When you are planning to buy the best tig welder for the money, you cannot compromise with quality. First of all, they are expensive, and settling for something that is not worth the money is not justified at all.
There are numerous TIG welding machines available in the market and choosing from these varieties is again a hectic task.
Due to a lack of knowledge, people at times cannot even determine which is the best TIG welding machine to choose for their purpose.
A TIG welding machine is adapted to weld different sorts of metals like thin aluminum, copper, steel, and even exotic species of metals like manganese and magnesium.
Thus, going through a review of the top-rated TIG Welder will help you to understand the uses and benefits of a certain model of TIG Welder they require.
With little or no knowledge about the working principles of a TIG welder, you will end up buying a welder which is not suited for your purpose. So, here is a detailed review that will clear all the queries you had while purchasing a welder.
Top Picked TIG Welding Machines
These are the best TIG Welders in the world currently available, and bestselling in the market. Consequently, if you are intending to get yourself a TIG Welder, go through the reviews to understand which one suits you the best.
Best AC/DC Tig Welder Reviews 2022
1. Best Overall- PowerArc 160STH HF TIG Stick IGBT Inverter 160Amp Welder 110v/220v Dual Voltage
If you are looking for a welding machine that consumes less electricity, less power then this is your perfect choice.
The EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH is Best TIG Welder for The Money because of its IGBT Infineon Modules, inverter technology, and digital display which makes changing modes and settings very easy and efficient.
The DC arc of this machine is stable, smooth, and controllable. This machine comes with a manual gas valve and an inbuilt torch of 140 Amp.
It also comes with an automatic Hot Start for reduced electrode striking.
This machine is perfectly designed to weld stainless steel.
|Brand||Everlast Welders Canada|
|Amperage Capacity||140 Amps|
|Item Weight||36.8 pounds|
|Dimensions||20 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches|
- Comes with a digital display facility.
- Perfect for welding steel.
- Cannot weld aluminum since there are no AC facilities.
- Uses only DC.
- Do not possess any pedal.
2. Best Tig Welder for Aluminum – AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder with PULSE 110v 220v
AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 is one of the best tig welder machines in the market due to its all advanced working features which are perfect for professional usage.
Comes with the latest inverter technologies and also uses IGBT technologies which are suitable for high-voltage as well as high-current applications.
The Power with Modulation feature of this machine gives more control and a long-lasting power source for better working of the device.
Possess a high-quality metal foot pedal which makes working with the machine even easier.
Since the power source is both AC and DC, you can weld almost any type of metal with ease, and you can expect outstanding results from it.
|Item Weight||69 pounds|
|Dimensions||19 x 23 x 12 inches|
- Comes with AC and DC facilities
- A precise metal foot pedal is present which makes working with the machine easier.
- Perfect for all-purpose uses, be it professional or at home.
- The HF duty is not perfect for professional usage and is fine for hobbyists.
3. Best Tig Plasma Combo- Lotos CT520D 200A TIG/ Stick Welder, Dual Voltage 220V/110V
This is an all-in-one welding machine. If you are looking for something that can weld almost all types of metals, then the Lotos CT520D is your perfect choice.
This is designed primarily for beginners and for DIY activities. Although it is for beginners, it still possesses all professional work features.
CT520D combines 3 functions into one with a 200 A DC TIG Welder, a 200 A Stick Welder, and a 50 A Air Plasma Cutter with the flip of a switch.
It also incorporates a handle for better portability.
Dual Voltage Capability Allows the Machine to Run Directly on 220V 50/60 Hz Power, or on 110V 50/60 Hz.
This machine uses non-hazardous compressed air to weld steel, stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, and aluminum as well.
This tool is perfectly suitable for welding as it uses different acid and base electrodes. And lastly, it also comes with an 85% on electrical efficiency.
|Style||50Amp Air Plasma Cutter|
|Item Weight||33.1 Pounds|
|Dimensions||17 x 8 x 11 inches|
- Comes with air plasma cutter which gives high precision and smooth cuts easily.
- This is a 3 in 1 combination since it comes with 50 A air plasma cutter, 200 A TIG welder, 200 A stick welder.
- It also possesses Dual voltage facilities and can weld almost all metals.
- Does not have any foot pedal to control the heat generated while working.
4. Best multi-process Welder- Forney 322 140-Amp MIG/Stick/TIG Multi-Process Welder
This is a multipurpose welder since you can perform both MIG and TIG.
It works great for maintenance and repair work and can be used for light industrial welding purposes too.
This is an inverter-type machine and comes with MIG and Stick set up. Works with 120 volts (20 amp or 15 amp adapter plug included) with 140 amp to give maximum output.
You get a gas hose attached to the device and a regulator that makes working and welding easy by easy switching.
The device comes with enhanced features like spool gun capability, standard MIG, synergic modes of MIG, a holder for the stick electrode, HD cast aluminum drive system.
|Electrode diameter||3/32” to 1/8”|
|Cord length||8 feet|
|Amperage Capacity||140 A|
|Item Weight||47.2 pounds|
This is a multipurpose working device with which you can perform MIG, TIG as well as stick welding.
