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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted a thread here last week about a Craftsman mig welder I borrowed from a guy. Hadn't been used in 10 years, couldn't get a spark till fixing the ground cable, then no gauges and THEN it totally quit a few days later. So I went looking at welders today, the models I was looking at were the Lincoln Power Mig 180C list $764 and the Millermatic 180 Autoset $838. I never pay list so I will shop around for the best deal, even Ebay.

I have also been looking at the Eastwood 175 Mig (supposedly made by Lincoln), you can buy just the welder for $499 or get the welder, spool gun, cart and auto darkening helmet for $699 and free shipping. The guys at the welding shop (Air Gas) said the 175 is old technology and that both the 180 migs are far better.......of course they would say that.

So, take into consideration that this is for a guy working in his garage for ordinary hot rod stuff....motor mounts, tacking headers together, misc. brackets etc and NOT chassis building. I know this is kind of like Ford vs. Chevy but which welder would be best, all 3 guys at the welding store said both migs are great but they like the Lincoln wire feed mechanics better. So which one is the better buy even if the Lincoln is $75 cheaper on list price.
 

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we use Miller machines at work. these machines get thrown around a job trailer, towed down the highway in a trailer, left out in the rain at times, banged around hanging from a forklift while being transported. We have a MillerMatic 200 wire welder. They haven't made this welder for quite some time now. I think the welder is older than I am. We like to run this machine over our MillerMatic 251 which is maybe five years old. What I am getting here is these machines have gotten more abuse then they were ever built for and we never have problems with them.

I personally have a Hobart 140 amp 110v welder that I purchased from TSC. I haven't used it a whole lot but it has been a good welder so far.

When it gets down to which one is better Miller or Lincoln you would just have to start looking at what options or features you like the best on each welder. If it was my choice and wasn't on a budget it would be Miller every time for me
 

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I have a Miller 140 autoset and not looking back..the autoset took a bit of getting used to..any new welder you get will take a bit of adustment on your part..If I had had 240 in my shop st the time I would have gone to the 180..BTW mine replaced my old Lincoln and either one works just fine.

Sam
 

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i have used both and consider miller vs lincoln similar to ford vs chevy
both are good machines, equal in all ways. i own lincoln and chevys
our shop has 2 lincoln 180 that are used for production exhaust work

i would stay with either brand and not buy an eastwood
hd and lowes sell welders, try to find a sale or older model discontinued item.
as far as old technology? electricity and wire are old tech, welding is old tech.

i grind all of my welds; mig, stick, fluxcore.
we have mig at the shop, but i use fluxcore at the house.
 

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I like the new lincoln power migs, but am not a fan of their older small migs. The miller's are high quality stuff but I think that miller has been trying a bit too hard with their small welders, I honestly think that they're harder to use for someone that does not have a lot of experience welding then some of the others.

The eastwood welders look to be a great deal, but they also look like they might be versions of the older lincolns that kind of drive me crazy (I've used a few of them quite a bit, and they work well, but really leave a lot to be desired: clunky gun, rube goldberg wire feed, and the power supply is inconsistent when running it at it's higher settings). If that's the price point you have to meet then they should be decent machines. OTOH, if you had to make a living with it I would stay away (I find it interesting that Eastwood is specifically selling them as an enthusiast's welder, not as a production piece)

I personally have a Hobart handler 135 (10 or so year old version of the 140...) that's seen a ton of use. They're basically the same quality, simpler versions of the Millers (they are made in the same factory, my Hobart shipped with a Miller logo on the gun handle...). I would recommend that welder without hesitation, the only thing that I've ever worn out (besides tips) was the gun connection/gas seal block, and it was probably my fault (the hold down was loose allowing it to move around and arc causing it to damage the o-ring seal area)
 

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Lincoln or Miller

I opened an account at Home Depot and got a 10% discount on a Lincoln welder and have gone through about 3 1/2 spools so far. I cancelled my account immediately and paid the welder off with cash so I did not pay any interest. Just stay away from cheap wire from china tool (harbor freight) as it jambs very often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, the all metal drive unit is why the guys at Airgas liked the Lincoln over the Miller...the only reason really. They said they just havn't had any problems with them and thats why I'm kind of leaning towards the Lincoln. Thanks for the pics brucer69, you can really see the difference in quality between those 2 drive units.
 

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just my findings..

i can also say that you might shop around for slightly used units, seems like alot of nice welders are popping up on craigslist cheap.. unless your set on a new one..

thermal arc is another company you might look into.. the thermal arc 185 i bought is a very nice tig machine, strong for its rating.. i also have not heard any bad things about their migs and you dont see alot of them for sale used, dont know if its because theyre just not a main name brand or what... after owning one of their tigs i would definetly buy one of their migs if i had the option..

you cant go wrong with lincoln or miller though, plus service and parts will be local.. it seems every time i go to airgas i feel like theyre trying to shaft me for some reason though, might just be my local store, i dont know...

lincoln and miller are the top 2 welder manufacturers, but i also believe their quality has went downhill the last few years.. their machines seem flimsier (cheaper) than they use too be, maybe its just me though..
 

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My take is that if you buy a Lincoln, Miller, Hobart or ESAB and your local guy can service the unit for whatever few repair parts you might need, that's the way to go. I personally have a little Lincoln and really like it as it has given me no trouble, but any one of the units mentioned, generally American made, sold by my local welding supply shop would have worked. I DO NOT BUY EASTWOOD unless I can at least see what I'm buying, i.e. at a car show. Since they no longer go to the NSRA/York show, I can't do that. While they do have some unique and interesting tools, for the most part they are over priced and quite often made in the same place as Harbor Freight. If a tool fails, I can return it to HF with a 20 minute drive. Eastwood - "ship it to us and we'll see what we can do" - then of course, the shipping charges from/to them often exceed the price of that tool so it just gets junked :pain: .

Dave W
 

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wire spools

spacytracy said:
I opened an account at Home Depot and got a 10% discount on a Lincoln welder and have gone through about 3 1/2 spools so far. I cancelled my account immediately and paid the welder off with cash so I did not pay any interest. Just stay away from cheap wire from china tool (harbor freight) as it jambs very often.
i'm really glad u mentioned the wire from H/F.. i didn't know this !!! i have a low end unit from home depot and alway have trouble with the wire sticking.. runs great sometimes but most time the wire sputters out.. what a pain. i'll get new wire. tks for the info. bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
brucer... I'll look at the Thermal Arc units, I'm not stuck on any one brand so the playing field is WIDE open...thanks for the info and the pic. Ireland...The Eastwood unit was also just a thought, when I sent them an email asking who specifically make these units I get a return saying basically ....we have a deal with the mfg. so I can't divulge the source.

Well that just isn't good enough for me when I plan on spending $600 + so I called Eastwood, the gentleman was nice enough but said the same thing. I asked him if it was Miller or Lincoln? He said well its not Miller. My feelings are ...if you can't be up front with me about the mfg then you guys are out. The hunt continues........
 

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I had been looking at the same units and came across the Eastwood welders. Went over to Welding Web forums and did a search to see what people thought. Came across this thread

http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=41965&highlight=eastwood

Basically people started saying they were Lincoln knock offs cheap crap. Someone from Eastwood responded and laid out that they were not re-branded Lincolns or Millers but fully re-engineered. China made but what isn't these days.
 
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