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Thread: Hobart Ironman 230 vs Millermatic

  1. #1

    Default Hobart Ironman 230 vs Millermatic

    I was wandering around the local Tractor Supply Co and figured I'd look at the Hobart welders they had.

    I can remember when Hobart went under and then Miller bought the name and got scolded by the government about anti-trust and wasn't allowed to own two directly competing welder manufacturers. So they decided to put out cheap hobby welders to compete with Lincoln Home Depot welders without associating the Miller name with cheap garbage.

    So the curiosity was more in mourning of Hobart when it made some good stuff rather than window-shopping my next MIG.

    None of the Hobarts let me down. Tiny duty-cycles, cheap plastic parts, over-simplified controls to get any idiot throwing down bird-guano welds and making the world a little more of a scary place. Until I came by he Hobart Ironman 230.

    At first glance the case looked like my old Millermatic 252, with some cheap easy to break hooks to hang the leads on. The controls on the front more resembled a Millermatic 251 with simple analog dials with no DRO. I was getting angry because I really loved my MM 252 and would jump at any Millermatic in the 250 range and up. To make a cheap effigy of a MM 251 under the Hobart name was insulting on so many levels. I popped open the feeder lid and there it was; a dual drive roll feeder. One of the biggest marks of a serious MIG. I looked at the specs and 60% duty cycle was far higher than any other Hobart they had listed and seemed high enough I might not hit it in the middle of doing a perfect bead.

    I don't know about you guys, but I can't go back to a single drive roll welder. Two or four drive rolls push wire. You know quickly what's causing a gun not to feed cleanly with multiple drive rolls because if you have a bad tip, diffuser or liner it will get a little jerky just before the wire wads-up in the feeder rolls. With a single drive roll I can swap liners, guns, tips, diffusers, check roll wire size and tension and still end up screaming at the drive,"Why are you still slipping?!"

    I can't find anything online about how the Ironman stacks up to the true Millermatic series (anything under a MM 250 is not a true Millermatic). All I can find is people wondering how well it does flux-core (shudder) or complaining about how they can't carry it around.

    I would snag one if it was just a rebadged MM 251 in a heartbeat for the price they're asking. I have plenty of blue spray paint and big Miller decals laying around.

  2. #2
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    The Ironman 230 has been out for a while and is a pretty good unit from what I hear. It is not cheap junk. That said its a different class of machine than the MM 252 which almost twice the price. That said if I was buying new fab shop class MIG today it wouldn't be the Miller. I'd get the new Lincoln Power Mig 260 which competes head to head with the MM252. The 260 features the new ArcFX technology. It provides quick setup for any weld process (kind of like a digital version of the tapped machine) but then allows you to customize a particular configuration if you desire and even save it for latter.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohio Mike View Post
    I'd get the new Lincoln Power Mig 260 which competes head to head with the MM252. The 260 features the new ArcFX technology. It provides quick setup for any weld process (kind of like a digital version of the tapped machine) but then allows you to customize a particular configuration if you desire and even save it for latter.
    I was actually checking that out.

    I've come to really like the Miller welders I've used for companies I've worked for and really loved my MM 252 and current Miller Dynasty 210. I'm not hating on Lincoln, but the commercial Lincoln welders I've used are not in the same zip-code in quality as the small welders from Home Depot. The last independent shop I worked at has two Miller CPs with feeders and an ancient huge Lincoln MIG with but-in feeder. Everyone fought over the Millers and used the Lincoln when they had to. The Lincoln was still a good welder, just everyone liked the Millers better. I welded with many Lincolns before I used a Miller.

    The 260 you named looks pretty slick with dual drive rolls and a color touch screen. I wonder how well it would hold up once the warranty has expired and they've moved on to the next gimmick and discontinued it along with whether they choose to keep stocking replacement parts.

    Looks like Lincoln is also discounting the Power MIG 256s pretty nicely in the wake of the newer offering. Even offering $500 rebate.

  4. #4
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    Longevity is yet to be seen of course but Lincoln has had great support over the years. I can't help but think guys argued the same thing when the fancy new Syncrowave machines came out For every Miller fan you can find someone like my brother than won't buy another. He told me when he bought his Lincoln TIG he didn't even consider a Miller because he had spent as much on service work on his MM250 as the machine originally cost. Personally I think both make nice machines.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohio Mike View Post
    Longevity is yet to be seen of course but Lincoln has had great support over the years. I can't help but think guys argued the same thing when the fancy new Syncrowave machines came out For every Miller fan you can find someone like my brother than won't buy another. He told me when he bought his Lincoln TIG he didn't even consider a Miller because he had spent as much on service work on his MM250 as the machine originally cost. Personally I think both make nice machines.
    I was on Miller's website checking specs and saw they are getting ready to release a new MM in the 250 line with inverter and touch screen with comparable price to the MM 252. Leaves the same concern I have for the Lincoln touchscreen; looks fun but how well does it hold up?

  6. #6
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    I have owned both brands off and on for years and could really see little difference. Miller is more commercial or industrial whereas Hobart was consumer grade. The last Hobart I owned had cast aluminum feed setup on the MIG. Hobart and Miller are made in the same factory and both are using a lot of Chinese made parts.

    Yes all the touch screen and automation is fun, but who is going to repair when they go out of warranty? Cheaper to buy a new one.
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

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