If you are a beginner in the world of welding and you want to pick up the skill without choosing a very difficult method of learning, flux core welding is among the best places to start. You do not need to worry about the level of sophistication either, because the welders are very user friendly as well.
Flux core welding is superior compared to MIG welding in many ways, especially when it comes to outdoor use, as well as handling metals that have coatings such as rust, galvanized metals, and other impurities or mixing. The flux core welder types are also the easiest to set up and use, and work very well for any DIY enthusiast.
Using a flux core welder is quite easy and you can learn it within an hour, but selecting the best one can prove to be a challenging task because of the wide varieties in the market. In order to limit your searching process and help you make a wise choice easier, we have gone with the 5 best ones in the market, as well as a guide to help you narrow down your choices.
Check price on Amazon
Super Deal PRO commercial MIG130
10% at 105A. 35% at 60A
Hobart 500559 Handler welder
20% at 90A
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 MIG welder
20% at 70A
GoPlus MIG130 welder machine
15% at 105A
LOTOS MIG140 Flux core welder
20% at 90A
Super Deal PRO commercial MIG130 – best for welding thin metals
This is among the many light-duty welding machines, and is good for the lighter metals that you cannot weld using a stick welder, such as sheet metal. This is because of its automatic feed system, which helps you get the job done easily.
- Lightweight and powerful – built from high quality PVC material
- Makes use of convenient flux – self release metal-inert gas and cored wiring
- User-friendly interface to help you handle the harder jobs with convenience and ease
- Has 4 control buttons for 1/2, MAX/MIN. also has 10 adjustments for wire feed speed
- Thermal overload protection features with a cooling fan to guard against overheating
- Metal tip at the end of the weld gun
The welder can handle metal thickness of 16-gauge to 3/8 inches easily, including aluminum of the same thickness, which makes it quite versatile. If you are a beginner, you will find this fairly useful because it will permit you to practice your welding with different thicknesses and materials.
There are also a wide variety of accessories that come with it – which include a wire brush, a spool of flux welding wire, extra electrodes, tips and fuses, as well as a 2.5m torch. However, do not always rely on the wire that is included in the package, because the thinness will cause it to have its own issues with the automated mechanism of the machine. The weight of the machine is incredibly light, only weighing 38 lbs., and the design is compact enough to allow you to store it anywhere.
On the other hand, the wave form control technology it uses can reduce its spatter while increasing the depth of fusion and its performance. The slag buildup is also significantly reduced thanks to the welding gun’s copper tip, which is also easy to replace when it wears down.
The major problem we have with it is the build – instead of stainless steel, it is made from PVC. This brings to light questions about its durability. In addition, the limitation of only using 110V as its input severely limits its output and power, as well as the thickness of metals it can handle, which make it not be a top pick on this list.
- Good quality of welds due to the use of wave form technology
- Good flexibility on the wires and wire feed speeds
- The copper tips at the end of the gun reduce messy slags
- Good weld speed control choices and wire feed
- Poor output of power
- Less durable construction
While this welder has plenty of advantages that come with it, the build quality is a major disappointment. That said, it is good enough to handle minor welding jobs around the house, but avoid relying on it for a heavy-duty job – or else, it runs the risk of breaking down.
Hobart 500559 Handler welder – our pick
This is the most versatile welder we have come across among the cast variety of flux core welders – and it is capable of handling anything you throw at it, in the best way. It is both suitable for professional use and amateur users, and works for both flux core and MIG welding.
- Uses 115V standard household current supply
- Wire feed speeds of 40 to 700 IPM
- Has a voltage control selector in 5 position to give a smooth arc
- Use the MIG welding process for titanium, copper, magnesium, brass and cast iron alloys. Use flux core for titanium, cast iron, aluminum, magnesium and brass alloys
- Can weld mild steel with thickness of 24-gauge to 0.25 inches
- 5-year limited warranty
You will quickly notice the ease of setting up this welder once you get it, because it has all that you need, in addition to being impressively easy to use (especially when compared to other gas-less MIG welders). The only unfortunate aspect here is the inaccuracy of the side chart, which might cause issues when you are trying to figure out the correct settings for operating the welder at its optimum.
In case you would like to do some MIG welding, the package includes a gas line setup and a regulator to ease the process. The MIG option is also quite versatile in what you can do with it, as it can handle many metals including aluminum.
You will be impressed by the long warranty that is also included here; the 5-year period is rare to find in other welders in general, so you can rest easy in the fact that it is a good choice for both hobbyist and professional welders.
- Wide range of amperage output, from 25 to 140
- Voltage control selector with a wide array of adjustment settings
- High speed range of the wire feed
- Lightweight and portable
- Uses standard household voltage input
- DC output
- High quality build
- Inaccuracies in the welding chart
This is not an entirely new welder in the market, but its effectiveness on the job and build quality is more than impressive – which is why it is our top pick.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 MIG welder – best in durability rating
The brand of Lincoln Electric is one that inspires confidence in many users – after all, it has been around for decades, and many use their products in various home welding tasks. It also proves to be useful for both experience and beginner welders – although unfortunately, it has some flaws which drop it lower on the list.
- Duty cycle of 20% at 70A
- Safety feature of cold contractor to keep the wire cool, and a fan cooling system to prevent overheating of the machine
- 4 voltage settings and indoor chart to help in selection
- Can handle welding thicknesses of 24-gauge to 1/8 inches (mainly steel)
- Input voltage of 115V
- Continuous adjustments of wire feeding speeds
This welder is capable of handling both flux core and MIG welding, and is best in home repair projects as well as welding light-gauge mild steel. It is quite simple to use, but the major disadvantage is the pricing – since it comes at a budget friendly price, it lacks some features that are a preserve of the more expensive welders such as infinite control of wire feed speeds or voltage settings.
The maximum amperage it has is 88A, which makes it one of the lowest rated in terms of output – so it will not work for heavy welding tasks. You will have four voltage settings you can select from, and the highest setting will allow you to weld thicker metals. The good news is that there is a good chart that shows you the settings to choose, depending on the thickness of the metals. It also runs on a low input voltage that allows you to use it in your home.
Another major plus is the lightweight and compact design, allowing you to transport it easily. To help you pick it up, the top of the machine has a solid handle.
- Affordable for budget users
- Durable build and has solid mechanisms
- Portable and lightweight
- Self-shielded flux core welding
- It is flexible in wire size use
- It can only handle mild steel
- Limited control panel adjustments
There are many budget-friendly welders on the market, but they can be risky purchases because of falling apart after some time – however, this model does not have the same problem, and it can serve you well for many years as long as you take care of it.
GoPlus MIG130 welder machine – best for light welding
This is a welder that is portable and versatile enough to allow for use in both home and professional settings. It will fit many of your needs, even as it takes up a small part of your storage space. It also makes a good tool if you enjoy making decorations or sculptures, as well as auto body projects and light steel welding.
- Flux wire and no-gas installation system to prevent oxidation of welded parts
- Adjustable in 4 levels of current flow settings, 4 buttons of 1/2, max/min, wire feeding speeds (10 levels)
- Welding gun with complete safety control, and two air vents to dissipate heat
- Hidden top storage to keep your extra tools
- Metal tip
Thanks to its build and specifications, it can handle a wide array of projects. It uses a voltage of 110V, and has a 72.5-inch long power cord. The maximum output to expect is at 15% when it is running on 105A of power. However, the amperage of 105A means that you cannot use it to fuse very thick metals or alloys.
The standout feature though would have to be the adjustment settings, which allow you to change things up according to the specific project you are working on. It also has a strong plastic handle and steel frame, which ensures it can handle various conditions without the risk of breaking down quickly.