- This tool comes with a spool gun and is an inverter-based machine.
- Do not possess any foot pedal. You have to purchase foot pedal separately.
- Uses only DC.
- This tool device is not very lightweight and does not have a handle for better portability.
5. Best Dual Voltage Welder- TIG 160 AMP Torch ARC Stick Welder 110/230V
If you are looking for something multifunctioning and also sturdy at the same time and is also consumes less power, then this machine is your best shot.
This welding machine comes with TIG/STIC/ARC 2 in 1 facility.
Possess a very powerful and sturdy welder that can weld up to 3/8” stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, copper cast, cast iron, and chrome.
Gives clean and flawless results with no spatter or flames spark or post-weld clean-up complications.
Comes with a dual voltage input of 110V/230V which enables the user to plug in the equipment to any power supply.
This machine is a rectifier adopted with advanced inverter technology.
|Electrode size||1/8” and 3/32”|
|Amperage Capacity||160 A|
|Item Weight||15 pounds|
|Dimensions||16.6 x 7.5 x 11.8 inch|
- The Multifunctioning features are perfect for extensive works as well as subtle welding works.
- Powerful sturdy welder adapted to weld most of the metals and gives flawless finished end product.
- Creates no post-weld clean up complications.
- This machine is comparatively quite heavy, so users will face issues while moving it.
- Does not work with a plasma cutting torch.
6. Hobart 550055 1 EZ-TIG AC/DC TIG welder 230V
This is a perfect choice for people who are looking for a welding machine that is going to give them quick working results with easy controlling features then the Hobart model is ideal for them.
This machine comes with a unique single knob controlling feature which makes welding very easy and hassle-free.
This welding machine comes with a package of 230V AC and DC facilities which enables the user to weld any metal be it aluminum, steel, stainless steel, Chromoly, etc.
The welding performance is also superior to many other machines as it can weld from 22 gauge to 3/16 inch.
The machine is lightweight and comes with two handles which makes it very portable. Also, setup procedures are straightforward and user-friendly.
This machine has a unique feature in which high-temperature detection is followed by the shutting down of the device on its own. This way a lot of injuries can be prevented as well as your welding quality will be maintained.
Since this is an inverter-based machine, the power source provides a better welding arc and also uses less power.
This model comes with infinite amperage control which gives a better working range and control while working.
|Amperage Capacity||165 A|
|Item Weight||60 pounds|
|Dimensions||26.8 x 13.7 x 20.8 inches|
- Lightweight and easily portable.
- Comes with a cooling fan which cools down the machine and also stops the entry of debris and dust inside the unit.
- Do not possess any foot pedal.
7. Amico TIG-225/220 Amp HF TIG Torch/stick/Arc Welder 115 & 230V Dual Voltage Welding Machine
This is also a multi-functioning machine with 2 in 1 facility like TIG / STICK / ARC 2-in-1 Welder and is the best choice for high load welding works.
This comes with advanced inverter technology and arc functioning modes which gives precision to your work.
A lightweight machine along with 15-200 amps makes it absolutely suitable for professional as well as for personal use.
Creates no mess after welding, so post-welding complications are minimized. Also creates no spatter or unnecessary smoke which constricts the visual field or welding pool of the user.
Comes with inbuilt automatic temperature control and fan dormancy which prevents overheating of your welder, thus maintaining the quality of your metal and also saves the machine from causing any injury to the user.
|Item Weight||20 pounds|
|Dimensions||16 x 6.5 x 12 inches|
- Come with an automatic cooling system.
- Creates no mess after welding.
- Lightweight and comes with a handle which makes it portable.
- Cannot weld aluminum.
8. Square Wave® TIG 200 TIG Welder K5126-1
This machine comes with advanced working facilities, yet they are perfect for beginners as it is very user-friendly.
If you are finding something perfect to weld aluminum, then this machine is ideal for your welding work.
This is super lightweight, and you can easily carry and plug it anywhere, and you are good to work.
This is specially designed for beginners who are looking for welding machines to enhance their welding practices.
|Item Weight||73 pounds|
|Dimensions||22 x 13.1 x 21 inches|
- Absolutely lightweight.
- Perfect for beginners.
- Creates spatter.
9. AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200-Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder with Pulse 110V and 200V
AHP alphatig is a versatile machine, no matter where you use it, be at home for your welding hobby or business purpose, this is going to give you the best results. Mainly used for welding stainless steel and aluminum, you can weld any other metal using this tool without facing any technical issues.
Unlike most of the welding machines, ahp alphatig model is highly effective and will give you an exact cut regardless of the thickness of the metal. If the metal is thin or thick, you can expect a precise cut which the ultimate choice of a suitable artisan.
You can weld ¼”aluminum, 3/8″ mild steel using ahp alpha tig efficiently.
