Lincoln Handy MIG Review, the Super Useful Facts

Lincoln Handy MIG

The Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Wire Welder – to give the handy MIG its full name.

You’ll discover here all the super useful facts in this Lincoln Handy MIG review. And now you’re here, welcome.

​Pros ​of the K2185-1 Handy MIG

Quick set up – 10 to 15 minutes and you should be done
This Lincoln portable welder is reasonably easy to move around at 46 lbs.
In the box extras: You’ve included spools of welding wire – flux core and solid wire. Included hand held face shield, chipping hammer and brush. Plus a gas regulator. All these accessories points the Handy MIG at users looking for a beginners MIG welding kit
The duty cycle rating at 20% is cracking compared to the usual 10% you get from less expensive MIG welders The Handy MIG welder has proven itself as robust and hard wearing

Cons of the K2185-1 Handy MIG

No Gas Gauge on the supplied regulator is disappointing. Because you wont know when you’re running out of gas in your cylinder till you get poor welds
The Handy MIG takes 2lb smaller spools. Which can be frustrating as larger spools work out more economical to buy. Particularly when you’re buying more expensive flux core welding wire.
You’ll find your cord to the torch and grounding clamp is short. At 8 feet. This means that you have to plan your work area more carefully

​Verdict on the K2185-1 Handy MIG

You’ll find your LE Handy MIG Welder priced around the mid of the market for MIG welders.

Your Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Wire Welder, with its shiny red distinctive Lincoln Electric covering. Has been around in the market a long time.

What is the reason for this?

It has a great reputation and people love it. And no doubt when you buy one you’ll use it for a lot longer.

*Disclosure: This document contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commissions through these links should you decide to buy.

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG

Check out what you can get this Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG for on Amazon.

Choose for your starter Lincoln welder. And for you to use as a great MIG welder for those welding jobs around the home, yard and small workshop.

(*Commissions Earned from Image Link and Button)

​​​​​Your Review of the Super Useful Facts

If you’re evaluating suitable MIG options more widely,

Here is your head to head comparison of the Lincoln Handy MIG beside the Lotos MIG 140.

They’re close in price.

The Lotos MIG 140 is not quite as well known. That’s true but it could wet your taste buds for what’s out there. You can always take a look at the write up here on the site.

Where’s the harm?

Compare the Lincoln Handy MIG Welder v Lotos 140

Features Handy MIG Welder Lotos 140 MIG Welder
Size 12.8″ H x 8.8″ W x 18″ L 9.5″ H x 14.5″ W x 16″ L
Weight 46 lbs. 54 lbs.
Duty Cycle 20% at 70 Amp 20% at 90 Amp
Max Amp Output 88 Amp 140 Amp
Weld Aluminum No Yes with separate spool gun
Max Steel Weld Width 1/8 th 3/16 ths
Gas Regulator Yes, No Gas Gauge Yes, with Gas Gauge
Warranty 1 Year Parts and Labor 30 day Satisfaction Guarantee, 1 year Limited Warranty

The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG is lighter. And when you’re after a decent MIG welder at a starter price, it could be the MIG welder for you.

Lincoln Electric K2185-1 YouTube Video

Here’s an informative 1 minute 33 second YouTube Video for you.

You’ll find a great overview of the Handy MIG welder. It’s well worth watching as you decide.

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Flux-Core/MIG Welder with Face Shield – 115V, 70 Amp, Model# K2185-1

Video Credit: Northern Tool

Where Can You Get Your Hands on the Handy MIG?

You’ll find the handy MIG is sold through a variety of outlets. Amazon.com of course the one I would recommend to you. Also Lowes, Home Depot, your local good welder outlet store.

Why think about buying through Amazon?

Always a competitive price.

You can buy using your Amazon prime account.

And instead of carting your Handy MIG welder home in your car, you can have it conveniently delivered.

And when you’re new to welding you’ll need to get yourself a welding helmet and gloves.

My personal favorites to go with the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG are the Antra AH6 Helmet coupled with the US Forge 400 Welding Gloves.

(Commissions Earned Through Links)

Because you get quality with a good price.

Handy MIG 101

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG

Let’s review the highlights of the Lincoln Handy MIG Welder

The Handy MIG is fan cooled.

You’ll find it’s a true MIG.

One that supports you using either flux-core wire. Or solid wire with shielding gas.

This means that if you’re a beginner you can start off using flux-core wire. Because this means you’ll need less equipment. Flux core means you’ve no gas cylinder to source before you can get on with welding.

