True, those large, costly welders with enough power to dim the entire town’s lights at the start of each arc accomplish a great deal. However, they are costly, large, and heavy. Not everyone requires that much power. The Hobart Handler 140 may be a better option due to its less weight and sufficient power for most hobbyists.
This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Hobart 140. However, we will also consider viable options that are more cost-effective.
A Brief Overview
What’s In the Handler 140?
HR-100 rifle with a ten-foot-three-meter cord
Ground cable, 10 ft. (3 m), with clip
Integrated gas solenoid valve
Regulator with dual gauges and gas hose
Spool hub assembly for spools 4 in. or 8 in.
Spool of self-shielding flux-cored wire.030 in. (0.8mm)
Contact tips.030 in. (0.8mm)
Quick SelectTM drive roll for solid wire.024 in. (0.6mm) or.030/.035 in. (08/.9 mm) and flux-cored wire.030/.035 in. (0.8/0.9 mm).
Plug-in power cable
Gauge for material thickness
Pros & Cons
- Powered by 120V (20A circuit)
- Made in the United States of America
- Consistent 5/3/1 Warranty (e.g., transformer covered for five years)
- Simple-to-use three-groove drive roller (“Quick Select”)
- Control of the wire speed indefinitely between the minimum and maximum feed rates
- Reliable wire feed system with a maximum feed rate of 700 inches per minute (including aluminum)
- Superior build quality
- Hobart’s arc is flawless
- Not equipped with a spool gun
Significantly reduced duty cycle compared to competitors’ models
- This model has a lower amperage output and a narrower weldable thickness range compared to other brands.
- Aluminum has a narrow thickness range (only 16 to 20 gauge.)
- The work clamp is compact and lightweight.
- The regulator is incompatible with C100.
- Because the ground clamp is incorporated, it is difficult to replace.
- There is no digital display.
- There is no support for complex configuration options such as inductance control, 2T/4T, etc.
- Aluminum is welded using a standard MIG gun, which is more prone to wire nesting.
- It does not allow for infinite adjustment of the voltage output.
- Significantly heavier than current competitor models
- This is an old-fashioned technique requiring rewiring the connection within the spool wire compartment to convert from MIG to flux-cored welding.
- Only 110v input
|Welder Type||MIG, Flux Core|
|Duty Cycle||20% @ 90A(18.5V)|
|Amperage||25 – 140A|
|Voltage||5 Fixed Positions|
|Wire Feed Speed||Infinite between min. And max.|
|Weldable Materials||Mild steel, stainless, aluminum|
|Mild Steel Thickness (Single-pass)||24 ga. – 0.25 in.|
|Wire Thickness||0.024 – 0.035 in.|
|Wire Feed Speed||40 – 700 ipm|
|Wire Spool Sizes||4-in., 8-in.|
|Spool Gun Ready||❌|
|Welder Dimensions (H x W x L)||12.375 in. x 10.625 in. x 19.5 in.|
What to Know Before Purchasing the Hobart 140
The duty cycle of the Hobart Handler is 20% at 90A output, which is relatively low. While it can perform a wide variety of hobbyist-level welding activities, we cannot ignore the fact that its duty cycle is substantially lower than that of many rival devices.
For instance, one of our alternate picks has a 100% duty cycle at 100A, enabling you to weld endlessly at that amperage. At 20% at 90A, the welder is limited to two minutes of welding before requiring an additional eight minutes to cool down, which is barely competitive with other manufacturers.
The core of a Heavy Transformer
While transformer welders have a long life, they are large and difficult to transport. The Hobart Handler 140 is marketed as a “portable” MIG welder, which is accurate. You can move its 57-pound frame. However, the question is whether you should.
With the advancement of IGBT inverters, there is no necessity to purchase a transformer welder if you desire mobility. Weight savings of up to 50% are possible using inverter technology. Additionally, premium companies offer sturdy inverters with extensive warranties, making inverters as attractive as transformers.
The thickness of the Stock
You can weld mild and stainless steel up to 24 ga. Not bad for the price. However, if you want the ability to work with thicker material, you will require a larger, more expensive MIG welder.
