Last updated on July 8th, 2020 at 12:30 am
For many decades, flux core welders provided engineers with a strong and flexible solution to their everyday welding projects. Flux core welding is versatile, it doesn’t require external shielding gases, and they provide strong welding characteristics. Not to mention, they are an excellent start for beginners. In this guide, we went through all the best flux core welders on the market, and after some tests and trials, we picked only the highly regarded ones. Our featured best flux core welders offer exceptional performance and excellent build quality. Using our detailed user guide, comparison tables, and flux core welder reviews, you will learn everything about these machines and how to pick the best one.
- Best Flux Core Welders – Top 5
- Best Flux-Core Wire Welder Comparison Table
- How to Pick the Best Flux Core Welder
- The Unique Ability of Flux Core Welders
- Bottom Line
Best Flux Core Welders – Top 5
- Forney 140 FC-i
- Power: 120V, AC
- Amperage Range: 140A
- Duty Cycle: 30% @ 90A
- Welds: 24 ga - 1/4 in
- Weight: 19 lb
- Warranty: 1-Year
- Price: $$
- Hobart Handler 100
- Power: 120V, DC
- Amperage Range: 30-100A
- Duty Cycle: 20% @ 80A
- Welds: 18 ga - 3/16 in
- Weight: 44 lb
- Warranty: 3-Year
- Price: $$
- Lincoln Handy Core
- Power: 115V, DC
- Amperage Range: 35-88A
- Duty Cycle: 20% @ 70A
- Welds: 18 ga - 1/8 in
- Weight: 46 lb
- Warranty: 1-Year
- Price: $$
- Goplus MIG-130
- Power: 110V, AC
- Amperage Range: 50-120A
- Duty Cycle: 15% @ 105A
- Welds: 24 ga - 1/4 in
- Weight: 35 lb
- Warranty: 6-Month
- Price: $
- ZENY MIG-130
- Power: 115V, AC
- Amperage Range: 50-120A
- Duty Cycle: 10% @ 105A
- Welds: 24 ga - 1/4 in
- Weight: 32 lb
- Warranty: 1-Month
- Price: $
1. Forney Easy Weld 261 140 FC-i Flux Core Welder
The Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i is easy to set up and easy to use, ideal for light to medium-duty jobs. Capable of welding 24 gauge and up to 1/4 inch mild steel.
With a 30% duty cycle at 90 amps, this flux core welder is extremely easy to set up as it only requires one to plug into a source of power and start. It is durable and reliable with thermal overload protection. Additionally, it’s made of sturdy and rugged construction to ensure it can deliver great work without the fear of breaking down.
Lightweight and easy to move, weighing only 19 pounds. One of the best flux core welders that is suitable for beginners and professionals alike. It also uses Tweco consumables that are easy to find at the local stores. Not to mention, it offers superior welding quality and comes from Forney Industries, a reliable metal fabrication equipment manufacturer.
- This gasless flux core welder works directly through any household outlet without the need for shielding gases. Dispensing a maximum output of 140 amps.
- Has infinite voltage and wire feed speed controls to keep you in full control over the weld.
- It has an easy to use control panel, which makes it perfect for beginners.
- Accepts both 2 and 10 pound wire rolls.
- It also comes with a welding gun, ground clamp, and adapter.
- The wire feed speed is very slow, thus limiting the areas of application.
- The cords to the touch and ground clamp are short.
2. Hobart Handler 100 Flux Core Wire Welder
This flux core welder offers the functionality of MIG without the need for gas. It works on a 20% duty cycle at 80 amps. Capable of welding 18 gauge and up to 3/16 inch mild steel.
This gas-less flux core welder makes a great companion for hobby and home welders. It weighs 44 pounds with a handle on top for easy movement to different job sites. It also comes with everything you need to start at a very good value.
The Hobart Handler 100 is loaded with safety features that protect against harm. Such as overload protection, which shuts down the engine in case you exceed the duty cycle or block the air vents. Also, the short circuit protection, which protects the machine against current overload. In addition to the built-in torch safety feature.
