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Old 07-25-2011, 04:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Harbor Freight welders, any good?

I have been contemplating a Harbor Freight welder for sometime now, my intentions is to fix exhaust pipes and some roll cage welding/fabs. What do you think? Is it any good or is it as worthless as most other things they sell there?
Here is my requirement:
120Volt input, ability to weld half inch thickness steel.
Like this:
http://www.harborfreight.com/90-amp-...der-98871.html
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i've used 2, and neither welded good at all.

i'm all for buying cheap tools when feasible, but i would say no way on this one. save up just a little extra and get something nicer used on craigslist or similar.
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Which welder do you guys recommend for my requirement? This will be for personal use and will see very less usage overall.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've used the one you linked, bought just for use when only 110 is available. Like was said, I too am all for cheaper tools that work, but that thing is seriously a giant worthless piece of shit. You're not going to find a 110 welder that will touch 1/2" even with flux core but if that's what you want to try, look for a used hobart/lincoln/miller.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My buddy has one, Its a piece of junk...If you plan on doing 1/2" single pass theres no well in hell a 120v welder is going to do it. My Miller 350P is rated to do up to 1/2" and that's drawing 60-70 amps of 220v...
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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walk away from it and never look back. they are complete junk.

buy a used brand name 220v welder and you will be much happier
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Why would you even have to ask? These HF tool threads piss me off No what I mean to say is, they're great buy the biggest most expensive one and enjoy..
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I can't believe they even claim 1/2" with a 90 amp 120v welder! You can barely get good penetration on 1/4" with a 140 amp 120v lincoln! I would say its a typo but they do it a few times. They only claim 5/16" with their 120 amp flux core.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks guys.... I will pass on this. The reason I asked is, I particularly had a bad experience with off brands from HF. Basically, hammers from HF have broken on me....I mean if a piece/block of steel is not strong enough to do the job that it was designed to, I can only imagine what they can do with electronics. I guess it all depends on where it’s made. Anyway, after a long time, I thought they might have changed….
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks guys.... I will pass on this. The reason I asked is, I particularly had a bad experience with off brands from HF. Basically, hammers from HF have broken on me....I mean if a piece/block of steel is not strong enough to do the job that it was designed to, I can only imagine what they can do with electronics. I guess it all depends on where it’s made. Anyway, after a long time, I thought they might have changed….
Does HF sell anything that isn't made in China? heh
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Does HF sell anything that isn't made in China? heh
Not really...I wonder why!!!!!
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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My father in-law just bought a HF 110V welder........he is a retired union welder, welding intructor, etc

He wanted a cheap one to start playing with and was very dissapointed with the HF unit

He returned it and bought a Lincoln and loves it
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:42 AM   #13 (permalink)
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i got my first welder from Harbor Frieght, but it was a Hobart 135, good price though
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:35 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I've used the one you linked, bought just for use when only 110 is available. Like was said, I too am all for cheaper tools that work, but that thing is seriously a giant worthless piece of shit. You're not going to find a 110 welder that will touch 1/2" even with flux core but if that's what you want to try, look for a used hobart/lincoln/miller.
That, or for the price of a 180 or 175 + a 110V HF welder, you can get a Miller 211 that will work on 220 most of the time, and has 120 capability, as well...

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Old 07-27-2011, 01:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Assuming you want cheap and 110v:

Tractor Supply has the Hobart 125 for $350, but you're stuck with only 4 voltage settings with it.

For $440 you can get a reconditioned Hobart 140 from Toolking Pretty much the best deal you're going to find "new," and well worth it in my opinion.

Then there's the Eastwood 135 I've read good things about it, Eastwood allegedly designed it themselves, and is supposed to be a direct competitor for the Lincoln 140c but made in China and half the price of the Lincoln. It uses a Tweco gun so you should be able to get consumables anywhere that sells welding supplies. I'm not sure if it's always "hot" or not, and I want to see/read/hear more first hand accounts/reviews.