And when you’re ready to produce prettier welds. And you’re done with the extra slag clean up needed with flux core wire. You’ve a welder capable of feeding solid MIG wire. Get yourself a gas cylinder and start running some shielding gas.

Where is Lincoln Handy MIG Targeted?

  • Hobbyists wanting to create projects in their small workshops or garages
  • DIY’ers fixing up equipment around the home or yard
  • Beginner welders keen to learn the skill of welding and want a MIG to practice on
  • Farmers or ranchers needs a practical, reliable, portable MIG for when you have got to take it there
  • Professionals after a second or third MIG that’s convenient to use and will do a job

It may be useful for you to see where the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG appears on the best MIG welder for home use list. You can view that here.

Best MIG welder for Home Use When You have No Gear and No Idea‘ here on the site.

The Handy MIG Welder Duty Cycle

It’s super essential to know the duty cycle rating of any welder you want to buy. It tells you what your MIG welder is capable of. And how long you can use it before you overheat your welder.

The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG has a duty cycle of 20% at 70 Amp. This means that when you set your Handy MIG at its 70 Amp setting, you can weld uninterrupted for 2 minutes. And this is within a 10 minute welding window.

Then you’ll have to rest your Handy MIG for a minimum of 8 minutes. Or until your MIG welder has cooled enough so you can start it back up again.

This is quite reasonable for a welder that’s aimed at light duty welding tasks. And is better than many entry level model welders. The Lincoln Handy MIG welder is fan cooled. Be sure to leave 12 – 18 inches clear back and front to allow the fan to cool the welder.

Time for another YouTube Video?

This YouTube by Farmboy shows how he switches his Lincoln Electric – from flux core wire welding to solid wire and shielding gas. 

Funny – he makes a mistake on feeding through the wire. And his Handy MIG still welded ok. This shows you how sturdy this MIG welder is.

Lincoln Handy MIG Gas Conversion

Video Credit: farmboy30117

Always interesting to see when things are not quite done perfect the first time.  Well lets face it, that how most of us do things.

Though it’s best to feed the wire the right way round!

Would you like a wider view of the MIG welder market?

You can always take a peek at this document.

It walks you through the top MIG welders for home use when you only have access to 120v power.

Or if you’re simply unsure how to go about picking the right MIG. Take a read of this article on how to choose a MIG welder.

The Lincoln K2185’s Cold Contractor

Lincoln Electric makes a thing out of the feature. Why?

It’s easy to forget that MIG welding is an electrical process. And you’re dealing with high electrical output. Shocking yourself is a real danger if you don’t take the right safety precautions.

Some MIG guns and torches on the market are live as soon as you switch the power  on.

And means that means if you put your welding torch down anywhere near a metal surface. You’ll get lots or pretty sparks and arcs you weren’t counting on.

Risking electrical shock or arc eye.

This is not what happens with the Lincoln Handy MIG.

This key safety feature keeps your welding wire electrically ‘cold’. Until you press the trigger of your welding gun. You wont get an arc till you want one.

Lincoln Handy MIG Overload Protection

If you go over the duty cycle the Overload Protection kicks in. This protects the Handy MIG welder from damage by over heating.

You know … that tell tale smell of warm electrics.

The torch stops welding to protect the welder. And you’ll have to wait till it cools down.

Your Handy MIG is fan cooled. So do not switch of the power as this will switch off the fan.

And then your fan cant cool the internals of your MIG.

And you’ll get more funky smells. Also make sure there is clearance for air to circulate to the welder.

Handy MIG Over Temperature Light and Wire Feed Dial
Handy MIG Over Temperature Light and Wire Feed Dial

The K2185 has Four Voltage Output Settings

You measure the welding power of a MIG welder by its voltage output settings. Lincoln Electric Handy MIG has a welding output range between 35 to 88 Amp.

You can set your MIG welding output using two switches.

One you can set to 1 or 2. The other switch you set to high or low. Combining the different positions of the two switches is how you get your four settings.

Lincoln Handy MIG Front Dials
Lincoln Handy MIG Front Dials and Switches

Keep in mind the duty cycle of 20% is set at 70 Amp.

When you’re using your Handy MIG to its maximum welding output. Will mean you get much less than two minutes welding time. Keep your eye on the over temperature light.

The Handy MIG doesn’t have infinitely variable voltage output settings. If you’re looking for that feature take a look at the Everlast iMIG 140e.

