Buyer’s Guide: The Best Tig Welder

Hobart 500551
Tig Welder

For those that are amateurs and are just dabbling into welding, tig welding stands for “tungsten inert gas.” Although, the term technically has the word “gas” in it, the acronym GTAW isn’t nearly as catchy as the aforementioned. So what exactly is tig welding you may ask? The process of tig welding is when there’s a non-consumable electrode that delivers electricity to the arc that you’re working with. Typically, this process to the arc is protected by a type of argon, and the metal and tungsten are typically protected by the inert gas we spoke of. Whether you already have a tig welding setup or you’re looking to buy one for the first time, we think you should continue reading. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using a tig welder, factors to consider before purchasing a tig welder, as well as tips to know before taking the plunge and buying a piece for tig welding.

Benefits of Buying a Tig Welder

Before we get heavy into factors and information you should consider before purchasing, let’s do a quick rundown of the benefits that a tig welder offers.

Does more than metal – There are many welding processes that are able to use alloy and metal, sure, but tig welding is known for being able to use the most types of metals and alloys, including magnesium, copper, gold, brass, stainless steel, and many more.

Versatile applications – Tig welding isn’t only used for industrial or professional purposes, as you can also create art with the welding of metal! Those that are looking at this article for art buying purposes can find useful information in our next section.

Clean welding – Because of the superior puddle control that a tig welder offers, you’re going to be able to create clean welds. Other benefits include:

  • No sparking, or splattering like other welding forms
  • No slagging or flux
  • No fumes or any type of smoke

Various positions – You can even weld in various angles or positions like vertical, flat, overhead, of horizontal! Whether you’re in a confined space or you’re working on something that’s an awkward angle or shape, you can do so with ease as you use a tig welder.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Tig Welder

When purchasing a tig welder, you’ll want to know the basics of tig welding (beyond the definition) and practice first with a basic machine. When you’re ready to buy, you’ll want to know more about selecting the best tig welder. First things first: power. Without the proper power, you won’t be able to complete your application with ease. The types of power inputs include the forthcoming:

Amperage range – We understand the constructs of your budget, but it’s imperative that you choose a machine that offers an incredibly wide range of amperage for the best price – this is why we encourage researching more to define what’s the best range for your budget. Typically, the best range of amperage for a tig welding machine is between 5 and 230 amps, giving you a ton of flexibility, even if you’re using an extremely thin material. Speaking of the aforementioned, the thickness of the materials used will definitely cause you to purchase a specific tig welding device in the end. Basically, the better your amperage range, the more versatility you’ll see in completing various projects or applications.

AC/DC Welding – No, you aren’t going to be looking into booking one of your favorite 80’s bands, although we’re almost positive that this is where they get their name from. For welding, you should always seek a device that’s able to switch between AC/DC for the optimum versatility between applications. The AC mode is used for softer metals that are considered self-oxidizing, while DC is used for deoxidized metals (- these are considered hard metals).

  • Soft metals include: magnesium, aluminum.
  • Hard metals include: Steel, Stainless steel, copper.

Low amperage – Yes, low amperage is a thing! Those that want arc stability should look for something that has a lower amperage. Even though the above mentioned amperage range says that you should go with a wide range, having a lower amperage is talking about the machine that is supplying power to the tig. The device itself needs a lower amperage, while the tig welder needs a wide range.

You should also know about something called a duty cycle, which is imperative to know as you’re searching and working on projects. Typically, a duty cycle is the intervals of ten minutes in which you can perform uninterrupted welding. The aforementioned cycle is when the device can go up to its peak current. When it does this, you should leave it to cool afterwards or after a short period of time. Overusing when the machine gets too hot can not only result in a broken machine, but harm done to the welder.

Don’t think duty cycle is as easy a reading a meter though; seasoned veterans know this – duty cycle requires a bit of manual mental math, as the readings are typically done in a percentage mode. In order to get the proper reading, you must multiple the percentage shown on the machine because of the interval. When you don’t multiple during the peak current, you run the risk of frying the machine entirely. In short, cheaper models that aren’t of quality will only show you 10% of continuous welding before it becomes too hot to use. The aforementioned math is done because of the cheaper machines only seeing one full minute at the peak current before it starts to do down south; unfortunately, not optimal for those who tig weld often or professionally.

Devices that are typically introductory, but are industrial see between a low of 20% and a high of 80%. Although, it’s not uncommon to see a medium of 60%. While there are some ways to get around this, such as the manufacturer tweaking the product, they’re able to use a lower amperage on the device in order to get more uninterrupted welding out of the machine. If you’re still unsure of what this means, a device that’s working at 140 amps could run at 30% out of the 10-minute interval if it’s running on 115 amps. Beyond able to know this and choose a device that’s versatile and inexpensive is key in getting the most bang out of your buck.

