General Purpose Tools

Hobart Handler MIG Welder 115V

Best value MIG Welder

This time we’re going to take a look at my Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder. I bought this on Amazon for $500, and in my experience it’s the best quality option around this price. I’m going to show you why, and if you want to pick one up, using the link on the description helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

I just got into welding about a year and a half ago, and I’ll admit, I was intimidated. Luckily I had a friend to show me the basics and let me borrow his Lincoln Electric welder to work on my gokart frame for Maker Faire.

But after awhile I realized I needed to invest in my own welder. The obvious choice was to go with a Lincoln since I was already using one and they’re easy to get at any Home Depot. But after doing some research, this $500 Hobart had a lot of reviews raving about its quality, so I gave it a shot, and I’m glad I did.

Here’s why I recommend this as a great beginner’s MIG welder. First, it runs off standard 110v household power. Professional welding setups typically run off 220, and the ones that run off 110 are often a little weak.

This one has plenty of power for getting nice welds on steel tubing and angle iron. The trade off is that it can’t do continuous welds for more than a few minutes before it needs to rest. If welding is your job and you’re doing it all day, that’s an obvious deal-breaker. But for what I do, I’m never spending more than a minute on any particular weld, so I never think about it.

The second great benefit for beginners is that it comes setup for flux-core wire right out of the box, and includes a reel of flux wire. What this means as a beginner, is that you can get welding straight away because the flux wire doesn’t need shielding gas, which most beginners don’t have on hand.

After a few days, I was able to score a tank of shielding gas and some regular MIG welding wire, which delivers better results for me. When you make this switch, you have to change the polarity on the welder by unscrewing and swapping two wires. But it takes just a minute, and I think overall most beginners will be happy this is set up for flux core out of the box so they can get right to practicing.

The third thing that’s great about this package is that the components are high enough quality that you may never need to replace them. From the gas regulator, to the gun, the 10-ft grounding cable, and the extra tip — there’s a higher touch on every little component compared to what I’ve seen on other entry-level welders.

My impression is that to compete with the low cost Lincoln and Home Depot and Harbor Freight options, Hobart is betting on quality to differentiate what they’re offering. It works for me. It got me through an intense build with my latest gokart. And no one from Hobart is paying me to say this, just to be clear.

If you’ve been intimidated by welding, I encourage you to take a class at your local makerspace or have a friend show you the basics. As a maker, it opens up a lot of possibilities.

Hobart Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V ($490)

Related tools mentioned:
Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Adjustable Steel Welding Table ($72)

Wire Scratch Brush ($5)

MIG Welding Gloves ($20)

-- Donald Bell 10/31/18

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2007 — editors)