Hobart Handler 140 Wire Welder Review
The Hobart Handler 140 is the real deal. It has everything you could ask for in a mid-range MIG welder: affordability, ruggedness, portability, power, reliability. You name it.
Hobart recently upgraded the Handler to include a robust cast aluminum wire feed system (which is now the best in its class), a strengthened ground clamp for better, more consistent contact and an upgraded front panel that allows you to read it easier without glare. In addition to the upgrades, Hobart adheres to strict quality standards to ensure maximum performance each and every time.
The Hobart Handler 140 is a solid option if you want a reliable, everyday welder without spending a couple thousand dollars on a red or blue machine.
- Incredible arc stability
- Aluminum wire feed system
- 5-position voltage control
- Improved ground clamp
- Weld up to 1/4″ mild steel
- Easy Controls
- Ready out of the box
- Made in the USA
- Low duty cycle
- Gas costs extra
Incredible arc stability
The arc performance on the Hobart Handler 140 is something to be admired. A nice, stable arc is achieved when everything within the welder is working perfectly together, this is something the Handler 140 is great at. Using high standards of craftsmanship Hobart continues to impress with their dedication to creating high-quality welding products.
Arc stability can depend on a number of different factors including the quality of the rig itself, type of gas being used, what kind of wire, speed and so on. Fortunately, thanks to its 5-position voltage control, the Hobart Handler 140 is an incredibly forgiving machine and will continue to produce high-quality beads even if you’re not on your game that day.
Aluminum wire feed system
The wire feed system is to a MIG welder is what the heart is to a human being. Without a solid, smooth working wire feed system, the whole thing dies. Thankfully the upgraded wire feeder in Hobart Handler 140 is as robust and reliable as they come.
Easy to Change – Thank to its quick-release drive change system, you can switch between three wire gauges with ease. It’s capable of feeding .024″, .030/.035″ solid wire and .030/.035″ flux-cored wire. Changing the spool as never been so easy.
Rugged – Being made out of aluminum makes all the difference. A lot of feed systems are made from plastic which tend to need replacing every few years because inevitably something breaks or warps and you have to replace your whole rig. The industrial strength cast aluminum can withstand the rigors of regular use and will last much longer if you maintain it properly.
Tool-free – You wont need to fiddle around with screwdrivers while trying to precisely setup the wire through the spool with the right amount of tension. Thanks to the redesign you can easily feed the wire through the system so you can get back to welding as soon as possible.
Improved ground clamp
The redesign of the Hobart Handler 140 was more than an overhaul of its internal components. It was an upgrade of the peripherals too, like the improved ground clamp.
There are several improvements to the new redesigned version:
1. The clamp is made from thicker, stronger materials to give it a more solid feel.
2. The contact points have been improved. This means there is less of a chance of the clamp losing connectivity so you can maintain a stable uninterrupted arc.
3. The jaw opening has been widened to give you more clamping options
Weld up to 1/4″ mild steel
Despite its smaller size this MIG welder packs a punch, especially since it only runs on 115V household current. Outputting an admirable 140 amps of power the Hobart Handler 140 is capable of welding anything from 24 gauge sheet metal to 1/4-inch thick mild steel.
That’s more than enough for most at-home projects.
5-position voltage control
Speaking of which, the Hobart Handlers 5-position voltage control allows you to fine tune the arc for a silky smooth bead on all metal thicknesses.
What exactly is voltage control? Essentially it allows you to control how much power you are giving to your welder. When welding thinner materials like sheet metal you want to turn your voltage down. If, on the other hand, you’re welding thick steel up to 1/4″ then you want to turn the voltage up to allow more penetration.
Everything you need is available at the tip of your fingers. The controls are even easier to read thanks to the redesigned sloped front panel, eliminating glare and providing easy access. There’s even a handy door chart which offers a quick reference to all the wire, gas, metal and thickness settings you need.
The controls themselves are pretty straightforward. There’s the amperage control, voltage control, polarity switch and a power button. They are all east to read and you can adjust them while wearing gloves. Simple and to the point.
Ready out of the box
The Hobart Handler 140 comes with everything you need to start flux-cored welding today including a sample spool of .030″ self-shielding flux-cored wire. Just plug it in, adjust your settings and go.
To start MIG welding, however, you’ll need a few extra things including gas, solid wire and safety gear.
One of the best things about the Hobart Handler 140 is the price. For around $500 you can get a complete MIG and FCAW setup that will last you, if properly maintained, for decades to come. If you already have the proper safety gear then all you need is gas and wire and then you’re all set to go.
Why is it so cheap? Because it’s a Hobart.
Here’s the dirty little secret: Hobart is actually Millers ‘discount’ brand. So whenever you see ‘Hobart’ think ‘Miller’, they’re one in the same.
Made in the USA
These days it’s pretty rare to find something made in the USA but Hobart is one of the few manufacturers who insist on being all American. Made in America means high quality standards, robust materials and better working conditions for the folks who make our stuff.
The Hobart Handler 140 was designed, assembled and supported in Troy, Ohio.
Heavy is a relative term. Compared to similar models with similar specs the Hobart Handler 140 is on the heavy side but it’s not so heavy that it becomes a burden. Weighing a total of 57 lbs, the rig does have some heft to it, but the conveniently located handle and compact size make it easy to pick up and move.
Low duty cycle
There is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to duty cycle. Coming in around 20% @ 90 A you’re going to spend a lot of time waiting around.
For clarification a duty cycle of 20% @ 90A means you can weld for 2 minutes with an output of 90 amps before you have to rest the welder for 8 minutes. This is fine for most hobbyists but if you weld for a living, look elsewhere.
For the price it’s actually not that bad, but if you want a higher duty-cycle you’re looking to pay twice as much.
Gas costs extra
I had to look far and wide to find another con about the Hobart Handler 140 but I really couldn’t find anything that stands out. Instead I’ll throw in a general con about MIG welding itself, the gas usage. If you’re using this machine for FCAW only then you can ignore this bit.
For a strong, clean weld you need a steady supply of shielding gas using the correct ratio and when the gas runs out you get a dreadful looking weld complete with spatter and contamination. Day to day it might not seem like you’re using much but month after year it starts to add up. Depending on how much you weld, it can get pretty costly.
The Handler has been an industry favorite for years, combining the perfect mix of utility, ruggedness and affordability into a complete package. Furthermore, the recent upgrades to the feed drive system, ground clamp and front panel push the Hobart Handler 140 into a league of its own.
If you’re looking for an affordable yet highly capable MIG / flux-cored welder the Hobart Handler 140 is by far the best MIG welder for the money.
Specs and Features
Weight: 57 lbs
Size: L20″ x W11″ x H13″
Power Input: 115V
Power Output: 140A
Duty Cycle: 20% @ 90A
Material Thickness: 24 ga. up to 1/4″
Warranty: 5 year