TIG welders come in handy when executing highly prolific welding operations on light and thin materials. Lengthily known as Tungsten Inert Gas welding, it results in exceptionally neat and strong structural welds.
Unlike other forms of welding, there is minimal cleaning required after as minimal spatter, and spark is produced. Due to the nature of this application, finding the best TIG welder for your welding needs is of utmost importance.
This calls for finding a welder with level heat, good amperage, fine quality, and the right arc balance for quality and durable welds.
After looking at several models in the market, our TIG welder review outlined below will help you make a prudent choice.
Best TIG Welders 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Best TIG Welders 2018
- 2 1. AHP Alpha TIG 200DX Welder – Best TIG Welder for Aluminum
- 3 2. Forney 324 Multipurpose TIG Welder – Best DC-Only Welder
- 4 3. Everlast Power 250 TIG Welder – Best TIG Welder for the Money
- 5 4. Hobart 500551 EZ TIG Welder – Best TIG Welder for Hobbyist
- 6 5. Lincoln Electric Square Wave 200 TIG Welder – Best Portable TIG Welder
- 7 What to Consider Before Buying a TIG Welder
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions About TIG Welders That Will Help You Make the Best Decision
- 9 Our Final Review
|AHP Alpha TIG 200DX Welder|
|Forney 324 Multipurpose TIG Welder|
|Everlast Power 250 TIG Welder|
|Hobart 500551 EZ TIG Welder|
|Lincoln Electric Square Wave 200 TIG Welder|
1. AHP Alpha TIG 200DX Welder – Best TIG Welder for AluminumThe AHP Alpha TIG 200DX Welder provides quality welding not only on aluminum but also steel and stainless. It is a good choice for thinner-gauge material with the ability of welding up to ¼” of aluminum and 3/8” of mild steel thickness.
For proper control, the AHP Alpha TIG 200DX Welder features a foot pedal that makes it easier to use. Note that having an easily controlled machine is imperative, not only to ease welding but also reduces safety risks. The foot pedal adds its convenience.
Other vital control features of this TIG Welder include the post flow, pulse time and pulse frequency. The finger control of the torch, power width regulation with the new IGBT technology makes it a perfect choice for seasoned welding practitioners as well as beginners.
Suitable for both 110V and 220V, the AHP Alpha TIG 200DX Welder provides a dependable power source. This and much more features make the AHP Alpha TIG 200DX Welder the ideal choice for beginners willing to spend a fortune on a welding machine as well as professionals looking to upgrade their welders.
2. Forney 324 Multipurpose TIG Welder – Best DC-Only WelderForney produces among the best welding machines in the market. The Forney 324 Multipurpose TIG Welder is no exception. Like other products, it is extra versatile, powerful, handles most welding jobs and delivers quite higher amperage compared to other welders of this class.
Flexibility is probably the highlight of this welder’s features. With this model, you can weld several styles including the stick, TIG, and MIG. Its massive 190A power output makes it a great choice for any task at hand.
Some of the synergic welding capabilities offered by the Forney 324 Multipurpose TIG Welder include the smart feature. With this, the machine can optimize the arc thus minimizing spatter as it produces the high quality weld.
Its provided digital readout feature enables welders to read from the display screen the value of the output current and arc voltage. This offers precise management of functions and data.
Additionally, the euro-connect MIG gun eliminates most of the welder’s torch issues. With this, you can remove the torch in seconds. Other notable features include the cast aluminum drive system, flowmeter and gas hose and inverter technology.
3. Everlast Power 250 TIG Welder – Best TIG Welder for the MoneyThe Everlast Power 250 TIG Welder delivers a wide range of features with consistent reliability and raw power output for an exceptional welding experience. The welder is capable of welding thicknesses of up to ½” in one pass and as much as 1” in multiple passes.
Also, it is feature packed, making it an ideal TIG welder choice for beginners and seasoned professionals. It handles expertly tasks of automotive welds, pipelines, gun-smithing, and shipyards.
Some of the intriguing features of Everlast Power 250 TIG Welder include:
- Extended AC range – the welder’s controlled AC range enables the welder to regulate its power when handling thicker metals as well as oxidation layers for aluminum. It makes the machine adjustable and a high performer.
- Arc control – the machines automatic amperage and voltage control enables the machine to compensate for voltage drops automatically.
- Various start options – you get to choose between lift start or high frequency start options.
