In the welding world, there are many known products whose legacy lasts a lifetime. One of those trusted products is the Lincoln 225 welder from Lincoln Electric. From its appearance to its performance, the Lincoln arc welder 225 is an iconic welder with a reputation for more than four decades. It is considered the go-to for many seasoned metal fabricators.
The Lincoln 225 stick welder won't let you down and gets the job well done. You can carry it effortlessly and use it with zero trouble. But as reliable as it sounds, some people are still looking for a modern and cheaper alternative to this welder. If you are one of those people, check out this review of the Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST.
What Makes the Lincoln 225 Stick Welder Special?
Let's look at what makes the classic Lincoln AC 225 stick welder reputable among metal fabricators. Agricultural workers, pipe workers, fabrication enthusiasts, and full-time industrial workers share the same love for this Lincoln Electric stick welder. Here are some reasons why it developed a cult following throughout the decades.
Keeps It Simple
The iconic tombstone design of the Lincoln AC 225 is easily recognizable even among new fabricators. This design makes it portable, so you can effortlessly carry the AC225 anywhere.
Your chosen alternative to this Lincoln Electric stick welder should also be portable so you can carry it from one place to another without breaking a sweat. For reference, the Lincoln Electric AC weighs around 43 kilograms or 96 pounds. A lightweight alternative should be significantly lighter than the AC225.
Rough But Fast Work
Stick welders can come in AC or DC configurations. AC welders tend to work faster and more efficiently, while DC welders render smoother welders. The AC225 welder is an AC stick welder, so you can expect it to perform efficiently and quickly consistently, but take note: it won't be pretty!
If the smoothness or neatness of your output matters to you, pick a DC stick welder. With DC welding, you get the benefits of minimal spatter and a more stable and smooth arc. Aside from these benefits, DC welding also penetrates deeper into metal than AC welding. Unfortunately, these benefits come with a few trade-offs.
Impressive Raw Power
Many modern welders exchange powerful rated output for other features. For instance, multi-process welders have become more common these days. They let you use different welding processes such as TIG welding, MIG welding, and stick welding using the same machine. However, they sacrifice power for convenience.
The AC225 welder can easily work with thick sheet metal (including stainless steel) with its 225 amp AC output. You can weld through sheet metal, pipes, and other stainless steel workpieces 16-gauge thick. An alternative welder should be able to perform as well as the AC225 without sacrificing its other features and specifications, like its weight, for example.
Introducing the Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST
The Lincoln AC225 stick welder may seem outdated and impractical by today's standards. Multi-process welders have flooded the market and are sold for cheap compared to high-end single-process welders. Fortunately, the Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST presents a viable and modern alternative to the AC225.
- Available on Amazon for $339.99
- Comes with a rated output of 180 amps
- Can weld mild steel with a thickness of up to 1/2 inches
- Configured to either 120-volt or 230-volt of input
- Comes with Easy Start Technology for stress-free operation
- Encloses its delicate internal components with a rugged all-metal case
- Produces a stable and smooth arc even when powered by a generator or similar power source
- Comes with a handle and weighs only 14 pounds or 6.4 kilograms
Does More Than Stick Welding
Cash-strapped metal fabricators should keep practicality in mind, especially when buying welding equipment. A fabricator's essential toolkit consists of welders, cutters, and consumables. It would be ideal if you could buy two machines for one. Fortunately, multi-process welders can spare you from spending too much money on multiple welders.
If you wish to buy a TIG welder in addition to a stick welder, you're in luck. The Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST can do stick and TIG welding. This dual-process welder allows you to work on various projects requiring different welding processes without buying an entirely separate machine.
Adequate Duty Cycle
If you didn't know already, duty cycle rating shows how much you can use a machine without overheating or malfunctioning. Manufacturers measure the duty cycle of their machines by operating them at a specific amperage for a certain period. So if you have an intense and long workflow, you may want a machine with a higher duty cycle.
The Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST has a duty cycle and rated output that satisfies your needs. At 120 volts, it can operate at a duty cycle of 30%, while it can do 25% at the higher and more powerful 230-volt input. Admittedly, seasoned welders may find these duty cycle ratings lacking or very limiting.
If your work demands that you travel from one site to another frequently, you need a welder that weighs little and can easily be transported. Unfortunately, more powerful and full-featured welders have a heavyweight and bulky design. Smaller and less powerful welders shine in this aspect, making them perfect for lighter fabrication work.
Weighing only 14 pounds or 6.4 kilograms, the Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST can effortlessly be transported to and from your work sites. If you need a quick automobile repair at your garage, you can easily take it out from your storage and start working. This featherweight welder can weld through thick mild steel at the promised 180 amperage rating despite the small size.
The AC225 withstood the test of time because of its reliable performance and outstanding build quality. Some seasoned welders have decades-old AC255 welders that still work up to this day. Due to its outstanding durability, they only needed to replace a few Lincoln 225 welder parts to restore it to brand-new condition.
Likewise, the Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST strives to achieve long-lasting durability through its all-metal casing. In addition, the rugged housing protects its sensitive internal electrical components from damage caused by external hazards. As a result, you can expect this welder to survive a few bumps and knocks as you use it regularly.
Welders expand their functionalities and enrich their features using welding accessories. Because of this, most welders come with a basic set of accessories right out of the box. So if you don't have the essentials already, you can get started with the manufacturer-provided accessories.
Unfortunately, Forney only provided a few welding accessories with the welder itself. You can find more accessories, consumables, and related products with other welders in the same price bracket. While this sounds like a minor inconvenience, new metal fabricators will appreciate having a complete starter kit.
No one can deny that the Lincoln Electric AC 225 deserves its legendary status among welders. However, buying a single-purpose welder with limited features is no longer practical today. If you want a reliable stick welder, many alternatives offer better specifications and features for the money.
The Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST offers a compelling welder considering its price and features. Aside from minor complaints, this dual-process welder will satisfy most metal fabricators looking for a suitable alternative to the Lincoln Electric AC 225.
Do you find this Forney welder unfit for your needs? Then, head to our welder section to read more welder and related product reviews!