Lincoln Handy MIG Review | Portable But Reliable Starter Welder

The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG Welder is a great starter welding machine for the true beginner, though it is a far cry from our list of best MIG welders. In our Lincoln Handy MIG review, we’ll go over all of the most important information you need to know if you are considering purchasing this, or other MIG welders on the market. 

lincoln electric k2185 redlincoln electric k2185 red

While it doesn’t meet our criteria as one of the best MIGs out there, there is still certainly a lot to like about the Lincoln Handy MIG. We’ll cover everything from usability and power to key features and some general pros and cons.

Who Should Buy a Lincoln Handy MIG?

The easy answer to this question: absolute beginners. MIG welding is itself a great starting place for the true novice, and the this Lincoln welder is a good entry welding machine to learn the basics. Add to this the Lincoln’s practically unbeatable price, and it is clearly a front-runner for anyone just getting into welding.

lincoln electric handy being used with red gloves

Further, this MIG welder might be a solid choice for you if you aren’t yet sure how seriously you plan on taking this new endeavor. If welding is something you see yourself doing only infrequently or for short bursts, it could be smart to get a cheaper model like this, to avoid investing too heavily in something you won’t get that much use out of.

It also might be a good choice for you if you have limited space. This welder has a very small footprint compared to other options, and at a surprisingly light 26 pounds, it is also quite portable. So, if you don’t have a lot of shop space to devote to a welder or (gasp!) no shop at all, the ability to move this welder around and stow it away when not in use is definitely a huge plus.

Usability and Power

The Lincoln MIG welder offers an output range of 35-88 amps. While this may be sufficient for many smaller projects or, as mentioned above, for beginning welders, it is probably not suitable for more serious welders or more involved, complicated welding applications.

If you’re looking for a MIG welder with more raw power, you should definitely consider the Hobart 500559 MIG Welder. While it will cost you quite a bit more upfront than the Lincoln Handy MIG, the Hobart 500559 boasts an impressive output range of 25 to 140 amps!

So, if you want more power and, thus, greater versatility and wider applications for your welding projects, your best bet would be to select the Hobart over the comparatively weaker output range of the Lincoln MIG.

On that same note, while the Lincoln Electric MIG can effectively weld base materials of up to 1/8 of an inch, the Hobart’s top thickness is twice that, at 1/4 of an inch! That is, if you’re planning on working with thicker base metal pieces, you are better off paying more for the Hobart now, rather than finding out too late that your Lincoln Handy MIG isn’t up to the task.

Main Features

Now that you have a better idea of the capabilities of the Lincoln MIG, let’s take a closer look at some of the key features that make this MIG a great option for some welders, if not for everyone.

Two Welding Method Options

The Lincoln Electric Handy MIG is capable of welding with the standard MIG process, of course. But an interesting feature is that it is fully able to perform flux-core welding functions, as well. This is a nice bit of added versatility for you if you are interested in experimenting with different welding processes without having to buy a separate welding machine.

We also recommend reading our Vulcan Omnipro 200 review.

Compact and Lightweight

At a mere 26 pounds, the Handy MIG is one of the lightest and most portable MIG welders we’ve tested. If enhanced mobility and a small footprint are top concerns for you as you shop around for welding machines, you should definitely give the Handy MIG some consideration.

Safety First

Among the Lincoln’s great safety features is one that we though was particularly important: its “cold contactor” feature. This innovative safety concept ensures that the welding wire remains “cold” (electrically, that is) until the operator presses the trigger. That way, there will be no unexpected zaps with this MIG!

Long Life Expectancy and Lots of Extras!

If there’s a single area in which the Lincoln Handy MIG truly outperforms its rivals its with regard to its laundry list of extras. When you buy the Lincoln Handy MIG, you’re also going to receive the following extra items to ensure you’ve got everything you need to get welding right away:

  • One chipping hammer and brush
  • Three .035” contact tips
  • Three .025” contact tips
  • One 1 lb. spool of .035” Innershield flux-cored wire
  • One 2 lb. spool of .025” SuperArc solid MIG wire

This isn’t the entire list of included items, but it certainly gives you the idea that Lincoln Electric intended this to be an excellent starter kit. You’ll need to do very little shopping to get yourself up and ready to start welding quickly.

But it’s not just the extras; the Handy MIG is also known for its long lifespan. Part of the reason for this MIG’s longevity is its fan-cooling mechanism. This will prevent overheating, thus extending the life of your MIG welding machine.

Works with Household Outlets!

Another great advantage of the Lincoln Handy MIG is that you can plug it directly into a standard 115V, 20 amp home outlet. This simply adds to the already great portability and usability of this MIG.

We should mention, however, that this isn’t entirely unique to the Lincoln Handy MIG. In fact, other MIG welding machines, like our top pick Hobart 500559 MIG and the LOTOS MIG Welder, offer this ability to plug into your standard outlets. Though, we should note that the LOTOS MIG requires a 220V outlet.

Advantages and Disadvantages

So, what’s the bottom line with the Lincoln Handy MIG? Is it a “buy,” a “don’t buy,” or a “think about it”? Well, we can’t make your decision for you, but we can summarize some of the major advantages and disadvantages of this MIG, as compared to some other options, like those we’ve mentioned above.

Advantages

  • Incredibly affordable and cost-effective compared to other MIGs
  • Easy operation and set up
  • LOTS of great extras included
  • Very light and portable; small footprint
  • Fan-cooled for longer lifespan
  • Can perform MIG and flux-cored welding processes
  • Includes practically everything you need to start welding out of the box, with the exception of necessary safety equipment

Disadvantages

  • Some plastic components seem cheap and somewhat flimsy
  • Despite fan-cooling, some have found extended use can lead to overheating
  • Only offers a one-year warranty, compared to the 5/3/1 year warranty offered for the Hobart MIG
  • Can only weld materials up to 1/8 of an inch, compared to the 1/4 of an inch accommodated by the Hobart MIG
  • Limited output range of 35-88 amps, compared to the 25-140 amps offered by the Hobart MIG

Last Updated On:

About the Author Gregory

Hi, my name is Gregory! I have been welding practically all of my life and love it. As I have gotten older I have started to weld less and less, so in order to continue my love for welding I created this website. I like to write about my experiences and help you all become welders. I hope that you enjoy the site!

Leave a Comment: