Reviews and Buyers Guide for Best Flux Core Welders [2021]

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Buying a welding machine that only das FC process is much more budget-friendly option, but there are a lot of bad “waste of money” machines in this niche. Choosing the best flux core welder for your project can seem a little intimidating at first. There’s a lot of choices (good and bad) of this type of welding machine available to you.

image of the flux core welders

Fortunately, once you’ve got to grips with the options – it becomes much easier to work out which flux core welder will work for your needs.

So, not only have I narrowed the field down to only 7 best flux core welders but we’ve also put together a short buyer’s guide. It will make choosing the right flux core welder for you very easy, indeed.

Best Flux Core Welders Comparison Table

Welder ImageNameSpecialsTypeFeaturesCheck Price
yeswelder MIG 205DS
YESWELDER FLUX-135 Flux Core10% off Coupon Code:
"OCT 10% WELDPROS"
FCAWHigh quality aluminum wire feeder, 2T/4T SwitchCheck Current Price
Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i Welder,...
Forney Easy Weld 261FCAWBudget-friendly, Lightweigh, Good customer supportCheck Current Price
Hobart 500572 Handler 100
Hobart 500572 Handler 100FCAWMade in US, No bad costumer reviews, Safety features, 5/3/1 years warrantyCheck Current Price
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder...
Hobart 500559 Handler 140FCAW/MIG8-foot wire length from the gun, MIG/FC, Best seler, 5/3/1 yearCheck Current Price
Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core...
Forney Easy Weld 299FCAWEasy to use, Light, Low maintenanceCheck Current Price
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG...
Lincoln Electric K2185-1FCAW/MIGCold contactor safety feature, Compact, portableCheck Current Price

Best Flux Core Welder Review

Keep in mind that these are 110v/220v welding machines, not the heavy industrial ones that cost from up to $10 000. They will serve perfectly for day to day tasks repair and small to medium welding projects. But you can’t build Noah’s ark with a welder plugged in on household current 110v outlet.

1. YesWelder 135AMP 110V Gasless MIG Welder

This tiny and lightweight Flux core welder from YesWelder packs a serious punch of power and features at a pretty much affordable price.

This is a small machine perfect for DIY, garage, and home welding needs and the “outside” work. It can also be used for professional use but on thinner materials.

It is a 110V input only machine but with a significant amperage output of 135A max. It is rare to see so much output with regular home voltage input. It does 135A at a 60% duty cycle.

This FC welder is designed with the Synergic MIG auto settings for wire speed and voltage based on how much amperage you choose to output.

This means that the machine will automatically adjust the wire feed speed and voltage for you, great for beginners. You can also fine-tune the voltage from -5 to 5V on top of what the machine set on its own.

The one thing I don’t like is that the MIG gun is built-in. You will need to open and disassemble a machine if you want to change it.

The drive roll mechanism consists of two metal drive rolls (above and under the wire), and the machine uses the 4-inch wire spools of either 0.030″ or 0.035″.

The machine is incredibly easy to set up and use. Furthermore, the instruction manual is well written in plain English and very easy to follow along. It is also available online on the YesWelder’s website.

I am gladly giving a warm recommendation for this little machine. It is packed tightly and offering much more than what it costs.

10% off Coupon Code: “OCT 10% WELDPROS”

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Great amperage output for only 110 V input
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Lightweight
  • Well written instruction manual
  • Budget-friendly, best for money
  • Welding beginner friendly
  • Perfect for DIY, garage and home welding

Cons

  • Built in MIG gun

Specifications

  • Processes: Flux Cored (FCAW), Gasless MIG.
  • Weld Thickness Range: mild steel up to 5/32” in the plate.
  • Input Voltage: 110 V
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: DC.
  • Rated Output: 135 A @ 60% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Range: 30 – 135 A.
  • Adjustable voltage: – 5 V, 5 V
  • Suitable wire diameter: 0.30” & .035” flux core wire
  • Weight: 15 lbs.

2. Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder, 120V, Green

Open welder

Great little inverter technology welder for do-it-yourself, maintenance and repair. It’s got a decent price and 12 months warranty. It has a DC output (thank God) that can handle 2 and 10-pound rolls of wire.

It can weld up to 1/4 inch steel with not much of splatter. But keep in mind that this is a low amp, low voltage home welding machine and there has to be some splatter around especially with a low-quality flux core wire.

Also, you might need to do multiple passes on those thicker metal sheets for proper fusion depth.

It also comes with a pretty good welding gun and a ground clamp that is a little on the lightweight side, but as expected in this price range.

Note: don’t forget to use Anti-Spatter Spray because this type of wire tends to make a mess on a gun especially if you hold it to close to the welding pool.

It is easy to set up and weld and easy to clean up and put back on its place. Also, I heard that Forney has good customer support in case something goes wrong. Overall this is a good Flux core welding machine that will serve you around the house and in the garage for any diy projects.

Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i Welder, 120V, Green
  • EASY TO USE-140 FC-I MIG machine uses 0.30, flux core wire. It has infinite voltage and wire feed speed control so you can dial in the perfect weld! Perfect entry level welder

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Budget-friendly – provides best value
  • Very simple to use
  • Infinite rotary knob for voltage and wire feeding speed
  • Lightweight
  • DC current output
  • Ergonomic carrying handle
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • Ground clamp could be better
  • Plastic wire feeder

Specifications

  • Processes: Flux Core (FCAW)
  • Weld Thickness Range: 24-gauge up to 1/4
  • Weldable Materials: Mild Steel
  • Input Voltage: 120-volt input
  • Input Phase: 1- phase
  • Current Type: DC
  • Rated Output: Duty Cycle 30% @ 90A
  • Amperage Range: 140 AMP output
  • Weight: 19 lbs

3. Hobart 500572 Handler 100

This little welding machine from Hobart is best flux core welder in our review and what you need if you are planning to weld up to 3/16 inch steel with it. Its made in the USA, has excellent arc performance and is a pretty neat and compact little welder with 3 years of warranty.

Inside there are plastic drive rolls that are actually made of polycarbonate and are quite durable. (Hobart Handler 140 has aluminum drive rolls but keep in mind that this little guy is priced less than double then its bigger cousin).

A good thing is that you can fit in there a full 10-pound spool that will save you some money and changing time.

Hobart handler 100 has good customer support and a good and reliable brand behind it. So it’s a great machine if you plan on getting a flux core welder for yourself and especially at it’s price point.

Hobart 500572 Handler 100
  • Allows you to weld up to 3/16 in. (4.8 mm) steel with flux-cored wire.

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • 3 Years of warranty
  • Can fit a large spool
  • No bad costumer reviews
  • Inbuilt safety control that keeps wire electrically cold
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Plastic feeder

Specifications

  • Processes: Flux Core (FCAW)
  • Weld Thickness Range: 18 ga (0.8 mm) – 3/16 in
  • Weldable Materials: Mild Steel
  • Input Voltage: 110/115/120 V
  • Input Phase: 1- Phase
  • Current Type: DC
  • Rated Output: 80A @ 20% Duty Cycle
  • Amperage Range: 140 amp
  • Wire-Feed Speed: 90 IPM 320 IPM
  • Weight:44 lbs
  • Warranty 3 years

4. Welder Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V

Image of a hobart handler 500559

I was wondering should I include MIG/flux welders in the best FC welding machine list. But at the end of the day welders like Hobart Handler 140 are top when it comes to flux core welding.

This Machine has an industrial cast aluminum drive rolls system, along with the double slot quick change disc roll, which made working with this welder very easy and good for the FCAW.

It’s very easy to switch the polarity of the machine.

And the 5 voltage control selector is extremely handy for arc setting. Overall, it’s a durable with good build quality and very portable wire feed welder that should be perfect for home use, farm use, light workshop jobs, auto-repair or DIY hobbyist. It handles mild steel up to 1/4″ and it’s both flux-cored and MIG ready. It’s a super deal at an affordable price.

