Best MIG Welding Wire (Buyers Guide and Reviews for 2020)

image of the best mig welding wires

Welders seeking the best possible welding wire are often left confused by the number of options available to them – fortunately, it’s quite easy to narrow down your options and pick the right wire for the job once you know how to look at these products.

So, to help you find the right wire for your work, we’ve tested a bunch of different MIG wires and worked out the key properties that separate their performance on different tasks. So, all that’s left for you to do is read our guide and see which of the wires in our reviews is going to be best for your project.

If you want to check our reviews of the best MIG welders visit this page

Just a quick shout out guys! Rest assured that I put these products on the list due to their quality and my personal opinion as, let’s say, experienced welder (burn marks, ruined eyesight, and all).

I just want to be transparent with you and inform you that my site Weldingpros.net may obtain a share of sales or other monetary compensation from the links on this page.

So, buddy, I hope that using this article you pick the best welding wires and put some nice bits on that metal (and if not just grind it a little ;)).

Adam Mason ♠

Best MIG Welding Wires Quick Comparison

Image
Best For Money
INEFIL ER70S-6 .030-Inch on...
Editors' Choice
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO ER70S-6 L-56, 12.5...
Hobart H305406-R22 10-Pound ER70S-6...
ER70S-6 - MIG Mild & Low Alloy Steel...
Harris E70S6F9 ER70S-6 MS Spool with...
Brand Name
INEFIL ER70S-6 .030-Inch on...
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO ER70S-6 L-56, 12.5...
Hobart H305406-R22 10-Pound ER70S-6...
ER70S-6 - MIG Mild & Low Alloy Steel...
Harris E70S6F9 ER70S-6 MS Spool with...
Rating
Prime
-
-
-
Made in:
Italy
Mexico
China
China
China
Contains additional deoxidizers
Best For Money
Image
INEFIL ER70S-6 .030-Inch on...
Brand Name
INEFIL ER70S-6 .030-Inch on...
Rating
Prime
Made in:
Italy
Contains additional deoxidizers
Editors' Choice
Image
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO ER70S-6 L-56, 12.5...
Brand Name
LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO ER70S-6 L-56, 12.5...
Rating
Prime
-
Made in:
Mexico
Contains additional deoxidizers
Image
Hobart H305406-R22 10-Pound ER70S-6...
Brand Name
Hobart H305406-R22 10-Pound ER70S-6...
Rating
Prime
-
Made in:
China
Contains additional deoxidizers
Image
ER70S-6 - MIG Mild & Low Alloy Steel...
Brand Name
ER70S-6 - MIG Mild & Low Alloy Steel...
Rating
Prime
-
Made in:
China
Contains additional deoxidizers
Image
Harris E70S6F9 ER70S-6 MS Spool with...
Brand Name
Harris E70S6F9 ER70S-6 MS Spool with...
Rating
Prime
Made in:
China
Contains additional deoxidizers

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Best MIG Welding Wire Review

1. INEFIL ER70S-6 .030-Inch on 10-Pound Spool Carbon Steel MIG Solid Welding Wire

Given the incredibly low price of this mig wire, you’d be forgiven for expecting a low level of performance but we think you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as we were. This is produced in Italy from high-quality materials and it’s received the approval of several professional bodies too. We found that it produced particularly smooth welds and there was so little splatter that we wondered if there was something wrong at first, there wasn’t – the INEFIL ER70S-6 is just that good.

We have heard that this MIG wire can occasionally arrive cross-wound but that wasn’t the case with our order which turned up in an excellent condition with no rust or flaking either. If you want to tackle projects with Carbon steel and/or Carbon-manganese-steel and you’re happy to shield with Argon/CO2 or pure CO2, this is probably going to be the best welding wire you can buy and at an incredible price point.

