Tig welding is one of the most common, perhaps most difficult skills to master, but once you get your hands on it, it delivers high-quality welds without any spatter or smoke than any other welding technique.
A tig welder is far superior for bonding thinner metals like stainless steel, aluminum, chromoly, copper, brass, nickel alloys, and even gold and can also be used in aerospace & automotive industries.
But, It might not be as easy as it seems to buy a tig welder that fits all your welding endeavors. Without a proper buying guide, you may miss out on essentials like welding arc stability, portability, foot pedal, frequency settings, duty cycle, controls, etc. To save you from this hassle, we tested various tig welding machines and selected the best tig welders in the world, benefitting most of your industrial or domestic welding scenarios.
But, Before buying a tig welding machine, it’s essential to know the difference between different welding processes & methods, the prerequisites of tig welding, and how many bucks a tig welder costs.
What is TIG Welding? (GTAW)
TIG stands for tungsten inert gas welding; the American welding society calls it gas tungsten arc welding(GTAW); you might have heard Heli-Arc welding also. Tig welding uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode that has an extremely high melting point (6,192°F) and does not get melted.
How is Tig Welding Different than other Welding Processes?
Tig welding uses a non-consumable electrode that does not become the filler metal, unlike the other welding methods using a consumable electrode that becomes the filler metal. A tig welder fuses components, and a separate rod will be used if filler metal is required.
Both tig and MIG welders use inert shielding gas from high-pressure cylinders to work, but tig welders use argon or argon/helium(HE) gases mixture to work correctly; on the other hand, MIG welders use Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas.
Quick Comparison of Best Tig Welding Machines
Best TIG Welder with Reviews
The list below contains the best tig welding machines in the market:
- 1. AHP AlphaTIG 203XI – Best Inverter Tig Welder
- 2. PRIMEWELD TIG225X
- 3. Everlast PowerTIG 250EX AC/DC Pulse TIG Stick Welder
- 4. YESWELDER TIG-250P – Best Small Welder
- 5. Lotos TIG200 – Best 110v Welder
- 6. Weldpro Digital 200GD – Best Digital Welder
- 7. Everlast PowerTig 185-Best 120v Welder
- 8. Miller Maxstar Electric 150 STL – Best Portable Tig Welder
- 9. Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 K5126-1
- 10. Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST-Best Welder for Home Shop
- How to Use a TIG Welder?
- The Welding Mates Guide for Buying a TIG Welder
1. AHP AlphaTIG 203XI – Best Inverter Tig Welder
- High-Frequency start
- Multiple control options
- Welds aluminum, stainless steel & variety of metals
- Perform both TIG/Stick welding
- Stable arc
- Extended arc length
- Offer both 2T/4T options
- Inaccurate flowmeter reading
- Foot pedal design isn’t user friendly
AHP AplhaTIG 203XI is a newer and improved version of AHP AlphaTIG 200x that comes with a fully controlled LCD screen featuring a rapid action set, unlike the older version having messy knobs on the front. Adding more, this rapid action set lets you perform the tig welding quite quickly; you only need to select metal and tungsten thickness.
We heard welders bragging a lot about its stick welding. Hence by testing it in different welding scenarios, we found its stick mode to be holding up with its high-end competitors like Lincoln & Miller. The arc is very smooth and stable that requires a slight touch to the metal to initiate. Most professional welders or hobby welders buy 203XI once they have mastered MIG or Stick Welding.
We ran 6011, 6013, 7018, and 308l stainless rods through it in 3/32 and 1/8, and it performed pretty well. However, we attempted 6010, but the machine could not run it, but the area ain’t to complain about as most of the inverter machines have issues running it.
Additionally, the welder offers three pulse settings, i.e., amperage, frequency ranging from 0.5Hz to 200 HZ, & time. Moreover, the digital display lets you easily switch from AC to DC mode.
All in all, calling it one of the best tig welding machines in the world would be completely unfair. Moreover, the 3 years warranty that AHP offers on this machine makes it an easy gamble for money.
Read More About it: AlphaTIG 203Xi
2. PRIMEWELD TIG225X
- Capable of welding mild steel up to 3/8″
- Advanced inverter technology
- HF start hand control torch
- Heat control system
- Excellent customer support
- Includes USA-made CK dinse connector
- Difficult to operate
The Primeweld TIG225X 225 TIG/Stick Welder is an excellent machine that provides value to its price without compromising on quality. It offers a modern design that makes it a suitable option for both hobbyists and professionals. You can conveniently use this welder for different types of projects due to its AC/DC capability.
