The Eastwood MP250i qualifies as a professional, multi-process welder that doesn’t break the bank.
Offering high-end features that the big brands like Hobart, Lincoln, and Miller don’t, the MP250i is an excellent welder for heavy-duty work.
In this article, you will learn about its pros and cons. We will also discuss how it fares against other top multi-process welders and review the best and worst features to help you determine if this welder is for you.
Eastwood has recently upgraded the MP250i to vie with the top multi-process welders and then some. They replaced the old TIG scratch start with a High-Frequency (“HF”) start, added support for a TIG pedal, and installed a gas system dedicated to the TIG process.
Additionally, Eastwood modified the built-in cart to accommodate two gas bottles and added storage hooks for effortless work organization.
|Output Current Type
|MIG: 50A –250ATIG: 15A –250AStick: 25A –250A
|60% at 250A
|Mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum
|Weldable Mild Steel Thickness (Single-pass)
|Up to 1/2 in.
|Wire Feed Speed
|78 – 629 IPM
|Accepted Wire Sizes
|.030″ / .045″ Steel wire
.030″ / .045″ Flux-core wire
.030″ / .035″ Aluminum wire
|Best Price Here
- Performance: 4.5/5
The Eastwood MP250i directly competes with the top brands, achieving arc and weld quality that’s almost on par with more expensive units. It’s one of the best performing multi-process welders, especially for the price.
- Power: 5/5
Offering more welding power than almost all the available multi-process units it competes with, it’s the most powerful welder in this price category.
- Features: 5/5
With a plethora of professional features, the MP250i can tackle just about everything you throw at it. Besides the critical features like dual gas input valves and HF start, it includes touches like quick wire feed to make your work more convenient.
- Portability: 2.5/5
This is not a portable welder. You can move it around your shop thanks to its built-in cart, but you can’t take it with you because of its hefty weight.
- Price: 5/5
The MP250i is a powerful, feature-rich, professional welder that doesn’t have many downsides. Eastwood priced it reasonably, handily taking the top spot as the best-value, multi-process welder for pros.
- Manufacturer support: 5/5
Eastwood is a USA company with decades of experience, and their 3-year warranty is on par with the leading brands. The customer support is quick to reply and happy to help solve problems or answer all product-related questions.
Overall Verdict: 4/5
It would have been a five if this welder were lightweight. Even so, it’s still one of the best multi-process welders on the market, especially for the price. The build quality, features, and performance exceed the market value, making the MP250i a strong candidate among the multi-process, powerful, value-priced welders.
- Inexpensive compared to competing models
- Excellent build quality
- Stable, smooth arc for all welding processes
- High-Frequency TIG arc start
- Everything is included
- TIG pedal support
- Phenomenal duty cycle and amperage output
- Supports dual voltage input
- Welds up to 1/2 in. thick in a single pass
- High maximum wire feeding speed
- Advanced Squarewave IGBT inverter technology
- Long torch leads, power cable, and foot pedal connection
- Supports two independent shielding gas systems for MIG and TIG
- Includes two gas regulators
- Supports massive 44 lbs solid or flux-cored wire spools
- Easy to use
- Built-in wheeled cart with support for two gas tanks
- VRD support
- Native spool gun support for welding aluminum
- Infinitely adjustable voltage, amperage, and wire speed
- Multiple advanced settings like 2T/4T
- 3-Year warranty
- Extremely heavy and not portable
- Basic digital displays
- It doesn’t support AC TIG output
What To Know Before Buying The Eastwood MP250i
The MP250i competes with far more expensive welders. But it’s not perfect; no welder is. So, let’s address the deficiencies upfront to help you decide if this welder is right for you.
Inverter Based, But Heavy as Transformers
The Eastwood MP 250i is almost as heavy as the Hobart Ironman 240, a transformer-based MIG welder. While the MP250i utilizes the latest IGBT inverter technology, it’s not a portable welding machine.
