The TIG welder, also known as GTAW (Gas tungsten arc welding), has always been an excellent companion for my metal works. I have been enjoying clean, beautiful and strong metal joints ever since I started using this tool. It’ll help you get neat and precise joints in metal fabrication projects in the shortest possible time.
However, choosing the best TIG welder from so many choices can be a difficult nut to crack, especially if you've limited information on their qualities and features. No worries, we've simplified your task by developing this buying guide. Here, we'll be reviewing the top 10 bang for the buck models on the market. This review contains every information you might need to make the right choice.
The Drillly team consists of a group of experienced wood and metalworkers. We launched this website 5 years back in a bid to spread real-life user information through reviews and how-to blogs on power tools. We want to get connected with both professional and amateur users and help them derive up-to-date information on their tools. The Drillly team also conducts researches on work-friendly power tool designs that will elevate the skills of the worker while simultaneously reducing work time.
For that matter, we've developed a research protocol that scrutinizes products from different perspectives in terms of the range of their applications, ergonomics, performance and technical excellence. Our research results are easily accessible (you will find that below) and always made public. Hence, our reviews are objective, unbiased and reliable.
Besides, we are not connected with any power tool brand for product promotion. However, we receive a small amount when anyone buys a product from our platform, that is barely enough to support this website. So, buckle up, let's see what we have here for you.
How We Reviewed These Products
The Drillly team consists of a group of Americans that have been doing all kinds of woodwork and metalwork for years. Some of our team members are also expert TIG welders who have a patient hand needed for this type of welding. Over the years, we got accustomed to different makes and models of the TIG system, and we were already kind of sure of the products that might top the list when we had decided to prepare the TIG welder reviews.
But in an effort to make it reliable and bias-free, we had to follow the standard testing procedure that we adhered to for all other product reviews on this site, whether that was a magnetic drill press or a concrete saw or any other tool used in carpentry and metalworking. First, with the help of online research, we identified 24 top quality TIG machines that people were regularly using all over the USA. After that, we spent almost 3 months vigorously testing each of these welders in our machine shop.
If you are already familiar with our review process, you can guess that we had involved a volunteer team to get their valuable feedback as well. Our volunteers were welding professionals and home-based DIY enthusiasts who had also considered our main criteria for the selection of these products, including their input power, amperage range, performance per amperage, heat control, AC/DC compatibility, balance control, solid duty cycle, torch changes, ergonomic design, costs, and ease of operation. We ran a comparison analysis with all these data. product from our platform, that is barely enough to support this website. So, buckle up, let's see what we have here for you. Afterwards, we had collected all the info on these models from our team members as well as our community-based volunteers, eventually preparing this top 10 list. As yoproduct from our platform, that is barely enough to support this website. So, buckle up, let's see what we have here for you. can see, to come up with our list of the top 10 TIG welders, we had collated and analyzed the various data we gathered from web research, experts, and reports from community-based volunteers. So, we are very confident that you can rely on this list while shopping for a TIG metal joiner.
Our Top 10 Best TIG Welder List
TIG welders come with a variety of options that determines its level of application and price. While some can handle home projects, others are suitable for industrial and heavy-duty tasks. We categorized our top models based on their types, power, ease of use, balance control, and many more factors to help you find the best TIG welder for the money!
The AHP AlphaTIG 200X is equipped with outstanding features that make it the delight of most professional welders. This model can produce both AC and DC outputs. So, you can use it with thinner metals like aluminum or steel.
What we liked about this model are its amperage range and dual voltage levels. At 120V, it can operate at an output current range from 10 to 150A. The machine operates at an output current range from 10 to 200A. This implies that AlphaTIG 200X is designed to handle different types of metals.
It is interesting to know that this machine has a duty cycle of 60% when it is operating at 200A. Its duty cycle varies inversely with the output current. With such a wide duty cycle, it can weld aluminum of ¼ inches and mild steel of 3/8 inches. In addition, it has a foot pedal for current control which helps you to fix your eyes on the work while regulating the current.
