Who Makes The Best Flux Core Welder?

When buying your first flux core (FCAW) welder it’s important to get a name brand machine that is durable and has good parts availability from the manufacture. It can be temping to buy a cheap off-brand machine on Amazon from companies like YESWELDER, TOOLIOM or SSIMDER, but we recommend you don’t. It worth spending the extra $100 to get a machine from a higher quality brand like Lincoln, Miller or Hobart.

Lincoln Electric 90i FC Wire Feed Flux Core Welder

The 90i FC from Lincoln is the perfect flux core welder. It’s small, reliable, inexpensive, welds up to 1/4 inch steel and has good parts support from the manufacture. Yes, it’s $100 more than the off-brands, but it’s worth every penny.

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What Should I Look For When Buying A Flux Core Welder?

I always really focus on the following when purchasing a welder:

  • Manufacture: Buying a machine from a well established manufacture like Lincoln, Miller or Hobart is a great choice as it will make finding wire, replacement parts and consumables easier. Machines from these companies have proven to be more reliable and durable over time in real work environments.
  • Power Rating: If you have a specific project in mind, make sure your machine will handle the metal thickness you plan to work with. Most small 120V flux core welders are rated for steel up to 1/4 inch.
  • Parts Availability: With a machine from Lincoln, Miller or Hobart, finding replacement parts like a new gun or wire spool will be a lot easier. Both the manufacture and third party parts companies will carry parts for these machines many years from now.
  • Warranty: It’s important to have a warranty that you can actually count on. If you purchase an off-brand machine you never know how bad their customer support can be (believe me I’ve had some terrible experiences).

What Are The Advantages Of Flux Core Welding?

Flux core welding is a great way to start learning to weld as it has many benefits compared to other types of welding.


  • Easy To Learn: With little setup you can start welding right away.
  • Portable: Flux core only welders and are small and light weight making them great for any size garage.
  • Cost Effective: One of the cheapest ways to get started welding right away. There is no need to invest in other materials like shielding gases or filler rods.
  • Run On 110V-120V Standard House Outlets: You can use one of these small machines anywhere with a standard power outlet. No need for 220V power plug.
  • Good Outdoor Performance: Wind has less impact on flux core welding making it easy to use outdoors.
  • Ability To Weld In Multiple Positions: Flux core welders produce great penetrating welds in overhead and vertical welding positions. Paired with their small size, they are incredibly versatile for a variety hard to reach jobs.


  • Slag Removal: You must clean the slag off your welds.
  • Splatter: Flux core does tend to splatter quite a bit when welding. Wear your safety gear.
  • Difficult To Use On Thin Material: Working with super thin steel can be tough. Flux core is made to provide deep penetration, which will cause you to burn right through thin material.

Best 120V Flux Core Welders

120V flux core welders are small, lightweight and usually rated to weld a maximum thickness of 1/4 inch steel. These welders range anywhere from $250-$500 for a good name brand machine. We recommend any 120V welder from Lincoln, Miller or Hobart. These companies all produce quality machines that will lay down great welds and stand up to the abuse of a heavy work environment.

Welders We Recommend From Amazon:

Cheap Flux Core Welders From Amazon

Yes, you can snag a cheap flux core welder from Amazon made by off-brand companies like YESWELDER, ARCCAPTAIN, TOOLIOM or AZZUNO for about $100. The truth is these Chinese welders do work, but the real question is “for how long?”. Many of these machines are cheaply made and have a reputation for not being the most durable. If you’re someone who plans to use your machine 2-3 times year as a hobby, I think a cheap off brand welder would work fine. If you’re someone who needs a reliable welder to tackle important projects, I would spend the extra money on a Lincoln, Hobart or Miller.

Best 220V, 230V and 240V Flux Cored Welders

If you’re looking to work with steel thicker than 1/4 inch, then you will need a welder with increased voltage and amperage capabilities. These welders will require a 220V (volt), 230V or 240V power source. All welders in this power range will be MIG welders that are also capable of welding with flux core wire (no shielding gas needed). You will not find flux core only welders in this power range.

Yes, machines in this power range are a lot more expensive, but remember you get a lot more functionality for price. You get a welder that is capable of MIG, flux core and spool gun aluminum welding. The ability to weld steel up to 3/8 inch really expands the amount of projects you can tackle.

When you start to buy welders in the $700+ range it is more important than ever to get a name brand machine. You want a machine that will withstand a demanding work environment with good parts support from the manufacture.

Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder

The Handler 210 MIG is a fantastic dual voltage welder that can produce up to 210 amps. This machine is rated to weld a max thickness of 3/8 inch steel in a single pass. Hobart is one of the best in the game.

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120V or 220V?

I always recommend anyone new to welding to purchase a cheap 120V flux core welder to start out with. You can get one for very cheap and they are a great way to get started. Even if you buy a bigger welder down the road, this smaller machine will still have many uses for small remote jobs where your big welder cannot be taken.

If for any reason you have a very specific project in mind that requires working with steel thicker than 1/4 inch, then I recommend spending the money and buying a nice MIG welder upfront. These machines will serve you very well in any project and they really hold their value if you decide to part ways with them in the future.

Flux Core (FCAW) vs. MIG Welding

Flux core welding (FCAW) uses a wire electrode with built-in flux, meaning that no additional shielding gas is necessary to weld. It has great metal penetration and can be ideal to use in windy outdoor conditions compared to MIG.

MIG on the other hand uses a solid wire electrode paired with an external shielding gas resulting in nice clean welds. It is best used indoors away from the wind. MIG is faster, offers better control and less clean up compared to flux core.

For more information on flux-cored welding versus MIG welding check out this great article from MillerWelds.