The ideal welding wire will change based on both the environment you’re working in and the type of metal you’re working with, and it’s important to make sure that you select the correct type for what you’re doing in order to get the best results.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of research, though, so let’s look at 4 of the best MIG wires around and then we can talk about how to select what you’re looking for so you make a wise purchase the first time.
INEFIL ER70S-6 .030-Inch on 10-Pound Spool Carbon Steel Mig Solid Welding Wire
INEFIL makes some of the best MIG welding wires around, and this ten-pound spool is likely to last most home welders a long time. If it’s appropriately sized for your electrode, you’ll be in business although you’ll still need your argon and CO2 since this isn’t a flux cored wire.
This type of wire (see full specs) is for welding carbon steel and high-manganese steels, making it great for structural applications. The high-quality manufacturing process makes it a bit pricey, but you’ll know that the whole spool is properly constructed which makes for amazingly consistent welds.
Forney 42300 Flux Core Mig Wire, Mild Steel E71TGS, .030-Diameter, 2-Pound Spool
If you’re looking for something to take care of a project outdoors, then this flux core wire has you covered. It’s only for mild steel, however, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if your project is going to require you to weld structural or high-carbon steels. You can actually forgo the shielding gas with this wire since it’s flux-cored which makes it rather useful for the welder on the go.
INEFIL ER70S-6 .023-Inch on 10-Pound Spool Carbon Steel Mig Solid Welding Wire
If you’re looking for a consistent, high-quality wire, then you’re in good hands with INEFIL’s .023 wire. It’s suitable for lighter quality duty than larger wire, and the thin wire allows for some amazingly delicate welds. You’ll find that it’s one of the most consistent wires you’ll ever use, and if you’re looking for a wire that welds the same, every single time, then you’ll fall in love with this stuff. It’s among the best MIG wires period.
Blue Demon E71TGS .035 X 10# Spool Gasless Flux Core Welding Wire
If you’re looking to work in conditions where the weather is a definite factor, you’re going to want to go with this Blue Demon wire (see full specs). The high cost is due to its unique flux-core that helps you get clean and quick welds with deep, beautiful beads. If you can’t get it done with this wire, it’s time to get back to class, as it’s one of the highest quality you’ll find anywhere.
The Best MIG Wires—Gas vs. Flux-Core
The designations for MIG wire can be confusing for a novice. In most cases you’re best off just going with what the manufacturer says. It’s in their best interest that they don’t claim a wire is magical or can do anything it actually can’t.
This means it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you start welding. If you’re planning on doing some auto-body repair, for instance, you’ll have much different needs than someone who’s welding I-beams or other thick pieces of structural steel.
There is one very important choice the novice will have to make, though: gas versus gasless wire.
Flux core wires come with an internal coating which allows you to run without the shielding argon/CO2 mixture that you’ll typically be using. It also leaves slag, so it’s not the best option if you have an enclosed shop and don’t want to have to do any clean up afterward.
There are some cases where it’s handy, though if you’re working outdoors or in a drafty area it will almost always work better than standard MIG wire since the shielding gas won’t be blowing away. If you opt to run shielding gas with flux-core wire, you’re also able to reduce the incidence of splattering to almost nothing.
Regular MIG wire, on the other hand, requires you to use a shielding gas with your welder. For indoor locations, this is no big deal and it allows for clean and slag-free welds by anyone with a little bit of practice under their belt. It’s not suitable for areas where you’re working in inclement conditions, however.
Basically, if you’re going to be outdoors, opt for a flux core wire. But if you’re working in a dedicated shop, you’ll be better off running shielding gas and using standard MIG wire.
Recommended Sizes of the Best MIG Welding Wires
There’re two sizes to take into account here: spool size and the diameter of the wire.
Your MIG welder’s instructions should tell you what size the electrode is rated for. It’s crucial that you stick with this and don’t purchase wire too large or too small. Invest in a different head if you need something else.
Wire that is too thin will feed too quickly, splatter more, and can create quite a few problems that you’ll have trouble sorting out. It’ll also cause the wire to arc which isn’t safe or a good idea to enable too frequently.
Wire that is too large will cause feeding problems, and eventually, the wire itself will meld to the electrode and ruin it. Just be careful here and you’ll be good.
Since MIG wire is most often measured in pounds instead of length, you’ll want to pay attention to the size of the spool. Some smaller welders, for instance, might need an adaptor in order to take a ten-pound spool of wire. It’s not too big of a deal to rewrap onto an old expended spool if you accidentally make the purchase without an adaptor, but it will take up a lot of your valuable time.
As long as the size and usage conditions are right, the only thing to make sure of is that you have a high-quality wire. Exceptionally cheap wire can cause problems due to an inconsistent level of manufacturing and when you’re welding you want the wire to act the same every time.
With the best MIG wires, you can save yourself an amazing amount of hassle so be sure to choose carefully in order to get the best results (and with our recommendations, we’re sure you’ll be happy). Good luck!