Discovering The 6 Best Flux Core Welder Choices In 2021

A flux core welder is an excellent choice for welders of all experience levels who need to weld outside or on dirty or rusted material. It will easily weld metals with rust or galvanized coatings that MIG welders find difficult. However, finding the best flux core welder can be a bit of a chore.

Flux core welding refers to the process in which a continuous hollow wire electrode is fed through the welding gun and into the joint of the weld. This differs from MIG welding because it doesn’t require an external shielding gas to protect the weld from contamination. 

A flux compound inside the wire reacts with the welding arc to form a gas that protects the weld. This type of welding is often used in manufacturing and heavy-duty fabrication. 

The flux contained inside the electrode is more forgiving of the base metal if it is dirty or rusted. The flux core welder is similar to stick welding in the way that it too produces a slag that sits on the finished weld that must be chipped off. These welds are not as aesthetically pleasing as MIG welds. We recommend switching to a MIG welding process for any welds that will be visible or made indoors.  

A flux core welder is a perfect addition to any workshop or a DIY hobbyist who works with metal. Read this buyer’s guide of our top six flux core welders to help you sort through all of the options.  

Buying a Flux Core Welder

Before purchasing a flux core welder, think about the purpose it will be used for. This way you can ensure you get the exact welder you need for the job. Every MIG machine can run flux core wire if you simply turn the gas off. Sometimes people choose to run the gas with a flux core wire to give extra shielding to the weld. It’s up to you. 

A basic MIG welder or a specific flux core machine will usually get the job done. Here are a few more details to consider before purchasing a brand new flux core welder.

Consider the Plate Thickness

When thinking about the type of welder to buy it is a good idea to consider the plate range you’ll be welding. If you buy a machine designed for simply fusing your maximum plate gauge it may weld but more than likely it won’t do as good of a job as a welder capable of handling thicker material. 

When you need to weld something thicker your machine will likely struggle to complete the task. Generally speaking the higher the amperage the thicker the plate you can weld. Not all welders are created equal. It helps to get an overview of the full capabilities of the machine before reaching the conclusion that it can weld thicker than another welder simply because it has a higher amperage range. 

Single or Multi-Purpose Welders

A MIG machine is multi-purpose because it can weld both gas and gasless operations. If you don’t use gas with your coil welding then a single purpose machine like a flux core welder will work just fine for your purposes. 

If you like to keep your options open consider purchasing a multi-purpose MiG machine that welds both flux-cored and fluxless wire. We’ll point one out in the guide below that we consider being the best all-around model for gas and gasless operations. 

Metal Type and Lead Quality

It’s also important to know the type of metal you will be welding. Specific welders are better suited to different types of metal. No flux core welder on the market can fuse aluminum, however, a multi-purpose machine generally has aluminum welding capabilities or can be easily modified to work for aluminum welding. 

Take a look at the adapter. An AC or a DC output can make a big difference. As a rule of thumb, AC adapters are usually not suited to flux core welding. They weld steel better than stainless steel. If you are only going to be welding steel an AC adapter is a perfectly acceptable choice. If you want to fuse something with stainless steel a welder with a DC adapter will give you better quality welds. 

Your welding experience will also vary greatly depending on the quality of your lead. Lead that is thick and durable will produce higher quality and give you more confidence in its life expectancy.

It may seem like an insignificant detail but the length of your ground torch changes the welding experience. The longer the lead the more enjoyable experience you will have. 

Choose a 10 to 24-inch torch lead and a 10 to 12-inch ground lead for the best experience. The longer the lead the more room you have to move around and weld without having to continuously drag the welder closer. You may have to look around because not all stock leads come in these lengths. 

Consider the Wire

Lastly, consider the wire. Think about the wire diameter and the reel diameter. Most household workshops use a standard 0.03” diameter wire and a 6-inch reel. If you need to lay on thicker beads it will be useful to get a welder that can feed 0.035” and thick diameter wire. 

A 6-inch reel is quite small and won’t last a long time but it may be all you need. Having a welder that holds 8-inch reels can come in handy. You can buy more wire for less and it will last longer before it needs to be replaced. 

Best Flux Core Welder Options: Our 6 Picks

Here at Tool Guides Hub, we created these six reviews of our favorite flux core welders online to serve as a buying guide. We hope this article sheds some light on the different types of welders so you can sort through all the options and choose the flux core welder that is right for you. These welders are not in any specific order and we consider them each to be a top model. 

Super Deal MIG 130 Flux Core Welder

You can’t beat the price of the Super Deal MIG 130 Flux Core Welder. There is no other welder in its price range, but this welder could is a bit of a gamble. Super Deal isn’t known for following through on its warranties and this welder is on the lower end.

However, this welder is great for learning to set up your feed and read a puddle. It gave us more penetration than we were expecting when we tested it out on a horizontal butt joint. It can weld up to ¼” and has four amperage settings between 50 and 130 amps. This welder runs on an AC output rather than a DC so it won’t give you the clean welds that you would get from a DC flux core welder. 

If the price is your primary consideration and you are new to welding the Super Deal Pro MIG 130 is a worthwhile option to consider. 

Advantages of the Super Deal MIG 130 

  • Affordable
  • Weight: 38 pounds
  • 20% duty cycle at 90 amps
  • Dimensions: 20.2” x 15” x 12.5”
  • 110/120 voltage input

Disadvantages of the Super Deal MIG 130

  • For light-duty use
  • Welds max ¼”
  • One-year warranty
  • Lower quality
  • AC output
  • Four amperage settings: 50 to 130 amps
  • Five-foot ground lead
  • Can hold up to six-inch wire reel

Ironton 115V Flux Core Welder

Next up we have the Ironton 115 V Flux Core Welder. This model doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but it actually lays a decent bead. It maxes out on a 3/16” plate so make sure this is a good option for your needs. 

