Steel is one of the world’s most widely used metals globally. It’s resistant to corrosion and roughly 1,000 times stronger than iron in its purest form. It’s also the world’s most widely recycled material. Its strength and durability make steel a common material for different kinds of applications, including welding.
Whether you’re doing professional work or trying DIY projects, you need the right welder for steel and other metals like aluminum. Thankfully, Lincoln has two trusty devices that are popular for welding: the Pro MIG 180 and the 180 HD. But which one is the better MIG welder?
In this short review, I compare the Lincoln Pro MIG 180 and the Weld Pak 180 HD to find out which one is the superior device. I’ll give a quick description of their similarities and differences, and tell you which MIG welder is my choice.
Lincoln Pro MIG 180
The Lincoln Pro MIG 180 weighs 66 pounds and has a maximum voltage of 230 volts. It has a duty cycle of 30% at 130 amps, and an amperage range of 30 to 180 A. With these specifications, this welder is primarily designed for light fabrication, such as home projects and auto repairs.
The Pro MIG 180’s convenient switch knob easily allows users to choose between output levels. The 120-volt option allows you to connect to any household power source and is perfect for working on light steel and thinner metals like aluminum sheets. If you want to work on thicker metals, just flick the knob opt to change to the 208-volt/230-volt option.
The Lincoln Pro MIG 180 has a fully adjustable drive system that minimizes the chances that your wires will get crushed and tangled. This heavy-duty drive system also gives you faster delivery and improved torque, easily outperforming cheaper and more brittle plastic models.
Another immediate advantage of using the Lincoln Pro MIG 180 is its very sturdy yet light build. This welder is made with a cast aluminum gearbox, making it durable even during long welding tasks without adding too much weight to the device. It’s still a little heavier than some welders built for home use, but it’s not a huge difference.
While the Lincoln Pro MIG 180 has an output of 180 A, this is not enough for industrial use. However, it’s a solid welder for home projects and auto repairs. Its diamond core technology delivers a stable, clean, and forgiving arc with minimal splatter. This allows for neat welds and shorter clear times, even with thicker materials.
Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD
This welder is a refurbished model sold by Lincoln after undergoing functionality and safety tests. The Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD has a voltage of 230 volts and an amperage range of 30-140 A. It is marketed as ideal for use on mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum sheet metal.
Right away, the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD feels very easy to use, even for amateur welders. It has a simple two-knob control that allows you to easily adjust your power settings for mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum welding. It’s also easy to switch between MIG and flux-core welding with this model.
This welder has built-in PC board protection to keep you from being shocked while you’re welding. Its wire feed works well, running at a speed range of 50-500 IPM with good speed control. It has a duty cycle of 30% at 130 amps, ideal for home and hobby use. However, it won’t provide enough heat or power for industrial use.
The Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD produces stable, clean arcs and very little splatter. Some users have recommended using Lincoln wire exclusively with this refurbished welder to ensure that you get clean welds consistently.
Overall, it is an affordable and well-built welder suitable for DIY projects and home use. However, professionals should look elsewhere for a heavy-duty welder and more versatility with materials.
Similarities Between The Lincoln Pro Mig 180 And The Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD
The Lincoln Pro Mig 180 and the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD come with the same inclusions when you purchase them. Both MIG welders come with gas and gasless nozzles, a cable liner, and a spindle adapter. Both also have 0.025-in. and 0.035-in. contact tips, a work cable and clamp, and an adjustable gas regulator and hose.
Their welder guns are also identical: a Magnum PRO 100L gun measuring 10 ft. As a bonus, both welders also have sample spools of 0.025-in. SuperArc L-56 mild steel MIG wire and 0.035-in. Innershield NR-211-MP flux-cored wire. Both the Lincoln Pro Mig 180 and the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD have 0.035-in. and 0.025- to 0.030-in. drive rolls, a 0.030- to 0.045-in. knurled drive roll, as well as 0.025- to 0.035-in. and 0.035- to 0.045-in. wire guides.
Both welders have the same duty cycle of 30% at 130 amps, giving them the same required rest times after continuous use. They also have the same wire feed speed of 50-500 IPM.
The maximum thickness for a single pass with both the Lincoln Pro Mig 180 and the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD is 24 ga to 3/16 in. Overall, in terms of build, inclusions, and general use, these two welders are almost identical.
Lincoln Pro MIG 180 vs 180 HD: The Differences
The Lincoln Pro Mig 180 is purchased brand-new. The Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD is a refurbished MIG welder that Lincoln has tested and certified. This means that, despite not being “factory new”, a Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD should work like it is. It has also been cleaned and repackaged with the relevant accessories in a generic box.
The Lincoln Pro Mig 180 and the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD have different warranty periods. The Lincoln Pro Mig 180 has a warranty period of three years, while the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD has a warranty period of just one year. This means you’ll have to consider allocating extra money for repairs or a replacement if your Lincoln Weld-Pak breaks down within a year of purchasing.
The Lincoln Pro Mig 180 also allows you to switch between two voltage settings, while the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD only allows you to work at a voltage of 230 volts.
They also have a slight weight difference. The Lincoln Pro Mig 180 weighs 66 pounds, while the refurbished Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD weighs 67.5 pounds. However, this is a very small difference and will not be noticeable while you are welding. Both welders will still need a small cart to be taken to areas, as these weights are not easy to carry.
The Lincoln Pro MIG 180 and Weld-Pak 180 HD are two great choices from a quality manufacturer. However, the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD lags by several factors, including its shorter warranty period despite the same versatility. It also doesn’t allow you to use lower voltage power sources that are normally found in a household.
Some users have also reported issues with their Weld-Pak 180 HD’s output, saying that their power feels even lower than some of their other welders with comparable specs. The Pro MIG 180 wins by a slim margin and is an excellent choice for both experienced welders and beginner hobbyists.
If you’re looking for a decent budget welder, the Lincoln Weld-Pak 180 HD is still a solid option. However, I strongly recommend that you pass over this refurbished model and reach directly for the Lincoln Pro MIG 180.