Tips to Know Before Purchasing a Tig Welder

Before you purchase a tig welder, you should define your budget, and make sure to research budget ranges. When you don’t know what you’re getting for a certain price, you may think you paid a good price, but you might be overpaying or not seeking the full potential of your budget. Beyond this, you’ll need to check out other devices and even accessories to make sure that you’re going to be able to use them. Of course, you should never start using a tig welder unless you’re familiar with the controls. Setting the wrong temperature for the project you’re working on isn’t as innocent as you may think, because you could ruin the machine. You could also ruin the project you’re working on, as you’re not stabilizing the weld with the proper temperature that’s required. Don’t risk losing a client because you didn’t want to do a bit of research on the controls of the best tig welder!

Best Tig Welder Reviews

Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 MP Multi-Process Welder, TIG

Lincoln Electric Power MIG

First on our list is a TIG welding machine that’s incredibly well made, and boasts a number of features. Manufactured by Lincoln Electric, this POWER MIG Multi-process welder features the forthcoming specifications:

  • Lightweight, portable, weighs just 40lbs.
  • Inputs that are dual voltage, you can plug in virtually anywhere
  • Large color display for setup processes
  • Push and turn, digital controls, setup is easier than ever!
  • Includes accessories

The Breakdown of the Features

The lightweight multi-process welder from Lincoln Electric has a lot of attractive features of the average tig welder. Featuring a large color display for easier setup processes, as well as push and turn digital controls, you don’t have to worry about accidentally setting a wrong setting as you use the aforementioned. Beyond this, there are accessories included, and you can transport this 40lb. machine just about anywhere, along with being able to plug it into almost any power supply thanks to the 120V or 230V options.

The Advantages of the Product

Those that are interested in accessories like a foot amptrol, along with a ultra-flex TIG torch will find solace in knowing that the aforementioned comes included when you purchase the Lincoln Electric POWER MIG. If you’re curious about actual TIG torch models, it comes with a PTA-17V ultra-flex. Beyond this, you’re going to be able to setup and use this tig welder with ease, as it comes with a full display for setting up. Lastly, you can plug this into common power supplies, as it comes with dual voltage inputs that measure in at 120V and 230V.

The Disadvantages of the Product

One of the only disadvantages that we can find is that the foot pedal doesn’t have an on or off switch, as it’s a variable switch power pedal. While this may be an advantage to some, it’s not an advantage to everyone. Regardless, the ease of use with this machine is fantastic. Don’t let this deter you from purchasing, as it’s good to branch out and expand. The aforementioned “disadvantage” doesn’t negate the performance of this tig welding machine.

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Hobart 500551 EZ Tig 165i AC/DC Welder

Hobart 500551

Next on our list is an AC/DC tig welding machine from Hobart. Being portable and sporting a few features, the previously mentioned machine boasts the forthcoming features:

  • Unlike others, unique control that’s single knob
  • One of the east AC/DC tig welders to use and setup on the market
  • Superior performance
  • Extremely Portable – 50lbs.
  • Remote amperage control

The Breakdown of the Features

The Hobart Tig AC/C welder machine is one that offers a type of knob control that’s unique – it’s a single knob control system for ease of use and for a great price. Beyond this, the aforementioned boasts one of the easiest setups on the market due to the minimalism of the machine. With superior performance and versatility in providing AC/DC, you’re going to be able to use this machine for a variety of applications in a variety of places –as it’s very portable. Other features in this machine include infinite amperage control to ensure a broader range of operation, along with fan on demand to run while you’re working in order to reduce the amount of debris that’s being sucked into your unit, along with a high temperature shut down that’s automatic. Beyond this, you’re going to be able to use the power that’s inverter based and provides consistent welding towards the arc that you’re working on.

The Advantages of the Product

Don’t worry about dragging a huge machine around anymore, as the portability of this machine will almost make you question if it’s any good or not – and the final verdict is: YES! The unique ease of use of this machine, along with the portability and versatility ensure that your money is going to be put towards a machine that’ll matter and make it easier for you to do your job. Weighing only 50lbs., bring your machine and the foot control (along with being able to use it as a hand control) to utilize your welding talents wherever thanks to the remote amperage control and portability.

The Disadvantages of the Product

While there are no real disadvantages, you may see that the power cord might be too short, depending on the size of the area you’re working in. Not a real disadvantage and can be changed out fairly easily to ensure a better fit.

