Vulcan PROTIG 165 Welder – The Complete Review
This is an in-depth Vulcan Welder review, we literally inspected every aspect of this Welder.
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Vulcan is the leading line of welders manufactured by Harbor Freight.
There are currently a few different models on the market today.
Each one has its own pros and cons, but overall they are exceptional machines for their price range.
That much is to be expected considering that they are coming from a well-known manufacturer with a decent reputation to maintain.
At the moment, only one Vulcan model welder is being sold on Amazon. It is the lightweight Vulcan PROTIG 165.
It’s a surprisingly popular model with very few currently left in stock, but more undoubtedly will be added soon.
What about the Vulcan PROTIG 165 makes it such a great machine? And what exactly are the pros and cons of this welder? Those questions and a few more will be answered in the following review.
The Vulcan PROTIG 165 Welder Specs
You should never purchase a piece of equipment without taking a close look at the specs. Especially when it comes to welding.
We did, and the specs for the 165 welder reveals a lot of information.
Perhaps the most noticeable stats are the weight and dimensions.
The Vulcan welder weighs only 20 pounds and comes in a compact package with
dimensions of 15” x 7.5” x 12”.
It’s pretty rare to have a high-quality welder with all of the features of the 165 stuffed into such a compact and lightweight model. Which we absolutely LOVE.
It’s safe to say that is one of the smallest TIG welders on the market capable of surviving a tough work environment.
It’s easy to see why it has become a preferred piece of equipment for on-site maintenance.
Lets go over the welding capacity, the wire size, weldable metals, and output amperage.
The welding capacity at 120V is 0.020 / 1/8th inch of steel.
At 240V that capacity increases to a range of 0.0203/16th inch of steel.
It’s fully capable of welding steel, stainless steel, ferrous casting metals, and chrome-moly steels.
It accomplishes this with 1/16th – 1/8th-inch electrodes for the stick welder or 0.040” – 5/64” tungsten electrodes for the TIG welder.
Finally, the minimum output amperage is 10 amps with an open circuit voltage of 15V.
Features, Accessories, And Guarantees
The Vulcan 165 may lack some of the “extras” that you’ll find on the much larger welders, but it has more than enough to ensure the job gets done every time.
We see it as a positive thing, as you save the money and most of these “extras” are not necessary anyway.
Harbor Freight went through the list and made sure to include the important features while cutting away the “fat” that often increases the price tag without really benefiting the customer.
The fact that you can easily weld using DC Stick or DC TIG equipment from the same power source and the same lightweight machine is impressive.
The necessary accessories and electrodes are of course different, but you can bring those along in the carrying case without adding too much to the overall weight.
Everything You NEED. No Fluff Included.
Most of the accessories that you’ll need come with the welder when you make your purchase.
A common problem that many other compact welders face is sub-par arc quality. Manufacturers often put such a heavy emphasis on decreasing the size and weight of the package that the quality suffers as well.
Harbor Freight, having plenty of experience in the field, managed to include high-frequency arc starting on the PROTIG 165.
You get the best possible arc quality every time you use the machine.
You don’t feel as though you’re sacrificing quality on the job just for a lighter piece of equipment.
Another interesting feature found on the PROTIG 165 is the built-in pulsing capability. It’s a simple feature that has a significant impact on heat distortion and travel speeds.
Heat distortion is greatly decreased while travel speeds are increased. Overall, it not only improves the quality of the weld but the time it takes to get the job done.
The ability to work with 120V or 240V AC makes it easy to bring the 165 on to any job site. There’s no need to hunt down a different welder or find an extension cord when all you have nearby is 240V.
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The PROTIG 165 includes a power cord for both of these voltage settings.
The internal converter efficiently converts this to a DC power source usable for stick or TIG welding.
As for what accessories come with the welder, that will depend on where you choose to purchase the welder.
The model available on Amazon includes a TIG torch, an electrode holder, and a foot pedal.
These are the same accessories that would come with the 165 if you were to purchase it directly from the manufacturer.
If you were to buy a used model from an unverified source, then those accessories may not be included.
Finally, the 1-year money back guarantee that comes with the Vulcan PROTIG 165 make it an absolutely risk-free purchase.
Harbor Freight fully supports the product and is certain that you’ll like it too. But if you don’t, then just send it back for a refund.
No machine is perfect, of course.
The Vulcan PROTIG 165, like every other welder, has its own list of pros and cons.
The major difference here is that this model has significantly more pros than it has cons.
The Pros Of Vulcan Welder :
1. Ultra lightweight (Weighs only 20 pounds.)
2. Dual welding capability ( Can perform stick welding or TIG welding from the same power source.)
3. 120V and 240V (Can use either AC voltage and includes a power cord for both.)
4. High-end features (high-frequency arc starting, lift arc starting, built-in pulsing.)
5. One year money back guarantee ( Buying the 165 is completely risk-free.)
The Cons Of The Vulcan Welder :
1. Lacks a lot of bells and whistles of other welders (on the flip side, it saves you money)
2. The Vulcan line is still pretty new (even though its manufactured by the experienced Harbor brand)
3. Not the cheapest welder out there. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, we recently reviewed the Hobart 190 mig welder, which is slightly cheaper. click here to read our full review.
The Bottom Line
We hope our vulcan welder review helped you make up your mind on wether you should buy it or not.
If you are interested in buying a lightweight stick and TIG welder that performs just as well as its larger kin, then you can’t go wrong with this model.
And if you feel like you made a mistake, you can send it back within a year and receive a full refund.
We absolutely love this welder. It is light weight, powerful and gets the job done.
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