At first glance, you notice the quality of the Hobart 500551 EZ TIG welder. If you're a hobbyist looking for a welder, you might be a little put off by the price of this one. While not the most expensive on the market by far, there are many other cheaper options. However, I'd suggest that you don't disregard the Hobart 500551. That extra money you pay is well worth it in this case. It really is a great little machine.
This model is called the EZ-TIG. That's not some random name, it's all to do with how easy or 'EZ' it is to use. Even the most novice of welders will be able to use this machine with relative ease fairly quickly.
We put it to the test and I have to say, I
was impressed. I've used more expensive welders that haven't been as good as
this. We were getting very good results from this machine and getting them
fast. Quick set up is something I love, and this Hobart is very simple to set
up and to learn how to use. If you've used a welding machine before, then
you'll have absolutely no problem with this one. But even if you haven't, it
still won't take you long to get the hang of how the EZ-TIG works.
The Hobart is made in the USA to a very high quality. As soon as you get it out of the box this becomes apparent. Its rugged design just feels like it has been built to last. It weighs in at 50lb making it pretty portable. The portability is enhanced by the addition of two sturdy carrying handles on the top of the machine. If storage is an issue, you'll be pleased to know that the Hobart 500511 measures just 17” x 8” x 24” making it easy to store. With the EZ-TIG you can weld from .81mm to 4.8mm. That's for both steel and aluminium.
In the box you get a TIG torch included. You also get a foot controller that can come in very handy. On top of that you'll get your cable and clamp, a gas regulator and a hose and a manual. I was pleased to see plenty of cable on this machine. You've got 12.5 ft on the power cord, then a further 12 ft on the work cable. Little things like this can make a big difference.
Key Features of the Hobart 500551
The control interface on the Hobart EZ-TIG has been designed with simplicity in mind. Everything is controlled by just one switch and one dial that is very clearly labelled and easy to read. The dial is ideal for fine control.
This welder has the option of switching between AC and DC, so you can weld both steel and aluminium with it.
You've got auto-postflow, so you'll get the best shielding for your welding amperage, without having to make your own adjustments. This also cuts down on waste.
The HF start feature enables you to have a non-contact arc start. This can help to prevent contamination.
One small feature that I was particularly impressed with was the ability of the machine to automatically turn off the fan when you don't need it. This cuts down on the dust that's getting sucked into the machine and could really go a long way towards increasing the lifespan of this machine.
The 500551 uses an inverter based power source. This gives you a good, consistent welding arc and also uses less power which could save you some cash in the long run.
This machine will cut out if the temperature starts to get too hot. A great way to prevent an expensive-to-repair fault due to overheating. In our tests, we didn't have any problems with overheating. Even the air-cooled torch didn't get too hot.
The machine comes with a foot control for
adjusting the amperage. You also have the option of using the dials on the
machine by hand, so you can choose whichever method works best for you for each
Advantages of the Hobart 500551
Easy to use, a minimum of controls that are clearly labelled.
Set up is also fast so you can get to work quickly. Much of the set up process is done automatically.
A good build quality gives this model a robust feel.
Compares well against other more expensive
A good level of reliability and durability
Related: Reviews of TIG Welders
Disadvantages of the Hobart 500551
It's quite hard to find any real major disadvantages to the Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG. However, the price may be over the budget of some lighter home users.
If you're looking for a welder that's simple to use, reliable and robust then take a look at the Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG. It's ideally suited to beginners, but would also be perfect for small professional jobs.
If you've been looking at cheaper machines, I suggest that you stretch the budget a little and splash out on this one. For anyone looking at pricier machines, then again, don't rule this one out. In our experience with the machine, it stands up well against the more expensive competition.
The reliability of the US made Hobart will maybe even save you money in the long run as it should be quite a long time before you have to replace this little work horse.
Our top points of this Hobart welder are:
The quality of the machine. It does feel like it's going to last.
The optional foot controller. We found this
handy, not having to reach over to the main unit all the time and left our
hands free to work with. It's also fairly easy to get to grips with using.
Additionally, we felt this machine
represented good value for money. It's not so expensive as to be unaffordable,
but not so cheap that you would doubt the quality, safety or performance.