You can move the MP250i around your shop thanks to the built-in wheels, but that’s about it. Eastwood did not design it for welding on the go, and it requires sufficient space, considering its size. This welder works best for welding shops or other professional environments, not small garages or other tight spaces.
More expensive welders like Millermatic 215, Lincoln PowerMIG 210, and Hobart Multi-Handler 200 have significantly better-looking digital displays. Better screens improve the user experience with centralized, digital menus. There are not as many buttons as found on the Eastwood MP250i control panel.
While this might be considered a shortcoming, the MP250i is less expensive. The features are still there but controlling them requires more analog buttons and knobs.
The MP250i has two plain digital displays only capable of showing amperage, wire feed speed, and voltage. Middle-of-the-pack” welders include this kind of rudimentary digital readout, even though the MP250i competes with the high-end welders.
DC TIG Welding Only
The MP250i supports DC TIG welding but not AC TIG. This omission is not a con, considering that none of the competing models include AC TIG support. It’s just something to be aware of before making your purchase since welding aluminum requires an AC TIG output. The included DC TIG welds mild steel and stainless steel.
It would be unrealistic for the MP250i to include AC TIG support because it would be competing with Multimatic 220 and ESAB Rebel 205ic, which are drastically more expensive.
How The Eastwood MP250i Stacks Up
Eastwood designed and made an excellent multi-process welder when upgrading its previous MP250i to the current model. Most competing models will have to follow suit or risk falling behind.
The more expensive Lincoln Power MIG 210 and recently released Hobart Multi-Handler 200 offer considerably less value than the MP250i. The Millermatic 215 competes better with MP250i but falls short in many vital areas, and it’s the most costly of all comparable units.
The most significant shortcoming of MP250i is its weight. The competition is considerably better when it comes to this metric. So, if you need a portable, multi-process welder, the MP250i fails to meet this requirement.
However, if you can tolerate the added weight, the MP250i competes well in all other aspects. For example, none of the rivals’ models support HF start for DC TIG welding. The competing models use a lift arc start only. The HF start is reserved for professional welding and won’t cause tungsten inclusions in the weld pool. As a result, you create welds free from tungsten hard spots that cause cracks.
The MP 250i’s dual gas input for simultaneous MIG and TIG gas tanks connections is only equaled by Millermatic 215. Lincoln and Hobart require you to switch tanks. However, the Millermatic 215 only includes one gas regulator, while Eastwood provides two. Additionally, Eastwood supplies a foot pedal when none of the competing models do. Plus, the Lincoln has no TIG torch.
The most significant advantage of MP250i is its immense amperage output of 250A with a 60% duty cycle at max power. Only Millermatic comes close with a 230A power output (MIG-only). But at 230A, you only get a mere 10% duty cycle. The MP 250i trumps its competition for heavy-duty professional work. The Eastwood unit outputs its peak power without significant downtimes, which suits high-volume welding work perfectly.
|Lincoln Power MIG 210
|Hobart Multi-Handler 200
|MIG: 50A – 250A
TIG: 15A – 250A
Stick: 25A – 250A
|MIG: 20A – 220A
TIG: 20A – 220A
Stick: 20A – 220A
|MIG: 30A – 200A
TIG: 20A – 200A
Stick: 30A – 200A
|60% at 250A
|25% at 200A
|30% at 165A
|Weldable Mild Steel Thickness (Single-pass)
|Up to 1/2 in.
|Up to 5/16 in.
|Up to 3/8 in.
|TIG Arc Start
|Simultaneous MIG & TIG gas input
|TIG Pedal Included
|Wire Feed Speed
|Wire Spool Size
|Up to 12 in.
|Up to 8 in.
|Up to 8 in.
Best Features of the Eastwood MP250i
As a “best-value” multi-process welder, the MP250i has many practical features worth mentioning. But we will focus on those outstanding features that are of everyday importance.
So, let’s look at the areas where this welder shines the brightest.
