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With Miller Electric and Lincoln Electric dominating the welding machine market, Hobart welders are often overlooked.
Despite Hobarts being less popular, these machines offer some amazing features at more affordable price points than Lincoln or Miller. Hobarts models tend to have more “bare bones” features, but entry level welders can get into welding for less of a cost upfront.
Despite Hobart welders lack of competition with Miller and Lincoln, they have still been around for a long time. Founded in 1917, Hobart has continually progressed their technology to stay on par with current welding trends (and the needs of their users).
Their trusty 3 year warranty on machines rivals their competitors. If you have an issue down the road, Hobart is very accommodating.
This article will cover the pros and cons of some of Hobarts main welding machines. If you are a novice welder just starting out, getting into a Hobart setup can be much more economical than getting a Lincoln or Miller machine right away.
Hobart MIG Welders
One of their most popular MIG welders is the Handler 210 MVP. It is a compact wire feed MIG welder that can easily weld steel up to 3/8″ thick.
In recent years, machines with both outlet plugins have become way more popular. This means that you can plug into regular 115v power (household outlet) and weld thinner metals.
You can also use a 230v outlet and max out the machines capabilities. These larger outlets require a 50 amp breaker and are generally used for larger appliances such as a washer or a dryer.
The Hobart Handler 210 MVP has both outlet options. If you want to weld the maximum steel thickness (3/8″), you will need a 230v outlet with a 50 amp breaker. Lots of household garages are equipped with these plugins, but you may have to get one installed.
Considering this machine is more cost conscious than a Miller MIG welder with the same capabilities, it doesn’t have as many features.
The setting dials are very simple. You have your wire speed knob and your voltage knob with no digital readout. This means that you must have some knowledge of settings to setup this machine properly.
Some Miller and Lincoln machines will have easier knobs which allow you to set your material thickness and start welding. Turning your dials to a “1/4” steel setting is definitely easier for beginners.
However, a quick reference to a MIG setting chart will allow you to setup this Hobart MVP quite easily. There is a detailed chart inside the door of this particular machine, so it is easy to reference while you’re working.
In our opinion, it is good to learn your settings and memorize them anyways. It will allow you to dial in any MIG machine regardless of which model it is. This comes in handy for welding tests and new job opportunities.
This machine also comes with higher end components than one would expect. The cast aluminum wire drive system is very sturdy. Having drive rolls made out of aluminum or steel is much better than their plastic alternatives. This will ensure that your wire will flow smoothly for years to come.
One of the best features of this machine is its ability to weld aluminum with a spool attachment. This feature is usually found on higher end models, so Hobart took the extra effort to include it.
Being able to tackle aluminum projects will set you apart from the other welders in your area. It is more of a specialty service, and you can make some great cash by doing aluminum projects.
The 10 foot lead on this machine is plenty long. It will allow you to reach most projects. However, you can also move the machine if you need to get closer – it only weighs 79 pounds!
Hobart Stick Welders
If you’re looking for a hassle free machine, stick welders are a great bet. There is no external gas involved.
You have your machine, your ground lead, stinger lead, and a box of stick electrodes (also referred to as rods).
For maintenance projects and simpler fabrication, stick welding is a great way to get the job done without too much hassle. You don’t have to haul a gas cylinder around, you just need a handful of stick rods and a power source.
Hobart has come out with a compact stick machine that any hobbyist can benefit from. The Stickmate 160i packs a large punch of capabilities in a compact package.
Weighing in at only 15 pounds, this machine can run up to 160 amps of stick welding power (DC). This will comfortably burn 3/32″ and 1/8″ rods. It can handle 5/32″ rods (the big ones) but you’ll definitely be maxing out the machines capabilities.
Running off of 120v and 240v power, this welder can be used in most settings. If you only have smaller 120v outlets, it is best to stick with 3/32″ electrodes. These generally burn at around 90 amps and are used for thinner steels. For the 120v plugin, this machine welds up to 1/8″ steel.
If you want to use 1/8″ electrodes, it is best that you have a 240v outlet with a 50 amp breaker box. With this setup, you’ll be able to weld steel up to 3/8″ thick.
If you plan on maxing out this machine at 160 amps, be aware of the duty cycle. For 160 amp output, this Stickmate has a 30% duty cycle. This means that you can be welding for 3 minutes out of a 10 minute period. If you don’t pay attention to this, you can overheat the machine.
The last thing we’ll mention for this Stickmate is that it is DC- capable. With this negative polarity, you could run a scratch start TIG setup off of this tiny machine. Pretty awesome!
Hobart Multiprocess Welders
If you’re looking for a machine that can handle all 3 processes, the multiprocess welders are worth checking out.
Hobart offers a price conscious option that will allow you to switch between processes with ease. The Multi-Handler 200 is a great option for welders that want to be proficient with MIG, Stick and TIG.
Minus the gas cylinders, this model comes with all of the necessary accessories to get started with each process. Keep in mind that TIG welding will require a dedicated argon cylinder (which can be pricey).
MIG will require a cylinder of straight carbon dioxide or a 75/25 mix of argon and Co2. Carbon dioxide is more economical, but the 75/25 mix is much nicer to weld with.
This machine has an awesome digital readout which is easy to use. Having a dedicated screen on your welder makes it easier to dial in settings and get to work faster.
The TIG kit includes cups, collets, collet bodies, and tungstens. The torch is high quality and very simple to get started with.
As with the other machines, this Multi-Handler has both plugin options. You can get away welding thinner metals with the 120v plugin, but the 240v plugin gives you much more capability.
This machine is great for hobbyists that perform a variety of projects. If you want to be the most well rounded welder you can be, being proficient with each process is the best way to go. It will also give you more job opportunities.
The shop I work at requires me to weld with all processes. I might be doing a flux core MIG project in the morning and a TIG project in the afternoon. Being comfortable with each process allows employers to have more confidence in you.
Since this machine has so much capability, it is more expensive than the Handler MIG or the Stickmate stick welder. There is much more technology that goes into multiprocess welders, so the price tag will reflect that. It also comes with way more accessories than the other models.
Hobart Engine Drive Welders
The line of Hobart engine driven welders offer great features for a portion of the price of competing models.
Referred to as Champion models, they range from smaller 145 amp models up to 260 amp models.
We wrote a review of our Champion 145 which started us out in the mobile welding field. It is still available in their lineup.
They also offer larger engine drives which rival Miller Bobcats and Lincoln Rangers.
We recommend the Champion 145 as an awesome starter engine drive.
Featured image credit : Hobart Company Logo (Property Of Hobart)