YesWelder MIG-205DS Review
If you're looking to jump into some more advanced DIY projects or have had experience welding and are looking for a multi-use machine, the YesWelder MIG-205DS Multi-Process Welder is a great unit to consider.
Out of the box it can handle MIG, stick, and flux core welding (FCAW), with an option for DC TIG if you purchase a TIG torch separately. We recently tried out each welding type supported on this machine and were impressed with this budget-friendly device.
Check out the MIG-205DS on Amazon.
YesWelder MIG-205DS Out of the Box
YesWelder is a fairly new company on the market with the goal of bringing quality welding products at a fraction of the cost so beginners can own their own welder without getting priced out with starting costs. While most decent multipurpose welders are priced closer to $1,000, the MIG-205DC costs less than $500 and features quality upgrades that easily make it an enticing choice for both beginners and professionals who might want a more portable machine.
To keep this welder lightweight (the core unit only weighs 22lbs and has a handle for portability), they utilize inverter technology compared to transformer. While some may be wary of inverter technology's long term durability since it's still considered new in the industry, it has been used for enough years without issue so we're confident this little machine will be a great addition to our workshop for the foreseeable future.
The YesWelder MIG-205DC comes with a 10' MIG gun, 10' electrode holder (also known as a stinger) and cable with 35-50 quick connector, 10′ earth clamp and cable with 35-50 quick connector, American gas hose, spare 0.030"/0.035" contact tips, an 0.8/0.9 drive roll (fits 0.030"/0.035" wire), and a 110V/220V adapter, thread tape, and a combination chipping hammer brush.
The European style dinse connectors might not be compatible if you have older hookups you'd like you use, but personally we prefer the style as it's easy to plug in, twist, and secure. The accessories felt solid and were easy to use with two small exceptions.
You'll definitely want to spend a couple bucks for a thicker brush, or even upgrade to an electric drill wire brush attachment to easily clean off any slag if you plan on doing a lot of FCAW. The clamp works fine, but felt like it might need replacing over time.
It's important to have a gun you feel comfortable with, and the included MIG gun did just that. The gun felt hefty in a good way, with a decent amount of resistance to the trigger. Too strong and it can wear out your hand on longer projects, while too weak and you might accidentally engage the trigger early.
Setting Up the YesWelder MIG-205DC
Depending on your home or workshop voltage, we found that the 110V/220V converter can support 160/205 Amps respectively (60% duty cycle for each) for MIG welding. This will directly affect what metal thickness you can weld with the machine, but 110V will be enough for most projects.
A welder's duty cycle represents how long the machine can operate at a given amperage without overheating for a ten minute period. We've seen comparable welders that provide 200 Amps, however most cool down too quickly. The 205DC welder's duty cycle is on par (and exceeds in some cases) more expensive machines and is honestly one of the most impressive features for the price. We experienced minimal need to pause our work while testing as a direct result.
Setting up the welder is pretty straightforward, as mentioned earlier the cords securely lock into place easily. Loading wire, adjusting the drive roll, and feeding the wire through the gun was quick and easy. The wire feed button on the control panel worked smoothly and we experienced no issues with kinking. The control panel itself is housed behind a plastic cover so no matter what project you're working on the buttons will be kept free of debris.
Another surprising feature is a full metal wire feed system. Most budget welding machines use plastic hardware to cut down on cost, but these easily break over extended use. Using metal parts for the whole system shows the intention to truly build a device that is expected to last a long time.
While there's a lot to love about the YesWelder MIG-205DC, there are some shortcomings. It's a bit unusual, but there is no weld settings chart for wire thickness and amps printed on the inside of the machine and sizing is in metric so you'll have to convert when choosing your settings.
The user manual is extremely sparse as well, focusing mainly on the welder's specifications instead of helping new users get familiar with the features and settings. The metal housing could be thicker as well, it could be prone to dents or the door warping if mishandled.
While not a huge issue during our tests, the fan is continuously on to keep the machine internally cool, which may become bothersome if keeping the machine on for long periods of time.
Despite the lack of instructions, the 205DC is a "synergic" machine, which means there are presets that will get you up and running quickly. Once you set your weld type and wire and metal thickness, the voltage and amperage will automatically adjust. These settings can then be manually fine tuned to better fit your preference.
