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Best MIG under $1K?

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  • Best MIG under $1K?

    I used to have a Hobart "Handler", back when it was an actual Hobart product, and it was easily the best 110V MIG I'd used. Built an entire car with it.

    Unfortunately, all I have at the moment is some Snap-On branded MIG (Century, I think) which works fairly well, but definitely nowhere near as well as the Hobart.

    I'm told new Handlers are cheap imports and not as good as they used to be. So in leiu of those, what's the best 110/220V sized portable MIG I can get these days, for under $1K? (I paid something like $700 for the Handler back in the day.)

    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Doc, believe it or not, Home depot has Lincoln 175amp 220V MIG for $700. Unfortunately, I don't think it comes with a regulator or hoses. has a Millermatic 175 for $723.00 on sale at the moment.

    As to which of the two is "best" that's something I don't know, both companies have excellent industrial reputations.


    This Old Shed

    [This message has been edited by HTRN (edited 03-13-2006).]
    EGO partum , proinde EGO sum


    • #3
      I have a Lincoln ProMIG 135, I like it, but have nothing else that size to compare it to. The my welding supply guy wants to sell me a Miller. I don't recall the price he quoted, but I got my Lincoln new for a very, very good price, and stopped comparing.

      Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."
      Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."


      • #4
        I was unaware that Hobart started going cheap on their welders. I bought a new Hobart 180 a little over a year ago (for half your budget, thanks to a tip from this board) and have had no problems with it at all. I don’t know exactly why, but I can hardly lay a bad bead with it. I like it much better than my Lincoln mig, not that there is anything wrong with it, but I just seem to get consistently better welds with the Hobart.


        • #5
          We have a Lincoln 135 from Lowes at work,110 on gas shield.With .025 wire it does a fine job on everything up to 1/4" at which point it doesn't have much of a deuty cycle(about 3 miuntes in 10)I think it only cost $425 or so.They did make an SP135 which the only difference I see in them is the SP has five range settings instead of just the 3 on the regular 135.

          The 175's I have seen require 220vac,which isn't a problem if you make up yourself a heavy duty extension cord.

          I've use a Miller 130? I think it was,didn't see any difference other than the controls were a little different.
          I just need one more tool,just one!


          • #6
            As far as I am concerned the Miller machine is hard to beat. I just traded up from a 120 to a 251 Miller machine. The 120 was about 15 years old with allot of heavy welding time on it.


            • #7
              I personally prefer Miller units over Lincoln for MIG machines, but for stick its got to be Lincoln

              Check the wire feeds - i can't remember which models, but some of the cheaper ones use some cheap plastic gearing and wheels that wears out pretty fast. The higher-up models, still under 1000 though, have much better feeds. Don't get jipped with a bad feed mechanism. Seems like most companies have the transformers/rectifiers all figured out but where the quality is hurting on some is feeding/cables/hoses/gun etc.

              Like Ted said, millers are really hard to kill. I worked with one that was 17 years old and still going strong. This thing had serious welding time on it, i rebuilt the frame for a anhydrous bar and this thing got hours of use in a day at full rated output welding 1" and thicker plate in some cases. I imagine it was more than a thousand - but its really been used for way thicker material and higher heats than it was really meant for. The only thing replaced on it was the lining of the hose and the insulator plus of course gas cups, contact tips and other consumables.
              "I was unaware that Hobart started going cheap on their welders. I bought a new Hobart 180 a little over a year ago " Anyone know when exactly Hobart became part of Miller? Seems like for quite a while now, all you see with the Hobart name are the smaller units but they all have miller guns/cables etc. I assume they merged or Hobart was bought out?


              • #8
                Miller and Hobart same maker... I have a Older Lincoln SP 100 same spec's as as the newer 135 sp's. Worked it for more the 10 yrs and still going strong. I picked up a Hobart 180 at Tractor Supply Co. for $600 or so that was a package deal tank/cart. They have this package again.. stop in and have them do a store search if your local one does not have one in stock. I use my welders every day and both are good machines. But like I said Miller and Hobart same... same for the most parts. I think you'd be happy with if.
                Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.


                • #9
                  <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Joel:
                  I was unaware that Hobart started going cheap on their welders.</font>
                  <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tinkerer:
                  Miller and Hobart same maker...</font>
                  Miller bought out Hobart a while ago - They're now using the Hobart name for their "econo" line, foriegn made stuff with less features.


                  This Old Shed
                  EGO partum , proinde EGO sum


                  • #10
                    My lincoln has been trouble free since the mid 80s.. 140? it is a 220 model small welder.. I got gas off the get-go, much prettier welds.

                    Now, mig, since I ran over the stinger with the ironworkers steel casters, well I need a liner. It is not feeding the wire. At least it is not wadding the wire up inside the box Like I have seen cheaper welders do.

                    I also took the leads loose, and tigged with the power supply inside the mig. Yep.. that's me.. I put a tie wrap around the trigger to keep it pulled up. Actually did a pretty decent job.
                    Excuse me, I farted.


                    • #11
                      Hobart welding was sold in the 90's then the purchasing company sold off the Hobart name with the smaller line of welders. They wanted the high end comercial welding business.

                      [This message has been edited by Alguy (edited 03-14-2006).]
                      scariest thing to hear " I am from the government and i am here to help"


                      • #12
                        Miller bought Hobart as I understand, but the products are *not* the same or at least they were not when I bought my Millermatic 175. It has real knurled steel wire feed wheels and no cheap plastic in the feed mechanism, unlike the Hobarts of the time. I am happy with my 175 and I think I paid around $725 (sans regulator and accessories) for it maybe 5 years ago.

                        Paul Carpenter
                        Mapleton, IL


                        • #13
                          The Hobart 140 and 180 Migs welders are good machines, made in the US at one of the Miller factories.

                          For a quality 110 volt unit that is affordable, your best bet is either the a Lincoln 135 or Hobart 140. Lincoln sells the 135 under a bunch of different names at the "big box" stores (ProMig135, etc) but the machine is the same as the SP135T they sell in their professional stores. This is a good quality tapped machine (as is the Hobart 140).

                          The Hobart 140 uses all Miller consumable parts and is a good machine. The Miller 135 is also a good machine but has a fancier control and thus is about $100. bucks more than either the Lincoln or Hobart.

                          To my knowledge, any 110 welders cheaper than those two models are all imports. Some are ok but parts availability can be spotty.

                          Check Ebay for prices on these machines, several dealers sell new Lincolns and Hobarts there for pretty good prices. I bought a Hobart 140 from Indiana Welding on Ebay and it was a good deal and came fast.

                          Take a look at this forum for lots of discussions on MIG welders of all brands:


                          Good luck-

                          Paul T.


                          • #14
                            Lincoln SP 175 Plus!!!