There is not much that you can do with a wire feeder that has maximum output 90 amps, but since that question is asked a lot then I just might as well write an article about it. Most of the welders listed here are quite cheap, they lack in features and because of the small output range, the projects you can work on are VERY limited. But I guess you really can not compare them with premium MIG welders.
I would generally not recommend a beginner to buy 90 Amp machine because it feels a bit like a waste of money, but if you are absolutely sure that’s what you need, then here are listed the top three available on Amazon.
PS: If you are on a tight budget, you can not get the best and most capable welder, but in the end, I will make you two extra recommendations that are worth considering. For few extra bucks, you could get a machine that is way more capable than 90 amp wire feeders. While 90 amps can be enough for thin materials, and perhaps for new metal artists, I would like my readers to get the best bang for the buck. So make sure you will stick till the end.
Century 90 amp MIG Welder Review
The first one on the list is probably your best option. The Century brand is owned by Lincoln Electrics and I would bet that it is many times more reliable than some welders on the market. They mainly sell flux core welders and stick welders and what’s most important they are up to par with US quality.
Besides the fact that it is not a non-branded cheap welder, from the features, user experience and the usability side the Century K3493-1 crushes many welders in the same class.
Specifications of the K3493-1
As expected, it only runs on a regular 120-volt household power supply requiring 20 Amp Breaker, making it perfect to tackle small jobs at home. What’s more of a good thing is the output range. It can produce between 30-90 amps. That means you can weld from 18 gauge up to 1/4 inch in a single pass according to the manufacturer’s specs. ¼ is a bit of a gamble I believe, and it would require some skill, but 1/8 would be more realistic.
The duty cycle of the machine is decent as well. It is rated 30% at 80 amps. This means you can weld 3 minutes out of 10 at 80 amps without having to worry about the welder overheating. This remarkable duty cycle for such a small machine is only possible thanks to inverter technology. Unlike traditional transformer-based machines, it has a number of upsides. Besides the duty cycle, for a user, it means a more stable arc and a possibility to use with a generator.
The Design of the Century
Since it is a small welder without a big output rate, you would expect it to be a small and light machine, and that’s exactly what this is. It is only 19 pounds, yet sturdy and durable. What many welders would appreciate is instead of tapped controls, it has a continuous knob. That makes finding the right settings easier by a fair bit.
As a huge plus, it also has a nice shoulder strap to make carrying it easier.
The only flaw I can see is the welding gun and ground cable length. They both are 6” which is roughly two meters I believe. That means you have to really be close to the machine to weld, but since it is very portable, it might not be a big issue for you.
Read the full review on Century FC90 here.
90 amp Flux Wire Welder by Chicago Electric
The next best option besides the Century owned by Lincoln would be this little booger made by Chicago Electric. The company has a long history in manufacturing heavy-duty electricity products serving many industries including welders. It is a well-known brand on which I would bet my money on.
Specs of the welder
Like the previous welder, so does this one run on a regular 120-volt household system, though 20 amp breaker is recommended by the manufacturer. The thing that limits this machine a bit is the output is AC only. Because the machine outputs AC, it handles a bit different than DC machines, but it will get the job done nevertheless. According to their user manual, the output is 60-120 Amps that can tackle 3/16 inch thick mild steel. That is more than expected from a welder that is classified in a 90A class of welders. This brings me to another point that has to be mentioned. The output setting is “tapped” with a switch, so you can only choose between MIN and MAX settings. This again limits the usability, but on the other hand with a machine that small, you do not necessarily need more than that.
The duty cycle is acceptable as well. It is not the best but 20% at 90 amps is probably enough for you since the machine is designed for small jobs anyway. I already explained what the duty cycle percentage means so I do not cover that here.
The Design of Chicago Electric
The design is nice and neat and simple. It is a small machine, but since it uses a transformer, it is almost twice as heavy as the Century 90 A welder. It weighs roughly 36 pounds, which is still light enough for it to be extremely portable.