The Hobart Handler 100 is one of the best gasless welder options for home use and hobby welding. It’s ideal for household repairs, auto body jobs, and much more.
- Runs off the available household power outlets with no special power requirements and no shielding gas. Offering a broad output range from 30 to 100 amps.
- It has variable speed wire controls and trouble-free set up that makes it extremely easy to use.
- Features a sturdy feed wire that delivers positive wire feed with the aid of adjustable tension control. It accepts 4 and 8 inch wire spools.
- Equipped with a built-in contactor, which makes sure the wire stay cold until you press the trigger.
- In addition, it allows for 4 adjustable heat settings to control the thickness of the arc. And has a wire feed speed between 90 to 320 inch per minute (IPM).
- The fan can be a bit noisy, which makes its operation a little loud.
- Due to its limited power capabilities, it can be used mainly with thin steel.
3. Lincoln Electric Handy Core Gasless Welder
The Handy Core is perfect for home repairs and hobby welding tasks. It is capable of welding 18 gauge and thicknesses of up to 1/8 inch of mild steel. It can be used for light-duty jobs with a 20% duty cycle at 70 amps.
This flux core welder has a smooth, high-quality feed mechanism that makes welding easy. It has an easy to use control panel and comes with some useful features, including the fan cooling system design and thermal overload protection for extended engine life. In addition to the cold contactor safety feature, which makes sure the wire remains cold until the trigger is pulled.
A compact model that is designed to make welding easy and hassle-free for beginners. Weighs 46 pounds, and has a rugged design and a handle on top. It delivers high-quality welds and good control.
- It connects easily to the existing 120-volt power and offers an output range of 35 to 88 amps.
- Equipped with four output ranges, it’s versatile and easy to set up.
- It offers a wire feed speed of 0 to 300 inch per minute.
- It also comes with many useful accessories, including the welding gun, work cable and clamp, a hand shield, chipping hammer and brush, and one pound .035 flux core wire spool.
- Some of the included accessories are cheaply made.
- Due to the low power output, the welder cannot handle high demands, which may lead to overheating the unit.
4. Goplus MIG 130 Flux Core Welding Machine
The Goplus MIG 130 flux core wire welder works with a self-releasing metal inert gas that prevents oxidation. Weighs only 35 pounds, it has a portable design that allows easy movement, well suited for wide applications around the home.
Designed for household use, this compact flux core welder is durable and made of a sturdy stainless steel body for extended service capability. And comes with a full on and off safety control welding gun.
It offers a duty cycle of 15% at 105 amps. Ideal for welding thin steel and iron up to 1/8 inch comfortably. The gasless wire welder creates a perfect finish making it suitable for simple home repair and maintenance jobs.
Comes with everything you need to start, including wires, brush, mask, and ground cord. It’s a portable flux core welder that is ideal for light-duty use. It may have a few cons, but nothing one cannot work around for its price tag.
- Easy setup and plugged into any household plug. Offers flux core welding, which does not require an extra shielding gas with an amperage range from 50 to 120 amps.
- This gasless wire welder has plenty of features such as the 4 levels of welding speed and a 10 level wire feed speed. Easily adjust the rotary knob to make adjustments to the ideal settings.
- It has two air vents that release heat to prevent an overload that is often disastrous to the machine.
- Not to mention, equipped with automatic thermal overload protection.
- The motor overheats when welding for long periods, which may result in the breakdown of the fan.
- It has very short cables that limit the area of welding.
5. ZENY MIG-130 Flux Core Welder
If you are searching for a portable flux core welder that can handle small jobs around the house, the ZENY MIG130 is a great budget-friendly choice. Lightweight and easy to use, it weighs only 32 pounds.
The ZENY provides great results and is extremely easy to use. Equipped with a number of wire feed speed and temperature controls that allow you to use it on materials of varying thickness without running into trouble.
The welder can comfortably weld 24 gauge and up to 1/4 inch mild steel and stainless steel, with a 10% duty cycle at 105 amps. It has safety features that increase protection during welding. These include a full on and off torch safety control and automatic thermal safety control.
