Top 5 Best Flux Core Wires 2023:
- Forney 42300 Flux Core Mig Wire, Mild Steel E71TGS.030-Diameter, 2-Pound Spool
- Hobart H222106-R19 2-Pound E71T-11 Carbon-Steel Flux-Cored Welding Wire, 0.030-Inch
- INETUB BA71TGS .030-Inch on 2-Pound Spool Carbon Steel Gasless Flux Cored Welding Wire
- YESWELDER Flux Core Gasless Mig Wire, Mild Steel E71TGS.030-Diameter, 2-Pound Spool
- Lincoln Electric ED030584, MIG Welding Wire, NR-211-MP.035, Spool
FCAW, aka Flux-Cored Arc Welding, has a lot of advantages: it is cheaper, easier to do, and the results are fascinating. When you use flux core wire to weld, you’ll be productive, but not at the expense of the output quality.
Another benefit, perhaps the most valuable one? You need not use gas.
The best flux core wire is a must-have item in your workshop that helps you avoid costly repairs and potentiates a lot of projects.
However, it’s not easy to choose the right flux core wire for you. Welding automobile parts and roofing sheet metal does not require the same type of wire, depending on the steel plates.
Also, beginners cannot and should not operate with the same kind of flux core wire as skilled professionals.
What remains a constant requirement, though, is quality – and we made sure that our top 5 picks possess it.
5 Best Flux Core Wires in 2023: Detailed Reviews
1. Forney 42300 Flux Core Mig Wire, Mild Steel E71TGS.030-Diameter, 2-Pound Spool
If you’re looking for a reliable and high-quality flux core wire for welding jobs that include steel, the Forney 42300 flux core Mig wire is an unparalleled choice. It has vaulted past the competition to the first place on our list for a number of reasons, and let’s see them.
“Mig” stands for MIG welding (metal inert gas welding), which means that this flux core wire is also compatible with that method.
That’s the method you would use for mild, self-shielded steel, and it can be used to repair rusty, dirty, or destroyed materials.
As one of the main characteristics of this wire is versatility, you can use it without the shielding gas, and it has a much higher travel speed than the regular solid wires.
The effect that you can use it without gas has been achieved because the wire itself is self-shielded.
When it comes to its recommended polarity, we all agree that it should go with straight, DCEN (Direct Current Electrode Negative), which means that there will be a deeper flow through the metal being welded.
Another thing we liked is that this wire produces a very low amount of spatter, which you can further reduce by using an Argon and CO2 mix. When you apply the mix, there will barely be any.
Also, we recommend this flux core wire for outdoor welding (which is not often the case, as the wind can blow gas to unwanted places if you use gas welding methods).
Even better, this wire is as good for professional use as it is for beginners.
The thickness of the wire is 0.03 inches, and it comes with a 2-pound spool, with the tensile strength of 79000 PSI. What this translates to is efficiency.
- Doesn’t require gas although it is a Mig wire
- Budget-friendly price
- Any plate thickness
- Low patter
- Suitable for soldering
- No cons here!
2. INETUB BA71TGS .030-Inch on 2-Pound Spool Carbon Steel Gasless Flux Cored Welding Wire – Runner-Up
Had the range of application of this flux core wire been broader – it only works with 16 and 18 gauge – it would have easily made the first place on our list. Although it’s been on the market for ten years (it first came out in 2010), it has remained one of the best choices.
On paper, it is suitable for steel building, earthwork, and zinc-coated steel welding, but in practice, we found it best-suited for the latter.
That said, it supports beginner to mid-range single and multi-pass welding without the shielding gas, as it is self-shielded.
You can also use it with a muffler, as long as it is made of carbon (and not stainless) steel.
This Italian-made flux core wire sports a number of rare features at this price: incredibly smooth arc action, high feedability (so that is easy to weld), and finest quality materials.
It also checks all those boxes that you want in a good flux core wire – low spatter, full slag coverage, and easy removal. Did we mention it is porosity-free?
