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If you’ve been doing welding for a while, you’ve probably heard of Eastwood, which is known for its TIG welders. The company also manufactures and sells MIG and multi-process welders that are considerably inexpensive. The lower prices put doubts in the minds of some buyers, but those who gave Eastwood units a try were pleasantly surprised. Having good reviews across the Internet, these products are nowhere near bad.
But who makes Eastwood welders?
In 1978, Curt Strohacker started advertising buffing wheels on tiny page ads in magazines. That’s basically how Eastwood started — in a suburban garage in Philadelphia. Curt was a high school student who worked in a service station, but he was skilled enough to repair cars even then. He learned car restoration, and he was already buying and selling cars at a young age. The good thing about that year was that the automotive refurbishing market began to flourish. That was the time when he realised that he could be more efficient if he had the right tools and techniques. Later that year, he launched a business that would serve budding automotive customisation and restoration hobbyists. Eastwood was born.
Fast forward to 2019, Kian Capital acquired Eastwood, which now has grown to producing more than 5,000 products, including welding and metal fabrication equipment (1).
Eastwood Elite MP140i Multi-Process Welder
Should you buy Eastwood welders?
The short answer is yes. Of course, the decision depends on many factors. One thing is for sure: Eastwood is an amazing brand. Their welders work, and that’s why buyers are satisfied.
One of the main worries about these machines is the parts are made in China. We have discussed a few times that just because the materials are made in China, it doesn’t mean the final product is dirt cheap. These units still go through a series of quality checks before they are put on the market.
Eastwood is known for their TIG welders, which are obviously cheaper than those from the more popular brands. Nonetheless, the company is relatively new to the industry and hasn’t established a tight traction yet. That’s why buyers are hesitant even though they are interested.
However, there’s no question that Eastwood’s MIG, TIG, and multi-process welding machines are decent alternatives to their costly counterparts. For beginners and occasional weekend warriors, Eastwood offers reliability at a much lower cost. But if you’re a professional or industrial welder who does metal fabrication every day, you probably should just check out Miller or Hobart.
Most beginners don’t need to buy the most expensive, the most well-reviewed, and the most heavy-duty unit on the market anyway. In many cases, that’s a mistake. Beginners usually will try welding as a hobby. At some point, they may outgrow their first set of equipment and upgrade to units with better features — or they may realise they don’t really want to take the hobby any further. The inexpensive brands that are great for light-duty operations offer a good learning curve and experience for anyone who’s still testing the waters.
A good example is the Eastwood TIG 200 AC/DC. It is a good option for hobbyists and DIY welders, but professionals can use it too. This is a square-wave inverter machine that’s sold at an affordable price. Quite a reliable tool for DIYers, it can be used for doing automobile repairs or pipeline welding. As long as you’re not using it to weld thick materials more than 1/4-inch thick, you’re good.
The Eastwood TIG 200 has 60% duty cycle at 190 amps, which is impressive for its price. That means you can weld for 6 minutes straight before the machine cools down for another 4 minutes. The duty cycle increases, of course, if you weld at lower amperage.
Eastwood makes awesome MIG welders too. One example is the Eastwood 175 MIG, which you can use for sheets as thin as 14 gauge or plates as thick as 1/4 inch. This machine can be used for aluminium, bronze, and steel. It comes with a free spool gun, so you don’t need to buy your own. You may find its 30% duty cycle at 130 amps underwhelming. However, the well-placed controls allow for convenient welding. Setting the output voltage and amperage is a no-brainer.
Popularity of a brand drives a buyer’s decision. The thing is that Eastwood isn’t that popular among welders across the board yet, so professional welders aren’t ready to recommend it. But you really can’t blame them, because Hobart, Lincoln, and Miller have been in the welding industry for so long that their welding machines have been used and vouched for by so many welders. With newcomers, like the Eastwood, that’s not the case, and it’ll take time before a substantial number of people will vouch for its quality.
Even so, Eastwood is getting a fair amount of traction in the industry, and soon enough there’ll be more people advocating for this brand. Needless to say, as long as you keep your expectations in check, you’re hardly ever making a wrong decision if you choose a brand that has been in the business for more than 40 years.