MIG welding is arguably the easiest process to master, but you need the right equipment to get the job done. The Lotos MIG 175 may be just what you’re looking for. Many people start with a basic 140A welder, but once they outgrow it they are looking for a more powerful and versatile alternative that won’t break the bank.
The Lotos MIG175 175 amp, MIG welder has a spool free gun that you don’t typically see at this price point. So, if you need to weld aluminum on a tight budget this may be the ideal welder to meet your needs. Lotos offer this welding machine with a “Flux Core” option and despite a few flaws that are found on cheaper MIG welders it’s a great machine. We will examine the Lotos MIG 175 in more detail to help you make an informed purchasing decision.
Lotos MIG 175 Specifications
The Lotos MIG 175 is a decent MIG and Flux Core welding machine for non-industrial and occasional hobby shop use. Lotos has put together a comprehensive package to get you started.
- A MIG spool gun (for aluminum)
- MIG welding torch
- Cleaning brushes
- Welding mask
- 0.025” – 0.030” wire
- a pair of 0.023” and 0.035” contact tips
- Gas hose
- An argon regulator
- Ground clamp cable.
The standout feature is the spool gun that you don’t tend to see in MIG welding machines at this price. Together with the aluminum welding wire and the argon gas regulator, you’re ready to weld aluminum as soon as you connect a cylinder of shielding gas.
Welding aluminum is typically added to brand-name MIG welding machines as part of a premium grade bundle that can really ramp up the price. Some users have commented that the included spool gun is tricky to use. But a good spool gun can cost more than an entire budget grade welding machine and you do get what you pay for.
However, there are a few problems with the included accessories. The argon regulator doesn’t read the values exactly and it may be prone to bending or breaking. This means that you may consume excessive volumes of gas without realizing. It’s also fair to say that the contact tips are not the best quality, they tend to stick fast, and you will need aftermarket alternatives that will bump up the price slightly.
Finally, the supplied welding mask is no replacement for a proper welding helmet which represents a sound investment. Despite these issues, overall, we believe that the Lotos MIG 175 represents good value for money.
Lotos MIG175 175amp MIG welder Power
This welding machine runs from a 220v power outlet, and it has a built-in advanced transformer. But, it is possible to power the Lotos MIG 175 via a generator but it must have a minimum power output of 30 amps which would be at least 7000-watts.
If you lack a 220v outlet, there are alternatives, the Lotos MIG 140-amp model can be powered via a 110v outlet. Another option is a dual-powered MIG welding machine which would require further research and sourcing that unit is beyond the scope of this article.
If you’ve learned how to weld steel with a basic 140-amp welder, then you will really be able to up your game with the Lotos MIG175 175-amp welder. This machine has an output range of 30-175 amps which makes it an intermediate Flux Core and MIG welder.
With this welding machine you can weld mild steel and stainless steel from 18 gauge all the way up to ¼” with no problems. With the included spool gun, you can also weld aluminum plates up to 3/16”.
Duty Cycle of the Lotos MIG 175 Welder
As a MIG welding machine, this unit has a duty cycle rated at 20% when operating at 175 amps which rises to 30% at 135 amps. To put this into perspective, you can weld at maximum power for around 2 minutes, and then you will need to let the machine rest for 8 minutes. The best heavy-duty MIG welders work at 180 amps with a duty cycle of 20-30%. So, it’s easy to see that the Lotos MIG 175 is a reasonably powerful MIG welding machine, and many operators don’t have a problem with the duty cycle.
If all this sounds too good to be true, it’s important to understand that this is a budget friendly MIG welding machine and no product is perfect. It can be tricky to get a perfect bead and amperage changes can affect the consistency of the arc.
The aluminum welding settings can be too cold or hot and it takes time to adjust them to meet your specific needs. Beginners may struggle to get the most out of this welder and those seeking perfection may need to invest in a high-end welding machine that has a matching price tag.
Pros and Cons of the Lotos MIG 175
- This is a good choice for novice and more experienced welders that want to work on industrial projects.
- The inclusion of a spool gun on a welding machine at this price is impressive.
- The output current allows the operator to weld for longer periods.
- The advanced protection features include both an overload breaker and a temperature controller.
- A pair of electronic circuits prevent wire feeding damage
- The advanced transformer technology improves the performance and reliability of this welding machine.
- This welder allows the operator to weld steel, mild steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and more.
- This is a more functional, durable, and reliable welder than many other machines in this price range.
- This package is excellent value for money.
- The Lotos MIG 175 has a pretty steep learning curve.
- The motor drive can be pretty noisy.
- This is not a good choice for girder work.
- At 85 lbs, this is not a portable MIG welder.
- This is not a suitable welding machine for production line work,
- The power cord is thin.
Who is the Lotos MIG 175 Best For?
The Lotos MIG 175 is a well-designed budget friendly MIG welder with a lot of features. This welding machine would be a good option for DIY hobbyists and pros that want to take their welding to the next level without breaking the bank.
Some of the accessories will work at a basic level but upgrading to a better welding helmet and new contact tips will be a priority. This welding machine offers a lot for a modest investment and it’s an affordable way to start welding a wider variety of metals.