If you believe that you’ve already mastered enough MIG welding skills, then it’s time to upgrade to a TIG welder.
TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas and it’s sometimes called the gas tungsten arc welding. It’s used to weld titanium, copper, and two dissimilar metals. This machine is capable of handling tricky welds, such as S-curves and round things.
However, you need to have enough patience to be successful with TIG welding. To get the most out of welding, you need to learn the proper TIG welding techniques and the best TIG welder machine.
In this article, I’ll talk more about the TIG welder to help you further understand what this machine is and how you can find the best one on the market.
The TIG welding equipment relies on the tungsten electrode to heat up the metal to be cut. Due to its applicability, this machine is mostly preferred by professional welders and is in high demand.
It can be used to cut and process different metals like copper, magnesium, steel, gold, brass, and aluminum.
For metals with heavy thickness, welders use inert gasses such as argon in order to protect it from contamination.
Below are some of the most common uses of a TIG welder:
The automotive industry relies on TIG welders to manufacture accessories for cars. Using a TIG welder helps to minimize corrosion over time.
Car manufacturers rely on TIG Welders in preventing rust and cutting the metals needed to manufacture different types of vehicles.
When it comes to repairing different types of metals, a TIG welder can be useful. Whether it’s an old-fashioned car, a wagon, children’s toys, aluminum tools, and more, this machine will help a lot.
The aircraft and spacecraft industries have long been relying on TIG welders to produce parts.
Both space and commercial planes need complex parts to be produced and these parts are made of metals that have to be designed and cut precisely.
This is where they can benefit from the use of TIG welders.
Artists who want to express their creativity by sculpting metals and producing different kinds of sculptures can benefit from TIG welders as well.
This machine can be used for various industrial fixtures and in making metal sculptures.
Keep in mind that TIG welders consume a lot of power during operation. Whether you’re an amateur or expert in welding, you should choose something based on your needs and preferences.
Here are some of the most important things that you need to take into consideration when looking for the best TIG welder to buy:
Duty cycle is the welder’s ability to continuously work on the machine. This is often expressed as a ratio or percentage of the overall active time.
When using the machine for dense metal operations and commercial use, you might as well go for high DC machines. This decreases the amount of time you need to spend in having to wait for the welder machine to cool down.
For lighter welding tasks, such as home DIY projects, it’s best to go for TIG welders with a low-duty cycle. This machine should be able to work for this purpose without any issues.
A power surge could decrease DC. This is because the power input could increase the possibility of overworking the cooling system.
Cheaper models of TIG welders usually come with 20% DC. This is what makes them better suited for lighter tasks and when working with soft metals.
On the other hand, TIG welders that are of high quality and are generally more expensive are designed to work for more than 6 minutes through a duty cycle of 60%.
The input power will depend on the type of tasks that your device will perform. If you plan on using it for heavy-duty operations, choose a welder with a high input power.
Most of TIG welders are equipped with automatic DC and AC adjustability features. TIG welders operate at a specific range. You should be aware of the power phases that the machine is capable of working without any issues.
When deciding on the input power of a machine, consider the kind of material that you’ll be welding on.
Aluminum and steel are the two most common materials that are being processed in TIG welders and these materials have varying gauges and thicknesses.
If you want something that can give you the best value for your money, go for high input machines capable of processing thick metals. Direct currents are generally more suitable for hard materials, such as stainless steel.
TIG welders that have low input power are more suitable for processing low-density metals like magnesium. But if your material isn’t dense, then AC current is good enough for you.
Racing cars are made mostly of steel, which requires the high input machines.
Digitization and automation can help make your welding tasks a lot easier. Some of these machines come with automatic high-temperature balance and shutdown.
These features are necessary for the maintenance of your welding machine. But if you’re an experienced welder, you may find it more convenient to operate the manual versions.
Digitized and automated welder machines are more suitable for amateurs and new users.
Machines that come with digitalization make it easier to adhere to the manufacturer’s regulations in terms of power output, voltage, etc.
Most welders prefer working with light machines. When it comes to portability, weight and size are important factors to consider.