A system with a Fixed Voltage
The Hobart Handler 140 operates on an outmoded fixed-voltage range of five points. While this is desirable, nothing surpasses the ability to alter the voltage indefinitely.
What if you over-thinned the metal when removing the rust? What if the thickness of the metal does not correspond to the suggested parameters chart? There are several reasons why you would want to adjust the voltage output.
Hobart was aware of this. Their Ironman 240 (an upgraded version of the Ironman 230) now features endlessly adjustable voltage. However, their Handler 140 has never received such an upgrade.
This would not be a problem if Handler 140 were less expensive. However, given today’s pricing, I anticipate more.
There are no advanced functions.
Because the Hobart 140 is based on outdated transformer technology, it cannot perform sophisticated capabilities available with inverter welders.
There are no 2T/4T modes to facilitate welding in tight corners or long welds. Similarly, it is incompatible with inductance control and tack welds. This is something to consider, as many current welders provide these beneficial features at no additional cost.
Consumables are included in the package. However, if you intend to MIG weld, you will need to purchase solid wire separately, as none is provided. Additionally, you will need a bottle of gas to MIG weld.
Additionally, you will likely need to purchase several additional tips in various sizes, as you only receive two 0.030 contact tips.
Aluminum may be MIG welded using the Handler 140. However, just in the 20-16 ga. Range. Additionally, it is not spool gun compatible. Therefore, if you want to deal with aluminum frequently and in various thicknesses, this is not the welder for you.
The tiny print on the Hobart Handler 140 specification sheet says that the MIG lead must be kept straight and that wire feed ability is reduced while welding steel. This is expected, given the machine’s lack of a spool gun.
You receive a Miller regulator, which is advantageous. Miller has a 100-year history of manufacturing welders and is the world’s leading maker of arc welders. (Both Miller and Hobart are trademarks of Illinois Tool Works, or “ITW.”)
However, if you want to run pure CO2 with this regulator, Hobart advises against it. CO2 icing can affect the regulator. As a result, if you intend to use C100, you may need to switch the regulator.
There are no DINSE connectors available for the polarity and ground clamps.
Numerous low-cost welders incorporate a ground clamp and lack conventional plugs on the front of the device. However, by 2022 and beyond, the Hobart Handler 140 will no longer be considered an entry-level model due to competition from other companies.
Because the ground clamp is incorporated, it is impossible to change the lead if it becomes broken or if the length is not satisfactory. Additionally, this complicates the process of changing polarity. The welder must be opened, and the lead connections for DCEN or DCEP rewired to convert from MIG to flux-cored welding.
Several manufacturers employ conventional DINSE connectors in this price range, which simplifies the procedure considerably; we will review one of these devices later in the article.
Clamp for Work
The MIG gun and cable lines are each ten feet in length. The six gauge ground wire is easy to manage and comes with high-quality sheathing.
However, Hobart’s work clamp is more compact than others and does not use a braided bonding wire to connect the clamp jaws. You may quickly replace the clamp on the Hobart unit for a bit of a fee. However, there is an additional charge that you may incur.
The ratio of Price to Quality
Without question, the Hobart Handler 140 is still a capable welder. However, we believe it is overvalued than models that give more for a lower price.
If Hobart chooses to reduce the price of this item by around $200, it will be an excellent purchase. However, it does not now offer the best price-to-quality ratio in today’s world.
The Hobart 140’s Best Features
Mechanism of Wire Feeding
The wire feed mechanism is one of the features that consumers like about the Handler 140. It is constructed entirely of metal, is simple to assemble, and performs better than others. You would not expect to find a feed mechanism of this caliber at this pricing.
Additionally, you can adjust the roller size using your fingers. That is correct; there are no tools to be discovered. Simply adjust the roller by pulling and twisting. This degree of ease and quality is uncommon in a welder at this price point.
A cursory peek at the control panel reveals a neat, uncluttered environment. Two knobs, an on/off switch, and a single light is included. Additionally, they are simple to use and comprehend.
The two knobs adjust the voltage and wire feed speed (“WFS”). The WFS may be adjusted between the minimum and maximum values, and the voltage can be set to one of five distinct values.
