Best Welder For Car Panels and Sheet Metal – Autobody Work (Extensive Reviews 2021)

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Autobody welding is vastly different from any other types of welding. In fact, many people do have problems with it and it is clear that one needs to understand it first before actually being able to do it.

Experts will understand that this way of welding greatly differs from, for example, welding bridge girders or thick plates.

image of the best welders for car panels

It takes special skills to do it, but also the right kind of equipment as well. Thus today we want to talk to you about different types of welding machines that are used in autobody work. With our help, you will be able to understand how to use and implement the best methods in dealing with this type of welding.

Quick Comparison of the Best Welders For Auto Body

Welder ImageNameSpecialsCurrent TypeFeaturesCheck Price
2019 Everlast Power Equipment PowerMTS...
Everlast PowerMTS 251SiDCDigital IGBT Inverter construction, Pulse TIG function, HF and Lift Start for TIGCheck Current Price
Miller Electric Multiprocess...
Miller Electric Multimatic 220AC/DCPro-Set (TIG and stick manual modes), LCD user interface, Auto-Set EliteCheck Current Price
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder...
Hobart 500559 Handler 140DC115V input, Flux core and MIG, 5 voltage settingsCheck Current Price
Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i Welder,...
Forney Easy Weld 261DCCheap, Flux core process, very light and portableCheck Current Price
Stark Professional Portable Electric 240...
Stark Professional Spot WelderDCVery durable, easy to use, can be used with a lot of materialsCheck Current Price
yeswelder MIG 205DS
YESWELDER MIG-205DS10% off Coupon Code:
"OCT 10% WELDPROS"
DCExcellent price to quality ratio, Metal wire drive system, Very high duty cycle, 1 year warrantyCheck Current Price

Best Welder for Car Panels Review

People often regard skill as something that will help with automotive body welding. However, choosing the best welder for body work will make a much greater difference.

1. The Everlast PowerMTS 251Si MIG TIG and Stick 250amp 110V/220V

Everlast’s PowerMTS 251Si welder is their latest fourth-generation digitally controlled multi-process inverter welder and in my opinion the best welder for auto body.

As opposed to the previous models, this one is designed to be extremely versatile.

It is both a stick (arc welder), TIG, and MIG welder as standard but comes with added capabilities.

It offers Synergy MIG, Pulse MIG, and Pulse TIG welding modes. Opposing multi-process welding units do not come with Pulse MIG and TIG welding options, giving the Power MTS 251Si an advantage.

More so, it allows the user to choose between a touchless, high-frequency start or a lift start when using TIG mode. Furthermore, the stick mode provides additional adjustability with hot start intensity and hot start duration controls.

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

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Three welding modes (Pulse-TIG and TIG and Synergic TIG)
  • TIG can lift start or high-frequency start
  • Package includes MIG gun, Stick holder (electrode holder), TIG welding kit, gas regulator and a gas hose, foot pedal, ground cable and a tungsten electrode.
  • Low cost
  • 5-year warranty
  • Doesn’t make a lot of noise
  • Robust build
  • 40% duty cycle for TIG/MIG at a full 250 amps and a 40% duty cycle for Stick at 200 amps
  • The best welder for auto body when it comes to price and what it offers

Cons

  • It’s quite heavy and best not to be moved by one person (80lbs)
  • There’s no AC TIG welding type output (can’t TIG weld aluminum)
  • There is no welding reference chart

Features

  • Processes: MIG (GMAW), TIG (GTAW), Stick (SMAW), .
  • Weld Thickness Range: MIG: 24 ga. 1/2 in.-3/4 in. TIG: 0.15 in. 1/2in.-3/4 in. Stick: 1/16 in.-3/16 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, aluminum.
  • Input Voltage: 120 V/240 V, 50/60Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Rated Output 120V: MIG –150 A at 40%, duty cycle. TIG-150 A at 40%, duty cycle. STICK-100 A at 40%, duty cycle.
  • Rated Output 240V: MIG –250 A at 40%, duty cycle. TIG -250 A at 40%, duty cycle. STICK-175 A at 40%, duty cycle.
  • Welding Wire Feed Speed: 40 IPM – 700 IPM.
  • Amperage Range: 10 A-250 A.
  • Weight: 80 lbs.

Note:

  • Minimum Generator Wattage needed for maximum output on 240V: 11k W
  • Minimum Generator Wattage needed for maximum output on 120V: 5500 W

2. Miller Electric Multimatic 220 Welder

The Miller Electric Multimatic 220 offers adjustable frequency and balance. Additionally, it offers high-frequency starts and pulse settings on the DC side.

It weighs only 56 pounds and is extremely compact. Even though the Miller Electric Manufacturing Company has been making multi-process welding machines for some time now and other fantastic welding products.

