- Best TIG Welder Reviews
- Best TIG Welder Comparison Table
- Top Features of the Best TIG Welders
- What is TIG Welding?
- Bottom Line
Last updated on February 25th, 2019 at 12:16 pm
A TIG welder is definitely a useful tool at home and at repair or construction shops, as it allows a welder to join two pieces of thin metal with precision resulting in a beautiful weld that is free of slag. While it is a very handy tool, it is important to pick the best TIG welder to garner the most benefits. Typically, it is prudent practice to check the warranty, weight, dimensions, and other factors before settling on any equipment. In our unbiased TIG welder reviews we took a deeper look into each product, clearly marking their features and their outcome. We have compiled a list of the most recommended TIG welders in the market, comparing different brands and models. A good TIG welder should serve you perfectly, whether you desire one for hobby welding or professional use. Here are our top picks for TIG welding machines.
- AHP AlphaTIG 200X
- Process: TIG / Stick
- Power Type: 110/240V, AC/DC
- Amperage Range: 10-200A
- Duty Cycle: 60% @ 200A
- Material Thickness: 3/8" - 1/4"
- Weight: 50 lb.
- Warranty: 3-Year
- Price: $$
- Miller Electric Maxstar 150 STL
- Process: TIG / Stick
- Power Type: 115/230V, DC
- Amperage Range: 5-150A
- Duty Cycle: 30% @150A
- Material Thickness: 24 ga. - 3/16"
- Weight: 14 lb.
- Warranty: 3-Year
- Price: $$$$
- Everlast PowerTIG 250EX
- Process: TIG / Stick
- Power Type: 240V, AC/DC
- Amperage Range: 5-250A
- Duty Cycle: 60% @ 250A
- Material Thickness: 22 ga. - 1"
- Weight: 60 lb.
- Warranty: 5-Year
- Price: $$$
- Hobart EZ-TIG 165i
- Process: TIG
- Power Type: 230V, AC/DC
- Amperage Range: 10-165A
- Duty Cycle: 20% @ 150A
- Material Thickness: 22 ga. - 3/16"
- Weight: 50 lb.
- Warranty: 5-Year
- Price: $$$
- Lincoln Electric Square Wave 200
- Process: TIG / Stick
- Power Type: 120/230V, AC/DC
- Amperage Range: 10-200A
- Duty Cycle: 25% @ 200A
- Material Thickness: 3/16" - 3/8"
- Weight: 46 lb.
- Warranty: 3-Year
- Price: $$$
- Amico 200 Amp
- Process: TIG / Stick
- Power Type: 110/230V, DC
- Amperage Range: 20-200A
- Duty Cycle: 60% @ 200A
- Material Thickness: 1/2"
- Weight: 25 lb.
- Warranty: 1-Year
- Price: $$
Best TIG Welder Reviews
1. AHP AlphaTIG 200X AC/DC TIG Welder
If you are in search for a TIG welding machine that not only looks great but has the functionality to match, then look no further, the AHP Alpha TIG 200X welder. The new model comes equipped with a new torch, pulse frequency, and AC/DC frequency, for precision and beautiful welds.
It works perfectly on quarter-inch aluminum and 3/8 inch mild steel. This 110/240 dual-voltage TIG welder is inverter based, it uses IGBT technology with pulse width modulation. It offers a 60% duty cycle at 200 amps. Making it ideal for use on stainless steel, aluminum, and thin-gauge materials.
This is a powerful TIG welder with a high frequency start to enable the welder to create good welds. If you can get past the slippery foot pedal and the flow meter problem, you will enjoy smoothness and great functionality at a great price.
- Capable of stick and TIG welding with simplified controls for easy operation.
- The TIG welder has pulse technology and AC frequency control which improves penetration and yields beautiful welds.
- This machine can be used on thin materials without burning through them.
- It also features a 2T/4T remote control foot pedal which is useful in welding control and operation.
- In addition, the pre-flow and post-flow control for maximum gas shielding protection before and after.
- Weighs 50 pounds, small and lightweight thus portable for easy movement from location to location.
- The flow meter makes a buzzing sound when set at certain low settings.
- You may find it useful to place the foot pedal on a rubber ground as it tends to slip away when pressing harder.
2. Miller Electric TIG Welder DC Maxstar 150 STL
This is a multi-voltage TIG welder that can perform multiple processes including TIG and stick welding. The all-inclusive Miller Electric machine comes equipped with all the equipment needed making it a plug and play device that is convenient and easy to use. One simply needs to connect to argon, electricity, and is ready to go.
The inverter TIG welder DC Maxstar features a 30% duty cycle at 150A. Works with mild steel from 24 gauge to 3/16 inch. This DC TIG welder also comes with a 10 feet work clamp, protective carrying case and shoulder strap, 13 feet stick electrode, and light industry applications.
It has a built-in gas solenoid which eliminates the need for carrying a bulky torch with a gas valve. In addition, it features Lift arc technology, the Miller Electric TIG Welder DC Maxstar is a great TIG welder for home use and light applications. It is light, easy to use, portable, and it’s ready for the job.
- Best portable TIG welder weighs only 14 pounds. Comes in a small and compact design that allows easy portability with a shoulder strap.
- It also comes equipped with a hot start to prevent electrode sticking.
- This TIG welding machine boasts an auto-line circuitry management technology that instantaneously connects to 110 or 220V without extra tools.
- Has an accurate amperage adjustment control.
- In addition, it has a minimum 5 amp start which is useful for welding thin materials without initially burning through them.
- This is a small TIG welder that can only be used on light industrial applications. It cannot weld thicker materials.
- No high-frequency start which is important for some applications.
3. Everlast PowerTIG 250EX AC DC TIG Pulse Welder
Suitable for both professionals and welding enthusiasts, the Everlast PowerTIG 250 EX is a must-have. The AC/DC TIG and stick welder is a versatile solution with excellent performance. The machine delivers 250 amps at a 60% duty cycle, as a result, offering stellar performance.
It is loaded with features such as AC frequency, stick function, AC balance control, fully adjustable pulse, 2T/4T remote control functions, and spot weld timer. It performs optimally on both 240V single phase and 3 phase power. Capable of TIG welding 1/2 inch in a single pass and up to 1 inch in a multi-pass for steel or aluminum, virtually works on any metal.
This is an impressive TIG welder with a stable arc and plenty of other desirable features and great value. Suitable for various applications which render its versatility. It is also compact and lightweight for easy movement while at work. Lots of features making it an outstanding performer.
- It is easy to control thus suitable for professionals and beginners with a foot pedal for easy control.
- It is perfect for welding thin materials as it has low start at 5 amps.
- Advanced square wave inverter based heavy-duty TIG welder with IGBT power modules to increase performance and reliability.
- Featuring an improved LED display and color-coded control buttons for easy use.
- Boasts an enhanced high frequency start circuit to avoid maintenance problems.
- Easy to transport from a location to the other, weighs 60 pounds.
- It also has control for both pre-flow and post-flow which provides maximum shielding gas protection.
- This machine makes a lot of fan noise during operation.
- The torch hoses and cover are a bit stiff, making it hard to handle.
4. Hobart 550551 EZ-TIG 165i TIG Welder
The Hobart EZ-TIG 165i is a lightweight portable TIG welder, suitable for home hobby welding and light applications. If you are a novice, this machine is easy to operate with only three controls needed: power, amperage, and AC/DC, it’s the best TIG welder for beginners.
This versatile TIG welder allows you to weld through anything, from stainless steel to aluminum from 22 gauge and up to 3/16 inch. A 20% duty cycle at 150 amps, with one knob control, one can easily re-adjust and fine-tune specifications to the desired levels.
Overall, the Hobart EX-TIG 165i TIG welder is an excellent performer with plenty of features that will excite a professional or a novice. With Hobart’s high-quality and reliability, we definitely recommend it as a starter machine for home hobby welders.
- It is extremely easy to use with simple controls, ideal for newbies.
- Has auto post-flow to provide optimum shielding based on welding amperage without waste or need for adjustment.
- It weighs 50 pounds, compact and is easy to move from one location to another.