The ability to perform at low amperage is occasioned by the Pulse Width Modulation and IGBT technology, providing a stable power source at its two voltage levels for versatility.
The AlphaTIG 200X is equipped with a standard TIG torch that can be used with the WP 17 flex hose torch. Also, it comes with a separate TIG control switch to help you to add a trigger switch to the torch easily whenever the need arises.
Weight: 60 pounds
Dimensions: 19 x 23 x 12 inches
Power source: ac/dc
Voltage: 110V – 220V
Amperage: 10A – 200A
Warranty: 3 years
Has a good amperage range
Easy to use
Comes with a foot pedal for current control
The torch can be interchanged to enhance its flexibility
Produces a stable power
Has a high duty cycle
The calibration of the regulator is poor
The AlphaTIG 200X is packed with features that allow you to enjoy a quality welding experience. It is a great buying choice because of its high price-to-quality ratio. We liked its wide amperage range of 10 to 200A and its ability to use both AC or DC power. It comes with a high-quality foot pedal to help you control the output current while your gaze is fixed on the work. Get this model immediately if you are in need and your budget is under 1000.
The PowerARC is a lightweight and portable machine that comes with a strap at the top for you to transport it to the site easily.
It has a duty cycle of 35% at 160A and is designed to produce DC power only, making it ideal for stainless steel welding. Its arc trigger type is the easy hot start auto-regulated arc control which does not only simplify the welding process but reduces the sticking of an electrode to enhance the beauty and neatness of the job.
This model from EVERLAST features a digital display to help you monitor and control the current easily. You may appreciate this model for its DINSE style connectors which does not only let you hold the electrodes comfortable but helps in the smooth transfer of current from the machine to the electrodes.
It will interest you that this product comes with a foot pedal control capability which allows you to adjust the current comfortably while your hands are concentrated on the weld. In addition, it has a dual voltage of 120V and 240V. With this, it can handle both lightweight and heavy metals at a current range of 10A to 160A respectively.
We cannot fail to inform you that this product comes with a 5-year warranty which is a plus considering its features. This is not all, it also has a very sturdy construction, thanks to its impact-resistant carry case for improved durability.
Weight: 36.9 pounds
Dimensions: 20 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches
Voltage: 120 – 240V
Amperage range: 10 – 160A
Material: Stainless steel
Power source: dc
Installation method: TIG welding
Warranty: 5 years
Has a digital readout that helps to simplify its settings
Can be used easily
Comes with an impact-resistant carry case to enhance its durability and ease of carrying
Has a good amperage range
Produces only DC power
Does not handle the 6010 rods
The EVERLAST PowerARC model is lightweight and portable. It comes with an amperage range from 10A to 160A which allows it to be used for steel of various sizes. It is very cost-effective and can be operated easily; thanks to its digital readout that lets you monitor its current and voltage settings.
This budget-friendly model features a foot pedal current control to let you regulate the output power while you're concentrating on the project. You can definitely try this portable model for the optimum outcome if your budget is under 500 bucks.
If you want an advanced TIG welding machine then Maxstar 150 is for you. It is a DC-only unit with high price point because of the extensive engineering that went into its design making it extremely lightweight and portable.
This model can be connected to AC power sources of 115 and 220V which implies that you can use it anywhere irrespective of the voltage level in that clime. Also, it has an amperage range from 5 to 150A which makes it ideal for stainless steel of 0.02 to 3/16 inches thick.
At 150A, you will enjoy a duty cycle of 30% although it can get to 100% when operating at 100A. This means it can work for a long time without problems. In addition, you can switch it easily from one voltage level to another to work on various sizes of steel.
The Maxstar 150 comes with user-friendly features like the simple to control knobs at the back. In addition, has a power factor correction mechanism that prevents the breakers from tripping when it is operating at 115V.
