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Hobart Ironman 230 vs Lincoln PowerMig 256: The Difference Explained

Hobart Ironman 230 vs LIncoln Power Mig 256

My buddy purchased a brand new Lincoln from Cyberweld the other day. Specifically, it’s the PowermIg 256. Now, I believe Lincolns are for driving, Miller is for drinking and Hobart’s are for

Welding is like a drug

welding…but I wanted to hear what my friend thought about his new machine.

Can I be totally honest with you?

I really was blown away by the out-of-the-box specs on the Lincoln. Now, I am a die-hard ESAB and Hobart guy… so the Lincoln had a steep hill to climb in my book. So I did my research, checked out the Lincoln and found some awesome features – enough to write a whole review.

Comparing: Hobart Ironman 230 vs Lincoln PowerMig 256

  • Full Specifications on both machines
  • Upgrades that will help you weld better
  • A recommendation for a machine if you’re just starting out and you don’t need a professional grade machine
  • Links to some great video reviews of these welders.

Now, it’s a familiar story and it goes like this: your shopping for a new welder and have no idea where to begin.  I get it. I’ve been there and walked that path as well.

So let’s start by seeing exactly who would buy these welders.

These are heavy duty machines that were purpose-built for a heavy fabrication shop. So, if you’re new they are definitely not for you.

If you’re a newbie, read this article – it has some great information (yes, I know it’s from Miller – but hey – I promised to get you the best information out there) to get you familiar with welders, types of welding and material thickness.

Speaking of being new…. If your brand spanking new I would start with a welder like the Forney or the Hobart 140. Both excellent choices.

Ok, we covered the newbies here – are you ready to get down to business on these professional grade welders?

Then, let’s go!

 

Hobart Ironman 230 and Lincoln PowerMig 256 Specs

When it comes down to researching welders I usually recommend looking at the company first, especially if your thinking of a value machine like this one. But in this case, Lincoln and Hobart have been machine machines forever.

So let’s look at the specs on the Hobart first.

Specifications on the Hobart Ironman 230

Let’s cover the basics on the Ironman right away:

  • 250 Amps
  • Runs off 230 v power
  • Cast Aluminum drive
  • 12 taps of voltage
  • Infinite wire speed
  • Upgraded ground clamp with brass jaws.
  • Made in the USA!
  • 15 ft Mig gun and 10ft power cable.
  • 224 lbs
  • Welds up to ½ inch in a single pass
  • Spool gun ready
  • Holds up to a 45 lb wire wheel
  • 5/3/1 warranty

Now, if those specifications don’t make you smile – well, there is no hope for you. The Ironman is one serious machine. I have this exact machine in my shop and use it every day for production work and let me tell you – it’s a beast.

It’s assembled right here in America which is pretty awesome. It’s a good feeling to support fellow fabricators, assemblers, and machinist. Most welders are made and assembled in China.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

This machine can weld ½ gauge steel in one pass – and the arc is super smooth. In fact, the video below really goes into a good amount of detail on the machine and welding with it. The cast aluminum drive means that the wire will be fed super smooth- regardless of the gauge used.

Even though the machine is 224 lbs Hobart did a good job selecting wheels – they are smooth and pretty sturdy as well. They also include some wire wheel mounts outside the machine, which saves time switching spools.

Now I will say this- it’s a great machine. However when comparing the arc to the Lincoln 256… the 256 delivers a smoother Arc I find. Lincoln used a diamond core technology and I find it easier to dial in the Lincoln compared to the Hobart.

So, we looked at the Hobart – let’s dive into the Lincoln

 

Specifications of the Lincoln PowerMig 256

Now the Lincoln packs a powerful punch and lays down some serious heat with 300 amps out of the box. But there are some other amazing features the really set the Lincoln apart from the Hobart.

Admit it… you want to hear about these amazing features right now. I promise to reveal them, but first, let’s look at the raw specs of the machine:

  • 300 Amps
  • Runs off 230 v of power
  • Angled Cast Aluminum drive
  • Infinite voltage – digital readouts
  • 15ft mig gun and 10 ft power cord
  • Dual ports for CO2/Argon and Argon – no switch necessary with Aluminum
  • Welds up to ⅝ in a single pass
  • Spool gun ready
  • 3-year warranty
  • Spot Timer
  • 2t/4t settings
  • 115v aux. Power.

Ok, we covered the basics. Now let’s really talk about all the awesomeness Lincoln managed into the powerMig.

Picture this: You’re getting everything in the Ironman 230 and a TON more features.

A welder who think he is a welder, but is a grinder

That’s right. You’re getting a more powerful machine that can handle thicker material right out of the box. But you’re also getting some sweet features that will make you drool.

Let’s start with the most simple one: a 115v aux powerbox. OMG. guess who is welding and hooking up his grinder TO THE WELDER? This guy, right here. I think that’s a great feature by itself, but we are just scratching the surface.

Let’s talk about the 2t/4t option. When you’re welding long beads on a project you don’t have to hold the trigger with the 4t option. I know – it’s too good to be true. You simply activate the 4t function and when you click the trigger and let go, the arc maintains itself until you click the trigger again. Below is a good video of these features.

Maybe your not a fan of the 2tl4t function. I get that. So let’s talk about the hot timer. No, we are not baking cookies here. Let’s assume you have a bead to run and it will take you 90 seconds to lay the bead. Set the timer, click the trigger and your welding for the next 90 sections until the arc cuts off.

BAM! These are some features that truly make the Lincoln the Cadillac of welders. See what I did there… Cadillac … Lincoln. OK forget my terrible welder’s humor. But you can really see how this machine is so much better than the Hobart. And this is coming for a guy who loves his Hobart.

Stop your mouth and start welding

Conclusion

Sometimes I get to review welders that are so close in their features and specs that it’s like splitting hairs to determine which machine is better. Not here. The Lincoln smacks the Hobart around and goes back to welding.

It has 50 amps more power and so many more great features like the 2t/4t feature and the hot spot. Then, throw in design features like the angled drive (which reduces wire tension – resulting in smoother wire deliver) and the diamond core technology…. And you have a machine that delivers a sweet arc, smooth wire delivery and is a pleasure to run.

The best part of this is Lincoln has competitively priced their machine. It’s only a few hundred bucks more than the Hobart – and I learned that it’s completely worth the price.

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