This is perhaps the best MIG welder for auto body work that will handle all welding tasks.

Previous welders have had certain limitations when it comes to TIG welding aluminum as it needed an alternating current. Also, welding aluminum and auto body require touching the electrode to the base metal to start the arc in the TIG DC mode. Furthermore, the previous welding machines did not have the ability to pulse.

Read more in this detailed review.

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

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Handles all 4 welding processes – MIG, DC TIG, AC Tig and stick welder
  • QuicktechTM makes switching between welding processes almost effortlessly
  • Reasonable weight (56 lbs)
  • Works with 120 Volt or 240 Volt inputs
  • All the accessories you need to weld are in the box
  • Lift and high-frequency TIG start
  • The LCD screen is very intuitive for control settings
  • 40% duty cycle for MIG at 170 amps welding power
  • You can use shielding gases for both MIG and TIG simultaneously
  • Great safety features

Cons

  • Expensive – so much functionality in one box is not cheap

Features

  • Processes: MIG (GMAW), Flux Cored (FCAW), TIG (GTAW), Stick (SMAW).
  • Weld Thickness: MIG: Mild Steel – 24 ga. – 3/8 in., 18ga. -3/8 aluminum. TIG: 24 ga.-1/4 in. steel and aluminum. DC: 16 ga.-3/8 in.steel.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, aluminum.
  • Input Voltage: 120 V/240 V, 50/60Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: AC/DC.
  • Rated Output 120V: MIG –105 A at 60%, duty cycle. TIG-130 A at 40%, duty cycle. STICK-90 A at 40%, duty cycle.
  • Rated Output 240V: MIG –200 A at 20%, duty cycle. TIG -210 A at 20%, duty cycle. STICK-200 A at 15%, duty cycle.
  • Wire Feed Speed: 60 IPM – 600 IPM.
  • Amperage Range: 20 A-230 A.
  • Weight: 56 lbs.

3. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V

Image of a hobar handler 140

The Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder is s compact wire-feed MIG welder. It is designed to run on 115V household power, allowing for ease of access to a power source.

It has been specifically designed with some generous operating parameters in order to allow welders to weld thin gauge steel of up to 1/4in. This is what makes it ideal for autobody welding car bodywork.

Furthermore, it runs flux-cored steel, aluminum, and solid wire. The best thing about this MIG welding machine is still its versatility.

Besides autobody and thin materials, you can use it to weld heavier metals like chassis repairs or for farm projects that require extra power or even make household repairs. No additional kits are required for this one and it also comes ready for welding work without shielding gas. Read more in this article.

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 is quite easy to setup
  • It fulfils the safety needs
  • 8-foot cord length from the gun
  • 5 voltage settings for output controls
  • 5-year warranty
  • It’s a multi-purpose welder
  • Aluminum wire feeder drive system

Cons

  • The numbers on the welding chart aren’t accurate
  • 20% duty cycle @ 90 Amps

Features

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

4. Forney Easy Weld 261 MIG Welder

The Forney Easy Weld is a very good flux-core welder. It is actually really easy to use and more than light to carry.

Its portability is owed to the fact that it weighs only 19lbs.

Due to its usability, even inexperienced welders can use it. The Forney Easy Weld also comes with infinite voltage and wire feed speed control.

This welding machine is ideal for all types of repairs and jobs that you might think of.

It is perfect for do-it-yourself projects, all types of repairs like exhaust systems, maintenance, and metal fabrication. It suffices to say that it is a useful automotive welder as it works well in welding thinner patch panels.

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
  • Very easy to use
  • Infinite rotary knob for machine settings like voltage and wire feeding speed
  • Very light and portable machine at only 19lb
  • Ergonomic carrying handle
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • The ground clamp could be better
  • Plastic wire feeder

Features

  • Processes: Flux Cored (FCAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Mild steel – 24 gauge metals up to 1/4″.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum.
  • Input Voltage: 120 V power outlet, 50/60 Hz
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Rated Output: 90 A at 30% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Range: 140 A.
  • Includes: 8′ MIG gun, 8′ ground clamp, and 20A – 15A adapter.
  • Wire Feed Speed: Infinite wire feed speed control.
  • Weight: 19 lbs.

5. Stark Professional Electric 240 Volt Portable Welder

The Stark Professional Electric is a portable, air-cooled spot welder. Its advantage is that it is capable of making strong spot welds in a wide range of materials.

Thus, you can weld steel and cast iron with ease using this machine. Additionally, it has the capability of welding galvanized steel, uncoated mild steel, and stainless steel.

This coat welder uses 6-inch tongues that are firmly locked onto the materials, allowing for easier usage. It also acts as one of the best welder for auto body work. Allowing users to easily make quick repairs to your automobile.