- It is an inverter TIG welder that has a high-frequency start and boasts an automatic high-temperature shutdown.
- In addition, it features an infinite amperage control.
- The included foot pedal allows for remote amperage control over the weld, allowing the welder more focus on the job at hand.
- The Hobart EZ-TIG is a DC/AC TIG welder with 230V power input.
- The power cord is short which limits movement.
- It may be a little pricey than other machines with similar features.
5. Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder K5126-1
A lightweight yet highly powerful 120/230V welder from Lincoln Electric, this machine makes welding an art. It allows for creativity as the welder can experiment with a little more than the standard welders.
It offers both AC/DC power which makes it useful for a variety of materials. Capable of TIG welding on 3/16 inch aluminum or 3/8 inch steel. Further, this TIG welder has advanced features and is extremely easy to use.
An accurate TIG welding machine that offers 200A/230V at 25% duty cycle and 125A/120V at 25% duty cycle. Allowing adjustments for wider or tighter arc configurations.
This portable TIG welder offers great value for simple welding jobs, as a result, suitable for home hobby welding rather than industrial jobs. It is an excellent machine that is a great performer and very reliable.
- Those who wish to get both TIG and stick welding will appreciate the fact that they have both features on this machine.
- Features a LED display with light indicators.
- Has a foot pedal for amperage control for complete control over the weld.
- A square wave welder with high-frequency start and pulse frequency control.
- It is easy to use as it has simplified controls.
- Weighing a bit over 46 pounds and it’s easy to move.
- It may get hot when used for long duration.
- The starting amps are high but it is not configurable.
6. Amico 200 Amp TIG Torch/Arc/Stick DC Inverter Welder
The 200 amp stick and TIG welder, a powerful machine that can be used on half-inch stainless steel, mild steel, copper, cast iron, and alloys.
Offers a 60% duty cycle at 200A/230V and 150A/110V, boasting a stellar arc quality and voltage control. In fact, it’s the best TIG welder for the money, guaranteeing the user the best possible service at a fraction of the cost.
Comes with a TIG torch, electrode holder, work clamp, and cables. It comes with everything you’ll need to start. The machine is multi-use allowing one to weld on many types of metal.
This DC inverter welder with IGBT technology features a scratch start, none the less, it’s a great TIG welding machine with powerful cooling fans for great performance with all the features to make your work easy, fun, and exciting.
- It can be used on a variety of materials including aluminum and stainless steel.
- This machine has an advanced inverter technology and stronger, more stable, and more concentrated arc for intricate designs.
- In addition, it has a LED display with indicator lights.
- It has an excellent voltage control and great duty cycle works on both 110V and 220V.
- Weighs only 25 pounds, extremely lightweight and easy to transport.
- There is little to admire about the plastic housing, which besides being bulky, is very cumbersome to operate.
- This TIG welder uses scratch start which some welders don’t prefer as it touches the metal momentary to initiate an arc.
Best TIG Welder Comparison Table
|Feature/Product||AHP AlphaTIG 200X||Miller Maxstar 150 STL||Everlast PowerTIG 250EX||Hobart EZ-TIG 165i||Lincoln Square Wave 200||Amico 200 Amp|
|Type||AC/DC, TIG/Stick||DC, TIG/Stick||AC/DC, TIG/Stick||AC/DC, TIG||AC/DC, TIG/Stick||DC, TIG/Stick|
|Input, Phase, Hertz||110/240V, 1PH, 50/60Hz||115/230V, 1PH, 50/60Hz||240V, 1/3PH, 50/60Hz||230V, 1PH, 60Hz||120/230V, 1PH, 50/60Hz||110/230V, 1PH, 60Hz|
|TIG Duty Cycle||60%||30%||60%||20%||25%||60%|
|TIG Welding Amps||10-200A||5-150A||5-250A||10-165A||10-200A||20-200A|
|Stick Duty Cycle||35%||30%||35%||N/A||20%||60%|
|Stick Welding Amps||20-200A||20-150A||5-200A||N/A||10-170A||20-150A|
|Open Circuit Voltage OCV||N/A||90V||80V||80V||62V||N/A|
|Start Type||High-Frequency||Lift-Arc||High-Frequency + Lift-Arc||High-Frequency||High-Frequency||Scratch-Start|
|Materials||Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Titanium, Copper, Nickel, Alloys||Steel, Steel Alloys||Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Titanium, Copper, Chrome-molly||Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Chrome-molly||Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Chrome-molly||Mild Steel, Stainless Steel, Alloy Steel, Copper, Cast Iron, Chrome|
Top Features of the Best TIG Welders
Whether you are a novice or a professional, a TIG welder is a handy machine to have around the house or at work. For small fixes, repair jobs, and maintenance, a TIG welder can save you a lot of headaches and in the long run, save you money, as it is fairly easy to nip the issues at the start before they escalate into a real problem. A TIG welder creates high-quality welds and is safe for home use. Professionals will also appreciate the fact that a TIG welder is a highly versatile machine, used in various applications to generate a high-quality, snag-free weld that is durable and beautiful.