Just like most of our picks, it’s great for outdoor use, as there’s no risk of gas getting to unwanted places.
You get approximately 1181 linear feet of wire with the purchase, with the 4-inch spool.
All in all, it is a fairly affordable flux core wire that will enable a lot of your DIY projects, and we wholeheartedly recommend it.
- High-quality materials
- Designed for all positions
- Straight polarity
- Fast-freezing slag
- Packaging could have been better
- Less versatile than some other picks
3. Hobart H222106-R19 2-Pound E71T-11 Carbon-Steel Flux-Cored Welding Wire, 0.030-Inch – Budget-friendly Pick
Again, our third pick doesn’t sit at the throne of the flux core wires because it lacks in versatility compared to our best wire overall. This one is particularly good with thin-gauge mild or galvanized steel.
On a bright note considering its versatility, it can be used both in single and multi-pass welds.
What does this mean in practice? Or better yet, what is this flux core wire made for?
It is best suited for light automotive jobs, prefab construction, railroad car repair, and tanks.
You can get the wire in a 0.030-inch and 0.035-inch variant, and both are going to last for many projects to come.
Hobart is an industry leader that has refined its products, and it is famous for making them affordable and durable – and this flux core wire isn’t an exception.
Not everything is rainbows and butterflies with this wire, though. Compared to some other picks, it spatters quite a bit.
Don’t get us wrong; buying this wire won’t be an ultimate regret. It is still pretty quality, works perfectly with galvanized steel, and it doesn’t have any other hidden shortcomings.
The clean-up is not that big of a deal, as the spatter was easy to remove once we were done with the testing.
Ultimately, the welds that this flux core wire makes are strong, and the overall experience felt really safe.
Another thing we can report from the testing is that there’s hardly any other pick that’s more suitable for welding the exhausting pipes!
- Low price
- Welds most steel types
- Great tensile strength
- No coating
- There’s more spatter than with some other picks (though clean-up was a breeze)
4. YESWELDER Flux Core Gasless Mig Wire, Mild Steel E71TGS.030-Diameter, 2-Pound Spool – The Most Durable
The YESWELDER flux core wire had a lot of positive reputation and reviews, so our expectations were set high upon receiving it.
Did it meet them? Yes, completely!
It costs less than many other flux core wires we’ve tried, and yet, it delivers more.
Specializing at fusing galvanized steel, you can use this wire for many welding jobs without the shielding gas, for both single and multi-pass welding.
However, it’s not the best for coating and rusty metal.
We’ve tried both the 0.030-inch and 0.035-inch variants, and they both received a high grade across all fields.
One note we want to make, though, is that the latter is only compatible with higher-amp welders (180+), whereas the thinner wire can run across most of the welders out there.
A minor flaw is that this wire did not unwind 100% smoothly all the time, but eventually, we managed to set it up so that it does. It just needs a bit of adjusting.
Apart from that, there aren’t any disadvantages to this wire. It cools quickly, produces minimal amounts of spatter, and gives a clean finish. You should try it out!
- Low spatter
- Two sizes
- Clean finish
- High travel speed
- We experienced minor unwind problems
5. Lincoln Electric ED030584, MIG Welding Wire, NR-211-MP.035, Spool – Best Semi-Professional
Are you looking for a semi-professional and not outrageously expensive flux core wire? Then the Lincoln Electric ED030584 might be just what you need.
It is the perfected and upgraded version of previous Lincoln Electric welding wires, and the manufacturers have polished up all of the imperfections of forerunners’ versions.
This wire is the best choice for butt welds, filling gaps, and it also works well with the fillet joint.
Therefore, you can use it to fix your roof, car, taps, etc., but you will need to possess some skills to operate with this wire.
As an all-position flux, and without gas, you can use it outdoors without any troubles.
We also appreciate how good the bead appearance is (again, if you’re somewhat of a skilled welder), and how easy it was to clean.
