Best Pipeline Welding Machine 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
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Pipeline welding requires high levels of skill as well as high-end equipment. Industrial pipelines can be located anywhere from the tundra to the desert. They’re usually many miles from cities and towns, which means you’ll need your own electricity. Most welders plug into existing outlets, but there are no outlets in the places where pipeline welders perform most of their duties. Luckily, the following eight welders are engine driven, which means they’re not just welders, but they’re also generators. You won’t need to plug these welders into anything because they can power themselves. Just don’t run out of gas!
After testing quite a few of these machines, we’ve written the following reviews to share what we’ve learned. We hope that after reading them, you’ll know which one is best suited for you and the work you’re currently undertaking.
A Quick Comparison of our 2020 Favorites
The 8 Best Pipeline Welding Machines
1. Miller Electric Bobcat 250 Welding Machine – Best Overall
Miller Electric is one of the big names in the welding industry, and you’ll find their welders being used by professionals across the world. The Bobcat 250 is an engine-driven welder that’s one of the flagship models offered by Miller Electric. It’s smaller than many of the other engine-driven welders we’ve seen, meaning you’ll have more room in your truck bed for other tools when you’re using this welder. You’ll also save money with the Bobcat 250, thanks to its improved fuel economy. Our only complaint about this welder is its cold-weather performance, which wasn’t the best. A cold weather kit needs to be purchased for using it in the coldest climates.
No matter what you need to power on your job site, this welder/generator can do it with 23.5-horsepower pushing up to 12,000 watts of power. We never felt a dip in power, even when using heavy equipment on the 240V outlet. For convenience, the maintenance panel makes it easy to see when maintenance is necessary. Perhaps most importantly, this welder is extremely durable and will hold up to year after year of abuse on job sites, which is why it’s our top pick.
2. Hobart Engine Driven Welder Generator – Best Value
Engine-driven welders for pipeline welding are often astronomically expensive, even crossing the $10,000 mark. But the Hobart 500563 is a very affordable option that makes it possible to get started pipeline welding without pulling out a major loan or refinancing your home. At just 222 pounds, it’s also one of the lightest pipeline welding machines we tested, and the built-in wheels make it easy to move around the job site, unlike the other models we tried, which will be staying in your truck bed due to how much they weigh.
Of course, such a low-priced machine is going to have a few drawbacks. For instance, this one’s peak power is just 4,500 watts, less than half of some of the models we tested. It’s also only usable for stick welding while some competitors can perform many different welding processes. But you do still get four 120V receptacles and a 240V one as well. It’s also very quiet compared to the other ones we used. Altogether, we think it’s the best pipeline welding machine for the money.
3. Lincoln Vantage 300 Welding Machine – Premium Choice
For professional pipeline welders, it’s hard to beat the incredible performance and reliability of the Vantage 300 engine driven welder from Lincoln Electric. It’s got every feature that you need for performing pipe welding in a professional capacity, but that comes with two drawbacks. First, it’s wildly expensive, so only professional welders are likely to spend the amount necessary to purchase it. Second, it weighs half a ton, so once again, only professionals are likely to want to permanently fill their truck bed with it. But it produces 12,500 watts with its 22-horsepower motor, which is sufficient for powering the welder and a plethora of other tools from its 120V and 240V outlets at the same time.
The 20-gallon gas tank means you won’t have to refill every day. Convenient for pros who will be using it all day, every day. But what really sets this welder apart is the five separate welding processes it’s capable of performing. It even has a special mode for downhill welding, something that’s nearly essential for industrial pipeline welders. If you want the best welder possible for years of reliable performance regardless of price, we think it’s the Lincoln Electric Vantage 300.
4. Miller Electric Bobcat 225 Welder
With 11,000 watts of peak power, you’ll never see a dip in power with the Bobcat 225, even when welding and simultaneously powering several tools. It features a new intelligent airflow design that helps the machine stay cool when it’s packed into tight places, like the bed of your work truck. You can perform five different types of welding with this welder/generator, including MIG, TIG, Stick, and Flux-Cored welding processes. We would have liked to see a downhill stick welding setting though. It’s especially useful for pipeline welders.
Our biggest complaint with this welder is that it gets pretty poor fuel economy. For a machine that’s going to be running all day, every day, for weeks on end, we would like to see it be very economical with fuel. But it is very durable and reliable, and even after years of job site abuse it will still start up and perform with no issues. As long as you keep up on maintenance, this welder will be with you for a long time.
5. Lincoln Ranger 225 Multi-Process Welder Generator
Lincoln Electric is one of the most trusted names in welding equipment, so it shouldn’t be surprising that their welders have earned several spots on our list of the best pipeline welding machines. The Ranger 225 multi-process welder/generator is another great tool from them, and it’s well-suited for pipeline welding. The 100% duty cycle means that you can keep running this machine all day and still get great power and performance. With 10,500 watts of peak power supplied by the 23-horsepower Kohler motor, it can easily weld and simultaneously power the outlets to run any 120V or 240V tools. Surprisingly, this welder isn’t as loud as we expected, which is great for a machine that will likely be running all day.
