Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder: Our Comprehensive Welder Review

Those who have been working with electrical equipment for some time are probably familiar with Lincoln Electric’s products. They’ve made an impressive range of welders over the years, and each has come with a positive reputation. With their latest electric model, the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder, they’re looking to keep up that streak. This is why we included it on our list of the 10 best MIG welders.

Most welders that are targeted to beginners offer an affordable entryway into the craft, but many of them tend to be built with flimsy materials, or cut back in certain vital ways that can make the learning process that much more labor intensive & mentally strenuous.

Lincoln, however, has decided that doesn’t have to be the case, at least as far as they’re concerned. With the Electric K2278-1 Handy Core, beginners & professionals alike can hone their skills & take their home welding to a further level.


The face of the Handy Core is an especially minimal sight to behold. With only a few buttons & knobs to be concerned with, a beginner can focus their time & effort on learning the actual process, rather than learning how to get things started & running.


The Handy Core offers a few different options when it comes to the output you want to unleash. With a range of 33-88 amps, you can weld up to an 1/8th inch piece of mild steel without having to break a sweat. As far as the duty cycle goes, that rests around 20% at 70 amps.

You don’t have to worry about additional costs to get it powered up, either. You can plug this into a standard household outlet that runs at 115 volts with a 20 amp output. Then, you’re ready to go from there.


Features of the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder

There are almost too many positive attributes to count. However, who would we be if we didn’t try to count them anyway?

Real beauty is on the inside, of course, but the outer shell of the Handy Core is nothing to turn your nose (or welding mask) at. Sleek aluminum covers the entire body, and metal fixtures are placed throughout as well.

This exterior provides a sturdiness that many competitors in this range fail to achieve with their plastic builds. However, there isn’t too much extra bulk that comes in tow (more on that later).

Advanced Features

Getting ready to start but don’t want the heat to kick up yet? The cold contactor safety feature, which comes standard, will keep your wire nice & cool (in an electric sense) until you press the trigger & start the job.

This is especially useful for novices, who might not be ready to begin welding the moment they turn on the machine.

When you’re switching off between different jobs, you’re able to easily access any of four different output options with the turn of a knob. Instead of having to calibrate things while you’re on the job, you’re able to flip a switch, turn around & get right back to work.

MIG and Flux Core

Is it one of those jobs where you’re switching off to outdoor work, or perhaps involves dirty materials? If so, the Flux-Cored processes of the Handy Core ensure you can do so with a wide array of thinner & mild metals.

Even when you’re working longer hours that would do a serious number on another welder, the built-in fan with this one allows you to keep it pushing. This comes all with the knowledge that your welder will last longer cause of this nifty add-on.

If it seems like this baby is ready to go from the start already, wait till you hear about the friends the Handy Core brings in tow.

With the base model, you can expect to receive a range of necessities to get you going. For starters, there’s a hand shield that comes outfitted with a #10 filter plate and clear glass cover plate on top of that.


Additional Features of the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder

You’ll also receive a brush/chipping hammer hybrid, a welding gun and cable assembly, a work cable with a work clamp, and two .035” contact tips. Lastly, of course, you’ll obtain a one-pound spool of .035” (0.9mm) Innershield NR-211-MP flux-cored wire.

“But I’m a beginner, how am I going to attach all of that correctly?” Well, as an added bonus, Lincoln will also make sure to attach the gun, cable assembly,  input power cable, work clamp & work lead at the factory before the unit is sent to your door.

The additions don’t stop there. While it’s not a physical attachment, your purchase will also come with a one-year warranty on all labor & parts, although the gun & cable warranty ends after 90 days.


Lincoln Electric K2278-1 Handy CoreDespite a full metal exterior, the welder weighs in at a healthy 46 pounds, or 20.9 kilograms. The specific use of aluminum, along with various plastic parts in certain sections, is mainly to thank for this.

Picking up that weight (or lack thereof) is also facilitated by a sturdy handle at the top, allowing one-handed movement of the welder if necessary. That being said, we always recommend using two hands to move whatever welder you decide to purchase.

Ready to put it away for the day? You’ll have some decent options. Its dimensions are 12.8 x 8.8 x 18 inches, or 325 x 224 x 457 millimeters. This means any open nook or cranny in your workspace or garage should suit it nicely.

Advantages and Disadvantages: Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder

We’ve thrown a lot of information at you, so let’s sum things up:

Pros of the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder

  • A lightweight & compact build makes this a portable option, especially concerning the sturdy aluminum build.
  • Few buttons & controls, along with expedited operations, mean this is a great option for beginners or home workers that don’t need too many bells & whistles.
  • The offered accoutrements & factory setup will have you ready to start from the get-go.

Cons of the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder

  • Lincoln Electric warns that “The use of the MIG or flux-cored process on thicker materials…can result in welds of poor quality…[they] may appear to be fine, but may lack the fusion or bonding necessary [for] a strong weld.”
    • This is referred to as either “cold lapping” or “cold casting,” and it can result in a potential weld failure.

The Bottom Line

With virtually no drawbacks for home-based users and a competitive price falling just short of $300, this is the perfect welder for beginners who want the best of the essentials. If you want to compare, though, be sure to check out


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