There are a number of important factors to consider when you’re looking to buy a welder. So before you rush to buy the cheapest welder out there take a moment to read this handy buyer’s guide I put together.
After researching over 20 different welders and several different brands I found the Hobart 500599 Handler 140 MIG Welder to be one of the best options available. For me, it has the perfect balance between price, quality, and power to get the job done. It has the capability to weld 22 gauge material all the way up to 1/4″ metal and will work for almost any situation.
I know there are a lot of welders out there to choose from and many of them are far more expensive than this one. However, unless you are welding thick material and need deeper penetration you’re likely not going to need a bigger welder.
I personally do not own this one since I run more production welding and need bigger machines to handle the workload but I was someone just tinkering around in my garage or fixing a few gates around my farm this is the welder I would choose.
What to Look For in a Welder
There are a lot of reasons I could have chosen a different welder other than the Hobart 140 Handler but when I look at this welder I found it had more benefits than negatives.
Below is a list of the things I personally look for in a welder when I’m trying to decide if its one I would buy.
- Part and Availability – One of the main things I look right up front is how much will it cost things like consumables such as welding tips, diffusers, liners, and wire. I also look to see how long these parts will last and how often I have to change them.
- Duty Cycle – I also want to know the duty cycle of the welder. With the Hobart 140 Handler, it runs at a 20% duty cycle at 90 amps. This means that you could weld continuously for 2 minutes out of 10 and the welder will have to rest for 8 minutes.
- Simplicity – When I’m using a welder I want to also know how easy is the welder to use. Do I have to know all kinds of complicated settings or not. With this welder, you only have two main dials, one that controls the wire speed and one that controls the voltage
- Types of Metal You Can Weld – The Hobart 140 Handler also gives you the option to weld various types of metal from aluminum, stainless steel, and even your mild steels.
- Power – I also like this welder because you can operate it on any 115-volt outlet which gives you the option to take it almost anywhere making it a great mobile option as well.
- Weight – At 65 pounds you can take this welder literally anywhere. You use it around your farm, in your garage, or even take it with you anyplace you need it.
- Price – Finally, price is one of my biggest concerns and this welder is nearly half the cost and it can do just as much.
When it comes down to it the last thing you want to buy is a welder that is a pain in you know what to use. I’ve dealt with a few of those over the years and in most cases, I just got tired of them and sold them.
Top Welder Brands to Consider
When it comes down to it there several brands of welders out there. However, there are 3 main brands I’ve used over the years, Hobart, Miller, and Lincoln Electric.
Hobart builds a nice welder at an affordable price. I have a bigger 3 phase model that I’ve used for years that has really held up.
However, I’ll be honest it’s not the welder I use most in my weld shop simply because I run a lot more production which calls for even better machines.
Of all the brands of welders out there I’ve found Miller to be my favorite. I’ve had several of these welders for years now and they just stand the test of time.
The only problem with them is that they cost a lot more. For example, I found the Miller 120/240 VAC 1 Phase which is a similar welder to the Hobart 140 Handler but it’s nearly two and a half times the cost.
On top of that, you really don’t get much more with the Miller welder than you could get with the Hobart welder.
#3 Lincoln Electric
Of the three main brands out there I’ve had the most issues with these welders. One issue I seem to have was a lot of burns back with the tips and it felt like I went through a lot of tips with this welder.
Now I want to be upfront and say that it could just be the welder but I’ve even had several local experts look at this welder and they don’t seem to really know what the issue is.
Of the three brands this is the one I would not recommend.
When it comes down to it every product has a downside and the Hobart Handler is no exception.
#1 Duty Cycle Time
The first issue with this welder is that is has a low duty cycle and will require more cooling-off time however for the price you aren’t going to find a welder with any higher duty cycle.
If the duty cycle is important to you than you’re going to have to pay for it and upgrade to a bigger 220-volt welder or a 3 phase machine that only drives the price up.
#2 Wire Size
The other issue I’ve found with this welder is the wire size. The Hobart 140 Handler uses
In most cases I prefer a 0.45 wire but if you’re just doing the odd an end project and dabbling around with stuff this welder will do just fine. It’s not a big deal and one I could live with.
When it comes down to it the Hobart 140 Handler is not meant for high-end production. This welder works great for almost most situations that most people would have but it’s just not one you’ll want to use in a typical factor setting.
For those situations, you’ll want a welder with a higher duty cycle, bigger wire, higher amperage and something that uses 3 phase power.
So who should buy this welder?
Who Should Buy This Welder
When it comes down to it there are a few people who come to mind that I feel would make a great fit for this type of welder.
#1 The Hobbyist
If you’re someone who loves to tinker around with stuff and weld a few things here or there this welder can be a great solution.
For example, maybe you like to do fun weekend projects such as making a barbecue grill stand for your firepit int he back yard or creating interesting decorative items for around your house.
#2 The Fixer Upper
Maybe your someone who needs to fix things up around your house that just need a little work.
For example, maybe you have a grill that falling apart that you know could be as good as new if you could just run a few beads.
#3 The Farm Hand
Or maybe you have a farm and when it comes to a farm there is always something that needs to be fixed from an old rusty gate in the barn to a new idea that you have.
I also find this welder to work great in situations where you need to repair a piece of farm equipment on location.
When it comes down to it I find the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder to be a great welder that will do almost anything at a reasonable price.