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Thread: Mig Welders from Harbor Freight any good?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I currently own two welders, one that I use on a regular basis and the other that sits in the corner of my garage. The one that sits is a 20 amp 230 volt model from harbor freight. I tried using it to weld sheet metal with pretty poor results. It just does not feed reliably, even though I have tried different wire, tips, adjustments..etc. When I purchased it for $199 I reasoned how could I go wrong. I figured that I would only use it occasionally so it would be fine for me. Well this turned out to be a waste of money. I have since found alot of uses for a welder and this one just doesn't perform reliably. I needed to complete a project and decided to by another welder. I settled on a Hobart Handler 140. Let me tell you the difference was like night and day. Right out of the box, the setup and adjustment were easy. I could actually weld more that a couple of inches without the welder jamming. In fact, I only had one jam since I've used it. Welding thin sheet metal is not a problem and the unit is very easy to adjust. I purchased a refurbed unit for $349 plus shipping. When it comes to welders, I truly believe you get what you pay for.
    The hobart 140 is a good all around welder for steel and thin aluminum. It is easy to use and parts/supplies are readily available. I'd save my money and go for a hobart or a miller unit. You won't regret it.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    160

    Default Shop Around

    You can get the name brands pretty cheap and often with free shipping. Get a true mig or its hardly worth it for anything automotive . HF does sell decent Hobart and sometimes Lincoln. I buy enough stuff from HF but try to stick with the name brands if I can.
    Check out Indiana Oxygen, cyberweld.com and others I can't remember now, search it out. Figure out what you are looking for and search it on Shopzilla, Froogle or one of the other online shopping sites. Ebay is good sometimes from the online shops but like many others watch the shipping and sales tax. You won't find Miller discounted much or generally for sale anywhere beyond welding supplies. A lot of the guys on some of the welding boards posted how much they hate the Chinese stuff as well as a series of side by side comparisons with decent models. There truly is a difference which is obvious to see. Stay away from thier gas bottles as the shops often won't fill em for whatever reason. You are probably best to get as big a gas bottle as possible since filling tiny ones costs about as much as the big ones. You get raped on the small stuff truly.

  3. #18

    Default hmmm.

    It looks like that Hobart 125 is a flux core wire welder and needs a "kit" to make it a mig welder???
    I have heard nothing but bad things about flux core welders.

  4. #19
    88GT Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 1320StreetKing
    It looks like that Hobart 125 is a flux core wire welder and needs a "kit" to make it a mig welder???
    I have heard nothing but bad things about flux core welders.
    Flux welders are junk. A welder isn't something I would want to compromize on. Save up for something good.
    One of the features I wouldn't do without was an infinite heat setting. My welder HAD to have that. I got my Lincoln 135 plus for about $650

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Roseburg,OREGON
    Posts
    423

    Default

    Most any mig welder can use flux wire but not all flux welders can be converted to use gas . That is the thing to watch out for . The Hobart 125 unless they have changed it is not a flux only welder. Matter of fact it does a good job on body panels. One thing on buying a welder is carefully think about what you will be doing with it . I look at it like buying a air compressor get one to small and your limited on what you can do ,but get a bigger one and cover all bases ..
    Take Care
    Earl

    MY Project
    www.ranchero65.com

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    lower Michigan
    Posts
    8,272

    Default

    I agree with Ranchero, you can always dial down a larger mig welder to do lighter metal but you can never dial up a small mig welder to do heavier metal. About 8 years ago I picked up a Century 170 amp 220V mig welder from Sams Club for $500 with the cart included. It has been a great welder for sheet metal as well as building heavier things out of angle iron etc. I had an opportunity about a year ago to buy a Miller Cricket mig welder which was supposed to be a good welder but my Century was/is a much better welder than that miller. I bought a Craftsman 120amp 115V mig welder at my locoal pawn shop for my daughter ( she does metal art ) and it was a decent welder but still nowhere near as good as my larger Century 170 amp unit.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    7