TIG welding is somewhat a complex process as compared to other welding machines. It, however, results in beautiful welds. Noting that a TIG welder is a great tool, it is prudent to know what to look for when checking out various welding systems before rushing to the store. Here are tips on how to choose the best TIG welder.
First, you should start by looking at the current type of the welder. Current type is related to the depth of penetration, deposition rate, welding speed, and quality of the weld.
Different metals require different current types for welding. In TIG (GTAW) both direct currents (DC) and alternating currents (AC) can be used. To weld a variety of metals, use a machine that offers both AC and DC currents. For self-oxidizing metals such as aluminum or magnesium, you should go for AC current. It is also used only for metals needing shallow penetration. For almost everything else such as steel, stainless, or copper you should go for DC current.
Keep in mind that the standard US home electricity runs on around 115 volts which is great for a mid-size TIG welder. However, a top TIG welder has the option of switching between 115 volts and 230 volts in case you need more power.
It is critically important to consider amperage range when purchasing a TIG machine. TIG welders usually incorporates low amperage. While this may seem like a drawback, but in reality, it helps in different welding jobs. Unlike thick bars or sections that need high amperage, for thin metals, low amperage is required.
For welding thin metals a TIG welder that goes to as low as 5 amps would be a perfect choice. On the other hand, aluminum, for example, tends to require much more power and would require a TIG welder of at least 200 amps.
The wider the range, the more applications you can work on without the need for multiple machines. You want a machine that has the widest range at the best price. An amperage range of 5 to 230 amps gives you great flexibility and versatility.
The duty cycle of a welding machine is the amount of minutes you can weld at the machine’s maximum output (amps) without exceeding the temperature limits that would cause overheating or burning the component parts.
Here is an example, if the welder is rated at 40% duty cycle at 200 amps, this means you can weld for 4 minutes at 200 amps of power before having to rest for 6 minutes before proceeding. The lower amperage you use the longer the duty cycle/minutes be.
For welding hobbyist and new beginners, a duty cycle around 20% is more than enough in most cases. Duty cycles of about 40% or 60% are often sufficient for TIG applications in industry and construction. While professional industrial welders require a 100% duty cycle, due to, the long weld time that they could lose while waiting for a welder to cool off.
If you are intending to use the TIG welder in the same spot, this may not be a concern. But if you are intending to move around according to your job, then look for a portable welder. A TIG welder should allow easy movement to different areas where applications are to be made. Smaller TIG welding machines specially inverter based are relatively easy to use thus offering lots of versatility as compared to larger machines that have to be ferried with a cart.
A small TIG welder machines is extremely handy when dealing with small jobs that do not require a longer duty cycle. After considering the duty cycle and power output, portability is the next thing that welders should consider. For homes where a large scale machine is not required, opt for a small welding machine that can move with ease around when doing your welding jobs.
A durable foot pedal is a key accessory to simplify the process as it allows one to increase or decrease the welding amperage as required. Foot amperage controls are vital especially if working with aluminum which quickly heats up during the course of the weld and requires more amperage. As a result, a good foot pedal becomes critical if you want to yield good results with TIG welders.