INEFIL ER70S-6 .030-Inch on 10-Pound Spool Carbon Steel Mig Solid Welding Wire
  • Low spatter, High feedability, Porosity free, Good bead appearance, Easy to weld
  • Shielding gas is required: 80-percent Ar+20-percent CO2 or 100-percent CO2,All Positions, Single and multi pass welding
  • Mig solid welding wire for Carbon and Carbon-Manganese steels
  • Made in Italy from the finest quality materials using state of the art technology under highly respected labor conditions

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features
  • Suitable for single pass or multi-pass welding.
  • Applications include tanks, boilers, steel structural works, earthworks and construction works.
  • To be used under the shield of Ar+CO2, Ar+O2 or CO2 shielding gas
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Creates very little spatter
  • Porosity free
  • Feeds well into almost all welding machines
  • The price is reasonable (low to medium)
  • It flows very nicely
  • The copper coating doesn’t end up interfering with the tip or the liners
  • Can tackle dirty steel with no problems at all

Cons

  • Some users have reported that they received damaged plastic reels of this MIG wire

2. Lincoln Electric, ED023334, MIG Welding Wire, L-56.030, Spool

Assuming that you have plenty of storage space and a good budget for welding wire, then you might want to consider the Lincoln Electric ED023334 which is a great quality offering only let down by the requirement to buy big spools every time (12.5 lbs. is a serious quantity).

We found that the bead was among the best appearing of all the wires in our tests. It’s excellent for tackling medium to heavy mill scale base materials and the results of the welds we performed were excellent.

Amazon reviews are also very positive for these brands’ offering with all the customers saying that they rated this welding wire as a solid purchase. It also supports globular, pulsed spray transfer, axial spray and short-circuiting which can add a little more flexibility to the way you work. The only other downside is the price but that’s not as high as it seems – many other reviews seem to have failed to take into account the large quantity of wire you get in return.

LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO ER70S-6 L-56, 12.5 LB Mild Steel Mig Welding Premium Copper Coated Mig Wire
  • Superior weld appearance
  • Excellent arc characteristics
  • Available in a 12. 5lb size

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features
  • Medium to heavy mill scale base material
  • Sheetmetal to 380-485 MPa (55-70 ksi) yield strength material
  • Welding wire can be used for automotive repair, robotic or hard automation, structural steel, pressure vessels
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High levels of manganese and silicon deoxidizers tolerate medium to heavy mill scale surfaces
  • Excellent toe-wetting provides optimal bead appearance
  • Copper coated for long contact tip life
  • Supports short-circuiting, globular, axial spray and pulsed spray transfer

Cons

  • Some users have reported that they received damaged plastic reels of this MIG wire

3. Hobart H305406-R22 10-Pound ER70S-6 Carbon Steel Solid Welding Wire, .030-Inch

The lowest price welding wire in our test was the Hobart H305406. That doesn’t mean that you will be compromising your welding with a bad quality product, though. In fact, the biggest issue with this welding wire was the packaging which was cheap and flimsy. It feels like it was made in China (and it was). We admire cost-cutting in things that ought not to matter but with welding wire, the packaging isn’t completely unimportant and there are several users reporting that they received broken spools of this welding wire.

We found it surprisingly easy to work with and the feed and flow were exactly what we’d want from a good wire. It tackled welding dirty steel with absolute precision and that was a real plus point in our tests. The only other drawback was the amount of spatter created – if you need neat welds, this welding wire is going to take quite a bit more clean up that you might want to be putting in. Otherwise, there’s a lot to recommend the Hobart MIG wire.

Hobart H305406-R22 10-Pound ER70S-6 Carbon-Steel Solid Welding Wire, 0.030-Inch
  • Carbon-steel sound, porosity-free welds with powerful deoxidizers for your work with shielding gases.
  • Great for construction work, farm implement fabrication, shaft buildup, tanks, truck bodies and general shop applications with poor fit-up or rusty, oily plates.
  • 10-Pound spool
  • Country of Origin: Made in China

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features
  • Great for construction work, farm implements, fabrication, shaft buildup, tanks, truck bodies and general shop applications with poor fit-up or rusty, oily plates.
  • Preferred shielding gas is 75%Argon/25% co2 OR 100%CO2.
  • Can be used with straight CO2 shielding gas
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Best price
  • The feed is very consistent
  • The flow is really nice
  • You can easily weld dirty steel
  • Sound, porosity-free welds with powerful deoxidizers for your work with shielding gases.

Cons

  • Some users have reported that they received damaged plastic reels of this product

4. WeldingCity 2 Rolls of ER70S-6 ER70S6 Mild Steel MIG Welding Wire

The price of this welding wire is higher than average but it is worth bearing in mind that this is because you get two rolls for everyone package you buy, this is in stark contrast to all the other products where you only get one. This is handy if you want to keep stock available in the workshop all the time. We found the winding to be really quite precise and the flow of the wire reflected this, it just sailed through at the right speed as we worked. The spatter was kept to a minimum and it always ran smooth.

The appearance of the bead was excellent and we’d have to rate it the best in our reviews for this – other brands simply couldn’t compete. Welders are going to love working with WeldingCity’s products. However, there are a couple of minor grumbles – we don’t understand why the manufacturing date isn’t kept on the packaging, this really ought to be standard for any consumable product for professional use and it’s a bit disconcerting to find it missing here.

We’d also note that though our order arrived in good condition – there are users reporting that they have had broken packs shipped to them. We hope that these are exceptional cases but it’s worth keeping in mind before you order.

WeldingCity 2 Rolls of ER70S-6 ER70S6 Mild Steel MIG Welding Wire 11-Lb Spool 0.030" (0.8mm)
  • Premium quality mild steel MIG welding wire ER70S-6 11-lb spools (2 rolls).
  • SPECIFICATIONS: AWS A5.18/ASME SF A5.18/ER70S-6; 11-lb weight of welding wire; 8-in spool, 2-in center hole; wrapped in moisture-resistant plastic film.
  • WIRE DIAMETER 0.030".
  • PACKAGE of two (2) welding wire spools. US based welding supplier. Strong technical support with experienced customer service to address buyer's any question.

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features
  • 2 rolls in one package
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • We found the feed to be particularly smooth
  • 1 package contains 2 packs of wire
  • The packaging is top-notch
  • We found that the bead appearances were better than average

Cons

  • Some users have reported that they received damaged plastic reels of this product

5. TGB – ER70S-6 – MIG Mild & Low Alloy Steel Welding Wire

Another ER70S-6 product and this time from TGB. We’d say that welders wanting to work with mild steel ought to grab this wire and run with it – it’s absolutely the best in all of our reviews for working with this metal.

The results of the weld are pleasing with a very smooth bead and almost no need to clean up after the weld. The copper plating is very good quality and evenly applied throughout the wire, we found no evidence of damage or flaking during our tests.

It wasn’t the best product in our reviews for dirty-steel but it could handle a bit of rust, oil, or mill scale without breaking down, either. It has one of the largest choice of wire diameters among the MIG welding wires that we tested. Welders are going to find that there’s always a TGB product to match the thickness of the material they will be working with.

Our only real reservation about the TGB product is that, again, some users are reporting that they’ve received broken or damaged reels of the wire.

ER70S-6 - MIG Mild & Low Alloy Steel Welding Wire - 33 Lb x 0.035"
  • ER70S-6 is the most common of the copper-coated mild steel GMAW (MIG) wires for single or multiple pass welding
  • ER70S-6 has the highest combination of manganese and silicon deoxidizers, permitting higher welding currents with 100% CO2 shielding gas and leaving a smoother weld bead with little to zero post-weld...
  • Copper-plated and layer wound. Especially well suited for sheet metal applications or structural plate steels that have moderate amounts of rust oil or mill scale on them
  • Common uses include construction work, farm implement fabrications, general shop applications with poor fit-up or rusty, oily plates, tanks, steel castings or forgings

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features
  • Great for sheet metal applications or structural plate steels which are moderatly rusted
  • Commonly used for construction work, farm implement fabrications, welding shop applications with poor fit-up or rusty, oily plates, steel castings or forgings
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great quality for the price
  • A very smooth weld bead
  • Excellent flow with real consistency
  • The best MIG wire for mild steel

Cons

  • Some users have reported that they received damaged plastic reels of this product

6. Harris E70S6F9 ER70S-6 MS Spool with Welding Wire, 0.035 lb. x 44 lb

The last of the ER70S-6 wires in our tests was the Harris and it certainly isn’t the least of them. That’s not to say that there aren’t challenges with this substantial choice. Firstly, it’s worth noting that it is heavy and you will notice that when you’re working, particularly, if you’re used to working with lighter wires.

