MILLER vs. LINCOLN
Hows it going guys, in this article im going to go over you pros and cons of the Lincoln and Miller mig welders, Specifically the Millermatic 250 X and the Lincoln Power MIG 216 . Then decide what welder I prefer, now that doesn’t mean that its the “best” just that I personally would rather weld with that type of mig welder.
So why the Millermatic 250 X and the Lincoln Power MIG 216? Well, these welders are commonly used in “High End” Metal Fabrication industries.
What I mean by “High End” is: Extreme attention to detail, ascetically pleasing and structurally sound with on road & off road race car chassis, air frames etc..
The very first Mig welder I ever welded with was with an old Lincoln. I hated it. I could never dial it in to get the welds to look good enough. Granted I didn’t have the experience that I have today, but to this day I still cannot get it to weld nicely. So ever since then I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth about Lincoln welders. I’ve only used and praised Miller welders for many years. Until a few years ago, I saw a couple companies in my industry start producing out very clean different looking mig welds. I wondered if they were doing them with a miller?
So I tried to replicate the look and could never get them to look the same. Come to find out the company I despised, LINCOLN was helping these welder/fabricators preform these very quality mig welds. After that point I made it my mission to acquire the hated Lincoln mig welder
Now that I have both Miller and Lincoln welders at my disposal, I can make accurate assessments on both brands. Heres what I came up with.
Lets start with price difference, because everyone loves to save money.
MILLER .. LINCOLN Price Difference
180 = $1,039 180 = $774 $265
212 = $2,052 216 = $1,624 $428
252 = $2,737 255 = $2,711 $26
As you can see Miller is a higher priced brand; but in it’s defense on the 212 vs 216, I know the new miller has much more tunability on the volts dial compared to the Lincoln 216. which is a big thing with me.
As far as tune ability on these two welders, its going to have to go to miller. On the 250 x that i was using, and the new 212 both have a dial for the volts and wire speed, apposed to the tap volts dial that is limited in adjustment.
It’s important to have complete adjustment of the volts, so you not welding not too hot or too cold on certain joints. Just the other day I was welding an 1/8” lap joint on the Lincoln and needed an between setting; but I couldn’t get it because of the limitation on the volts tap dial. I ended up welding it hotter than I would have liked to.
In Lincoln’s defense they do have a little bit wider “sweet-spot” range which helps out a lot, but not enough for certain joints.
What I mean by weld bead is the finished weld appearance and the arc consistency.
This one is going to have to go to Lincoln. The Lincoln welds extremely smooth with a consistent arc with a finished product has a better over all appearance.
When I weld with a Miller, I can feel the welding wire pushing back slightly. With the Lincoln it fells like the wires melting faster and more constant. I can tell this because I’ve welded with Millers my whole career, so the difference is obvious.
In my opinion, this is the biggest benefit of the Lincoln welders. I think it’s due to their “Diamond Core Technology” which I never gave too much thought until I read up on it and welded with a Lincoln.
In the picture below, you can see the difference between the Miller weld and the Lincoln weld.
The Miller weld is more rough and choppy when compared to the Lincoln.
What mean by weld speed is how long it takes to get from point A to point B while having the weld bead come out the best it can.
This is up to you on if you do production welding and need to get the welding done in the fastest time possible while still having a quality weld. Sacrificing speed for little better looking weld bead.
So the Miller gets from point A to point B by far faster than the Lincoln. However, if you’re not looking for speed and looking for a slower pace, having more control over the weld, then Lincoln is you machine.
This is good and bad. Good, in that if you’re welding complicated parts or corner joints. It gives you time to maneuver around the part with out being rushed; therefore, the weld is more likely to come out cleaner.
Now if you’re welding long straight welds, it will get annoying fast, on how long it takes in comparison to the Miller. I get a little impatient when I’m under the hood longer than I’m used to.
Smaller MIG Gun
Now this may not seem to be a big deal to many of you, but to me it’s a big deal. If you’re welding all day or need to get into smaller parts with the nozzle, then you need to get a Tweco or Radnor gun. They have a smaller nozzle. They have more of a bend which allows you to relax your trigger hand a little more than a stock gun. A big thing to is there tip is recessed inside the nozzle which is critical for this welding style for a couple different reasons:
- The wire hardly ever burns back and sticks to the tip
- Tip doesn’t hit the part
- You can use the nozzle to drag along the part
- It has a screw on nozzle, so it isn’t moving around while welding
- The welds come out better than a stock gun
Now that you get the importance of a smaller gun to me, you could understand that when I found out that Lincoln didn’t have a smaller replacement for the stock gun — I was really disappointed.
But we figured it out! We were able to rig on a 130 amp Radnor gun to the Lincoln fairly easily. Even though the guys at the welding supply store said we were going to burn up the gun as soon as we started welding because it calls for a 200 amp gun. Well the only way you’re going to burn up the 130 amp gun is if you’re welding 3/8”+ super hot all the time. In our case, 3/8” is the thickest plate we weld and it’s rare and for short periods of time.
So don’t worry about what the supply shop says. This is how we rigged up the new gun:
- We got a new gun with no electrical input connection
- Then got an old Miller input connector and cut it off
- Then spliced the wires together
- Plugged it in and have been welding perfect ever since
- I’m sure you can use an old Lincoln connector to
Customer survive is I’m sure very important to many of you, so if that’s a big thing in deciding with which MIG welder to purchase, then Miller is your company.
Me, personally, I’ve only had to call and talk to customer support once. They were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. They were able to help me do internal adjustments on the computer panel over the phone which was great. I’ve also heard and read from many other people that there experience was excellent with Miller. But in all the years I’ve been a welder/fabricator, it’s only been once, so I can’t justify buying a welder for customer service alone.
In conclusion, both Miller and Lincoln welders have their strong points and they are both quality welders. I personally now like to weld with the Lincoln’s; but I have nothing against Miller and have welded with them with nothing but awesome results.
I hope this article could shed some light on the two different MIG welding companies and their differences.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them on the forum or leave a comment.
Thanks for your time,