The projects involved sometimes require one to stand in some awkward positions while the process itself requires two hands. A foot pedal is necessary as it allows you to free up your hands so you can focus completely on the weld and manage the amount of heat to avoid the weld puddle becoming too large.
A good foot pedal should slope at a moderate angle that is neither too high to cause fatigue nor too low to be unreachable. It should be highly responsive so that one is able to adjust the heat input easily with one foot.
TIG welding involves controlling the amount of heat applied to the base metal. Most of the latest TIG inverters produce a higher number of pulses per second as compared to older TIG welders. TIG pulsing is necessary when working on a difficult joint or on thin metal. It also is required where too much heat can end up causing rust such as in stainless steel.
A higher pulsed rate creates a stronger weld as the welder has more control over the weld puddle. Good pulsing technology creates strong, clean, and high-quality welds while saving time and materials, thus, it’s a good feature to have.
There are three ways to start an arc or arc ignition when TIG welding; scratch start, lift start, and high frequency start. The overall best option is the high-frequency start. This method works without any touching of the tungsten to the metal or beads which results in almost no contamination to the weld. A high-frequency start is only critically important for welding aluminum.
The arc is critically important for the welder and there is no other to control it than to have high-frequency settings. The higher the settings, the more efficient your welder is for high-quality applications.
You may benefit greatly from a machine that has simple controls making your work much easier and straightforward. TIG is a high-skill process but that does not mean that the machine must be complicated to use. You want a user-friendly machine with easy-to-understand controls. To avoid accidentally bumping into controls while at work and wrecking a project, invest in a machine that has controls that snap securely into position. Although this is purely a matter of personal preference, it may make work easier for you if the small things don’t get in your way.
Deciding on a TIG is not based solely on the purchase price but on a host of other factors that determine its suitability and efficiency. It should meet your welding needs while delivering a seamless experience to ease your load when at work. Beyond the price, ensure you have a high-quality device that boasts of a good amperage range, great adaptability, and good controls.
What is TIG Welding?
There are numerous processes that welders use to join metals, TIG is one of them. Heat, the type of pressure, and the type of equipment differentiate each process from the other. GTAW or TIG is among the most popular welding processes as it not only creates high-quality welds but also requires top-notch skills thus guaranteeing stellar workmanship. You may also be interested in MIG welders.
What about TIG Welding History?
TIG welding has a long history that originates from a Hobart Heli-Arc machine. It gets its name from helium gas which was used as a shield around the electric arc. The process was developed in the 1930s and used widely in World War II to create many aircraft parts. Before the welding technology was invented, welders would rely on welding aluminum and alloy steels with a torch which was time-consuming, tiresome, and required lots of skill.
How TIG Works?
TIG acronym stands for Tungsten Inert Gas which refers to the process of using electrodes to create a weld. Another name for it is GTAW which stands for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. This technique uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode fed through a welding torch to weld two metals together. A TIG welder employs a constant current supply to create an electric arc between the work-piece and the tungsten electrode, using heat to generate a weld.
The weld area is protected from external contamination of the atmosphere or environmental elements by using an inert shielding gas or a cover gas which is either argon, helium, or a combination of both.
TIG welders can be used without any filler metal, but for some welds, you might need a filler material or a wire for reinforcement. At the point where the arc hits the base metal results in a molten weld pool where the filler metal is slowly fed by the other hand to melt further, creating a weld. The finished product in this process is a slag and sound free weld that has the same properties as the parent metal. Check out this article comparing different welding methods.
What Can TIG Weld?
This type of welding can be used for a wide range of metals rendering it more versatile than other processes, such as;
- Mild steel, stainless steel, and carbon steel
- Aluminum and alloys
- Copper and alloys
- Nickel and alloys
- Magnesium and alloys
- Titanium and alloys
What are TIG Welding Uses?
GTAW is a great solution to many manufacturing challenges and is utilized widely in parts that require a corrosion-resistant, sturdy weld that can stand the test of time.
Since the process grants the welder more control on thin sections of non-ferrous metals and stainless steel, it is best suited for small sections that require a slag-free weld.