The two switches keep it simple and does make setting this MIG easier for beginners.

To further help beginners and those new to this Lincoln welder there is …

The Lincoln Handy MIG’s Welding Amps to Wire Thickness Chart

There’s a welding chart on the inside of the wire drive compartment door.

Lincoln Handy MIG Welding Parameters Chart
Lincoln Handy MIG Welding Parameters Chart

The chart lists the gauges of steel and the recommended switch setting. You’ll find details for using flux cored wire. Or solid steel MIG wire with an Argon/Carbon Dioxide mix or pure Carbon Dioxide.

The chart will help get you started with your welding project.

YouTube Video Showing the Lincoln Handy MIG Welding

This is a short 2 minutes 58 second YouTube video. He’s doing a little welding with the Handy MIG.  He loves it and you could too.

Lincoln Electric Handy MIG

Video Credit: Steve Medsker

What Can the Lincoln Handy MIG Weld?

For DIY, hobby or light car repairs, this welder is capable of welding mild steel of 24 gauge up to 1/8 of an inch.

Using flux core or solid wire and shielding gas

Can I use the Handy MIG welder at Home?

Yes, your Handy MIG welder comes with a 15 Amp three prong plug.

You can plugging it straight into a normal house socket.  The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG needs 115 volts on a circuit with a 20 Amp fuse. And a good ground connection. Y

ou should have nothing else plugged into the same circuit as your K2185 welder.

That way you make sure you’ve all electrical power to get the Amp voltage output you want.

Using the Lincoln K2185-1 Handy MIG on an Extension Lead

When you need to transport this welder to a welding job or need an extension lead. Look for one that’s 14 AWG or larger. And if you’re using your MIG welder outside make sure your extension lead is ok for you to use outdoor.

Lincoln Handy MIG

What Welding Wires Can I Use in this Welder?

The Lincoln Handy MIG can handle wire reels up to 2 lbs. in weight (also known as 4 inch spools).

So you won’t be able to put inside the larger 10 lb. spools of wire.

The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG uses 0.025 inch solid steel wire, and 0.035 inch flux cored wire.

The wire feed speed range is 0 – 300 inches per minute and you have an advantage of continuous wire feed adjustment.  This means that you can adjust the wire as you work.

Looking for welding wire as well?

Do take a look at my document here. You’ll find research on the best flux core welding wire.

And the best solid wire for mild steel​.

YouTube Video on How to Feed the Lincoln K2185-1 Welding Wire

Can’t feed your welding wire through right?

It’s something that can cause frustrations and poor welds. Take a look at this YouTube video and see how to do it on the Handy MIG.

Setting up and feeding Wire in Portable MIG Welders

Credit: LincolnElectricTV

What Shielding Gas Can the Handy MIG Use?

You get with your Handy MIG a gas regulator. A regulator you use with a welding mix that includes Argon.

Like C25 –  75% Argon, 25% Carbon Dioxide.

Your Handy MIG welder is able to use pure Carbon Dioxide. But you’ll need to get a different regulator as the one in the box isn’t suitable. 

To be fair this is likely not a concern for a beginner. As you’ll probably start off MIG welding with C25 and solid MIG wire.

Just bear this in mind for later.

It’s disappointing the gas regulator provided has no gas gauge. As this makes it difficult to see when you’re running out of gas.

A gas gauge would be a nice thing to have.

Also be sure to change to polarity when you move from welding with flux core wire to solid wire with shielding gas.

As this is one thing that often causes welding frustrations when you’re a beginner welder.

Lincoln Handy MIG and Aluminum

So can it?

can the Handy MIG weld Aluminum?

Lincoln Electric makes no claim it can.

The Handy MIG doesn’t have spool gun capability which is the best way for welding Aluminum. And lets face it’s a bit under powered for that particular job.

Diehards have put in a Teflon liner running up to the MIG gun and have run Aluminum solid wire and shielding gas.

Aluminum is a soft metal and you do risk getting a snakes nest of tangled wire.

Should you want to try read my article all about the subject ‘Lincoln Handy MIG weld Aluminum? Can it?

You may even be thinking about using Aluminum flux core wire in your Handy MIG Find out why this is not really an option by reading this blog post on Aluminum flux core wire on the site.

If you want to weld Aluminum then do yourself a favor. Buy yourself a more powerful MIG welder that can use a spool gun. And you’ll be happier.

If you want to stick with the Lincoln Electric brand, then take a look at the Weld pack 140.