This machine can be carried easily, thanks to its compact and lightweight construction. To further enhance its ease of transportation, this model is designed with a shoulder strap at the top. The lifespan of this machine is enhanced by its built-in thermal overload protection.
Dimensions: 13.2 x 5.5 x 9 inches
Input Voltage: 115/230V
Amperage range: 5 – 160A
Welded material: Steel
Very portable and lightweight
A wide amperage range
Dual voltage capacity
Comes with overload protection
Shoulder strap included for ease of carrying
Cannot handle aluminum welds
The Maxstar 150 is an amazing machine because of its high-quality features in addition to its extreme portability. It has a very good and accurate amperage control that lets you enjoy a beautiful and comfortable weld. One of its major advantages is that it has built-in overload protection that helps prolong its life when it gets heated. We recommend that you try this if you're a home-based DIY enthusiast.
This multiprocess 200 amp dual-voltage versatile MIG welder is another top-of-the-line product from Weldpro’s flagship lineup designed to meet the expectations of many aluminum and stainless steel TIG welders.
Coming with an additional spool gun, it is capable of both Lift TIG and stick welding. The synergically designed machine can be used for home DYI projects as much as for heavy-duty factory needs, and other hobby welding operations.
This model can be used efficiently on thick and thinner metals at up to 230V MIG capacity. You don’t really have to worry about thin sized metal since it can handle the task in a manner that'll impress you. Its MIG welding thickness stands at 19ga-0.197" and for TIG it’s 25ga-0.25". Welding thickness for MMA and acid electrode is 14ga-0.315".
We were impressed by its dual display system which came to be fully digital. You can not only read the wire speed and amperage, but also set it every time when doing repeatable welds.
Now let’s see what the manufacturer has for you. You are gonna get a 10 ft. MIG and a 13ft. TIG torch. An electrode holder, earth clamp, gas hose, flow meter, knurled and smooth drive roller, power adapter and a copper hoop will also come with the package. These are essential parts for fast set up.
You may think that this machine is not portable when you look at it from a distance. Although it looks bulky, it has a weight of 30 pounds which makes it one of the lightweight models on the market. It comes with a handle at the top to help you in carrying it anywhere.
Weight: 30.4 lbs
Dimensions: 17.7″ x 8.7″ x 15″
Power source: dc
Installation method: TIG welding
Amperage range: 10 – 200A
Duty cycle: 10 – 90%
Dual-voltage with IGBT Inverter system
3-1 multipurpose welding (MIG, TIG, Stick)
Portable and lightweight
A good amperage range>
Suitable for aluminum and stainless steel weld
Comes with tons of useful accessories
Easy to set up
Doesn’t support AC input
This is a great choice for your hard-earned money. With 3-in-1 welding options it can handle various sizes of aluminum and steel materials.
What we liked about this device most was that its portability and weightlessness despite its powerful and performance. This machine will never disappoint you, something we can guarantee you based on our experience with it.
The Everlast PowerARC 140 is one of the smallest models yet houses some high-quality features. In addition to its lightweight and portability, it's cheap and designed for DC power output only, making it unsuitable for aluminum welds.
It will interest you that with its dual voltage capacity, this machine can produce an output current ranging from 10A to 80A at 110V. Its amperage range peaks at 140A when operating at 120V.
Still, on the design, the Everlast PowerARC is equipped with current control knobs to help you in selecting the right current output for your welds. But you should know that it has no provision for foot pedal control.
Another interesting feature which we liked about this model is its ability to operate at 100% duty cycle when it’s on 50A and 110V. Interestingly, the duty cycle drops to 35% when the operating voltage and current are 110V and 80A respectively.
Moreover, at 220V, the duty cycle can increase to 100% for 85A or at 35% for 140A. It's obvious that this extensive level of duty cycle allows you to weld steel of 1/8 inches with comfort and precision.
