Metal inert gas welding is used by automotive shop workers, metalworking hobbyists and those who work in the metal fabrication field. The Millermatic 252 MIG welder may help you complete hobby or work projects, and reviewing its abilities, specifications and features can help you decide if it is the right machine for you.
The Millermatic 252 MIG Welder: A Comprehensive Review
Whether you own an auto shop, a construction business or simply enjoy metalworking as a hobby, owning a metal inert gas welder can be both useful and convenient. MIG welders have been in use across a variety of fabrication industries since the mid-20th century. Its first application was on light metals, such as aluminum, but today, this welder can work on a large variety of metals, including several different kinds of steel, nickel, copper and even some metal alloys. If you are considering adding a MIG welder to your shop but are not completely familiar with the variety of brands available, you may be interested in learning about the Millermatic 252. This unit is one of the many welding and cutting machines available from the Miller brand, which specializes in fabrication equipment, accessories and consumables.
About the Millermatic 252
This MIG welder bonds metal materials together and is suitable for jobs up to ½” thick. As with other welders of this type, the unit works by using a consumable wire and an electric arc. When the welder pulls the trigger on the welding gun, the charge created by the wire and the arc heats the metal pieces you are working with, fusing them together. Several different wires that are compatible with the Millermatic 252, which might help you complete an array of projects without having to own different types of MIG welders.
This Miller MIG welder comes standard with a rolling cart that allows you to move it around your shop as needed. The power cord is ten feet long, while the gun cable reaches a maximum length of 15 feet. The 250-amp M-25 MIG gun uses .030/.035-inch wire, which does not come with the welder. The front panel of the welder features a digital readout so you can ensure the feed speed and voltage units are correct before you begin your job. The unit, which welds stainless steel, aluminum and standard steel, is suitable for welding in small fabrication shops, farm welding jobs, auto shop work and for creating metal sculptures.
Unique Features of the Millermatic 252
As you browse MIG welder options, you may be interested to know about a few features that make the Millermatic 252 different from other similar units. One unique point is that this welder has the highest arc output of welders in its class size, delivering 250 A at 28 VDC. If you have projects that require a continuous or longer weld, this welder might be a good fit for your workshop.
Some features of this MIG welder are unique to the brand, such as the Auto Gun Detect system. This feature is designed to save you time when welding, as the gun remembers the previous settings of the last weld, including the voltage of the weld and what wire feed speed you were using. This can be useful when you are working on larger jobs, as you will not need to recalibrate the welder each time you use the gun. This feature is compatible with the unit’s available spool and push/pull guns as well.
Another unique highlight of the Millermatic 252 is the built-in welding parameter chart and consumable compartment, which allows you to note weld settings at a glance and adjust them with a touch as needed. The storage compartment allows you to arrange wire, nozzles, drive roller parts and other small accessories within easy reach. Because these are both included in the standard rollaway cart, you will not need to purchase them separately.
The Millermatic 252 is available for purchase on the company’s website and from local authorized dealers. The manufacturer’s price is listed at $2,549, while the cost from authorized dealers is typically higher. While your welding budget will probably dictate whether you can afford this unit, its variety of features, durability and available accessories may make it a worthy investment for your workshop.
When pricing this MIG welder, it is important to note that you will need to buy some parts separately, including:
- Cylinders of shielding gas for solid wire welding
- An aluminum spool gun
- Different types of welding wire
- Welding safety gear (face shield, gloves, helmet)
- Weld fume filter
- Shielding gas filter
Including these items in your MIG welder budget can help you gauge how much you might need to spend to set up your system and what future manufacturing costs may be. This can be especially important if you plan to use shielding gas, as it can cost anywhere from $130-$140 or more per cylinder, and the containers themselves will set you back $100-$200, depending on their size and brand. If you are new to MIG welding, you might want to put off solid wire welding until you are more familiar with the process and decide whether you need to use it in your shop.
What Others Are Saying About the Millermatic 252
Miller products are well known among metalworkers, and their machinery is popular in small to mid-sized fabrication shops across the country, including the Millermatic 252. Those who have purchased this unit have given it high marks when it comes to its ease of use, durability and its high output, which allows them to work on projects longer without having to add more wire.
One feature that many users have discussed is the built-in storage compartment and flip-down voltage chart. They noted that having the chart accessible right inside the MIG welder made it simpler to find the proper parameters for each job. Some liked the storage, as it made cleanup time at their shop easier and consumables were misplaced or lost less often. If your shop has limited storage space or you are in the process of setting up your workspace, this built-in drawer may help you keep track of your consumables.
Some users who have large welding projects or create the same types of welds throughout the day appreciate this MIG welder’s auto-gun detect feature, as the recall system allows them to work continuously without having to recalibrate the unit’s voltage each time they use the gun. This allowed them to save time, complete more welds and finish projects ahead of schedule. Metalworkers who use their Miller MIG welder throughout the day appreciate the dual-gear drive system, which allows for faster and smoother consumable wire feed.
