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Reviews

Mastercraft Flux Core Welder Kit

Canadian Tire routinely puts this welding kit on sale around $350.  For that you get a flux core MIG welder that can be converted to traditional gas shielded MIG, a cart, and a helmet.   Add a pair of gloves and a cheap angle grinder and you have a perfect setup for someone who wants to learn to weld, or just do occasional small jobs at home.  It runs on 110 Volts so you don't need any extra electrical work to your garage, and it can weld up to 3/16 steel.  Flux core does create more splatter and more slag than gas shielded welding, but for small projects that is simply a minor inconvenience.  All that said, if you are a skilled welder or if you plan on large projects you probably will find the low heat, slow speed, and short duty cycle of this welder annoying and you are going to want a 220 Volt gas shielded MIG welder, but if you are a skilled welder you probably knew that already.  

* * If you are a rookie do NOT weld anything structural such as suspension mounts or tow points until you have a significant amount of practice, including feedback from a skilled welder.  A weld can look great to the untrained eye but have barely enough strength to keep it from falling off the steel.   Cutting your weld in half can let you see how your penetration is, trying to chisel the weld off the steel will tell you if the weld is really fused to the steel, and there's nothing like whacking it with a sledge hammer to really tell how strong the weld is. When you can bend the steel around your weld before your weld fails then you are doing OK. 

This is a perfect example of why I wanted a welder:  When I changed from a bottom-mount winch to a face-mount Warn 8274 I had to change the location of the fairlead mounting holes.   It only took a couple of minutes to weld a scrap of steel into the old hole. 

Naturally a welder that is one of the cheapest on the market is not going to have the quality, consistency, or longevity of a good name brand welder, but for 1/3 the price it is a good way for someone to get into welding or good for someone who just needs to do occasional small jobs.  If you are doing big projects, are under time pressure, or are used to a higher quality machine then save up for something better.