We Review the Hobart Handler 190 MIG Welder

Hobart handler 190 MIG welder

Are you in the market for a low cost welder that's capable of handling both steel and aluminum?  The Hobart Handler 190 is one of the best selling MIG welders on the market and with good reason.  It offers a wide range of output from 25A all the way up to 190A and a duty cycle of 30% at 130A.  The Handler 190 is capable of welding mild steel, flux core steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.

190 Capabilities

Welds

Steel

Stainless

Aluminum

MIG

Yes

Yes

Yes

Flux Cored

Yes

Yes

No

The unit is capable of working with a wide range of metal thicknesses:  24 gauge to 5/16".  This makes it a great machine for working on household items, auto body repairs, and even thicker gauge materials such as farming equipment or metal fencing. 

The simple controls make it a great unit for those just learning to MIG weld.  In fact this welder ships with just about everything you need to get started minus a welding helmet and gas. 

Pros

  • low skill require (great for beginners)
  • flexible voltage and amperage
  • Hobart Quality
  • welds 24 gauge to 5/16"
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • will require 220V outlet
  • more expensive than
    Chinese brands

See Current Pricing on Amazon

Our Hobart 190 Review

The controls on the Handler 190 are very simple:  one knob for controlling amperage and another for voltage.  All connections are clearly labeled and quick to perform. 

The Handler 190 is can run all of the following wire sizes: .023 –.035 in. (0.6 – 0.9 mm) mild steelor stainless steel, .030 –.045 in. (0.8 –1.2 mm)flux-cored, and .030 –.035 in. (0.8 – 0.9 mm) aluminum.

The unit weighs 68 pounds so it's relatively portable.  Hobart makes a cart for it with gas cylinder storage built in.  This works well in shop environments but you can also easily load it up on a truck and fire it up with generator.  Keep in mind you'll need a minimum 7000 watts to operate the 190 from a generator.

The 190 operates on 230V power so you'll need to keep this in mind if you're planning on using at home or on the farm. 

This unit is about as easy as it gets when it comes to MIG welding.  The option SpoolRunner 100 is definitely worth a look as it makes the wire feeding process MUCH simpler.

Controls are simple with 7 preset voltage settings that were spot on with everything we tried.  Amperage is also easily adjusted.  Connections are quick.  We had our unit out of the box and welding in less than an hour.

Included Equipment

The unit ships with a 10 foot MIG gun, dual gauge regulator & gas hose, 10-ft work cable & clamp, 10-ft power cord, extra .030 contact tips, sample spool of .030 flux-cored wire, 8 inch spool adapter, an owners manual and quick set-up tutorial.

Key Features of the 190

Here are a few of the key features of the 190:

  • built-in spool gun circuitry - the SpoolRunner 100 (also from Hobart) connects directly to the machine and regulates the flow of wire.  This helps to eliminate many of the feeding problems associated with aluminum wire welding.  The SpoolRunner also works stainless steel and mild steel wire.
  • built-in contactor - an excellent safety feature that ensures the wire is not live when not in use.
  • automatic thermal overload protection - when the machine hits it's peak duty cycle it automatically shuts down until cool enough to operate again.
  • excellent flexibility - 7 voltage options, infinitely adjustable wire feed control, and adjustable output amperage make this a very flexible unit.

Product Specs

  • Duty Cycle: 30% at 130 Amps
  • Current Range: 25A - 190A
  • Wire Feed Speed Range: 40 - 700 IPM (inches per minute)
  • Dimensions: H 12-3/8", W 10-5/8", D 19-1/2"
  • Weight:  68lbs
hobart's spoolrunner 100

Warranty and Repairs

Hobart has been manufacturing industrial grade equipment for 100 years.  They offer a 5/3/1 warranty.  This translates to a 5 year warranty on transformers, three years for electronics (drive motors, rectifiers) and one year on guns.

Where this unit truly blows away the cheaper Chinese welders that have flooded the market is with their service and customer support.  Hobart gives you a 800 number where you can talk to people that understand welding and their products.  With most of the cheaper models (even some made in the U.S.) you'll be hard pressed to find a company as dedicated to taking care of their customers. 

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for a solid entry level MIG welder that can handle most small shop type work the 190 is a great unit.  It offers lots of flexibility and some features, like the regulated wire feed, only found on more expensive models.  On top of that it's backed up by Hobart's dedication to quality and service.  Yes you can spend less on any number of cheaper Chinese produced models, but at the first sign of trouble, you'll be wishing you'd ponied up the cash for quality.

Resources:

User manual​

Jason