A square wave inverter is present for aluminum welding and is provided with pulse frequency for simple setup and operation.
|Part Number||AlphaTIG 200X|
|Item Weight||38 pounds|
|Dimensions||19 x 23 x 12 inches|
- You get full control of ahp alphatig machine without engaging any of your hand for maintaining or controlling.
- AHP alphatig comes with a foot paddle which makes operation even smoother while working.
- This device is portable, and you can do it easily without external help. AHP alphatig is a bit bulky but very light which the tool is dismantled. But still compared to any other machines ahp alphatig is very light.
- The foot pedal tends to slip away at times so that requires some special care or else your work will be disrupted.
10. Everlast PowerTIG 200DV 200amp 110/220 Dual Voltage PULSE AC DC Welder
Being amongst the latest welder models, everlast powertig comes with dual voltage and a digitally controlled IGBT inverter.
The unit is definitely portable and can be used with any generator that is rated for a sustained 3500 watts (120V).
The color-coded knobs for controlling the everlast powertig machines make it easier to understand the working principle of the unit and makes it absolutely user-friendly as well.
The Arc force control gives better anchorage of the arc while working which makes welding easier and gives exceptional results.
Everlast powertig comes with a comfortable handle which makes it perfect to carry around and work anywhere and everywhere.
|Brand||Everlast Power Equipment|
|Amperage Capacity||200 Amps|
|Item Weight||60 pounds|
|Dimensions||24 x 9 x 17 inches|
- Easily portable while working
- Possess digitally controlled IGBT inverter.
- Has both AC and DC facilities.
- Possesses no foot pedal which makes working a bit difficult
Best for aluminum – AHP AlphaTIG 200X
Introducing the latest addition to the AHP lineup: the all new 2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X welder. If you need just one machine, this is it.
This machine is as versatile as it gets. With an amp range of 10 – 200 the AlphaTIG 200X can handle just about any project you throw at it. Furthermore, it doubles as a powerful stick welder for when strength is more important than appearance, giving you a much wider range of abilities. You’ll be able to weld anything from thick 3/8″ steel or wafer-thin aluminum foil. The duty cycle of the AlphaTIG is way better than most in its price range. 60% at 150 A means you’ll be able to focus more and weld longer.
Complete with all the goodies you could ask for this welder is in a class of its own. Boasting pulse width modulation (PWM) and IGBT technologies, the AlphaTIG has the most reliable and longest lasting power source in its class.
The AHP AlphaTIG 200X is the best TIG welder for the money. It’s a great choice for both beginners who can’t spend a fortune on a machine and professionals who’ve been welding for years.
Weight: 25 lbs
Size: L20″ x W5″ x H12.5″
Power Input: 120V/ 240V
Power Output: 140A
Duty Cycle: 60% @ 110A
Material Thickness: Up to 3/16″ mild steel
Warranty: 5 year
Best for the money – Everlast PowerARC 140
The Everlast PowerARC 140 combines reliability, versatility and affordability into one convenient package making it the best TIG welder for beginners or weekend warriors.
Don’t be fooled by its size, weighing just 25 pounds, the PowerARC can hold its own. With 120/240 dual input voltage this machine can put out a steady 140 amps of power which is more than enough for most hobbyists. The duty cycle is average for the price at 35% at 140. In addition, the PowerARC doubles as a stick welder to make it one of the most versatile welders on the market today.
Best of all is the simplicity of this machine. From its easy to use interface to its handy carrying case the PowerARC was designed with the beginner in mind.
If you’re looking for the best TIG welder and don’t want to spend a fortune on something complex and unnecessary check out the Everlast PowerARC 140.
Weight: 46.5 lbs
Size: L19″ x W11″ x H14″
Power Input: 120/230V
Power Output: 200A
Duty Cycle: 25% @ 200A
Material Thickness: Up to 1/4″ mild steel
Warranty: 3 years
Best under $1500 – Lincoln Square Wave TIG 200
The Lincoln Square Wave TIG 200 is the real deal. It’s a feature-packed, high powered TIG welder from a recognizable brand name, capable of welding almost anything.
Versatility is the name of the game with the Square Wave TIG 200. This rig is capable of both AC and DC TIG welding so you can weld the full range of metal from steel to aluminum to magnesium. In addition, it’s also a powerful stick welder, outputting 170 amps, which makes it one of the most adaptable welders on the market. The dual voltage option – 120/230 – is just the icing on the cake.
The Lincoln Square Wave TIG 200 is also packed with features that allow you to adjust the settings to perfectly fit the job. One of those features is pulse which allows for greater control over the entire process. Another bonus is the AC frequency and balance control which can be adjusted to provide certain benefits like more cleaning action on aluminum or greater penetration on thicker materials.
The Lincoln Square Wave TIG 200 is a great machine with the ability to weld both AC/DC TIG and stick. A word of warning though: once you switch to one of the big brand names, you’re going to regret not doing it sooner.
