Using a flux core welder allows you to weld without the hassle of transporting and connecting a gas cylinder. It uses a “self-shielding” process that uses a hollow wire electrode with flux in the center that protects the weld from external gases.
The best flux core welder is the Hobart Handler 140, which has superior performance and allows you to switch between MIG and flux core with ease.
Benefits of using a flux core unit over a MIG welder alternative includes a greater production of weld per hour and higher quality welds within a single pass. However, if you need to weld aluminum, the flux core process will not work.
Table of Contents
Best Flux Core Welder
|Flux Core Welder
|Hobart Handler 140
|MIG & Flux Core
|20% @ 90A
|Forney Easy Weld 299
|Flux Core Only
|20% @ 80A
|MIG & Flux Core
|30% @ 80A
|GoPlus Automatic Feed
|MIG & Flux Core
|15% @ 150A
|Super Deal PRO
|MIG & Flux Core
|35% @ 60A
Whether you need to weld your chassis frame, suspension or even a garage door, the flux core process makes the process is ideal. It is cheaper and less hassle than the gas alternatives with many people switching to the latest units.
Flux core welders used to have a bad name but they have improved greatly over the years. However, the enhanced design, additional power and cooling functionality have made them a great choice for many professionals and beginners.
Below is a list of the best flux core welders that will weld most carbon steels, nickel based allows, cast iron and stainless steel.
Hobart Handler 140 Flux Core Welder
The Hobart 500559 Handler 140 is both a MIG and flux core welder that easily switches between the two methods. It is able to weld mild steel from 24 gauge up to 1/4 inch and operates from a standard household outlet.
In order to switch between the two methods, simply use the specific flux core wire and select or use the standard wire and connect the gas cylinder.
Other features of the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 include:
- 20% duty cycle @ 90A
- Suitable for 1/4 inch material thickness
- 5 position voltage control
- Industrial cast aluminum wire drive
- Weighs 57 LBS
- Made in the USA
- Includes manufacturers warranty
The Hobart 500559 Handler 140 is the best option for superior performance but comes at an expensive price when compared to other flux core welders. However, the Hobart brand are highly reputable and you have an impressive warranty and additional accessories that you can use with this welder.
Forney Easy Weld Flux Core Welder
For those looking for a more affordable flux welder, the Forney Easy Weld 299 is the best option. It is suitable for flux core welding only and accepts input of 110V or 120V. The brand themselves state that this machine is perfect for beginners due to the ease of using the unit.
Features of the Forney Easy Weld 299 include:
- Welds 24 gauge up to 1/4 inch
- Suitable for 2 and 10 LBS spools
- Compact and easy to use
- 20% duty cycle at 80A
- Welding range between 65 to 80A
Overall, the Forney Easy Weld 299 is the best flux core welder for the money that is perfect for novice users. However, if you plan to tackle larger welding project, the Hobart welder above may be the better option.
LOTOS 110V Flux Core Welder
Another flux core welder than can also be used for MIG welding is this LOTOS unit. This means you are able to weld stainless and mild steel from 18 gauge to 3/16 inch and aluminum from 1/8 inch or thinner.
Other features of the LOTOS MIG 140 include:
- Produces high quality welds
- Includes a 1 year warranty
- Dual digital displays
- 30% duty cycle @ 80A
- 110V input voltage
Overall, it is a versatile MIG and flux core welder that provides great performance at an affordable price. However, it is worth noting that it doesn’t come with the flux wire and this will need to be purchased separately.
GoPlus Flux Core Wire Welder
The GoPlus flux core welder is one of the more popular choices due to the affordable price tag. It is a compact unit that can be used for either MIG or flux core welding by simply switching between the different wires.
Included with this unit is a welding helmet, gun, wire, brush, tip and ground cord to ensure that you can get started straightaway.
Features of the GoPlus Flux Core Wire Welder include:
- 4 settings for controlling the current flow
- 10 levels of wire feeding speeds
- 15% duty cycle @ 105A
- Heavy duty stainless steel body
- Two air vents for superior heat dissipation
- Overheating protected circuit
- Weighs 35 LBS
- Available in black and white
If your main intention is to weld steel and you are on a tight budget, the GoPlus unit is ideal. Whether you are a beginner or simply enjoy welding at home, opting for a cheap flux core welder is a great starting point to the world of welding.
Super Deal PRO Flux Core Welder
The cheapest flux core welder available that has suitable performance for most tasks is the Super Deal PRO unit. It is compact, weighs just 38 LBS and will handle small welding tasks that involves stainless steel or mild steel metals.
As with the GoPlus unit above, this flux core welder also comes with a ground clamp, mask, brush and other components.
Features of the Super Deal PRO Welder include:
- 110V voltage input
- 35% duty cycle @ 60A
- Welding current range between 50 and 120A
- Intuitive control panel
- Adjustable wire speed and temperate control
With a flux core welder as cheap as this unit, you may struggle to tackle large jobs. However, the affordability makes it a great option for those that simply want a welder available or want to use it as a hobby at home.
Flux Core Welder Buying Guide
The use of a flux core welder has been around since the 1950’s. It uses an electric arc to generate heat that then melts and binds the metal to the surface. The process is very much similar to the MIG alternative and they even share some of the same equipment for switching between the two welding methods.
The main difference from the MIG process is the hollow electrode that is used to fill the weld. The flux core process has “flux” in the center of the electrode that is heated by the welding arc and forms an internal gas to protect the weld.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding flux core welders.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Flux Core Process
Investing into the best flux core welder you can get your hands on will come with various benefits, which include:
- Highly versatile and portable
- Doesn’t require you to carry a gas cylinder
- Faster process and can be semi or fully automatic
- Can be used outdoors
- Less cleaning preparation
- Larger material thickness range
- Better shielding in dirty environments
However, it does have some drawback that include:
- Not suitable for aluminum or other ferrous metals
- Can produce residue in or around the weld
- Initial upfront cost of the equipment can be expensive
- More fumes are produced due to the heat
The main reason most people choose a flux core welder is to reduce the need for a gas cylinder. If you are carrying out automotive rustproofing, the flux process will bond to the surface without any issues.
Unlike other methods of welding, a flux core welder requires a constant voltage as they alter the amperage based upon the wire feed speed. Most flux core units have a highly flexible amperage range, which allow them to adjust to suit your requirements.
The majority operate on a 110V or 120V voltage input, which means they plug straight into standard outlets. However, if you are planning on welding thicker materials, a more powerful 220V unit will be required.
The duty cycle is a metric that determines the length of time a welder can weld before needing to cool down. Manufacturers state this measurement as a percentage such as 40% @ 80A. This means that the unit can weld for 4 minutes before needing 10 minutes to cool down whilst operating at 80A.
Protection Against Overheating
Flux core welders are known for producing a lot more heat than other units. This means overheating protection is a major safety requirement in order for the welder to be used for long periods of time. We strongly recommend that the welder you choose has thermal overload protection functionality, which will shutdown the system if it detects the welder is overheating.
Compared against many of the other welding methods, a flux core welder offer the best portability. This is because you do not require a gas cylinder and most are fairly lightweight and include an ergonomic handle for carrying the unit around.
If you require a welder that is highly portable and doesn’t have the hassle of transporting or connecting gas, the flux core process is the best option. It is considered as one of the most effective methods of welding due to the way the metal melts, which is thanks to the flux in the center of the wire.
All of our recommendations cover a broad range of flux core welders that are suitable for beginner or professionals. We highly recommend that you stick with reputable brand that offer warranties and spare parts for peace of mind.