The Hobart Handler 190 is an affordable, versatile MIG welder designed for use with both aluminum and steel. While it’s intended for non-industrial applications, it still packs enough power to complete heavy-duty jobs periodically, and its simple operation is ideal for welders of any skill level.
In this review, we’ll dive into the features and capabilities of the Hobart Handler 190, compare it to its competitors and provide you the information you’ll need to decide if this welder is the best choice for your welding needs.
About the Hobart Handler 190
The Handler 190 is a MIG/flux-core welder that offers significantly more power than the Hobart Handler 140 at an affordable price point. The welder can be easily adjusted for varying material thicknesses, and it can be purchased with the easy-to-use SpoolRunner 100 spool gun for aluminum welding.
Its compact, lightweight design and compatibility with generator power make it convenient to use almost anywhere. Backed by Hobart’s well-known reliability and 5/3/1 Industrial Warranty, the Handler 190 is sure to provide you with years of comfortable, consistent operation for a variety of welding tasks.
Hobart Handler 190 Specifications
- Dimensions:625 inches wide, 12.375 inches high, 19.5 inches long
- Weight: 68 pounds
- Duty Cycle: 30% at 130A
- Input Voltage: 230V
- Process Type: MIG, Flux Core
- Weld Thickness: 24-gauge to 5/16 inches
- Wire Feed Speed: 40 to 700 inches per minute
- Amperage Range: 25A to 190A
Hobart Handler 190 Usability
The Handler 190 is surprisingly powerful and can easily weld mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum in a range of thicknesses. Its seven voltage settings allow for maximum flexibility in achieving a high-quality weld. A detailed chart on the inside of the door provides helpful guidance for choosing the appropriate settings for any application.
Advanced Features of Hobart Handler 190
SpoolRunner 100 Direct Plug-In Spool Gun
This optional accessory is compatible with both the Handler 190 and Handler 210 MVP welders and is designed to prevent the feeding problems typically associated with soft aluminum wire. The lightweight tool can handle wire thicknesses of .023 inches to .035 inches and is both portable and easy to use. The Handler 190 comes standard with integrated spool gun control circuitry, eliminating the need for an adaptor or additional control box.
Quick-Select Drive Roll
The Handler 190’s quick-select drive roll includes three grooves—two for various sizes of solid wire and one for flux-cored wire—to reduce the time needed for set-up.
Infinite Wire Feed Control
With seven voltage selections, enhanced magnetics and infinite wire feed speed control, the Handler 190 gives you the power to fine-tune the welder’s settings for optimal arc performance, reduced spatter and minimal clean-up.
Power Rating of Hobart Handler 190
With an output range of 25 amps to 190 amps and a duty cycle of 30% at 130 amps, the Hobart Handler 190 delivers solid power for its class. Its 230-volt input can be used with a generator, allowing for greater versatility of use. Overall, the Handler 190 is a solid welder that can easily handle most home projects as well as the occasional heavy-duty demand.
Benefits of the Hobart Handler 190 Welder
- Simple set-up and straightforward operation: Hobart welders are generally easy to set up and use, making them excellent machines for new welders as well as longtime veterans. A detailed interior door chart with initial settings and guidelines for various materials, gases, wires and thicknesses provides a convenient reference for users.
- Versatility: With two interchangeable welding guns that can be quickly swapped, the Handler 190 is ready to take on a wide range of tasks at home or off-site, including construction, auto and marine repair and fabrication. Its lightweight, compact design and compatibility with generator power allow you to take it almost anywhere.
- Safety: A self-resetting thermal overload function protects the power transformer from overheating, while the self-resetting motor prevents overload in the wire feed system, so you’ll never have to interrupt your work to reset the circuit breaker. The built-in contactor keeps the wire electrically “cold” until you pull the trigger.
- Control: With seven voltage settings to control wire speed, the Hobart Handler 190 delivers improved arc performance, minimal spatter and easy clean-up. It can also handle a four- to 16-inch reel, depending on the voltage setting, making long industrial projects more convenient.
- Value: Hobart welders are famous for their sturdy construction and long-term durability, and the Handler 190 is no exception. The Hobart 5/3/1 industrial warranty provides additional peace of mind, and existing customers rate the company’s warranty service highly across the board. Additionally, the welding kit includes almost everything you’ll need to get started, including solid wire, flux cored self-shielding wire, built-in gas valve, 10-foot work cable with clamp, power cord with plug, extra contact tips and more.