Another advantage is its portability and versatility. Because it only weighs 35 lbs., moving it around is very easy and you will likely not require extra help to do so. The top handle also enables easier carrying, and the smaller dimensions ensure it does not take up too much space in your workshop.
Note that the package includes a welding mask that measures 9.5 inches x 7.87 inches. While this is a great choice if you are an occasional welder, it will not be enough if you are planning to us it in industrial settings or for professional projects.
- The cord is long enough to allow you to use it multiple settings
- Handle is plastic and has non-electrification properties
- Heat dissipation mechanism to avoid accidental burns
- Durable frame
- Very affordable
- Breakers sometimes trip, which can be frustrating
- Welding power is minimal
If you are looking for a welder that can meet the needs of your home welding or lighter professional projects, then the GoPlus can meet some of those needs. Even though it lacks the power of a professional-level MIG welder, it can tackle any hobby project very well.
LOTOS MIG140 Flux core & Aluminum welder – best for DIY use
If you are a person that enjoys spending time by doing DIY workshop projects and light repair work around the house, you will find the LOTOS MIG140 welder to be right up your alley.
- Aluminum wire feeder that gives a more improved welding experience
- You can adjust the wire feed speeds through the 2 digital displays
- Semi-auto and manual switching (2T/4T) for easier control
- Output of 140A, input voltage of 110/120V
- You can use it for stainless steel, aluminum (using a spool gun), mild steel, and other metals
- Limited warranty of 1 year, and 30-day money back guarantee
- Wire ranges of 0.025 to 0.03 inches
While the manual (4T) and semi-automatic (2T) switching of the wire feeding mechanism is quite useful to help you get some extra control in the welding process, it does not have as high of a quality weld as you would find in the Hobart Handler 140 that we reviewed earlier.
The input and output is roughly the same as you would expect in a versatile welder, allowing you to use it in your home for lighter projects, and the duty cycle of 20% at 90A is quite sufficient for most uses. The only problem here is the shell, which is fragile and larger, and the leads are not that long either which can be disappointing.
The gas line setup and the regulator are also available for use if you want to use it to perform some MIG welding tasks or weld other metals as well.
- Large amperage output of 25 to 140
- Portable and lightweight (weighs 54 lbs.)
- Good duty cycle
- Standard voltage input, allowing for home use
- Ground lead of 9 feet
- Greater control due to the 2T and 4T switches
- DC output
- Lacks a welding chart
- Short warranty period
This welder shares plenty of similarities to the Hobart 140 welder, but has a few differences from it as well – but it will not exactly work for beginners because of the lack of a welding chart.
What we do not recommend
ARKSEN MIG130 gas-less welding machine – does not run as much power input/output
There are many budget flux core welders out there, and this falls under that category – with the unfortunate aspect of not running as much power output or input. The machine is both compact and lightweight in design, like most of those on this list, but it lacks the same quality that they have. An instance is in its stainless steel body, which is quite impressive for something durable, but the welding gear itself is disappointingly on the low end of the scale.
It is sufficient for your needs if your aim is to use a light DIY home welder, but there are better options to consider. The pricing will reveal that you cannot expect too much from it, but it is enough for any metals that have thicknesses of less than ¼ inch. Just make sure to be mindful of its gas-less nature, so do not expect it to run MIG welding tasks.
- The price range is affordable
- DC output
- Torch lead of 8 feet
- Stainless steel body
- Low quality parts
- Lacks a warranty
- Can only handle maximum thickness of ¼ inches
- Light duty
- Short ground lead of only 6 inches
- Low amperage output (50A)
This welder can work for you if you are looking for a pure flux core welder without the gas aspect, or if you are working on lighter projects. However, its welding equipment is not of the best quality, so it will not work for heavy-duty jobs.
HITBOX MIG gasless welder equipment – has versatility, but low quality build
While this is a machine that comes in quite handy for a beginner or useful as a backup machine, there are a number of disappointing aspects that it has, which is the reason why it is not a good choice.