Best under $2000 – Miller Maxstar 150 STL
Weight: 13.7 lbs
Size: L13″ x W5.5″ x H9″
Power Input: 120/240V
Power Output: 150A
Duty Cycle: 30% @ 150A
Material Thickness: Up to 3/16″ mild steel
Warranty: 5/3 years
Once again Miller leads the pack in terms of pure quality. Everything that comes with the Maxtar 150 STL is of the highest quality that produces outstanding results.
Despite its impressive power output the Miller Maxstar 150 STL is the smallest TIG welder we’ve come across – weighing just 13.7 lbs. It even comes with a shoulder strap and optional carrying case, making it the king of portability. In addition, Millers patented multi-voltage plug (MVP) allows you to easily switch between 120V and 240V so you can weld anywhere there’s a clean power source.
The Maxstar 150 STL also includes a bunch of useful features that aren’t found on the less expensive models. From the Lift-Arc start technology to the fully functional remote control to the fan-on-demand this machine has an array of gadgets that make your life easier and your welds better.
If you’re looking for an upgrade from your mediocre Chinese made TIG welder the Miller Maxstar 150 STL would make a great replacement.
Best for beginner – Hobart EZ TIG 165i
Weight: 50 lbs
Size: L17″ x W10″ x H24″
Power Input: 240V
Power Output: 165A
Duty Cycle: 20% @ 150A
Material Thickness: Up to 3/16″ mild steel
Warranty: 5/3/1 year
Hobart is a legend among the welding community. Year after year they continue to produce high-quality welding equipment and the Hobart EZ TIG 165i is no different. Yes you will be paying a lot more but Hobarts dedication to quality and service put them in a class of their own.
Despite the price tag the EZ TIG is one of the easiest TIG welders to use. The interface has two settings to change – a max output knob and AC/DC option switch. To get set up all you need to do is plug it in, connect the shielding gas, select the material thickness and you’re good to go. Even if its your first welder you’ll be up and running within minutes.
The features on this unit are plenty. The infinite amperage control allows you to be ultra-precise and the inverter-based power source provides a consistently stable welding arc while consuming less power. High-frequency start capable, you are able to start the arc without contact to reduce contamination for much nicer welds.
Best of all? The Hobart EZ TIG 165i is designed AND manufactured right here in the USA. If price wasn’t a consideration then it would be the best TIG welder for the money but because of the cost it loses a few points.
Overall the Hobart EZ TIG 165i is an incredible piece of equipment if you can afford it.
What is TIG welding?
TIG welding (or GTAW) is a process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. Typically a shielding gas like argon or helium is used to protect the area. It generates heat when an arc passes through the electrode to the metal, fusing them together. A filler metal is often used to strengthen the weld, but not always.
What separates TIG from the other processes is the need for both hands and a foot. One hand holds the gun while the other feeds the filler material to the puddle. You use a foot pedal to control the temperature of the tungsten. This gives you greater control of the weld. It’s easily the most difficult process to master but once you do, the quality is far superior to any other.
How to Choose the Best TIG Welder?
High Quality Welds
Because of its superior arc and puddle control TIG is the preferred method of welding when you need a good-looking high quality weld. The heat input is controlled by either a foot pedal or finger button, allowing you to control the heat in the weld pool with precision control. The result is a beautiful weld with the strength to match. This makes it the ideal process for cosmetic jobs like welded art, food grade equipment or car repair.
In addition to producing high quality welds, the best TIG welder will make no mess at all and is actually the least toxic form of welding.
No sparks or spatter – With TIG welding you only use the amount of filler that’s absolutely necessary. As long as the metal being welded is properly cleaned there should be no sparks or spatter to worry about.
No flux or slag – TIG welding typically uses only argon gas to protect the welding puddle from contamination. Small amounts of deoxidizer in the filler metal will help to control contamination in the base metal. No flux is used so there is no slag to block your view of the solidifying weld metal. You see the full weld as it’s supposed to be seen without having to brush and scrape afterward.
No fumes – To clarify, TIG welding itself produces no smoke or fumes but the metal being welded might – or external elements such as oil, grease or paint. That’s why it’s important to properly clean the metal before starting the weld. If everything is clean TIG welding is the safest type of welding.
Although TIG welding requires extreme dexterity it also offers a greater degree of control. You need to use both hands and potentially a foot depending on your setup. One hand holds the gun while the other carefully adds filler as you slowly work your way up the piece. Heat control can be controlled by either a foot pedal or a hand button. So while you’re holding steady the gun and filler you also need to apply the right amount of pressure to the pedal or button to change the intensity of heat in the welding arc.
While it can be tough to learn at the start, the more you practice the better control you’ll have of the weld and you’ll start to appreciate the dynamics involved.
Not only does TIG produce exceptional weld quality, it’s also the most versatile of the three main process’.
Weld more metals – The best TIG welder allows you to weld a much wider variety of metals than any other method. They can be used to weld steel, stainless steel, chromoly, nickel alloys, aluminum, magnesium, copper, brass, bronze and even gold.
Weld thin metals – TIG is the ideal welding method for working with thin metals like car bodies or sheet metal. Unlike MIG you can turn the amperage down very low, down to around 5 amps, to achieve the desired weld.