- Exceptional duty cycle – it features a 200A 100% duty cycle and 60% at 250A.
4. Hobart 500551 EZ TIG Welder – Best TIG Welder for HobbyistHobart 500551 EZ TIG Welder’s superior performance combined with advanced features make it a cool welding machine for hobbyist wide lot of projects. Ranging from low profile body repair work to industry level weld, this is an ideal machine of choice.
Starting off is its control interface that is designed with simplicity in mind. You can control everything by one switch or dial clearly labeled. The welder provides an option of choosing between AC and DC, thus perfect for both steel and aluminum.
The welder’s auto-post-flow feature provides automatic shielding from amperage without making adjustments. This cuts in waste. Like other high-end welders, the high-frequency start provides a non-contact arc start to prevent contamination.
You’ll be impressed by the welder’s ability to automatically turn off the fan when not needed. This reduces the amount of dust being sucked into the machine, thus lengthening the lifespan of the welder.
5. Lincoln Electric Square Wave 200 TIG Welder – Best Portable TIG WelderThe Lincoln Electric Square Wave 200 TIG Welder is a portable TIG welder perfect for any welding hobbyist, small fabricators, craftsmen and seasoned welders to explore their diverse creativity. It weighs only 46lbs.
This welder provides a great opportunity for expanding your welding experience with its additional functionality. Its multipurpose nature enables welders to explore several welding styles, including the AC/DC TIG and stick welding.
It provides a smooth 200A of power, perfect for welding on aluminum, steel, and chrome-moly. Its ease of use is facilitated by the user-friendly interface and advanced features such as the pulse system.
Adding its effectiveness for aluminum welding is the high frequency start feature. Other features include the wide arc configurations and cleaning solutions.
What to Consider Before Buying a TIG Welder
It is no secret that TIG welders are relatively complicated pieces of equipment. Therefore, it is important to conduct some basic research before buying.
This will help you understand the various features and specifications to look for.
Our buyer’s guide below breaks down some of the seemingly confusing welding language, involving some of the best features to look for in a TIG welder.
Perhaps the most important aspect to consider when buying a TIG welder is your power requirements. Choosing a weak welder will leave you stuck on various projects. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the kind of welding tasks you intend to undertake and its power requirements.
When it comes to power, there are two parameters to consider. They include:
Power output – often measured in amps. Find a TIG welder with the widest range within your budget. A welder with too narrow power output may severely limit the type and variety of materials you can weld.
If your welding activities involve thin materials, consider a rig that goes for as low as 5 amps. Contrastingly, aluminum requires more power thus requires a machine with at least 200 amps.
Power input – you ought to ensure that the TIG welder you consider purchasing can work on your home power supply. The best TIG Welders will work between 115V and 230V.
Apart from the welder’s power, you need to consider a machine that has low amperage stability, especially if you’ll regularly weld thin materials. This provides for an easier starting, efficient control, and improved crater fill capacity.
A welder with a high amperage ability may spike amperage at the beginning thus likely to burn a hole through the metal you are working on. The best should be stable from the start to the end.
Just to mention, the duty cycle refers to the amount of time you can weld at a certain power output without worries of overheating. Duty cycle if often based on 10 minutes interval.
Therefore, if it is indicated that the TIG welder is rated 200 amps/ 40% duty cycle, it implies that you can weld at the said 200 amps for at most 4 minutes. You’ll then need to rest it for 6 minutes.
Typical hobbyist welder’s machine duty cycle should be around 20%. Expensive machines can have duty cycles of 40% to 60% while industrial TIG welders boast of 100%. Always remember to take breaks to lengthen your welder’s lifespan.
Various welding metals require different currents to be effective. For instance, if you are working on metals more than steel, consider a TIG welder that has both AC and DC. Self-oxidizing metals such as magnesium and aluminum are best suited for AC.
Other metals such as copper, stainless and steel are better off with DC. The reason being that DC heats up the metals and fuses them together. On the other hand, AC has to switch between positive and negative currents to weld. The positive current clears oxide layers as the negative current penetrates the base metal for a strong weld.
AC Balance Control
For effective welding, the best TIG welder should have easy and simple AC balance controls. These controls allow users to set the amount of time when using the AC cycle.
This involves adjusting from the standard 50/50 positive/negative settings. Typically, this allows you to set the cleaning vs. penetration level, bearing in mind what positive and negative currents do.