However, despite that weight, we didn’t find that there were any real issues with feeding and the MIG wire flows well when you’re working with it. The results we got were very respectable, indeed, and we didn’t feel that the weight was impinging on the finished product at all.

The quality of the spools provided was excellent and we felt that they would last a reasonable amount of time in the workshop. However, this was in direct contrast to the quality of the packaging which was amongst the worst in our test results. They really could do better in this area.

Other users, however, did not have the same experience as us and there are several complaints out there suggesting that broken or corroded spools are being shipped to end-users. So, if you do opt for this wire, we’d recommend getting it from somewhere like Amazon where there’s a money-back guarantee if the delivered product doesn’t meet your expectations.

Harris E70S6F9 ER70S-6 MS Spool with Welding Wire, 0.035 lb. x 44 lb.
  • Contains additional deoxidizers providing a better wetting, giving a flatter bead shape
  • Usually used with 75/25 (argon/C02) shielding gas or with higher contents of argon
  • Can also be used with 100% C02
  • Conforms to AWS A5.18 ER70S-6

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Featuress
  • Contains additional deoxidizers 
  • Commonly used with the 75/25 (argon/C02) or with the higher amounts of argon shielding gas
  • Can be used with 100% CO2 shielding gas
Pros & Cons

Features

  • Won’t miss a beat when welding rusty steel
  • Feeds without a problem
  • Great flow when working
  • The spool offers real longevity

Cons

  • It’s very heavy when compared to other welding wires
  • The packaging is very low quality
  • Quite a few users report that they had received a corroded spool or a broken one

What You Need To Consider When Selecting MIG Welding Wire

The Wire Feed

An example of the high quality wire feed system on the Hobart Handler 140 MIG welder. Image credits: hobartwelders.com

Welding machines each have a different set up for rollers and for the torch nozzle, however, they all have one thing in common – the better the wire you use, the better the wire feed. Poor quality wire interferes with the feed because of irregularities in the surface due to flaws in the coating or material.

The other factor which affects the MIG wire feed is the spool. The wire must be wound onto the spool correctly and at the right level of pressure to ensure that it can unravel effectively when the machine is in use.(1) Poor wire feed makes it much harder to lay consistent MIG welds and thus you’re less likely to get a smooth bead.

The Spatter Volumes

Image of spatter and sparks

  • The spatter is created when the MIG wire melts onto the metal surface. It’s the collection of little blobs of excess material that are sprayed out from the center of the weld during the fusion process.
  • Excess spatter is a serious problem when it comes to productivity in welding as it takes time to clean up the weld.
  • You can reduce the amount of spatter and improve the bead appearance by investing in low spatter welding wires.
  • This is going to make life much easier when using MIG welding and you should find your projects move much faster with a low spatter weld.

The Flow Of The Weld

The more fluidity that your wire provides the easier it’s going to be to control the overall quality of your weld. All MIG wire is designed to melt and that means you’re going to end up pushing it over the joint that you are working on.

If your wire lacks fluidity it’s going to resist being pushed and create an ugly bead appearance and an ugly weld.

Tip:
When you have the level of fluidity you want in the wire, it can help force out impurities from the surface of the metal (think dirt or coatings on the surface) and ensure a clean weld.

The Size Of The Wire

image of spools of various sizes

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the size of the welding wire matters. There are two different sizes to consider when it comes to welding wires: the size on the spool and the wire size itself.

Different welding machines have different spool capacities. This relates to the size of the spindle.

Other machines are going to struggle with certain diameters of welding wires or won’t be able to support them at all. You need to make certain that you know what your machine is capable of using before you buy welding wire.

However, the other thing you need to consider at this point is the type of welding you want to do. 030 welding wire is an all-purpose choice as is 0.035 inch.

