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In my opinion, out of the ones I have used (Lincoln, Hobart, Randor, and one other that for the life of me I can't recall what it was at the moment) its the Lincoln Excalibur hands down. The reason I say that is because most of the time the slag is really quite effortless to remove, it **** near comes off by itself and sometimes it actually does come off by itself.
I haven't tried/used the ESAB version yet. Alot of people swear by it. But I just would not know about that one.
I can tell you what it's not, lincoln 7018 AC. Welded with a mixed can of 7018ac and Excalibur. Same project, machine and settings. I could not understand why I could and couldn't see the puddle/slag differentiation at different times during the repair. The Excalibur had an easy to read puddle, the AC rod was a molten mess of slag.
I always prefer one of 2 brands of 7018 for dc welding.
Esab ok55 7018. I prefer the ok55 over the Atom Arc 7018.
Air Liquid Blue Shield 7018. Very nice welding rod but flux is more dificult to remove than the ok55.
Lincoln Idealarc 250 stick/tig Miller Bluestar 2E Thermal Arc Hefty 2 feeder Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 Torchmate CNC table Ironworker Welder Operating engineer Owner/Operator Devlin Metal Works Custom CNC Plasma Cutting and Welding