Can a 120V MIG be of benefit to me? Part 1

120 Volt MIG welders have been around for some time.  The market remains quite hot for these entry level MIG units.   A lot of them are bought primarily to do flux-core welding, instead of true MIG welding.   And, a lot of them are bought as flux core-only welders.  Both MIG and flux-core wire welders  are portable and convenient types of MIG welders.

The big question and debate over 120V MIG welders serving as a viable type of MIG for advanced users has been raging on the internet in the forums and in videos, which has probably further fueled their popularity. Make no mistake, a 120V MIG welder does have it’s limitations.  Wire diameter is limited to usually .030 or smaller, and most 120V MIG welders have a horribly low duty cycle at full amperage, which usually is 5-10%. In fact most 120V MIG welders with a transformer base design are only good for typically 90 amps when welding, even though their manufacturer may state that amperage can go as high as 140 amps.   Transformer based 120V MIG welders do have limitations, but for work like muffler shop work or auto body, a lot of power is not needed and these will fit right in. 

The real question comes in with inverter based welders, like the Power i-MIG 140E.  These units are capable of delivering 140 amps at a strong 35% duty cycle.  In fact, some customers have commented these are as strong as their 200 amp transformer models (which in fact have the same issue that 140’s do because of their duty cycle and theoretical 200 amp performance.)  These units are capable of really digging in and even operating some with .035” wire.


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