Changing the wire size is also simple. The Quick Select drive mechanism enables you to quickly and easily adjust the roller size without equipment.
When you are ready to weld, a settings chart is supplied on the inside of the wire compartment door. There is no need to keep track of voltage settings or wire speeds. Your welder always comes equipped with a simple settings chart that serves as a reminder of the settings for a specific weld.
While the welder is simple to operate, I love the Quick Select drive mechanism. If Hobarts remains one of the greatest, the 5-point fixed voltage system must be updated to limitless adjustability. Numerous companies provide simple-to-use interfaces without sacrificing key capabilities.
Proven Track Record
One of the advantages of having an older machine is its long history of satisfied users. You merely need to conduct an internet review search to discover this.
Time will tell whether Hobart is compelled to upgrade this machine shortly when newer MIG machines hit the market.
At this pricing point, the quality of what you get is frequently dubious. However, this is not the case with this Hobart welder. The supplied pistol, clamp, and welder are all genuine.
For the skeptics, a 5/3/1 warranty covers you in the event of a malfunction. It is one of the finest in the business and demonstrates Hobart’s commitment to and support its goods.
The 5/3/1 signifies a 5-year part and labor warranty on the transformer and a 3-year parts and labor warranty on the wire drive system, control boards, and regulator. A one-year warranty is included on the MIG gun, contactors, and relays (or 90 days for industrial use).
Consider the Following Alternatives
As we’ve mentioned previously, there are alternatives that, in our opinion, offer better value for money. The Eastwood MIG 180 and MIG 140 are the most comparable versions.
They provide a comparable build quality and guarantee but with superior specifications. Additionally, like Hobart, Eastwood is a USA-based brand with a lengthy history.
MIG 180 Eastwood
The Eastwood MIG 180 is a dual-voltage inverter MIG welder with a much longer duty cycle, a greater output amperage, and more functionalities than the Hobart Handler 140. Additionally, it is almost 50% lighter and less expensive.
Additionally, it features a cast aluminum wire drive system, a steady arc, and MIG and flux-core welding compatibility. However, unlike Hobart, switching between MIG and flux-cored welding is substantially easier using the Eastwood model’s standard DINSE plugs.
The Eastwood 180 is a fantastic choice for hobbyists and light shop work, with a maximum output of 180A and a duty cycle of 30% at 180A. It can weld up to 5/16 in. thickness and requires fewer cooling pauses. Additionally, if welding a thin gauge, you may weld endlessly with a current output of less than 100A.
Compared to the Hobart 140, the Eastwood 180 features endlessly adjustable voltage. This significantly improves the Eastwood model’s ability to adjust the arc to your work, allowing you to fine-tune it every time.
The Eastwood 180 is available in 2T/4T and tack weld configurations. The 2T (two touches) setting on a conventional MIG torch lights the arc when the trigger is pressed and extinguishes it when the trigger is released. The 4T enables you to weld without depressing the trigger, decreasing hand fatigue.
The tack weld setting is advantageous when dealing with sheet metal and automobile bodywork. It consistently produces tack welds regardless of how long the torch trigger is pushed.
The Eastwood MIG 180 is unquestionably a budget model. Therefore, if you’re searching for a more robust and portable alternative to the Hobart Handler 140, this is one of the most excellent options.
|Eastwood MIG 180||Hobart Handler 140|
|Dual Voltage Input||✅||❌|
|Weldable Mild Steel Thickness||Up to 5/16 in.||Up to 1/4 in.|
|Duty Cycle||30% at 180A||20% at 90A|
|Spool Gun Support||✅||❌|
|Integrated Ground Clamp||No||Yes|
|Infinite Voltage Adjustability||✅||❌|
|Weight||25.3 lbs||57 lbs|
For a long time, the Hobart Handler 140 was one of the best entry-level welders. While the Hobart 140 is still excellent equipment, current technology available on low-cost welders now provides a significant advantage over the Hobart 140.
Eastwood is a well-known brand, and their MIG welders are on a level with Hobart in terms of quality. Given their 3-year guarantee and higher specification at a lower price, the Eastwood 180 and 140 provide a superior value for money.