Best Flux Core Welder 2021 – Top Picks, Reviews & Guide

With so many choices on the market, picking the best flux core welder may prove to be a daunting task. To help narrow your search and suggest some viable alternatives, we have put together our list of the best flux core welders.

A flux core welder makes welding metals with coatings, such as galvanizing and rust, much easier than MIG welding. It is also the easiest method of welding for any DIY hobbyist or for anyone working in a workshop with metal products.

Our team of experts has spent hours creating these reviews and buying guide of the best flux core welders online in order to shed light on the vast world of welders, so you can easily figure out what’s best and why.

The reviews are ranked from most to least favorite, so we aim to provide you with the top best flux core welders.

Best Flux Core Welder
Contents show

Best Flux Core Welder – Top 3 Picks

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
  • 5-position voltage regulator ensures a uniform and stable arc for all weld thicknesses
  • 24 to 1/4 gauge soda in mild steel; Weldable materials: steel, stainless steel and aluminum
  • Welding process: MIG (GMAW), flux cored (FCAW)
  • Operates on a standard 115 V household power supply
PREMIUM PICK
YESWELDER Digital MIG-205DS MIG Welder
YESWELDER Digital MIG-205DS MIG Welder
  • Can perform MIG welds, flux core, glue and lift TIG welds
  • Power 250 A, welds up to ½ inch of steel in one go
  • 60% duty cycle at 220 V
  • Decent MIG Flashlight rated at 250A
  • Additional Teflon coating for MIG welding with aluminum wire
BUDGET PICK
Goplus MIG 130 Welder Flux
Goplus MIG 130 Welder Flux
  • Versatility with MIG and flux-cored welding capabilities.
  • Easy to use, it is perfect for amateurs and professionals.
  • The affordable price makes it a perfect choice for novice welders.
  • The 4 settings and control of the wire feed speed provide plenty of room for customization

The Best Flux Core Welder Reviews

Hobart Handler 140 Flux Core Welder

The Hobart 500559 Handler 140 continually makes us wonder if it’s always worth it to choose quality materials in an ingenious design. It’s certainly not a new welder on the shelf, but it’s always impressed us with timeless quality and effective process.

There is nothing complicated about putting this welder together. It contains everything needed, and welds very well for a 140 gasless MIG. However, the welding chart on the side does not show what settings are needed to keep the welder running at peak performance. 

Hobart’s Handler 140 comes with a regulator and gas line setup so that you can do some MIG welding. It’s common to find these problems with welders because currents vary from location to location and people’s welding styles also vary.

We found that the MIG option of this welder could be useful for welding aluminum, and the warranty for this welder is one of the best in this category. We recommend it for hobbyists and for light workshop needs. These features make it one of the best flux core welders.

Pros
  • Amperage output: 25 to 140
  • 20% duty cycle @ 90 amps
  • Dimensions: 19” x 11” x 13”
  • Weight: 57 pounds
  • Wire feed speed range: 40 – 700 IPM
  • Five-position voltage control selector
  • 110/120 voltage input
  • 10’ leads
  • Holds up to eight-inch wire reel
  • Five-year warranty
  • Made with quality
  • Multi-purpose welder
  • DC output
Cons
  • Its welding chart is not accurate

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YesWelder MIG Welder 250A MIG Pro

It can weld 1/2-inch steel with a light enough touch for 28-gauge sheet metal, and it can also stick arc and TIG. This 240-volt machine offers flux core and MIG as well as stick arc and TIG connectivity.

There is no TIG regulator, TIG torch, heat control pedal or other TIG equipment included in the YesWelder MIG Welder 250A MIG Pro. 

Despite its name, this isn’t a MIG welder. MIG is the best way to permanently blow flake aluminum, but running aluminum wire over a very long distance is likely to involve feed problems.

A stick arc welding electrode clamp is also included with the YesWelder MIG Welder 250A MIG Pro, which offers another way to weld aluminum with an aluminum electrode. 

