Hobart 500551 Review: Heavy-Duty Professional TIG Welder

Hobart 500551 Review

Photo: Hobart

What We Like

  • Supports AC/DC welding
  • Infinite amperage control
  • Prevents tungsten contamination
  • Intuitive fan protects the welder
  • Simplified control interface
  • Includes an AC foot remote control

What We Don’t Like

  • Relatively pricey in its class
  • No MIG welding support

Bottom Line

Heavy-duty AC/DC welding output, infinite amperage, and an easy to use interface make this TIG welder a reliable tool for professional welding tasks.

Introduction

If you’re a professional or hobbyist looking for an all-round TIG welder to support your intensive welding tasks with power and convenience, the Hobart 500551 is a wise pick.

It offers AC/DC output to accommodate the welding of aluminum and other materials. The 230-volt machine utilizes infinite amperage control to broaden the operating range and optimizes fan operation to safeguard the unit from dust and debris.

Hobart 500551 Review

Hobart 500551

Photo: Hobart

Performance: Heavy-Duty Professional-Grade Welding

The 500551 positions itself as a professional-grade TIG welder that excels in a broad range of applications, including auto body repair, auto body fabrication, metal art, signs building, home DIY application, vocational training, and many more.

To excel in these applications, high-performance is a necessity. And this welder delivers on that and much more, with its inverter-based AC/DC power source to support execution of more consistent welding arc that your typical welder would manage.

It has been equipped with advanced high-frequency starts technology, which works by relying on non-contact arc starts to eliminate tungsten and material termination. The system helps deliver cleaner and long-lasting welds on different materials.

In both AC and DC mode, the TIG welder outputs the same amperage range of 10-165 Amp, and you can exploit its full potential through the infinite amperage control offered by the welder. This feature broadens the heat control range and provides better arc performance.

As for material thickness support, both AC and DC mode will weld 22-gauge up to 3/16 inches of material. The difference is that AC output is used for welding aluminum while DC output welds other materials including steel, stainless steel, and chrome-moly.

The welder utilizes auto-postflow technology to eliminate the need for constant adjustment while providing the optimal shielding capacity based on the machine’s amperage output.

And to support the delivery of superior welds onto these materials, the welder comes equipped with a long 12.5-foot heavy-duty Weldcraft™ A-150 (WP-17) TIG torch. The torch has a backup backcap, collet and collet body, and 2% created tungsten.

Then there’s the equally long 12-foot work cable with clamp, to attach to the metallic workpieces you are welding. Combined, these cables help with maximizing the machine’s power and performance.

There’s a neat feature called Fan-On-Demand that you’re unlikely to find on many other welders. It works by controlling the fan such that it runs only when needed, and not continuously, to reduce debris and dust intake by your machine, especially given its power.  

Design & Construction: Durable Build with Simplified Interface

Overall, the welder is a very solid unit, with a strong metallic housing to enhance machine longevity and durability, especially given the professional and intensive applications it is intended to support on a regular basis. 

Because of the metal using, using this welder in fairly harsh operating conditions should not be a problem. However, because many of the welder’s components are live as it runs, avoid operating it in damp areas, especially when using the AC output option.

Switching to features and functionalities, the welder offers these through an easy-to-use control panel that even you will find surprisingly simplified for a machine of its class. There is a power switch, material switch, amperage control switch, remote receptacle, and LED indicators.

These controls are easy to figure out especially if you consult your user manual, that’s if you’re just getting started with TIG welding. It’s worth mentioning, however, that when using the material switch, you should be guided by the materials you intend to weld.

The remote control has been included for use during AC output. You simply hook it to the welder through the remote receptacle at the unit’s low front section. It’s important to remember its relevance in the welding process.

Portability: Weighty, but Offers Portability Features

At 50 pounds (23 kg) in weight, the 500551 is certainly not lightweight. You can lift and shift it across different spots in your workstation, for convenience, but carrying it across long-distance may ultimately prove challenging.