Many industries utilize TIG welding for this reason. It is widely used in the construction of vessels, pipes, airplanes, and spacecraft. Car manufacturers use TIG welding because of its anti-corrosive properties. Auto body repair shops also employ the process as artists appreciate the high-quality welds during sculpture welding. Race car fabrication requires the use of TIG welders for chrome-moly steel and aluminum for sturdiness and great finish.
GTAW can be performed manually, automatically, or by using a hybrid approach. TIG can be used to weld in any position standing, sitting, flat, or overhead position. Great welders can make a good career out of top industries such as aerospace, petroleum, and construction. You may also be interested to know more about plasma cutters.
What are the Types of TIG Welding?
There are many welding processes that professional welders may employ but these two types of TIG welding stand out the most; orbital TIG welding and manual TIG welding. None is considered superior to the other and the choice remains solely on the welder as both result in a superior quality weld if done the right way.
Orbital TIG welding is an easy process that allows for automation when required. It is clean which makes it produce higher quality beads and welds than most welding processes. Manual welding is a more precise solution to difficult joints or areas of application. It allows for more accurate and refined results in cases where orbital welding is not possible.
TIG Welding Advantages
There are many advantages that a TIG welder offers. One of the top benefits is that it allows a welder maximum control.
- The welder has total control on the amperage and heat with high accuracy using their thumb or their foot.
- The process works great on thin materials as TIG welding uses low amperage.
- Amperage and heat control allows the welder to quickly switch from working on thin pieces of metals to larger ones rendering TIG welding a versatile process.
- Used on a number of metals including stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and dissimilar metals. When done correctly, results in a high-purity, top quality weld compared to other welding processes.
- Can be used without a filler wire or metals. It uses a non-consumable electrode, the process can weld by fusion alone without the added fillers.
- There are no fluxes used and a welder can create a low-profile weld bead which is clean, free of slag with minimal finishing required.
- TIG welders are quite desirable in projects that require detailed and minimal distortion for designs, curves, or any form of artistry on the base material.
- The TIG welder can perform in any position. The welder gets more control to get an accurate and beautiful weld.
- A TIG welder gives a solution to welding critical joints where highly precise welds are needed. Resulting in strong and clean beads.
- Clean welding process with a minimal amount of fumes, sparks, and spatters.
TIG Welding Disadvantages
One of the top disadvantages of TIG welding is that it takes a high level of skill and dexterity when compared to other types of welding.
- It is comparatively more complex and difficult to master.
- TIG welders will need both their hands and a foot to perform their work making it quite undesirable sometimes. Further, it requires a high level of focus and hand-eye coordination.
- GTAW can be performed on most metals but there are some that cannot be welded using this process for example metals of thickness over 5mm.
- Performed only on clean metals to maintain a high-quality weld which ends up taking so much time and energy.
- Although it is known for producing one of the best welds, it has a low deposition rate which translates to the fact that one cannot TIG weld things very quickly making it slow and time-consuming.
- Low tolerance for contamination of the filler or the metal base.
- High initial coast, shielding gases used are also expensive. The process must also be done by a qualified technician resulting in higher labor costs. The overall costs may also increase in case of improper welding, contamination, unbalanced heating, or inclusions as products can become defective.
- Without destroying each component, it’s quite difficult to separate two items that have been welded using GTAW. It can be done but isn’t advisable as the items cannot be reused for any other application and most welders discourage this process.
TIG welding is a complex and time-consuming process that requires the mastery of the skill for a high-quality weld. However, it is quite rewarding as the results of the process are admirable and precise if done correctly. Despite its challenges, TIG welding is one of the most efficient ways to join two metals.
In a world where there are so many welding machines, trying to get the best TIG welding machine can be overwhelming even for a professional. There are so many factors one needs to put into consideration including the design, functionality, and eventually the price. This is why we chipped in and came up with this list of the best rated TIG welders to shed more light on the topic. Hopefully, we have eased your burden by creating a thoroughly researched article on which is the best TIG welder. Tell us which one of these TIG welder reviews you like the most and why. We hope you find this list useful and look forward to hearing from you.