Can an Inverter Run a MIG Welder?

Yes, it is possible to run a MIG welder using an inverter, but there are several critical factors to consider to ensure successful and safe operation.

Inverter Power Output Considerations

The first and foremost consideration is the power output of the inverter. The inverter must have sufficient power output to handle the requirements of the MIG welder. For a basic 20A MIG welder like the Lincoln 135T or 3200, a minimum 3000/4000W inverter would be required. However, it’s essential to account for the inverter’s efficiency, as there will be power loss during the conversion process from DC to AC.

To compensate for this inefficiency, the battery draw should be around 200 amps or more. This higher current draw ensures that the inverter can provide the necessary power to the welder without being overloaded. It’s important to note that the actual power requirements may vary depending on the specific MIG welder model and its duty cycle.

Starting Current Challenges

can an inverter run a mig welderImage source: Mig weld example

The second critical factor to consider is the starting current of the MIG welder. MIG welders require a high starting current to initiate the arc, which can be a challenge for some inverters. If the inverter cannot supply the necessary starting current, it may go into safety mode and cut off the power, preventing the welder from starting correctly.

To address this issue, it’s crucial to ensure that the inverter can provide the required starting current without triggering any safety mechanisms. This may involve selecting an inverter with a higher power rating or one specifically designed to handle the high starting current demands of MIG welders.

Input AC Rating Compatibility

The third factor to consider is the input AC rating of the MIG welder. For example, a welder with a minimum input AC rating of 1-50 Amps @ 60 Hz and 220 VAC would require a 4,000 Watt (VA) rated inverter to run at near full output current.

It’s essential to carefully match the inverter’s output specifications with the welder’s input requirements to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. Mismatching these ratings can lead to issues such as insufficient power, voltage fluctuations, or even damage to the equipment.

Gradual Testing and Safety Measures

When using an inverter to power a MIG welder, it’s recommended to start at a low welding current and gradually increase it while closely monitoring the inverter’s behavior. This step-by-step approach allows you to assess the inverter’s ability to handle the welder’s power demands without overwhelming it.

Additionally, it’s advisable to have a pocket full of DC fuses or use a DC breaker on the inverter’s DC power input for testing purposes. This safety measure can help protect the inverter and the welder in case of any unexpected power surges or overloads.


In summary, running a MIG welder using an inverter is possible, but it requires careful consideration of several critical factors. The inverter’s power output, the welder’s starting current, the input AC rating compatibility, and a gradual testing approach are all essential elements to ensure successful and safe operation.

By following these guidelines and taking the necessary precautions, you can effectively use an inverter to power your MIG welder, providing a versatile and portable power solution for your welding needs.

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