Best Lincoln MIG Welder
Lincoln is an Ohio based welding equipment manufacturer that has been producing and selling products since way back in 1895. The performance combined with the quality design and build of their stock is what has led to them being so successful over the years.
At Wonkee Donkee, our team of experts regularly test and review all of the best power tools available to buy. In this review, our focus is on the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder as to us it is the best Lincoln MIG Welder on sale. If you want to know more about the Lincoln Handy in comparison to other models then you should read out Best MIG Welder Review.
Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy
In the last 120 years, Lincoln have produced some very high-quality welders and the Handy certainly comes in this category. A reasonably priced welder makes it accessible to pretty much anyone, which means that you can carry out welding jobs with some excellent results. If you directly compared this to the cheaper Goplus, you can expect more power and better performance. In our opinion, although it is a little bit more expensive, you get a lot more value for money.
The Lincoln weld is renowned for being reliable and durable, for those welders not wanting massive power capability will really like this machine. Reviews of people who have bought the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG welder comment that they find it stable and even with daily use has a long lifespan.
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The Handy Lincoln welder comes with a cooling system to help reduce the risk of overheating. It can weld mild steel of 24 gauge to 1/8 inch thickness and has a four output power setting.
The Lincoln welder will run at a duty cycle of 20% at 70 Amps. This means that you should let this welder rest for 8 minutes after every 2 minute use.
This Lincoln welder has an input power of 115 volts which means it can run using a standard household outlet.
The Handy Lincoln welder is very portable at 46 pounds.
What to Look For When Buying a MIG Welder?
When thinking of buying a metal inert gas welder it’s fair to say there are many different things that you might need to consider. Probably the first question to ask is what do you want from your machine? By this, we mean that you should always buy a MIG welder that can do everything you need it to. There is no point buying a cheap MIG welder if you are going to need it for big projects, as a poor duty cycle will definitely slow you down.
Our next question would be what thickness of metal will you be welding, is it greater than half an inch? If so, the metal inert gas welder is not the machine to go for as they are designed to be used on thinner materials – read on to find out more. With that said, a metal inert gas welder can still produce lots of projects that use thinner metals.
The final question to ask is what will you be trying to make with your MIG welder? It may surprise you to realize all the things that you can easily build using one of these great machines, even with very little experience using them.
A basic consideration is what power input does your welder need in order to work effectively. To simplify this it just basically means what type of socket you will need to power your machine. It is important to note that not all welders will be compatible with the outlets in your workshop or a standard domestic outlet. So, if you go with a welder with an input power of 110 to 140 volts, you should be fine as these will work off the standard domestic outlets.
By comparison, there are some premium and cheap welders on our list that will only run at about 220 volts, or some models that are interchangeable between different input levels. In such cases and entirely different outlet type will be required. Our advice at WOnkee DOnkee would be to hire an electrician to fit these new sockets as they can be quite a dangerous task and will need to be signed off with a registered organisation. If they are not they can be dangerous to use and if anything does go wrong then it can nullify your home or workshop insurance policy.
For higher levels of power output is it better to use 220-volt models, but keep in mind the extra cost of socket installation if you don’t have any existing 200-volt sockets.
The efficiency of your welder basically comes down to the duty cycle feature. What the duty cycle determines is how long to weld and how to long to rest the machine afterwards so that the lifespan of your machine is optimized.
Often you will come across phrases like “This welder has a 20% duty cycle when running at 90 Amps,” or “When operating at 135 Amps, the duty cycle is 35%.” In simple language, this just tells you the time you can weld for and how long to rest. The usual way to look at this is in 10-minute increments. This is a standard across the welding industry and we would definitely advise sticking to this ruling.
For example, with a 20% duty cycle and the correct amps, the total amount of welding time is 2 minutes. Then you are advised to rest the machine for 8 minutes to allow it to cool down. So, weld for 2-minutes, then rest for 8-minutes and so on. The 35% duty cycle means weld for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, before needing to rest for the remaining 6 minutes 30 seconds. The amps that you operate at will vary from one welder to another but are quite easily adjusted by the dial on the machine.
The weight of a product tends to be of less importance when buying a welder. If you looked at most of the MIG welders available to buy the average weight for products is probably around 50 pounds. There are some at 30 pounds or less, whilst others that far exceed the 50 pounds. We find that a 50-pound welder is still fairly portable, although in order to make it easier to transport around you can use a wheeled cart.
Thermal Overload Protection
Some MIG Welders have an incredible safety feature called thermal overload protection. This works by causing the welder to cut out if it reaches too high of a temperature. The purpose of this is to help protect the operator from injury if they have been welding too long or if there is a malfunction with the machine.
Some other models, like the Lincoln MIG welder (reviewed above) use a different cooling system which can also make a big difference. These cooling systems can either work by constantly being on to cool the machine as it’s in use or just kick in when the tool hits a certain temperature.
Thermal overload protection is a nice feature to bear in mind if you can afford it, as the risks of overheating, the expenditure of shielding gas and time wasted is not to be ignored. However, if you are only using it for small tasks then a standard cooling system will be more than sufficient.