Other controls include those of heat and gas. Note that TIG welding is of a higher dexterity and focus. Therefore, having effective controls are important. Proper control of heat is of immense importance to reduce warping, especially where thin metals are involved.
Concerning the gas, some TIG welders have a built-in gas solenoid that controls the flow of gas. There are also controls for pulsed TIG welding, which is an option. Pulsed controls allow the TIG welder to switch easily between the high and low current.
Arc Starting Method
Experienced welders will attest that there are several methods to start an arc when welding with the TIG. All the methods have their pros and cons whilst others don’t work on some metals. Always use the right starting method. Some of the arc starting methods include:
Scratch – probably the most popular method, it is like starting a match. Here, the welder drags the tungsten along the metal until the arc starts. It is an ideal method for thick metals that can withstand higher amps on the initial strike.
Lift – much like the scratch, lift method involves touching the metal momentarily.
High frequency – perhaps the best arc starting method, high frequency ionizes the air, bridging the gap between the tungsten and metal to be welded. It is touchless and produces no contamination. It works well when working with aluminum.
Ease of Use
TIG welding is a complicated process on its own. Therefore, the last thing you would want to be struggling with is figuring out the fancy features and settings that come with the welder. Therefore, go for a friendly machine with easy to understand controls.
Other essential features you may include in your checklist include the presence of extra features such as a quick release torch, water cooling ability, arc starting technology, adaptability, warranty, and price.
Frequently Asked Questions About TIG Welders That Will Help You Make the Best Decision
What Are TIG Welders?
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welders are machines that use a non-consumable tungsten electrode to heat the material, melt it and create a welding puddle.
An inert gas, typically argon, is then used to protect and cool both the tungsten and the weld puddle.
How Does TIG Welding Work?
TIG welding is largely similar to welding with an oxy-acetylene torch. A TIG welder has a welding lead (an electrical conductor for the welding current) with an attached electric torch on one end. The TIG welding process uses this torch to enable the feeding of the filler rod into the molten puddle.
Note that the small tungsten rod is the electrode and it is available in several sizes. A significant distinction is that it does not burn up like a filler wire.
TIG machines have a foot-operated amperage control that allows you to vary the amperage. As a result, you can slowly initiate the heat, and once the weld is done, gradually reduce the heat. This functionality is known as a soft start and soft stop.
It helps prevent the temperature from shocking the metal. This is highly beneficial because some alloys like those used in race cars are sensitive to thermal shock.
Can All TIG Welders weld Aluminum?
Yes. Although multiple metals can be TIG welded, Aluminum is the metal most frequently associated with TIG welding. However, please note that irrespective of the metal, TIG welding is not ideal for thick metals. Instead, it is ideal for thinner metals.
What Is the Difference Between MIG and TIG Welding?
Both MIG and TIG use an electrical arc to make the weld. However, MIG welding uses a continuously feeding wire while TIG welding uses rods.
Essentially, a MIG welder will continuously feed a spool of welding wire that will burn, melt and fuse both the base and parent metal.
With MIG welding, a range of material thicknesses from a thin sheet gauge all the way up to heavy structural plates can be wielded. However, as noted above, TIG welding is used for thin gauge sheet materials.
Another key difference is that MIG welding is easy to learn while TIG welding is not. Finally, the kind of gases used in both MIG and TIG are different, and you cannot substitute one for the other. TIG welders typically use argon or helium while MIG welders use carbon dioxide.
What Kind of Welding Is the Strongest?
Of the four types of welding, Stick welding and Arc welding produce the strongest welds. Also, these two welding types are ideal for harsh conditions.
TIG welding produces the most aesthetically pleasing welds. On the other hand, MIG welding as noted above is the easiest to learn. Therefore, if you are going for beauty, TIG welders should be your choice.
What Are the Main Benefits of TIG Welding?
TIG welding has four key benefits. One, it is highly precise. Two, it is ideal for motorcycles, car bodies and sculptures because it can deal with sensitive metals thanks to the amperage control feature.
Third, as noted above, it produces beautiful welds. Finally, it is a cleaner welding type with minimal splatter.
Our Final Review
Finding the right TIG welder begins with focusing on the type of material you will be working on.
The best TIG welder ought to offer amazing flexibility in terms of the materials it can weld among other intriguing features.
With the guide and TIG welders review above, you’ll certainly find it easy identifying the best TIG welder for your welding works.
Have you tried any of the welders above? Which is your favorite? Share with us below!