Hobart Ironman 230 vs Miller 211: Which Should I Buy?

  • By: Monica Shulz

This week my buddy just returned from England and we got together for our weekly cigar and whiskey. He was able to bring back an excellent whiskey  I highly recommend IF you can get your hands on it. I like my whiskey like my welding machines, strong and a great value for the dollar!

Do you see where I’m going with this?

You guessed it!  My buddy asked me to compare two different welders, The Miller 211 and the Hobart Ironman 230. And since these are very different welders I want to answer some interesting questions that popped up during our discussion.

So, in this comparison you’ll get:

  • Specifications for both the Miller 211 and the Hobart Ironman 230
  • Strengths of each welder and where they fall short
  • Answers to common questions people have about using these welders

Both of these machines are very strong on their own – Meaning they are excellent machines made by excellent companies… well, the same company really. However, they are built for the same type of user but different applications.

The 211 and the 230 are both professional grade machines. In fact, I own them both.  ITW made these machines for heavy duty fabrication, but one is for the shop and one is for the field. We will get into some of the nitty-gritty details on these machines, but first, let’s cover some common questions that have come up..


miller 211 vs hobart


Common Questions Around The 230 And The 211


Q – Can the Hobart Ironman 230 or the Miller 211 be hooked up to a generator?

A – Yes and no. Mostly no. If your thinking of a standard generator they are usually rigged for 115v output. If it can deliver 20 amps of power then you could run the Miller 211 since it runs 115v and 230v. You could not run the Hobart welder unless it the generator is wired with a 220v outlet.

Now, also remember how heavy of a material you are going to weld. The heavier the material the heavier bead you will need to lay, thus more voltage. When you stress the generator, especially if you have more then one machine running, you will pop a fuse. A good generator would be this one.


Q – Can the Miller 211 run at home in my garage and can I hook up a spool gun for Aluminum?

A – The 211 comes with dual voltage plugs, so the nice thing is you can run it from home on you 115v line and you can run it from 220v at the shop. The plugs are a simple adjustment to make and the machine calibrates itself for the different voltage that it’s running from.

The Miller is NOT spool gun ready – so no aluminum welding on this bad boy. The Hobart 230, however, IS spool gun ready, so once you buy the optional spool gun, you are good to go.

miller mm211
Q- What kind of wire can you use on the Miller 211 and the Hobart 230 out of the box?

A- The Miller is set up to run .24, .30 and .35  solid wire and .30 and .35 flux core right out of the box. ( you can also run any wire in between those gauges) The included tips are for .30 wire. So, if you want to run other wire you’ll need to go to your local welding supply or order new tips. If you want to run a heavier wire, say like .45 you would need a different MIG gun liner and feed roller to handle the heavier wire.

The Hobart can handle all the gauges mentioned above AND the heavier .45 wire too – again, you would just need to buy a heavier tip to handle the .45 (1.2mm).

And since we are talking about heavier wire and what you need to do to weld with it….


How To Change a MIG Gun Liner For Heavier Wire



Q- Why is the Miller so light and the Hobart such a heavy machine.

A- The Hobart is a big boy that comes in at about 220lbs, while the Miller is a lightweight coming in at just about 40 lbs. What makes for such a drastic difference? Well, HOW the machine is powered is a big difference. The Hobart uses transformer technology, which is an older but very reliable technology. The Miller uses inverter technology, which is a bit newer technology but really cuts down on the overall weight of the machine.

I’ve had some buddies tell me the inverter technology is not as reliable as the transformer system, but I’ve found both to be pretty hard working and reliable.


Comparing the Specifications  of the 230 and the 211

Let’s check out the specification on these two machines :

Hobart Ironman 230

  • 220 volt – 250 amp max
  • Welds up to ½ inch thick material in a single pass
  • Cast Aluminum drive
  • 12 tap voltage
  • Infinite wire speed
  • 15 ft MIG gun
  • 224 lbs
  • 5/3/1 warranty.


Miller 211

  • 115v and 220v – MVP welder with both attachments for either voltage
  • 230 amps max
  • Welds up to ⅜ inch thick material in a single pass
  • Angled cast aluminum drive – smooth wire delivery and less strain on the overall system
  • 10 taps for voltage – auto set feature and manual adjustment as well
  • 10 ft MIG gun included
  • 38 lbs
  • 3-year warranty.

So you can see these are both powerful machines. They can handle thicker material then your hobby level welders like the Hobart 140 or the 190.

What’s the bottom line on these machines?

Well, I’ll tell you…


The Ironman is a workhorse. It lives in the fabrication shop and it can weld mild steel all day. I use it for 90% of my production and the welder can keep up with demand all day. The Miller, on the other hand, sits in my pickup truck and is my mobile money maker. Really.

When I have field jobs and I need a dependable machine, I use the 211 all the time. I thought it was just me, but even this guy makes money with his 211. It’s a bit on the expensive side but it pays for itself many times over. I mean really – would you want to lug around the 200+lb Ironman AND worry if you can plug into 220v service?

One last thing to keep in mind, the Ironman can weld aluminum with the spool gun, whereas the 211 cannot. So if you want a mobile machine that can weld aluminum, then check out this machine.