Stark Professional Portable Electric 240 Volt Spot Welder Machine Welding Systems DIY Welding Tips...
  • Single Phase Design - Easily weld together different types of materials with the single phase design. Simple welding mechanism allows you to quickly insert the materials and press to weld

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

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Easy to operate.
  • Quick press and release mechanism.
  • Can work on a variety of materials.
  • You can use other thongs with it.
  • Well-constructed and durable.

Cons

  • A bit heavy
  • Doesn’t come with a plug

Features

  • Type: Spot Welder.
  • Voltage: 240 V.
  • Amp: 16 A.
  • Throat Depth: 6 in.
  • For Materials: Uncoated galvanized, mild and stainless sheet steel.
  • Thickness Range: Mild steel up to a combined thickness of 1/8″ sheet steel.
  • Overall Dimension: 18-1/2 in. (L) x 4-1/2 in.(W) x 7-1/2 in. (H).

6. Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder Machine 120V

As the previous spot welder we mentioned, the Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder 120V provides the same usability and portability.

First of all, a simple press and weld system that it has is perfect for novice users. It allows you to do a lot in a short amount of time. Furthermore, it is useful for working on different types of materials together.

The single phase design allows you to weld various types of grades of steel and cast iron. But, perhaps it is most useful for welders for auto. You can make quick work of your auto repairs and fix any kind of exterior damage that occurs.

Stark Professional Portable Spot Welder Machine Electric Welding Systems DIY Welding Tips with...
  • Single Phase Design - Easily weld together different types of materials with the single phase design. Simple welding mechanism allows you to quickly insert the materials and press to weld

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

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Quick press and release mechanism.
  • Can work on a variety of materials.
  • Well-constructed and durable.

Cons

  • A little heavy for a mobile spot welder.

Features

  • Type: Spot Welder.
  • Voltage: 120 V.
  • Amp: 13.5 A.
  • Throat Depth: 6 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Uncoated mild, galvanized, or stainless sheet steel.
  • Weld Thickness Range: Mild steel up to a combined thickness of 1/8″ sheet steel.
  • Overall Dimension: 18-1/2 in. (L) x 4-1/2 in.(W) x 7-1/2 in. (H).

7. Miller Electric MB55A-510 Torch Oxy-Acetylene Tough Cut Outfit

What the Miller Electric MB55A-510 unit offers are the same welding capabilities that you will find on some far more expensive items.

It is more than versatile and you better make sure to check its capabilities before going ahead and spending more money on a different one.

Furthermore, it has a multitude of applications and can be used for a wide range of materials.

Use it of farmwork, ranch, refrigeration, light fabrication, or any other kind of repairs or welding projects that you need. But in this case, we value it as one of the best welder for automotive sheet metal. It can cut up to 6 inches and comes with optional tips.

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

Pros & Cons Summarized

Pros

  • Great for autobody work
  • Most competitively priced and complete Oxy-Acetylene Outfit
  • Made in USA
  • 3 Years warranty
  • Weld material up to 3/8 of an inch, cut up to 6 inch steel

Cons

  • Kit does not include the flashback arrestors. They are important to stop the flame from going back into the supply line. Miller does sell them separately.
  • Included friction lighter could be of better quality
  • Glasses lack coverage

What’s included

  • Torch Handle (WH100)
  • Cutting Attachment (CC509P)
  • Oxygen Regulator (30-100-540)
  • Acetylene Regulator (30-15-510)
  • Cutting Tip (MC12-1)
  • Welding tip (MW205)
  • Heating tip (MT603)
  • 20-ft 3/16″ Twin Hose (RL935)
  • Friction Lighter (16571)
  • Safety Glasses (78000)
  • Regulator Mount Check Valves (H698)
  • Operations Manual

Car Panel Welding Tips

It is important to know that welding thinner materials, like in this case auto body, is much more different and more difficult than working on thicker ones like bridge girders or thick plates.


Read more on welding sheet metal


When fixing thick metal pieces we rarely have to worry about heat distortion and metal warping.

image of a welded car panel

Thick materials resist distortion not only due to their bulk. They also have the tendency to act as their own heat sinks. Opposed to dealing with thicker materials, an auto body welder will need to have specific skills and knowledge on how to do it.

MIG Welding Tips for Car Panels

MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding is the most commonly used type of auto body repairs.

The process of MIG welding involves continuously feeding the weld area with a wire (filler metal) along the weld seam. The wire carries current and is surrounded by an inert shielding gas at the weld. The inert gas from the gas bottle is constantly fed through the hose of the gun along with the wire. The most commonly used shielding gas for sheet-metal welding is C-25, 25% CO2 and 75% argon mixture.

In order to master the perfect MIG welding auto body, there are several things that you need to take into account.

Firstly, you need to make sure you have an accurate gas flow. You need to set it by using a regulator. The best range is 10 to 20 CFM combined with a .023- to .025-inch wire. Secondly, amperage settings are of critical importance.

