Newbie MIG machine recommendation

   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #1  

Spike56

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
156
Location
Lexington, Texas
Tractor
JD 2355
I am in the market for a MIG (wire feed) machine. Have been looking at (seems like) 100's of models, but having trouble with a selection. My basic requirements are up to 1/4" steel; however, 95% of my projects are geared toward "garden / home" projects using tubing / thin wall metal.
I would like the machine to be able to use both flux core and wire w/gas (future). So, I do not want to go ultra cheap to learn later that for a few extra bucks I could have had much better quality, available options (guns, type wire capable) and "ease of use" (changing spools....ect). Of course, I am NOT a professional either, and won't be welding a lot. Just trying to find the best compromise between CHEAP and EXPENSIVE machines.

My welding experience is very limited. Have a STICK (Miller ThunderBolt) and have used even for smaller / thinner metal project. But, I am going to sell this one.

I currently have a 220v 30A plug. Seems most (?) of the 220v machines are 50A ? Unsure.

Any suggestions are appreciated - especially from anyone owning a "fairly" new machine - one that I could find the same model today.

Thanks
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #2  

fried1765

Super Star Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
10,208
Tractor
Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, 8N Ford, Gravely 12 HP "Professional", 48" SCAG Liberty
I am in the market for a MIG (wire feed) machine. Have been looking at (seems like) 100's of models, but having trouble with a selection. My basic requirements are up to 1/4" steel; however, 95% of my projects are geared toward "garden / home" projects using tubing / thin wall metal.
I would like the machine to be able to use both flux core and wire w/gas (future). So, I do not want to go ultra cheap to learn later that for a few extra bucks I could have had much better quality, available options (guns, type wire capable) and "ease of use" (changing spools....ect). Of course, I am NOT a professional either, and won't be welding a lot. Just trying to find the best compromise between CHEAP and EXPENSIVE machines.

My welding experience is very limited. Have a STICK (Miller ThunderBolt) and have used even for smaller / thinner metal project. But, I am going to sell this one.

I currently have a 220v 30A plug. Seems most (?) of the 220v machines are 50A ? Unsure.

Any suggestions are appreciated - especially from anyone owning a "fairly" new machine - one that I could find the same model today.

Thanks
The best bang for the buck in a 30A quality transformer style MIG machine is the Hobart Handler 190.
These are great reliable machines that are assembled in the USA.
In my opinion, this IS the "best compromise" machine that you are seeking!

I own one that is nearly new!

Current best price is from Blaine's Farm & Fleet in Janesville, WI. (farmandfleet.com/products/690871)
They sell the Hobart Handler 190 MIG for $659.95 plus $33.95 shipping (no tax if no Blaine's store in your state)

I live 1,000 miles away from Blaine's, but have bought several implements from them, and they have provided excellent price/service.
You will be pleased with the Hobart Handler, and with Blaine's.
Many other TBN mbrs. own the Hobart Handler 190 MIG.

Hobart is owned by Illinois Tool Works, the parent company of Miller!
 
Last edited:
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #3  

WranglerX

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
3,910
Location
A Little Bit West Of Yosemite NP
Tractor
MF GC1715
I have a Hobart Handler 140 and it will handle up to 1/4 inch, BUT in retrospect I wish I had gotten a 240 Volt machine such as the HH 190 or the 210 MPV.... As the HH 140 handles 95% of my work its that 5% factor that leaves me wanting for 240Volt machine....

IF you do go with 120V machine go top end as their capabilities pretty much end at 1/4 inch anything less is well less....
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation
  • Thread Starter
#4  
OP
S

Spike56

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
156
Location
Lexington, Texas
Tractor
JD 2355
Thank-you for your kind replies. Hobart was on my list. After re-reading some reviews, I think the Hobart 210 MVP is my choice ! I need to get my current Stick unit sold to fund the new purchase. Having the "multi-voltage" capability is one of those " wish I would have gotten that unit" things. Plus, after reading that the 210 has more setting for thin metal / better to use on thin stock...

My first "decision" was "what manufacturer to buy. One other person (a welder I know) said Hobart was made well. I was still looking at Miller / Lincoln / others.

Right now, at Blains: ($220 difference)
210 MVP = 879
190 = 659

I think, all in all, if I am spending that much...... should spring for the 210.

