What is TIG welding? TIG stands for Tungsten inert gas welding. It is the alternative nomenclature for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW. You are free to interchange the two terminologies. Classically, TIG welding is mainly applied in the bonding of aluminum, copper, magnesium, and stainless steel alloys. The reason is that it offers more room for a high purity/quality weld compared to other welding methods.
With this approach, the welder forms an arc between the base metal and a non-consumable electrode purely comprising of tungsten. Its purpose is to form a substantial coalescence between two or more metals.
There are various lengths & sizes of non-consumable electrodes. Mostly, they comprise of tungsten alloys or even pure tungsten in addition to other oxides and elements. This is due to the extremely high melting point of tungsten. It has a peak melting point of 3410 C.
If you have the right kind of equipment or experience, you can easily perform Tungsten inert gas welding either through a manual, automatic, or even hybrid procedure.
This approach offers numerous solutions, especially in manufacturing challenges. Nevertheless, in instances where the base metals have significant differences in melting points, e.g., copper and steel, tube brazing is a better method in comparison to TIG welding.
TIG welding falls under two categories. They include manual and orbital welding. When performed correctly, both welding methods result in a very high-quality weld at the joint between two metals.
Orbital can effortlessly be repeated, thus makes it apposite for automation if necessary. Moreover, it’s a clean process that creates a better weld compared to most other types.
On the contrary, the manual approach is a more meticulous solution allowing for higher accuracy and refining of weldments if orbital welding is not possible. Below is a comprehensive list of 8 of the best TIG welding machines.
- 1 Best TIG Welders Reviewed
- 1.1 1. Lotos CT520D 50 AMP Air Plasma Cutter, 200 AMP Tig – Multiple Processes Lotos TIG Welder
- 1.2 2. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115v – One of The Best Aluminum TIG Welders
- 1.3 3. Alpha-TIG200X-2018 – 110V/220V – Best AC/DC TIG Welder for the Money
- 1.4 4. The Amico TIG Welder 160 Amp – Easily Portable Dual Voltage Stick and TIG platform
- 1.5 5. S7 Welding Machine, 200 Amp – Machine for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals
- 1.6 6. Primeweld CT520D – 50 Amps Lightweight and Compact Plasma Cutter
- 1.7 7. EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH 160amp HF – Best Budget TIG Welder
- 1.8 8. Hitbox TIG Welder 200A – Best TIG Welder for Beginners
- 2 Tips for Purchasing the Best TIG Welder
- 3 Concluding Remarks
Best TIG Welders Reviewed
1. Lotos CT520D 50 AMP Air Plasma Cutter, 200 AMP Tig – Multiple Processes Lotos TIG Welder
The CT250D is among the best stick welding appliances. It functions through various procedures in a fashion somewhat similar to the Lotos TIG200 200a AC/DC aluminum TIG/Stick welder and Lotos LT5000D. With this equipment, users can execute plasma cutting, TIG, and stick welding actions.
This machine acts both as a 110v TIG welder and a 200v welder. It has a weight of approximately 32lbs, yet it is a 3 in 1 plasma cutter and TIG welder. This feature allows it to be convenient for usage in diverse environments. It can cut mild steel, alloy steel, aluminum, copper, and stainless steel that are ½ inches thick. At 50A, the Lotos offers adequate power for your requirements.
The setup is simple, given the 0.25-inch NPT industrial D type plug in addition to an air filter regulator. The argon controller of the Lotos CT520D is well-matched with the LCS33 and LCS22 variants. Upon purchasing it, you get extras that include an air filter regulator, a manual, power supply unit, consumables, a ground clamp, plasma cutting torch, and a tag torch.
- Multiple processes
- Includes a handle for easy carrying
- Simple set up procedure
Could be better:
- You must buy an external air compressor
2. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115v – One of The Best Aluminum TIG Welders
MIG welding is the simplest form of the product. Hobart 500559 is among the best machines for this kind of soldering. It works on mild steel with chunkiness ranging from 24 ga to 0.25 inches.
If you are caught up in the debate between the TIG and MIG welder, Hobart offers alternatives for both. You can try out the Hobart TIG welder, which is also highly efficient. The 50551 model, in particular, is one aluminum TIG welder that is among the best. Hobart 500559 handler is suggested for actions involving brass, copper, titanium, cast iron, magnesium alloys as well as flux-cored aluminum.
Its operating voltage is 115V. This means that it can be plugged into the household socket. Amperage ranges between 25 and 140A. It also has a duty cycle amounting to 20 percent at a current of 90 Amps and 19 V. Better still. The five-position voltage controller integrates a seamless and solid arc irrespective of how thick the welding is.
- Ability to utilize standard household current
- Low power, but high-quality artistry
- Quick and simple setup
- Light and highly portable
- Steady arc control no matter the type of process
Could be better:
- Only works with a steady supply of current
- It cannot obtain power from a generator. You need a gas cylinder
3. Alpha-TIG200X-2018 – 110V/220V – Best AC/DC TIG Welder for the Money
The AlphaTIG 200X AC DC TIG welder is a powerful device that supports stick function allowing both enthusiasts and expert welders to perform numerous types of welding activities. With this model, the user can use ¼ inch aluminum & 3/8-inch mild steel.