    Default dollar wise

    Dollar wise , it is better to go for the larger unit first. Then if you need the versatility of the 115v units , go for one. I used a HH120 mig for several projects, it works great on sheetmetal repair. The updated version is the HH125. Hobart offers it two different ways, one is flux and one is mig. Get the mig setup, you won't regret it. I now have a new HH187 220v mig welder, a Craftsman(Century)115v mig, just like the one Phil V mentioned, and a Century PowrMig 100. I like the 115v units for versatility, but they don't hold a candle to the newer 220v migs. Lincoln ProMig 175, 175+, the new 180C and the new HH187 are in a class by themselves in this power range. Look in to the Lincoln 175+ or Hobart Handler 187 if you want a truly great value in a midweight mig welder. The HH187 rivals the MM210 in the lower ranges up to 3/16". Northern Tool has them on sale w/free shipping and a $50 gift certificate to boot. They also have the HH125 and HH140 on sale. Merry Christmas.
    Too many projects, not enough time .

  8. #23

    Default Hope I didnt make too big of a mistake.

    I just purchased a Craftsman gas/no gas 110v mig welder from Sears. This is my first welder. I had to think about affordability and serviceability as well as a good guarantee and they have guaranteed all tools I have purchased from them in the past really well.

    Are these welders any good? Or did I just make a huge mistake? I will be mainly doing sheet metal work with it. It says it can weld 24 gauge to 3/16 metal.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    159

    Default I heard this yesterday

    A gentleman came by the house yesterday to give me a quote on some rust repair - he's had his Chicago Electric (HF) for 6 years and works it hard most every weekend - his first one croaked the fist time out this is his second - his partner has replaced his Lincoln three times. Probably just a matter of getting one that was built on a good day ?

  10. #25
    dave_demented Guest

    Default

    the trouble is with just about EVERYTHING these days is for the most part its all mass produced by "robots", if you and a friend were to go to a store, buy 2 of the exact same welder and use the welders the exact same way for the exact same amount of time, odds are one will weld a little better than the other and one may crap out a lot faster than the other. if one of these robots wasnt greased right, or out of calibration a tiny bit it can really screw stuff up.

    just my 2 cents
    -dave

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default I love my Harbor Freight Welder

    Quote Originally Posted by 1320StreetKing View Post
    Anybody ever used the Chicago Electric Mig Welders from Harbor Freight???
    Right now they have a sale on a 120 AMP,230 Volt Mig & Flux Welder the price is $249...... It can be used with or without gas
    Is this welder any good???
    I will be using it mostly for auto sheet metal work.
    I have been very impressed with this small welder. I have attached a link to a youtube of one of my recent projects built with this welder.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb8XWD-jxXo

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,585

    Default

    yeah, I'm sure that thing works great for angle iron, not sheet metal. To me it's all about penetration and keeping the weld low and infused as possible w/ little warpage. Aiming for that means to weld once, grind, sand, hammer on dolly blows, and add a tiny amount of filler. Nothing worse that burning a hole in your metal and chasing it all over til you have to put floating boogers on it cause the metal can't handle the heat. Gas helps in all this by being able to strike a much better balance between heat, penetration, and less warpage. In a nutshell, it's able to penetrate better with less heat than a fluxcore. You have gas and a .023 wire and you're in business. Gas keeps it clean and thinner wire because the metal is thinner. These all lead to clean welds that are solid.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    jackson nj
    Posts
    120

    Default I got a Hobart 140 amp mig

    From indiana oxygen supply on e bay 450.00,brand new in 5 yrs never any trouble.I use gas mix with it.argon/co2 mix.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,585

    Default

    that's good to hear. That's exactly what I have and I got it for probably $30 more than that but great deal nonetheless.

    Mine is actually called "weldmark" but is a hobart 140 handler. I'm very happy I chose that welder. Couldn't be any happier with it.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    91

    Default


    I have that same HF welder that you are looking at. Work well for my needs. I use both the flux core and gas depending on the job. Flux will get you alot of splatter, but when I use gas with it, it flows and penetrates well and the weld is smooth.

    I used gas to weld lower patch panels, repair window wells, and put a new trunk floor in. Not one single problem with it. I've had it about 5 years now and the only thing I replaced is the welding tip hose. "Ran over it with the car", called HF and the send another one out for free.


    I use the flux to make quick tools or pullers. works great.

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