Harbor Freight/Northern Tool welders???

Steel Soldiers is supported by:

andytk5

New member
356
0
0
Location
florida
Anybody have any experience or opinions abotu these? I know they are the cheap/entry level stuff and prob CHina made doodoo, but do they work? I have welded using mig before but was only exhaust stuff which is what I will mainly be doing. Using it for small bracketry/piping/light guage steel stuff, just basic truck repair, maybe a frame mount/shock mount once in a while..
 

swbradley1

Modertator
13,741
140
63
Location
Dayton, OH
If you do a search you will find at least one thread discussing HF and NT welders as well as a plethora of others.

I myself have a Forney 250Amp stick welder and am looking to get a Millermatic 211.

sw
 

Jetnoise400

New member
238
0
0
Location
Sparks, NV
Or look at it this way; do you feel comfortable using a high power electrical device with the capability to electrocute you that was made by the lowest of the lowest bidders?
 

grayw0lf

New member
128
0
0
Location
Clanton, AL
HF / NT aren't bad for things like wrenches, but anything with moving parts is a gamble at best! I used to have a variety of impact tools, drills, sanders, etc. from both. They're all dead after only occasional use.

The Hobart is a very decent machine though, despite where you buy it.

Personally, I LOVE my Lincoln.
 

andytk5

New member
356
0
0
Location
florida
Good info on that, yeah I saw some 17.00 impacts, and cheap air wrenches but didnt get them thinking just that. Prob will get the Home Depot or Lowes 60gal air compressor for under 400.00 unless you guys have some serious negative input on it??

Sorry about that, I will have to try searching again to find that. That is a point about the electrucution, but prob more to due with being safe I would guess, just curious about people's experiences with them, thanks guys!
 

swbradley1

Modertator
13,741
140
63
Location
Dayton, OH
Or look at it this way; do you feel comfortable using a high power electrical device with the capability to electrocute you that was made by the lowest of the lowest bidders?

I feel just as safe as our pilots did flying military aircraft that were procured the same way. ;-)

sw
 

blybrook

Member
310
0
16
Location
Fairbanks, AK
Personally, I do not recommend these HF units. For about $200 you can go to Home depot or Lowes and get a lincoln mig / wire feed unit that runs off 110V. Think it's model 125. That's what I paid for mine for wire feed only, then recently upgraded it with the mig kit (another $150 w/o tank) to be able to do lighter stuff.

The HF ones have a short duty cycle, you can weld for 5 minutes, then let it cool for 30 before you weld again. I had one for a day, never again.

Not sure about the northern ones, but spend the money to get a good one with a larger duty cycle.
 

paulfarber

New member
1,077
15
0
Location
Gordon, PA
Personally, I do not recommend these HF units. For about $200 you can go to Home depot or Lowes and get a lincoln mig / wire feed unit that runs off 110V. Think it's model 125. That's what I paid for mine for wire feed only, then recently upgraded it with the mig kit (another $150 w/o tank) to be able to do lighter stuff.

The HF ones have a short duty cycle, you can weld for 5 minutes, then let it cool for 30 before you weld again. I had one for a day, never again.

Not sure about the northern ones, but spend the money to get a good one with a larger duty cycle.

My $500 Lincoln from Lowes only has a 6 minute duty cycle.

You are not getting 100% duty cycle for cheap.

The HF MIG welders are fine if not abused. Its just a big transformer. HF welding tools (tig, Mig, Oxy) are rated pretty highly. Google is your friend.

Most people trash HF stuff because they DIDN'T pay $1k for it and don't baby it like they would a name brand.
 

jasonjc

Active member
5,181
7
38
Location
Gravette Ar.
I ran 3 or 4 10lbs spools of wire thought my HF mig, it always worked fine for me. It's a 160 or 170 amp 220 volt one. As for there air tools I have a bunch. Same thing they always work for me.
 

blybrook

Member
310
0
16
Location
Fairbanks, AK
My $500 Lincoln from Lowes only has a 6 minute duty cycle.

You are not getting 100% duty cycle for cheap.

...
I couldn't agree more. Good welders are worth their weight in gold and then some. I personally prefer the Lincoln or Miller brands instead of the other names, yes, I'm willing to pay more, but they get used too.