This permits it to weld 6013 or 7018. Additionally, the appliance has dual voltage functionality, supporting both 110 and 220 volts, and thus it is ideal for using in different regions.
The cutting edge inverter technology has been integrated with pulse width modulation functionality, which leverages IGBT tech. This is a superb stainless steel welder that can be used on aluminum and stainless steel.
Furthermore, it can precisely weld materials with much thinner gauges. Other attributes include an HF starting TIG & a foot pedal aimed at enhancing welding operations and control.
- Dual voltage capability
- Stick functionality provides numerous welding options
- Simple to operate
Could be better:
- Not very effective for thick-gauges
4. The Amico TIG Welder 160 Amp – Easily Portable Dual Voltage Stick and TIG platform
The Amico 160 DC offers users the chance to weld different metals while maintaining a clean bead. It doesn’t matter if the user is a professional or a beginner. There is the option of using Arc, Stick, or MMA welding. Stick welding allows the user to proceed with work despite rainy or windy conditions.
The Arc option provides the opportunity to weld heavy metals that need high amounts of heat. TIG welding, contrarily, is appropriate for power welding in unfavorable conditions.
The appliance is apposite for metals such as copper, mild steel, cast iron, alloy steel, chrome, etc. It can weld up to 0.75 inches of stainless steel. At 160 DC, you can work across a wide amperage range starting from 20 to 160 Amps. It weighs 14.5 pounds and measures 16.6”x7.5”x11.8”. This makes it easily portable.
- Full-size Stick and TIG platform
- Optimized for a splatter-free, flawless and clean experience
- Dual voltage (110/230v)
- Fast response in stick welding
Could be better:
- Not suitable for non-ferrous metals
- No foot pedal included
5. S7 Welding Machine, 200 Amp – Machine for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals
The S7 welder can attain an inverter frequency of 100KHZ, making it tremendously fast in its job. Moreover, you achieve an amazing welding experience since the machine has been optimized to a seamless weld. There is no need for post-weld cleanup. Its input frequency is 50/60 Hz and has an 80 percent duty cycle. This further improves its performance.
The 2-in-1 functionality means that the device is both a TIG welder and an ARC welder. It is accompanied by an earth clamp, electrode holder, TIG torch, and welding tong. The TIG welding thickness is between 0.3 to 4.8 mm. It can work on chrome, stainless steel, copper, alloy steel, and cast iron. For ARC welding, the thickness lies between 15 and 42 mm.
- Easy portability
- Rapid welding capability2-in-1 functionality (TIG & ARC)
- Suitable for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals
Could be better:
- Needs to be used with protective gear due to emission of harmful radiation and gases
6. Primeweld CT520D – 50 Amps Lightweight and Compact Plasma Cutter
The Primeweld CT520D is one exceptional plasma cutter with an extremely high level of efficiency. More so, it combines three machines into one.
It can function as a TIG stick welder as well as a plasma cutter. Its amperage ranges from 50 to 200 Amps both as a TIG or stick welder, not forgetting the fact that you can easily switch between the operating modes.
Dual-voltage functionality between 110v and 220v makes it ideal for various regions. It is easily portable due to its small size and lightweight that measures only 36 pounds. The CT520D comes with a duty cycle worth 60%. The maximum efficiency is 85 percent.
- Easy switching between stick and TIG welding
- Lightweight and compact
- 3-year warranty
- Highly durable and can withstand unfavorable environments
Could be better:
- Difficult to set up especially for a beginner
- No pilot arc is included. Therefore, automation is difficult
7. EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH 160amp HF – Best Budget TIG Welder
The Everlast TIG welder gives an all-rounded welding experience. It is powerful and multipurpose in its functionality. You can alter between stick and TIG welding straightforwardly.
With dual voltage capabilities, the TIG welder 110v and 220-volt support allow you to travel with it without worries. Furthermore, it is compatible with industrial and home power sources. Also, the initial setup procedure is fast and straightforward. Therefore, even a beginner can undertake a decent job using this machine. For the experienced welders, it gets a lot easier to carry out more exceptional welding procedures.
Additionally, the Everlast can weld a myriad of metals such as stainless steel, cast iron, steel, and a lot more. It has been designed with portability in mind, given it has a miniature and lightweight design, yet it is still a workhorse. It has an output of about 10-60 amps. This Everlast PowerARC 160STH has two startup options.
These are high frequency and lift. The high-frequency start is cleaner and more straightforward. However, the lift start is suitable for those who want to work without pedals, or if the higher frequency of the start can cause electromagnetic interference.