You will need a regulator and shielding gas to use this machine as a MIG welder. Users praise its capabilities and consider it as one of the best flux core welders. It comes with three wire spools.

Pros
  • Euro-style Dinse connector
  • Synergic or manual settings
  • Lift-type TIG arc starting
  • Includes 3 wire rollers
  • Flip cover on control panel
Cons
  • No TIG accessories
  • No regulator

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Goplus MIG 130 Welder Flux Core Wire

The Goplus MIG 130 Flux Core welding machine has automatic feed capability, making it versatile and useful for flux core welding. It can be used both by individuals and by professionals.

Whether you are aiming to weld automobile bodies or light steel, this machine offers the features and specs to assist you. Undisputedly, this is one of the best flux core welders. Checking out this welder’s specs and features, it is evident that this machine works well for a variety of applications.

This tool has a 72.5-inch cord and offers a 15% output for 105 amps with an AC 110V/60Hz power source. It was designed to withstand jobsites’ abuse with its strong aluminum body and tough plastic handle.

It weighs barely more than 35 pounds, so it is convenient to move from one place to another. Additionally, the handle is comfortable and allows you to carry the welding gun easily.

Pros
  • Robust stainless-steel construction
  • Ideal welder for working on steel
  • 4 adjustable current flow levels
  • Two ventilation slots to keep the machine cool
  • Storage space above for small accessories
Cons
  • Not battery powered

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Lotos MIG140 Flux-Core Welder

This unit also produces a nice weld, but lacks quality, compared to the Hobart Handler 140. The Lotus MIG140 has a 2T and 4T switch to transition between manual and semi-automatic wire feeding.

Despite the similar electrical input and output, the Lotos MIG140 yields a stronger weld due to the larger shell and thicker rod. Considering both leads are short, the Hobart is much more durable, lightweight and more pleasant to use.

MIG welding is also available for the Lotos and will fuse any type of metal, including aluminum. If you would like to use MIG welding, a regulator and gas line is required.

Both welders are similar and will give you similar results, however, we prefer Hobart due to its quality.

Pros
  • Amperage output: 25 to 140
  • 20% duty cycle @ 90 amps
  • Dimensions: 22” x 10” x 16”
  • Weight: 54 pounds
  • 10’ torch lead
  • Nine-foot ground lead
  • Holds up to eight-inch wire reel
  • 110/120 voltage input
  • 2T and 4T settings
  • Multi-purpose welder
  • DC output
Cons
  • One-year warranty
  • Has no welding chart

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Forney Easy Weld 299 Flux Core Welder

We recommend it for welding 3/16″ and smaller sections. It is not a multi-purpose welder like the Hobart Handler 140 and the Lotos MIG140, but it is an inexpensive option for people looking for a flux-core welder.

Its size, weight, and close proximity make it perfect for small jobs outside and onsite, or even for a beginner who wants to get started with welding in their garage. It runs best with 0.03′′ wire and can produce some tidy welds with the right settings.

For its price, it is a good deal, as it is cheaper and offers more compared to other welders. However, it is definitely a light-duty welder, so don’t expect it to produce high levels of heat.

Pros
  • Amperage output: 25 to 125
  • Dimensions: 18” x 12” x 24”
  • Weight: 41.9 pounds
  • 110/120 voltage input
  • Holds up to eight-inch wire reel
  • Low price range
  • DC output
Cons
  • Six-month warranty
  • Light-duty
  • Welds max 1/4”
  • Six-foot lead

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Eastwood MIG 135 Flux Core Welder

It has a quick-release spool design and can mount two wire spool sizes – 10-pounds and 2-pounds. This is an excellent alternative to the Hobart 140 welder. 

You’ll need a drive spool for flux-core welds separately. You can get a hose and gas regulator included with this machine, but if you want to you’ll have to buy a separate drive spool for MIG welding. This machine comes in under 500 bucks and comes with a Tweco-type MIG gun that’s easy to find parts for.

