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.
The extra power delivered by the 190 offers more flexibility with a 7 position voltage control switch and infinitely adjustable wire feed control. This allows you to create a perfect weld on a wide range of metal thicknesses with little to no spatter.
The built-in wire feeder utilizes a quick-release drive roll lever that is simple to use. This is especially helpful in eliminating problems associated with softer aluminum wire.
These features in addition to it's longer duty cycle helped put this unit near the top of the list in our MIG welder comparison article.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are a few of the key features of the 190:
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.
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.
Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys.