A 120V welder is a good choice for small shops or hobbyists. If you have a small welding business or hobby, you will need more power and the ability to weld thicker material. This allows you to increase your voltage to 240V without sacrificing the ability to weld thinner stocks.
These needs are well met by the Eastwood MIG 180. This machine, which was recently introduced and is affordable, will eventually replace the Eastwood MIG 17.
The MIG 175’s best features are retained, but the improvements make it more exciting.
This dual voltage MIG welding machine is still relatively new. Don’t worry, I did the research and have summarized everything you need to know.
Eastwood MIG 180 Vs MIG 175 – What’s Changed?
The IGBT inverter-based technology, which replaced the older transformers, has made the most important change. The unit is now lighter and more compact. The MIG 180 can now run on either 120V or 240V input power. It also has a longer duty cycle.
The metal wire housing mechanism provides durability and more control options. The convenience features, such as the spool gun switch on your control panel and toolless polarity change, make it easier to use the welder. Below is a table that summarizes the significant differences between MIG 175 & MIG 180.
Buyer Guide for Eastwood 180 MIG Welder
Eastwood recommends this welding machine for metal fabrication and auto restoration. If you have the funds and plan to work with thicker stock than 5/16 inches often, you might consider purchasing a stronger welder that can handle thicker material.
The box contains enough consumables to get you started (2 lb. A roll of wire, 3 contact tips, and 1 nozzle are all included in the box. If you want to do serious welding, you will need more.
Consider adding any consumables to the initial order. Don’t forget to order a gas bottle.
MIG Welding Aluminum
This chart shows the settings for MIG welding aluminum from 17 ga. up to 1/8 in. This may encourage you to MIG-weld aluminum.
If you are going to work with aluminum frequently, the spool guns package is for you. It’s worth the effort to avoid tangled wire and birdnesting.
Things That Make The Eastwood MIG 180 Great
IGBT inverter technology is used to make the MIG 180 lighter. Its inverters produce a smooth and user-friendly arc. This welder can run on a generator (minimum 10 KW).
Dual Power Input
The MIG 175 was powered by 240V. However, the MIG 180 can be run on 120V and 240V. You have more options for plugging in, which allows you to be more flexible in where and how you use your welder.
The MIG 180 is just 25 lbs. and weighs a fraction of what welders who use transformers.
This welder is ideal if you need to move your welder frequently. The top of the unit even has a hand-friendly feature.
Frequent tack welding can cause damage to components of a welder and can also be very stressful for the operator. It can also be difficult to get the timing right, which results in varying tack welding quality.
The 180 also includes a “timed” tack mode that allows you to make consistent tacks. With less effort, the 180 produces a steady 1/2 second long tack welding with less demand on the internals of your welder.
2T Or 4T Modes
Your trigger finger can become tired from long welds, and standard 2T operation can cause your hand to get very hot.
With 4T, you simply pull the trigger and then let go to weld. Then you can move your hand back to weld. To stop, pull the trigger and release it again.
This feature isn’t expected of welders in this price range. Eastwood added 4T to the MIG 180 and it is a great tool for anyone who does long welds, whether they are novice or expert. You can find more information about the 4T and its features here.
The control panel is clean and easy to use. The front panel is occupied by two knobs and two buttons that can be used as blisters.
This is it for controls. You can adjust the voltage and WFS with infinite precision using the knobs. The knobs allow for infinite control of the WFS and voltage.
For novice welders, the ease of setting two knobs (as shown on the settings chart) will be a great benefit. It doesn’t get any easier.
The MIG 180 is the MIG torch or spool gun. The second button allows you to select between the 2T, 4T, or tack modes of operation.
An old MIG 175 had a lighted power switch that let you know when the unit was turned on. The unit also came with an overload light that lets you know when it is overheating.
These lights are still present on the MIG 180, but the lighted power switch can now be found at the back. The control panel now features a separate green power-on light to let you know that the power is on.
The panel also features a high-temperature light that will turn red if you exceed the duty cycle.
To identify your selection, the blister buttons use indicator lights. This makes it easy to view your selections without having to open the wiring compartment. It is easy to see the wires from a distance.
The MIG 180’s price is comparable to other dual voltage welders of the same performance.
It actually costs less and offers more features. You might think this is exaggerated. Check the prices. This welder is affordable and accessible to a larger audience.
Bundle of Optional Spool Guns
The MIG 175 was not available without the spool gun, which added some cost. Eastwood now offers the MIG 180 with and without a spool gun. If you don’t need to weld aluminum, this reduces the cost of the welder.
The bundle will save you money. You will actually save more money if you buy the bundle than if you purchase a competitor welder without the spool guns. The spool gun can be used with the MIG 180 if you already have the MIG 175.
Tweco Style Torch
The MIG 180 comes with a Tweco-style torch. You can find parts almost anywhere.
This includes big-box stores that are available after hours or when it is difficult to find a local welding supply shop
Toolless Polarity Switches
Eastwood made it easy to switch polarity on the MIG 180 for gasless welding.
You can simply unplug the gun cable and ground cable from the front of your machine and then swap them in the positive and negative sockets.
There are no difficult-to-reach bolts or tools. You can also see the front of your machine to check the polarity setting. No need to open the wire compartment doors.
Things that can still be improved Leads
Eastwood provides leads that are less than 10 feet long on the MIG 180. This can be annoying for some users, and some may decide to replace the leads or modify them.
We don’t like being excluded from welding in difficult-to-reach places or anywhere else that requires longer leads.
You can only use 11-pound rolls of wire. The 8-inch rolls may weigh more than that, so the wire spool should be strong enough to handle the heavier rolls.
Flux-Cored Drive Roller
Eastwood suggests that flux-cored wire be used in the smallest groove of the roller. This roller has smooth grooves that can be used for solid wire. These are not suitable for soft, flux-cored wire.
Eastwood confirmed that the MIG 180 does not have a knurled roll. This may pose a problem for outdoor welders or anyone else who needs to use a shielding gas. It will be interesting to see if the smallest, most smooth groove is enough.