Weld from more positions – Because there is no spark or spatter TIG welding excels when doing overhead work. A wide selection of TIG guns utilize flexible heads and offer a wide range of sizes and configurations. This makes its the go-to process when welding complex projects like roll cages where you need to work from awkward angles to access difficult joints.
I covered this a little bit above under quality but it deserves to be mentioned again. When you need your welds to be not only strong but aesthetically pleasing, TIG is the way to go. It has a ton of applications from food grade kitchen equipment to fancy art sculptures to auto body repair. If you ever see a picture of a nice looking bead, it’s usually the result of some crafty TIG welding.
One shielding gas
You’ll never have to worry if you have the right combination and ratios of shielding gas again. With TIG the only gas you need is argon. Whether the metal is super thick or ultra thin you only ever need argon.
Having said that, while argon can handle all TIG applications it is occasionally substituted with helium.
Hard to learn
GTAW requires multi-tasking and precision hand-eye coordination which makes learning a challenge. Both hands are used for the process – one to hold the gun and the other to hold the filler. You slowly stitch your way through the weld, trying not to shake or go too fast. And if that weren’t enough, you need to control the exact temperature by way of foot control or a button on the gun itself. It’s tough to learn, even harder to master but once you do the opportunities are endless for the best TIG welder.
If you count all the supplies and time needed to perform the task, the cost of TIG welding is relatively expensive. From the machine itself to the tungsten rods to the argon gas, the costs can add up quick. Not to mention you need something to sharpen the rods, a cart to store it and special TIG gloves.
So yea it can add up, but on the bright side a good TIG welder can charge a pretty penny for his skill.
Because of the care and dexterity required, TIG is a slow going process. GTAW is a method meant for quality not speed.
Unless you’re working on a manufacturing line or somewhere that’s time critical this is a non-issue. Just a heads up.
Greater Safety Risk
If the metal is properly cleaned you wont be breathing is toxic fumes like you would with MIG or stick but TIG does have it’s own safety concerns. The ultra-violet (UV) rays that emit from the TIG process are much more intense than MIG or stick. Often welders will remember to protect their face and eyes but neglect to cover exposed skin giving them severe burns.
As long as you remember to cover up and follow proper procedures you’ll be just fine.
What you need to consider:
The most important thing to consider when buying the best TIG welder are your power requirements. Choose something to weak and you’re stuck with an expensive doorstop. Choose something too powerful and you’ve just wasted a bunch of money on something you really didn’t need. It’s critical to know what kind of welding you’re going to be doing and then choose one with slightly more power, just in case.
Output – Measured in amps, look for a welder with the widest range possible within your budget. A TIG welder with too narrow an output range can severely limit the variety and type of materials that you can weld. If you plan on welding wafer thin metals look for a rig that goes down to at least 5 amps. Aluminum tends to require much more power, so if you regularly weld with aluminum look for something with at least 200 amps.
Input – It’s important to know if that expensive piece of equipment you just bought will work with your home power supply. The standard American home runs on around 115V which is perfect for mid-level TIG. However, the best TIG welder will have the option between 115V and 230V so if you need to crank up the power (and your power supply is set up for it) you have the option.
Low amperage stability
Next to power, if you’re regularly welding thin materials, low amperage stability is critical. Look for a welder that has good arc stability below 10 amps. This allows for easier starting, better control and improved crater fill capacity.
You need to choose a welder that wont spike amperage at the beginning. When welding thin metals, if this happens, you’ll likely burn a hole through the metal and ruin whatever you’re working on. The best TIG welder will be stable from start to finish.
Arc stability is not only important at the beginning but throughout the entire weld. The last thing you want is a sudden spike in amperage to completely ruin your project. It’s especially important at the end of the bead when you typically ramp down the output to fill in the weld.
Just to refresh your memory, the duty cycle is the amount of time you can weld at a certain power output without having to worry about overheating. It’s typically based on a 10 minute time limit. So if a TIG welder is rated at 200 amps/ 40% duty cycle, that means you can weld at 200 amps for 4 minutes before having to rest for 6. The lower amperage you use the longer the duty cycle.
For a household hobbyist type welder the duty cycle is around 20% which is more than enough for most people. The more expensive machines will have a duty cycle of around 40% – 60% while industrial welders often boast 100%.
If you want your welder to last for years to come you need to remember the duty cycle and take breaks when required.
Current Type – AC/DC
Different metals require different current types to be effective. If you are going to be welding more than just steel the best TIG welder will offer both AC (alternating) and DC (direct) currents. For self-oxidizing metals like aluminum or magnesium you should use AC. For most everything else like steel, stainless or copper DC is the way to go.
AC – Alternating current switches between positive and negative currents to produce the weld. This means the positive current cleans away oxides while the negative current penetrates the base metal to form a beautiful looking, strong weld.
DC – Direct current is more straightforward. It heats up the metal and fuses it together.
AC Balance Control
The best TIG welder will have simple AC balance controls. This allows you to set the amount of time during the alternating current cycle. Instead of 50/50 positive and negative you can set it otherwise as you see fit. Essentially, this lets you set the level of cleaning vs penetration so you can fine-tune it to the exact specifications.
However, not all TIGs offer AC balance, so if you weld with aluminum or magnesium on a regular basis make sure to check.
Because TIG welding requires such a high degree of dexterity and focus, it’s important that the controls are easy to access and use. Using the controls should be effortless so it becomes second nature.
Heat – Proper heat control is critical with TIG welding, especially on thin metals where controlling the heat reduces warping. Typically you use a foot pedal to control the temperature which many welders prefer over the button on the torch. The foot pedal allows you to free up your hands so you can focus completely on the perfect bead without having to move your fingers around to the button.
Controls for pulsed TIG welding is also an option. A built-in pulser allows the machine to switch between higher and lower current to maintain an arc while allowing the welding joint to cool.
Gas – The best TIG welder will have a built-in gas solenoid to control the flow of gas. But some don’t. For this you need a torch with push button controls. With the torch you can actually weld TIG anywhere there is a DC welding power supply making it extremely versatile.
Arc Starting Method
There are several way to start an arc when welding with TIG. Each method has its pros and cons and some methods don’t work with some metals. It’s important to use the right starting method or you might ruin your project.
Scratch – Probably the most common starting method, think of scratch start like lighting a match. You drag the tungsten along the metal until an arc starts. Because the tungsten is heated up almost instantly, scratch starting is ideal for thicker metals that can withstand the higher amp initial spike. If you are just beginning to TIG weld you’ll likely be using this method.
Lift – Similar to scratch, lift starting involves touching the metal with the tungsten but only for a moment. After quickly lifting it up the arc is drawn back to the tungsten and you’re ready to weld.
It works like this: the welder cuts back to a very low voltage until it senses contact with the metal. Once lifted it shifts into higher output as the tungsten leaves the surface. While this method is still not 100% clean, it’s much better than scratch starting.
High Frequency – The most common and overall best option is high frequency starting. It generates a high frequency arc that ionizes the air to bridge the gap between tungsten and metal. This method is touchless and produces almost no contamination.
High frequency starting is the only choice when welding with aluminum. It works with other metals too but isn’t necessary.
Ease of Use
Because TIG is such a complex process its vital that the best TIG welder is easy to use. The last thing you want is to struggle to figure out settings and fancy features that you really don’t need. For most hobbyists a machine that user-friendly with easy to understand controls and a durable metal foot pedal are all you really need. Throw in some AC balance control and you’re set.
If you’re going to be welding a variety of different metals then consider a multi-process unit. There are a bunch of different configurations when it comes to multi-process welders – TIG/stick or MIG/TIG/stick or TIG/stick/plasma cutter and on and on. Decide what kind of welding you’ll be doing and plan accordingly.
The best TIG welder will have at least TIG and stick capabilities.
Everyone loves extra features that make their lives just a bit easier. But the more features they add the more expensive the welder. If you’re a hobbyist, a basic TIG welder will be enough. If you’re more advanced or weld for a living you might appreciate the extras, they’ll often save you time and money.
Quick Release Torch – Different torches have different benefits. Say you’re doing overhead welding but the torch you regularly use is too heavy. You can switch it out for a lighter one and be welding away in no time.
Another example is if you use a foot pedal normally but need to weld in some awkward positions where you can’t reach the pedal. In this case you can switch out the torch for one that has a heat control button on the gun.
Water Cooling – Inexpensive TIG welders rely on airflow to cool down which is why they have such a low duty cycle. The premium unit will be water cooled and have a much higher duty cycle so you don’t have to wait around staring at the clock.
Arc Start Technology – Each brand has their own patented technologies on their higher end units but they all do the same thing – stabilize the arc at low amperage. If you regularly weld with thin materials consider one of these technologies.
Buying the best TIG welder is a pretty hefty investment which is why it’s so important to be aware of the warranty. If you buy from any of the major brands they will have a solid warranty policy so there’s no problem there.
If, however, you buy from a lesser known company read the warranty thoroughly. While the machines are (usually) good quality, they are no Miller or Lincoln so beware.
Tips for Choosing the Best TIG Welder
Know What you’ll be Welding
Before doing anything you should have a solid idea of what you will be welding on a regular basis. The last thing you want is to buy the best TIG welder only to find out that it isn’t powerful enough or wont go down to the amperage you need.
Set a budget and stick to it. Things add up quickly if you want all the latest features and gadgets so you should know how much you’re willing to spend and get the absolute best. That seems pretty obvious but I’ve seen beginners get carried away and suddenly they have a $2000+ welder that they wont get to fully utilize. If you have the money then go ahead, but otherwise figure out your budget and stay within it.
If you’re going to spend several hundred dollars on a machine don’t take risks and buy from some unknown company. That doesn’t mean you only have to look at the big 3. There are several smaller brands that work just as well and are much cheaper. Here are some trusted brands that offer quality products:
Other Trusted Brands:
Read Reviews (but be careful)
Search tig welder reviews on Google and you’ll get a ton of results for reviews of TIG welders. Some of them are a great source of information but most of them aren’t. Be careful here because often the information is wrong which can be dangerous.
