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View Full Version : Mig Welders from Harbor Freight any good?



1320StreetKing
07-21-2006, 05:16 PM
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.

Reamer
07-21-2006, 09:28 PM
I've had mine from harbor freight for 6 years now, still works good for me.
Reamer

Stanger
07-21-2006, 10:27 PM
I think you can get a Hobart 125 for a little over $300. Much better deal in my opinion. Hobarts are just Millers in a different wrapper. The new ones even have a Miller gun.

Bud White
07-24-2006, 10:17 AM
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.


Anything I bought from that place, winded up in the trash very quickly. I bought a Chicago sawzall and grinder, and both of them broke almost immediately. I can only say bad things about that "chicago" brand.

Phil V
07-24-2006, 11:03 AM
My brother bought a $450 220V Harbor Freight mig welder on sale for around $150 about 3 or 4 years ago and he says that thing works great, better than the Solar welder they used at the Chevy dealership bodyshop.

Henry
07-24-2006, 01:48 PM
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.
but most likely ONE welder if it's GOOD to begin with so shop wisely. Henry

Stanger
07-24-2006, 07:06 PM
Good advice Henry. I never really thought about it but that is very true. Many tools become obsolete but the welder is rarely one of them. There is, of course, going to be the aqcuiring of different welders, Tig, OA, etc... Is it just me or is welding/metalwork one of the funnest, most stress relieving hobbys?

wisconsinjimmy
07-24-2006, 08:09 PM
Oh I love the fumes of fusing tin but I really LOVE the TORCH/POLISH HEAT WRENCH darn the sweet smell of acetylene and invigorating shot of oxygen.

Henry
07-25-2006, 11:49 PM
Good advice Henry. I never really thought about it but that is very true. Many tools become obsolete but the welder is rarely one of them. There is, of course, going to be the aqcuiring of different welders, Tig, OA, etc... Is it just me or is welding/metalwork one of the funnest, most stress relieving hobbys?
creativeness you feel by constructing something even down to the smallest patch. Makes you feel good in 2 ways; one that you can operate the welder and 2 is you just re-grew metal. Henry

Stanger
07-27-2006, 06:13 PM
creativeness you feel by constructing something even down to the smallest patch. Makes you feel good in 2 ways; one that you can operate the welder and 2 is you just re-grew metal. Henry
Yeah, that must be it. It is weird though as it is so frustrating at times but then when your finished you are so proud and excited that you fixed something "right" whereas someone else would have probably rigged it and went on. It is a good feeling knowing that your repair will likely last at least another forty years. On the subject of metalwork/welding, is there a such thing as a welder that is both Tig and Mig. Sorry, I am not very knowledgable on the available combos out there. I saw a Miller Tig/Stick welder for about $1500. That wouldn't be a bad price if I could have both a Tig and Mig in the same unit. I guess I am visualizing two guns with cords and a universal plug-in. I think this exists in some form but maybe not in this combo. Any chance?

Stanger
07-27-2006, 06:18 PM
Oh, here is the welder I was suggesting. I used one just like it for a long time and really liked it. It's reconditioned but it has a warranty and will be a MUCH better welder than that HF one. I would STRONGLY suggest this welder as it will probably be the only one you would need for a lifetime. Very good investment, very good deal here.
Reconditioned Hobart 125 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Hobart-Handler-125-MIG-Flux-Cored-Welder-REC-500487_W0QQitemZ220011159294QQihZ012QQcategoryZ464 13QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)

1320StreetKing
07-27-2006, 10:26 PM
Interesting feed back. I will investigate this weekend on some other brands vs. the Chicago Electric.

Stanger
07-28-2006, 04:50 PM
Trust me on this one, that is a very good price on a very good welder. Hobart is the best of the best along with Esab, Miller, and Lincoln. As I stated before, a Hobart is basicly just a rebadged/painted Miller and Miller is #1, period. You simply don't find better units than these and this would suit your hobby or professional needs very well. Can't stress how perfect this welder is for you, cheap and very good. Ask this same question at any one of these sites, you will see what I mean...
Hobart Forum (http://www.hobartwelders.com/mboard/)- just a forum, no biased opinions
Metal Meet Forum (http://www.metalmeet.com/)- Really good metal workers with excellent advice
Welding Web (http://www.weldingweb.com/index.php)
Shop Floor Talk (http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/index.php?)
Miller Board (http://millerwelds.com/education/projects/mboard/forumdisplay.php?f=2)

69 Chevelle
08-12-2006, 03:26 PM
Hey Stanger , thanks for the links , great info . I restored my CJ using a Hobart Handler . It did a good job . The 110 volt versatility is enough for everybody to have at least one of them . They were a good bit more expensive back when I did that project , so the $300 price tag is a bonus for any one wanting a high quality wire feed welder for small jobs. I am going to go up to the 200 amp 220V model when I can get the funds scraped up .

69 Chevelle

chicagochevelle68
10-11-2006, 08:10 AM
This is my first post and wish to say hey from Chicago.

I brought a 90 amp Mig welder from HF this summer, and have had good success with it. I have welded wheel outer lips and rocker patches with it, and although difficult at times...(Blow thru, no adhesion), it's probably my fault at lack of welding experience.

Yes, gas is the way to go and from reputable sources, but financies wouldn't allow it. But I am content with the result of secure welds now, whereas I used to "rivet" exclusively. The damned things are still holding well...:o

I got mine, with discount coupons and good customer courtesy, for $75.00. It's ok, not great, but will do the job, albeit messy. But after grinding down the welds, it's fine for me. Also got the auto darkening helmet for cheap there, and it works just fine. I can't say I have ever had a problem with their tools and supplies.

Respectfully,

almarconi
10-18-2006, 03:42 AM
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.

drizler
10-18-2006, 05:54 PM
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.

1320StreetKing
12-24-2006, 02:03 PM
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.

88GT
12-24-2006, 02:13 PM
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

Ranchero_65
12-24-2006, 03:36 PM
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 ..

Phil V
12-25-2006, 01:28 AM
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.

69 Chevelle
12-26-2006, 12:50 AM
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.

1320StreetKing
12-29-2006, 01:08 PM
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.

rebeldart
12-31-2006, 01:39 PM
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 ?

dave_demented
12-31-2006, 03:13 PM
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

gws1977
10-17-2010, 02:13 PM
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

tech69
10-18-2010, 08:15 PM
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.

Kustomdog
10-19-2010, 08:07 PM
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.

tech69
10-19-2010, 09:46 PM
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.

71lemans
10-22-2010, 11:36 AM
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.

bigscaht
10-22-2010, 06:44 PM
Hey I got that same HF welder..its ok for the price..can definately do the job but it feeds irraticly..I welded a roof onto my monte carlo with no problem..this is my first welder..I know I shoulda bought a better one but my pocket wouldnt allow it so I had to work with what I could....their cool once you get used to em

carcrazy
11-15-2010, 08:00 PM
I have had a harbor Freight dual mig for several years. Although it was "ok". The feed was never very good. I recently replaced it with a Lincoln. Huge difference.