Best Flux Core Wires 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
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As flux core wire is the most effective means of welding galvanized or dirty steel, and the ideal choice for outdoor welding, we thought we would do some detailed reviews of the six best flux-cored wires to use in your MIG or flux core welder.
Searching through a massive range of similar-looking products at different prices can be confusing. Are you meant to buy the lowest-priced wire because it looks the same as the more expensive one? Or are you meant to buy the more expensive option because it must be better quality?
Read our reviews and buyer’s guide to find out for yourself.
Breakdown of our Top Picks of 2020
|Blue Demon E71TGS Gasless|
|Lincoln ED030584 NR-211||4.6/5|
|Forney 42300 Mig Wire||4.5/5|
|WeldingCity E71T-GS Gasless Mild Steel||4.3/5|
The 6 Best Flux Core Wires
1. Blue Demon E71TGS Flux Core Welding Wire – Best Overall
We found the Blue Demon E71TGS wire to run much cleaner than most other wires, and it costs significantly less. It’s particularly good at fusing galvanized steel, as the flux eats the zinc, preventing the degree of fumes and spatter other wires produce.
Every so often, a Blue Demon E71TGS reel won’t unwind as smoothly as we’d like, but the majority of rolls are wound well and unravel nicely. The 0.035″ wire is only suitable for higher-amp machines like 180+ welders, but the 0.03″ welds nicely on most welders that can run a consistent amp range.
Overall, for the price of this wire, the variation in its range and the performance each diameter runs, it’s our top favorite flux-cored wire.
2. LINCOLN ELECTRIC NR-211 Fluxco Wire
The LINCOLN ELECTRIC NR-211 flux-core wire is a good quality reel that, when welding, cools quickly to keep heat out of your project. It also produces very minimal spatter. The slag has good coverage but is easily removed, making cleanup a breeze.
Unfortunately, the range is very small. This is one of the reasons it’s in second place. It’s a good quality wire, but we think a variety of different wire and reel sizes is important. It’s made for fusing most weldable grades of steel, but doesn’t give as clean a finish with galve, coated, or dirty steel as Blue Demon’s E71TGS wire does.
For small home jobs on clean steel, this wire is an excellent choice.
3. Forney 42300 Flux Core MIG Wire
Like the LINCOLN ELECTRIC NR-211 wire, there isn’t much of a range of wire sizes to choose from with the Forney 42300 Flux Core Mig Wire. However, it has a higher tensile strength than most other flux-core wires.
It can weld steel with a bit of dirt or coatings like galve, or other zinc coatings. It fuses much better on a cleaner surface, unlike the Blue Demon E71TGS, which is made to weld galve.
We found welding with this wire requires a higher travel speed than other wires due to the temperature increase the wire runs at. When traveling at the correct rate, it produces a nice weld.
4. WeldingCity Flux-Core Gasless MIG Welding Wire
What we liked about the WeldingCity E71T-GS wire is the different wire sizes it’s available in. Like all our other choices except the Blue Demon wire, there’s only the one spool size to choose from. This one only comes in a 10lb coil, which doesn’t fit in smaller welders.
In the right conditions, this wire welds well. However, it doesn’t like coatings or rusty, dirty metal. It isn’t the best wire for butt welds and filling gaps up, but it does do a nice job in fillet joints, particularly overlapping joints.
5. Hobart H222106-R19 Flux-Cored Welding Wire
Hobart’s a big name in the welding industry, but we weren’t overly impressed with its H222106-R19 wire. It isn’t bad for light sectional welding, and for the odd outdoor job, it can be handy. However, it was no match for Blue Demon’s E71TGS wire or the famous LINCOLN ELECTRIC NR-211.
Sticking to lighter jobs with this wire helps. Ensuring the metal’s clean or has its coatings ground off will produce the best finish.
6. INETUB .030-Inch Flux Cored Welding Wire
The INETUB BA71TGS .030-Inch wire is reasonable compared to other flux-core wire. However, it does cost more than all the other options in these reviews, and has a similar lack of reel size selection.
There is sometimes inconsistency with the quality of the reels. Some turn up nice and tight, while others are loose before they come out of the packet. This makes a difference in setting up the spools and running them.
The welds can be nice once you get things going, and it welds galve better than most other wires. Overall, it’s better than many wire options, but it’s not our first choice.
When buying flux-cored wire, it’s essential to know what type you’re buying. Most wires are made for gasless operations, like all six types we reviewed above. Some require a shielding gas to be used alongside them to keep air and dirt from ruining your weld.
Make sure you don’t get the wires confused and end up with a flux-cored wire that doesn’t shield your weld.
The size of your wire is determined by the size your welder can accommodate, including feed wheels and nozzle tips. These can usually be adjusted or changed easily. However, the amperage your welder runs at and the plate you’re welding will require specific wire sizes.
The lower your amperage is, the smaller a diameter your wire should be. The thinner the plate you’re welding is, the smaller-sized a wire you want as well. Be aware of the specific wire’s specs before you determine this, as these differ among wire types. Not all wires weld the same. It isn’t only dependent upon wire size.
What and where you’ll be welding also determines which wire is better. Some flux-cored wires are better for welding dirt and coatings than others. Some are only good for welding clean steel. Know what the wire you’re buying will be used for before you purchase it, to ensure it’s exactly what you’re after.
Make sure you’re buying steel wire for steel welding, and stainless steel wire for stainless steel welding. It makes a significant difference in weld quality, especially if you’re welding stainless steel. You don’t want a tidy stainless project ruined by rusty welds because you bought the wrong wire for it.
The capability of your welder’s spindle and the amount of welding you’ll be doing will determine the size of reel you buy. The bigger a spool you buy, generally the less it will cost if you compare the length of wire you get.
Don’t go buying a reel that won’t fit your welder. There’s nothing worse than getting the wrong size and having a useless reel you worked hard to buy sitting around.
Despite the unfamiliar name, the Blue Demon E71TGS Gasless Flux Core Welding Wire stands out as our favorite due to its all-around versatility with different wire diameters, reel sizes, and the quality welds it performs over such a wide range of different materials and welding positions.
The LINCOLN ELECTRIC ED030584 NR-211 Fluxco Wire came in a close second. Even though the use range isn’t as wide as the Blue Demon E71TGS, and the quality of the welds doesn’t quite match, Lincoln’s timeless wire is consistent in what it offers. It has minimal spatter compared to other wire, comes well-coiled, and passes smoothly through the welder.
We appreciate you reading our reviews and hope you found value in them for your next purchases. Please send your reviews or comments below. We would be glad to hear from you.
- Breakdown of our Top Picks of 2020
- The 6 Best Flux Core Wires
- Buyer’s Guide