This welder and its specifications are from before inverter welders became commercially available. It weighs 38 pounds and is just a 125A flux-core welder, making it one of the heaviest “portable” welders with a low output amperage.
You’ll discover the problematic areas, some benefits, and a far better value option we propose in this post.
A Brief Overview Of The Electric Flux In Chicago 125
This welder’s low price is alluring. However, some rival models provide additional features at a comparable price.
Additionally, the Chicago Electric Flux 125 has a low duty cycle and weighs nearly three times its rivals, such as the YesWelder model discussed later.
The Flux 125 is capable of welding metal up to 3/16 in. thick, which is adequate for low-cost equipment. However, it controls amperage through an outmoded “min/max” button. Numerous competitors’ models have amperage output and wire feed knobs for complete control, and some even include a digital display for an ever-improving welding experience.
- Electric Flux in Chicago 125
- Flux-core gun integrated, 6 feet
- Ground clamp built-in, 6 ft.
- Spare contact information
- Detailed instruction manual
It is customary for discount welders to offer no or few additional features. As a result, the restricted package contents are unsurprising in this case. However, the 6-foot leads are shorter than typical. I also take issue with the leads being built-in. You cannot easily change them since it involves disassembling the equipment and wiring expertise.
The included ground clamp is pitiful, but the MIG gun is adequate for the price. The disadvantage of the inexpensive clamp is that it cannot be simply replaced because it does not utilise the standard bolt and nut wire connection.
Additionally, the ground clamp lacks copper contact points, limiting its conductivity.
The metal must be finely ground without copper connections to ensure the optimum electrical connection. However, the requirement to properly clean the base metal undermines one of FCAW’s benefits. (Flux-cored welding allows for the incorporation of rust and other impurities, minimising the grinding requirement.
|Output Current Type||DC|
|Amperage Output||60A – 125A|
|Duty Cycle||20% at 90A|
|Wire Drive Rolls||.030″ /.035″ V-Knurled Roller|
|Wire Feed Speed Range||Unspecified|
|Wire Feed Settings||Manual|
|Wire Spool Capacity||2 lb spool|
|Weldable Materials||Mild steel|
|Weldable Mild Steel Thickness (Single-pass)||Up to 3/16 in.|
|Open Circuit Voltage (OCV)||27V|
|Welder Dimensions (H x W x L)||14-1/4in. x 8-1/4in. x 14-3/8 in.|
Pros & Cons
- Efficient welding arc quality
- Excellent construction, complete with a metal body.
- Wire feeding speed is infinitely variable
- Extremely cumbersome and imposing
- The ground clamp is insufficient.
- Leads that are pre-built
What You Should Know Before Purchasing The 125-Volt Chicago Electric Flux
The Chicago Electric Flux 125 has several shortcomings that detract from your welding experience. You should be aware of the impact these deficiencies have on your job. However, it would help if you kept in mind that several comparable models lack the majority of these drawbacks.
Therefore, let us examine where it falls short of the competition to help you determine if this welder is right for you.
Duty Cycle: Low
The Flux 125’s duty cycle enables you to weld for two minutes at 90A and then wait an extra eight minutes for the welder to cool. The welding time is further reduced when the maximum amperage output of 125A is used.
While this meets the demands of many enthusiasts, not every DIY project can be completed with short welds. Many longer welds are required when welding a gate, patio, or garden features like seats, flower, or vegetable frames. However, you will run afoul of the duty cycle.
As a result, this is not a deal-breaker for do-it-yourself enthusiasts. However, because many competing models enable you to weld for longer periods, choosing something that may impair your ability makes little sense.
Not Especially User-Friendly
While this welder is not challenging to operate, it does lose a few features. The wire feed speed is set without a digital display by manipulating the knob’s arbitrary numbers. Additionally, it utilizes a “min/max” power control for your amp output, confusing the experience needlessly.
A digital display is not required for entry-level welders. However, because many businesses provide it, you may find it if you hunt around. A primary digital readout enables beginners to understand the effect of amperage output on penetration, bead, and arc on various metal thicknesses.
Rather than that, this welder controls your welds via a “min/max” button in conjunction with an infinitely adjustable wire feed knob. The minimum and maximum amps are insufficient for beginners who are still honing their welding talents.
If you are unsure of the precise amperage your settings provide, you will always be forced to use the recommended settings chart, which will hinder your ability to develop your welding skills.
Bulky And Hefty
This is a welder that is powered by a transformer. It’s heavy because of the transformer core located inside the unit. While the Harbour Freight labels it as “lightweight and portable,” that’s only true if measured by 2010 standards.
Yes, you can lift and move it. However, 38 lbs are too hefty for a welder with a low amperage output. If it were a multi-process machine with a high duty cycle, the average weight would be less than 40 lbs. However, it is a 125A flux-cored welder.
While this welder is portable, it would not be our first pick. YesWelder’s model, which we will discuss later in the article and other brands, provides substantially lighter devices for the same or less money. There is no need to choose the opposite path with advancements in inverter technology and manufacturers trying to provide the lightest possible welders.
Aspects of Design
The Flux 125 features integrated leads, making them difficult to replace if they get damaged or if you become dissatisfied with the 6 foot MIG gun and ground cables. Many inexpensive machines have this fault, yet it is worth considering.
