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View Full Version : Hobart Iron Man vs. Lincoln Power Mig 256



Fender1325
12-29-2015, 09:40 PM
Guys - when I step up to a larger MIG machine which do you like better? The Hobart vs. the Lincoln.. The lincoln has more features (not necessarily important to me), but an infinity power control sounds nice. The hobart power is stepped notches, but the machine also doesnt have a digital readout - which I've heard is a pricey thing to go wrong on down the road. I'd like it to last me many many years. I own a hobart 140 and its a nice machine. The lincoln stuff looks nice and beefy in person - metal drive gears etc.

Iain P
12-29-2015, 11:36 PM
I have the Lincoln Power Mig 256 at work. I like it but after using it for a few months if I had to do it again I think I would have gone with the Miller Millermatic 252. I've looked at the Hobart Iron Man at Tractor Supply and it looks very well built, but I would have a hard time paying over $1000 for a stepped voltage machine these days. To me if I'm buying a big (to me) mig I want infinite voltage adjustment, burn back control and run in adjustment. All of which the Lincoln and Miller has. So this is how I would rank them: Miller, Lincoln, Hobart.

Fender1325
12-30-2015, 12:30 AM
Can you expand on why you're not impressed with the lincoln and why youd prefer a miller?

I compared a miller 252 and licoln 216 at my local airgas - not using them but just looking over each machine - the lincoln felt heavier duty in every way. The knobs on the miller turned too easy and felt kinda cheap.

Iain P
12-30-2015, 11:47 AM
Can you expand on why you're not impressed with the lincoln and why youd prefer a miller?

I compared a miller 252 and licoln 216 at my local airgas - not using them but just looking over each machine - the lincoln felt heavier duty in every way. The knobs on the miller turned too easy and felt kinda cheap.

I did the same comparison in the show room between the Lincoln 256 and Miller 252 and came to the same conclusion. But, my biggest complaint for the Lincoln is that it doesn't have a latch on the door. That thing makes a racket when I move it around the shop because the door rattles like crazy. Also the Lincoln's spot timer seems to have issues, where it works about every third time I try to use it. I've been mentally preparing myself to go fight that warranty battle. The Lincoln welds like a dream, and I love the Magnum Pro 250 gun it comes with. But to pay close to $3000 for something that rattles and requires warranty work I think that is the last new red welder I'll buy.

Zizzle
12-30-2015, 04:59 PM
I've looked at the Hobart Iron Man at Tractor Supply and it looks very well built, but I would have a hard time paying over $1000 for a stepped voltage machine these days.

I understand this argument, and might even do the same.

The flip side is that the stepped control is very unlikely to break. And if it does it's a mechanical switch you can probably fix or replace with something else. In 20 years are you going to be able to get replacement boards for the Lincoln?

BrianC
12-30-2015, 05:15 PM
I did the same comparison in the show room between the Lincoln 256 and Miller 252 and came to the same conclusion. But, my biggest complaint for the Lincoln is that it doesn't have a latch on the door. That thing makes a racket when I move it around the shop because the door rattles like crazy. Also the Lincoln's spot timer seems to have issues, where it works about every third time I try to use it. I've been mentally preparing myself to go fight that warranty battle. The Lincoln welds like a dream, and I love the Magnum Pro 250 gun it comes with. But to pay close to $3000 for something that rattles and requires warranty work I think that is the last new red welder I'll buy.

Reading these posts on different machines and quality, and also my current problem with Miller service now, has now made me more cautious when considering a welding supply purchase. Are we asking to much to expect quality? We are the ones stepping up and buying the close at home made tools and paying the premium price. I have to think that the 'big three' in the welding supply business is selling the brand name out for quantity instead of quality like Harley D and John Deere does.

Broccoli1
12-30-2015, 06:57 PM
The Hobart IM230 is $1,000 cheaper than the Lincoln.

12 voltage taps makes it quite versatile for a $1,400.00 machine. Plenty of range for most applications.

Best bang for the buck.

blueriver
12-30-2015, 07:07 PM
I've been setting funds aside for a new one ... so far I'm really liking the Hobart IM 230 ... I stopped by a shop the other day and there sat one ... I asked about it and the shop owner praised it ... I asked if I could test drive it, it was a sweet ride!!!

deafman
12-30-2015, 08:55 PM
The Hobart Ironman is more comparable, possibly a step up, from the Lincoln 216. Has more output/duty cycle than the Lincoln 216, far more than the Miller212. The Miller 212 is kind of gutless. I used the Lincoln 215 for 8 years. The shop I used to work at had 5. The 216 is basically the same. Dropped the 115volt plug/ moved the on/off switch (probably some NEMA/OSHA things) and added a circuit for their cheap spoolgun. The Lincoln is more robust than the Hobart, construction wise. Simpler, but the taps are farther apart, and the fan is always on. The Hobart definitely has more output. A cheap, stiff gun, uses the same cheap wheels and thin sheet metal as the Miller252. If you don't need high output, the Lincoln 215/216 is a tough bird. The gun is certainly more flexible than the Hobart. I am a Hobart guy but the thin sheet metal and stiff gun on the Ironman230 turned me off.

blueriver
12-30-2015, 09:14 PM
Hey deafman ... what he say?

deafman
12-31-2015, 09:12 AM
Hey deafman ... what he say?
Don't know. Just keep my head down and make gates and railings, dig postholes...Forget to mention the miller252 has an odd arc. Not very good on pregalvanized.

vwguy3
12-31-2015, 09:32 AM
Don't know. Just keep my head down and make gates and railings, dig postholes...Forget to mention the miller252 has an odd arc. Not very good on pregalvanized.

