View Full Version : Need Advice On A New Mig Welder.

03-17-2010, 06:50 PM

First I'll give a little back-round info.
I am kinda new to welding, well I mean actually welding.
A Novice welder would best describe my skills.
I have a Hobart Handler 140. It does a really nice job for my light projects, but I have a lot of bigger projects with thicker steel. (welding on a dump-truck box, Trailer, Bobcat bucket, e.t.c.)
I am looking to upgrade to a bigger mig welder.
This Is what I am looking for...
Single phase, Cart Type, around 200 to 250amp with a good duty cycle.
The welder would work under farm to light industrial conditions.
I plan on keeping it for a long time, and would be willing to pay more for higher quality.
MiIler, Lincoln, Hobart seem to look good, and have many of the same features, but then a co-worker brought up Esab, and I started thinking again !!!

Decisions, Decisions !!!

Need help picking one out !!

Thanks !!

03-17-2010, 08:14 PM
Pretty much any of those machines would work well.

Hobart really doesn't have all that much in the heavier migs. They have the Ironman 230, it falls some where between Millers MM212 and the MM252.

Light industrial machines.
MM212 160 amps @ 60% 210 amp max
IM 230 175 amps @ 60% 250 amp max
PM 216 170 amps @ 60% 216 amps @ 30% 250 amp max
MM252 200 amps @ 60% 250 amps @ 40% 300 amp max
PM 255XT 250 amps @ 40% 300 amp max

Small buget machines.
HH210 150 amps @ 30% 210 amp max
MM211 150 amps @ 30% 210 amp max

The Millers and the Lincolns are all good machines. I'd have no issues with any of them. There's also a variety of older machines Miller's MM250, MM251 that are older versions of the MM252 and so on to think about too. I'm not that familiar with the Essab's.

A lot of this will have to do with your buget and what you are looking to do. The 250 amp class machines will do almost every thing you'd probably ever want to do, but are not cheap.

I also see a few issues with a cart type mig for farm use. They really are not great off road machines for working with outside, they are more for hard surface shop floors and paved drives. The 15' guns and 10' work clamp may be a bit restrictive for some things. We need to put my MM185 in the loader bucket and sit it in the dumptruck bed to work on the inside floor for example or to weld on the upper middle parts of the ladder rack of the crew cab. For something like this my 25' spoolgun works better, but adds more to the cost.

For some things a decent stick machine may be a better choice. It's easy to add extra lengths of lead to do things. I can leave my Syncro 200 in the garage and weld on the big trailer while it sits in the street 50' away no problem, and move around easily. With my MM185 I have to use the long extension cord and then move the whole mig to the opposite side of the trailer to work over there. You can pick up AC/DC stick machines fairly cheap used.

The last option would be to look at a CV powersource and a seperate feeder. This is the most expensive option, but gives you 250 amp class mig and portability. Something like a Bobcat engine drive and a VS feeder or an XMT304 and either a remote feeder or VS feeder. You'll probably end up going used due to price, but can probably find a deal for about what you might spend on a 250 amp cart machine new, if you take your time and keep your eyes open. Usually with this route you'll end up with a CC/CV machine and can run mig or stick as needed. I picked up my VS feeder for reflooring our Mack, as I could carry the feeder around with just the cable running to the Bobcat. The feeder is no bigger than most 110v migs in size, but I can crank up the heat higher than on my MM185 if needed.

Good luck.