The next significant design consideration is the wire feed system. Under the top cover of the Flux 125 is a horizontal wire feed mechanism. This design constrains the diameter of the wire spool it can take; the maximum is a 4 in. diameter spool (2 lbs).
The welder’s size may easily accommodate a vertical friendly feeding system on the side. As a result, you are unnecessarily limited to tiny wire spools.
The 10-pound wire spools can be accommodated. However, the wire liner leader becomes kinked due to the tight fit provided by bigger spools, which Chicago Electric does not officially approve.
The Chicago Electric Flux 125 is not the highest-quality welder available, and its 90-day guarantee is much less than that offered by competing brands. Typically, a budget welder provides a one-year warranty on the machine; thus, the three-month timeframe is subpar.
Fortunately, Harbor Freight offers a purchased two-year warranty extension. However, purchasing extra coverage adds to the cost of this pricey item. You’re better off buying comparable equipment with a more extended warranty. You will certainly be able to obtain extra features without incurring additional costs.
A Review Of The Most Important Features
While the Flux 125 has certain drawbacks, many novices may find it an excellent pick, provided the warranty and other concerns are not a dealbreaker.
While competing welders provide a greater bargain, the Chicago Electric Flux 125 has several advantages. So. Let us also have a look at these.
Casing Made of Solid Metal
If you’re not a fan of plastic housings, the Flux 125 is for you. With a strong metal front, sides, and back, the only plastic components are the top handle, the front buttons, and the plastic wire drive.
However, this does have certain drawbacks. A hefty, all-metal construction may cause harm to your other equipment as it bounces about in the truck bed.
Additionally, if it falls from a welding cart or table, it might threaten your feet.
Arc of Welding Appropriate
FCAW machines that are inexpensive frequently have an irregular arc. However, the Flux 125 offers a nice, consistent arc that is commensurate with its price. You’ll have no trouble stacking beads as long as you adhere to some welding technique fundamentals.
Thus, the arc is appropriate for learning to weld since you will not have difficulty adapting to a more steady arc in the future if you purchase higher-quality equipment.
A More Economical Alternative
While the Flux 125 undoubtedly fills a niche in the market, we feel that the YesWelder 135A gasless welder offers a superior value.
This rival product offers more features at a lesser price. While it has certain disadvantages to the Chicago Electric device, it is substantially less expensive, has a longer guarantee, and has superior specifications.
Welder Yeswelder 135A
Designed for enthusiasts and new welders, the YesWelder 135A provides DC lift TIG and stick welding in addition to flux-cored welding, as the Flux 125 does.
Additionally, it utilises inverter technology, which enables far more features, a smaller weight, and higher specifications than the transformer Chicago Electric model.
Its Synergic MIG function automatically adjusts the speed and voltage of your wire feed. However, it also allows for manual adjustment of the voltage output between -5V and 5V. This function is fantastic for the price since it teaches beginners how to fine-tune their welds through wire feed speed and voltage adjustments.
Additionally, the YesWelder 135 utilises 4-in. spools. However, the wire feeding mechanism is mounted on the welder’s side, not the top. As a result, the unit is much smaller than the Flux 125.
Unfortunately, Yeswelder incorporated the MIG gun into the device. However, the ground clamp, stick electrode holder, and TIG torch is not permanently attached and may be replaced.
Additionally, this flux core welder features a digital display and generates more amps than the Chicago Electric Flux 125. However, the YesWelder 135 has a significantly higher duty cycle of 60% at 135A output. This increased duty cycle lets you complete tasks at the hobbyist level with little to no downtime.
The YesWelder 135A requires a 16A circuit breaker, whereas the Chicago Electric Flux 125 requires a minimum of 20A. Because installing a 20A breaker is inconvenient and costly, the Yeswelder 135A saves you money if you already have an outlet with a 16A breaker.
Because this machine does not have a settings chart, you must refer to the instruction manual or conduct experiments on scrap metal. Yeswelder has upgraded the 135A to include more welding operations and improve the inverter’s performance. Their customer service is responsive, and YesWelder sells well-reviewed hobbyist-grade equipment.
With a one-year guarantee, dramatically reduced weight, increased welding power, increased duty cycle, extra features, two additional welding processes, and long leads, the YesWelder 135 represents exceptional value at this price.
|Feature / Welder||Chicago Electric Flux 125||YesWelder 135A|
|Welder Type||Flux-Cored||Flux-Cored, TIG, Stick|
|Duty Cycle||20% at 90A||60% at 135A100% at 104A|
|Required Circuit Breaker||20A||16A|
|Output Voltage Adjustment||❌||✅|
|Leads Length||6 feet||8 feet|
|Weight||38 lbs||15 lbs|
|Price||$$Best PriceHarbor Freight||$$Best PriceYeswelder|
The Chicago Electric Flux 125 is a respectable flux-core welder, provided you don’t mind its shortcomings. However, it is an outdated computer that lags behind the competition in several critical areas.
As a result, we believe the YesWelder 135 offers superior value for money. This is especially true if you purchase an extended warranty from Harbour Freight. The YesWelder will cost around the same and is a viable choice in such a situation.
Please leave a comment below if you have any experience with the Chicago Electric.