This is not a multi-purpose welder. The lead is permanently fixed to the machine so you won’t be able to replace the small six-foot torch lead with a longer version. We didn’t really care for the torch on it, and the dual amperage range is designed for minimal welding options. 

If a 3/16” and less steel plate is all you need to weld and you don’t mind minimal amperage settings this machine will serve you well. However, a welder on a DC output will run a better weld. 

Advantages of the Ironton 115V Flux Core Welder

  • Affordable
  • Dimensions: 18” x 10” x 12”
  • 20% duty cycle at 80 amps
  • Weight: 32 pounds

Disadvantages of the Ironton 115V Flux Core Welder

  • For light-duty use
  • Welds max 3/16”
  • AC output
  • One-year warranty
  • Six-foot leads
  • Holds up to six-inch wire reel
  • Two amperage settings: 60 or 80

Arksen MIG 130 Flux Core Welder

The Arksen MIG 130 comes in at a low price range but doesn’t have much amperage. It’s a light compact machine, however, we were not that impressed by its quality. The stainless steel body of the machine is high-quality but the actual welding gear itself in on the lower-end.

If you are a light DIY home welder this is a great set-up. You really can’t expect much more at this price. It will run a good quality bead on anything less than a ¼” plate. Keep in mind that this is a flux core welder and it doesn’t have any gas options for MIG welding. 

Advantages of the Arksen MIG 130 Flux Core Welder

  • Affordable
  • Stainless steel body
  • Weight: 36.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19” x 11” x 17”
  • 110/120 voltage output
  • 20% dirty cycle at 90 amps
  • DC output
  • Eight-foot torch lead

Disadvantages of the Arksen MIG 130 Flux Core Welder

  • Light-duty
  • No warranty
  • Max welds ¼”
  • Amperage output 50 to 120
  • Six-foot ground lead
  • Low-quality parts
  • Holds up to six-inch wire reel

Forney Easy Weld 299 Flux Core Welder

The Fornet Easy Weld 299 Flux Core Welder is similar to the Arksen MIG 130 Flux Core Welder in many aspects. This is a great option for an economical flux core welder. It says that it will weld up to ¼” ( and it does) but it struggles. We recommend this machine for welding 3/16” sections or less.

It’s accessibility, weight and size make it very convenient for small jobs outside. This would be a great welder for a beginner interested in getting set up for light welding in their garage or workshop. This machine holds up to eight-inch spools. It runs its best on 0.03 wire and can produce some very nice welds when the correct settings are applied. 

It’s a bargain for the price. It’s durable and offers more than the other models but it is still a light-duty welder so don’t expect too much out of it. 

Advantages of the Forney Easy Weld 299 Flux Core Welder

  • Low price range
  • Holds up to an eight-inch wire reel
  • Amperage output: 25 to 125
  • Dimensions: 18” x 12” x 24”
  • Weight: 41.9 pounds
  • 110/120 voltage input
  • DC output

Disadvantages of the Forney Easy Weld 299 Flux Core Welder

  • For light-duty use
  • Six-month warranty
  • Max welds ¼”
  • Six-foot leads

Lotos MIG 140 Flux Core Welder

The Lotos MIG 140 is a great welder for DIY and light workshop use. It transitions between manual and semi-automatic wire feeding with the 2T and 4T switch. It runs a 20% duty cycle at 90 amps and produces a very nice weld. 

We find the shell of the Lotos to be large and flimsy. The lead is also kind of shorter than we would like it to be. This model features a regulator and a gas line set up so it can be used for MIG welding. It also has a feature that allows you to face aluminum and almost any metal.

Overall this is a very nice flux core welder.  

Advantages of the MIG 140 Flux Core Welder

  • 20% duty cycle at 90 amps
  • Amperage output: 25 to 140
  • Dimensions: 22” x 10” x 16”
  • Weight: 54 pounds
  • Nine-foot ground lead
  • 10’ torch lead
  • Holds up to eight-inch wire reel
  • DC output
  • Multi-purpose welder
  • 2T and 4T switch

Disadvantages of the MIG 140 Flux Core Welder

  • Has no welding chart
  • One-year warranty

Hobart Handler 140 Flux Core Welder

The Hobart Handler machine is built from quality materials and features an ingenious design. When the welder arrived it was very simple to assemble. It has everything it needs to have and welds exceptionally well for a 140 gasless MIG. 

We were a bit disappointed that the welding chart is a bit inaccurate in the settings needed for running it, but this is often the case with welders due to a variance in electrical currents from place to place. This welder comes with a gas line set up in case you want to do MIG welding too. 

The MIG option of the welder fuses together any metal (including aluminum). The five-year warranty on this welder is truly a rare find making it more than sufficient for hobbyists and lightweight workshops. 

Advantages of the Hobart Handler 140 Flux Core Welder

  • Five-year warranty
  • Made with quality
  • Multi-purpose welder
  • DC output
  • 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

Disadvantages of the Hobart Handler 140 Flux Core Welder

  • The welding chart is inaccurate

Choose the Best Flux Core Welder for the Job

A flux core welder is a great addition to any hobbyist or lightweight workshop. We hope you have enjoyed this look at the six best flux core welder choices available in 2020. We found the Hobart Handler machine to truly be an amazing welder but the Forney Easy Weld is an affordable middle of the road option. 

If you own or use any of the above-mentioned machines leave us a comment and tell us how you like it. We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to check out our guide on MIG Tips and Tricks From the Pros to perfect your welds. 

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