Harbor Freight TIG Welder – is it worth it?

Harbor Freight Tig Welder Vulcan ProTig 165

Harbor Freight Tig Welder: Vulcan ProTig 165

A review has been done on the inexpensive Harbor Freight TIG Welder.  There is a (very!) well made video at the end of this article.  Most of us know Harbor Freight as the place we’ll go to buy some cheap consumables but rarely do we spend money on something expensive there.  A rule of mine when purchasing from Harbor Freight is to be extremely cautious about buying anything that could be dangerous…a poorly made welder falls into this category. However, in this case, the Harbor Freight Tig Welder (Vulcan ProTIG 165) is worth it if the welding you are doing falls into the sweet spot for the welder itself.  With sophisticated features you’d normally find in much higher end units, and performance to boot, the Harbor Freight Vulcan line of welders is worth a serious look.

The welder is a true entry level system, providing everything you’ll need (except gas) to get started or to replace an existing welder:

  • Two cables, one for 110V, the other for 220V.
  • Tig torch – surprisingly good. You may expect a cheap or poorly made torch with this entry level unit but there are no complaints with this torch
  • Stinger – 150A
  • Hose for connecting Argon – the one that came with the unit was poorly made so was not used.
  • Ground clamp
  • Regulator – functional but fairly cheap.  You’ll probably want to use your own
  • Pedal – very well made, good response, solid feel
  • Nozzles, collets and bodies
  • Metal gauge – kinda cool…a useful little add-on (pics below):
Harbor Freight Tig Welder - metal gauge
Easy measuring of metal thickness on the front
Harbor Freight Vulan 165 Tig Welder - metal gauge
The backside of the metal gauge shows hundredths of an inch

The basics on this welder are as follows:

  • Weighs 20 lbs…easy enough to carry as needed
  • Supports 110v and 220v
    • On 110v, it’ll run 130 Amps at 25% duty cycle.
    • On 220V, it’ll weld up to 165 Amps with a 30% duty cycle.
  • 5 Modes
    • Tig/HF
    • Tig/Pulse (2 pulses/second, 50% peak amp, 30% background current, NOT changeable)
    • Tig/Lift
    • Tig/Lift w/pulse
    • Stick

Pros:

  • Cost
  • Size/weight
  • Easy to set up
  • User friendly

Cons:

  • 130/165 Amp limitation
  • Pulse is set – cannot be changed
  • DC only so no aluminum welding

If this sounds like a welder you are interested in, you can find it on Amazon here – take a look for the most recent pricing and for more details:

Harbor Freight Tig Welder – Vulcan ProTig 165

Let’s take a look at the video:

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