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AHP AlphaTIG 2017 200X

2017 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp

Manufactured by AHP, the aforementioned is a 2017 model that provides 200 amps, and is a tig and stick welder all in one. Boasting a number of features, some of these include the forthcoming specifications:

  • Advanced inverter technology using PWM
  • Quality aluminum tig welding
  • Precise welding on thin materials
  • Capable of welding 6013, 7018
  • New torch on this model
  • AC frequency and pulse frequency

The Breakdown of the Features

If you’re looking for something that has a brand new and pretty torch, along with versatility, look no further than AHP’s AlphaTIG that’s capable of tig and stick welding. All for the price of one, you can receive advanced inverter technology that uses pulse width modulation, and IGBT technology for optimum versatility. Beyond this, you’re able to tig weld thin materials like aluminum or thicker materials like 6013, 7018 – unlike many on the market for this price. Being able to use pulse frequency, and AC frequency with ease, the aforementioned unit even has a great foot pedal for control of the usage for your product.

The Advantages of the Product

One of the many advantages to this Alpha TIG welder is that it’s a dual stick and tig welding machine. You’re also able to use with 100V or 220V, while coming with a 3-year warranty. Boasting a number of features for the acting and versatile tig welder, you can’t go wrong with this model. Another advantage of this machine is that it comes with a flow meter regulator that’s upgraded. The use of this machine on materials like aluminum is one of the reasons it is superior – especially for the price. Beyond this, if you’re looking for something that’s generally just easy to use and easy to setup, you’re going to be able to do so with ease.

The Disadvantages of the Product

Due to personal preferences, some may believe that the torch is a bit cheap; however, the quality of this machine for the price is superior, and those who are looking for an inexpensive alternative to a Dynasty will find that this machine works well. The foot pedal may also slip a bit depending on the floor you’re working on or your shoes, but for the most part, this is a fantastic tig welder that should be looked into for the average welder.

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EVERLAST Power ARC 140amp Lift Start

EVERLAST PowerARC 140

Manufactured by EVERLAST, a reputable brand, this TIG machine has quite a few features, including the following:

  • 25mm style connectors – seamless connection
  • Life start DG Tig settings
  • Manual gas valve is built into the handle of the torch
  • 140 amp, dual voltage
  • PowerARC Series inverter that’s IGBT

The Breakdown of the Features

Coming with arc force control that’s adaptive, the aforementioned machine also features digital display for optimal current setting that you can repeat thanks to the repeatability factor. Beyond this, there are DINSE 25mm style connectors, and the machine itself has low power consumption. Being an industry standard machine for those at this duty cycle and rated amps, you’re going to have a smooth and stable performance with the DC arc you can accomplish.

The Advantages of the Product

As you purchase this tig welder, you’ll find that the box comes with a stick electrode cable and holder, along with a 6ft. length clamp work cable, a plastic carrying case that’s high impact, along with a lift tig feature, wire brush, and of course – the machine itself. For the price, the performance and what you receive can’t be beat. There’s also a gas valve that’s actually built into the torch of the handle! The setup of this machine is straightforward, and allow you to use within minutes. If you’re wanting to do heavier welding, you can, but the duty cycle isn’t continuous with this machine. You can also use various electrode sizes and nozzle sizes so that you don’t end up overheating the machine as you use.

The Disadvantages of the Product

Unfortunately, there is no foot pedal with this machine. In order to proper use this, you might want to use an accurate gauge so you can ensure how much of the argon gas you’re going to be using in your applications.

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Blue Demon BLUEARC-90STI 90-AMP Tig Welding Machine

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S4JTZG4

Last on our list is a reliable machine from Blue Demon, that’s a tig welding machine in the model of BLUEARC-90STI. Features include the following specifications:

  • 90-AMP inverter style, stick and tig machine
  • Can be used virtually anywhere
  • Increased power output from a transformer that’s small
  • Lightweight machine
  • Shoulder strap is included
  • Great for welding cast iron, carbon steel, and more

The Breakdown of the Features

If you’re wanting something lightweight and portable, the Blue Demon might be for you. Including a shoulder strap and an inverter based system that ensures power output from a transformer that’s small, you’re going to have a lightweight machine that uses 115V. Beyond this, it’s fantastic for welding all types of materials including cast iron, stainless steel, carbon steel, and more.

The Advantages of the Product

One of the advantages of this product, beyond being lightweight, is that it can weld a variety of hard surfaces, unlike many on the market for this incredible price. You may also plug this machine into a wall outlet because of its versatility, and can be used with an extension cord.

The Disadvantages of the Product

If you’re looking for something in an industrial setting for heavy applications always, the aforementioned machine may not be for you. It’s also worth mentioning that this machine is a DC unit only, so you won’t be able to use aluminum with this machine, as that’s only done with an AC TIG style of machine.

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The Final Verdict

We understand that we’ve thrown a TON of information at you, and now it’s your job to sort through and research which may be the best for your desires applications. Whether you’re focusing on art or you’re someone that needs a new machine for their place of employment, we think that the AHP AlphaTIG 200X by AHP is the one for you. Being the latest model for this year, you’re going to be receiving the most modern methods of quality tig welding for a great price.

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