The PowerARC features the DINSE 25mm style connecting cables that let you have an easy set up and operation. In addition, it comes with the Lift Start arc type perfect for stainless and steel welds. The automatic hot start feature prevents the machine from being damaged by electrode sticking.
You will also appreciate its weight (24.8 pounds) and great dimensions (20 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches) that let it fit perfectly in the carrying case included in the package. Thus, if you want a product that is packed with advanced features and is portable enough to be transported easily, PowerARC 140 is for you.
Weight: 24.8 pounds
Dimensions: 20 x 12.5 x 13.5
Power source: DC
Amperage range: 10 – 140A
Reasonably priced when compared to features
Compact and lightweight
Can weld steel up to a thickness of 1/8 inches
Dual voltage operation
Has a relatively high amperage range
Cannot weld aluminum
DC only output power
No air regulator
The Everlast PowerARC 140 is the best cheap TIG welder for sale. This mini suitcase-sized tool is equipped with knob controls for setting the output current. It produces only DC output power which makes it an ideal product for stainless steel weld. In addition, it comes with an automatic hot start feature which helps to reduce the sticking of the electrodes on the weld. This product is easy to use, but as a low-budget model, it lacks most of the features found in the top products on this list.
Lotos LTPDC2000D is a highly versatile machine that allows you to perform plasma cutting, DC TIG, and stick weld in a single combo unit. This is one of the products on our list designed to meet your needs in diverse ways. Apart from its portability, it can operate on two frequencies and voltages respectively.
With the dual voltage capability, you can run the machine on a 220V/50/60Hz or 110V/50/60Hz power sources. In addition, its DC output amperage range from 15 to 200A. It can operate on various sizes of steel.
Also, it is equipped with 50A pilot arc plasma cutter to perform clean cuts on metals of a ½ inch thickness and a maximum severance thickness of ¾ inches. It can cut through painted, rough or rusty surfaces with little or no slag.
It will interest you that the pilot technology feature of this model allows you to have a smooth cutting operation without contact between the tip and the metal. This technology lets you enjoy high-quality cutting while enhancing the machine's lifespan.
Also, the compact plasma cutter uses a harmless compressed air and is equipped with a handle to help you have a portable and comfortable feel while cutting through stainless steel, aluminum, alloy steel, copper, and mild steel.
You will appreciate its HF and the easy arc start features. In addition to its HF start torch hand control, it's designed to support a foot pedal current control for ease of use.
What we liked about this model is that it comes with an easy arc start, deep weld pool, stable metal joining arc features that can offer you a beautiful finish.
The Lotos LTPDC2000D is designed to meet the needs of professionals who want to upgrade the game.
Dimensions: 17 x 8 x 12.5 inches
Amperage range: 15 – 200A
Cutting capacity: ½ inch
Can perform cutting operations on different types of metals
Can be operated easily
Has a foot pedal heat control capability
Portable and easy to carry
Package comes without foot pedal
Too short welding leads
This model is one of the few products on sale with such a level of versatility and functionality. It comes with a 50A pilot plasma arc cutter and 200A TIG/stick welder. The pilot arc can cut through metals that are ½ inch thick with a high cutting quality. With the help of the pilot arc technology, you can cut through the metals without having to touch the tip on the metal. Finally, Lotos LTPDC2000D is a perfect choice for starters.
The Hobaart 500551 is a feature-rich TIG machine that you can surely try. Well, you may want to know the reason you should get this product. First, this is a branded TIG model which has existed for decades. It's easy to handle, such that once you have a little experience you will be able to perform difficult tasks with speed and precision.
The fan is designed to run only when the unit is hot and need to be cooled. Thus, the amount of dust or debris entering the unit is reduced. It features both AC and DC outputs to handle both steel and aluminum materials with ease. It comes with an infinite amperage control to help you operate on different materials while enjoying a wider control. Also, the HF start helps you enjoy a non-contact arc start while protecting the weld from debris and other atmospheric contamination.
