Forney 309 140 Amp MIG Welder

If you need a budget friendly, no-frills MIG welder with optional flux-cored ability then look no further then the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder.

Outputting 140 amps of power the machine is a solid welder for tasks around the house. The 10-foot torch is versatile enough for most people and if not, it’s portable enough to move it easily. The torch connection is euro-style for quick and easy torch changes.

The Forney 309 also features an upgraded cast aluminum drive system which means less tangled wires and more welding.

There’s nothing fancy or groundbreaking here. The Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder is as basic as they get in terms of features but performs just as well as its more expensive counterparts.

4.2/5

Pros

  • MIG and Flux-cored capable
  • Weld up to 1/4″
  • Improved design
  • Euro-connect MIG gun
  • 10-foot MIG torch
  • Cast aluminum drive system
  • Both 4″ and 8″ spool ready
  • Large cabinet space
  • Easy to use
  • Portable
  • Solid warranty
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Heavy/ Transformer based
  • Duty cycle

What’s Good?

MIG and Flux-cored capable

The Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder is capable of producing some high-quality welds, not just for MIG but FCAW too. In fact they’ve included a spool of flux-cored wire so you can test it out as soon as it arrive at your door.

MIG – Preferred by automotive enthusiasts who need aesthetically pleasing welds for their jobs. When mixed with the right gas MIG produces less spatter and reduces the chance of burning through thin-gauge metals. When welding thicker metals, MIG is the go-to process.

FCAW – Flux-cored is convenient because you don’t have to carry around a huge tank of gas, the flux is embedded right into the wire. Because of wind and other environmental concerns when doing any type of outdoor work FCAW is required to prevent contamination of the puddle.

Weld up to 1/4″

While the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder may not be in the big leagues, it certainly makes an effort. This unit outputs a steady 140 amps of power while using the standard 120-volt household outlet, making it the ideal rig for around the house.

With such power and a duty cycle of 20% at 115 amps, you’re able to weld a variety of metals – from cast iron to stainless steel – up to 1/4-inch on a single pass.

Improved design

Let’s face it. Before Forney redesigned the 309 it was, frankly, a poor excuse for a welder. Fortunately they took customer complaints into consideration to bring what you the MIG welder you see today. Included in the redesign is:

Integrated feet – The last thing you want is for your welder to be sitting on an uneven surface or worse, sliding around when you’re trying to work. The simple addition of integrated feet to raise the welder off the floor makes the Forney 309 much more safe and stable.

Included torch wrap – Before the torch wrap was introduced you’d just throw the torch in the corner when your done with it for the day, creating an ugly mess and possible hazard. Now you can wrap it up when you’re done so it’s good-to-go for the next use. Obviously this isn’t a main consideration but I give it extra points for neatness.

Built-in strain relief for torch – In order to increase longevity they’ve added a built-in strain relief for the torch. This usually comes in the form of a steel spring at the base of the torch. It helps to protect the power cables from wear and prevent kinks in the liner itself.

Euro-connect MIG gun + 10-foot MIG torch

For quick and painless torch changes, the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder utilizes a euro-style connector saving you time, allowing you to get back to the task at hand. In addition the torch cable it comes with is longer than most, measuring 10 feet.

And if that wasn’t enough they also include several Tweco #1 compatible consumables.

Cast aluminum drive system

Robust and to the point, the cast aluminum drive system on the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder is perfect for hobbyists and weekend warriors alike. The cast aluminum design reduces the likelihood of warping parts and increases the lifespan of your machine. It’s simplicity only adds to its longevity.

Featuring a dual geared idler system and drive roll with upgraded de-spooler this rig is not fancy, but it works. It’s capable of feeding wire sizes of .023, .030 and .035 inches making it extremely versatile. In addition,  the side cabinet space is massive and can hold both 4-inch and 8-inch spools of wire.

Thanks to its simple design and rigid construction, if something does go wrong, its a simple fix.

Easy to use

Operating the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder is as easy as it gets. Even if you’ve never welded before you can learn with an hour of playing around with it.

The controls are as basic as it gets:

On/Off – Think about it.

Wire speed – To adjust the speed at which the wire is fed through the torch. Clockwise to increase, counter-clockwise to decrease.

Power – Controls how much power the welder outputs. Up to a maximum 140 amps.

Portable

Despite its transformer based design the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder is actually quite portable. Using a transformer instead of an inverter power source means an additional 50+ lbs to the rig. Thankfully Forney knows this and decided to strip the 309 of an unnecessary weight to make this rig as portable as possible.

Complete with a fortified handle on top for easing lifting, this machine weighs around 57 lbs. While it’s not the lightest welder around, it’s surprisingly light for a transformer based rig.

Of course you always have the option to buy a cart for added portability. 

Inexpensive

For less than $500 you can get a complete MIG/ FCAW welding setup with a solid warranty. If you were to get something similar from one of the big 3 brands, you’d pay more than double the amount.

For the amount of value you get with the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder, its a steal.

Solid warranty

Since it’s not one of the big 3 brands you might be wondering about the warranty it offers.

Surprisingly, its pretty good – on par with Hobarts industry leading 5/3/1/90 warranty. Need more clarification?

5 years – Original main power rectifiers only to include SCRs, diodes and discrete rectifier modules, transformers, stabilizers, and reactors

3 years – Drive Systems, PC Boards, Motors, and Switches and Controls

1 year – Relays, contactors, regulators and accessories

90 days – MIG guns and plasma torches

 

What’s Bad?

Heavy/ Transformer based

Didn’t I just say it was portable? Relatively speaking, yes it is. But the transformer power source adds a huge amount of unnecessary weight when inverters are so widely available. So while it may be light enough to move around, it could be considerably lighter.

Duty cycle

With a duty cycle of just 20% at 115A this is one area where the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder comes up short. It’s fine for most light-duty work around the house but not much else.

The Verdict – Forney 309 140 Amp MIG Welder

For a welder that doesn’t have the brand recognition of the big 3, the Forney 309 140 Amp MIG welder is a nice little rig with a lot of pep.

With the ability to weld both MIG and FCAW this rig is simple and to the point. You wont find any fancy features or touch screens here. Just basic, raw power used to stick two pieces of metal together. It’s not the most lightweight welder around but its convenient handle and optional cart take any concern about portability away.

Budget minded people can rejoice knowing that for less than $500 you can get a complete setup that’s just as capable as one of the big boys.

Specs and Features

4.2/5

Weight: 57 lbs

Size: L19″ x W9.5″ x H16″

Power Input: 120V

Power Output: 140A

Duty Cycle: 35% @ 90A

Material Thickness: Up to 1/4″

Warranty: 5/3/1 year

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Forney 309 140 Amp MIG Welder
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