It’s best to look on Amazon for reviews. That way you know you are reading a review from a person who’s actually used the machine. If the best TIG welder has 4+ stars and around 10-20 reviews it is likely a good product. Do your research.
Consider Buying Used
Coming from a guy who makes a living selling welders this seems counter-intuitive but you’ll find the best deals on craigslist or kijiji if you look long enough. People often outgrown their welders or lose interest after a few months so they put their machine up for sale at a severely discounted rate. If you can get a nice, lightly used welder for half the price then go for it. If it’s still under manufacturers warranty, all the better.
This probably isn’t the best choice if you’re buying your first welder because you don’t know what to look for yet and unfortunately scammers are everywhere. But if you know what to look for and don’t mind used then this is a great option.
How To Choose a Good Tig Welder?
What is Tig Welding Used For?
Tungsten Inert Gas Welding abbreviated as TIG welding, is a process in which metals or alloys are cut and melted to form a homogenous form or structure with the help of electric arcs mainly.
Tungsten Inert Gas welding can be used to weld many metals and metal alloys which are commonly used in today’s industry. Apart from these you can also weld metals which are not easy to weld by conventional welding techniques.
Such kinds of metals are:
- Aluminum and alloys of Aluminum.
- Copper and alloys of copper
- Nickel and alloys of nickel.
- Magnesium and alloys of magnesium.
- Low alloy steel and carbonaceous steel.
- Metals that react easily like titanium and tantalum.
- Joining carbon and alloy steels.
TIG welding is mainly used in industries that produce metallic furniture, sheets of a particular metal, automobile body parts, and a lot more.
Essential Features of a TIG Welder
Good Quality ARC
often most of the TIG welders come with flimsy and cheap arcs which get deformed after some usage. When you know you are going to use the welder vigorously, you should always get the best quality arc as a bad quality arc is going to affect your welding process to a great extent.
weight is one of the most important features of a good TIG welder. The heavier is the weight, the more features it possesses. A good quality welder is often heavy as it contains a lot of parts which help in providing precise welding thus transporting it will be an issue. Whereas, welders which do not possess any such unique facilities will be a lot lighter in weight.
The Proper Delivery of Gas
For the working of a TIG welder, the supply of inert gas is necessary. A good TIG welding machine will have an inbuilt facility of the gas valve which will make it easier for the user to weld metals and also will help to cool down the welding pool on its own. If you are buying the welder for professional and regular use, getting an inbuilt gas valve is a necessity otherwise manually operating the valve continuously with work will be very problematic.
AC and DC Feature The Welder
A good quality AC frequency is required if you are going to weld thin metals like aluminum. DC is again required for welding metal sheets. AC TIG welders are mainly required for cleaning the oxides by the positive end side, and the negative end penetrates the metal present at the base.
Heat Control of The Welder
No matter how expensive your welding device is, heat is going to be produced. If the heating temperature seems too high, it is going to affect your welding process and can even burn the metal. To evade such circumstances, you need to get a welding machine that comes with a heat controller, an arc controller as well as a pulse welding option.
Tough Body and Parts
This is probably the most common feature you should look for in your welding device. Toughness is required when it comes to choosing a good quality welding device because you are using the welder to do some work that involves wear and tear. A welder is going to experience an immense amount of heat and requires a very sturdy body to give the appropriate results you are looking for.
A flimsy and cheap tig welder is never going to give you the desired results.
Inbuilt Cooling System
While welding metals, a welder is going to experience an unimaginable amount of heat if a cooling system does not control this heat then it is going to affect the quality of the metal to a great extent. Your metals might burn and might incorporate impurities in it as well. Thus, to avoid these situations you need a good cooling system inside your welder.
This cooling system will consist of a good quality cooler for your torch and a cooling fan as well for the overall cooling of the machine.
The Difference Between MIG and TIG Welding
Even though both of the welders use electric arcs to work, the significant difference between Mig vs Tig Welding is that the MIG welder uses a feeding wire and TIG welder uses electric rods for the welding purpose.
A TIG welder is a commonly used welder and it is equally versatile. You can use it to weld different types of metals and is an appropriate choice for industrial or large-scale use. Otherwise, if you are looking for a welding machine for welding purposes at your home, then a MIG welder is definitely the best choice for you.
The TIG welder is adapted for doing delicate and intricate welding works thus it comparatively works slowly. The MIG welder uses electric feeding wire, so it works a lot faster than TIG welders.
MIG welder is perfect for beginners as the application is comparatively easier. A TIG welder is not a good option for beginners.
MIG welder requires a frequent change of the electric wire used for the welding process. Whereas, a TIG welder has no such requirement. One can easily change the filler element by just getting another rod.
The MIG welder cannot use both AC and DC for welding purposes. It only applies DC with reverse polarity, but the TIG welder can use both AC and DC.