It also flaunts an auto-shutdown feature once the temperature is too high. Hobart 5000551 comes with optional hand control and a foot pedal control to help you to regulate the output heat with ease.
Weight: 60 pounds
Dimensions: 26.8 x 13.7 x 20.8 inches
Type: TIG welder
5/3/1 Hobart warranty
Very easy to set up and use
Both DC & ACoutput
Can weld both aluminum and steel materials
Comes with a warranty
Automatic cooling system
Has a durable build
Relatively heavy and cannot be carried easily
Hobart 5000551 is designed with sturdy materials to ensure that you enjoy a productive and long-lasting product. This model comes with an automatically regulated fan that turns on only when the need arises. What we liked most was that we could use it without any difficulty.
In addition, it has both AC and DC output for a smooth and accurate aluminum and steel weld. But it is much heavier than most of its competitors.
Everlast's latest model TIG PT200 model is designed to solve the numerous problems that are often faced by both professionals and hobbyists. When it comes to versatility, this model is a pro. It has an output amperage of 240A which makes it the ideal choice for aluminum as much as for stainless steel. In terms of the input voltage, it can only operate on a 240V power source. The unit is equipped with an adjustable dual pulse that helps you control the output frequency and current needed to achieve your expected results.
In addition, it comes with DIG stick function with arc force control that helps to operate on metals of different sizes and types without damaging the material. Also, it features a flexible foot pedal to help you to control the current output remotely.
In addition, it can weld steel of ½ inch thickness and aluminum of 0.07 inches.
Also, this machine features DINSE style connectors for easy connection. In addition, it features a high-quality torch switch for 2T/4T stick electrode holder to help you feel comfortable while working.
If you are a professional that needs a 3-phase powerful machine that can be used for aluminum and stainless-steel weld with ease, this is the right choice for you.
Weight: 60 pounds
Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 17 inches
Material: Stainless steel
Power Source: AC/DC
Amperage capacity: 250 AMP
Can be used for aluminum and steel weld
Comes with a foot pedal control
Has a high amperage range
Easy to use and long-lasting
Fan inside doesn't stop
Everlast PowerTIG 250EX is equipped with outstanding features to help you maximize its use. It comes with a very high amperage range from 5 to 250A making it the widest so far on our list. It is constructed with sturdy materials to prolong its life.
One of the greatest advantages of this machine is that it can be controlled easily, thanks to is adjustable pulse controls. Also, it is equipped with a foot pedal to help you to regulate the output current remotely of your hands. So, if your budget is under 1500, this is the deal you get.
The Lotos TIG200 is among the cheap models on our list with outstanding features. It comes with a dual voltage capability that produces both DC and AC outputs. This implies that you can use it for both steel and aluminum weld. Also, it has a built-in square wave inverter which is ideal for a melting aluminum.
It will interest you that this product is designed with the capacity to produce current outputs of 30A and 200A at 110V. Also, you can obtain a duty cycle of 60% upon running the machine at 220V for 190A. With such amperage range and duty cycle, you are guaranteed a smooth and comfortable aluminum weld even to a thickness of ¼ inch.
You will appreciate the ease at which you can operate this unit. Interestingly, you will notice that at the panel on its back the various settings for voltage, clearance effect, downslope, post-flow, and pre-flow. You should not tamper with these controls if you don’t have the required experience.
Moreover, this unit has a comparatively low weight and portability. With a weight of 58 pounds and a handle at the top, you can transport it easily to anywhere. Included is an adapter plug which allows you to switch between the two input voltages with ease. In addition, you don’t need to reset anything, because it can detect the input voltage and then will adjust automatically.
The Lotos TIG200 is the best TIG welder for professionals and enthusiasts who want to get the most of their machines staying on a budget.
