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Most starter MIG rigs offer tapped voltage settings instead of continuous adjustment, both because it’s less expensive and because it simplifies things for beginner and intermediate welders.  But while most units offer a five-tap system, Hobart’s new Handler 187 has seven settings, which gives you better control.

Hobart also says the 187’s improved inductor keeps a tighter reign on amperage, which in turn “smoothes out the arc” and improves metal flow.

The details: It weighs 68 lbs and has a welding output range of 25 to 185 amps.  It operates on standard 230V/240V household power and accommodates a 4″ or 8″ wire spool.  Its dual-groove drive roll takes .023 to .035 wire, which means no extra accessories for handling sheet metal vs. angle iron.  The unit can utilize flux-core for gasless welding.

MSRP is $820, but we found units for as low as $650 via Froogle today.  If you’re pricing this as a first-time buyer, remember that you’ll need gas and safety equipment — as well as possibly a stand.

The Handler 187 [Hobart]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


10 Responses to Preview: Hobart’s Handler 187 Welder

  1. Rick says:

    I thought some of the more beginner-focused rigs ran on “standard 110v” household power. That said, I don’t have 220/240 in my garage. I’d have to work in the laundry room by the dryer and I don’t know that my wife would appreciate welding slag on the baby’s clothes.

  2. Chuck Cage says:

    Rick: You’re right — most beginner rigs (like the Handler 125EZ) do run on 110V power. This is intended as a step up from those models — more beginner/intermediate.

    Just out of interest, is your main circuit breaker box in the garage? If so, you’ve got 230/240 right there. You can either install a tap there yourself for the price of a 50A breaker, some wire, and some conduit/box — or you can get an electrician to do if pretty inexpensively. It’s handy to have in the garage as once you move past the beginner stage in metalworking (or woodworking, for that matter) you’ll end up with tools that require it.

  3. Rick says:

    No, my electric service comes in at the front of the house, and I’ve got a detached garage at the rear. I’d have to run some wire across the yard either overhead of underground from the house, and even then I’ve got to get it from inside where the service comes into the house where the main breakers are (basement at front of house) to the back of the house to get to the garage.

    In short.. ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. Besides, the house belongs to my dad, and he’s not too keen on supporting my tool/woodwork/metalwork/automotive habit. Once the wife and I get our own place, I’ll be sure it’s got 230/240, a lift, welder, etc. etc. Until then.. I’ll live vicariously through Toolmonger posts. 🙂

  4. Chuck Cage says:

    Rick: You might want to look at something like the EZ. We did a review of it a while back, and even built a project entirely with it to get a good feel for it. Sure, there are limitations. But for less than $400 “ready to weld” it’s pretty slick. It’s a 110 unit, too, and just requires a 20 amp circuit.

  5. Rick says:

    Yeah, it was actually that review that put Toolmonger on my radar screen… been an avid reader since.

  6. bob says:

    I’m sure this is a fine machine (IIRC Hobart welders are now made by Miller). But, for a similar price, I picked up a 230/240v Lincoln SP175 Plus off of an E-Bay vendor (“welding supplies at Indiana Oxygen Co.”) … it offers infinite wire feed speed adjustment and infinite voltage adjustment, not just the detented settings of 7 offered on the above Hobart model. Among some welders, the Miller v. Lincoln battle rages on pretty fiercely, but I think for similar money you’re better off with either a Millermatic 175 or the Lincoln SP175Plus. Both offer the infinite speed and voltage adjustment features. I paid around $700 for my SP175 Plus, w/ a cart.

  7. Caleb says:

    Bob … a correction on your last post … Hobart MIG welders are not made by Miller. Hobart is alive and well with product design and manufacturing based in Troy, Ohio by a team of world-class engineers and assemblers. As for new Handler 187 vs. Lincoln or Miller, check out the feedback on the online forum, http://www.hobartwelders.com/mboard/ The H187 performance clearly surpasses all competitive MIG welders in this size, ranked “best of class” by several veteran welders who have owned them all.

  8. Dan Collins says:

    I see the max. amp rating on the Handler 187 is 20.5 amps. Has anybody run this rig on less than the standard 50 amp breaker successfully and safely? I have a 30 amp breaker ready to go that I would like use.


  9. daniel says:

    A Handler 187 actually recommends no bigger than a 30 amp breaker to be connected to it in the manual. So you are good to go!

  10. Phillip says:

    What Aluminum gun would you recommend for the 187 Handler?

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