Usually, when the topic of welding comes up, it’s usually a singular topic. I get asked the typical questions like “what’s your favorite welder” or “what do you think is the best welder on a budget” I’m thinking about writing an article about Forney 299 real soon, I think you are going to like.
But every so often I get asked to compare two welders. Kinda like a death match for welders, and there can be only one clear winner. And when someone asks me to compare two very similar welders it makes me really, really happy.
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I know what your thinking:“ Why would this crazy metalworker like comparing basically the same welders”
I’ll tell you exactly why: It forces me to look over every aspect of each welder. I mean Sherlock Holmes style, break-out-the-magnifying-glass in detail review.
Fact: When you look at welders in the same category or class, they have many of the same features. And that can make it really hard to purchase the right one. Big news: I do the hard work for you and find that one or two details that really make one welder stand out and rise above its competitors.
This is an exciting comparison!
Why? Well, to start off, I don’t even have to tell you to research the company like I usually do with smaller, lesser-known manufacturers. Both Hobart and Lincoln are great brands, they have excellent warranties and have been making welders since the stone age. So you know you’re getting quality here.
So, let’s jump right into the specification of our welders…
Lincoln 180 dual and Hobart 210 Specifications
Both the Lincoln and the Hobart are great machines when reviewed independently. But when we compare the two you’ll start to see some subtle differences.
Let’s start off with the Hobart and get some facts…
Hobart 210 Specifications
Now I really love this Hobart welder for a lot of reasons. In fact, I have one in the shop that I use for small jobs. One feature that really stands out is the dual voltage. Hobart really made it easy to switch between 115v and 220v.
Both plugs are included and you simply twist the plug to remove and change to the plug you need. This is a helpful feature if your job site has ancient electric and you need to weld light gauge material.
The variable wire speed is a nice feature too. I don’t recommend it for new welders, but for a pro, it really helps get the fine adjustment you need for a great weld.
Hobart 210 Drawbacks
There are only three drawbacks to this machine. The spool gun is a separate purchase – it’s not a deal breaker by any means, but if you’re buying this machine you’re going to end up buying the spool gun too.
Did you ever get a rock in your shoe? It’s not the worst thing in the world – until it is. It’s one of those things that just becomes more annoying over time. The fact that Hobart only gives you 10 ft of the power cord is one of those annoyances. Other companies give 15ft – and let me tell you – it makes a big difference in the fab shop when you’re trying to get the right angle on your workpiece.
Finally, the drive system Hobart uses metal parts in their drive system, but the majority of the drive is plastic. It’s not a problem now, but under heavy use plastic can be stressed and break. Just some food for thought.
Now this machine looks very much like the Hobart. I love the dual voltage for the reasons mentioned above. But the two items that really make this welder stand out are The aluminum drive and the diamond core technology.
Get this …you can read out the technology , but it really hits you when you use the Lincoln for the first time, The wire delivery is much smoother when compared to the Hobart ( and you use good wire) and the diamond core technology really does help you find the sweet spot within a wider range.
Why is that important? Well, when you find the sweet spot you have a better weld, and that means less splatter to clean up- which saves you time… so you can figure out which pair of new gloves to buy!
No machine is without its drawbacks. I wish the Lincoln had a longer warranty like the Hobart. But – the fact that this is a semi-pro machine most like means you’ll be using it to earn money. If anything breaks outside of the warranty period you’ll have earned the cost back and then some.
Also, like the Hobart, you have to purchase the spool gun separately. So, add that to the true cost of ownership.
I did promise you, in the beginning, there would be one, and only one winner. The clear winner here is the upset: The Lincoln dual 180. If I never used this machine and only read the specs I probably would have favored the Hobart 210.
However, once I used the 180, that’s when it hit me: the machine is built that much better. I looked at the specs and they made perfect sense: the aluminum drive and the diamond core technology make all the difference.
I also told you there was a hidden cost of ownership. That’s the spool gun. You’re going to want to purchase it, so just add it to your purchase when you buy the machine, you’ll be glad you did. And when you’re using the machine on jobs I guarantee the spool gun will pay for itself in no time.