Disadvantages of the Hobart Handler 190
Despite the Handler 190’s many advantages, it isn’t the right welder for everyone. If your projects call for a heavy-duty industrial welder, the Handler 190 won’t generate sufficient sustained power to get you through a substantial industrial application. The Handler 190 also is incompatible with standard household outlets, requiring a 220V outlet to function properly. Finally, the Handler 190 is a bit pricey compared to its same-class peers, although the machine’s quality outpaces many of its competitors.
Other Hobart Welders to Consider
This popular MIG/flux-cored welder delivers a maximum output of 140 amps and a duty cycle of 20% at 90 amps—plenty for most household, automotive and maintenance welding applications. It’s simple to use straight out of the box and comes with an array of accessories, including a 10-foot MIG gun, spool of flux-core wire and regulator with gas hose. Its MIG function can weld steel, stainless steel and aluminum with ease, while the flux-cored function tackles thicker steel and stainless steel materials.
Some of the Hobart 140’s key features include a five-position voltage control selector for consistently smooth, stable arcs; a dual-groove quick-change drive roll for convenient set-up and spool gun change; a durable industrial cast-aluminum wire drive system; and self-resetting motor and thermal overload protection.
The Hobart Handler 210 MVP delivers 210 amps of power in a portable case, making it unique among Hobart’s offerings. This versatile MIG/flux-cored welder can weld 24-gauge to 3/8-inch mild steel in a wide range of settings, including automotive, marine, construction and household applications. Its infinite wire feed speed control ensures high-quality arcs with less spatter and minimum clean-up.
Like the Handler 190, the Hobart 210 MVP includes integrated spool gun circuitry for use with the plug-and-go SpoolRunner 100 spool gun. It also features dual-voltage capability: At 230V, it offers seven voltage settings and a duty cycle of 30% at 150A; at 115V, choose from four voltage settings with a duty cycle of 20% at 90A. Like other Hobart welders, short-circuit protection, self-resetting thermal overload and an industrial cast-aluminum wire drive system all come standard.
Hobart’s most powerful home welder, the IronMan 230 delivers maximum power for heavy-duty home and light industrial applications. Capable of MIG and flux-cored gas or gasless welding applications, it offers a muscular duty cycle of 60% at 175A, making it ideal for major projects requiring sustained power.
Its 12-position voltage control allows users to fine-tune output parameters for excellent arc performance on all thicknesses, with high bead quality and reduced spatter. This spool gun-ready machine handles mild steel of up to ½-inch thickness. Reversible drive rolls provide grooves for two wire sizes on a single drive roll, and a hinged feeder panel offers easier access for spool and feed roll changes. With wire feeder, running gear, cylinder rack, flow gauge, MIG gun, cable, clamp and additional tips included with the welder, the IronMan 230 is an excellent value for welders looking for a heavy-duty machine.
Alternatives to the Hobart Handler 190
Like the Hobart Handler 190, the Lincoln EasyMig 180 pro is a reliable, versatile welder intended for light industrial, home, automotive and farm applications. It can be used with power inputs of 208V or 230V and is compatible with generators delivering at least 6,900 watts of power. With a maximum duty cycle of 30% at 130A, the Lincoln EasyMig 180 can weld metals up to 3/16-inch thick.
The EasyMig 180 offers a range of features that establish it as a solid competitor in its class, including:
- Diamond core technology that produces a consistent arc and minimum spatter
- Industrial cast aluminum drive system with two gear-operated drive rolls providing positive traction
- Patented split wire guides to maintain optimal alignment
- Brass-to-brass gun connection for maximum conductivity
- Spool gun-ready design for aluminum applications
- Durable casing to protect delicate components from harsh environmental conditions
- Cast-aluminum gear box to enhance drive torque and reduce noise
The Lincoln EasyMig 180 is a solid, slightly cheaper alternative to the Hobart Handler 190, although it offers a narrower range of power and lacks the thermal overload protection that gives the Handler 190 an edge when it comes to durability.
Weighing in at just 63 pounds, the Forney 318 MIG Welder is the lightest welder in its class, but it goes toe-to-toe with its peers in terms of power, with an output of 30A to 190A. Its duty cycle—25% at 120A—ranks just below that of the Hobart Handler 190, but it still performs admirably in farm, automotive, marine and household applications.
This affordable MIG-ready welder also includes flux-cored capability, allowing users to weld steel, stainless steel and aluminum up to 3/8-inch thick in a single pass. It runs on 230V power but cannot be used with generators, which limits its ability to be used at remote sites without a traditional power source. Other key features include a cast-aluminum wire drive system with dual-geared idler and smooth drive roll; Euro-style disconnect torch; extra-long power cord; and upgraded despooler with a roomy cabinet for easier spool access.
