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Thread: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

  1. #1
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    Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Okay, I've been chewing on this for a week and can't decide. I'm a hobby welder, so it's not like my livelihood depends on it and that probably makes it even a tougher call.

    A while back I picked up a Millermatic 251 that's almost like new. I bought it from the original owner who purchased it for a side job he was doing at home. He bought the welder, a 330 tank and a 33lb spool of wire all at the same time. He finished the side job years ago, rarely uses the welder and said he can always borrow a welder from work, and wants the space in his small garage. I actually also bought a Lincoln TIG welder from him that was also like new. When I bought it the spool had about 10lbs left on it, and the tank was about half full. The tank only has one inspection date on it, and it's just a bit older than the 2003 manufacturing date on the welder. I don't doubt him when he said that's the only bottle, and only spool ever on the machine...it's that clean. So that's great, and I've been 100% happy with the machine and planned on keeping it indefinitely....until last weekend.

    Last weekend I got a killer deal on a Millermatic 252....less than I paid for the 251 actually. It's a 2011 production unit that's almost as nice cosmetically as my 251. It came out of a shop that does fire suppression/sprinkler systems and I believe that because it had the slightest film of oil everywhere on the outside....the oil they use when threading pipe. They swore it saw very little use, and that really fits with how it looks. When I pulled the lower side cover off I was shocked at how clean it is....the pic below is exactly how I found it. I don't think it really saw much use. The only thing I don't like about the 252 is the voltage and wire feed knobs....you have to spin them a lot to change the settings, but that's a common complaint about the 252 it seems.

    I don't see spot or stitch weld capability being something I'd use much and adjusting pre/post flow is nice, but not a super important detail for me. I'm not sure if I would ever consider a push-pull gun, but it's not a bad option to have.

    It's just a tossup any way I look at it....one machine I have more definite info on and the other machine has a few more bells and whistles. One is 16 years old and the other is 8 years old. Would you trust a clean 16 year old 251 more than a clean 8 year old 252? Is there more to potentially go wrong with the 252 being newer and having a few more features?

    I've gone back and forth on which to keep a couple of times each day and still can't decide.

    I didn't have a pic of the inside of the 251, but it's quite clean...maybe not quite as spotless as the 252, but nice. I missed a piece of tape on the top near the handle of the 252...it's not a chunk of plastic or damage.

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    Last edited by G-ManBart; 01-03-2020 at 08:33 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Both excellent machines . I would list both for sale.
    Keep the one does not sell.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    I would keep the 252. The angled down wire drive feeds wire smoother than the previous ones. When you turn on the welder it will retain the parameters you last used, and if using a spool gun it will retain that parameters as well.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Quote Originally Posted by BD1 View Post
    Both excellent machines . I would list both for sale.
    Keep the one does not sell.
    I have a buddy who will likely take whichever one I decide to sell, but even if he passes the demand is crazy for machines like this around here. When I got the 252 the guy had like a dozen people messaging him about it. I got lucky...I had it in my truck three hours after he posted it and his phone was blowing up!
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  5. #5
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    I would keep the 252. The angled down wire drive feeds wire smoother than the previous ones. When you turn on the welder it will retain the parameters you last used, and if using a spool gun it will retain that parameters as well.
    Thanks....I see you have one, so that's helpful. I heard people say they liked the new wire feed setup better, but didn't think much about it. Holding settings is handy for sure.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    I have a buddy who will likely take whichever one I decide to sell, but even if he passes the demand is crazy for machines like this around here. When I got the 252 the guy had like a dozen people messaging him about it. I got lucky...I had it in my truck three hours after he posted it and his phone was blowing up!
    The 251 and 252 are the best ones Miller built. Their 250 miller is the real lemon.


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  7. #7
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    I would keep the newer one.

  8. #8
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Not sure if the 251 does this, but on the 252, I can leave the spool gun connected and have the regular gun in at the same time. The 252 will store separate parameters for each and will recognize which you are using when you pull the trigger. Pretty slick. Keep the 252 would be my vote.

