Newbie MIG machine recommendation

   #1  

Spike56

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
141
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
 
   #2  

fried1765

Super Star Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
10,206
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:
   #3  

DL Meisen

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
3,799
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....
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#4  
OP
S

Spike56

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
141
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)
 
   #5  

chim

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Messages
3,351
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.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#6  
OP
S

Spike56

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
141
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.
 
   #7  

Smokeydog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
1,922
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.
 
   #8  

fried1765

Super Star Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
10,206
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!
 
   #9  

Birdhunter1

Veteran Member
Joined
May 5, 2004
Messages
1,761
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.
 

Smokeydog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
1,922
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.
 

arto98607

Platinum Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
798
Location
Southwest WA
Tractor
Kubota F3060, Grasshopper 721D, Ford 1310, John Deere 440 ICD, John Deere 300
I bought a used Lincoln Idealarc SP-150 back in 1990 and it has served me well on all kinds of car, tractor, trailer etc. projects.

It's obviously not a current model, but used ones are still available.
Totally trouble free Professional machine, bought used 30 years ago for hobby use.

It is excellent for welding thin sheet-metal and can do up to 3/8 inch in one pass.


Photo from online, my cables are not a mess like that:
 

Attachments

  • Lincoln_Idealarc_SP-150.jpg
    Lincoln_Idealarc_SP-150.jpg
    508.5 KB · Views: 58

DL Meisen

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
3,799
Location
A Little Bit West Of Yosemite NP
Tractor
MF GC1715
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.
Might do a little lurking here....


The real difference in polarity is how the two different weld types respond to the arc shield... Look up FCAW (Flux Core Arc Weld) and GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Weld)...

Dale
 

herm0016

Platinum Member
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
710
Location
Carter lake, Colorado
Tractor
Branson 4720h
very happy with my Hobart handler 140. I got it when i did not have access to 240 volt, and i have been able to do everything i have wanted with it, even pushing the thickness quite a bit. if I pre heat 3/8 seems just fine with a good bevel and a couple passes. I have not had anything show signs of bad welds. rebuilt a JD 80 blade, replaced parts on my 10k trailer, fixed a loader bucket, multiple other similar projects
 

chim

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Messages
3,351
Location
Lancaster County, PA
Tractor
Kubota L4240, Ford 1210
Might do a little lurking here....


The real difference in polarity is how the two different weld types respond to the arc shield... Look up FCAW (Flux Core Arc Weld) and GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Weld)...

Dale
Yep, and when one has brain flatulence and forgets to swap polarity when going from solid to flux core, it puzzles him why all of a sudden the welds look awful.

Not that I ever did that:)
 

DL Meisen

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
3,799
Location
A Little Bit West Of Yosemite NP
Tractor
MF GC1715
Yep, and when one has brain flatulence and forgets to swap polarity when going from solid to flux core, it puzzles him why all of a sudden the welds look awful.

Not that I ever did that:)
That is why I don't ever move away for GMAW..... Yes I still have the half full demo roll of Flux Core that came with welder almost 8 years ago.... Only to be use in dire emergency....

Dale
 
Last edited:

chim

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Messages
3,351
Location
Lancaster County, PA
Tractor
Kubota L4240, Ford 1210
I run more flux core than solid because most of the time I'm working outdoors. GMAW only tolerates a certain amount of wind.

That's one of the real nice things about the Everlast stick machine I'm finally getting to spend more time with. Sure am looking forward to "burnin' some rod" this coming weekend!
 

DL Meisen

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
3,799
Location
A Little Bit West Of Yosemite NP
Tractor
MF GC1715
I run more flux core than solid because most of the time I'm working outdoors. GMAW only tolerates a certain amount of wind.

That's one of the real nice things about the Everlast stick machine I'm finally getting to spend more time with. Sure am looking forward to "burnin' some rod" this coming weekend!
Funny.... I gave up stick for MIG...

Dale
 

zzvyb6

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2006
Messages
4,409
Location
michigan
Tractor
jd 1070
I have the Miller 211. Smart settings, takes big spools, and runs on 120 or 240V. I have the gals using it to make home decoration stuff from steer rods. Couple of suggestions: Buy the gas bottle and don't even attempt to use flux wire. Doubtful strength and LOTS of splatter. Get a cart for it. I drag it everywhere.
 

