Abstract Samples of Al–Mg–Mn and Al–Mg–Mn–Er–Zr alloys were welded using the method of laser welding. The influence of Er and Zr on microstructure, microhardness and mechanical properties of the Al–Mg–Mn alloy welded joints were investigated. It has been found that addition of Er and Zr refines the grain size in the fusion zone, due to the formation of primary Al3Zr and Al3Er. Fine equiaxed grains are dominated near the fusion boundary of the Al–Mg–Mn–Er–Zr alloy joint, which is contrary with the columnar crystal in the Al–Mg–Mn alloy joint. Microhardness of the center of the fusion zone rises from 74HV0.1 to 84HV0.1 owing to the grain refinement by Er and Zr. The tensile test result shows that the ultimate tensile strength and yield strength are improved by adding Er and Zr. The main reason for this is related to grain refining strengthening.