With the MIG 135 welder you can adjust weld quality on the fly, as the settings are infinitely adjustable rather than stepped. The welder comes with a settings chart so that users can make changes without having to open the manual.

With this machine, you can weld 1/4-inch steel at up to 135 amps. Its lower limit of 25 amps lets you work with 24-gauge sheet iron, like what you would find on modern vehicles. It has a 3-year warranty and high user ratings.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality
  • Amazingly lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Capable of welding thicker than standard metals
  • Energy efficient
  • Offers gasless MIG welding
Cons
  • Inverter technology isn’t that reliable in some cases

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Reboot MIG Welder MIG150 DC 220V Gas/Gasless 2 in 1 Flux Core

Reboot MIG flux welder is a versatile machine that gives you several welding options. For example, this welding tool can be used for stick, flux core, and MIG welding. This means that you can weld three different styles with this welder.

Inverter models also allow you to save some energy since they utilize DC power to create an efficient and steady AC output. It can weld metal to .8 mm (1/3″), which is much better than welders that only weld to 1/4″.

This product wasn’t adequately tested or rigorously evaluated, which may result in some unexpected experiences by the users. Additionally, since the inverter technology is relatively new, it’s impossible to guarantee its performance.

It weighs just 12 lbs., making it one of the lightest models of the options presented in this list. Other similar welders weigh a lot more.

Pros
  • Low price range
  • Dimensions: 19” x 11” x 17”
  • Weight: 36.8 pounds
  • 20% duty cycle @ 90 amps
  • Stainless steel body
  • 110/120 voltage input
  • Eight-foot torch lead
  • DC output
Cons
  • No warranty
  • Light-duty
  • Welds max 1/4”

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ARKSEN MIG-130 Flux-Core Welder

A low-cost alternative to the Forney Easy Weld 299 125, the ARKSEN MIG-130 is also compact and lighter than the Forney Easy Weld. It has a stainless steel body that looks impressive but has standard welding gear that is mostly inferior.

It is a good welder for a light DIY home project. You can’t expect too much for this price, but you will get quality welds on less than 1/4″ plates. It only welds using a flux-core technology, without any gas options.

Pros
  • Low price range
  • Dimensions: 19” x 11” x 17”
  • Weight: 36.8 pounds
  • 20% duty cycle @ 90 amps
  • Stainless steel body
  • 110/120 voltage input
  • Eight-foot torch lead
  • DC output
Cons
  • No warranty
  • Light-duty
  • Welds max 1/4”

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Super Deal PRO Commercial MIG 130 AC Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welder

There are numerous positive features of this Flux core welder that you need to consider. It can be used for both commercial and small-scale welding applications.

Due to its lightweight design, the machine is highly portable. It can be stored at any location. The machine’s waveform control mechanism is unique in that you can adjust it to meet different welding requirements.

With the welding gun’s on/off safety control, ten variable wire feed speeds, and four voltage controllers you will have less spatter and more fusion depth. The welding gun also comes with four voltage controllers.

In addition, there are a few limitations, such as PVC construction with stainless steel that makes it less suitable for heavy-duty use. As a result, you cannot expect extended durability.

You will not notice any significant weight reduction by using so much plastic. Instead, it will end up being bulkier. Because of the low output, you will need to weld for longer, increasing the chances of overheating.

Pros
  • Being compact, you can store it easily. Due to its portability feature, transporting this welder isn’t difficult
  • Offers a variety of wire feed speed
  • Temperature controls give you the ability to weld on both thick and thin steel parts
  • Easy to use Flux-Cored wire spool
  • Self-release metal-inert gas
  • Current flow settings offer 4 different levels
  • The gun comes with a metal tip
  • Suitable for both general repairing and DIY work
Cons
  • Less compatible due to its excessive weight

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Ironton 115V Flux Core Welder

This is one of the cheapest flux cores on the market, but it’s a decent option. It maxes out at 3/16″ sheet, which isn’t enough for most people. If that’s all you need, then it’s worth a shot.

