Hobart Handler 130 is it EZ for the Home?

By Ben Norton / November 29, 2018
Hobart Handler 130 Blog Image

When you are looking at a welder for the home, garage or yard, how does the Hobart 130 stack up?

I give you its specs and what you can expect out of this little home welder, whether you are a beginner or more experienced, looking for a quality home welder.

If you want to know how the Hobart Hander 130 sizes up to its bigger brother the Hobart 140 just head over and take a look at my comparison post.

Hobart Handler 130

Hobart 130 and Accessories

​​Pros

  • ​Quality Flux Core welder and when you're ready you can switch up to solid wire and shielding gas
  • ​EZ mode means the only thing you have to worry about is setting the output voltage and then just weld
  • ​Tapped settings set by gauge of metal makes it super easy for a beginner to understand

​Cons

  • ​Lack of a spool adaptor for larger 8 inch wire spools means you have to track down and buy one before using the larger more cost effective 10 lb spools. Seems needlessly mean to exclude it
  • ​f you are looking for a MIG welder and want to weld with solid wire and shielding gas then factor in the cost of adding a gas hose and regulator when you're comparing prices of to those welders where these items are included by default

​Conclusion

​The Hobart 130 is a quality welder from a good brand.

It is MIG ready which is a great thing, but no hose or regulator.

You may say why pay for a welder which includes the cost of a gas hose and regulator when you're never going to use those things?

In that case, why not look at a flux core only welder, like the Forney Easy Weld 29901 which is also from a great brand or the Lincoln Handy Core. ​

That said the Hobart 130 may not be the cheapest welder in its class for what it can do. But factor in the great warranty you get on a Hobart and it may be more cost effective than first glance.


​Hobart 130 Specs

​Here is an at a glance overview of the specifications of the Hobart Handler 130

Hobart 130
Details

Welder Type

Flux Core (default setup) with MIG capability

Duty Cycle

85 Amp @ 20%

Min Max Welding output

30 - 130 Amp

Home Welder

Yes standard 3 pin plug

​Dimensions and Weight

​12 1/5 inches by 9 7/8 inches by 16 7/8 inches - 50.5 lbs

​What Can you Expect of the Hobart Handler 130?

​It is manufactured by Hobart a quality manufacturer and well regarded in the market place.

This little welder is designed to be one of Hobart's smaller, more entry level models. It is set up as a flux core welder by default. Although with some additions the Hobart 130 will also MIG weld.

This welder also runs on home power of 120 volts, which is great for the home beginner welder that has a 20 or 30 Amp circuit available to them to connect this welder to.

The Hobart will weld mild steel and stainless steel.

Yet when you are ready to move up to using solid wire and shielding gas, you can add a gas hose, regulator and a cylinder of gas and you are ready to MIG weld.

​Overview of the Benefits of Flux Core Welding

​When you're planning on getting the Hobart 130 it is best to understand what flux core welding means on this little welder.

Flux core being a hotter generally more intense welding process isn't so suited to welding thinner steels, say for example the thickness of car panels.

Flux core is considered to be the best welding process for a beginner new to welding to learn and to use as it is kinder on the rough skills of a new welder.

And it is better suited to welding outside (though it is always wise to provide some wind protection if you're working in high winds.)

Though flux core may not be suited to thinner metals on the Hobart 130 it is good for thicker metals up to 3/16th and even 1/4 inch (if prepared well). As you can get better metal penetration when you're using home power and flux core wire.

When you move to MIG welding on the Hobart with solid wire and gas you have less spatter and clean up of your weld - with the right settings. And generally prettier welds.

​Run Through of the main Features of the Hobart 130 MIG welder

​Hobart 130 Duty Cycle

The duty cycle of 85 Amp @ 20% is not bad for this price and type of welder.

If you are not sure why this is important or what this even means let me explain it for you.

The duty cycle on one level tells you how hard you can push the Hobart 130 welder before it overheats and needs to be rested. Essentially it is one measurement of the limits of the welder. For this welder at its 85 Amp output voltage setting you can weld for a maximum of two minutes straight over a ten minute period before this welder needs to stop and rest for 8 minutes.