Hopefully, you can now get a real picture of the difference between Mig vs Tig welder
Advantages of Having a TIG Welder
- High precision
Since the TIG welder uses electric rods thus the user gets full control while welding metals and precise outcomes as well.
- Versatile usage
The TIG welder can be used to weld any kind of metal like aluminum, magnesium, copper, nickel, etc.
- Less distortion
Due to the presence of a small and compact heat zone very little distortion is created by the TIG welder. Also, the minimal amount of spark and smoke is liberated in the process which keeps the visual field of the user absolutely clear.
- Quick processing
As it uses non-consumable electrodes for welding, the time taken will be quick, and you do not have to stop continuously to change your electrode.
- Efficient application
The TIG welder is designed to give you a highly practical application and is perfect for industrial uses to melt and fuse two-parent metals.
- No presence of flux or slag
No flux is used thus your visual field remains clear and no formation of slag as well. This is because of the utilization of inert gas in the welding process like Argon. This also leads to no formation of a mess while you weld your metals and fuse them.
If you are looking for devices that will help you to weld at home by yourself, then TIG welders are the best choice to boost your hobby of welding metals as most of them are easy to set up and carry around and is also user-friendly.
- Intricate creations
TIG welders are capable of creating very intricate designs and works which no other device can do. They can make high-precision cuts and weld joints smoothly which could have been done using microplasma welding also.
- Less amperage use
Using less amperage might seem like a disadvantage, but when you need clean, precise work, less amperage is what you need to get good control of the device. Thus it is very important during welding thin metals.
Disadvantages to Having TIG Welders
- This is not a suitable machine to weld very thick metals which is a big drawback even though welding thin materials are really easy.
- Creates problematic situations in drafty like environments as there is no shield in the welding zone.
- The rate of deposition is very low in comparison with Consumable electrode arc welding.
- Tolerance capability is very low for contaminants in base materials.
- There might be some safety issues occurring as well.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing TIG Welder
Investing in a welding machine is a huge task, so it is always advisable to understand your requirements and accordingly buy the right model.
Always consider the weight of the machine as a deciding factor. If you are looking for something that is portable for working, then look for models which come with handles and are easily portable.
Don’t get lured by features that you do not need. The more features you invest in your machine, the more money you spend and the heavier it becomes. So, don’t go for features you do not require or probably will never even use for your working purposes.
Check the warranty periods. Since welding involves a lot of wear and tear, go for models and companies that offer an extended period of warranty time.
If you are a beginner, go for machines that are easier to set up and are user-friendly. We recommend find out the best cheap tig welder as you are a beginner.
Common Mistakes to Avoid While Purchasing Tig Welders
Welders are not random devices that you can buy if you just feel like them. The prices you are paying again are quite high which is one of the biggest reasons why you should know all the Pros and Cons of getting this device and avoiding all the mistakes possible while purchasing it.
Here You Will See Some of The Mistakes You Should Avoid While Buying Your TIG Welder-
- Understand your purpose and then buy the machine. If welding is your hobby and probably you will use the device once in a while, they don’t invest a huge amount in buying one.
- If you are getting welders for your large-scale production or welding purposes, then buy machines that come with high-end facilities and features and invest a good amount of money in it.
- While buying a welder online, be extra cautious as you have no idea how your machine is going to work. Go through the features and description and the reviews of the model thoroughly.
- Never stop comparing your chosen products. By comparing you will get a better idea of all the products available on the market and might end up getting the perfect welder for your purpose.
- If you are getting a welder for welding thin materials, then go for machines with lesser amperage and the opposite if you have thicker materials to weld.
- If you want to weld all sorts of metals, then go for welders with the power source of both AC and DC. Welding of aluminum requires AC mainly.
- If you are a beginner go for machines that come with inbuilt cooling facilities.
- Overheating of the machine may cause damage to your metal or even create safety issues for the user.
- To avoid these situations, get a welder with a better cooling system like an inbuilt cooling fan or air cooler.
- Set a proper budget for your welder. Machines like this require a good bulky budget.
- Cheap welders are detrimental for your purposes, no matter where you use them, most of the cheap machines come with flimsy parts and poor quality body which are not capable of tolerating the welding load.
- Thus, it is essential to set a budget and accordingly get your welder.
- Getting a high-power duty cycle possessing a welder is vital. The duty cycle will decide how much you can work with the welder without causing overheating or damage to your metal.
- Thus, a high-power duty cycle enhances that working feature and time of your welder.
- “Invest in getting a good quality torch”, a single torch will not enable you to do different kinds of welding with varying sorts of metals. So, invest in detachable torches to make your welder flexible and also enhances its productivity of it.
Welding machines are a lifetime investment only if you get your hands on the perfect device possessing the best features that suit your need.
A lot of advanced and better working machines are available in the market, but personally, I feel Everlast PowerArc 160STH can be the best tig welder tool for all-purpose uses.
Again, it is always advisable to plan thoroughly and then buy a welding machine accordingly.