Odd arc? I had a Lincoln SP-250 for about 20 yrs and sold it after I got my 252 and I never noticed much difference.

Wouldn't pre-galvanized be plain mild steel?

To me comparing the IronMan 230 and the Lincoln 256 is like comparing a base model 2WD 1/2 ton pick up to a well optioned 4x4 3/4 ton.
Are you basing you decision on price or amps/features?

deafman
12-31-2015, 09:55 AM
On pregalvanized you are also dealing with burning through the zinc. The 252 has a feedback circuit to help maintain the volts to what was preset. Only situation I have came across where it was a little hindrance. On mild steel the 252 can crank out nice beads with basically no spatter. On galvanized the machine was just slow going.
The little shop I work in now has no pregalvanized, except an occasional hinge or base plate.

Fender1325
12-31-2015, 11:56 AM
I wouldnt weld on galvanized anyway, grind that **** off! :)

I basically just want a welder than can handle 1/4" mild steel in one pass. (Likely the heaviest material I'll encounter). I want more machine than required so Im not pushing it hard. My hobart 140 claims to do 1/8" like its no problem but it wont penetrate unless its beveled wide open. I want to melt right through. 1/8" angle iron I encounter pretty often.

Just looking for "the last MIG i'll ever need" and the Lincoln looks to be stout.

Rockdrill
12-31-2015, 12:35 PM
The 256 is nice. I can't hear the door banging, however I weld with my hearing aids out. Only negatives I have is there is no gasless nozzle for the PM250L gun and can't run 2 lb. rolls. I made my own gasless nozzle.


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pat h
12-31-2015, 02:27 PM
The 256 is nice. I can't hear the door banging, however I weld with my hearing aids out. Only negatives I have is there is no gasless nozzle for the PM250L gun and can't run 2 lb. rolls. I made my own gasless nozzle.


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They make a adaptor for 8" rolls k468, seen someone had a adaptor for 4" maybe htp, the power mig 216 is about 1600 bucks it's 250 amp machine, either one 216 or 230 should be more than enough, had a pm255 it was great never noticed the door rattling , put a little round rubber bumper under door can't be as loud as the bottle and chain or the dogs snoring,

Dan
12-31-2015, 02:52 PM
I wouldnt weld on galvanized anyway, grind that **** off! :)

I basically just want a welder than can handle 1/4" mild steel in one pass. (Likely the heaviest material I'll encounter). I want more machine than required so Im not pushing it hard. My hobart 140 claims to do 1/8" like its no problem but it wont penetrate unless its beveled wide open. I want to melt right through. 1/8" angle iron I encounter pretty often.

Just looking for "the last MIG i'll ever need" and the Lincoln looks to be stout.

Seems like this machine is for home hobbyist use. If so, a machine like a Millermatic 211 maybe all the machine you really need.

The Ironman 230 would definitely offer more power than needed for 1/4" mild steel. With a 45% duty cycle @ 200 amps, you'd have to be working a pretty healthy pace to have duty cycle become an issue. The 12 taps offer a good level of adjustability- no real major hole in the output. The stiffness of the lead on the supplied gun is definitely a negative. A 15' gun lead is a little long for my garage, so I purchase a gun with a 12' lead from HTP.

The 252 has very soft mushy short circuit transfer arc. What this basically means is the arc has no drive/punch too it.

I haven't ran a 256. Feed back on it has the short arc characteristic sounding similar to my PM 180C. Meaning the arc should have some crispness to it, and some drive. With the current Made in China wires out there weld puddle wet out may be a touch on the sluggish side. If you understand what your doing, the variable voltage can be beneficial. However, if you don't understand of how to dial the arc in the variable dial can result in some pretty nasty results.:D

Justme
12-31-2015, 03:47 PM
I was looking at the Ironman too, but ended up finding a 1 year old used MM252. Came with a bottle and two 15' Bernard Q300 guns for $1400.

I went with the MM252 because I already had a Spoolmatic 30A spool gun and it will plug right in. I am very happy with it though. I use it on everything from 16g to 1/2".

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M J D
12-31-2015, 04:50 PM
Mm252, especially if you plan on aluminum in the future. The provided gun is a nice lighter duty option for typical hard wire , 75/25 use. For dual shield or spray a q-300 Bernard is a good choice. Very nice smooth wire drive system and a very smooth almost spatter free arc.