The good news about it is its affordability, which makes it a god choice for any hobbyist welder. It can operate with 200A of power, and its arc can become hotter than what you would typically get from a 200A machine.
In addition, it can operate for a much longer period compared to other similar machines of the same size. However, it does not have as long of a lifespan, because of its low quality.
It also gives you an option to connect a TIG torch and do some TIG welding if you want, but the preset settings are unfortunately too limited to handle extensive work due to using synergic settings. Instead of giving a wide variety of settings, it comes with predetermined specified settings, which then dictate the amperage you can run and wire size to use.
The setting style is good if you are a learner, because you do not necessarily need to know the correct amperage rate to wire speed. The bad news is that you can only choose between two metric wire sizes, unlike most synergic machines that have multiple wire speed adjustment settings.
- Can handle both MIG and TIG welding
- Low warranty period
- Inconsistencies in the results and the product
- The lifespan of the welder is short
- Limited setting adjustments
If you are looking for a 200A machine that has beautiful welds, this can be an option to consider. However, it is not something you would consider first, as there are plenty of similar machines that have a higher quality of build and work.
What to look for in a flux core welder
Before you go purchasing a flux core welding machine, it is very important to know the reason you are buying it, and the purposes you want to fulfill – this will help you make the best choice for your needs. Another thing to note is that all MIG welders can operate flux core welding functions, as it only requires you to turn off the gas supply. However, the gas supply can still remain on if you want to give your weld some extra shielding.
Since the latter option is not necessary, having a basic MIG welder or a flux core welder is enough to accomplish the task. If you are looking for a flux core welder, here are some factors to keep in mind.
Thickness of the plate
It is important to be realistic about the range of thickness you want on the plate. You likely want to avoid a welder that can only handle the task of fusing the maximum gauge of your plate, because it will not handle welding tasks as well as a welder that can handle thicker materials. If you will need to weld thicker sheets of metal and purchase such a welder, it will leave you struggling in this case, wishing that you had better equipment to accomplish the task.
If you are unsure of what to get, the general guideline is to get a welder that has a higher amperage range, as it will allow you to weld thicker metals. However, you will notice that not all welders are the same, so it is best to get a general overview before concluding that one can weld more efficiently than another just because of the amperage.
Usage – whether it is multi or single purpose
For a typical MIG machine, you will get both gasless and gas operations, allowing for multi-purpose use. However, if you want to avoid the use of gas with your welding processes, then you are better off getting a single-purpose flux core welder machine.
On the other hand, if you want to use gas to make cleaner weld results, you should get a MIG machine that is multi-purpose, and can weld both flux-less and flux-cored wires.
The type of metal you are handling
In this case, it is important to know the metals you are primarily handling as well, because there are certain welders that handle certain metals better than others. Note that no flux-core welder can handle aluminum, unless you purchase a MIG welder that can handle both flux-less and flux-core wires. Multi-purpose machines can handle aluminum to some extent, or you can modify them to handle aluminum welds.
It will also make a major difference if the welder can handle DC or AC output, though DC outputs are better for flux core welding tasks. AC will work in certain cases, especially if you are welding steel (rather than stainless steel). If the quality of your welds is a concern to you, or you are handling stainless steel, then you are better off getting a welder that has DC output.
Quality of the lead
This will make a major difference in your weld experience, especially in terms of its durability and thickness. The longer the lead, the easier your welding task will be.
This involves considering the diameters of the reel and the wire. Most welders for home or light usage will run a wire of 0.03-inches in diameter and a wire reel with 6-inch diameter. If your aim is to lay thicker beads, then choose thicker and longer wires, and the welder should feed 0.035 inches. In the case of the wire reel, you should choose one that is 8 inches to allow you to make the most from it with less.
Choosing a flux core welder requires a lot of thought, although a standard MIG welder can still work for you in this case – depending on your needs.