Amperage is set by the wire feed speed and welding metal of different thickness requires a different feed speed. Finally, there are voltage settings to think about as well. Better MIG machines come with continuous voltage settings while the cheaper ones have step settings.

TIG Welding Tips for Car Panels

TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is probably the most skill-required type that we have.

However, even though it requires a lot of knowledge and understanding of complex terms, it can also be completed without any problems without so much technical understanding.

Basically speaking, a TIG welder will be able to perform a job well even without the specific technical knowledge needed.

image of car panel TIG welding

Therefore, TIG welders are at the same time the most individualistic operators. Some prefer using air-cooled torches while others employ liquid-colled machines that may require a water supply. It is hard to debate which option is better. But there is no doubt that TIG welding provides the best results when used properly.

Spot Welding Tips

The spot is a welding process that has been used in the automotive industry since the 1930s. This process does not use flux nor filler. It is done by using a concentrated short circuit and by putting strong physical pressure on a small spot.

This is usually applied to as many as three thicknesses of body metal in order for it to be joined together.

Spot welds are actually easy and quick to make. Furthermore, they are really neat and strong.

image of a spot welder

As far as modern vehicles go, they depend on somewhere between 3,000 to 4,000 of spot welds to hold the surface together.

Even though this process is seen as the best welder for sheet metal, there are some shortcomings to it. For instance, it is considered prone to corrosion particularly in areas where it can attract moisture.

Oxy-Acetylene Welding Tips

This is an older type of method that is rarely used today. However, it still has its usage but mostly when it comes to electric welding.

Although it is mostly inferior to modern methods there are still situations when torch welding could prove to be useful.

Torch welding generates a lot of heat, about 6,300 degrees F, which also increases the probability of distortion or collateral damage that needs to be taken care of after the process is done.

image of oxy car welding

Welders are advised to use electric techniques for sheetmetal work for those reasons. In order to complete the work by using the oxy-acetylene method, it would require a lot of skill, as opposed to MIG welding for instance, so it is not really favorable to use it.

Your Budget

Money can be a determining factor when getting your auto welder machine. If you are contemplating on getting a cheaper one, you should do so only if you have budget constraints. But if you want to think in the long run, investing in a quality unit from better welder manufacturers will make a whole lot of difference.

A lot of people opt for a short term solution and end up buying a low-priced, low-quality machine. Professional welders for auto restoration should invest in a quality unit. It makes much more difference as you can do a better job and it will last much longer.

You don’t really want to end up buying new welders in short time spans. Better invest in a good one that will work with your welding project in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

Will welding damage electronics?

If the welder is extremely careful there is no danger of damaging the electronics. However, just in case, the vehicle’s car battery should be disconnected before any actual work is done.

Is it safe to weld near a gas tank?

Welding near a gas tank is entirely possible! But there are certain precautions that one needs to think about first. Mainly, even though the gas tank is empty there are still fumes to think about which can easily ignite.

So working on a full gas tank is safer only if there are no leaks. Make sure to check the gas tank for damage because if there are any the gas can fuel the fire for a longer period of time. Employing caution and being extra careful is the best method to follow.

Can you weld exhaust on the car?

Of course, you can weld the exhaust on your automobile. But there are still some precautions that you need to take. Disconnecting the battery is one thing that needs to do in order to not shortcircuit it.

Additionally, you can put a work clamp on the end of the muffler to prevent the current from flowing in the exhaust system. If you take the necessary precautions it will be easy to do it.

What type of welder is used for body panels?

MIG welder is the best option for body panel jobs. It is the easiest one to use and also provides the best results. It is also used for making repairs on various types of materials as well as working with different thicknesses.

Additionally, a TIG welder could also be used but it requires added skill for working with the weld puddle and could prove to be a bit harder to master as opposed to the MIG welders.

How many amps does it take to weld a car panel?

In our opinion, it takes 1 amp per .001 inch of material thickness to make a really decent weld. Thus if you are working on something that is 3 mm thick it will require 110-120 amps.

What type of welding is used on cars?

Generally speaking, there isn’t a definitive welding process when it comes to autobody work. However, the most common type of auto body welders are Gas, Stik, MIG, and TIG.

However, a MIG welder is the most versatile one used as it works with a variety of materials as well as different thicknesses. If you have a quality machine you will be able to finish all kinds of necessary welding jobs.

Conclusion

As you were able to see auto body work is not so easy as you might think. It certainly takes skill and welding technique but the choices that welders need to make in terms of the unit that they plan to use are much more important.

Be sure to study everything about the machines that you are planning to use and also check out their duty cycles. Only then will you be able to ensure that you have a good piece of equipment for the specific job that you are planning to do. Also, don’t forget to follow all safety precautions that are required when welding.

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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