Weight: 58 pounds
Dimensions: 28 x 13 x 17 inches
Output Amps: 10- 200 AMP
Welding capacity: 3/8 inches
Input Voltage: 110/220V
Features dual voltage capability
Can perform welding operations on both aluminum and steel materials
Comes with foot control pedal
Designed with advanced control settings capability
Can handle thin metals comfortably
Only one year warranty
Mastering functions of the control settings are time-consuming
The Lotos TIG200 model is one of our favorite models with a high price to quality ratio. We are so impressed with its quality features like the advanced controls at the back of its panel to help you to control some of its functions with ease. Another feature we liked about this product is its durable construction. Also, it has a good amperage range that makes it ideal for aluminum joints. This product is recommended for professional and hobbyist who expect to get good performance at an affordable rate.
Lincoln is one of the few brands of TIG welders that have earned the confidence of many of its customers. They have consistently been producing some of the top-class machines with a square wave.
One of the greatest advantages of this product is that it can produce both AC and DC outputs which are needed for aluminum and steel joinings. Also, it can be used for both TIG and Stick welding operations.
Still, on the design, the product can be used on both 120 and 230V power source. It has a duty cycle of 25% at 125A for TIG welding and 25% for stick welding at 75A when using a 120V input voltage. However, the duty cycle at 230V input voltage is 25% for TIG welds at 200A and 20% for Stick at 170A.
It will interest you to know that the ease of use of a model should be one of its greatest assets. So, Lincoln TIG200 comes with easy to use control settings at its front which allows you to control the outputs based on your need at a time. In addition, it comes with a digital readout that allows you to monitor the settings and the condition of the machine while the weld operation is on.
Moreover, the AC frequency adjustment setting allows you to enjoy a comfortable, accurate, and smooth aluminum welding operation. Another interesting feature that is worth mentioning is that the AC balance can easily be adjusted to help you to have a neat and beautiful weld on the surface of the metal.
Another thing you will like about this product is that it is rugged yet compact in size to help you to carry it anywhere.
Weight: 73.2 pounds
Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 13 inches
Duty cycle: 25%
Has TIG and Stick weld capabilities
Can produce both AC & DC outputs
Has dual voltage capability
Compact & easy to use
Duty cycle is great at higher current outputs
Lincoln TIG 200 is the beginner's choice because of its extreme user-friendly features that are designed to improve your skills and confidence in welding operation. It comes with simple control knobs at the front to help you to adjust its functions easily based on your need.
One of its greatest assets is its dual voltage input capability which allows it to be used on the 110V and 230V power outlets. In addition, it comes with a digital readout that helps you monitor the output current with precision. Finally, this product is relatively expensive, but its features are worth the money.
TIG is an acronym for Tungsten Inert Gas. It uses a tungsten electrode in the production of the weld. The electrodes and the metal joining area are shielded from oxidation and other contaminants in the atmosphere by using filler metal and helium or argon gas. However, this shielding is not required in autogenous welds.
The electrical energy is supplied to the arc through a rod known as plasma which is saturated by metal vapors and ionized gases. TIG joiners are mostly used when you are carrying out fabrication work on metals like magnesium, copper, aluminum, and lightweight stainless steel.
One of the greatest advantages of this machine is that you will have absolute control over the process than what you would have had while using other methods like shielded metal arc welding or gas metal arc welding. In addition, you will enjoy a much stronger, beautiful, and high-quality finish. However, it takes much time and effort to master.
There are two common metal joining technologies available in the industry: TIG and MIG welding.
When Will You Need TIG and MIG Welders?
Tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) functions through a long rod that links with the metal. Metal inert gas welding (MIG) joins metal when a wire touches the metals consistently. Here are the major differences between these two types.
Method of Operation: MIG machines can be operated with one hand. The hot flame will introduce a gap that will be filled by the wire immediately to create a join. You have to use two hands to work with TIG. While you will hold the torch in one hand, the other hand will be for the filler element. The metal is melted at the joint, while the filler seals the gap and the join is created.
