As far as metal fabrication equipment and machines are in discussion, Hobart and Lincoln are some of the few brands with something for everyone in the industry. Today, I got two MIG welding machines, one from each manufacturer, which are pronounced by many welders in the same breath.
You know why? Put aside the prices and check them out. You’ll only see the specs, features, and usability of one are just about as good as those of another, all leading to confusion. As I am lucky to have learned certain things about both models, I would like you to know them thoroughly.
By the time you’ll get to the bottom of this comparative discussion, it should be easy for you to make a decision like you know the truth.Table could not be displayed.
Hobart Handler 190 Vs Lincoln 180: Quick Comparison
This table provides you all the numbers and key points to get started, so you can move further and make a purchase decision.
|Features and Specs
|Hobart Handler 190
|120/1/60 & 208/230/1/60
|Input Current at Rated Output
|Output Current Range
|120 V: 30-140 A & 230 V: 30-180 A
|Output Current, Voltage, Duty Cycle
|130 A, 21.5 VDC at 30%
|120 V: 90 A/ 19.5 V/ 20%; 208 V: 130 A/ 17.6 V/30% & 230 V: 130 A/ 20 V/ 30%
|Open-Circuit Voltage (OCV) (Max.)
|120 V: 33 & 230 V: 34
|Wire Feed Speed (WFS) Range
|40 – 700/ 50 – 740 IPM @ Zero Load
|50-500 IPM @ Zero Load
|Thermal Overload Protection
|GMAW and FCAW
|GMAW and FCAW
|Mild Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum
|Mild Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum
|11, 16, 18, 20, and 24 Gauge; 5/16, 3/16 and 1/4 Inch
|10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 Gauge; 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, and 1/2 Inch
|Repair or maintenance, auto body, DIY, metal art, and fabrication
|Fabrication, light industrial work, farm, autobody, maintenance, and repair
|Weight and Dimensions (H x W x D)
|68 lbs./ 31 kg., (315 x 270 x 495 mm)
|68 lbs./ 31 kg., (357 x 258 x 472 mm)
|5/3/1 Years (Limited)
|2 Years (Extended)
The above details are useful to someone with years of experience in the industry. For the rest of the crowd, those are only good to know when more details are in order. My friend, that is where we are headed.
Hobart Handler 190 MIG Welder
More affordable than the other welding machine in question, Hobart 190 makes a perfect competitor with no telltale signs of greater advantage unless you look closely.
Build, Ease of Use, and Safety
Hobart provides a door chart that displays all the initial settings for all operators, particularly beginners who can use the quick references and get their starting point in terms of settings appropriately for different shielding gases, materials, and wires. The built-in contactor keeps the welding wire safe and electrically “cold” when you’re not pulling the trigger of the MIG gun.
However, I think you would love a full picture, and the next few paragraphs are here to inform you of all other features and parts of the machine.
Wire Drive and Drive Roll
I see no surprises coming along with the wire feeder. You’ll have a quick-release lever for the drive roll. The tension settings are adjustable. All you need is to take a very good look at the manual. Else, you can set the knob to 3 as you start working and adjust the tension as you move along. It is easy to access the wire whether you need to use a new wire.
A quick look at the drive roll should bring the three grooves to your notice. Remember that two grooves are there for solid wire and one for flux-cored wire. To match the feed roll groove properly, you want to consider the diameter of the wire in use.
Forget about 5 voltage selections because this one has 7 with enhanced and more reliable magnetics, all engineered to work properly with the “infinite control” of the wire feed speed.
Most of us wouldn’t like to settle for welds with a poor bead or plenty of spatter which requires serious post weld cleaning. The control system allows you to ensure that the machine gives the right output parameters, and hence, excellent arc performance.
Changing the polarity to get it exactly how you need it is easy, but you should select DCEP for any kind of steel if you’re using solid wire. Aluminum requires the same too. Use DCEN only if flux-cored wire replaces the solid. Besides the convenient changeover, you’ll have a few extras such as a tip holder and storage holes where your spare tips can be kept.