From the safety side, like all these small 90 amp flux core welders, so does this one have thermal load protection as well as a light indicator for that, so no need to worry about overheating the machine.
90 amp Welder by GCG
The last one on the list is a decently rated model on Amazon. It is nothing exceptional though and there is not much information about the brand available. I have not used this particular model myself, so I can only talk based on my experience and on the observation of the product.
Specs of the Welder
Again, this is a heavier machine, so it can be assumed AC transformer technology is used. Like the previous two, this also runs on the household current of 120-volts as well, and 20 Amp breaker should do the job to run it. The output is between 55-90 amps and because of the technology used the duty cycle should be around 20% at 80. With this GCG, similarly to the previous welders on this list, it is possible to tackle only mild and low alloyed steel up to 3/16 inches.
Safety thermal load protection is not absent here neither. It also comes with a one year warranty to give you some peace of mind after purchasing.
The Design of the Machine
This is a relatively heavy machine when talking about 90A welders but again it is nothing weird because of the transformer tech. It is still lighter than the Chicago Electric flux core 90A welder but it has also smaller amperage range. It weighs around 33 pounds and should be a breeze to carry around with the handle on the top.
There is not much else to say about this flux welder really. It is simply designed to do small jobs. Nothing more and nothing less.
How to use 90 amp Flux Wire Welder?
Flux welders are a bit more tricky to use than regular MIG machines in my opinion, especially the AC ones. They handle way different and it is much more difficult to make quality welds. The one and most important tip I can give you is to crank up the settings as high as your project allows. Flux core welds need to be hot to penetrate and create less spatter.
Another thing that is crucial to remember is the angle of the welding gun and traveling direction. The angle should be around 30 degrees from the base metal, and keep the stick out of the wire short. It helps with the heat. As far as the traveling direction goes, you always need to travel away from the welding pool. In other words, with flux core wire you pull away from the pool, not push it. That is crucial to avoid contaminating the weld with porosity.
A few things that every beginner welder should be aware of:
Safety, safety, safety! I can not stress this enough! Welding is dangerous. The heat, the UV and IR rays, the fumes. All can be devastating to your health. So make sure you are using proper personal protective equipment and do not weld indoors with flux core welder if you do not have a proper ventilation system! It just creates too many toxic gases.
Do your own homework from the safety side, but make sure you have a welding helmet, welding gloves, and a proper fire-resistant welding shirt or a jacket. They are essential!
Things to consider buying before you start welding
Since you are doing flux core welding, pick up some anti-spatter nozzle gel. It will make your life easier. Also, buy a good wire brush because you will need it, a lot. And last but not least, you can not weld unless you have great filler wire. I have a full post about the best Flux core welding wire here. Do yourself a favor and pick up a small spool of the best wire.
FAQs about 90-amp Welders
Usually, 90 amp flux core wire feed welders can weld mild steel or low carbon steel up to 3/16 of an inch. It is also possible to weld thicker materials, but for that, you would need to bevel your base metals and run multiple passes into your joint.
Gasless MIG welders have their own pros and cons. The good thing about gasless wire welders is the fact that you can use it outdoors unlike regular MIG. Furthermore, they are a cheap and easy way to kick-start your welding projects.
The price of the welders of any kind can vary a lot, but not with the 90 Amp class welders. Because they do not have many features and they are designed to do simple jobs, they all are priced similarily between 100-200 bucks, in some cases the prices can go higher than 300 bucks.
All in all, picking the best 90 amp MIG would be a no brainer to me. I would go with the Century K3493 which is an obvious winner in the 90A welders range.
If you made it this far, if you are interested, there are two more welders I would like you to consider buying. They both would give you the maximum amount of bang for your buck. The first article is about Forney Easy Weld 261 and the second one is Everlast 140E review. The first is flux core wire feeder and the second one can also do MIG welding besides flux core.
I hope you found this article useful and you learned a thing or two about the 90A class welders through this review.