What is also cool is that you need not clean the steel before the use. This Mig welding wire works great with any kind, and you can weld directly on rusted and painted steel.
As all flux core wires, it runs much hotter than solid wires, but it’s quick to cool down, too, which is very convenient.
- It adheres perfectly
- Not much spatter
- Excellent for semi-professional jobs
- Nice-looking weld
- If you need a flux core wire for rusty metal, search elsewhere!
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Flux Core Wire
Once you’ve decided you need a flux core wire (and realistically, you do, considering how useful it is), there is one more step to take before you can buy it.
The question that emerges is: How do you know which type of a flux core wire do you need?
In this handy buying guide, you’ll get to explore the nooks and crannies and learn all the necessary details needed for the purchase of the best flux core wire for your needs.
Here are the factors that we handpicked:
1. Range Of Diameter
Needless to say, you should buy a flux core wire that you can use, meaning it is compatible with your welder.
Thus, when you’re choosing the range of diameter, it is directly correlated to the size that your welder can take, as well as the feed wheels and nozzles.
Most of these can be adjusted easily, but what dictates a specific diameter, aka wire size, is the amperage of your welder.
As a rule of thumb – the lower the amperage, the smaller the diameter of the flux core wire.
Also, the plate that you will be welding requires a specific size of the flux.
The rule is similar: the thinner the plate, the smaller the diameter of the wire needs to be.
The most common size, and the most compatible across many models, is 0.03-inch diameter, and most of our picks belong to this category.
2. Range Of Application
After determining that the flux core wire diameter is compatible with what you already have, the next question that you want to ask yourself is: What do I need the flux core wire for?
Some of you require a good flux-cored wire to weld dirt, rust, and coatings, but some types of flux core wires are only good for welding clean steel.
Additionally, steel wire is used for steel welding and stainless steel for stainless steel welding (yeah, that one was pretty easy to guess).
The quality and success of your weld depend on this factor! So, make sure to carefully read the descriptions of our top picks, as we pointed out which one is appropriate for which purpose.
3. Size Of Spool
To obtain the correct spool size, you must again consult the properties of your welder.
It’s true – the bigger the spool you get, the longer the wire is going to last, and it is cheaper.
But there is no use if a reel won’t fit your welder, and if you cannot use it. So make sure to check that out!
4. Additional Features
If you’ve read our reviews, there are some additional terms related to the features of flux core wires that we want to elaborate on. These are not the most important, but you should still pay attention to them!
Flux core wire does not require gas because it contains a self-shielded wire. Therefore, it creates a protective shielding layer by itself.
Manufacturers can choose to use shielding gas on the industrial level, but this isn’t the case with home use.
Also, the fact that the whole process is gasless means that it is good to use outdoors, as there’s no risk of the gas getting blown away by the wind.
Contrary to what people may think, there is no such thing as a flux core aluminum wire.
Although there are rumors that some aluminum wires have been created, and that there are some techniques to make them, officially, there are no such kinds of wires for customer’s use.
MIG vs. FCAW
Both kinds of welding have their own pros and cons.
MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding is more used indoors and with thin metals, though there have been some variations that require no gas thanks to high-quality flux core wires.
On the other hand, FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding) is what is the flux core wire mostly used for, and it is more often used outdoors.
The secret to successful FCAW welding is that you should always pull the nozzle away from the buddle so that the weld is strong and durable. In that way, FCAW is as efficient as MIG welding.
Conclusion: Our Recommendation(s)
Out of the dozens of flux core wires we’ve tested, the best flux core wire overall, the Forney 42300 Flux Core Mig Wire, not only smashed all jobs with flying colors but is also affordable and will last you for a long time.
Meanwhile, the Hobart H222106-R19 Flux-Cored Welding Wire is as close as to the best flux core wire as it can get for such a budget-friendly price. And it doesn’t lack anything that others have.
For your beginner’s welding jobs and occasional use, our choice for the best entry-level flux core wire is the INETUBE BA71TGS Flux-cored Welding Wire.