Customer Reviews: Hobart 500500 Handler 140 115-Volt 25-to-140 Amp Gas/Metal/Arc Single-Phase Wire Welding Package
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on September 4, 2006
I bought this machine (Hobart Handler 140) more than a year ago and have put it through its paces. It comes with the regulator, switch and hose so you only need the tank. Of course you can use flux core without the tank. Remember that you can get away with welding stainless with Argon but Trimix or an Argon/CO2 mix it recommended. I already had a helmet etc. so another $120 for a new full R40 Argon tank and I was MIG welding aluminum.

This is a fully functional MIG welder that runs on 115V (20 amps) current. It is well made and I haven't had any problems with durability or malfunctions, it is quite reliable in that respect. It is quite portable and I like the safety switch which is only live when you're actually welding. I also called support once (about the liner) and they were prompt and helpful. It does have one tiny annoyance that the door latch is made of plastic and doesn't usually latch properly, but since the door hangs down when closed anyway, it really doesn't matter.

I've welded various thicknesses of mild steel, Stainless and Aluminum with it and, for the most part, it has performed as advertised. I've also used both the 1lb roles and the 10lb rolls. One tiny problem, the spring is a bit too long on the small rolls and you have to put the lock nut for them on backwards in order to get low enough friction if you're using aluminum wire.

The machine does indeed weld 3/16" steel in one pass if you go very slow and have a smooth technique. If you are looking for something to weld heavy steel often, get a stick welder for half the money, or move to a 220 machine that will run heavier wire. With respect to heavy steel, I wanted this machine just for occasional smaller welds and it delivers there. On light sheet, it is like a glue gun for metal and fully in its element. It comes with Miller type tips but I actually prefer the shorter, flat nosed, Lincoln tips (which fit perfectly) for steel.

I've also welded a lot of stainless in the 12-18 ga range with it and it has been great at that as well.

Welding aluminum with this machine, as with every MIG except a spool gun in this power range, is a tedious process. On thinner material, you need to be very fast and very smooth. On thicker material, it can be really good IF you have good karma, think happy thoughts and have everything right - see below. If you're buying it primarily to weld aluminum though - this is not the appropriate class of machine for you. Depending on what you want to do, look for a 220 machine with intelligent speed control, or a TIG, or even a henrob torch or Al "brazing" rods. No matter how good you are, it is a pain and you'll end up with at least a few bird's nests per project with this machine.

How to weld heavier aluminum with this machine.

1. use a .045 tip. The machine only takes .030 aluminum wire and they recommend a .035 tip for aluminum but it isn't big enough. You really need to move to the .045 tip for aluminum or you aren't going to weld more than a couple of minutes before you start a bird's nest factory. Tips are only about a buck a piece.

2. Keep the gun hose very straight, especially on the machine end. This is tedious and difficult sometimes but it makes a big difference.

3. Use 5 series wire (e.g. 5356 - app. $5/lb. from several online sources like weldingsupply) instead of the 4043
that you see at home depot or harbor freight. Especially at the highest amperage, the 4043 is virtually unuseable in this machine (at least without a lot of headaches), even with the nylon liner. One annoying thing is that the 5356 is harder to feed near the end of the role and will be more prone to kinking. The 5356 does seem to require a slight bit more heat so you need to always push the weld and go slow on thicker material - ideally with the material flat. This machine rates at 5-10 amps more than the other machines on the market (140 vs. 130-135). It doesn't sound like much of an advantage but I read elsewhere that you can't get penetration with the 5356 in 115V machines and that just isn't true with this machine. I have a 450 gal 1/8" aluminum hot tub to prove it.

4. Use a nylon liner if you plan to weld a lot of aluminum. They are $17-$25, mine is from Miller. Also make sure that it is perfectly cut and aligned to the drive wheel.

5. Make sure that the aluminum is very clean.

In general, it is a good machine with good support and versatility. In its niche, it is a very good choice in relation to the other brands. I don't give it all the stars really only because they should be a bit more up front in their advertising that while it does weld aluminum, the machine (like others in its class) really isn't a great choice for that.
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on March 3, 2008
I love it. I've made very successful welds on 1/8" steel using .035 wire and 25/75 argon/co2 mix, 5/32" cast aluminum using .035 aluminum wire with 100% argon, (repaired Webber gas grill cover hinge that broke in a gale: Saved a pretty penny!), 24 gauge steel using .023" wire 25/75 argon/co2, and several other thicknesses of steel up to 5/32". Flux core wire works well too on 1/8" and thicker steel, but of course not as pretty a weld. Easy to set up, adjust, and learn to use. Have not yet exceeded the duty cycle or caused a circuit breaker to open. I have found that one of the keys is to look at the work from the side so the puddle is always visible. I use a self-darkening helmet: expensive, but I think worth it. My previous experience is with a torch and with 220v buzz box. The MIG makes strong welds in material 1/8" and thinner so much easier. Buy one and enjoy it.
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on August 5, 2008
I bought this for random projects around the house, and it blew my expectations out of the water. I had assumed that because it was 120v, I wasn't going to be able to do much-- BOY WAS I WRONG! I'm a first time welder, and after about an hour with this, I am performing picture perfect welds on a variety of materials. I've used it for weeks now, daily, with amazing results.