FOR ANYONE ELSE READING THIS: 210mvp vs. 190 (numerous good articles on the web)

Input voltage: 210 (115v or 230) 190 (230)
Material Thickness: 210 (24g - 3/8") 190 (24g - 5/16")
Over Temp Light: 210 (yes) 190 (no)
Wire feed: 210 (40-770 in/min) 190 (40-740 in/min)
Output Power: 210 (25-210) 190 (25-190)
Machine Weight: 210 (79 lbs) 190 (68 lbs)
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #5  

chim

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Messages
3,354
Location
Lancaster County, PA
Tractor
Kubota L4240, Ford 1210
Still have the Millermatic 175 I bought new about a dozen or so years ago. It's still going strong and I'm amazed at what can be done with it. I use both solid wire with gas and flux core. Remember to observe polarity for the wire being used, and to use a knurled drive roller for the flux core.

If I were shopping today, I'd prefer a dual input voltage machine. There have been a number of times that a small project could have been done with a machine that runs on 120V. I'd probably go a notch higher on the output to get around 200A.

Are you sure that you don't want to hang on to the stick welder? Last year I bought an Everlast Powerarc STi and really like it. Friday I had to do a small project that required making some 1" thick plate from two pieces of 1/2" plate, then butt welding it to a 1" plate. Looking forward to doing a larger job with it later this week.
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation
  • Thread Starter
#6  
OP
S

Spike56

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
156
Location
Lexington, Texas
Tractor
JD 2355
Still have the Millermatic 175 I bought new about a dozen or so years ago. It's still going strong and I'm amazed at what can be done with it. I use both solid wire with gas and flux core. Remember to observe polarity for the wire being used, and to use a knurled drive roller for the flux core.

If I were shopping today, I'd prefer a dual input voltage machine. There have been a number of times that a small project could have been done with a machine that runs on 120V. I'd probably go a notch higher on the output to get around 200A.

Are you sure that you don't want to hang on to the stick welder? Last year I bought an Everlast Powerarc STi and really like it. Friday I had to do a small project that required making some 1" thick plate from two pieces of 1/2" plate, then butt welding it to a 1" plate. Looking forward to doing a larger job with it later this week.
Chim,
I need to sell the Stick to afford the Mig. I really do not weld very much now (retirement is looming...) but hope to have the time later. To prove to you how little I actually KNOW / WELD, I have zero idea what a knurled drive roller is ! :) Also, I am NOT aware (yet) of the polarity vs. wire. You could say I am like Sargent Schultz.... I know NOTHING. :)

J.
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #7  

Smokeydog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
2,001
Location
Knoxville, Tennessee
Tractor
Kubota B26, M59, M5030DT
I love my Miller 211. Similar to Hobart 210mvp. Like the variable knobs over the notches. Auto set feature is easy to use particularly for new mig users. With gas shield welding is easy, clean and fast. Bought it after retirement 12 years ago to upgrade from stick welding. No regrets. It’s taught a lot of friends how easy and fun it is to weld. Several bought same machine.
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #8  

fried1765

Super Star Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
10,208
Tractor
Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, 8N Ford, Gravely 12 HP "Professional", 48" SCAG Liberty
I love my Miller 211. Similar to Hobart 210mvp. Like the variable knobs over the notches. Auto set feature is easy to use particularly for new mig users. With gas shield welding is easy, clean and fast. Bought it after retirement 12 years ago to upgrade from stick welding. No regrets. It’s taught a lot of friends how easy and fun it is to weld. Several bought same machine.
I am certain the Miller 211 is a very nice machine.
The Miller 211 approaches TWICE the price of the Hobart 210!
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #9  

Birdhunter1

Veteran Member
Joined
May 5, 2004
Messages
1,768
Location
Murphysboro, IL
Tractor
Mahindra 2638
I guess I'll be the first to say to check out Everlast Welders. I've got a 140 amp mig that is great and will work up to 1/4" steel no problem and I have a Powerarc 200 amp stick welder that if my mig feels undersized I know that my stick machine is not. If I had it to do over again I might go with a 200 amp mig welder just to have the extra power of it for bigger jobs but my current setup works well.
 
   / Newbie MIG machine recommendation #10  

Smokeydog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
2,001
Location
Knoxville, Tennessee
Tractor
Kubota B26, M59, M5030DT
I am certain the Miller 211 is a very nice machine.
The Miller 211 approaches TWICE the price of the Hobart 210!

Both are good and similar machines. Do like the auto set training wheels on the Miller. Easy to set given the wide variety of thickness and joints.

LWS beat the best Internet price. Also on the gas cylinder. I get good support and advise thru the LWS. At the time Miller was 15% more than Hobart and included a spool gun for aluminum. Promotions and sales vary.

Cost vs performance and durability always a concern for tools. My time is not cheap or abundant either. I’ll pay more if I can do more considering my limitations. The joy of repairing , creating and building priceless.
 
 
Top