It’s a handy tool for small repairs and jobs at home. The plug and play welder makes it easy for newbies to learn to weld while producing good results. With low and high-temperature controls, you can weld materials of varying thicknesses with ease.
- A flux core welder that offers a current range from 50 to 120 amps, and can be easily plugged into any household power outlet.
- With a variable wire feed speed and 4 heat adjustment settings, you can have more control over the weld.
- The adjustable gasless MIG welder comes with a metal tip that helps in creating a smooth, slag-free weld.
- It comes with some useful features including, a mask, a welding torch with 2 tips, a welding spool wire, chipping hammer and brush, and ground cord.
- The metal tip needs a few knockoffs while in operation to work efficiently.
- The short duty cycle limits its usefulness for extended periods of time.
Best Flux-Core Wire Welder Comparison Table
|Feature/Product||Forney 140 FC-i||Hobart Handler 100||Lincoln Handy Core||Goplus MIG-130||ZENY MIG-130|
|Type||AC, Flux-Core||DC, Flux-Core||DC, Flux-Core||AC, Flux-Core||AC, Flux-Core|
|Input, Phase, Hertz||120V, 1PH, 60Hz||120V, 1PH, 60Hz||115V, 1PH, 60Hz||110V, 1PH, 60Hz||115V, 1PH, 60Hz|
|Open Circuit Voltage||N/A||40V||29V||37V||37V|
|Duty Cycle @ Amps||30% @ 90A||20% @ 80A||20% @ 70A||15% @ 105A||10% @ 105A|
|Wire Diameter||.030 to .035 Inches||.030 to .035 Inches||.035 Inches||.030 to .035 Inches||.023 to .035 Inches|
How to Pick the Best Flux Core Welder
A self-shielding flux core welder is a solid choice for people who are just starting to weld, for fixing things around the house, and for professional outdoor welders. One of the main factors to consider when looking for the best rated flux core welder is power. Generally, more power means thicker materials to weld. So, it goes without saying that you ought to think of the type of welding that you will be doing to get the most benefits out of your investment. There are multiple factors to keep in mind when picking the best flux core welder for your needs. Below we will go through some of the most important features to look for in flux core self-shielding welders.
Some flux-cored welders run on 110V or 220V power, and some can run on both. A 110V flux core welder is a good choice if you intend to do most of your work around the house, so you can easily connect to any available household power outlet. On the other hand, a 220V flux core welder is better suited for more demanding tasks or industrial projects. You may also consider going for one with dual-voltage. Generally, a welder with a higher voltage can generate a higher amount of heat; thus, they are able to weld thicker materials.
The amperage range of welders will give you a clue of just how thick or thin of materials it can weld. Flux core welders alter their amperage along with the wire feed speed, the faster the feed, the more contact; thus, more heat is generated. So a flexible amperage output range is a good choice. However, most flux core welders have a restricted amperage, so this flexibility is a bit limited. That said, not all welders are made the same, so it’s important to read the capabilities of your machine and not solely depend on the numbers.
It’s also important to check the duty cycle. A welder with a 20% duty cycle at 70 amps, means you can weld for two minutes then wait for another eight minutes before welding again. It’s a cycle of a 10-minute set, and it is dependent on the amperage load used.
Flux-cored electrodes come in different sizes. The most common sizes for light to medium industrial use are .023, .030, .035, and .045. The wire also has a particular classification from the American Welding Society. For example, you may find a standard flux-cored wire as E71T, which is classified as E for electrode, 7 for the minimum tensile strength in 10,000 pounds per square inch of a weld, 1 refers to the ability of welding in all positions, and T refers to the tubular electrode.
If there is a shielding gas, C or C/M will be added to the end of the classification. In this case, C refers to only carbon dioxide, and C/M implies that argon gas can also be used.
