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manladypig
manladypig New Reader
3/2/19 4:27 p.m.

Can anyone recommend a good mig welder that is good for a poor garage man (under 500$ and works on household 120v)

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
3/2/19 4:48 p.m.

I am very much a novice with welding, but I'm happy with my 'Lincoln Handy MIG'. Works well with flux core wire or with gas. It uses a regular household plug and is rated to weld up to 1/8" thick steel. Priced a little over $300. Well reviewed on Amazon.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
3/2/19 4:59 p.m.

I’ve always heard good things about hobarts welders. My grandfather’s is really nice.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy SuperDork
3/2/19 6:08 p.m.
Fitzauto said:

I’ve always heard good things about hobarts welders. My grandfather’s is really nice.

+1

 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
3/2/19 6:10 p.m.

I have the Lincoln 140hd from Home Depot and i love it.  I’ve been welding for 23 years and it’s very easy to use and set up.  

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/2/19 6:14 p.m.

Many years ago, I got a Lincoln gas welder at a local welder store- love it.  At the time, it was a NASCAR special model- not that it matters.  But after a few years of being too intimidated by it, I took to it quite nicely.  Love the thing.

appliance_racer
appliance_racer Reader
3/2/19 7:29 p.m.

My local northern tool is closing out a couple of their "klutch" brand welders. They had a 120v mig for $235. I have never used one so I can't speak for their quality. Maybe someone else here has used them and can chime in. For that price I was tempted to give it a try. 

On the other hand I have used the Hobart handler 140 quite a bit and I can give a thumbs up for it. Was always reliable and easy to set up. They seem to go for about $500 at various stores.

loosecannon
loosecannon Dork
3/2/19 7:58 p.m.

In an emergency, I bought a Hobart from Tractor Supply and have since used it to weld together my whole race car, it's a good piece

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UltraDork
3/2/19 8:43 p.m.

I bought the Eastwood welder a number of years ago and my son, who's certified in MIG and TIG, said it's a good welder.  No, it's not quite as nice as the ones he uses at school, but those are high end machines.  I know it's a rebranded model, but I can't remember which one.

Make sure to budget for an Argon tank to do shielded welding.  I bought my tank from Tractor Supply for like $150, but swapping it out for a full one is only $35 or so.

-Rob

 

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
3/2/19 9:43 p.m.

Hard to beat the Hobart Handler 140 as the cheap enough to stretch for as a first unit and good enough to let you delay buying better until you really, really need it. It's kinda the standard that everything else is judged against and for good reason. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
3/2/19 10:02 p.m.
wheelsmithy said:
Fitzauto said:

I’ve always heard good things about hobarts welders. My grandfather’s is really nice.

+1

 

 

This is what I have, as well as several friends. Works great for all of us. Highly recommend.

rodknock
rodknock Reader
3/3/19 5:49 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

I have the same one, NASCAR edition and all, but without the gas bits. It works pretty well for a flux core rig. 

Bent-Valve
Bent-Valve Reader
3/3/19 7:14 a.m.

Word of warning with these 110 welders.   Note -- all welders really.

They work fine, until you lend it to your friend who doesn't know what "duty cycle" means.

He overheated it. He thought you could weld nonstop, like a factory, at full power.

So follow the recommended duty cycle, weld a bit, then let it cool. It will be a fine tool.

 

*If you are wondering, no it doesn't work now the core is toasted.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
3/3/19 8:29 a.m.

I have a “little” lincoln as well. Great machien. I have put many spools through it over the years with no issue. It is good for tacking sheet metal up to burning in up to 1/4 inch steel ( I have done it). Just get some heat in to what you are welding first. It can be used with gas if you want that as well. I think new they are about $500. I got mine used for closer to $300. I have welded oil pans up to burning new shackle brackets on to axles. I have the gas setup for mine and will use it that way when welding at the bench. I run flux core when I have to bring the welder to the job. I got it mainly to bring to the track years back and it turned in to my go to welder. I had a much bigger one that it replaced that I sold. 

NordicSaab
NordicSaab Dork
3/3/19 8:54 a.m.

At that price point almost all the welders are the same. My recommendation would be a Lincoln or a Hobart because they stand behind their product, but otherwise, take your pick. 

Make sure it has a gas hookup. If you go with an off brand throw away any welding wire that may be included with the machine and get a name brand wire. 