It’s also equipped with the latest IGBT technology, which makes it an efficient machine and durable compared to its rivals. It comes with an extended 3 years manufacturer warranty gives you the liberty to use this machine without worrying about your investment.
The usage process of this welder is a bit daunting, especially for beginners. However, anyone can master it in a short period. It can be used with both 120V and 240V output to tackle the most rigid metals without any hassles.
The precise foot pedal option is included in this TIG welder so that you can control the heat during welding according to the job requirements.
This welder works excellent with aluminum, stainless steel, and other thinner metals without leaving behind any chances of mistakes. Due to its versatile specifications, it’s the most compatible option for a wide range of welding applications.
Moreover, the air-cooled CK Superflex Torch is one of the best embellishments you get with this unit, which makes it perform astonishingly well at low amperages.
The unique design of this 110/220v TIG Welder has an excellent ventilation system that prevents all types of overheating risks despite using it for multiple welding projects at a time. It’s a highly portable machine that you can easily carry anywhere, thanks to its metal bar handle that makes it convenient for anyone to move it without any hassles.
Lastly, if you are looking for a middle-category welding machine, then there will be no better choice than Primeweld TIG225X 225A TIG/Stick welder to consider. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most reliable Tig welder machines available at a reasonable price.
Read more about it: Primeweld TIG225x
3. Everlast PowerTIG 250EX AC/DC Pulse TIG Stick Welder
- Works on both high and low outputs
- User-friendly controls
- Good after-sale service
- Welds both aluminum & steel excellently
- 5 Years warranty
- May require separate torch for air cooling
Everlast PowerTIG 250EX is a new market entrant by Everlast, capable of performing various welding tasks quite remarkably. A durable machine that runs on both AC & DC modes & requires only 5amps to start can be used for virtually any thinner gauge metal, including stainless steel, chrome-moly, roll cages, copper, titanium, and steel.
This 250EX Welder provides ample power and flexibility to adjust your welding settings. You’ll need a TIG cooler to go along with this welder to take its full advantage.
The welder provides a stable and smooth arc, which starts very quickly. Additionally, it also operates with single as well as three-phase power on 240 volts. Moreover, the unit gives a 60% duty cycle at 250 amp on single-phase 240V input.
Other features from the package include a Consumable Starter Kit (Tungsten not included) that provides you with everything you need to weld after setup, 2T/4T remote, arc force control, spot welding timer, Stick function, and much more. There is also a pre and post-flow control mechanism that provides optimum protection before and after when welding with shielding air.
It features intuitive controls and benefits from a robust design. The industrial-grade TIG welder is compact, easy to handle, and ensures quality welding. You can get perfect welds with excellent pulse function and reduced heat input.
4. YESWELDER TIG-250P – Best Small Welder
- 2T/4T trigger lock
- A unique air channel increases heat dissipation
- Great arc stability
- Flippable panel cover
- Gas regulators not included
- Cheap quality tig torch
TIG-250P is an AC/TG aluminum welding machine that features pulse modulation to remove any oxidation on the surface, and it also aids in keeping impurities out of the weld pool.
It’s a fully digital controlled machine except for amperage levels, which you can adjust infinitely with analog. Besides, it dynamically adjusts the settings according to the welding situation, which helps maintain a stable arc.
Additionally, the welder has a 2T/4T trigger function to reduce hand fatigue in prolonged welding scenarios. But, we found the torch button hard to press and hold for an extended time. However, the foot pedal with the welder took care of this problem.
TIG-250P welds aluminum quite remarkably as it’s an AC machine, but one thing we think this model lacks is a gas regulator, unlike the similar Eastwood TIG200. But also, it features autosaving, which helps to save the previous welding parameter once the welder is turned off, which Eastwood does not offer.
5. Lotos TIG200 – Best 110v Welder
- HF start
- Welds great on aluminum
- Equipped with foot pedal
- Dual voltage
- Not equipped with pulse arc capabilities
- Replacement parts are difficult to find
Lotos TIG 200 is one of the best tig welders offered by lotos. It works on both AC (Square wave) and DC modes. Moreover, it offers both TIG & Stick welding modes.
The Lotos TIG200ACDC is an excellent choice if you want a cost-effective producer. This welding machine is excellent for welding various types of metals. The uniform bead appearance and proper and adequate penetration give impressive welding results.