Making Your Choice
Other features you should consider include thermal overload protection to make sure your machine is running safe, the wire feed speed so it would match your work rate, and portability. Finally, the quality of your machine will make a huge difference in your welding quality and experience. Look for a top rated flux core welder from reputable brands, read the reviews, and always check the warranty. Also, check our best flux core wire welders comparison list, as we frequently update it with newer or better products, in an effort to only feature the best of what the market has to offer. And as always, make sure to have the necessary safety equipment before welding, including gloves and a suitable welding helmet.
The Unique Ability of Flux Core Welders
Flux Core Arc Welders (FCAW) use a tubular electrode, continuously fed through a gun. Heat is then introduced to the continuously fed electrode, melting it, and forming a welding pool.
Strictly speaking, flux core is a distinct type of wire, which is used within a standard wire feed welder. Its main characteristic is the flux inner core. While MIG welding relies on external shielding gases to protect the weld from contamination, flux core welding relies on the flux coat within the wire. As the flux core wire melts to create the welding pool, the flux coat also melts and acts as a shielding gas.
The result is a solidified slag, which will need to be smoothed out. Despite that this may sound like extra work, however, it’s actually beneficial as it helps to maintain the structural bonds and properties of the metal. They are also one of the most accessible types of welders to use. They provide great flexibility that no other welder can do, such as welding rusty or painted metals, working outdoors with no external shielding gas, and much more.
One of the primary purposes of using flux core is the ability to weld outdoors freely. It is not affected by the wind even without using an external shielding gas. In addition, they provide a great deposition rate, which yields increased productivity. Moreover, flux core welding works in all positions, flat and horizontal, on a wide range of different materials. They can even work on worn-out welds and protect it from abrasion. Self-shielding flux core welders help remove the impurities of dirty metals that other types of welders can not handle, such as oxidation.
Flux core welders are widely utilized in steel structural projects, such as bridges and buildings. They are also commonly used in ship and vessel construction. Not to mention, they are a great choice for hobby and home shop use, they can be used on pipes, fences, HVAC systems, and much more.
Difference Between Solid and Flux Cored Wires
For wire feed welders, there are two main types of wire to choose from, flux cored and solid wire. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.
Solid wire is commonly used for home and industrial projects. In this process, the shielding gas is required to ensure the weld pool remains free of contamination from the environmental elements.
- Solid electrode wire and shielding gas create a better-looking weld, providing lower spatter levels.
- Lower spatter results in less cleaning time.
- The arc is soft and less likely to burn through the welding materials.
- Great for thin metals.
- More forgiving if the operator is somewhat erratic in holding the arc length or providing a steady travel speed.
- Less portable since a bottle of external shielding gas and other additional equipment is required.
- This method doesn’t work well in environments prone to wind or breeze.
- MIG has a soft arc that will not properly weld thicker materials.
The difference in flux core and solid wire electrode is the flux coating found on the flux core wire. This coating creates a specific area around the weld pool, which cools much faster than the wire itself. Flux core wire is also called a self-shielding wire, meaning there is no need for an external shielding gas tank.
- They have a high deposition rate, which makes them great for welders who try to maintain low costs.
- Flux core wire can also be used on materials that are rusty, dirty, or oily.
- Optimal for the outdoors and windy conditions. Portable as there is no need for carrying an extra shielding gas can.
- Has deeper penetration properties, thus suitable for thicker materials.
- More diverse welding positions such as overhead and directly above due to the coating that cools and directs where the weld pool is concentrated.
- It is not recommended for materials thinner than 20 gauge.
- This process creates slag and spatters that may need extra cleaning and sanding.
- The settings of the wire and the angle has to be precise.
- Produces smoke that makes it hard to see the weld.
A flux core welder is a fantastic handy tool that is perfect for iron art projects, working around the house, outdoor metal fabrication, and much more. And as long as you have the proper safety equipment, then prepare to enter a new world of exciting welding possibilities. We hope by now, you could learn the main features and options of the best flux core welder for the money. Using our user guide, detailed comparison tables, and flux core welder reviews will give you a view of the best of what the market has to offer.