The Ranger 225 is capable of flux-core, MIG, and TIG welding, but you’ll need an additional package to get wire-feed capabilities from it. The 12-gallon gas tank also isn’t the largest, so for all-day use, you’ll probably need to fill it up daily. In our testing, this device supplied even power and gave us no problems to report. If it didn’t need add-on kits for complete functionality, it would have been a contender for one of our top positions.
6. Hobart 500562 Engine Driven Generator/Welder
Hobart is known for producing high-quality equipment with a price tag that’s usually lower than the other big names in the field. Their 500562 engine-driven generator/welder is no exception. It’s a great welder with a lower price tag than many of the models it competes against. But it’s not perfect. It’s one of the louder machines we tested, something you’ll notice when using it for hours on end. You’ll also need to refill the gas tank more often because of its poor fuel economy. But it’s still very capable with 11,000 watts of peak power to supply electricity to your job site tools and weld simultaneously.
This machine is a proficient welder, able to join up to ½-inch metal in a single pass. But it can only perform shielded metal arc welding, so no TIG or MIG welding with this device. Even when powering tools with the supplied outlets, we never experienced any hiccups with our welding. This unit is very well-built and robust, and Hobart even protects it with a three-year warranty so you know your investment is safe.
7. Lincoln Electric Ranger 305 G
Able to perform five different welding processes, the Ranger 305G is another solid offering from Lincoln Electric. This model is a little older now, and some of the newest models have more digital offerings, but this one is still a very potent welder/generator. You’ll be able to perform stick, downhill stick, and TIG welding right off the bat. But if you want to perform any wire-fed welding processes, you’ll need the optional add-on wire feed kit.
The meters on this device are all digital, making it easy to read and adjust your settings for different kinds of welding. We experienced constant generator voltage no matter what weld settings we had the device set to. Altogether, it’s a great machine, but when you’re spending thousands on a piece of equipment, we’d prefer to get the latest and greatest instead of one that’s a bit outdated.
8. TOMAHAWK Engine Driven Generator/Welder
This engine driven portable generator/welder from Tomahawk Power is an affordable way to start pipeline welding, but it’s not built for the rigors of daily professional use. That said, it’s still a very capable machine, offering TIG, Stick, and manual metal arc welding. Unfortunately, it can only weld metal pieces up to ⅜-inches thick. This is partially because the engine is only putting out 15-horsepower. Compared to the 23-horsepower of most of the models we tested, this seems underpowered. Of course, it’s also a lot cheaper than those machines.
This generator/welder provides just two 120V outlets. You get no 240V capabilities. This reduces its usefulness on job sites where 240V tools are common. On the plus side, it’s very portable. At just 154 pounds, you could carry it if need be, but wheels are installed to make transporting it even easier. If it were more powerful, we’d probably give this machine a higher position on our list, but it would likely cost more as well. As it is, the TOMAHAWK generator/welder is relegated to the bottom spot on our list.
Pipeline welding is a very specific subset of welding, and it requires specialized equipment. We’ve tested quite a few of these very expensive machines to see which ones were worth investing in. Our reviews have shared a lot of the information we’ve compiled during our testing. Three of these devices stuck out to us as the best choices. One of these is the Bobcat 250 from Miller Electric, which we think is the best overall. It’s smaller than some of the other models, leaving you more room in your truck bed. But it’s still got plenty of power, producing up to 12,000 watts to run your welding and other tools simultaneously. It’s even got good fuel economy to save you money in the long run.
At a much cheaper price, the Hobart 500563 is our pick for best value. It’s engine-driven and supplies 120V and 240V outlets, and is lighter than competitors. But for professional performance, the Lincoln Electric Vantage 300 is hard to beat. It’s downhill welding capable, equipped with a 20-gallon gas tank, provides 12,500 watts of peak power, and is the welder/generator of choice when you need confident reliability for daily professional use.
- A Quick Comparison of our 2020 Favorites
- The 8 Best Pipeline Welding Machines
- 1. Miller Electric Bobcat 250 Welding Machine – Best Overall
- 2. Hobart Engine Driven Welder Generator – Best Value
- 3. Lincoln Vantage 300 Welding Machine – Premium Choice
- 4. Miller Electric Bobcat 225 Welder
- 5. Lincoln Ranger 225 Multi-Process Welder Generator
- 6. Hobart 500562 Engine Driven Generator/Welder
- 7. Lincoln Electric Ranger 305 G
- 8. TOMAHAWK Engine Driven Generator/Welder