Speaking of traditional safety arrangements, I can talk about three separate protection features which convey a message that Hobart invests in the safety of their machinery. The “short circuit protection” is in place for any instances of current overload. The thermal overload system resets itself to protect the power transformer and enhance its reliability.
The motor protection system also resets itself when overload occurs. Without requiring you to reset the button of the circuit breaker or change fuses, it gets into action to protect the wire feed system.
Control Circuitry for Spool Gun
Sits at the front of the machine is an integrated control circuit for the spool gun which allows the operator to plug in a spool gun directly. You don’t need an additional adaptor or control box for this. However, a spool gun comes handy when you use aluminum or steel wire.
Soft wire is associated with a number of wirefeeding problems which are easy to eliminate with a spool gun. You can switch between the MIG mode and spool gun mode using the selector switch. While in MIG mode, the drive system is controlled within your machine. With the spool gun operation activated, you can control that drive motor on a spool gun.
Hobart recommends that operators purchase the SpoolRunner™100 for the best results. In practice, you literally have no better choices around this.
Gas Regulator System
The solenoid valve is capable of distributing the gases while the regulator has two gauges, one for indicating the tank’s pressure and another for showing the speed at which the gas exits the regulator.
Power and Performance
The unit requires 230/240 V circuits to run on and deliver a rated output up to 130 A at 21.5 VDC and a duty cycle up to 30%. The current range is 25 – 190 A with the maximum no-load voltage of 31 V.
The wire feed runs at 40 to 700 inches per minute. At zero load, the speed may go up to 740 inches per minute. However, factors like travel speed, stick out, welding angle, and cleanliness of your workpiece may affect the speed of the wire feed significantly. Consult the user manual to be able to fine tune this speed according to your project requirements.
Mild steel can be welded as long as you choose pieces in the thickness range of 24 gauge to 5/16 inch and use solid wire along with a mix of 75% argon and 25% CO2 as shielding gases. It is also possible to weld mild steel from 18 gauge to 1/4 inch using pure CO2.
Thickness of stainless steel can be 20 gauge and up to 1/4 inch, but here, you need solid wire and a tri-mix of 90% helium, 7.5% argon, and 2.5 CO2. If you’re planning an outdoor project where wind might interfere with your work, adopt flux-cored welding and expect to weld 20-gauge steel and thicker up to 5/16 inch.
To weld aluminum that is 16 gauge and thicker up to 1/4 inch, you need pure argon and a spool gun. Lincoln recommends SpoolRunner 100 for this purpose.
I wouldn’t worry about the usability of this machine for repair or maintenance, auto body construction, DIY applications, metal art, and fabrication, home repair tasks. The key difference between this model and the other in question is that you’ll have a better and stable arc along with enhanced versatility while working on metal art.
Users of Hobart welding machines are familiar with the “5/3/1” industrial warranty coverage. You’ll get more details on this when you purchase, but I guess a little bit of explanation will help you understand what kind of support you should expect.
Only the transformer comes with five years of limited warranty. Electronics such as rectifiers and drive motors have three years. Hobart offers only a year for their MIG guns.
Lincoln Electric Power MIG 180 Dual MIG Welder
Definitely not like one of the cheapest welding units out there on the market, Lincoln 180 is something more powerful and performance-driven than a basic model but not what you would consider as a top-of-the-line machine.
Build, Ease of Use, and Safety
Lincoln 180 is a 68-lb MIG welder designed to be a great companion for those who want no hassles while changing the input power, mounting the wire spool, changing the polarity, and running the wire drive. No doubt Lincoln dubbed it right, “a tool-less design”. I’m now providing you a brief note on the other components.
Wire Drive and Drive Roll
The drive uses cast aluminum, sure it is no less than industrial grade. The drive motor comes in a closed design which delivers excellent torque and performance. The drive roll features a dual gear system to ensure positive traction.
The split wire guides are patented and designed to make sure wire alignment occurs properly. No worries about conductivity, thanks to the brass gun connection!