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Old 07-27-2011, 04:09 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Assuming you want cheap and 110v:

Tractor Supply has the Hobart 125 for $350, but you're stuck with only 4 voltage settings with it.

For $440 you can get a reconditioned Hobart 140 from Toolking Pretty much the best deal you're going to find "new," and well worth it in my opinion.

Then there's the Eastwood 135 I've read good things about it, Eastwood allegedly designed it themselves, and is supposed to be a direct competitor for the Lincoln 140c but made in China and half the price of the Lincoln. It uses a Tweco gun so you should be able to get consumables anywhere that sells welding supplies. I'm not sure if it's always "hot" or not, and I want to see/read/hear more first hand accounts/reviews.


- Lee
I have the eastwood 135 for about a year now and put about 20lbs of wire through it. It's a good little welder. Before I bought it, I borrowed my brothers hobart 140. The eastwood is very comparable to it. I thought the hobart burned slightly hotter, but not much. The infinite voltage on the eastwood is nice too. It will do 3/16 in one pass with out a problem and 1/4 with flux core. Overall I'm really satisfied with it.

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Old 07-27-2011, 04:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I have the eastwood 135 for about a year now and put about 20lbs of wire through it. It's a good little welder. Before I bought it, I borrowed my brothers hobart 140. The eastwood is very comparable to it. I thought the hobart burned slightly hotter, but not much. The infinite voltage on the eastwood is nice too. It will do 3/16 in one pass with out a problem and 1/4 with flux core. Overall I'm really satisfied with it.

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Is the gun always hot, or only when the trigger is pulled?


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Old 07-27-2011, 04:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
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110v doing half inch?

I want whatever they're smoking. The welders at harbor freight are such pieces of shit I'm actually afraid to touch them. I don't wanna pay for it if I poke it and it comes apart. fuck those things.

1/2 requires 220v, 210 multi-pass 250 single or multi depending on the wire.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Is the gun always hot, or only when the trigger is pulled?


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Only when the trigger is pulled. It does give me a small spark every once in a while though.

Also the drive mechanism is definitely cheaper then the hobart, but its worked fine so far.

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Old 07-29-2011, 06:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
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The HF welder is hot when power is on. Trigger only controls wire speed. Complete POS.

I got a Clark 130EN a few years ago and it's been a good little welder for me.

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Old 07-29-2011, 07:25 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I never noticed they claim 1/2" on that one.

One way to search for comments/reviews is to put 'forum' at the start of the search string..
http://www.google.com/search?q=forum+welder+98871

On weldingweb, California mentions "98871 supersedes #94056" so,..
http://www.google.com/search?q=forum+welder+94056


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Not really...I wonder why!!!!!
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:44 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Just watch Craigslist and get a REAL welder.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:39 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Then there's the Eastwood 135 I've read good things about it, Eastwood allegedly designed it themselves, and is supposed to be a direct competitor for the Lincoln 140c but made in China and half the price of the Lincoln.

- Lee
I have the identical welder-except it's in a yellow package.

It's a Chi-Comm copy of the Lincoln 140. If Lincoln's making them in China, my money's on them being the same machine, different color, different labels.

I like mine, I've gone through four or five small rolls of wire with it. Every once in awhile, it acts like it's hit the end of the duty cycle which gets really annoying when you're trying to weld a bead two inches long and it wants to shut down every 1/2 inch. When it's on (and I'm on) its A-game, it's a fantastic welder for the $. The spool gun is inexpensive and works well too.

I got mine from GTS-Welco, part of Praxair-my LWS.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:04 PM   #24 (permalink)
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When looking for a welder in any voltage, look at the duty cycle. The HF units have a poor duty cycle. Yes they'll weld 1/2" in skip welding while waiting for it to cool down between each 1" of weld.

No matter who's welder you choose, pick the one with the highest duty cycle.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:22 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Does HF sell anything that isn't made in China? heh
Last time I was there the only thing I could find made in America was a bottle of air tool oil...............and it was overpriced.
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