This sucker has welded EVERYTHING I have thrown at it, without a hitch whatsoever. And I was getting such awesome welds using flux-core, I've said to-hell with gas all together, which just adds to the convenience. Buy this welder! Let me repeat: Buy this welder! (you know you've always wanted one)
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on January 24, 2007
Great little welder, which I used primarily for autobody panels. Lots of heat, gas valve and regulators work well. Price was unbeatable when compared with a Lincoln or Miller available at big box stores. With free delivery what could be better?
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on May 20, 2009
This welder arrived with a broken plastic cover hinge even though there was no sign of rough handling on the very strong factory packaging. One call to Hobart and it was answered on the first ring by a live person who sent a replacement hinge out immediately with no hassles and even told me how to replace it with no delay. I'm a new welder but I have made some really great welds with this using the included flux-core. Found out on WeldingWeb that there is no need to keep the contact shield on it when using flux core (the manual doesn't mention that). Anyway, it is indeed much easier to see and the welds are better with it removed. Of course if I knew what I was doing it might not matter as much.
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on January 7, 2012
I purchased my Hobart 140 a little over a year ago, after trying two other brands that failed me within a few days. I can not say enough good about this little machine. I have 5.5 acres of land that I maintain with various equipment such as small garden tractors as well as a large tractor with a loader and several PTO attachments. So far, I've been able to fix anything that has needed welded on my equipment with this machine! I've even made money using it to repair or manufacture items for friends and neighbors. I've made everything from gun and bow racks to tool carts and boxes. I've repaired everything from lawn and garden equipment to automotive applications and everything in between!! Plenty of power for light to medium duty tasks. I am a MIG welder of 20+ years and have experience with both aluminum and steel MIG welding and can say without hesitation that Hobart makes some of the best, top quality welders on the market and they stand behind their equipment. Without going into the details of how to weld, and what wire, gas mix or tip to use for what material, as you probably already know or have some welding experience, I'll just skip all that and say simply; With either straight argon, or an argon mix (I'm not a fan of flux-core), you can produce some great looking, strong beads with this machine - no problem!

I highly recommend this outstanding little welder from Hobart!

As with all my reviews, the above is only my opinion or observation of an item that I own or have tested. Consider that it is possible that I may have either purchased/tested a faulty unit or an exceptionally good one. Your experience may differ from mine, better or worse. Paying attention to the up or down trend from several reviewers will help you make an educated decision on whether or not the item is for you.
Best of Luck!!
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on April 7, 2008
It has been over 10 years since I've welded. My first project with this welder was a complete exhuast system on my pickup. Easy as pie! I was used to using bigger 220V mig welders and was very impressed when I started using this little guy. Works like a charm. Plenty of power to weld thicker steel. Easy to use and set up.
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on October 4, 2010
I took the time to read the reviews on a few different welders around this size. Then I saw the hundreds of reviews on this welder on Northern Tool. When I looked there were just under 400 reviews and all of them recommended this welder. So I ordered it. It took me maybe 15 to 20 minutes before I was welding. It took me three or four attempts and I was laying good looking welds (and yes this was my first time ever welding). And the welds are strong... the first thing I welded was my 3 point hitch disc and I have used it several times since with no issues... I have welded 1/2" thick steel (welded both sides to get proper penetration) with good success. And all this was with the flux-core wire. I could not be happier with this purchase. If you are going to purchase a welder for home use or farm use I would recommend this Hobart.
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on July 19, 2010
I have only welded twice before purchasing this welder. It was fairly easy to set up as long as you do not follow the instructions as they are not well organized. The instructions jump around. The only thing that helped me was someone once shared his MIG welder so I had a general idea of how to set it up.

With flux core wire one can weld right out of the box. I purchased a gas cylinder and this cost can be off set very quickly if one welds quite frequently versus buying flux core wire.

I was able to weld 1/4-inch steel very easily. I made repairs to a five foot mower deck for a tractor. This in itself paid for the welder versus buying a new finishing mower for the tractor. Now I have a welder for life.

There are some very well written reviews with good advice- heed their experience and comments.

For a "hobbyist" I would recommend this welder. Think about buying a cart as it makes it easier to move it around and store the cables and gas cylinder.
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on May 16, 2009
I bought this welder as a birthday present to myself, and I think I picked a fine gift. This is my first time having used flux-core wire, and it only took one or two tries to get the method down for that. Then I hooked up a 25/75 mix tank from one of our larger welders. This little welder did an absolutely wonderful job when I tried a test with fillet welding 14 g box tube to 1/4" steel plate. You have to go slower than with a regular welder (we use Miller 251s at work), but the result is worth it. (The best part was when my boss was forced to admit it did a good job; he told me I was crazy to buy a portable, as they are all 'junk.') Not this one!
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