Miller Bobcat 250 Review
- Highly versatile
- Constant current and constant voltage
- Both AC and DC capable
- Accu-rated power
- Heavy-duty construction
- Reversed generator airflow
- Great duty cycle
- Simple control panel w/ digital meter
- Easy to maintain
- Several models available
- Welding leads sold separately
Highly versatileThe Miller Bobcat 250 is, hands down, the most versatile engine driven welder on the market today. With 11000 watts of peak power and 9500 watts of continuous power, if you’re serious about fabrication this is the only machine you’ll ever need to buy. Here’s a list of processes it’s capable of:
Air carbon arc cutting (CAC-A)
Constant current and constant voltageThe Bobcat 250s’ ability to handle so many different welding processes is partly thanks to its multi-output capability. It features both constant current (CC) and constant voltage (CV) power sources. MIG welding and Flux-cored require CV while Stick welding and TIG require CC.
CVConstant voltage is used by welding units that are considered automatic processes like MIG and Flux-cored. It provides a constant preset voltage which maintains a constant preset arc length (voltage is directly related to the length of the arc). The current then, is determined by adjusting the wire feed speed, wire diameter and wire stick out. For example, set at 22 V the MIG machine will have an arc length that remains the same but as you increase the feed speed you increase the current.
CCConstant current is used by machines that are considered manual processes like Stick and TIG. These units will have a current that remains constant. Since these processes are manual the voltage is determined by the proximity of the electrode to the material. The closer to the material you’re welding the more voltage is used. That’s why you see welding equipment typically grouped together like a MIG/FCAW welder or a TIG/Stick welder. With the Miller Bobcat 250 you can easily switch between CC/CV using the knob on the front control panel so no matter what type of welding you need to do, the Bobcat can handle it.
Both AC and DC capableDid I mention this unit is versatile? If you’re reading this review you likely already know all about AC vs DC +/- polarity so I wont get into it here – just know that the Miller Bobcat 250 offers both. DC is used most of the time. Some of the benefits include smoother, more stable arcs, easier starts, less spatter, fewer arc outages and easier out-of-position welding. AC is used when TIG welding certain materials like aluminum and magnesium. In addition, it’s also used when stick welding to prevent arc blow.
Reversed generator airflow for better cooling and reduced noiseThe cooler the engine, the longer you’ll be able to work, which is something the Bobcat 250 does very well. Millers’ unique design operates cooler and more efficiently by rotating the engine towards the front to create better airflow. The air is then exhausted through the top away from the machine so that it can intake fresh, cool air. Hot air recirculation is effectively eliminated, especially when mounted in tight spots, keeping the machine at an acceptable temperature for maximum performance. Additionally, the design and engine placement of the Miller Bobcat 250 reduces noise by up to 33% compared to previous models. This not only makes work more comfortable, it also offers better communication on the job for a safer more efficient work environment.
Accu-rated powerAccu-Rated is basically Millers patented name for saying this unit is no bullsh*t – when they say it provides 11000 watts of peak power, they mean it. It means when you need to use peak power the Bobcat 250 will deliver it, for a minimum of 30 seconds – unlike some lesser companies that tend to inflate their numbers for advertising purposes. This is beneficial when you need to run power intensive equipment like plasma cutters, power-heavy welders or starting engines. Not only will it perform to its maximum potential, but it’ll maintain that power for longer and more consistent than its competitors.
Heavy-duty constructionRuggedness is the name of the game with the Miller Bobcat 250. After all it needs to be able to withstand the harsh conditions and unpredictable terrain of being transported to and from remote job sites – which is what this beast was meant for. It features copper winding and iron generator components for the ultimate in reliability. The heavy internal leads are lugged, rather than soldered, for increased durability out in the field. The shell/casing on the Bobcat is incredibly tough to protect the internal components from damage. It’s practically meant to be battered around. Finally, the door panels are heavily protected with thick armour to protect the weld studs and receptacles as required by OSHA.
Great duty cycleWith a duty cycle of 100% at 250 amps for MIG and flux-cored welding and 60% for TIG and stick the Miller Bobcat 250 is a real powerhouse. That means you’ll be able to weld MIG/FCAW all day long without taking a break and only minimal downtime with TIG/stick. However if you want to keep powering through and don’t need to to weld at full power, it’s capable of 100% duty cycle at 225 amps for TIG and stick. Who needs a break anyways?