This is a solid non-professional welding machine which is reflected in the price. The construction is especially robust for a home welder use machine that comes with the quality regulator. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than the rest but it’s worth it.

Sale
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
  • 5-position voltage control selector adds a smooth, stable arc at all welding thicknesses

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • It was very easy to setup
  • It’s very safe to use
  • There’s an 8-foot wire length from the gun
  • 5 voltage settings
  • It comes with a 5-year warranty
  • It’s a multi-purpose welder
  • Aluminum wire feeder drive system

Cons

  • The numbers aren’t accurate on the welding chart
  • Can’t be used for industrial welding applications
  • Expensive

Specifications

  • Processes: Flux Cored (FCAW)  MIG (GMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Mild Steel – 24 ga. – 1/4 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Carbon steel, Stainless Steel,  Aluminum with Spool-gun.
  • Input Voltage: 110/115/120 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: DC.
  • Rated Output: 90 A @ 20% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Range: 25 A – 140 A.
  • Wire-Feed Speed: 40 IPM – 700 IPM.
  • Weight: 57 lbs.

5. The Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder, 120-Volt, 125-Amp

Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder, 120-Volt, 125-Amp

Now Forney Easy Weld 299 runs only flux core wire with no shielding gas alternative, made just for FC purpose in mind. A great welder in this price range. If you are sure that the only thing you are going to do is the FCAW welding process this machine is a good choice overall.

Some optimal metal sheet thickness that you can weld starts from 24 gauge up to 1/4 in but with a multi-pass and good weld prep between passes you can go even higher.

The feed mechanism is made of plastic but that can be expected in this price range.

Also not to forget that you can fit 10-pound spools inside this flux core wire automatic feed welder. A good thing considering it can save money on larger projects.

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Very simple to use – good as a beginner welder
  • Very well built, should last well

Cons

  • Forney recommends against using .035 wire
  • You can only work with mild steel

Specifications

  • Weld Thickness Range: 24 gauge up to 1/4″.
  • Weldable Materials: Mild Steel.
  • Input Voltage: 120v
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: AC.
  • Rated Output: 125 AMP output.
  • Amperage Range: 20 – 125 AMP output.
  • Wire-Feed Speed: not specified.
  • Weight: 41.9 pounds.
  • Processes: Flux Cored (FCAW).

6. The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder

Lincoln-Electric-K2185-1-Handy-MIG-Welder_1

K2185-1 MIG Welder, in my opinion, struggles to justify its price tag. Given that you need to buy a separate tank to use it for MIG welding, I think you can get better for your money.

Because at the end of the day you are looking for a cheap FC welder and this one (don’t get me wrong you can’t fail with Lincoln it’s a quality welder) is very expensive for 110v Flux core welder.

Now if you want to buy it as a MIG welder then this guy will perform great. With continuous wire feed speed adjustment, great ease of use and good wire speed.

Good penetration, it can weld up to 1/8 in Thickness and can be used for aluminum with spool gun. Read more about this flux core welder.

Sale
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
  • Enjoy of a compact, portable and lightweight wire feed welder that is user friendly | Shielding gas sold separately

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Weld up to 1/8

Cons

  • It’s expensive for what’s included
  • Plastic wire feeder

Specifications

  • Processes: Flux Cored (FCAW)  MIG (GMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Mild Steel welds up to 1/8 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Aluminum with Spool-gun, Stainless Steel welding.
  • Input Voltage: 110/115/120 V 60Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: DC.
  • Rated Output: 70A/17V/20%  duty cycle.
  • Amperage Range: 35A -88A.
  • Wire-Feed Speed: 0-300 ipm.
  • Weight: 46 (20.9 kg).

7. The LOTOS MIG140 Welder

Image of a lotos MIG 140 Welder

The LOTOS is a solid mid-range MIG/FC welder and one of the few on the list that can handle stainless steel. Great welder from California with aluminum wire feeder that is marketed as an aluminum welder.