John faced some difficulties while setting it up as the user manual is unclear somehow, but if you have basic welding knowledge, you can set up the welder quite easily.
The Lotos TIG200’s primary objective is dual voltage 110/220volt. The dual-frequency is 50Hz/60Hz, which allows the welder to move directly onto 220v 50/60Hz plus 240v 50/60 Hz voltages.
This welder machine detects the voltage required for automatic adjustment. The unique adapter plug allows users to switch from 110/220volt. The welding capacity is 3/8 inch(9.5mm) for mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.
The panel of useful settings only requires a small amount of prior experience to use it, but for most forms of TIG welding, there are enough adjustments to set the welder up.
Unlike the lower-priced welders, there is a foot pedal. The pedal isn’t of the best quality, though, and is considered to have accuracy problems and a lack of responsiveness. There is also no pulse arc, but you can set an automatic down-slope setting to finish the weld smoothly.
6. Weldpro Digital 200GD – Best Digital Welder
- Pre flow/Postflow resulting in cleaner welds
- Pulse arc capabilities
- Suitable for many welding scenarios
- High-frequency start
- Both AC/DC modes
- American-made CK-17 torch
- Poor foot pedal quality
Weldpro Digital 200GD is a digitally designed best tig welder with all features, only offered by some high-priced machines. Though the welder is not heavy on wallets, it still has downsides, which makes it lower on our list.
After testing it, we found it has similarities with AHP AlphaTIG 200X tig welder and Primeweld TIG225X TIG Welder. Still, the tig torch is challenging to operate if you have no experience with other tig welding machines. But, by using the CK Superflex torch, the problem was solved, but it cost some extra bucks.
The weldpro 200GD uses IGBT along with PWM(Pulse Width Modulation), making it more efficient than the other welders. Besides, it can be used as both HF TIG/Stick welder, making it more versatile and efficient.
The 110V/240 V machine works incredibly well on aluminum, mild steel & stainless steel and also offers various settings that can be adjusted according to each specific weld. The high starting amperage of 200A makes it the choice of many.
The best feature of 200GD is its foot pedal. Although the inclination is decent, the sensitivity is perfect. You can expect precision works to be done amicably with this tool. It is also a powerful welding tool, providing multiple uses for every weld for its many settings.
This unit can also offer users the MMA stick welding feature and an included stinger, in addition to the rocket-style foot pedal design. It provides a 40% duty cycle at full amps and a 60% duty cycle for DC and AC tigs, respectively.
The machine could be an excellent choice for hobbyists and industrial users. Moreover, the machine is back up with 3 years warranty.
7. Everlast PowerTig 185-Best 120v Welder
- Stable arc
- User friendly
- Welds good on aluminum
- No foot pedal
- Lacks customer support
Everlast PowerTig 185 is a lightweight AC DC welder from the everlast tig welders line that uses inverter technology, making it sit close with miller’s diversion series.
This welder has 185 Amps of enhanced power output. It is capable of doing both STICK and TIG welding. It comes with a low DC TIG arc. Therefore, you’ll need some time to get used to it. It offers a 35% duty cycle on 185 amp and 35% on 105Amp at 220v and 110v.
Although this is not a powerful welding tool, the IGBT technology complements the lack of total output. But still, the arc is stable, thanks to the IGBT inverter, allowing you to go through 5/8 “steel in a single move.
You may make some changes to the control panel as well. You can set pulse time, switch from output AC to output DC, etc. It’s a lightweight tig welder, but it still comes with a wide range of features and configuration choices that compare with costlier welders.
One more thing the machine lacks is that the foot pedal isn’t included in the package, so if you need to ease your welding operation, you need to spend a few extra bucks.
In the end, the customer support by everlast is something most of our welder community complain about, but still, many found it a helpful tool for both their hobby needs & workshop use.
“I used this welder to do rust repairs on my car, which held up to some abuse, but I had the mainboard go bad when stick welding while running off a generator. Customer service was fast to respond and helped me diagnose the issue. The board was covered under warranty, so they shipped one to me with no hassle and gave detailed instructions on how to repair it. I also could have taken it to a repair shop, but I’m a DIY person, and I’m happy they supported me.”(Amazon Customer Review)
8. Miller Maxstar Electric 150 STL – Best Portable Tig Welder
- User-friendly controls
- Lightweight & portable
- Excellent quality & reliable
- Offers 100% DC at 100A
- Welds a wide variety of metal thickness
- It does not have any foot pedals
- Not meant to weld aluminum
Miller Maxstar Electric 150 STL is one of the premium quality welders offered by renowned brand miller, and the welder is your best bet if you are not budget constrained; to tell you more, we found it very portable as it weights only 13.7 lbs, but don’t let the small size fool you, as it delivered some precise welds for us.