- Dual voltage Lift & HF start
- Portable design
- The arc force regulation is auto-controlled
- Includes a protective carry casing
- The uncomplicatedness of initial setup and usage
- Comes with a five-year warranty unlike the
- Everlast 210 Ext TIG welder that comes with a 3-year warranty
Could be better:
- Does not come with a foot pedal
- Lacks an AC option, therefore, is not suitable for intensive aluminum welding
8. Hitbox TIG Welder 200A – Best TIG Welder for Beginners
Most consumers usually wonder, which an ideal welder, especially for the noobs is. There is no definite answer to this question. However, the Hitbox TIG welder is relatively easy to use compared to other welding machines within its category.
In case you intend to venture into aviation, automotive, metal art, or precision welding, the Hitbox 200A Portable welder might be the right choice for you. The appliance supports both MMA and TIG welding. What’s more, its modern IGBT inverter improvements offer amazing welding experiences. The broad amperage enables users to weld various metals with fewer sparks, slag, or spatter.
The equipment is accompanied by an electrode holder and a torch to offer versatility. The TIG torch is ideal for spatter-free welding while the MMA is appropriate for soldering in harsh surroundings such as outdoors, windy conditions, the joining of pipes, etc. It is 15 inches long, 5.5 inches wide and 10 inches high. The Hitbox TIG welder is greatly portable.
- Simple arc ignition, stable current, litter spattering, and ideal shaping
- Ease of usage thanks to HF TIG ignition
- Compactness and portability
- Energy efficient with current control
- High-quality build
- Base materials include low-alloy steel and carbon stainless steel
Could be better:
- It only supports DC energy sources. Therefore, it cannot weld aluminum
- The TIG method cannot weld 0.25 inches worth of metal
Tips for Purchasing the Best TIG Welder
Even though TIG welding offers numerous merits over other categories of welding techniques, it doesn’t mean that it’s an ideal method in all situations. Various considerations should be taken before settling for TIG welding. They include:
What Input Power to Consider?
You need to determine the amount of power required for the job. Also, consider your financial condition as to what you can afford. A hobbyist does not need a highly sophisticated TIG welder.
What’s more, if you intend to undertake automatic welding using external software programing and fixture control in addition to an external power source, you need a heavy-duty welder.
The type of metals to be welded is another factor that dictates your machine’s power requirements. A TIG welder aluminum machine requires AC power. The same applies to other minerals, such as magnesium. However, Ferrous metals are typically welded using DC power outputs.
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What Is Duty Cycle?
The duty cycle refers to the period you can weld using a specific power output without overheating or burning the source of power. Welding machines manufactured in the USA and some other countries use a duty cycle calculated by means of a standard time of 10 minutes.
If you own an enthusiast-type TIG welder, then the appropriate duty cycle would be around 20 percent. Nevertheless, an automated TIG setup might need a duty cycle worth 100 percent.
This is due to the capability to weld for extended periods. For most handheld TIG procedures, duty cycles ranging between 40 and 60 percent are, in most cases, adequate, especially in industry and construction.
Does Size & Weight Matter?
In case you are purchasing a device that will always be stationary, size and weight might not be an issue. However, if the power source would be shifted around the workshop, or if welding is supposed to occur outdoors, then portability is a significant factor.
Nowadays, some inverters enable the use of light and small machines. They usually weigh about 10 pounds. They also operate between 115 and 230 volts. For situations where there is a lack of access to primary power, you can opt for an engine-driven machine.
This can significantly assist you in in-field maintenance procedures, construction work, and pipe welding, among others. Still, the majority of engine-driven machines are capable of generating electrical power.
A welder TIG with a digital display can significantly enhance your welding experience. Some portable welders come with LCD displays in which various kinds of information are displayed. These include the temperature, duty cycle, voltage, current, etc. all these make the welding process a lot more accurate and simple.
If you have a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 welder, the display will indicate the welding type to ensure that you do not accidentally use the wrong type. A good example is the Eastwood TIG 200 digital AC/DC welder.
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Through the above list, it is my belief that you are now in a better position to make the right choice while looking for a TIG welder either for light or heavy use. You also need to know that TIG welding is suitable for numerous types of metals. What’s more, it delivers some of the strongest and cleanest welds. Typically, TIG does not produce sparks, slag, spatter, fumes, or smoke. Just ensure that the metal surface is clean. You can also utilize TIG in cramped spaces or overhead without being under the shower of slag and sparks.
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Besides, knowing the best gas for welding is also critical. Argon gas is appropriate for almost all kinds of TIG welding. Sometimes, Helium is utilized when more penetration is needed, or for faster welding with a high-temperature arc.
Also, for best results, it is essential to understand lift-arch, scratch start, and high-frequency start. A scratch start refers to the act of scratching a welding surface with the heated electrode in order to complete the circuit. High-frequency start refers to the use of a high-frequency alternating current at the beginning of welding.
The aim is to override any resistance and cause an electrical jump in the gap between the work surface and the torch. Lastly, lift-arc is a methodology used in case the HF will possibly cause electromagnetic interference to electronic devices. What are your personal preferences when choosing a TIG welder? Does your setup determine the kind of welder you buy? Do you consider power infrastructure when buying welders?
Share your opinions by commenting below