Do you like to restore a classic car? What about improving the look of your own car? You might need a welding machine for auto body work to help you accomplish your car repair and restoration goals. Since there are different types of welders out there, it’s important to learn more about the uses and benefits of these types and get a more concrete idea about which of these welders are better for your needs.
First determine what kind of metal you will be working with. How thick is it generally? Most cars have metals with a narrow range. Make sure you choose a welder that is capable of working with such kind of metal. Steel is also a common choice, but some cars may be made from aluminum frames.
We checked out what is out there and curated your choices to the best ones intended for automotive use. Find out which products we highly recommend getting.
Types of Welders for Auto Body Work
Here are the most common types of welders frequently used for auto body work:
TIG Welding Machines
This type of welding machine makes use of tungsten electrodes that is non-consumable as well as a shielding gas to ensure the metal does not get contaminated. This is ideal for auto body work because of its flexibility in positions. That means you can get full control and precision on your work, which is needed for auto body work.
Another thing that is great about this type of welder is that it doesn’t cause the metal to spatter. Cosmetically, this is an ideal choice. The structure and strength of the end result is also better.
Ease of usage is also one of its strongest suits. Through a hand or foot controller, you can easily adjust the head density. This will allow you more control over what you are doing, which makes way for better output. You also have the option of welding most types of metals and that includes steel and aluminum. Very minimal distortion is achieved when you use this kind of welder due to its precision.
The downside to this is that the process can be a bit slower. There is also usually a longer learning curve. If you are a beginner, you might find using this welder more challenging. Additionally, TIG welding machines are also pricier than others.
Stick/ARC Welding Machines
These types of welders made use of flux-coated or consumable kind of electrode. You need to use a metal for the type of weld you are performing. For instance, if you are welding cast iron, you also need to use cast iron. While you can work in any position using this type of welding device, it usually results to more sputter when welding overhead.
Since it doesn’t need gas coating, it is virtually unaffected y weather conditions. So, whether you are working in high wind, drafty or humid conditions, you can still use this welding device with ease. These units are also the least expensive.
The problem with this is that it is usually better for thicker metals but not for the thinner ones. Some additional cleaning step might also be needed in order to get the desired results.
MIG Welding Machines
This is the top choice of many welders doing auto body work. A kind of thin metal is fed into a tube that reaches the head of the welding machine. There is a shielding gas flowing in the tube. This is the best choice for beginner welders as it doesn’t require too much time to learn. In fact, you can learn how to use it properly in just an hour.
It also has more flexibility when it comes to the type of metal it can weld. It can work with different metals such as stainless steel and aluminum. You can work with metals as thin as ¼ inch. You can also assume different positions when welding. If you do a lot of overhead welding, you shouldn’t have issues with sputters with this welding machine. You can also significantly cut back on work time as this type of welder is a fast worker.
Best Welder for Auto Body Work Reviews
We highly recommend getting the following welders for auto body work:
- SUNCOO 130 MIG Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine
- Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder
- Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
- Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder Flux Core Welder
These are the features that make these products the best:
1. SUNCOO 130 MIG Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine
This MIG welder does not make use of gas. That means you can work using any position you prefer. It is compact and portable. You don’t have to worry about having a big set-up when you are working on a car. You can also rely on this to work on thinner kinds of metals such as iron and steel. The end result is clean and precise with no dangers of oxidation on the welded area.
You can also easily control this welding machine. It comes with 4 buttons for easier flow adjustment. Wire can be fed through it easily as well through a rotary knob that you can seamlessly adjust.
- This is one of the most inexpensive kits out there. If you are on a tight budget, this should be a great choice for your needs.
- The variable speed controller allows you to get full control over what you are working on, to get more precise and clean results.
- The unit itself seems well-made and durable. The exterior casing is made from a heavy-duty stainless-steel material that can last for a long time.
- It is convenient and portable. There is a top handle that you can use to easily carry this around. It is also quite lightweight.
- Many said this worked faster than many of the welders they have tried in the past. It also performs quieter than other brands.
- Some just had issues setting it up because of the lack of substantial instructions.
2. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder
If you plan on working with different kinds of metals for your auto body work, this is the best choice for you. It can work on a host of metals such as magnesium alloys, aluminum, copper, titanium, brass and cast iron. You can use this for more than just your auto body purposes. It has a 20% heavy duty cycle, which should be good short-term operations. You can also take advantage of its 5-position voltage selector, which allows you to choose the best setting to get a smoother and a more stable result.
- This unit will allow you to weld up to ¼ inches of steel.
- It has a wide range of uses and can work with different kinds of metals
- This unit has a good percentage of duty cycle, which means you can work longer without requiring rest.
- Its industrial performance guarantees the best results.
- You shouldn’t have issues setting this up.
- It is easy to work with, even when you are working with more delicate materials.
- It is lightweight with just 57 lbs. of weight.
- It comes with a limited warranty.
- Some said the cooling fan is a bit noisy.
- This unit is a bit expensive.
3. Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder
Whether you like to work with shielding gas or you prefer flux-cored wire, this should be an ideal choice for your needs as it can accommodate both. Use this for auto body work as it can weld steel of up to 1/8-inch in size. It is compact and lightweight and can be easily brought anywhere you like. The wire feed speed controller is completely adjustable, for you to get the speed you want.
- It is a nimble welding device that makes this so easy to use on different kinds of projects.
- You can use either a shielding gas or a flux core.
- It features a cold contractor safety. This means if the welding machine is not being used or the trigger is not pressed, it stays cold.
- You have everything you need in this kit.
- This comes with a warranty.
- There are customers who said they wished there is a gauge that comes with the regulator.
4. Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder Flux Core Welder
You can weld mild to stainless steel materials, aluminum and many other metal components. Inside it there, it features transformer technology that ensures this unit is the most durable out there. Set-up for this only takes minutes. There is also a wire speed display, which can help in preventing crushing and tangling of the wires.
- This is an easy-to-use welding system that comes with many adjustable features.
- It comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
- Set-up only takes a few minutes.
- Safely weld with its thermal overload protection system
- It is a more expensive unit.
Which One Should You Choose?
With all these amazing products, you might be having a hard time deciding what to choose. Here are some points to consider:
Affordable Price But Good Quality: SUNCOO 130 MIG Welder Flux Core Wire Automatic Feed Welding Machine. This unit gives the best of both worlds with an affordable unit that performs the task as if it is a more expensive one. If you are on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice quality, go for this one instead.
Industrial Quality: Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder. If you are looking for a welding machine that you can rely on for difficult jobs and to work on different kinds of metals, we highly recommend this one.
Perfect for Smaller Projects: Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder. If you are working with more delicate metals or for smaller projects, get this one. It has just the right features to accomplish these tasks.
Durable Welder: Lotos MIG140 140 Amp MIG Wire Welder Flux Core Welder. This unit has a transformer inside, so you can rely on this for a long time. It has durability to boast of.
Tips in Buying the Best Welder for Auto Body Work
To make sure you are buying the right one, here are a few things you need to consider to get the best welder:
1. Check the amperage.
Amperage plays a big role when it comes to how much power it can emit. If you are working with thinner metals or metals with up to 3/16ths of thinness, you need amperage of at least 100 amps and up to 130 amps in order to get the best results. If you are working with thicker steel, or steel materials that go as thick as 1.4 inches, you need as much as 180 amps to produce good results.
2. Find out how it deals with the heat transfer.
Usually, your power supply will lower down the voltage input to 220V or even 120V, so that it can produce a considerable amount of current. However, if you do this, the unit will produce more heat that can affect its circuitry. The unit should have a way to displace that heat or you could end up with a power supply failure. That said, you should look for a high duty cycle. The higher the rating for the duty cycle, the longer you can run your welding device without letting it rest to prevent overheating.
3. Consider spending a bit more money on more features.
In the case of welding devices, the more money you spend, the more features you can get. These are the features that can affect the output, workability and end result of the unit. That means if you are getting a cheap welder, you will also most likely get cheap and unsatisfactory results.
Which of our recommendations do you like the most? Make sure you click the links of the products you think fits your needs best. You can also head to our homepage for more ideas on different welding tools and safety gear. Check out our product reviews and buying tips.