Miller Bobcat 250 Review
If you are a welder, then you know the importance of having a dependable power supply for every job you are on. In today’s review, we are going to take a look at the Miller Bobcat 250 and the performance that provides as one of the best welding generators on the market. In our review, we are going to take a look at the specs of the Miller Bobcat 250 and why many welders continuously rate it as one of the best welding generators. At Throughout our review, we will have a detailed pros and cons outline of what you need to consider when you are shopping for this welding generator. Before we get into our review, let’s take a quick look at the Miller Electric brand, the makers of the Miller Bobcat 250 generator.
Miller Electric: Behind the Brand
The Miller Electric company started out with humble beginnings in the year 1929. The brand creator, Neil Miller, was the designer behind the small arc welder that was used for stick welding. The arc welder he crafted was a lot smaller, lighter, and cost-effective than the then popular DC rotary units that were primarily used. This innovation was the starting point of Miller leading the way in the welding industry. It was not long after that the innovative brand crafted the first ever high frequency stabilized AC industrial welder. This welder became popular in factories and construction sites all over and it certainly changed the way that manufacturing companies welded different pieces of metal together.
Today, the brand is recognized as one of the leading companies in the welding industry. Because of that, the Miller Electric company has gone on to provide a variety of heavy duty high performance welders for the general public. Additionally, the brand specializes in creating other pieces of machinery essential to welding. Everything from generators to accessories for better performance with your current welder are things that the Miller Electric Company can provide. Today, we are going to be breaking down the ins and outs of their most popular generators, the Miller Bobcat 250.
Now that you have an understanding of the brand, let’s begin our review of the Miller Bobcat 250 welding generator.
- 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
The overall design of the Miller Bobcat 250 welder generator is one that was constructed with versatility in mind. This is one of the smallest welding generators on the market as it only measures out to 20 inches in width, 28 inches in height, and 40.5 inches in length. These measurements are only 5 inches shorter than many of the other competitors and previous models. This decrease in size allows tradesmen to transport it from one location to another without having to rely on a large amount of space. In addition to the size, this unit weighs 501 lbs. While this is a rather heavy piece of machinery, when it comes to welding generators, you’ll find that this is a little lighter than many of the competitors.
The Miller Bobcat 250 is, hands down, the most versatile engine driven welder on the market today. The Miller Bobcat 250 features 11000 watts of peak power and 9500 watts of continuous power. If you are serious about welding, then this is the only machine you’ll ever need to buy. This level of power is versatile because it can accommodate a wide range of welding machines. Additionally, you can use the power to run smaller size pieces of machinery such as lighting and power tools that will often be required on a job site.
Here’s a list of processes it’s capable of:
Air carbon arc cutting (CAC-A)
And that’s just the fabrication related processes it can do. This beauty is capable of powering almost any tool in your shop if you need it to. From air compressors to circular saws to refrigerators to sump pumps. You do not have to worry about being disconnected from a power supply with the Miller Bobcat 250. Not only can it power up smaller pieces of equipment, but it can offer you peace of mind as well. For example, if you live in areas with frequent storms, it just makes sense to have a generator on hand. Having a generator such as the Miller Bobcat 250 can serve as a backup generator for when you need power if you find yourself in a situation where it’s not there.
With its Kohler 23 HP motor and 12 gallon capacity gas tank, the Miller Bobcat 250 will easily power your entire house in the event of a power outage. This performance is an example of the versatility that the Miller Bobcat 250 can provide. Under a continuous 4000 watt load this machine will run for about 14 hours before you need to refill the tank. That’s at least enough power to keep the lights on and your food from spoiling During an unexpected emergency.
Constant current and constant voltage
The 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. This is a highlighting feature because no matter what type of welder you are using, the Miller Bobcat 250 is most likely able to accommodate it. MIG welding and Flux-cored require CV while Stick welding and TIG require CC.
Welding has two main variables: current and voltage.
Most welders will supply both but are only able to constantly maintain one while the other is maintained by some other means.
Constant 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.
Constant 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 capable
We have talked about the constant current and constant voltage capabilities, but have we mentioned that the Miller Bobcat 250 is also AC and DC capable? Usually, with AC or alternating current, the electricity flows both ways. It can also safely transfer over extended distances. With DC, or direct current, the flow of electricity is only one way and cannot reverse the way it flows. Along with this, DC current cannot safely travel over long distances. When it comes to the Miller Bobcat 250, the electricity capabilities are both AC and DC.
You will typically find that with welding generators, 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. In the instance that you do need to use DC, you can rest soundly knowing that your generator will be able to offer that power.
Reversed generator airflow for better cooling and reduced noise
Another one is the best features that the Miller Bobcat 250 has to offer is the fact that it utilizes reversed generator airflow. This airflow allows your generator to be cooled down rather quickly. And as you know, the cooler the engine, the longer you’ll be able to work.
Millers’ unique design operates cooler and more efficiently by rotating the engine towards the front of the machine to create better airflow.
The air is then exhausted through the top away from the machine so that it can intake fresh, cool air. This specially crafted circulation allows you to avoid the circulation of hot air and instead encourage the circulation of 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. This technology is what allows you to work longer periods of time when compared to other generators.
Additionally, the design and engine placement of the Miller Bobcat 250 reduces noise by up to 33% compared to previous models. As you know, with many generators, noise is something that comes with your equipment. If you do have the option to reduce the level of noise, this is something that can make your workspace a little bit more practical. This not only makes work more comfortable, but it also offers better communication on the job for a safer more efficient work environment. Overall, you cannot go wrong with having a machine that offers 33% less noise than many of its competitors.