This marks this welder as a light to medium duty welder.

​Welding Wire Sizes Used on the Hobart Handler 130

​The Hobart 130 welder in its default flux core welding mode, uses sizes 0.030 and 0.035 inch flux core wire.

And 0.023 and 0.030 inch solid wire in its MIG welding guise.

​Controls

Hobart Handler 130 Front

​The on off switch is on the front.

There is a single dial for wire feed control. The dial runs from 10 to 100. The wire feed speed runs from 50 inches per minute to 480 inches per minute.

There is also an EZ mode for wire feeding - more on that below.

4 output settings on a tapped dial.

  • Position 1 for 16 and 18 gauge metal thickness
  • Position 2 for 16 to 12 gauge metal thickness
  • Position 3 for 12 to 10 gauge metal thickness
  • Position 4 for 10 gauge to 3/16th metal thickness.

Simple for a beginner as you're given the gauge of metal for each tapped position, though you are not given the welding voltage output related to each position.

More experienced welder may find a tapped dial restrictive as you only have those output settings - there is no ability to fine tune your voltage output as you would be able to on a variable dial.

​Powering the Hobart 130 MIG welder

​A normal household power supply is fine. You get a 3 pin plug on the welder and it will need a 20 Amp fused circuit.

It is a 115 volt welder that takes the input voltage of 110 or 115 or 120V.

Don't try to run any other electrical devices off the same circuit you're using the Hobart 130 on as this will affect the welds you get - particularly if you are maxing out the voltage because your welding up thick metal.

​Overload Protection, Short Circuit Protection and Drive Motor Protection

​The welder comes with thermal overload protection should you exceed the duty cycle of the welder. The protection is self resetting once the welder has cooled sufficiently to continue welding. No buttons to find and reset.

The short circuit protection stops an excess of current overloading the welder.

You also get drive motor protection to stop the drive motor from being overloaded and burnt out.

​Metals Welded and Min And Max Width

​You can weld from 18 gauge up to 3/16th with flux core wire.

With solid wire when you are MIG welding with shielding gas you can weld 24 gauge steel to a maximum of 1/8th steel.

You can see from this that flux core is for thicker metals and more penetration and solid wire and shielding gas for thinner metals.  To weld with MIG you will need to add a gas hose, regulator and a gas cylinder as these are not provided with the welder. (see below where I point you to where you will be able to source these items).

MIG welding also needs the polarity changed, which is quick and easy to do on this welder.

By default the Hobart 130 will take 1lb and 2lb wire spools (4 inch spools). If you want to load larger 10lb spools (8 inch spools) you will need a spool adaptor which is an optional extra.

I show you where you can source that below as well.

​Drive Roll

​You get a dual groove quick change drive roll which allows you to change from flux core wire to solid wire easily.

One knurled groove for 0.030 and 0.035 inch flux core wire and one smooth groove for 0.023 to 0.025 solid wire.

​Hobart Handler Cable lengths

​The Hobart has an 8ft cable to the MIG gun and 8ft cable to the ground clamp.

​Other Stuff You get with the Hobart 130

​You do get some other things I've not mentioned already, so let me give you a round up of them.

  • Included is a sample spool of 0.030 flux core wire. It is from Hobart and so is great quality, so that you can start welding straight away.
  • 0.030 contact tips x 3 - spare contact tips as you try out your welder.
  • Metal material thickness gauge, really useful when you're not sure what size or gauge of metal you are welding.
  • Factory installed gas solenoid (gas valve), just add a hose, regulator and flow meter and you're MIG ready.
  • EZ - Easy mode - put the wire feed speed setting on to EZ mode and the only thing you need to then control is the voltage output. The Hobart 130 takes care of feeding the wire correctly itself. Super easy for a newbie welder.
  • The Hobart 130 Owners Manual - which is pretty good and comprehensive as you would expect from Hobart. Here is a link to the Manual so that you can take a look.  Hobart 130 Owners Manual.
  • Hobart 5/3/1 warranty - Hobart Welders famous warranty. Five years warranty on the transformer, three years on the electronics and one year on the MIG gun.