On the welder’s top section are 2 strong handles on either side of the tool’s length. The handles are welded into the chassis for firmness and strength. If you want to transport the unit across a considerable distance, you can use both hands, or even seek an extra hand from someone.

But when it comes to offsite portability, especially given the tool’s suitability for professional work, then weight becomes a minor issue because you can easily load the welder in your truck or van, and it will occupy minimal space given its well-balanced 23.875 x 17 x 9.875 inches size.

Finally, you can always enhance the welder’s worksite portability using the recommended Hobart 194776 Small Running Gear/Cylinder Rack. It a functional rack that accommodates both your welder and gas, for enhanced portability.

Accessories: High-Quality and Abundant

Your 500551 comes with everything you need to start using the welder right out of the box. You get a heavy-duty flow gauge with a hose to hook it up to the gas cylinder, and then to the gas-in fitting.

This setup also supports flow adjustment, which you require to regulate the amount of gas going into the welder. According to the user manual, the typical flow rate ideal for this welder is 20 cubic feet per hour.

Another handy accessory that comes with this welder is the AC dedicated remote control, which was discussed in detail earlier. Also, remember that to enhance the portability of the tool, you can grab yourself the recommended welder rack

Price: Competitive for The Professional Class

The Hobart 500551 is a premium welder, whose price exceeds the thousand-dollar mark, and while this nowhere new the pocket-friendly territory, it is expected for TIG welders in the professional category.

You are getting a welder that offers dual AC and DC power output, to diversify its support for welding many materials, including steel and aluminum (AC). This capacity is a key highlight of the professional-grade performance.

It simplifies operation significantly so that you can focus on the welding tasks at hand, while infinite voltage control helps with expanding the control range. There is also a lot of operational efficiencies that the tool delivers through features such as Fan-On-Demand.

A TIG welder that closely rivals the 500551 is Lotos TIG200ACDC. It is notably cheaper than the 500551 and offers dual 110/220V input power support alongside AC/DC output. However, it misses out on efficiency-boosting features such as infinite amperage control.

The TIG200ACDC is also slightly heavier and has a more sophisticated control panel that may prove intimidating to those just starting to get familiar with TIG welder. Hobart 500551 is a worthy choice for its balance of power, efficiency, and convenience.

Verdict

A high-performance TIG welder that supports professional welding with AC/DC output modes, simplified operation, and efficiency-boosting enhancements.

Hobart 500551 has proven reliable and efficient in delivering superior welds to a range of metals including steel and aluminum, through its invert-based power source and infinite amperage control.

Specs

  • Product Name: Hobart 500551
  • Product Brand: Hobart
  • Product Dimensions: 23.875 x 17 x 9.875 inches
  • Welding Process: TIG (GTAW)
  • Power Input: 220/230/240 volts
  • Power Output: AC/DC
  • Amperage Min.: 10 Amp
  • Amperage Max.: 165 Amp
  • Max. Open Circuit Voltage: 80 VDC
  • Material Thickness: 22.00 gauge up to 3/16 inch
  • Weldable Materials: Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Steel, Specialty metals
  • TIG Torch: 12.5 feet
  • Work Cable (w/Clamp): 12 feet
  • Product Weight: 50 pounds
  • Product Warranty: 3 years

Key Features

  • Inverter-based AC/DC power source for less power consumption
  • Infinite amperage control provides finer and broader-range operation
  • A non-contact start system eliminates material and tungsten contamination
  • High-capacity weld material support 22 gauge up to 3/16 inches
  • The Fan-On-Demand controls fan operation for reduced dust and debris intake
  • A simplified interface to promote ease of setup and operation
  • Convenient RFCS-RJ45 remote foot control for operational flexibility
  • Long 12.5-foot TIG torch and 12-foot work cable with clamp for superior reach
  • Versatile welder with support for aluminum, stainless steel, steel and chrome-moly

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