If you’re going to operate the machine in a permanent position, you might as well go for a heavyweight TIG welder. But if you’re someone who prefers to work in different locations, then the lightweight machines will work best for you.
It’s the transformer that’s the heaviest component of a welder. Thus, if the transformer is heavy, you can expect the machine to be heavy as well.
Some machines, despite being lightweight, are still difficult to carry and have unreliable handles that could get broken easily with regular lifting.
Most welders, especially amateurs, are often confused between TIG and MIG welders.
This is pretty acceptable since both of these welding machines rely on electrical parts in cutting and shaping metals. In addition, both machines are known for preventing rusting and corrosion among metals.
Yet, these two machines differ from each other through the following:
MIG refers to Metal Inert Gas and it works by feeding metal into a weld. The wire will serve as the consumable filler material that will be responsible for attaching two metals together.
This process is known as the GMAW or Gas Metal Arc Welding.
On the other hand, the TIG welder or the Tungsten Inert Gas relies on non-consumable electrodes to operate an electric current through the two metals being welded. The TIG welder may or may not necessarily use filler metals.
Such a process is known as the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.
The MIG Welder relies on filler consumable metals when making welds. Thus, it only requires a short amount of time to weld thicker metals compared to TIG welders. Since TIG welders don’t use any filler material, they won’t be able to produce enough heat to bond two metals and will, therefore, take more time.
Thus, TIG welders are more suitable for thinner metals and not much for thicker ones.
MIG is much easier to use, which is why it’s highly recommended for amateur welders. TIG welding, on the other hand, requires strict control over the machine.
The welder must have control over the time, processing, pressure, as well as the electric current. These welder machines are often used alongside a computer-controlled machine.
Both MIG and TIG machines have to be set in the right settings for them to function well and minimize any mistakes along the way.
You can use TIG welders in various ways, depending on the machine’s voltage, amperage, and the type of metal being processed.
Some models of TIG welders are able to automatically detect the voltage being used and will adjust accordingly.
When buying these machines, you’ll get a user manual that will explain how to set up and use the machine so you better read that first.
Aluminum requires using Alternative Current due to the metal’s sensitivity.
As such, if you plan on working with aluminum material, make sure the welder machine that you’ll use supports AC.
Duty cycle refers to the percentage of time that the machine can work in 10 minutes. This is usually presented in percentage or rations.
DC is what determines your overall output when continuously working with the machine.
Most of the TIG Welders of today give you a choice of TIG or stick welding while others don’t offer the full package even if they’re compatible.
For this option, you just basically need to purchase the stick separately.
Now that you’ve learned a lot of things about the TIG welder, it’s time to go shopping. To help you with this, I’ve prepared below a list of the best TIG Welder on the market.
Known for its great functionality, this TIG Welder from Miller Electric is definitely worth checking out. It’s been praised for its impressive and versatile performance.
The Miller Electric 150 STL welder can be used in processing a wide range of metals. It has dual functionalities that allow the user to switch from stick applications to TIG welding.
But what really makes this machine stand out is its excellent portability since it relies on DC inverter technology. Weighing only 13.7 lbs, you should be able to easily carry this machine from one location to another.
You’ll also get a shoulder strap with this welder, which allows for more convenient transport.
Another great feature of this Miller Electric TIG welder is the thermal overload protection. This feature makes the machine more cost-effective and durable since the fan can help to reduce heat and power consumption.
Furthermore, this TIG Welder can be plugged in either 230 V or 115 V, offering a lot of flexibility.
Featuring an exclusive “Easy Start” 5-amp start for both AC and DC operation, the Everlast PowerTig 250EX TIG Welder offers a stable and smooth start.
The machine is portable and lightweight and can be used in different welding settings. Furthermore, it has fully adjustable weld parameters that are useful during 2t/4t remote operation.
This TIG Welder is known for its High Pulse Frequency capability, which minimizes overall heat input in order to produce premium quality weld without warping or burning the metal.
The machine also features an Economy WP torch that’s 12 feet long and DINSE 35/70 style connectors.
The Everlast PowerTIG 250EX Welder has a built-in 240 Volt receptacle that’s specifically designed for use with the 300 Water cooler of Everlast.
