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Portable Welder Shootout: Hobart Trek 180

Front Shot
Fred Williams
| Brand Manager, Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off Road
Posted April 1, 2011
Contributors: Rick Péwé, Kevin McNulty, Ali Mansour
Photographers: Alan Huber, Ali Mansour, Rick Péwé

For Garage & Trail

The Hobart Trek 180 is the jack-of-all-trades welder. At $1,200 it's not inexpensive, but it can be plugged in at home or taken on the trail as a rechargeable MIG welder. This makes it superior to the rest if you could only have one.

The Trek is packed into a small 51-pound suitcase, and although it can take up valuable cargo space it's also a lifesaver when you need to patch up your busted 4x4. This portable welder runs either flux core welding wire, or solid core wire and a shield gas, but the flux core is more convenient for trail welding since you don't need to lug along a tank. The welder also uses the small 2-pound wire spools so you need to buy a few extra for a big project.

The biggest downfall of the Trek is that when you use up the charge you're done welding until you can get to a 110V outlet for a recharge. One 90-minute charge will weld 3 to 6 feet of bead depending on material thickness, which is pretty good for your basic repair, though we would like to see an integrated 12-to-110 voltage inverter for recharging off your vehicle.

SPECS
HOBART TREK 180
Price $1,100-$1,400 depending on retailer
Output (amps) 25-180
Duty Cycle 20% at 120 amps
Thickness 24 gauge to 1/4-inch steel
Weight (lb) 51
Dimensions (in) 135/16 x 17 x 77/8

Pros
•Great welder for home or trail
•MIG welding is easy to learn
•Simple setup
•Great heat control

Cons
•Must be charged with 110V
•Only welds for 2-3 minutes (3-6 feet) on full charge

Photos

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Sources

Hobart Welders
N/A, AK
800-626-9420
http://www.hobartwelders.com

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