Simple control panel w/ digital meterDespite its wide range of functions and abilities the Bobcat has a surprisingly easy control panel. There are 4 basic controls you need to consider:
1. Power – Thats the one located nearest the bottom of the panel.
Within the power knob there are 4 options: start, run, run/idle, and off.
To start it hold the choke for a few seconds and then turn the knob to start. When it fires up set it to run and you’re all set to start welding.
2. Process selection – on the left side of the control panel is the process selection knob.
Your choices are: wire +/- (MIG/FCAW), stick, TIG and AC weld.
3. Voltage/ amperage range selector – in the middle you have the voltage and amperage range selector.
The part in blue is for MIG/FCAW.
It allows you to set the voltage range from low to high. 17-22 and 20-28.
Next to that is the amperage range selector. Your choices are 40-100, 60-140, 80-200 and 100-250.
4. Voltage/amperage fine tuning – finally on the right you have the knob for fine tuning the voltage or amperage, depending on what process you’ve selected.
This lets you hone in on the exact amperage/ voltage you need to lay down the perfect bead.
The dial goes from 1-10 so you might have to try a few settings before you get it just right.Finally at the very top right corner of the panel you have the gas gauge and an hour indicator. The gas gauge should be pretty obvious but the hour meter indicates how long you’ve used the machine over its lifetime. It’s used to keep tabs on how long its been since it’s had an oil change so you can keep your machine running as smooth as possible. It’s recommended you change the oil after every 100 hours.
Easy to maintainSpeaking of oil changes, the Miller Bobcat 250 is incredibly easy to maintain. To refuel, simple unscrew the gas cap at the back left on the top of the machine and pour it in. There’s an indicator near the bottom side that tells you how much gas you’ve put in so you don’t have to worry about overflow. Furthermore, thanks to its tool-free panels all you do is press the levers and the panels pop right off for easy access to the insides. The top panel allows you to check and fill the oil as well as changing the air filter. The side panel pops off just as easily so that you can easily drain the oil and change the filter.
Several models availableThe hardest part about decided on an engine driven welder/generator is what model of Bobcat you’re going to get – let’s face it, the Bobcat is the best in almost every aspect. All of the models are nearly identical except for a few key differences.
Bobcat 250 – This is the base model which I just reviewed.
Bobcat 250 GFCI – This model includes GFCI receptacles, which stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. It’s designed to prevent electrical shocks by shutting down when it detects the current is flowing along an unintended path such as water or a person.
Bobcat 250 w/ Electric Fuel Pump – This model includes an electric fuel pump which allows for smoother starts, especially when working at higher altitudes.
Bobcat 250 EFI – EFI stands for electric fuel injection and is the King of the Bobcats.
It works by optimizing the air/fuel ratio which results in lower operational costs, fewer emissions, longer runtime and better performance.
Additionally the EFI model puts out an extra 1000 watts of peak power for a total of 12000 watts.
Welding leads sold separatelyI can’t really find anything wrong with the Miller Bobcat 250 when it comes to functionality and usability. It’s a truly impressive machine. But if I have to have a con it’s that it doesn’t come with any welding leads. For the cost I would expect at least a stick electrode holder and ground clamp but in reality, if you’re considering an engine driven welder it’s likely that you already have your own so it’s probably not that big of a deal.
The VerdictThe Miller Bobcat 250 is a remarkable piece of equipment. It’s the Jack-of-all trades in the fabrication world – capable of MIG, TIG, stick, flux-cored, air-carbon and plasma cutting – it’s the only machine you’ll ever need. The Bobcat is considered the most popular engine driven welder in the industry and it’s easy to see why. With its 11000 watts of peak power, its rugged design meant for the most unforgiving job sites, its easy maintenance schedule and its unmatched versatility the only thing you’ll regret is that you didn’t buy one sooner.
Specs and Features
Type: Kohler CH 730
Size: 23.5 HP
Speed: 3600 RPM__________________________________
Power: 11,000 W
Duty Cycle: 60% @ 250 A
Tank Size: 12 gal.
Size(LxWxH): 41 x 20 x 28″
Weight: 501 lbs
Warranty: 3 year