ESAB 186i Multi Process Welder Review

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In Brief: Review of ESAB 186i Welder

The ESAB 186i is a multi-process welding machine which is generally used for a number of professional as well as domestic/hobby applications. The 186i can weld aluminum in addition to other non-ferrous metal alloys. The machine can be run on both AC/DC sources and has variable controls to set the machine for complete TIG and Stick welding solutions.

The ESAB 186i is a welding machine that is capable of performing TIG and stick welding processes and can weld numerous types of metals and alloys, in addition to materials like non-ferrous alloys stainless, mild steel and chrome alloys. 

The welder is used in industries like automotive, transportation, light fabrication, repair/maintenance. The machine has digital meters for displaying voltage and amperage and trigger control.

It is also compatible with a foot pedal and a torch slide control. 

The 186i is manufactured by Sweden based company ESAB which founded by 1904. The company develops and produces welding and cutting equipment all over the weld.  

The following section will elaborate on the specifications of the welder. 

Key Specifications of ESAB 186i Welder

The ESAB 186i is a single-phase constant current welder is capable of performing Stick and TIG welding processes. The welder can weld up to 3/8 inches steel or 3/16 inches aluminum.

The product weighs just over 48 lbs. The product’s maximum amperage output is 200 Amperes. 

The welder’s AC square wave frequency can be adjusted when operating on aluminum for optimal performance.

The pulsed TIG feature on the machine also allows the user to reduce heat input when working on thinner material by alternating the weld current.

The 186i also dons a hot start feature which ensures a consistent arc starting. This feature can be used for Stick as well as TIG welding. The welder’s overload protection feature protects the internal electrical components from overheating and further damage.

ParametersDetails
Product Weight
48.4 lbs
Input Voltage208, 230 V
Input Phases1 Phase
Supported ProcessesAC/DC TIG
DC Stick
Pulsed TIG
Weld compatible metalsNon-ferrous alloys, Aluminum
Nominal Open Circuit Voltage70.3V DC / 50V AC
Input Frequency50/60 Hz
Maximum Input Current35.6 A
Current typeAC / DC
Power Cord10 ft.
Maximum Output200 A
Dimensions (L x W x H)18.7 x 9.5 x 15.8 in³
Current RangeTIG - 10 to 200 A
Stick - 10 to 170 A
TIG Welding Output
200 A/18 V at 20% duty cycle
116 A/14.6 V at 60% duty cycle
90 A/13.6 V at 100% duty cycle
Stick Welding Output170 A/26.8 V at 15% duty cycle
100 A/24 V at 60% duty cycle
80 A/23.2 V at 100% duty cycle

How to install/setup the ESAB 186i Welder

The 186i just requires the connection of the torch and a gas cylinder for operation.

The connection starts with attaching the ground clamp cable to the positive output terminal, making sure the electrical connection is achieved. 

The torch is connected through the negative terminal and an 8-pin socket. The TIG torch gas hose also has to be attached to the gas outlet.

The welder requires Argon for running the TIG process, for which a gas cylinder and regulator have to be installed along with the torch. After the gas and torch are successfully connected the welder is ready to operate.

When the ET 186i AC/DC is used with foot control for current control, the depression of the foot pedal is used for increasing and maximizing the current input. The welder has both AC and DC output so that the user can operate on aluminum as well as other non-ferrous metals. 

The following video explains the use and application of the welder:

 

Warranty/Repairs

The ESAB 186i comes with a warranty of 3 years which covers all parts of the welder. The company also provides support for repairs on damages and replacement parts online.

For assistance on warranty claims or product repairs, buyers can contact the company from the following link:

https://www.esabna.com/us/en/support/contact/index.cfm

Customer Review Analysis

A number of reviews from various retail sites such as Amazon, ESAB, and Home Depot were analyzed and a consensual opinion on the product was found.

The reviews were very positive and buyers were impressed by the welder’s versatility of performing a number of welding processes.

The welder is also lightweight and portable according to many reviews. Buyers were also very pleased with the accessibility of the welder as the digital meters and trigger control were heavily lauded by many users. 

The welder also includes a setup chart which helped many beginner welding enthusiasts to set up the machine by providing a comprehensive guide to parameters.

Many experienced welders also lauded the welder’s capabilities as a medium to heavy-duty welder as it can generate a high amount of power for its relatively compact size.

 

Pros/Cons of the ESAB 186i Welder

After reading up on consumer reports and expert comments, we drew the following pros and cons:

Pros

  • Ease of installation and setup
  • High power output
  • High range of weld thickness
  • Variable power output
  • Multi-process
  • Portable and compact
  • High Duty cycle
  • Multiple input voltage options
  • Overload Protection
  • Smooth arc start

Cons

  • Not compatible with a residential power source

 

Recommended Accessories with ESAB 186i Welder

The following accessories are included with the machine in order to make the machine usable from the get-go:

  • Ground Clamp with lead
  • Electrode Holder with lead
  • 4 general purpose stick electrodes
  • TIG Torch
  • Argon Flow Gauge and hose 

FAQs

Can this machine be used for stick welding?

Yes, the machine is capable of stick welding with separately bought accessories.

Can this machine run in the 120V residential plug?

No, the machine cannot be used through a 120V plug.

What is the warranty we get with this product?

The product has a standard 3 warranty. 

Is it capable of weld stainless steel and aluminum?

Yes, it is capable of welding both the materials.

Does the welder require a shielding gas, if yes, then which one?

Yes, it requires Argon gas.

Our Recommendation

The 186i is an inexpensive and versatile welder that can be used for a variety of purposes ranging from hobby projects to light industrial work.

The welder can perform TIG and Stick welding on a number of materials such as aluminum and other non-ferrous alloys. The welder is accessible and has a very low learning curve. 

The product has a high power output making it easy for the welder to operate on heavier and thicker materials.

The utilities that come with the welder are also of good quality and very useful, the buyer would not be required to purchase many accessories to work with the machine.

The welder is recommended to be used for light, medium or moderately heavy-duty jobs.

Linda Wilson
About Linda Wilson

Linda has been involved with various home improvement projects for more than a decade. She has experience working with multiple power tools and welding equipment. She loves traveling and cooking.

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