Ease of Use: MIG welding kits are much easier to use. Inexperienced workers can master the art within a short time. Whereas, TIG machines require much training and experience before you can get a perfect result.
Welding time: You can cover a series of welding projects within a short time with MIG machines. TIG models are ten times slower if you’re using the equal time for the two techniques.
Aesthetics and precision: In terms of neatness, aesthetics, and accuracy of the joints, TIGs are simply amazing. MIG joints do not look as good and require many finishing touches like scraping and grinding to make it clean.
Aluminum welding: It is easier to melt aluminum with TIG than with MIG models. You will require a spool gun or push-pull torch which can be expensive before melting aluminum with MIG models.
Tacking: It is easier to tack weld metals with MIGs than with TIGs. This because TIGs can only be operated with two hands.
If you want to achieve a polished finishing on your steel or aluminum metals, then you should opt for a TIGs. However, if you have a bulk delivery to make on steel only, then you should use MIGs.
TIG Welder - Buying Guide
If you are interested in obtaining a beautiful and neat finishing for your aluminum joints, you should consider TIG system. However, shopping for these products can be difficult if you’re unaware of most of its quality features. These are the factors you must keep in mind if you want to buy and use a TIG welder.
1. Input power
Many of the TIG welders can work with both 240V and 110V input power. They are highly versatile and can be used with either of the two power levels interchangeably. Moreover, low power units are more suitable for smaller projects while bigger and heavy-duty projects require high-powered models.
2. Amperage range
The wider the amperage range of the welder the better the model. A good model should have an amperage range from 5 to 230 amps. You should understand that each metal requires its own levels of current. So, the wider the amperage, the more the type of metals that the machine can handle. Note that more amperage is needed for aluminum joining than that for steel.
3. Performance at low amperage
The machine's ability to perform at a low amperage is another crucial factor to consider. Low amperage is any value less than 10A. At this level of current, the machine will have better stability and arc control, ease of starting, and improved finishing.
Since TIG welding is suitable for lightweight metals, you could burn the workpiece if the amperage is too high. Starting the arc at a low frequency is the right method for working with thinner metals.
The level of stability will determine the finishing and beauty of the joint. TIG machines allow you to fill the weld crater as you are about to finish by dropping the output amperage. This stability in the gradual reduction of the output power is very suitable for joining aluminum.
4. AC/DC compatibility
A regular TIG welder should have both AC DC outputs to allow you to join different materials successfully. DC current is needed in welding steel or stainless materials.
AC current is used for melting high-reactive metals like aluminum or magnesium. The two negative and positive cycles of the AC work by ionizing the metal and negating the effects of oxidation respectively.
In explaining this, it is the negative cycle of the AC that welds the metal while the positive cycle protects and cleans the joint.
5. Heat control
Thin metals can become warped when you don’t have the proper control of the heat. To minimize this effect, you should use pulse welding. This is a process were the machine alternates between a high and low current. Thus, by using pulse effect, the arc is stabilized while the metal receives a lower heat.
6. Types of Arc start
A TIG system uses specific methods to start an arc. It is your duty to choose a machine that suits your arc start preference. It could use the high frequency technique to start the arc. This occurs at the point of contact between the metal and the tungsten electrode.
Another method is the scratch start technique in which you scratch the electrode on the metal to start the arc. This method is easy to learn but has a disadvantage of contaminating the weld with its residue.
The last but not the least is the lift start technique which only differs from the scratch start because of its tendency to prolong the lifespan of the machine by preventing the scratching of the electrode.
7. Balance control for AC operation
A good model should have a setting for balancing the AC operation. This control is done by setting the duration for each of the AC cycles. By this, you can prolong or shorten any of the cycles to obtain your target results.
Many of the TIG welders on sale are designed to balance the AC operation automatically by adjusting the output power. If you can afford the types with auto balance control, then you have gotten for yourself a worthy product; since it will help improve the quality and look of your weld. However, most of the inexpensive TIG models on the market are equipped with manual control buttons or foot pedal controls.