It can handle mild and stainless steel up to 3/16″; and Aluminum up to 1/8″ which is in my opinion great for 110v welder.

It has an easy switch for ground cable so you can change polarity (+/-) with ease (FC wires work only on DC) This welder also has a 2T/4T Switch for some longer bits.

How long bits you can release on 110v is questionable, so you can rest your hand and finger while welding.

A full review of this welding machine is here

Sale
LOTOS MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder, Flux Core & Aluminum Gas Shielded Welding with 2T/4T Switch...
  • ★ Aluminum Wire Feeder—The durable high quality aluminum wire feeder offers a much more stable and better welding experience.

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Easy switch for ground cable
  • 2T/4T Switch
  • Aluminum wire feeder

Cons

  • No welding chart supplied
  • There is no generator attachment

Specifications

  • Processes: Flux Cored (FCAW)  MIG (GMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: 18 Gauge – 3/16″
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Aluminum with Spool-gun, Stainless Steel.
  • Input Voltage: 110 V.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: DC.
  • Rated Output: 20% at 90A duty cycle.
  • Amperage: 30 A-140 A.
  • Wire-Feed Speed: 0-100 ipm.
  • Weight: 54 lb.

8. The VIVOHOME Portable Flux-Core Wire

VIVOHOME-Portable-110V-Welder

Best of Chinese 120 bucks FC welders I could find. It has DC output so this flux core welder can actually weld with the flux core wire.

Its very lightweight and you can carry it across the garage or your backyard. It passes the safety regulations for the US and is generally safe for use (as any other welder).

It comes with a horrible welding mask, horrible iron brush and “do not use” welding wire.

My advice, buy a good wire right away, don’t use the one that comes with it.

With a good FC welding wire, this can be a useful little welder. It can serve for tacking stuff around your home or small DIY enthusiasts welding projects like art projects.

Sale
VIVOHOME MIG Welder 130 Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine Portable No Gas 110V DIY Home...
  • NO REACTION WELDER - With convenient flux-cored wire to self-release metal inert gas while welding, this welding machine prevents oxidation of the welded part; A great choice for home repairs and...

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Good wire speed control – easy to customize the rate of feed
  • Compatible with home power supply as it works on 110V power outlet
  • Get into welding with low entry cost
  • Doesn’t need a lot of storage space

Cons

  • Best suited to thin materials, it will really struggle on thick sheets of metal

Specifications

  • Processes: Flux Cored (FCAW)  .
  • Weld Thickness Range: 10 ga. – 1/2 in.
  • Weldable Materials sheet metal or thicker steel with flux-cored welding.
  • Input Voltage: 110 V.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: DC.
  • Rated Power Output: 15% at 105A duty cycle.
  • Amperage Settings: 50 A-120 A.
  • Variable feed control: 10 welding speeds.
  • Weight: 37 lbs.

Flux Core Welder Buying Guide

Most MIG welders can use flux core wires when you change the settings, remove gas canister and change polarity to electrode positive. But then there are these flux core welders
that are solely made for flux core in mind and are the cheaper option.

Then if you decide that the only thing you will be using is FC, maybe the second opinion is better and more wallet-friendly then full MIG welder.

image of money stack

So, let’s take a look at what else needs to go into your purchasing decision:

The Thickness Of The Plate

You want to choose a machine that’s capable of welding a bit more than your usual maximum plate gauge.

Why? Because it’s likely to struggle with your usual maximum – a machine that can handle something thicker will make that weld much easier.

You will also be giving yourself the capacity to weld something thicker if the need ever arises.

As a rule of thumb: the bigger the amperage range, the thicker the plate that you can weld. Make sure to treat this with caution though as some welders buck this trend, so check the manufacturer’s notes before assuming that you can weld thick plate with your preferred choice

Single-Use or Multi-Purpose Use?