Those of us who prefer longer torch leads on our machines didn’t think the torch on this one was very effective. You cannot replace the six-foot lead with longer versions of the torch, and the dual amplification range is a very minimal design for the welding options.

\Welders with DC outputs fuse stainless steel better; AC outputs aren’t meant to do that. But if you can accept the low amperage settings and will only work on 3/16″ and less steel plates, the welder can serve you well.

Pros
  • Low price range
  • Dimensions: 18” x 10” x 12”
  • Weight: 32 pounds
  • 20% duty cycle @ 80 amps
Cons
  • One-year warranty
  • Light-duty
  • Welds max 3/16”

Best Flux Core Welder – Buying Guide

You should determine what you will be using your flux-cored welder for before you purchase it. Most MIG welders can run flux core wire if you turn the gas off, while other people run gas with flux core wire to shield the joints.

The following details will help you consider before purchasing a new flux-core welder. Usually, this is not necessary, so you can use a basic MIG welder or specific flux-core machine.

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Plate thickness

You don’t want to buy a machine that is only capable of fusing your maximum gauge of plate – it might weld your material, but probably not as well as a machine capable of welding thicker materials would.

The more amperage range you have, the thicker a plate you can weld. As a rule, the thicker the plate, the more difficult it is to weld. 

Despite this, not all welders are made alike, so it is important to learn about one’s capabilities before trying to assume that one can weld thicker than another due to its higher amperage range.

Single or multi-purpose usage

Welding machines can be used for both gas and gasless operations; this is a multi-purpose use. If you never want to use gas with your coil welding, the one-purpose flux core welder is all you need.

You can weld flux-cored wire and flux less wire with a MIG machine that produces cleaner welds with gas. 

For gas welding, consider the Hobart Handler 140 or Lotos MIG140, as these machines work well under both gas and gasless conditions.

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Type of metal

Metal type is also crucial to know, as certain welders are better suited for specific materials. For instance, a flux-cored welder cannot fuse aluminum. However, multipurpose machines can often fuse aluminum, or they can be easily modified to do so.

If you’re only welding steel, an AC output may be acceptable, but flux-core welding isn’t good with AC outputs. They work better with steel than stainless steel, so if you’re only welding steel, an AC output isn’t so good. 

You should use a DC output welder when fusing stainless steel or if you need an exceptional weld.

Lead quality

Lead quality makes a big difference in your welding experience. Its thickness and durability will affect your personal and professional life, and you’ll feel increasingly confident the higher the quality of the lead.

The length of your ground, torch or ground wire may seem insignificant, however it can have profound effects on your overall welding experience. Longer ground and torch wires usually mean a better welding experience. We prefer 10′ to 24′ torch wires and 10′ to 12′ ground wires. 

Not all stock leads are this long, but the longer they are, the more torque they provide, and therefore the more room you have to work without having to bring the welder closer.

Wire considerations

If you intend to weld thicker beads, verify that your welder can feed 0.035″ and thicker diameter wire. In most households or light workshops welders run a standard 0.03″ diameter wire and come with a six-inch wire reel.

In contrast with six-inch reels, eight-inch reels will last you longer and cost less to buy. While six-inch reels are ideal, eight-inch reels are better to purchase if you wish to save money and have wire installed for longer before replacement is needed.

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Duty Cycle

You need to be aware of the duty cycle of the welding machine that you’re planning to purchase before you buy it. The duty cycle tells you how long the welding machine can be used before it needs a rest.

It’s best to choose a welding gun with the highest duty cycle so it will ensure maximum output, which is recommended. For example, a 30% duty cycle allows you to weld for three minutes before you need to stop.

Weighing and Size—Portability

You want the MIG welder you buy to be portable and easy to carry. It at least needs to be of reasonable size and weight.

MIG welding machines are perfect for small tasks, especially in areas where large welders are not permitted. Therefore, for small projects, you should look for a welder that is small in size and light in weight.