Accu-Rated is basically Miller’s patented name for saying this unit means it when it says it has the ability to provide 11000 watts of peak power. Unlike many other welder generators that offer a blanket statement of power capabilities, the Miller Bobcat 250 is actually all that it is cracked up to be. When you need the power and the dependability of a strong generator, the Miller Bobcat 250 is certainly the welding generator for the job.
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. This is another reason why the Miller Electric Company is regarded as one of the iconic brands in the welding industry.
We talked about the design of the Miller Bobcat 250 just a bit. But we need to highlight that this is one of the most rugged welding generators you can find. With any welding generator you purchase, you want one that is tough enough to withstand even the harshest of environments. That means you want one that is constructed with top notch materials that won’t hinder it in rain or shine. That being said, the Miller Bobcat 250 provides this type of construction.
The exterior of the Miller Bobcat 250 features a shell casing that is tough enough to withstand any type of environment and terrain. Bumps along the way on transport will not compromise the overall performance of this welding generator. Additionally, in the interior, you will find copper windings and iron generator components that ensure the dependability of your welding generator. Coupled with a super tough armor, you can be sure that you have one of the best generators at your disposal.
Safety is another aspect that Miller takes seriously with the Bobcat 250. With regards to OSHA and CSA standards, you’ll find that the protective armor doors cover the receptacles and the weld studs so that unintended injuries are minimized.
Great duty cycle
With 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 weld at full power, it’s capable of 100% duty cycle at 225 amps for TIG and STICK.
Who needs a break anyway? Unlike many other of the competitors, the Miller Bobcat 250 can go for long periods of time without needing to be refueled thanks to this Energy Efficiency.
Simple control panel w/ digital meter
Despite its wide range of functions and abilities, the Bobcat has a surprisingly easy control panel. This control panel is designed so that you do not have to worry about understanding unnecessary buttons to operate your generator. There are four controls that you will be preoccupied with the most. These include the following:
- Power – That’s 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. Your options with regards to the power including the Run Idle button are a great benefit for those who are looking to save power when they are shifting from task to task on the job site.
- 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. Select the appropriate one depending on your welder and you should be good to go.
- Voltage/ amperage range selector – in the middle you have the voltage and amperage range selector. This will allow you to have optimal control over just how much power you will be running.
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.
- 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. This is one aspect that customers really appreciate about the Miller Bobcat because they have a wide variety of settings to choose from so they always get the best well possible.
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. This gas gauge is very helpful because it allows you 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 that you change the oil after every 100 hours. If you are buying a Miller Bobcat 250 second hand, then this gauge is an important one to consider as it will tell you what the lifespan of the generator has been up to that point.
Easy to maintain
Speaking 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. Refueling is easier than ever and you never have to worry about whether or not you put in too much or too little gas. 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. This tool free capability really is a game changer when it comes to maintenance. No longer do you have to mess around with tools and screws to get to the easy access panel 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 available
The 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 we have just gone over. It includes everything you need as far as hitting the ground running with your welder.
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. If you are at a job site where there are high risk factors such as a body of water, or the exposure to water, then this might be a better model 2 look into.
Bobcat 250 w/ Electric Fuel Pump – This model includes an electric fuel pump which allows for smoother starts, especially when working at higher altitudes. Again, depending on what your job site looks like, this might be the model that you want to consider.
Bobcat 250 EFI – EFI stands for electronic 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.
Now that we have highlighted some of the top features of the Miller Bobcat 250, it’s time to look at the drawbacks. As with any generator, you will find that not everything will be to your liking. Here are some of the common drawbacks that customers have expressed with the Miller Bobcat 250.
Welding leads sold separately
When it comes to the functionality and the performance of the Miller Bobcat, there is not much to complain about. Customer complaints about the performance are very far and few in between. When there is a complaint, the brand is quick to respond and replace parts or even whole units when necessary. However, you will find that one of the biggest annoyances with the Miller Bobcat 250 welding generator is the fact that the welding leads are sold separately. This is a little bit disheartening especially since this is one of the most pricier welding generators on the market. At this price point, it’s reasonable for some customers to complain that the generators should have at least come with a standard welding lead. At the very least, one 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 next complaint is one that you really can’t do much about but reviewers have complained about none the less. The overall weight of the Miller Bobcat 250 generator is certainly on the higher side. This makes transporting it around cumbersome and difficult. The good news however is that when it comes to the overall weight of your standard generator, the Miller Bobcat 250 does tend to be a little lighter than the competition. To deal with the weight capacity, many customers express the benefit of a wheel kit. This will allow you to wheel your generator from one location to another with a bit more ease.
It is about time that we talked about the price. The Miller Bobcat 250 welding generator is certainly one of the most pricier options when it comes to welding generators. For many, this purchase is one that is thought out and considered very carefully. With that being said, purchasing a wielder generator especially the Miller Bobcat 250, you need to be starting that you are purchasing for your needs. This is not an investment that will sit around collecting dust in your garage. When you purchase the Miller Bobcat 250, it should be because you will be using it on a consistent basis. With that being said, when you put it into perspective, the price point is actually not a huge deal breaker. Also, with the Miller Bobcat 250 you get a quality product that is durable, dependable, and extremely rugged. With proper care and maintenance, there is no reason that the Miller Bobcat 250 should not last you its lifetime.
Final Thoughts on the Miller Bobcat 250
The 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. Even if you are not a welder, this makes for one of the best generators to have on hand in case of an electrical emergency. Though we strongly recommend that if you’re purchasing this generator you’re doing so well for its welding capabilities primarily. The Bobcat is considered the most popular engine driven welder in the industry and it’s easy to see why. If you’re in the market for a great welding generator, then taking a look at the Miller Bobcat 250 is a great place to start. With its 11000 watts of peak power, its rugged design meant for the most unforgiving job sites, it’s 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