This machine handles just about any task except for heavy industrial applications, putting out 250A of power in all welding processes. It can weld 1/2 inch steel in a single pass and even thicker if the metal is adequately beveled.
With this much welding power, you can efficiently run a fully-fledged welding business. You will be able to handle thick, heavy-duty jobs like welding construction elements or stout schedule 100 pipes. Just make sure the parts are delivered to you because the MP250i is not portable.
Of course, if you are a DIY welder interested in the machine because of the price, there isn’t a DIY project it can’t complete. Just be sure you have the space to use and store it.
Extreme Duty Cycle
The Eastwood 250i has one of the best duty cycle ratings in the commercial welder category. The 60% duty cycle at 250A is truly impressive, especially since Eastwood is a reputable brand. You may see some cheap import welders with inflated ratings. But those manufacturers haven’t been around for 40 years and aren’t backed by solid warranties.
Eastwood designs and makes quality welders with a solid build, and they often gear them for specific needs. In this case, they created the MP250i to handle a professional workload, and its duty cycle is one of its best selling points.
Complete DC TIG Setup
Many multi-process welders include the basic DC TIG with a lift arc start because it uses the same constant current (CC) power supply as stick welding. But the MP250i went the extra mile, including an HF start, foot pedal, and separate TIG gas line in the package.
To perform high-quality stainless steel welds, you’ll need the HF start and a foot pedal.
The included 17-series flex-head TIG torch lets you weld in tight corners by adapting its shape for hard-to-reach spots. Also, the flex-head makes walking the cup easier and allows you to rest your hand on the workpiece for maximum precision.
The included rocker-style foot pedal completes the setup and lets you modify the output amperage while welding. Its got a textured surface for non-slip contact with your foot and an extra-long 15.9-foot cable.
The MP250i supports multiple useful features like VRD, 2T/4T, and inductance control.
The voltage-reducing device (“VRD”) acts as a safety mechanism. It drops the voltage to about 24V when the machine is not welding, and it shows this on the front panel via a LED. This voltage drop prevents electric shock or accidental arc starts.
Thanks to its immense power and duty cycle, users can fully enjoy the 2T/4T function of this machine. A 2T setting gives you the standard welding mode; press the trigger and arc forms. Then release it, and the arc stops. But the 4T lets you start the arc and keep it running after you let go of the trigger. To cut the arc off, press and release again. The 4T method enables you to weld without tiring your trigger finger. So, the high duty cycle combined with the 4T feature allows for better production rates. You keep welding without having to stop to let the machine cool down, and your hand doesn’t cramp up on those long welds.
The inductance control lets you modify the bead width and penetration ratio. It serves as an additional method to fine-tune the welds.
- Eastwood MP250i
- Wp17 TIG torch, 12 feet
- ERGO24 MIG torch, 14.8 feet
- 300A Stick electrode holder, 14.8 feet
- 300A Ground clamp, 14.8 feet
- Adaptor cord, 24 in.
- Two gas regulators
- Gas hose
- TIG consumables
- 0.030, 0.035 MIG tips
- TIG foot pedal, 15.9 feet
- Gas bottle chains
- Cable hooks
- Front and rear caster parts
- Bracket that supports two gas cylinders
- Contact tip wrench
- Instruction manual
Eastwood ships the MP250i unit and all of the included accessories in two boxes because of the extensive contents. All of the provided accessories are of high quality, better than expected, given the MP250i price bracket. The “standard” gas regulators are the exception. They are just average. But you can get better flowmeters later on if you wish; they are beneficial for TIG welding.
The Eastwood MP 250i qualifies as one of the best welders Eastwood offers, and it beats every welder in its price category. That’s why we compared it with more expensive models. The designers intended the MP250i for serious welding shops, a very demanding DIY hobbyist, or a metal artist with heavy-duty needs.
The MP 250i is not for regular heavy industrial work or users who must have a portable welder. But if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive, versatile machine that takes on almost all welding tasks, the Eastwood MP250i is your best option
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