I'd like to hear from some of you more experienced guys, if you can
spare a few minutes, about which of these two machines you'd prefer:
the Hobart Handler 140 or the Lincoln Weld-Pak 3200HD. These are both
110V-level MIG/fluxcore machines in the 135/140 amp class, and I'm
having kind of a rough time deciding which way to go.
Please don't suggest some other machine. It WILL be one of thse two.
And as far as what it'll be used for, the answer would probably be,
"routine MIG and fluxcore welding, mostly in plain 1/8" mild steel."
In other words, nothing extreme or excessive. We're not building an
offshore oil rig here....
Are there any really significant differences between these two welders
that should bear on the decision?
I looked at both of these machines pretty carefully and decided to go with
the Hobart myself, based on postings by a lot of different users on
different forums. The major points for me were:
1) The Hobart wire feed mechanism, which is also in the MillerMatic 135,
appears to be superior.
2) The Hobart gives excellent results on thin metal (ie 24 gauge) and also
has a little extra on the top end. Keep in mind that to get this extra top
end you have to dedicate a 110 circuit to it and may have to play a little
with the wire feed to that circuit and its breaker, but its there to go
after if you need it.
3) One thing that concerned me about the Lincoln is that they don't even
rate the machine as being capable of 1/8" steel with solid core wire. Take a
look at the owner's manual on their web site, the settings chart only has
settings at 1/8" for flux core wire. To be fair, 1/8" steel with solid wire
is pushing the limit for both of these machines, and if you are planning to
do a lot of that you should consider a 220 unit. In my case I have only
occassional need for 1/8" usage, but I at least wanted the machine to be
capable of that. You could probably argue that Lincoln is being conservative
in their rating, and as I said neither machine is any good for heavy usage
on 1/8" steel, but I've seen reports of Hobart 140 users welding 1/8" with a
single pass of solid core wire and getting good results.
I don't think you can go wrong with either machine as they are both well
liked by their users, but the Hobart 140 users seem to have a slightly
higher "rave rating" factor than the Lincoln users. I would rate the Lincoln
resale value as higher since they have better name recognition, but I didn't
care about that, and you can get parts for the Hobart at any Miller dealer,
most of the parts are the same as the MillerMatic 135.
I forgot to mention one thing, if you decide to go with the Lincoln, the
Weld-Pack 3200HD, the SP135T and the Pro Mig 135 are all the exact same
Lincoln machine with different labeling. The SP135T is the version they sell
at welding dealers while the other ones are the "retail" versions you'll
find at the big box stores, but its all the same machine with different
skins, so shop around to get your best price.
Ron - I had the same question about three weeks ago and decided on the
Hobart (owned by Miller and has many Miller parts).
I think they're both great machines and there isn't a significant
difference between them, but here's my thoughts:
- better warranty
- made by Miller (best name in welding)
- as the other gentleman wrote (sorry can't remember his name) -
appears to have better characteristics. I'm skeptical about this one
though, I think they're probably the same in terms of capability
- Big box carry parts for them (tips, etc.)
I found the best price (by far) for the Hobart at BRWelder.com. They
were easy to deal with and were quick.
I like Lincoln myself but it's mostly because that's what I'm familiar with.
Looking at the Specs the Hobart looks better, including the warranty but
there is one thing about it that I don't think I would like.
They call it "wire feed speed tracking" and it varies your wire speed
automatically. I haven't actually used it but I've heard negative comments
from some who have. To me it seems like it would be kind of like the
helper that Microsoft added to Microsoft Word. It thinks it knows what
you're doing better than you do and adjusts accordingly. I'd prefer to know
that the wire will feed at the rate I set so I can adjust the weld by
changing the position of the gun.
Just my $0.02 worth. :-)
"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"
Not to hijack the thread, but how important is infinite voltage adjustment.
I'm looking at the Millermatic 175 which has infinite adjusment, but also
Lincoln and Hobart like the Handler and Weld-Pak that don't have it.
R> I'd like to hear from some of you more experienced guys, if you can
Most of the reports you get of users not likeing the wire speed tracking is
with the MillerMatic 135/175's. These machines have continuous voltage
controls unlike the 4 voltage taps on the Hobart 140 and the Lincoln's we've
been talking about. With the continuous controls, when you're trying to
treak in your voltage you also get small changes on your wirespeed, and some
users don't like that, they want to be able to tweak them independently like
you can on the Lincoln + series machines.
On tapped machines you can only make large changes to your voltage, which
are generally going to require a change in wire speed no matter what. The
Hobart minimizes the change in wirespeed you have to make by making the
wirespeed relative to the tap selection. For example, with the same 0.030
wire size, on all 4 tap settings on the Hobart machine the typical wirespeed
setting is in the range from 3 to 4, while on the Lincoln machine you would
see the wire speed settings have a much wider range over its 4 tap settings.
I don't think this really makes much difference, with either machine you're
typically going to have to set a different wire speed when you change the
tap, it just changes how far you have to turn the knob. You'll find some
users that don't like the wire speed tracking on the Millermatic but do like
it on the Hobart 140 and 180's.
I got a chance to do a little 1/8" steel welding with my new Hobart 140 last
night using 0.030" solid wire and C25 gas. I feel the machine is at its
limits at this thickness. With care I think you can do usable welds at this
thickness for non-critical applications, but for critical welds I would want
to use a 220 volt MIG machine. I couldn't get quite as much penetration as I
would like for a critical weld using a single pass. Probably using flux-core
wire would fix this issue, but that's not an option for me and we don't have
a bigger MIG, so I'll be using our TIG machine for any critical 1/8" welds.
The MIG will be great for smaller stuff though, I've only had it for a few
days but I like it so far. The included gas regulator and ground clamp are
on the chintzy side, but I knew that coming in and its the same situation on
Just wondering.. why is that not an option for you? I mean, was it
just a situational thing, like you didn't have any flux-core wire
handy, or is there some broader reason?
Also, how about using CO2 instead of C25? That would give you more
Its a feature that most experienced welders would state is nice to have but
not 100% necessary. In fact many welders who are used to using a tapped
voltage machine don't like the fully adjustable voltage ones, they're used
to quickly setting the tap and then tweaking on the wirespeed to optimize
Personally I would prefer an adjustable voltage machine as it allows you to
get the best possible setting for all metal thicknesses and weld setups and
I don't mind having to tweak 2 knobs to get there. However, the fully
adjustable machines (Millermatic 135/175 and Lincoln SP135+/175+) cost about
$150. more than the tapped machines. I needed to keep our purchase price
down, so I went with the tapped Hobart 140, and so far its working well.
You're right, either flux-core or CO2 would improve the penetration. The
flux-core is not an option because of weld appearance and working
environment, the welds are on a product and need to look good and we don't
have a good enough venilation system in our shop to use the flux core.
CO2 is probably something to consider, but since we currently don't have to
do that many 1/8" welds I'll fire up the TIG if they need to be maximum