Wire welder brand choice???
I humbly bow to the exalted wisdom here:
I plan to purchase a wire welder for using around the house- equipment repair, a little fabrication here and there, etc. I'm leaning toward the wire units but I could be talked into a stick. We have both at the shop but I want a new toy for the house so I'm looking at this from the perspective of my money vs buy what we need at work. 220 is available but I'm thinking one of the 110 units.
My choices at the present are either Northern Tool or Tractor Supply house brand for $120 give or take or Hobart for a little over $300. Is the Hobart overkill for occasional home use? My philosophy is basically to buy the best I can afford and $300 is not that much extra. I certainly don't see $500 plus for something for this use.
So, who has used the cheap units maybe or should I go ahead with the Hobart?
Thanks in advance to all
110 FCAW units are under powered and in general, crap. I tried to weld up some 14 gauge with a Clarke 135SG I picked up some years back and was very disappointed with the results. I eventually picked up a Miller 252 MIG machine and welded up the same project like a dream.
At your price point, I'd suggest a stick machine. maybe even learn torch welding with an Oxy Acetylene set-up (but that might be a bit more than you want to spend too).
If you want wire feed, plan on spending a great deal more than $300, or you will be disappointed. Just about nobody suggests a 110v wire machine for anyone. even if you are only working on real thin metals and could get by with a 110 machine, you'll still want a real MIG machine and not one of the flux core only models, and that adds a good deal more money right there with the gas regulating equipment, bottle rental (or purchase) and gas. Hobart makes a battery powered machine that is supposed to be pretty good and plugs into a 110 outlet. It kicks out much more power than a normal 110 machine because it runs off of the battery, but because it produces big power on a small plug, you end up with a fairly low duty cycle to let it recharge. Miller, Hobart, and Lincoln all make machines that can be plugged into 110 or 220 outlets. Its been awhile since I looked at prices for these, but I think they are something like $800 or more.
don't forget all the little tools and protective gear you will need too.
I work in a maintenance shop and have access to the equipment there- depending on the political atmosphere at the time. :censored: And I plan on retiring in the relative near future, so I'm just pondering if the smaller units are worth the money for now and then piddling.
Your question was brand choice. Just about every name brands such as Miller,Hobart,Lincoln... Your budget will have to be your guide. Most of the wire welders from these start at about 500 up and with a tank 100 or more extra.
You might check your local welding equipment shops and see if they have any good trade ins or rental returns. Many times good deals can be had right from the welding shops.
To get you up and running. Look for second hand stick welder. Many times you can pick them up cheap. I just got a old buzz box given to me a few weeks ago.
It needed some cleaning up but works fine.
I'd recommend ya stay away from the Chinese imports like the northern tool, 'n tractor store cheap welders...
While I've got a ole Lincoln 200amp wirefeed, 'n a Lincoln Ac/ Dc buzzbox, as well as a Lincoln 140amp, 11ov machines...
The Big welder is set up for gas shielding for both aluminum, 'n steel, 'n I use it inside the shop...
The buzzbox is a necessity for me to run specialty rods such as hi-nickel, 'n what-nots...
The little 140 wire feed Lincoln is my go-to box,...
It'll weld, strong welds, in steel, up to 1/8" or slightly more...
Yes, it's abit of a pain to clean the slag, but weldin' Outdoors can't be done with gas-shielding...
The 110v boxes, in the higher amperages, is a usefull welder,...
The 1s that top out at less than 100amps, Not so much...
Does this meet your criteria and my budget?
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It should be good for sheet metal, and you'll probably be able to sell it easy when you outgrow it.
It don't sound like much of a difference, but it really is...
Jumping to the $880 MVP210 would be an even bigger jump in performance.
Bondo, thanks for the input but I've got to agree with forresth- the 140 is out of the price range. Unless you can convince the Mrs. ...:thumbup:. I'm trying to find the best value as far as money goes using it once in a while for the convenience of not taking something to the shop and risking somebody griping about me working on personal equipment on the clock.
Also a good point about better resale value (especially if China made bites the dust after 6 months).
If money is tight(like it ain't for All of Us)...
I'd suggest buyin' Used....
All of my welders were bought used...
Most were found on ebay, the newest old welder, my Big wirefeed was bought at auction, locally last summer...(I watched it listed on craigslist all last winter for $2500., 'n bought it at the auction for Under $800.)
The closest to new was the Ac/Dc Buzzbox, bought from my local welding supplier, which came from their welding school project...
1/2 price for a nearly new welder, 'bout 20 years ago...
I'm sayin' what I'm sayin', 'cause I once bought an ole Craftsman/ Century 110amp wirefeed welder, that needed a new switch...
I bought a new switch from sears, 'n used it til it was stolen...
After which I found the Lincoln 140amp wirefeed...
The difference is Night, 'n Day, 'n Well worth the search for the bigger power...
Either way, Good Luck, 'n Enjoy yer new hobby....:thumbsup:
I doubt he'll find the welder of his dreams used for under $300 either. The only used wire machines I've seen for $300 or less are all 110v machines. I don't think I've seen a used 220v machine for less than $600, but Craiglist around here is a bit sparse on welders and its mainly the bigger ones for sale. People just hold on to the little ones they have "just in case" for what they'd bring in and the hassle of selling. If things are different in your area, well you'd know better than me.
125 or 140, you'll most likely want a bigger one down the road. I don't doubt the 140 is worth the premium, but If the $300 cap is fairly firm (and it sounds like it is) I'd get the 125 and not worry about what added performance you'd get with the 140 (looks like 90 vs 85 amps at 20% duty cycle and some other minor things). The MVP210 is enough machine that you might not be needing to upgrade down the road, and I think would be cheaper in the long run. The 210MVP specs about the same as the 140 when its on 110v power, but really steps it up once you plug it into a 220v outlet.
Unfortunately, If you can't justify the outlay, you just can't justify the outlay.
Back to the 140 vs 125; Just a guess here, but I bet you have a much easier time selling the 125 for $200 than you'd have for selling the 140 for $300, so it'll probably cost you less at that end too. Still, I think you'll be better off justifying the $880 for the better machine up front in the long run. I think you should try harder to justify spending more this time around. Buy once, cry once.
When I went welder shopping, I decided a 250 class machine was what I wanted so I'd have a spray arc option when needed. Ya, I probably went overboard, but I'll never have to upgrade to a bigger MIG machine.
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