The machine has an expanded cleaning range, offering better adjustability compared to other models of TIG welders on the market. It’s this feature that gives the unit optimum performance when welding.
There’s also a digital display that allows you to precisely set the amperage, depending on your needs and preferences.
The machine’s Arc Face Control can be used for stick welding and minimizes the risk of spatter while improving its arc quality and performance.
When it comes to the best TIG welder, you should choose something that’s packed with great features, such as the Everlast PowerPro 256S.
It features a futuristic design and is easy enough to operate. Weighing at 93 lbs. and having dimensions of 22 x 17 x 9 inches, this machine is portable enough to carry from one place to another.
It’s possible to set this TIG welder from TIG to stick welder and plasma cutter. The device relies on the inverter-based technology, which reduces electricity usage. As such, this device is among the most cost-effective models on this list.
But what makes this unit stand out is the current overload indicator, which sends out signals in the event that the duty cycle exceeds its limits. In addition, the unit comes with numerous rows of pulse flow as well as post flow readings, making it a truly powerful unit for welding.
On top of all these, the Everlast PowerPro 256S has a stable arc that allows for a smooth arc start with user-friendly switches.
If you need a TIG welder that’s easy enough to operate, you’ll definitely love this AHP AlphaTIG 200X TIG Welder.
It’s used mainly for welding aluminum and stainless steel, although it can also be relied on for welding other metals.
You can use this machine to weld hoe repairs, perform DIY projects in your workshop, and even for commercial and business purposes.
This AC/DC welder machine can run on 110 or 220 V and what’s great about it is that it’s efficient with welding thin gauge materials, which most welding machines aren’t really good at. But it can also work well when welding thicker materials.
This AHP AlphaTIG 200 X TIG welder is capable of producing thin and precise welds and could process ¼-inch aluminum and 3/8-inch steel. In addition, it’s capable of welding 6013 and 7018.
What’s great about this welding machine is that it allows you to be in full control at all times as you weld using both hands.
This allows you to easily produce better quality welds. While this device may not be the lightest of all TIG welders, it’s compact and portable, allowing you to move it with ease.
Another welder that’s highly recommended to those who need a machine that’s not too complicated to operate is the Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG Welder.
This machine can help you to easily learn the techniques behind TIG welding, thanks to its easy-to-use interface. You just need to turn it on and choose the material that you want to use. After choosing the range of the material’s thickness, you can immediately start welding.
One of the best features of the Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG Welder is the Fan on Demand function. With this feature, you’ll be able to operate the fan only when it’s needed. Thus, you’ll be able to minimize the contamination of dust and debris.
The Hobart EZ-TIG is capable of welding 22 gauges that are up to 3/16″ thick and can work both ways using either AC or DC. Furthermore, it features a permit non-contact arc HF start that helps to eliminate the contamination of tungsten or other materials.
This TIG Welder from Hobart has an Infinite Amperage Control that offers an even bigger operating range while helping you to have better control over the welding process.
Above all, it’s extremely easy to set up. All you need to do is plug it into a 220 V outlet, then attach the shielding gas and choose the material and its thickness.
Featuring an inverter-based design, the Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG Welder is lightweight and portable.
It weighs only 50 lbs. and has two carrying handles, which offer better portability. This machine is highly recommended for welding aluminum materials.
When it comes to TIG welders that are both efficient and reliable, you can never go wrong with the Lincoln Electric Precision TIG Welder.
Using this machine will make you feel like an expert even if you’re still new to TIG welding. Although it’s a bit more expensive compared to other TIG welders, it’s worth buying because of its impressive performance.
This model of a TIG welder stands out when it comes to features and functionalities. The device is designed for high performance. When using this device for welding, you’ll be able to easily transition to TIG welding from stick, and vice versa.
Featuring an exclusive MicroStar Technology, this Lincoln Electric Precision TIG welder allows the delivery of low amp start while offering impressive stability during the welding process. This also allows for exceptional flexibility and greater versatility.
The Lincoln Electric Precision TIG 225 K2535-2 comes with an AC Auto Balance functionality that results in optimized cleaning and penetration. Such functionality results in a more excellent aluminum weld.