ArlyA

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
4,902
Location
Houghton MI (the Lake Superior snow belt) USA
Tractor
Polaris Boss 6x6 with pods (tracks) Center actuating lawn mower by Husky
GMAW or what we normally call MIG. I do MIG, MIG and never ever do anything but mig with 035 wire. If its dirty I'll clean it until I can run mig. Funny that I spent X years in the RR and oil patch business doing stick. Did just a tad of flux-core back then, what a mess that is.... I'll setup box's or something to protect the MIG weld from wind while outdoors. Nothing but MIG here.
 

Smokeydog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
1,922
Location
Knoxville, Tennessee
Tractor
Kubota B26, M59, M5030DT
I have the Miller 211. Smart settings, takes big spools, and runs on 120 or 240V. I have the gals using it to make home decoration stuff from steer rods. Couple of suggestions: Buy the gas bottle and don't even attempt to use flux wire. Doubtful strength and LOTS of splatter. Get a cart for it. I drag it everywhere.

The women in my life love the Miller 211. Just like a glue gun for metal. All kinds of yard, wall, horseshoe and kitchen art and utensils. Add a little blacksmithing they can take over your shop. Buyers beware!
 

yomax4

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2007
Messages
2,707
Location
Midwest
Tractor
ISEKI TA 247. Stihl Saws Gravely Zt's Polaris ATV's State Of The Art Welding Equipment
I bought a used Lincoln Idealarc SP-150 back in 1990 and it has served me well on all kinds of car, tractor, trailer etc. projects.

It's obviously not a current model, but used ones are still available.
Totally trouble free Professional machine, bought used 30 years ago for hobby use.

It is excellent for welding thin sheet-metal and can do up to 3/8 inch in one pass.


Photo from online, my cables are not a mess like that:
I had an SP200. So smooth it seemed like it was low on power ( high inductance ) Great welder. You could flip open the side door and actually remove the feed system which was the same as an LN 7 feeder. You could go as far as the cables you chose to install. One of the best. I'd like to have your 150 which is as good or better than most posted on this run.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#23  
OP
S

Spike56

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
141
Location
Lexington, Texas
Tractor
JD 2355
So far, my summary:
Thanks to all, this has been really helpful / educational.

Machine / Equipment:
Still targeting the Hobart 210 MVP. The Miller 211 appears to have dial type settings instead of fixed and *perhaps* therefore, offers more simple setup / controls
However, I am not certain that (for me), I can justify spending that much.

Polarity:
I understand the "very basics" of polarity. On my Thunder Bolt XL stick, I have a large toggle switch to change, although I hardly ever used this, leaving it on DCEP (DC+). I tried AC a couple times on rusty metal..
How this is changed on a MIG machine.... I do not notice a front panel switch. So I suppose this is a simple process.

Still have questions on:
1.) Have never used a MIG, but assume that using flux core wire would be similar to welding with rods (stick)
2.) IF I chose to use shielding gas,
* I assume I would use a standard 75/25 CO2/Argon
* Today, I would have no idea where to purchase a "refillable" bottle. I have an "Airgas company" store locally - maybe there ? I have heard stories of people buying torch bottles that cannot be refilled / or bottles that some suppliers would not refill.

< Philosophical mode on here>
Perhaps I over think things ? I am just trying to understand better before I make any decisions. If my refrigerator goes south, that is something that needs replacement right away - quick investigation - stick to a reputable brand / store - go buy. The welder.... I can take a little more time to decide on. I think the purpose of these forums is to get opinions from people who know a heck of a lot more that I do ! Which, is probably everyone. :)
< Mode off>

Again, thanks to all who take the time to help here !

J.
 

Garson

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
44
Location
New Brunswick, Canada
Tractor
RX7320 Kioti Shuttle Shift, Toro TimeCutter SS5425 Zero Turn
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.
I'll second that. You will miss your stick welder. Cranking the heat to max will often cut things with a 6011 rod that you cannot reach with acetylene and MIG welding works poorly in a windy location. Also, your stick welder will melt metal using a carbon arc torch attachment.
 

Metalman5767

New member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
8
Location
Athens, Alabama
Tractor
Kubota BX-23 & Kanga G-520
I have the Hobart Handler 210 and it's great! Mine came with the Spool Gun which is great for aluminum work...look to see if you can't get both as a package.
 