The general rule of thumb is simply that the thicker the materials you are welding, the thicker the wire should be. That’s because you’re going to need more material to connect and hold the joint.

The Diameter Of The Wire (Consistency Counts)

You want the wire to flow smoothly through the contact tip and the key to this is to make certain that your wire diameter is constant.

Caution:

If you use a wire that’s too small – you’ll find that it triggers arcing between the top of the tip and the wire itself. Over time, this is going to cause damage to the tip and if you don’t correct it, it’s going to end with the tip fused to the wire.(2) On the other hand, if you use a wire that’s too big you’re going to end up with a blocked tip, the wire will slip and you may end up feeding with too much force – all of which is likely to result in downtime.

The consistency of the diameter of the wire is on the manufacturer. They need to pay attention to the moments when they join wire ends using butt welds – poor butt welds are guaranteed to cause fluctuations in consistency.

Even when your wire only fluctuates within the AWS specified range – you can find that your weld consistency varies by up to 8%.

Manufacturers that want to guarantee consistency in this area can use laser micrometer inspections to deliver a truly consistent MIG wire.

The Chemical Composition Of The Wire

You can probably imagine the reason that the chemical composition of your MIG welder wire is going to affect performance.

The more consistent the composition, the more consistent your performance, the better quality that the final product will have.

In addition, when you use consistent MIG wires you can set your procedures and then forget about them because you won’t need to keep making adjustments as the quality of the MIG wire fluctuates.

You should be aware that while there is an AWS standard for chemical composition – they don’t have any policing for compliance. So, many industries have their own standards for MIG wires. If in doubt, the industry-standard should take precedence.

Some of the typical industry standards are set by Lloyds, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), etc.

The Packaging Of The Wire

One final thing to think about is the quality of the packaging of your MIG wires. The spools are heavy due to the spool size and that means if they’re packed poorly, they can easily burst out of the packing while they’re being shipped.

These can lead to corrosion of the wire as it gets exposed to the air and any moisture in it.

Tip:
We’d recommend that you buy your wire in bulk because it’s going to keep the price down of the inventory (manufacturers are happy to discount because it means less handling, overall, of the wire that they supply). Just remember that having a lot in stock means greater inventory costs for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why Is MIG Welding Wire Copper Coated?

MIG welding wire is copper coated in order to prevent rusting (or oxidation) of the wire below and to reduce the amount of tip wear as well as to promote the ideal level of electrical conductivity.

It’s important that you don’t allow this coating to come off or to leave a residue behind. That’s because this can result in the wire feed becoming clogged as well as the gun becoming clogged.

Keeping the levels of copper in the coating to a minimum will help reduce fumes and flaking while you are welding.

What Is MIG Wire Made Of?

The most common MIG wires are made of Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, or Aluminum. They will tend to have a thickness of between 0.023″ and 0.045″.

However, you can also find wires that include manganese, silicon, and titanium blended with the core components of your wire. That’s because they can help deoxidize the weld and promote a strong arc.

They may also be coated with copper, particularly when you’re looking to work with steel.

What Wire Is Used For MIG Welding?

It really depends on what projects you are working with – the main deciding factor is going to be the metals you are welding – the wire should contain the primary metal.

Then you need to decide on the quality, the thickness, etc. of the wire that is best for the projects you are working on.

Conclusion

The INEFIL ER70S-6 was our biggest surprise, this low price but quality results, wire from Italy was truly excellent. If you’re in need of a product that won’t let you down for the materials that it supports, you can’t go wrong with this wire.

If you’re operating on a budget the Hobart wire is not a bad choice, though the packaging is cheap and we don’t think you’ll want to store this product for very long because of it. However, the price is incredibly attractive.

All of the other wires in our tests performed more than adequately though all of them had some small drawbacks which meant they weren’t quite our top pick too.

The best thing to remember when choosing MIG wire for your project is to review the characteristics you need to get the job done and then select a wire that delivers on those characteristics. You should also consider using a flux core wire and flux core welding
process if your welder allows it and if you are planing on welding in windy conditions.

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