It has a spool gun and can do light occasional Aluminum welding.

Or check out the Lotos MIG 140 or the Hobart Handler MIG 140.​

Lincoln Handy MIG Hose Connnection
Lincoln Handy MIG Hose Connnection

Who Makes The Lincoln Handy MIG Welders?

Founded in 1895 Lincoln Electric is based in Cleveland Ohio. Lincoln Electric has not only been around a long time it has a long and well regarded reputation.

The company has 63 manufacturing locations and operates in 23 countries.

The Handy MIG is designed by Lincoln Electric a US company and is made in Poland.

What you have here is a US company who has been in the MIG market for a long time. They design and oversee the product quality of their MIG manufacturing abroad. 

It’s a sign of the times that many MIG’s are manufactured outside of the US. The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG K2185-1 itself has been around quite a while. And was originally let loose onto the market in 2004.

If you’d like to find out more about the Lincoln Electric Company you can take a look at their Wikipedia Company page.

The Lincoln Handy MIG Manual

The Lincoln Handy MIG Manual is pretty good and will tell you how to set up and run this welder. 

Though for the right settings for the job you want to do. You’ll find as with many MIG welders you have to experiment a bit.

Here’s a link to the Lincoln Electric K2185-1 Handy MIG Welder welding Manual so you can take a look at it.

PDF ​Credit: Lincoln Electric site:

What do Users of the Lincoln Handy MIG think?

Here’s a button link to the Amazon sales page for the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG.

(Commissions Earned through Link)

So that you can see the Reviews on Amazon of the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG. The majority appears delighted with this Lincoln welder. Whether they bought it for themselves or as a gift for a loved one.

Scroll down the bottom of the sales page to view the latest reviews.

​What do you get in the Handy MIG Box When you Buy?

Lots!

It’s essentially a starter package.

  • The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG welder
  • A welding face mask that is hand held,
  • 1 lb. spool of 0.035 inch Inner Shield Flux Core Wire
  • 2 lbs. spool of 0.025 inch Super Arc L-56 solid MIG Wire
  • 8 foot cord to the welding gun
  • A Gas-Less Nozzle for Flux Core Welding
  • 3 of 0.025 inch contact tips
  • 3 of 0.035 inch contact tips
  • 8 foot length ground clamp cable
  • Gas regulator for Argon/Carbon Dioxide gas
  • A hose for the shielding gas
  • Chipping Hammer and Brush

As you can see you get a lot in the package.  Extra contact tips and sample wire from the Lincoln Electric brand. Not the cheap wire seen in some MIG welder packages.

Things to stop and note;

The face mask is basic and really only for the occasional weld.

You’ll definitely want to invest in a welding helmet. You’ll want your hands free and available to use when you’re welding.

Is the Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Portable?

Sure, it’s classed as a Lincoln portable welder.

Weighing 46 pounds and with dimensions of 12.8 inches height, 8.8 inches width and 18 inches depth. For sure this Lincoln is a portable welder.

The Lincoln Electric Provided Warranty

You get a reasonable warranty deal with this Handy MIG. There is a 1 Year Limited Warranty, parts and labor. There is a 90 day warranty on the gun and cable.

Lincoln Handy MIG Projects

What Kind of projects Do You Want to Do?

And is this Lincoln Handy MIG up to it?

Body panels on your car – best done with solid wire and shielding gas for a fine looking weld.

Build or Repair a car trailer – Cars are heavy. And the reason I state the obvious is because you build a car trailer with heavy thicker metal to support a car.

The Handy MIG welder is relatively low powered and can weld a max thickness of 1/8th steel.

Really too low in voltage to weld something like that.  Save your pennies and get a higher voltage, heavier duty welder.

Roll cages – another structural type of weld. This welder’s sweet spot is for thinner metals.  Again – get yourself a stronger welder. This welder’s sweet spot is for thinner metals. 

Household projects – yes, absolutely up to 1/8th inch thick steel.

Can I learn on it as my first time welder – yes definitely, easy to use and set up. Go ahead.

Last Words

And now you are at the end of my Lincoln Handy MIG review.

And now you’re at the end of this Lincoln Handy MIG review.

There you have it, the super useful facts. A fine brand and a solid welder. Expect to have this little red welder around a long time.

The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG has proven itself durable. As well as popular in the market. 

It may be a little underpowered compared to its newer competition.

Though if you bought this Handy MIG welder you’d expect to be using it for years to come.