BeezFun

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2009
Messages
2,307
Location
IL
Tractor
Kubota B2710
You didn't describe much of your environment, but I find my tig machine far more useful for almost everything. We have a farm so there's always a fire risk with mig if I'm anywhere near the barn or in a field. In the shop a tig machine is much cleaner, very low fume level compared to mig, so it's better there too. The downside is you have to spend a lot of time on prep, and the welding process itself is much slower, but you said you're retiring so what else do you have to do. The other nice thing with a tig machine is you keep the ability to stick weld if you ever need to do something fast or burn through a lot of rust.
 

fried1765

Super Star Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
10,206
Tractor
Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, 8N Ford, Gravely 12 HP "Professional", 48" SCAG Liberty
So far, my summary:
Thanks to all, this has been really helpful / educational.

Machine / Equipment:
Still targeting the Hobart 210 MVP. The Miller 211 appears to have dial type settings instead of fixed and *perhaps* therefore, offers more simple setup / controls
However, I am not certain that (for me), I can justify spending that much.

Polarity:
I understand the "very basics" of polarity. On my Thunder Bolt XL stick, I have a large toggle switch to change, although I hardly ever used this, leaving it on DCEP (DC+). I tried AC a couple times on rusty metal..
How this is changed on a MIG machine.... I do not notice a front panel switch. So I suppose this is a simple process.

Still have questions on:
1.) Have never used a MIG, but assume that using flux core wire would be similar to welding with rods (stick)
2.) IF I chose to use shielding gas,
* I assume I would use a standard 75/25 CO2/Argon
* Today, I would have no idea where to purchase a "refillable" bottle. I have an "Airgas company" store locally - maybe there ? I have heard stories of people buying torch bottles that cannot be refilled / or bottles that some suppliers would not refill.

< Philosophical mode on here>
Perhaps I over think things ? I am just trying to understand better before I make any decisions. If my refrigerator goes south, that is something that needs replacement right away - quick investigation - stick to a reputable brand / store - go buy. The welder.... I can take a little more time to decide on. I think the purpose of these forums is to get opinions from people who know a heck of a lot more that I do ! Which, is probably everyone. :)
< Mode off>

Again, thanks to all who take the time to help here !

J.
The Hobart 190 Handler is 220V only, but 220V is much better for any MIG welder use.
Obviously it is not quite as sophisticated as the Hobart 210, but it is a GREAT MIG welder, and $200 less expensive.
I am very impressed with my Hobart Handler 190,..... and I have zero welding experience!
For your use, I would definitely say...save the $200, buy the Handler 190, and use gas!
You will be happy!
 

ddavis317

New member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
2
Tractor
Ford 3000 Gas
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
Hello, I was jn the same boat about 10 ago. I didnt weld much but wanted a decent welder. I bought the Hobart 210, and it has prooved to serve my purpose, i actually burnt the rectifier boarf up a couple years ago, but was able to order new one and replaced it, it still works great. If I had the money I would have bought a Miller, but the Hobart is a good welder.
 

RedNeckGeek

Super Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
7,473
Location
Butte County, California
Tractor
Kubota M62, Kubota L3240D HST (SOLD!), Kubota RTV900
An old welder once told me buy blue (Miller) for TIG (GTA welding) and red (Lincoln) for MIG (GMA welding). I did and I'm still happy with that advise more than ten years later. I can rig a stinger to the Miller if I ever need to, but in all that time I've only done it once or twice. Most of what I do is steel, and hands down the GMA welder is way better (easier and faster) for that. Mine's a Lincoln Power MIG 180C, and I can weld whatever thickness of steel I want with it. I've even brazed autobody steel with the right wire.

Whatever you end up with, buy as much power as you can afford. You can always turn a welder down, but you can only turn it up so much, and sometimes that's not enough.

If you've never welded before, head on over to the Welding Tips and Tricks website and you'll find an excellent selection of videos showing you exactly how to do it. You'll also find a ton of reviews on welders and equipment.

When it comes time to buy, shop around on the internet (Google is your friend), pay attention to the reviews, and mostly shop for price. I'd steer away from unknown brands because a welder is something you'll have for most of the rest of your life, and you need to be able to purchase parts and service for it. Pick a no-name brand and you have no guarantee they'll be there when you need them.
 
 
Top