  9. #9
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    honestly as a hobby welder, I would sell whichever one you can make the most profit on.

    You're not using it to make a living, and any minor drawbacks of either machine are going to mean nothing to you, they're both great machines for what you'll use them for, if you can make a tidy profit on the 252, then sell that, if they're worth a similar amount in your area, then sell the 251 and keep the newer machine for yourself.

  10. #10
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Sell them both with the maximum profit possible and get a Lincoln Power Mig 350mp


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  11. #11
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Quote Originally Posted by precivilization View Post
    Sell them both with the maximum profit possible and get a Lincoln Power Mig 350mp
    Funny, but I'm actually working a deal on a couple of 350MP right now. I've used a Power Mig 256 and thought it was really nice, so I don't doubt the 350MP would be even better.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    You have a knack. This is a good way to get good equipment. If you want the best get 2 or even better 3 and keep selling the 1 you want least. You will never feel like you got to be without and can make money when you can.

  13. #13
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    The 252 has more parameters for run-in, gas flow etc. It will be a better aluminum machine in general. I would sell both, and buy something else, but that's just me..I used them both too..
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  14. #14
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    Not sure if the 251 does this, but on the 252, I can leave the spool gun connected and have the regular gun in at the same time. The 252 will store separate parameters for each and will recognize which you are using when you pull the trigger. Pretty slick. Keep the 252 would be my vote.
    You can keep both guns plugged into the 251, and it will recognize whichever one is in use, but it doesn't store parameters the way the 252 does so you still have to check your settings. It doesn't happen often, but I have shut down the 251, moved it, then gone back to welding and realized I must have bumped the knobs and thrown off my settings. It's not a huge deal for a hobby welder, but I could see the time wasted adding up in a production environment where time really is money.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Quote Originally Posted by Sberry View Post
    You have a knack. This is a good way to get good equipment. If you want the best get 2 or even better 3 and keep selling the 1 you want least. You will never feel like you got to be without and can make money when you can.
    That's exactly what I've been trying to do...sort of a rolling upgrade!
    Check out my bench vise website:
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  16. #16
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Quote Originally Posted by Brand X View Post
    The 252 has more parameters for run-in, gas flow etc. It will be a better aluminum machine in general. I would sell both, and buy something else, but that's just me..I used them both too..
    I could do that but it would pretty much double what I have tied up in the machine and there are other things I would rather put that money towards like a spool gun, acorn table, larger drill press, better milling machine, new chuck for my lathe, etc. It's a long list
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  17. #17
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Scott will sell and trade it all, he is a good example of moving up to get exactly what he wants. I live in a poor area for that. Collecting welders isn't a hobby, I just want it to work decent when I need it. G man already has a bunch of other machines, a 250 class is a good fit. If a guy has a big ole welding sign out then maybe there is something better, if he owned an excavating company with continuous rebuild then could see it might be worth the effort if it cost man hours. For modest work either one is fine.
    I got a lot of stuff,,, its so rare I have to weld true heavy stay with 035 short circuit. Most is out of position on equipment, light, 95 and 4 % single pass light material. Its statistically rare I weld over 1/4, over the years have learned to build and design lighter and use a 180 030 mostly. Yesterdays job was welding an exhaust pip-e in place on a forklift and actually use a 140 as I had it handy. Been 6 months since I turn a 250 on.

  18. #18
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    There is nothing wrong with the 251/252 machines, Just I am a bit picky in the arc qualities I like in the short-arc.. I am a huge fan of the Chopper Miller machine of a few years ago.. The Shopmate 300DX had it right (IMO) I would of kept that one if i had the space.. My Japan Sanrex is a bit nicer, but all very similar even though a different design..

    This setup uses the space so much better then anything I had.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    Keep the 252.

  20. #20
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    Re: Which to keep...MM251 or MM252

    I'm starting to see a trend...seems most folks vote for the 252. That's tough to argue against a newer machine.
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