voltage
- 20% Duty Cycle @ 90A
- Wire Feed Tracking
The Hobart Handler 140 is an incredibly popular welder for beginners due to its great welding capabilities on quarter-inch mild steel and 12-gauge aluminum.
Even though this machine can weld aluminum, it doesn’t come prewired to do so. You’ll need to readjust its drive system to prevent wire shaving and bird-nesting, and it doesn’t come with a spool gun for immediate aluminum-wire feeding.
What it does have is an infinite tracking dial to let you adjust the rate at which wire is feed through the gun’s nozzle.
Hobart has an informative video on the Hander 140 that you can watch here.
- Built-in overload protection
- Wide welding range with decent aluminum welding capacity
- Easy setup for mild-steel welding
- Compact and durable casing
- Not spool gun ready
The most challenging part of using the Handler 140 on aluminum is setting it up. After doing so, simply plug it into a wall outlet and begin!
- 3/16-inch Welding Capacity
- 115V Input Voltage
- 20% Duty Cycle @ 70A
- Comes with Spool Gun
The Lotos MIG175 has a max output of 175A, which allows it to penetrate mild steel sheets of up to a quarter-inch in thickness. When dealing with aluminum, simply plug in the spool gun, and watch as it effortlessly welds 3/16-inch sheets together in a switch, one-sweep motion.
The control board has two dials—one for voltage and the other for wire speed—which gives you a wide range of customizability for whatever thickness you’re working with. Consult the guide to see how to correctly set these dials based on your material’s thickness.
The 20% duty cycle can be a bit annoying, but built-in thermal indicators will alert you when you need to let the machine cool down.
- Clean welding
- Flexible controls
- Ready to weld aluminum
- Reasonable duty cycle
- Could weld thicker material
The MIG175 is a great MIG welder that will be a handy addition to any home garage and metal workshop.
Before moving on, we’d like to address two very crucial points when looking at MIG welders for aluminum.
MIG Welding Aluminum Polarity
Welding non-ferrous metals like aluminum require DCEP (direct current electrode positive) or reverse polarity. This results in better penetration with less melt-off.
MIG welding with aluminum wire requires setting your machine to direct current electrode positive, also known as reverse polarity.
With reverse polarity, electrons travel from the MIG welder via the ground cable and back to the gun.
To set the MIG welder to reverse polarity, connect the clamp to the ground cable to the negative terminal and the spool gun to the positive terminal. You may have to open the machine to gain access to these poles.
Can you weld aluminum with 75 argon 25 CO2?
When MIG welding aluminum, you’ll want to avoid using CO2 as your shielding gas. CO2 is highly reactive to aluminum and will result in more spatter and a duller finish.
Ideally, you’ll want 100% argon as your shielding gas when MIG welding aluminum. It is an inert gas stabilizes the arc to keep your workspace and workpiece clean.
Check with the operator’s manual to see which shielding gas to use for MIG welding any type of metal.
It’s possible, as you’ll see a number of videos telling you how to configure your MIG welder’s drive system to work with soft aluminum wire. However, we don’t advise doing so, and neither do MIG welder manufacturers since 1) it can void the warranty, 2) spool guns are easy to set up and use, and 3) reconfiguring the drive system is a time-consuming task without any guarantees. Many of the models on our list come with a spool gun.
If we’re being honest, it’s a challenge that not many people are willing to undertake. Even experienced welders can have trouble welding aluminum due to its softness and complex welding techniques. However, with the right MIG welder for aluminum, you can overcome much of these difficulties with the right voltage and wire speed adjustments and specialized hardware.
Yes, you can. The polarity setting for welding both types of metals is the same (reverse), so you won’t need to switch the ground clamp between the positive and negative poles repeatedly. However, you will need to switch between the aluminum spool gun and the steel MIG torch, as well as swap install the correct consumable type. All of the products listed above are made for welding nearly all types of metals, including steel.
This is one of the challenges of MIG welding aluminum, but it’s possible to do. First, adjust the voltage and wire speed settings based on the manufacturer’s instructions to the thicker workpiece. Then, when pulling the trigger, focus most of the heat onto the thicker piece. The performance ratings mentioned for each MIG welder for aluminum is the maximum aluminum sheet thickness it can weld.
MIG welding aluminum can be tricky, but that’s just a part of the game. You can relieve much of the stresses involved with welding aluminum by choosing one of the best MIG welders for aluminum listed above. We’ve gone and tested over a dozen different MIG welders to create a meaningful list containing all of the necessary information you need. If we accidentally left any crucial info out, feel free to let us know in the comments section.
Last update on 2023-03-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API