Welders - Buying New vs. Used


New member
I'm finishing up my welding course at my local Community College and want to buy a welder, primarily for Jeep related projects. Plans thus far include axle mods, shock mounts, possibly a cage, and a short-bed MJ off-road camping trailer. Probably nothing over 1/4" thick. I'm on the fence right now about which direction I want to go in terms of my purchase. I'm looking to spend in the area of $1000 for a GMAW welder and am pretty much set on Miller as that is what I've been using in class and Miller is also what my LWS primarily sells and services. So here's my dilemma...

I'm thinking the smartest thing for my intended use would be to buy a brand new MM211. I can get it new for just under $1K on-line or probably just over $1K when you factor in sales tax at my LWS. It's 110/220 capable, is supposed to lay down a nice bead, is small enough to be portable and not take up too much room in the garage, and would come with all the perks of buying a new machine from a reputable source. Consumables would undoubtedly push me over $1K when you factor in tips, tank, gas, wire, etc.

Then there's craigslist... For about $1K I can buy a used MM250. Unverifiable history, but most of them seem to include a tank, extra wire, and tips, not to mention it is an entry level shop quality machine. Downsides are that the MM250 seems to have a bad reputation for poor arc quality which resulted in Miller quickly coming out with the 250X, 250MP, and shortly thereafter the 251 when they supposedly got it all figured out. It's not portable, may have been used and abused, but again it is a shop quality machine and edges out the MM211 in amperage and blows it away in terms of duty cycle.

Also available on craigslist is the MM200. It seems to be a highly respected machine by those in the know as it has a "soft arc". I could probably get one of these for about $600-$800 with a tank, tips, and wire. Downsides are that the MM200's are anywhere from 20-30 years old, again with an unverifiable history. They also have voltage taps instead of infinite adjustability and are not portable either.

A used 251 or 252 would be awesome, but I haven't seen either of those for sale used for anything less than about $1700 so they are pretty much out of the running. I could also get an XMT304 for about $1500 on ebay which would give me GTAW capabilities, but I would also have to buy a wire feeder and a TIG torch, not to mention that it's DC only GTAW capability kind of bums me out as I would not be able to use it on aluminum.

So what would you buy? A brand new, unmolested MM211? A MM250 with a questionable reputation and uncertain past? An old but well respected MM200, again with an uncertain past? A used multi-process machine that would cost significantly more in the short term but could be a money saver in the long term as opposed to buying a separate GTAW machine? I have 220 available so that is not an issue. I don't know how important portability is at this point, but I don't intend on using the machine to make money so it will likely spend 99% of it's time in my garage. I'm working out of a garage so space is an issue, but once you factor in a cart and tank the MM211 is not that much smaller than a MM250. So what are your views? New vs. used? High end hobbyist machine vs. low end shop machine? Current technology vs. old school? Let's hear it...


New member
I bought a MM210 about 3-4 years ago. I dont regret it at all. So a MM211[newer model] will do all you want. If you take care of it ,it will last the rest of your life. And you wont be buying someone elses problem. Just my opinion.


New member
current technology= from what I understand old transformer welders are almost indestructable compared to the newer inverters ..I would buy a used 30 year old miller in a heartbeat if I had a big enough breaker to run it on..
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New member
I have the MM211 and can say it's been able to handle everything I've thrown at it. Haven't peaked the duty cycle yet, and I've been welding 5/16" on a regular basis with it.

Welded some 3/4" (beveled with max voltage) and was able to lay 2 continuous 4" long beads without a problem right after each other.

Not sure how much more beef you need.

The 110 was great while I waited for the electrician to setup the 220.


New member
I appreciate the feedback guys. I think I'm leaning toward buying a new MM211. As you guys mentioned, it should handle anything that I can throw at it considering that I'm not using it for production work. The flexibility of being able to bring it along with me and use it on 110V if necessary is also a good thing should the need arise.

I think it's my cheap a$$ side that has me thinking about buying a used MM200 or MM250. I'm all about buying quality and only buying things once, but I'm always trying to get the most bang for the buck at the same time. Sometimes I get carried away and end up buying far more "bang" than I need just in the name of getting a good deal.

Unless the deal of the century on a used machine comes up soon, I'll probably pull the trigger on the MM211 the next time Miller has a local roadshow or has one of their seasonal promotions. I just missed the Summer Savings promotion which would have gotten me $100 off a spool gun, but I did get $25 off a Miller Elite helmet. Loving that thing...


New member
dude i did the same thing u did as far as go to school. i went to no limit fab school. if ur going to buy a miller then hands down buy a used one let me stress this SAVE THE MONEY. u will not have any problem with the miller. they r great machines and always have been. now a lincoln or hobart or etc. buy new. my findings r that people who paid the miller price didnt trash the machine so buying it used is ok. then like u said it willl probaly come with the bottle reg etc. i didnt really care much for the 100 220 combo unit though. either go big or go small. alot of guys like 110 units for sheet metal and smaller stuff like that. im going to go for the small 220 machine. it will burn 3/8 no problem. my problem is nobody wants to let them go so i might have to buy a new one.