The Cost of Maintenance and Repairs

When buying a MIG welder, you should keep in mind several factors, including maintenance and repair costs. These costs can vary depending on the kind and quality of a welder. High-quality tools require less maintenance, which also means that repair costs are lower.

In contrast, a low-quality welding tool doesn’t come with a warranty, so you have to pay the costs to get it repaired. Furthermore, reputed brands offer warranties for their welders, so you don’t have to pay for repairs when they breakdown.

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7 Questions to Ask While Choosing the Top-Rated Flux Core Welder

7 Questions to Ask While Choosing the Top-Rated Flux Core Welder

Before buying your welder, read through these commonly asked questions to help you narrow down your search. Don’t get caught up in flashy advertisements and burnished steel exteriors. Consider what you’ll be welding and choose a machine that fits your shop.

How Big Is the Device?

Even though flux core welding machines are usually compact, they still vary from one manufacturer to the next. One of the best parts of flux core welding machines is their ability to fit in a small garage workshop.

As with any custom-built item, the dimensions of your shop may differ from mine or anyone else’s. Therefore, double-check the dimensions of your workspace as well as that of the welder before making a purchase.

What’s the Brand’s History?

The welding industry has been around since the early 20th century and some of the firms that manufactured airplanes, tanks, and land vehicles during World War II are still around. Others have just arrived onto the scene with something to prove.

Welders from both categories are good. However, I suggest you pick the manufacturer that best matches your ideals. Being invested in the company that built your welder will make the experience of using it that much more pleasant.

Do You Have Adequate Voltage?

The majority of flux core welders run on 110v house power, but even these machines require their own dedicated breakers. If you have your lights, fans, and other lighting devices connected to one circuit, the addition of the flux core welder will blow the breaker. 

When buying a new device, be sure to check the wiring to avoid headaches and surprise expenses.

How Much Does the Welder Cost?

Although it may seem obvious to some of you, many consumers I advise have not sat down to seriously consider how much they can reasonably afford when purchasing a flux core welder.

You must look over your budget and come up with a number that won’t harm your monthly budget before purchasing a new shop tool. Stay within this budget and see how much you will save by purchasing the welder.

Do You Have Proper Ventilation?

It is important for a home workshop to have some ventilation, whether it is through open windows and a fan or high ceilings and an open door. Flux core welding requires more airflow than your average shop.

In most shops, sparks and smoke are caused by chemical reactions without shielding gas, so they quickly turn your clean shop into a dangerous haze. Before you buy a welder, upgrade your ventilation.

Do You Own the Right PPE?

Similarly, the sparks produced by flux core welding are more aggressive than those produced by MIG and TIG welding. A leather welding jacket and a visor are the best protective equipment for welding.

When flux core welding, however, protective gear such as a UV-shielding vest and gloves is necessary. Don’t skimp on these products since they can save your life and make welding more productive.

What Are You Welding?

During the learning process, flux core welding can cause a dirty weld, particularly if you’re welding metal that is not clean. Flux core welding is great for thick welds and welding non-clean metals.

Welders who intend to join joints that will be visible may want to temper their expectations. Flux core welding is easier than TIG welding, but the learning curve is often tough. Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful weekend.

Here is an Easy Guide to Flux Core Welding

I love flux core welding because it is versatile. You don’t even need to bring out your welding tools to get started. However, the challenge with this type of welding comes when it comes to achieving tight, flawless welds.

You should start with scrap metal when you start welding with flux core. Old angle irons or steel plates are good choices. If you have nothing at home, then stop over to a local welding shop and ask for scrap. They’ll hook you up.

You need the following safety equipment before starting to weld flux core: First, you must have the following safety equipment from the manufacturer:

  • I recommend flux core welding outside for those of you who work in basement shops, since the amount of smoke and gas it generates can easily fill a house in under ten minutes.
  • You must now install the flux core wire on the welding machine, but not over-tighten the wing nut holding the spool in place. The wire must be able to feed easily into the welding gun and then threaded into the drive roll.
  • Setting tension with flux core requires some practice. You want enough tension for your finger to push against the wire when you hold it to the tip of the gun and pull the trigger. Too little tension and the wire will jump out of the gun while too much tension will not provide enough feed.
  • The chart on the inside door or manual of your welding machine will give you the information you need to calibrate the voltage and wire speed for a given gauge of material. For example, you would adjust your settings for 10-gauge metal by using 1.5 wire speed and a D voltage.