This model features a compact, portable generator that helps you function without feeling cluttered in different areas. The IGBT technology that it offers guarantees that direct current and coated electrodes can be used for it. The latter will range in diameters from 1.6 to 3.6 mm. Besides, it runs on low power, so you don’t have to worry about high electricity bills.
It works on 115/230VAC input voltage. However, Multi-Voltage Plug lets you quickly switch between 120 V and 240 V input power. Besides, the amperage range from 5A to 150 lets it weld anything from 0.020″ to 3/16″ just fine; it is a robust welding tool built to last. As well as being made with solid materials, it comes with features that improve durability.
It also allows you to work faster due to features like a solenoid. This integrated element pushes through the gas needed for welding and generates a steady stream for continuous welding. An external flame is not required to use the solenoid.
Well, these reviews are unbiased. The machine has disappointments too. On the one hand, it gives you excellent DC output, but it’s not meant for you if you are looking for a machine with AC output.
Summing it up, the machine has got simple operating controls, but it’s not going to disappoint you when it comes to its welding capabilities.
9. Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 K5126-1
- It includes a foot controller
- Regulator equipped
- Advance welder, with the simple use
- A good machine for all skill levels
- HF non-touch arc start
- Arc can be unpredictably strong
- Poor customer support
Lincoln Square is a welder that remarkably gets your heavy-duty work done in tight spaces. Moreover, it features a self-cleaning system that ensures there’s no debris left once you get over your project. A rapid-release torch plug ensures no hazards during the operation as it eliminates any air pockets.
Additionally, this welding machine provides effective cleaning action if you frequently work on aged aluminum. A simple interface for settings, a 40 percent duty cycle, and a dual 120/240 input voltage render it a versatile welding machine that can be used anywhere. It also comes up with a three-year warranty.
A high-frequency arc holds the tungsten electrode clean with a no-touch start. It welds from a sheet of 24 gauges to a plate of 3/16 inches. The AC TIG process for aluminum work features pulse width modulation to control the width of the bead. An adjustable AC balance removes oxidation at the surface and prevents impurities from the weld puddle.
Overall, it is a good tig welder made by a reputable brand and best for you if you are a brand enthusiast; however, AHP AlphaTIG 200X or Primeweld TIG225X offers you extensive features at half the price.
10. Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST-Best Welder for Home Shop
- Compatible with both 120v and 230v power plug
- Lift start tig
- Generator-friendly welder
- It supports 8000 watts of power
- It does not come with any rods included
- The fan system takes quite some time to turn on
Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST is a versatile machine that features both stick and tig modes. Moreover, the machine is quite easy to move around as it weighs 14lbs only. But don’t let its size fool you, as the machine can weld 1/2” of mild steel at 180 amps.
The most exciting attribute we loved in this welder is that it is generator-friendly, making it much easier to weld when you don’t have electricity. Besides, the unit is made with a metal case, which extends its durability.
The dual voltage features give you more power and let you use it to get over your simple welds in the backyard, garage, or shop.
It also has an accessible start technology that allows for a quick and smooth start and eliminates stuck electrodes. Though the machine has no foot pedal, and many users found it inconvenient, Forney took care of that by equipping it with a lift start for tig.
Surprisingly, we couldn’t find any setbacks with the machine. Most of the users seemed to be satisfied with this machine.
How to Use a TIG Welder?
Using a tig welder requires more skill than a MIG welder, as you need to control 3 elements: a foot pedal, filler rod, and the torch, but it’s worth the effort as heat control lets you perform the welding more efficiently that ultimately resulting in cleaner welds.
It works by holding the tig torch in one hand to strike the filler metal and another hand on the metal being welded. The foot pedal lets you control the amperage produced by the welder. Like you need maximum amperage, all you need to do is press the pedal down and vice versa.
This allows you flexibility, as you may need lower amperage in the beginning, to prevent the metal from over welding. One more thing to need to ensure before starting tig welding is that the ground clamp should be attached to your metal workbench or with the metal being welded.
Besides, to protect the metal from contamination, you’ll also need to release the argon gas to the weld pool. Make sure to hook up the argon gas bottle and regulator to perform the welding operations.