Fender1325
12-31-2015, 04:57 PM
Seems like this machine is for home hobbyist use. If so, a machine like a Millermatic 211 maybe all the machine you really need.

The Ironman 230 would definitely offer more power than needed for 1/4" mild steel. With a 45% duty cycle @ 200 amps, you'd have to be working a pretty healthy pace to have duty cycle become an issue. The 12 taps offer a good level of adjustability- no real major hole in the output. The stiffness of the lead on the supplied gun is definitely a negative. A 15' gun lead is a little long for my garage, so I purchase a gun with a 12' lead from HTP.

The 252 has very soft mushy short circuit transfer arc. What this basically means is the arc has no drive/punch too it.

I haven't ran a 256. Feed back on it has the short arc characteristic sounding similar to my PM 180C. Meaning the arc should have some crispness to it, and some drive. With the current Made in China wires out there weld puddle wet out may be a touch on the sluggish side. If you understand what your doing, the variable voltage can be beneficial. However, if you don't understand of how to dial the arc in the variable dial can result in some pretty nasty results.:D

This is about the best response I've heard regarding these machines.....granted everyone's experience varies but thats essentially what I'm trying to get a feel for. I asked this question against the miller 252 and lincoln 256 on several forums and by a large majority everyone voted to go for the Miller. The miller just felt cheap.....I know hobarts are made by miller but they also arent over 2K.

Still up in the air as to which machine I would want. I'm comfortable the Iron man would have a very long service life, especially without a digital readout screen. Again though, the Lincoln just felt stout, like a professional machine all the way. I really want to spend the money on "the last MIG" I'll need. Or atleast for many years.

Fender1325
12-31-2015, 04:59 PM
Dan, being that you have both the PM 180 and the Iron Man, which do you reach for most? Lets just say you were going to be welding 1/8" mild steel for a month. Which is your choice?

Zizzle
12-31-2015, 06:01 PM
I'd be pretty tempted by one of these if in the Ironman 230 budget range.

http://www.usaweld.com/MIG-2400-Welding-Package-p/602401-st-24.htm

Pavinsteelman
12-31-2015, 06:29 PM
We run Lincolns in a fab shop.045 71 M outershield tons of weld no problem. But look at a HTP 2400 1500.00 a great deal and a great set of feed rolls.Check out the web site and Chucke 2009 vidios!

Dan
12-31-2015, 07:36 PM
Dan, being that you have both the PM 180 and the Iron Man, which do you reach for most? Lets just say you were going to be welding 1/8" mild steel for a month. Which is your choice?

For 1/8" mild steel, I general use either my Migmaster 250 or the Ironman 230 over the PM 180C. The main reason being that the tapped voltage design of both units make it very simple to get the voltage figured out very quickly. The PM 180C not having a digital meter requires more time playing on scrap to figure out machine settings. If the voltage setting that you set on the read out on the PM 256 is fairly close to what the machine will actually output, like it is on the MM 251 and 252, it shouldn't be to time consuming of a unit to get the machine setting figured out on.

The PM 180C has a pretty nice arc on 1/8". This is with an .030 wire and C-25.

For 1/8" mild steel, I'd really like give a Millermatic 211 (new inverter based), PM 210 MP, Tweco 181i, or Tweco 211i a try. Probably add the ESAB Rebel to this list too. I suspect one of these units is going to be able to come real close to the arc characteristics that I've always wanted out of a unit on 1/8" mild steel.

Dntfxr
12-31-2015, 08:39 PM
I just went through a similar decision and came home with the Ironman230. I got it for less than 1400, and have been very pleased with it. It has a very smooth arc and is almost spatter free. The taps are well spaced and doesn't leave me wishing for extra ranges. It welds great and makes me look like I know what I'm doing. IMO it is very well made, with quality where it counts. I haven't noticed the sheetmetal being thin, seems close to my 70's era Miller. I'd also considered the Miller 211 for the dual voltage but in the long run I'm glad I spent a little more for the Hobart. Less to go wrong for sure.

Rockdrill
01-06-2016, 11:52 PM
Thanks Pat h, I ordered the spool adapter from HTP today


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RobbieKnobbie
01-07-2016, 03:12 AM
I have the IM230 and the miller MM350P, and used to have a miller211.

I use the 230 about everyday and for a basic, no frills get-the-job-done welder it cant be beat. I use it a lot more than my 350 in fact. The tapped voltage isnt really an issue to me and its pretty well put together.

If youre not looking to make a living off this purchase, i'd stick with the big hobart.

SuperArc
01-07-2016, 03:44 AM
I understand this argument, and might even do the same.

The flip side is that the stepped control is very unlikely to break. And if it does it's a mechanical switch you can probably fix or replace with something else. In 20 years are you going to be able to get replacement boards for the Lincoln?

In 20 years, I'll expect to have gotten my money's worth out of the current solid state circuit board controlled welders I already own and I'll then be ready for a newer mig welder. :D:D:D. I don't trust a computer's CPU to last that long anyways.