They work by feeding a consumable electrode (your flux core) continuously through the device in order to allow for welding that’s been described as being like a hot glue gun for metal. It makes for a simple process, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with welding techniques.
We’ve gone ahead and selected 4 of the best flux core welders on the market, and after these recommendations, we also talk about what criteria you should be on the lookout for when choosing the right welder for you. So . . . let’s begin!
Goplus® MIG 130 Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine w/ Free Mask
For under $100, the MIG 130 from Goplus is a great bargain. It doesn’t have super-fine controls over your current and voltage, but there’s a total of four different settings you can go through and you can easily control the speed that the wire is fed through the “torch.”
It’s great for around the house and small welding projects, although the wire can be a bit hard to feed through it at times. It comes highly recommended for someone just starting out as a way to get into welding without a high entry cost. The kit also comes with a brush/tap hammer and a hand-held mask so you’ll be good to go right out of the box.
Forney 309 140-Amp MIG / Flux Core Welder, 120-Volt
The Forney 309 puts out a pretty impressive amount of amperage for the price, and it’s sure to be able to take care of most steel welding applications. It has four different steps on the transformer, allowing you to use the amount of power you need for the task at hand and the wire feed is adjustable over a pretty wide range.
The drive system for the wire feed is also quite rugged since it’s made of cast aluminum so you won’t have to worry about early failures. If you’ve got a bit of experience welding with a cheap unit and want to step things up this is the perfect welder for you. It’s easily one of the best flux core welders on the market.
LONGEVITY 140 – 140 Amp Mig Welder / Flux-Core, Aluminum Gas Shielded Welding 110v
The Longevity Migweld 140 makes a great middle-priced entry into the world of welding. If you’re just getting started welding, you’ll be quite impressed and this might be one of the best beginner FCAW’s on the market.
The welder (see full specs) will be able to handle up to 3/8” of steel with surprising ease, and it’s capable of both MIG and flux core welding. It allows for pretty fine control of your arc’s power as well, with ten different settings to choose from. The customizability of the arc and the ease of use make this an ideal welder for the beginner or hobbyist, allowing them to add welding to their repertoire of skills with surprising ease.
Hobart 140 (500559) Handler Wire Welder with Welding Mig Accessory Nozzle Gel
If you’re looking for a wire welder with a surprising amount of power and fantastic build quality, then Hobart has you covered. It can use up to 24 gauge wire and handle up to ¼” of steel. This heavy-duty welder is perfect for shops where limited space restricts you from having a full-size welding cart, and it has four different options for the arc setting. You’re sure to be impressed with this one right out of the box as this is a solid piece of equipment that’ll last for a long time.
Picking the Best Flux Core Welder – Helpful Hints
If you’re just starting to weld, flux core welding is a great place to start. You won’t have to spend money on argon or another inert gas, and most of these welders can easily be used for MIG welding in the future if you want to give it a shot.
One of the most important factors to consider is the power: the more powerful the welder the thicker of steel you’ll be able to handle. If you’re just looking to work on iron art projects or fixing automotive parts, they’re fantastic.
They will, however, leave some slag behind on the top of the weld which will need to be cleaned off. This can actually be beneficial despite the extra work required as it can help to maintain the structural properties of the metal you’ve just welded despite the fact that the surrounding air will want to react with the metal. It’s just a little bit more work, but most welders capable of flux-core welding are easily usable as a MIG welder as well if you find it too bothersome.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is how fine of a control you can get over the power provided to your welder. While most have only four options, welders with finer controls can be found which allow for more precise welding as you gain more experience.
Unfortunately, flux-core welding on really works on ferrous materials, meaning that welding copper, aluminum, or other non-steel metals isn’t really possible with them. You’ll need to use something more specialized if you’re planning on working with these materials.
Which welder you go on will mostly depend on your budget as it’s best to just buy the best one you can afford. If you’re just starting or only plan to use it rarely for small projects it might be best to start out with something cheaper, but if you’re planning on making a serious hobby out of it then you’d be in good hands with the Hobart 500559 (see full specs), which is a bit more expensive but also of better quality than anything on the list.
Whichever one you decide on, make sure that you use a mask, gloves, and all of the safety equipment required to weld safely. Damaging your eyes or burning yourself badly while working around hot metal is a serious possibility, and it can happen in the blink (or lack thereof) an eye. As long as you have the best flux core welder and the proper safety equipment, though, prepare to get into a whole new world of welder use and be sure to have a good time.