Multi-purpose use is possible with any MIG welder, it can use gas or it can go without. This, obviously, gives you more flexibility than a single-use flux core welder but it will cost more.

If you think that you might need to be able to use gas to ensure clean welds, you can invest in a machine that can handle fluxless and flux-cored wire. Both the Hobart Handler 140 and the Lotos MIG140 can deliver excellent results with or without gas.

The Type Of Metal Used

Some welding machines work better than others with different materials. It’s important to note that no flux core welders are capable of working with aluminum whereas you can certainly find a multi-purpose machine that can handle fusing aluminum.

AC or DC

One thing you should pay attention to is whether your machine has AC or DC output. AC outputs don’t produce the best results with flux-core welding.

Though they can fuse to metal plates together weld will be porous and weak, they will also struggle with stainless steel.

So, if you want to work with stainless steel or just want the best quality welds possible – you’d be better off selecting a welder with a DC output mode.

graph of alternating and direct current

The Quality Of The Leads

It might seem like a trivial thing but the quality of your leads matters for flux core welders. If they’re not thick enough, long enough and durable enough – the life expectancy of the leads will vary dramatically and you might end up over-confident about the quality that the machine will deliver.

In general, my advice is to go for the longest lead that you can get. It makes a big difference in the flux core welding experience. For torch (welding guns) leads, you want 10′-24′ and for ground leads 10′-12′.

Not all the supplied leads come in these lengths but it’s something you should bear in mind as the longer the lead, the more easily you can move around the weld without needing to move the welder. It is also good to have a lengthy power cord.

Things To Consider About The Wire

The two important considerations for wire are the diameter of the wire itself and the diameter of the reel that the wire comes on.

A household or light workshop is going to, usually, run a 0.30″ diameter wire and have a 6-inch reel diameter for welding projects.

However, if you think you might want or need to lay some thicker beads, it would be handy if you could also run a 0.35″ flux wire.

We’d also note that a 6-inch reel is going to run out fairly quickly, we’ve found that if your machine can handle an 8-inch reel.

image of the Flux Core welding wire
An example of the MIG wire spool.

You can spend significantly less money on wire this way and it will last longer before it needs replacing too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Weld Aluminum With A Flux Core?

No. You can’t use flux core wire with aluminum. It doesn’t get hot enough and the weld quality would be insufficient.

You need Argon gas to shield the weld in order to weld aluminum (even when the flux core wire says on the packaging it can be used with aluminum there will be small print that says “Argon gas recommended with use”).

If you think you will need to weld aluminum, it’s best to buy a multi-purpose MIG welder.

Do You Push or Pull Flux Core Welding?

The old saying is, “If there’s slag, you drag.” This means that you should always pull (or drag) the welding gun. You point it back at the weld pool and then move it away from the finished weld.

Slag gets trapped when the puddle gets ahead of the arc, so you’re trying to ensure that your wire speed is high enough that you can run the gun ahead of the puddle easily.

Is Flux Core Welding Easy?

Easy is, of course, a relative term but because there’s not too much to consider when setting up for flux core welding, it’s easier than many other forms of welding and welding surface doesn’t have to be pristine clean.

We’d expect most people to be able to be doing some welding within an hour of unboxing their flux welder. Though it may take longer for you to master keeping slag to a minimum as you weld.

Conclusion

We think that the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V is a super deal and it is going to make someone looking for a high-quality flux core multi-purpose welder very pleased, indeed.

However, if you’re looking for welding machines with a lower price then you might want to try the VIVOHOME Portable Flux Core Wire model though remember it’s DC only and won’t handle thick metals very well at all.

Another solid option is the Goplus MIG 130 Welder flux core wire automatic feed Welding Machine and even if the mask in the box isn’t great – it is free and will last for a while until you decide what kind of safety equipment you really want.

Photo of author

Adam Mason

Welder by trade for a decade and more. Now also a web designer and a blog owner. Doing product reviews and writing blogs about welding trade and perks and minuses of being a welder.

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