The Welding Mates Guide for Buying a TIG Welder
TIG welding is a significant upgrade from simple welding capabilities, and TIG machines cost a lot more than other welders, offering exclusive features that are not available on different machines. Before you buy just any machine, you should know about the essential features to look for in that machine.
Whether you’re a newbie or a professional welder, buying a machine with specifications and performance tailored to your requirements is essential. You should consider the following factors while shopping for the best TIG Welders:
It’s a period you can use a welder before it needs some break. Most of the machines offer a 30% duty cycle, which means you can use a machine for 3 minutes, and after that, the machine needs to rest for 7 minutes.
So if you want to get the job done in a shorter time, you need to look for a machine that offers a high-duty cycle, but 30% is suitable for most welding tasks.
In the end, you don’t need to get a high-duty cycle welder unless you intend to weld for an extended period without breaks. Even a low-duty cycle machine can perform amazingly well if you give them plenty of time to rest between your welding jobs.
We have found American welding machines to be less duty cycle than Chinese machines, though Americans are more expensive.
Input Types (AC/DC Compatibility)
A welder that offers both AC and DC has the flexibility to weld various metals because they can run on alternative and direct currents.
However, DCEP (Direct current electrode positive ) is the most common type of tig welding. This welding type welds metals like magnesium, copper, brass, and aluminum, In this method, electricity travels from metal to electrode.
While the other tig welding method is DCEN(Direct current electrode negative), in which electricity travels to the metal via a tungsten electrode. However, polarity needs to be reversed in this input. Otherwise, it won’t work.
DC is best for welding scenarios with less heat output, such as stainless steel, nickel alloys, and carbon steel.
If you intend to weld low conductive metals like copper and aluminum, you will use AC in which current flows back and forth between positive and negative outputs.
The thickness of Metal (Amperage Range)
A maximum amount of power output a welder can produce refers to the amperage range and determines the thickness of metal that a welder can weld. Most tig welders offer amperage between 35-400amps that you can adjust with a dial or knob per your requirement.
If you want to weld thin gauge metals like aluminum, get your hand on a tig welder with an amperage range of at least 200. On the other hand, if you want to weld thick gauge metals, go for one that offers up to 400amp. However, the best tig welder in industrial that offers a high amperage rating is the best option for you as it can weld almost all types of metals & materials.
Smaller TIG welders weigh between 40-50 pounds and can move around fairly quickly. The bigger units, however, weigh 100 pounds and more. The only way those units can be moved around is with a cart.
Smaller TIG welders still provide flexibility and power to complete smaller jobs where extended duty cycles aren’t required. After considering the power output and the duty cycle, portability is also one of the primary considerations that welders need to worry about.
TIG welding requires the insertion of gas shielding, so it requires a method of connecting gas and inserting it into the weld. Some machines would have an in-built gas valve that turns on the machine when pressing the torch trigger.
Typically, these machines will have integrated post-gas and pre-gas features. Some machines do not have a gas valve built in and will require a torch with a manually operated valve built in.
If your main objective is TIG welding, it will require a machine with a gas valve. If TIG welding is only necessary for infrequent jobs, or long-welded work, then the manual gas valve may be sufficient.
The input power is defined as the power the machine needs to operate. Before you buy any sort of welder, check its power rating. If the power rating is not stated, you can calculate it by multiplying the maximum current by voltage. You need to look for a welder with high input power for heavy-duty work.
The tig welder with the low price may end up offering lower arc stability. An unstable arc will create problems with the weld’s look, which is a big problem because most welders use TIG welders when creating a high-quality weld that needs to be clean. However, pre-weld cleaning of the metal also helps to get great results.
You may want to look at the machine’s pulse rate for pulsed welding. Pulsed welding is useful when dealing with thin metal parts that may crack with standard welding. It reduces the heat that hits the metal, so it doesn’t break.
While old systems produce between 4,000 and 4,500 pulses per second, newer welders can produce up to 5,000 pulses. TIG welders with a higher pulse rating will give you more control and deliver a better weld.
Heat control is another significant factor that makes it more practical to work with thinner metals. Furthermore, seek to go for a high duty cycle, which is the capacity of a TIG welder to sustain a specified output in ten minutes.
For TIG welding, a reliable foot pedal is of crucial importance. Sometimes TIG projects are carried out in uncomfortable positions, and the TIG process requires two hands — one for the torch and the other for the filler rod. Pedals allow welders to control the heat to prevent the weld puddle from being too large.
Some of the most commonly asked questions:
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