Every welding machine has its own nuances, and the YesWelder is no different. We recommend playing with the settings a little bit while watching your weld pool. In our tests, the machine tended to lean a little hot so we adjusted the voltage down, though the presets were a great starting point. Just remember to write down the settings you prefer, as the welder won't store it once turned off.
A great added feature is the ability to adjust the inductance from -10 to 10, with all presets set to zero. Adjusting inductance will alter the rate of the current's rise and arc time while you weld. Not all welders have this option, but in practice it can help you adjust the wetness and size of your puddle, plus reduce splatter.
In a nutshell, a higher inductance is generally better for thicker materials, while a lower is better for thinner welds and thinner materials. Overall we found the arc quality of this welding machine to be pretty impressive with minimal splatter so we didn't need to adjust the inductance much, however every project and material may call for some adjusting based on your personal preferences.
Another feature is the option to choose between 2T (touch) and 4T while you're welding. This feature is common, but not for all budget devices. When set to 2T, the default, you'll need to hold down the trigger to keep your wire feeding going, however if you switch to 4T you'll only need to press to start the feed, while pressing again will stop it.
For most welding applications, 2T will be fine, but if you're welding a large piece and won't to avoid fatigue, the 4T is a great option to have. It worked as expected in our tests.
MIG is probably one of the most common welding skill to learn, and probably the main use for most welders interested in this machine. Our tests with MIG welding went perfectly.
While the settings were a little on the hot end, adjusting the inductance was easy and made noticeable changes to the size of the weld. The wire feed was smooth and was set to a great speed for our work.
The MIG gun felt comfortable with good pressure for the trigger. The neck isn't flexible, but the company does sell that option if you need to get into more unique positions. However, for our tests the fixed angle of the gun worked as expected and was easy to get into position and move along the weld.
We used YesWelder's own ER70S-6 0.030" carbon steel MIG solid welding wire and had good results. The quality felt comparable to some larger brands' wire but at a lower price point.
While a lot of people avoid FCAW welding in favor of the more aesthetically appealing beading from gas shielded weld methods, it's a great type to get familiar with as it can create equally strong welds and is great for welding outside. Just remember to switch your gun and ground cables (the gun should be negative, ground positive).
Just like our MIG welding test, we needed to do some slight adjustments to the default settings as it ran hot, but were happy with the results. We were using YesWelder's 0.035" E71TGS gasless flux core welding wire which is worth a mention as the results were very smooth compared to other flux core wire we've used in the past. There was a noticeable reduction in the splatter and the shielding felt robust.
The included electrode holder has a good grip, we didn't feel the stick shifting at all during our tests. The exterior housing is plastic which is becoming more common nowadays but could lead to a shortened lifespan depending on usage. There are grooves within the clamp for four different stick positions.
If you're partial to stick welding, you might be used to AC "buzz box" welders. The YesWelder 205DC utilizes DC current instead which creates a more stable arc with less noise. It can also handle more materials than older machines as DC current creates a better penetration as well.
The machine performed great during our tests and was much less of a headache than older machines.
It's important to note that as this is a DC welding machine, it won't TIG aluminum. It doesn't feel like a huge loss for a multipurpose machine, but if you have a specific aluminum project in mind you should consider upgrading to the next model up which supports both DC and AC.
As the welder did not include a TIG torch in the box, we used YesWelder's WP-17V 12FT 150A Air Cooled Torch for our review.
While there are three types of TIG methods (scratch start, lift-arc, and high frequency), this machine supports lift-arc TIG. For the uninitiated, that means the machine will actually start with a low current to prevent the electrode from sticking when you touch the metal, and once you lift up it will sense a broken contact and increase to your chosen settings.
This is our preferred style as it's extremely user-friendly and more forgiving while you learn TIG. However, it doesn't support a foot pedal which can take a little getting used to if you learned with one.
The whole process felt very smooth, and even though it's been a while since we used TIG welding, we experienced no sticking with the electrode. For lift-arc TIG, it's really on the manufacturer to calibrate the settings carefully and the YesWelder holds up. Throughout our TIG tests the performance felt like it matched a dedicated TIG welding machine.
We were extremely impressed with our tests on the YesWelder MIG-205DS Multi-Process Welder. Compared to other highly-rated machines on the market, nothing comes close to this quality for the price.
While it lacks some of the premium settings of high-end machines, this model goes well beyond its price point and is perfect for both beginners and the needs of a lot of professional projects. Added quality touches like a full metal wire feed and the high level duty cycle bump this welder into a solid choice that can be used for years.
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