With this machine, you’ll be able to choose from 5 to 230 amps to make sure you’ll be able to use the amount of power that you need to carry out your tasks.
For commercial use and heavy-duty welding tasks, the Miller Electric Syncrowave TIG Welder is a more suitable choice. It comes at a high price tag, yet it’s efficient and reliable for all kinds of welding tasks, even the most demanding applications.
The machine is designed for optimal efficiency and reliability. Above all, it’s durable enough to be used regularly in a factory setting.
The Syncrowave 250DX can function as both a stick welder and TIG welder and features an inclusive Squarewave technology. This machine was developed by Miller in 1976 and has been known to provide excellent stability, especially when working with aluminum.
Furthermore, using this machine helps to minimize arc rectification and eliminates the possibility of tungsten erosion.
Providing remarkable balance control that helps users to adjust the balance when welding, using this machine means less cleaning is required later on.
The machine has a Synchro Start technology that gives you an option to choose from Hot, Soft, Standard, or TIG, depending on your required lead application, length, and tungsten size.
On top of these, this TIG welder has a digital welding meter that provides information on both the voltage and amperage. This results in better accuracy overall.
This TIG Welder from Lotos offers a lot of attractive features and comes at a great price.
Indeed, this machine is highly recommended to welders on a budget. It features stick welding that allows you to use it for a wide variety of applications.
With this device, you’ll enjoy an amperage output range of 15 A – 200 A, which is low enough to provide you with a stable arc, neat finish, and deep weld pool. If you’re looking for a machine that you can use for stainless steel, steel, and thinner metals, this TIG welder should be perfect.
The Lotos CT520D TIG Welder can also be used for plasma cutting. It uses compressed air in cutting through different materials, such as stainless steel, alloy steel, mild steel, aluminum, and copper. This additional cutting function makes this welder a worthy investment.
In fact, I, as a professional master welder, recommend Lotos CT520D because I believe it offers great value for money.
When it comes to affordability and versatility, the Forney 322 TIG Welder is highly recommended.
In fact, it’s one of the best TIG welders for new users.
You can use it for various processes from MIG, flux-cored, Stick, and TIG. Aside from being effective for a wide range of applications, this welder is easy to use and set up.
Featuring an upgraded design, the Forney 322 TIG Welder comes with a torch wrap that can be used for the organizing cable. Furthermore, it has a strain-free torch that ensures the longevity of the cable. This TIG welder offers great value for your money.
It operates in a power output of 120 V, which makes it practical for light repairs, general maintenance, automotive use, and home DIY projects. This device is compatible with a TIG torch, spool gun, and foot pedal.
A lot of casual welders have been relying on the Forney 322 for a start, while they’re still trying to learn TIG welding. Also, it’s suitable for light industrial use and household applications.
But one of the downsides of using this device is that it doesn’t specialize in TIG applications so you’ll have limited options when it comes to the type and thickness of metal.
The Forney 322 TIG Welder is a machine that’s easy to work with. When you purchase this welder, you’ll receive a manual instruction that’s easy to follow and understand, allowing you to operate this machine smoothly.
Razorweld Digital TIG 200 amp AC/DC TIG welder is a great TIG welder to consider.
It’s loaded with great features, such as pre gas, AC balance control, downslope, variable pulse parameters, post gas, and HF start that’s equipped with 2/4 T trigger control. If combined with a 2/4 T trigger function, you’ll get better control over the machine right from the start until the end.
Furthermore, its AC balance control allows you to set the AC TIG arc to clean the oxide layer of aluminum and allows for a better adjustment and deeper penetrating weld.
This unit from Razorweld isn’t the cheapest TIG welder on the market, yet this brand has been fast gaining popularity among professional and amateur welders, thanks to its reliable performance and excellent customer support.
Of all the TIG welders featured above, it’s the 2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X TIG Welder that I consider to be the best.
In fact, it’s one of the best-rated welding machines online. A lot of customers are happy with the way the machine works and they believe that it can give you the best value for your money.
It features the Advanced Inverter Technology and HF start TIG that comes with a foot pedal, which offers better welding operation and control.
Whether you’re an amateur or a professional welder, you’ll absolutely love this TIG welder from AHP.