I have the 175 and am very pleased with it. Since buying it, however, I have learned some things that may have made me make a different choice in the beginning.
Welding aluminum is different from welding steel. I do a lot of aluminum work and knew that the 175 would handle aluminum if I needed to do it. What I didn't realize was the cost of converting the 175 to an aluminum welder.
Wire is pushed through the wire feed welders. Key word here is PUSHED. The gun is several feet long and the wire has to be pushed through the entire length. You can put a roll of aluminum wire in the 175, change the gas to pure argon, and weld aluminum. Sounds simple, BUT IT ISN'T!
As the welder operates heat from the weld is transmitted back toward the roll of wire. With steel wire this isn't a problem. The aluminum bends so easily that any heat that softens the wire or any curves or kinks in the gun will cause the aluminum wire to bend, foul up and quit feeding.
Solution: A spool gun that mounts the aluminum spool very close to the welding tip and doesn't have any curves or kinks to stop the aluminum wire from feeding. Works very well. The problem is the cost. The spool gun itself is between $300 and $400, and it doesn't stop there. The 175 in it's stock form will not power the spool gun. Another $200 or so is necessary to make the 175 work with the spool gun.
Another solution. If you may do any appreciable amount of aluminum welding, the next welder up the Hobart line is the 210. It is really more of a commercial welder than the 175. Longer duty cycle, weld a bit heavier steel, but more importantly, it is already set up for the spool gun. You still have to buy the spool gun, but you don't have to buy the adapter.
Cyberweld sells the 210 WITH the 185 spool gun for $1199, and that's delivered free to your house by 2nd day, and no tax. $899 without the spool gun.
Check out http://220.127.116.11/index.html
AAA Welding Supply and http://www.cyberweld.com
Cyberweld. Both have good prices, 2nd day free delivery and no sales tax.
I bought my 175 through another .com welding supply place in New Jersey. Got the free delivery etc, but paid more for it than the two above .com's.