If you want to produce a flux-core weld, instead of pushing towards the slag you should drag your wire. Break the wire off after each weld. As you build up experience and master flux core welding, you’ll become a master.

Most Frequently Asked Questions about Flux Core Welders

Most Frequently Asked Questions about Flux Core Welders

I have gathered the most frequently asked questions from consumers and stores that I have been talking to for years. If I haven’t answered your question, please contact me.

What is Flux Core Welding?

In gas shielded welding, oxygen is kept away from the weld process by using an inert gas around the electrode. With MIG welding, the metal electrode is surrounded by an inert gas that prevents oxygen from entering the weld.

Engineers created welding wires with hollow cores and filled them with flux mixtures in order to resolve this problem. If there’s a breeze while you’re welding outside, it could blow you shielding gas away, making your weld susceptible to oxidation and porosity. 

Flux core wires create shielding when they heat up the metal when melting it, causing the material to turn into gas and shield the bond.

Despite the fact that it is less common with flux core welding, this technique boasts benefits to traditional MIG welding. A breeze won’t ruin your weld if you’re using a flux core welder.

Are Flux Cores as effective as MIG?

Flux core welders can be operated as gas MIG machines, but not all flux core welders can run as gas MIG machines.

There may be confusion here, because many flux core machines are labeled with the word MIG in their model names when in fact, they’re a wire feed machine. Keeping this in mind is important if you intend on using MIG welding later on.

With flux core, what thickness can be welded?

There are two main factors that affect how thick a flux core weld will be. These factors include the output power of the flux core welder and the gauge of the flux core wire.

You can weld up to 1/4″ steel thickness with 115v power and .35″ wire, which is the basic setup for at-home welding, whereas 200v power will be able to weld up to 1/2″ steel thickness.

Is it possible to weld aluminum with a flux core?

The answer to your question is technically yes, you can weld aluminum with flux core wire, however we have yet to create this wire. So the basic answer is no, you cannot weld aluminum with flux core wire. We recommend MIG and aluminum stick for welding aluminum without TIG.

What is your preferred method of flux core welding?

In flux core welding, you pull the weld. This is because the high intensity arc produced by the flux wire produces an abundance of slag. You also want to hold the welding handle at 25 degrees to the metal. Then slowly pull the weld row across the seam.

Why do flux core welds develop wormholes?

There are a variety of reasons why flux core welds develop wormholes or worm-tracking. Check for moisture inside the flux core wire. 

Another possible cause of wormholes is high voltage, so you should re-calibrate your ratios. Humid or wet conditions around the weld can also cause them.

Do you need shielding gas with flux core wire?

Flux core wires are intrinsically self-shielding, so you do not need shielding gas. Instead, the shielding gas is generated when the flux inside the wire ignites at the surface of the weld. 

In addition to the shielding gases, you’ll need for some of the flux cored wire you’ll be using home kits don’t have the input for shielding gas. Most budget flux core machines don’t have the input for shielding gas.

Can you use MIG wire in a flux core welder?

In terms of the wire used in a welder, it depends on the type of machine you have purchased. Some of the machines on my list can be used both for MIG and FCAW welding. You can use MIG wire in a FCAW gun. 

In some cases, you cannot use MIG wire because the machine needs to be set up for inert gas in order to weld.

Conclusion

Having reviewed the best flux-core welders on the market, we recommend the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 Flux Core Welder. Its vast array of welding options and quality craftsmanship are reflected in its five-year warranty.

We recommend the Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder as it is one of the best flux core welder at this price. It comes with a great amount of features that will satisfy both industrial and home use needs.

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