8. Solid duty cycle
The output and duration at which a machine can operate over a 10-minute window are known as the solid duty cycle. This factor is used to determine how long a machine can run before it can rest or be cool. For example, a 40% duty cycle machine with 200A will operate for 4 minutes before it can be cooled.
Most of the low priced TIG welder models come with lower duty cycles because of their low input and output power. The expensive TIG models have duty cycles of 60% and above. In most cases, solid duty cycles are determined by the price of the product. You should spend some money to get a model with a high solid duty cycle.
9. Ease of operation
It takes much skill and time before you can master TIG welding. However, your machine can be made in a manner that you can use with ease. The control knobs should be easily accessible and easy to understand.
10. Ergonomic design
An ergonomic design will not only simplify your ability to work with the machine but will guarantee your safety as well. Such machines should be designed with a foot pedal for the amperage control while your eyes are fixed at the work.
11. Torch changes
Torches are exclusive to the type of metal. You can get a TIG system with the option for an interchangeable torch which is an enhancement on its flexibility.
Generally, TIG welders are expensive because of their unique features. However, there are inexpensive models that are suitable for some home projects. The ones with complete features are relatively expensive. The good thing is, you will always find one that suits your budget and specification.
A Word from Drillly
The introduction of TIG welders as against the predominantly industrial welders has been a major relief. There are various types of this system on the market, but the major problem lies in your ability to choose the best TIG welder that suits your needs and budget.
In most cases, the price does not match with quality. So, if you believe that you will get a good model by just spending money to buy the expensive type, you may be heading the wrong track. You should understand that cheap may not mean poor quality and neither does expensive mean the highest in quality. In comparing the Lotos TIG200 with Hobart 500551, you will observe that while the latter is more expensive, the former is better in terms of performance and quality features. Aside from the price, you should always look at the quality features of the product.
Moreover, our top aluminum TIG welder for the money went to the AHP AlphaTIG 200DX. This is because it produces both AC and DC output voltages. The AC output is needed in the aluminum weld. Also, it has a wide amperage range which can be controlled to suit each metal.
We are confident that by now you have the answer to your query: what is the best tig welder for you. Happy shopping!
1. HF Start vs Lift Start
You will notice that while some models have HF start, others have Lift start. However, we will help you to understand why it is so. The first stage of TIG welding is the initiation of the arc. The arc that exists between the metal and the tungsten electrode is what melts the metal. This arc can be started either by touching the metal or not.
Lift start TIG welders require you to contact the metals before the arc is initiated. Those TIG welders that allow you to start the arc without touching the metal are those with HF start. However, there is one that requires you to scratch the metal like when scratching the matches with the match stick to start the arc. This method is called the scratch start. You should know that this method often contaminates the metal with debris and gives a poor finishing. HF start is mostly preferred since it produces the expected results.
2. Pulse width
This is the duration of TIG welder’s negative or positive cycles. The pulse width control knob helps you to control your weld’s quality by regulating how long the output can remain in a negative or positive cycle.
3. Pre-flow time
The pre-flow control knob allows you to determine the period between arc initiation and the flowing of the shielding gas.
4. Post-flow time
The post-flow control knob allows you to determine the time it takes for the shield gas to stop flowing after the termination of the arc.
5. Pulse amperage
This is the highest value of the pulse per time. The pulse amperage control knob is often used to setting the AC output current based on the type of metal to weld.
Brent lives in Wisconsin and is a woodworker, custom cabinetmaker, interior consultant, and a freelance writer who got the opportunity to write several magazine articles for different publications on home … Read More
A group of pro and aspiring woodworkers and blacksmiths with a passion to combine any original contemporary design with high-quality craftsmanship. Whether you take your projects as a pastime activity or you make a living from this, we're here to share our wealth of knowledge and experience to help you take your skill to the next level!Read More...