This warranty is one of the best at this end of the home welders market and shows this welder is built to last.

​Accessories

​I thought it would be really useful to you for me to list in one place the extras you might want to consider or even need for your Hobart Handler 130.

It took me a little while to track these down and make sure they are the ones that are compatible. I chose ones for you that are made by Hobart so you have the same great quality.

The links go through to Amazon.com as it's just so easy to see them on there and check them out.

​For When you want to Use a 10 Pound Spool of Wire

​The spool adaptor supplied with the Hobart 130 only allows you to put on the smaller 1lb and 2 lb. spools and that may not be enough wire for you.

Plus with flux core wire being so much more expensive than solid wire you may want to take advantage of the cheaper cost per pound of wire of the larger 10 lb. spools.

Then you're going to need this spool adaptor.

8 inch spool adaptor part number 195216

Although this listing says this spool adaptor is for a Hobart 125, it's exactly the same part used on the Hobart 130 welder so buy with confidence.

​For when you want to Convert the Hobart 130 welder to Use Shielding Gas

The Hobart 130 MIG welder comes set up to use flux core wire.  When you want to use solid wire for mild steel welding and shielding gas you're going to have to fit on equipment to allow you to do that. i.e. a gas hose, regulator, cylinder of gas.

Amazon doesn't resell the Hobart gas hose but this one from Weldcote is compatible and will fit.

Weldcote ARG14x10 Hose, Inert Gas Fitting

The Weldcote hose is 10 foot in length, rubber, has the standard fitting for Argon welding that will fit with the Hobart 130.

and just in case you want to search around locally and see if you can get the Hobart original part - here are the details.

  • Reinforced 5ft Gas hose for the Hobart 130
  • Part number: 269815

The Hobart Flow Gauge Regulator

Flow gauge MIG regulator Part number 770198

2 inch diameter gauges with shatter resistant lenses, corrosion resistant brass and compatible fittings for using with Argon gas cylinders and with Carbon Dioxide gas cylinders.

You are also going to need some gas cylinders. If you haven't welded before and need some advice on Argon cylinders, check out my post it will give you the low down on size, types, and buying. 

​For When you Want A Cart to Store your Hobart 130 and it's Cylinder

​Hobart sells a cart recommended for the 130 that allows for convenient wheeling around of your welder to where you need to use it without breaking your back.

And for storage in your workshop of your 130 Hobart welder and your other MIG welding gear.

Of course you could always weld your own cart as one of your starter welder projects.

But if you choose not to do that then here is a link to the Hobart one on Amazon.

Hobart Small Running Gear and Cylinder Rack, Part number 194776

The cart accepts gas bottles of up to 7 inches in diameter.

​For when you Want to Protect your Hobart 130 with a Cover

​Keep the dust off and if you are porting it around with you this case will also keep the elements off your welder with its weather resistant cover.

And provide you with somewhere to store your cables.

The listing on Amazon says it is compatible with the 135 don't worry about that as it also fits the Hobart 130.

Hobart Protective Cover for Handler. Weather Proof Nylon, Part number 195186

​Can a Hobart 130 Weld Aluminum?

​The short answer here is no. Not with this little MIG welder.

Why?

1. By default this welder ships ready to use flux core wire by default and there is no such thing as flux core Aluminum wire.

Don't believe me? Take a look at my article where I've extensively researched why it is chemically not possible.

2. So what about solid wire and shielding gas you ask. This welder can be set to use solid wire and gas. And of course you'll need to change the polarity to use solid wire.

However there is no spool gun option for the Hobart 130 for feeding Aluminum wire. And sadly, the Hobart 130 MIG welder will not work with the Spool Runner 100 Gun used for Aluminum welding by Hobart.

3. Aluminum wire is so dam tricky to feed, feeding it 8 foot up the Hobart 130's MIG hose to the gun is going to cause you a rat's nest of wire feed problems.

4. Aluminum welding just sucks power out of a MIG welder and this little Hobart is just not quite up to it.

Want to weld Aluminum get yourself a MIG welder that has a spool gun like the Everlast 140e or the Lincoln Weld Pak 140.

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