How it Compares to Other MIG Welders
If you own a Miller 212 MIG Welder and want to upgrade to a 252 or are buying for the first time and wonder how the 252 stands up to other units in its class, we have a few comparison details that might help you decide which option is best for you. Lincoln and ESAB, both of which manufacture different types of welding and metal cutting machines, have MIG welders that are comparable to the Millermatic 252 in size and capability. However, there are a few differences you may want to consider as you shop.
- Diamond Core Technology – Delivers a forgiving arc
- MAXTRAC cast aluminum industrial wire drive – Features dual driven rolls
- Digital meters - For set up, meters display your preset voltage and wire feed speed. During welding, actual voltage is displayed.
- Magnum PRO gun and cable 15 ft. (4.5 m) - Makes it easy to reach your work.
- Copper Plus contact tips - Larger tip diameter and mass improves heat dissipation to increase tip life.
The Lincoln Power MIG 256 offers nearly the same kind of power output as the Millermatic 252. Both machines have dual-driven rolls to deliver welding wire smoothly. The Lincoln model also comes standard with a rolling cart; however, it lacks the shielding gas storage rack that comes standard on the Miller brand unit. This can make transporting and changing heavy cylinders simpler. The MIG guns on both products feature a 15-foot flexible cable, a built-in consumables tray and can work with a spool gun adapter.
The Lincoln MIG welder stands up quite well to the Miller 252 in terms of the jobs it can handle. However, the Millermatic’s many features tip the scales with some users because of its convenience and because it offers them a variety of tools and add-ons that are not available with other welders in this class. From the ease of cleanup to portability, we noticed a range of differences.
The Millermatic 252 Difference
While users note that the Miller brand MIG welder is slightly higher in cost than the Lincoln model, most say that the auto fire gun and other special features make it worth the price. The Miller welder also has a drive unit that runs in reverse and a tension tool that makes changing wire types simple, and some users found this feature cut down on tangles and welding wire kinks that can result in downtime.
We noticed that Miller’s warranty is superior to the one offered by Lincoln. While the latter provides a limited industrial warranty, the Miller TIG welder comes with a 3-year program that covers most parts and labor. Although some parts of the welder are covered separately under their own specific manufacturers, coverage is more complete than other brands. It is important to mention, however, that consumables or damage covered by any accessories are not covered under this warranty. We recommend reviewing the warranty for any welder you consider, as this can prevent unhappy surprises later if you run into a problem, only to discover you do not have coverage.
What We Think
To help you make the most informed decision about your MIG welder needs, we have compared the pros and cons of each unit. Overall, we have found that the Millermatic 252 is a superior machine with few drawbacks. Few users had any serious complaints, although there were some reports of problems with an inconsistent arc. However, since results might vary depending on the user’s experience, electrical system and other variables, this issue may be the result of outside influences and not because of errors in the welder. It is also important to remember the limitations of any MIG welder you purchase to get the best possible results.
Because of the Millermatic’s auto-gun feature, some users believe that even first-time users will have little trouble using it. However, after reviewing the best uses for this MIG welder, we think you should have at least a bit of experience with these machines before attempting to use this brand. While it delivers a high-quality arc for most jobs, it may not be the best choice for inexperienced metalworkers or hobbyists. If you are new to MIG welding, you may want to start out with a unit with lower voltage, such as the 212. It is also important to put safety first while using the welder and be aware of what type of protective equipment is required. We found the Millermatic to be most useful in the automotive, farming and light fabrication sectors, although innovative welders might have found other unique jobs for it as well.
How To Find Miller Coupons and Deals
If you find that the cost of the Millermatic 252 stretches your welding budget, you may be able to find discounts on it and on other Miller machines on the company website. Currently, Miller is offering the Build With Blue program, which provides buyers with rebates up to $500 on certain welders and other equipment. These rebates extend to Miller accessories as well, which means you may be able to save money on building your workshop’s welding collection. This rebate program ends June 30th, 2018, so you may want to shop soon to take advantage of the savings.
You may also be able to find special deals and rebate offers through authorized Miller dealers near you. The website has a one-click guide that directs you to dealers in your area, which can be useful if you want to discuss the features with a knowledgeable salesperson. If there are no current rebates or sales on the Millermatic 252 at this time, you may want to check back every month or so to see if the manufacturer has posted new offers. Many local dealers post ads for deals around holidays and long weekends, so it is a good idea to keep an eye out during this time. Signing up for digital flyers and weekly ad specials may also help you find a good deal on a Millermatic welder.
Some Final Thoughts
Owning a MIG welder can increase your shop’s productivity and allow you to take on welding projects you may have had to turn down in the past. While your budget and welding needs will likely dictate what type and brand of welder you buy, we recommend the Millermatic 252 because of its overall features, value and versatility. Remember to review your shop’s voltage and electrical abilities before you purchase any MIG welder to ensure you can work safely and tackle your MIG welding jobs with confidence and passion.