Harbor Freight TIG Welder Review

Chicago Electric 130 TIG by Harbor Freight

Here we have one welder which is impressive and affordable at the same time. Yes, this is the Harbor Freight TIG welder review. For some of you, this model will be the first choice, for others, it will be a welder that has been in your garage or a workshop for a long period of time. Anyway, let’s see why this welder is different.

See also our selection of the best welders of 2020

Features of Harbor Freight TIG Vulcan Welder

Quick startup welding

In the lack of a better word, we must say that the welder from Harbor Freight is just great for all beginners and all welders who need to weld daily and must meet tight deadlines. The unit is ready to be used straight from the box and it comes with all essentials you are going to need. It also offers a high amperage, so you can weld different metals of different thickness as soon as possible.

Increased amperage

Here we can see one interesting advantage. The welder is equipped with a system which will increase the amperage during a short-period welding. This means that the electrode will reach a higher temperature and a higher depth. The weld will simply penetrate the metal deeper than usual, so your weld will be stronger and even look more professional.

A unique advantage of this feature is the lower level of weld grinding and easier preparation for a paint job or the second stage you may have on your mind. All of this actually works and it is impressive the first time you notice it.

Non-stick circuits

There are special circuits implemented into the welder and they have a role of preventing electrode sticking. There is no need to mention that this is a massive advantage for beginners, who are still learning how to weld properly. The feature in question works perfectly with metals such as aluminum, cast iron, and steel. As you may know already, these are the most common materials that require welding.

10-130 amp rating

One of the biggest advantages and the must-mention features is the amperage of this unit. As you can see, the range is impressive, which offers you to weld very thin metals. This isn’t something we can say for most the welders from this price range. Once again, we should mention that this is an advantage for beginners and professionals and it has a huge role in proper, high-quality welding.

The maximum amperage is equally impressive and you will be able to weld different metals with a thickness of 4 or more millimeters. This feature only makes the Harbor Freight TIG welder review more than just positive.

Duty cycle of 100%

Duty cycle basically refers to how long a welder can be used before it must be cooled down. With this model, we have a duty cycle of 40% at 130 amp, 60% at 120 amp and 100% at 100 amp. Believe or not, this is an impressive result and considering that most of you will never use amperages such as 120 or 130, we can add that the duty cycle is one of the main advantages the Harbor Freight TIG welder.

Turbo-cooling fan

The fan is a mandatory element in each welder and it makes a huge difference when it comes to duty cycle and the overheating of the welder. In this case scenario, we can see an all-new, turbo fan of the latest generation. As the result, you are able to weld for a longer period of time and you don’t have to worry about overheating.

The fan is surprisingly quiet which makes it a real pleasure to use the welder. It is a heavy-duty element and it is going to last for a long period of time. Precisely this is one of the reasons why we consider this as a professional welder.


  • Brand: Harbor Freight
  • Model: Vulcan welder
  • Type: TIG
  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Amperage: 10-130 amp
  • Duty cycle: 40% at 130 amp, 60% at 120 amp and 100% at 100 amp

What we like:

  • Great duty cycle
  • Well-made and durable
  • Can be used for different metals
  • State of the art cooling system
  • Value for money

What we didn’t like:

  • Obsolete design
  • Lack of gauge or digital display


In our Harbor Freight TIG welder review, you were able to see all the pros and cons of the tested welder. All we can say is that this unit is a great value for money, it offers even better performances and as such, it may be the first choice for most of you. The situation is the same regardless are you a professional or a beginner.

Learn more

More Stories
Vulcan Welder Review
Vulcan Migmax 140 Welder Review