Here, we got an advanced technology called Diamond Core that delivers a stable and smooth arc. You might call it “forgiving” or “out-of-position”, but I would say you won’t have to deal with a lot of spatter.
Follow what the manual says, and you’ll get a specific wire feed speed that results in a wide voltage area. Experts believe that the sweet spot makes it easy for you to work with aluminum, steel, and stainless steel.
Spool Gun Mechanism
If you are like most welding professionals who need to use certain (aluminum) wire and weld aluminum, you must have good uses for a spool gun as it improves the way aluminum wire feeds during MIG welding. Using such a gun instead of a MIG gun, you can make better welds without wasting time dealing with birdnesting. You know what I mean!
You just have to remove the MIG gun that came along with the package and plug in a recommended spool gun, which is, according to Lincoln, Magnum® PRO 100SG.
Power and Performance
Unlike a regular welder, the 180 model has dual input capability which means you can choose between 120 V or 208/230 V depending on the requirements of your project or workplace. This dual input system also corresponds to a bunch of other numbers tied to the performance and power output of the machine.
Experts might have different opinions, but I find this dual input power system pretty interesting as you no longer need to use the same amount of power for input on all projects. Use 120 V to ensure 90 A in rated output current and 19.5 V. With these specs, the machine delivers a duty cycle up to 20%.
The above numbers are ideal for applications carried out at home where a generator or wall outlet is the source of power. For more power and demanding applications like those at a jobsite or commercial workshop, I mean input and output plus voltage and duty cycle, you’ve got 208 V and 230 V which allow the machine to deliver up to 30% in duty cycle using 17.6 V and 20 V respectively.
Maximum no-load voltages for 120 V and 230 V will be 33 and 34 respectively. The speed the wire feed runs at ranges from 50 to 500 inches per minute or 1.3 to 12.7 meters per min.
As the machine comes with ‘Dual Input Power’ such as 120V and 208V/230V, operators can enjoy versatility with regards to variable thicknesses which range from 24 gauge to 1/2 inch.
With 120 V of input power, you can weld 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 gauge stainless steel and aluminum without any surprise. If you want to MIG weld mild steel with a single pass, choose the pieces that are no thicker than 10 gauge, but you can go as thin as 24 gauge.
Using flux-cored wire and multiple passes, you can weld slightly thicker mild steel, up to 3/16 inch. Make sure the metal pieces are not thinner than 20 gauge.
Lincoln 180 is one of those useful welding machines that cost significantly lower than a high-end unit but meet the requirements and repeatability of repair, maintenance, metal fabrication, and auto body projects. Industrial applications also come easy as long as you don’t devote it to work with rigorous quality standards.
If this unit is not going to be the first Lincoln welder, you probably know that the American manufacturer offers a standard industrial limited warranty which is three years. However, consumers from the USA and Canada get an extended warranty which is valid for two years. So, I guess this product is like just another Lincoln model in terms of the warranty.
I see a strong point in favor of Hobart’s MIG machine. Can you guess which one? Actually, the price here plays a role because there is a considerable difference. It wouldn’t be unfair to call it a mid-priced unit compared to the Lincoln model.
At a higher price, Lincoln 180 offers an advantage over Handler 190. I was referring to the “dual input voltage” mechanism, an excellent feature to have, especially for beginners who are not very comfortable changing settings on their own based on the demands of different projects. I have one more factor to explain.
The Lincoln model lets you weld 1/2-inch metal which is desirable on most projects. The Hobart model allows you to weld only 5/16-inch metal. However, some obvious advantages here include a better appearance of the weld with a small amount of spatter. Moreover, welding aluminum involves the cost of a spool gun.
Finally, I think the Hobart model will serve you well if you are a fan of aesthetics and precision. The Lincoln model offers versatility, and hence, excellent support to those who have to work with thick materials more often than not.
Well, the verdict brings me to the end of this comparison. I understand you might still have questions I didn’t answer in this article. Don’t worry. Feel free to let me know and help you.