I had the 110v model from HF and was not impressed at all. by the time I was getting it to feed properly and getting a good bead, it was shutting itself down. I replaced it with the lincoln from HD and have been pleased with it since. At the time, I only had the ability to go 110v, now I have 220 for my other welders.

Tools are something that you want to last, why pay for something, have it break or wear out quickly and have to pay more to replace it with the better model that coulda been bought the first time around?
 

scrapman

New member
243
1
0
Location
deland florida
Another option that has'nt been raised yet is, craigslist. That is where I got a 60 gal. 6hp Campbell-Hausfeld compressor in excellent condition for $150. (asking price was $250) I have been using this for over a year now. Due to current conditions there are good deals to be had on used equipment and tools. You just need to be a savy buyer because the downturn to this method is "no warranty".
 

ARYankee

New member
1,960
3
0
Location
Benton, AR
I have some HF tools and they work just fine for me. I would say it is up to you in what you are looking for. I'm debating getting a welder from HF since it would be my first. That way I can mess it up and not be out a whole lot of money plus the welding jobs I plan on doing right now aren't real critical.
 

ralbelt

Active member
1,054
6
38
Location
West Warwick, R.I.
I have a board sander from HF, the first one lasted 1 hour the second one finished the job , about 3hours. I just picked up a 12 volt winch which I only had to return the first 3 and finally the fourth worked.
I recommend the extended warranty 'cuz this stuff is really LOW quality. I would not use this stuff every day but for once a month it might last a year.
 

swbradley1

Modertator
13,741
140
63
Location
Dayton, OH
I will say that I have only purchased a couple of items from HF that have moving parts. A hydraulic tool, bottle jack and jack stands. I don't trust any of them and it would not make a difference whether they were built next door to me with the best materials in the world or in China. For keeping stuff in the air I trust wood cribbing, not concrete and certainly not jack stands. (Wood used correctly and not old wood either.)

sw
 

andytk5

New member
356
0
0
Location
florida
Thanks for all the great input about this, that's why I really like this site! I would prob be doing the lighter stuff like some of you where talking about and this would be my first welder too, prob mostly to help me do the turbo when I get the M1008 and exhaust stuff. Prob going to check out HD and see the lincoln stuff, heck I have an 80.00 store credit for (literally) a 1/2 ton of concrete I returned I can use...
 

Snarky

New member
378
3
0
Location
Brazosport, TX
I feel the Northern tool stuff is pretty good compared to Harborfreight. My Northstar truck crane is still working well compared to my Central Hydraulics from harborfreight. The difference was in the materials used. The cylinder in the Central Hydraulics jack was made from a cheaper metal that rusted when exposed to air causing the seals to leak and the jack not to hold a lot of weight. The Northstar one didn't have that problem. They are both made in China but the Northstar stuff seems to have a bit more QC. It's like the difference between an Ipod made in china and a knockoff Ipod made in China, one is missing quality control and all the American design specs.

Northern tool carries Hobart, which they sell at Tractor Supply(Tractor Chinese) Company also, and they carry Northern Industrial. The Northern industrial product has a similar duty cycle to the Hobart at a more chinese price. I would probably buy one if I didn't already have a lincoln power pack.
 

m16ty

Moderator
9,561
121
63
Location
Dickson,TN
The Hobart is a very decent machine though, despite where you buy it.
Hobart is the same as Miller. You can open up a Miller and a Hobart of the same model and they are exactly the same. Hobart doesn't offer as many models and are mostly older Miller designs but if you can find a Hobart that you like you can save some money over a Miller.


I'd say 99% of HF stuff is striaght from China. NT has some high quality USA stuff as well as the China stuff. I buy from NT all the time but usually avoid HF tools. Some of the China tools are ok though. I've had good luck with MIT brand tools. Grip tools are junk IMO.

As far as welders go, I'm a Miller (Hobart)/Lincoln man myself. I've used those Chinese welders before and wasn't impressed.
 

m16ty

Moderator
9,561
121
63
Location
Dickson,TN
All those trips to and from HF.....What's your time worth? Obviously no savings on a cheesey winch.
Therein lies the problem with me. Sure, you can buy a cheap tool and take it back if it breaks but when I need a tool I don't need it to be broke. Nothing makes me more angry that to try and start a project ,or worse yet be broke down on the side of the road, only to find out your tools are broke .
 
Top