While technically in a slightly higher power class than the Hobart Handler 190, the applications of the Miller Electric Millermatic 211 are comparable to the Handler 190 (albeit at a slightly higher price). This muscular dual-voltage welder handles both MIG and flux-cored tasks with up to 3/8-inch steel and aluminum. It also includes an arsenal of valuable features that make it a lucrative option for home welders seeking sufficient power to tackle the occasional industrial job. $161
The Millermatic 211 can be used with both 120V and 240V inputs, allowing the user to connect to standard household outlets as well as generator power. Switching between inputs requires no tools and can be done in a matter of seconds for maximum convenience. At 120V input, the welder handles 24-gauge to 3/16-inch steel and 18-gauge to 1/8-inch aluminum in one pass, with a duty cycle of 20% at 115A. At 240V, the Millermatic 211 welds 24-gauge to 3/8-inch steel and 18-gauge to 3/8-inch aluminum at a duty cycle of 40% at 150A.
Notable features of the Millermatic 211 include:
- Advanced Autoset feature, which selects ideal parameters for the wire diameter, process type and metal thickness you enter.
- Angled cast-aluminum wire drive system makes it easy to pull wire off the spool and feed it into the welder.
- Quick-select drive roll includes three grooves for fast, easy spool changes.
- Auto Spool Gun Detect feature automatically detects the type of gun connected to the welder, making a switch unnecessary.
- Fan-On-Demand cooling system minimizes noise, energy consumption and contaminants entering the welder.
The Everlast Power I-Mig 200E is an incredibly lightweight yet powerful MIG welder with an IGBT inverter platform. At just 35 pounds, this versatile welder can be easily transported to remote job sites or simply around your workshop. In addition to MIG welding, the I-Mig 200E is also capable of stick and flux-cored welding.
The Power I-Mig 200 easily handles stainless steel, chrome moly steel and steel as well as aluminum when using the optional spool gun. Its dual-voltage design gives users the flexibility to connect to both 120V and 240V power sources, and it delivers a maximum output of 200A with a duty cycle of 25% at 180A. The newly-added adjustable back burn control feature automatically adjusts wire length every time the welder restarts, and the Euro-style quick-coupler makes torch changes simple and fast.
Affordability, reliability and power are the hallmarks of the Eastwood 175 MIG welder. This modestly-priced unit welds mild and stainless steel (24-gauge to 5/16-inch) and aluminum (14-gauge to ¼-inch) with the included spool gun. It runs on 220V power with a range of 30A to 175A and a duty cycle of 30% at 135A. Eastwood backs up its quality claims with a no-hassle return policy and three-year warranty.
In addition to the components included with the Hobart Handler 190 welder, you’ll need to invest in several additional pieces of equipment to ensure safe and efficient welding. For more about welding accessories, we have a complete guide here on Tool Guides Hub.
- Helmet: Wearing high-quality darkening helmet while welding is absolutely critical. The helmet shields your eyes from potential damage created by the welding arc and protects your face and neck from sparks, hot gases and spatters of molten metal.
- Gloves: A good pair of welding gloves shields your hands and arms from the heat and electricity that result from the welding process. The gloves will need to be heavy enough that heat doesn’t penetrate the material, but flexible enough to maintain your dexterity while welding.
- Welding jacket: A close-fitting leather or flame-resistant cotton jacket prevents burns to your upper body from the ever-present flames, sparks and heat generated as you weld.
- Fire extinguisher: Keep an A-B-C-rated fire extinguisher near your welding equipment to quickly put out any fires that may occur as you work.
- Spool gun: If you expect to weld aluminum at any point, it’s wise to invest in the Hobart SpoolRunner 100 spool gun, which plugs directly into the Handler 190 and prevents many of the feeding issues associated with soft aluminum wire.
- Cart: A sturdy, well-built welding cart keeps your accessories and equipment organized and clean, saving you time and energy. Your cart should include locking casters and designated space for storing gas cylinders, clamps, tips and other items.
Hobart Handler 190 Review – Wrapping Up
The quality of Hobart welders is second to none, and the company stands by its brand with its famous 5/3/1 industrial warranty. With the Handler 190, you may pay slightly more than comparable machines by other manufacturers, but the value you’ll receive from years of consistent performance is well worth the initial investment. The Hobart Handler 190 blends power, reliability and intuitive operation to create a machine sure to satisfy both beginning welders and seasoned pros.