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
3/3/19 10:04 a.m.

I have the "hardware store quality" Lincoln 140 bought at a Canadian Tire sale ($400CDN? Can't remember).  Decent machine, and at least brand name, although the hardware inside is not as robust as the much more expensive "welding store" variant.

I haven't used a Hobart MIG, but I have used their plasma cutter and they seem to be good quality.  They are the "Blue Point" of Miller.

I have heard good things of the Eastwood MIG, as well as (surprisingly) the Everlast brand.

I chose Lincoln because I felt I was more likely to find replacement parts for it in the future. Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, whatever - something from a reputable name pretty much ensures parts. Haven't needed any parts for my Lincoln yet, and it's been a number of years now.

But Like NordicSaab says, if you cheap enough, they're all pretty much going to be the same.

I have a $1800CDN Miller 140 AutoSet at work that is certainly a nicer machine than my $400 Lincoln, and while the arc just seems a bit more polished, the Miller is not 4.5X the smiles.

tux424
tux424 New Reader
3/3/19 11:07 a.m.

I'll place another vote for the Hobart Handler 140. Had mine for a couple years. It's been a great machine.

If your going to run it with flux core (no gas) make sure your using quailty wire.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
3/3/19 11:57 a.m.

I've been running a Hobart Handler 140 for a long time. It's a great machine. I bought it used at a pawn shop for $200. They pop up pretty regularly around here so you might keep an eye out for one. It's probably one of the best 120V machines on the market. Make sure you use a short heavy duty cord when necessary and plug it into a dedicated circuit. It will need all the amperage it can get. 

I recently purchased (last week) a Chinese made Unitweld  Hit Box 200. I wanted more heat for cage welding. It's a little funky to adjust because if the digital settings, but after a little practice I like it as much as the Hobart, maybe more. It was right at $390. The quality is on par with the Hobart and it uses the same tips. 

Harbor Freights Vulcan line is pretty impressive as well. I have their TIG machine and love it even though I still suck at welding with it. 

Ognib
Ognib New Reader
3/3/19 1:00 p.m.
Patrick said:

I have the Lincoln 140hd from Home Depot and i love it.  I’ve been welding for 23 years and it’s very easy to use and set up.  

I just bought this one from them.  Excited to use it...haven't got my 220 ran to the shop yet.


 

codrus
codrus UltraDork
3/3/19 1:08 p.m.
Bent-Valve said:

So follow the recommended duty cycle, weld a bit, then let it cool. It will be a fine tool.

Huh, I thought they had temperature sensors and self-protection circuitry so that they'd shut down if they got too hot?

 

SkinnyG
SkinnyG UltraDork
3/3/19 1:46 p.m.

Both my Lincoln and the Miller at work shut themselves off by popping the breaker :)

loosecannon
loosecannon Dork
3/3/19 2:32 p.m.

Since we're talking welders, I started full time welding school 3 weeks ago and am using welders that cost in the $10,000-$15,000 range and am now totally spoiled. The difference is quite large and my cheapo Hobart suddenly feels quite inadequate. Video from welding school

akylekoz
akylekoz Dork
3/3/19 4:00 p.m.
Ognib said:
Patrick said:

I have the Lincoln 140hd from Home Depot and i love it.  I’ve been welding for 23 years and it’s very easy to use and set up.  

I just bought this one from them.  Excited to use it...haven't got my 220 ran to the shop yet.


 

I have the Commercial version, the 180C refurbed with a full warranty from a welding supply for $550 if I remember correctly.

They were the returned demo models that the race teams used for a season repackaged with all new accessories.   So far I’m loving it, been a couple of years now.  I also use nice equipment at work and it doesn’t even annoy me to use the home model. 

triumph7
triumph7 Reader
3/4/19 8:13 a.m.

I've dealt with Primeweld on a couple things, awesome customer service!

https://primeweld.com/collections/mig-welders

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/4/19 8:27 a.m.

Not just people who stand behind their product, but something that you will most likely be able to get parts for down the road.

 

Basically, +1 on Lincoln or Hobart, take your pick.

 

 

I have a lincoln I bought used off a friend, its great.   I have used a friends Hobart, its really good as well.  six of one, half dozen of the other.  Get as much power as your budget/outlet wiring allows and get one that you can put a gas bottle on. 

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