Best TIG Welder Reviews – Your Complete Guide
TIG welding equipment are used for executing a host of prolific welding operations on thin and light materials. TIG is the abbreviated form of Tungsten Inert Gas, this kind of welding results in very neat and strong structural welds.
There’s almost no need to clean as minimal spatter and spark are produced during the job. For such high-end applications, the technical output of a TIG welder has to be very powerful. You’ve to get the level of heat, amperage and arc balance right to constitute fine quality, durable welds for commercial purpose.
Being totally unaware or vaguely aware of the factors that determine the quality of a TIG welder is not going to help you much in choosing the best TIG welder.
This article hopes to enrich your knowledge about TIG devices. Our extensive TIG welder reviews will hopefully help you pick a tailor-made model for you.
P.S. If your looking for a welding helmet for TIG, check out our friends over at WeldingStars.com they have a great article on helmets. (p.s. I used the 4th one on their list)
P.P.S. If you are looking for a few easy projects to get started with your tig welding journey I've created a list of great starter projects for tig welding.
- Best TIG Welder - Our Choices
- Our Top TIG Welder Picks for 2017
- Process of TIG Welding
- Qualities of a Good TIG Welder
- Common Mistakes While Selecting a TIG Welder
Best TIG Welder - Our Choices
Our Top TIG Welder Picks for 2017
AHP AlphaTIG 200DX
AHP AlphaTIG offers a highly sought after combination of affordability and flawless functionality. The closely-packaged design features a very powerful 200 amp AC/DC unit with stick function, allowing you to try your hands on multifarious welding tasks.
Coming to the product specifications, this model displays a couple of dial type controls in which you’re likely to find Pulse Frequency, Post Flow, Pulse time and a lot more useful settings. Finger control of the torch, power width control modulation with IGBT technology are infused together in one frame to create the best-in-class TIG welding device for seasoned practitioners and beginners alike.
Suited for both 110v and 220v, AHP AlphaTIG infallibly provides a dependable power source irrespective of the difficulty level of the welding job at hand. With that and a host of many other exciting features loaded in one package, AHP AlphaTIG 200DX aces my list of the top TIG welders. A great news for part-time welders is that AHP gives you the opportunity to own this high-end professional device at an affordable price to nurture your skills.
Miller Maxstar 150 STL
For the highly brand conscious, serious welders out there, owning a top-notch TIG welder from the best manufacturer in the business is imperative. The Miller Maxstar 150 STL is a beautifully structured equipment in which each and every feature helps to achieve precision welds at a quick pace.
The unit can be applied on a vast range of materials by simply switching from Stick to TIG mode on the STL 150 interface. Although there is a surfeit of multivoltage systems doing the rounds of the market, the mutivolt plug of Miller Maxstar takes away more brownie points for supporting input voltage ranging from 115v-230v without using any additional tools.
The slick and stylish design has an integrated Line Voltage Compensation (LVC) to enhance power stability, thus, alleviating the hazard of machine damage during fluctuation. The Fan-on-Demand cooling system is an extremely useful addition and should be taken notice of by rival brands. This cooling system minimizes energy consumption, saving a bit of money on your electricity bill. Getting unmistakably polished welds on thin surfaces has been made easy by the remote control amperage control.
Hobart 500551 EZ TIG 165i 230 Volt Inverter based AC/DC Welder
Superior performance coupled with advanced features is a characteristic present in all signature Hobart welders. Hobart 500551 EZ TIG is one cool machine which can tackle almost any kind of welding projects imaginable.
Whether it is a low profile auto body repair work or big industry-level works, one machine in hand and you’re good to go. The product is stuffed with a bunch of control buttons for stunning and clean TIG welds including a knob and a switch control alongside a foot or hand-operated control and an AC balance control.
The AC output is ideal for aluminum welding while the DC output is administered on thin stainless steel. The fan-on-demand reduces the emission of noise, pollutants and also energy consumption. Special mention goes to the inverter based power source that ensures a consistent welding arc at a low power input as well.
Everlast PowerTIG 250
This model bearing the lineage of Everlast is the worthy successor of Everlast PowerTIG 185. One has to notice and praise the Eveerlast signature 5 Amp “Easy Start” option for a hassle-free start. The versatile unit reserves a number of advanced features which pack quite a punch in the final output. Though the machine is fairly lightweight and simple to assemble, it devises an uncompromising strength and accuracy to the welding work.
Generally considered perfect for a material depth up to ½”, a variety of materials such as mild steel, aluminum, stainless and carbon steel can be welded in one pass with PowerTIG. There’s a digital screen on the machine to help you monitor the amperage for neat welds, to include a modifiable weld limit option was an outstanding idea by the designers. This makes it a reliable tool for both 2t and 4t tasks. The pulse frequency (.5-500 Hz) is instrumental in preventing metal burning or warping and plays a pivotal role in producing fine metal cuts on aluminum sheets.
Longevity TIGweld 200SX
Abundance of features, stellar design, and commendable durability-all these are counted as the most essential aspects of a welder. But without a power source, your welder is nothing but a piece of metal. Places where electricity is scarcely available, you need a unit that can sustain on generator.
Look no further because Longevity TIGweld is here to lessen your hassle with its 200SX unit which can be plugged and played on a 5000W generator. You can plug it into almost any wall outlet with the help of an adapter provided in the package. The product can take care of material thickness up to 3/8” maximum. It’s equipped with a 200 Amp AC/DC stick welder that runs at a 110/220v power input. The complete TIG welding set comes with a ground clamp, a TIG torch and a regulator with plug. You just need to buy the filler rods and argon gas (inert gas) to kick start the machine.
Lincoln Electric TIG 225 Welder
A TIG welder not weighing less certainly doesn’t seem to be a feasible option for the amateurs. Nevertheless, the weight neither hindered the welding quality nor the versatility of the equipment.
Lincoln is hailed by professionals for offering the biggest welding range in ac/dc 208v welding category. Stick and TIG welding tasks for general fabrication, vocational training, auto-body work are the forte of Electric Precision TIG.
For an extraordinarily stable and low amp starting, Lincoln includes a Micro start II technology which is a relatively new concept in the industry and is successfully applied only by a handful of top-of-the-line brands. Among the other aspects that make this one stand out in the crowd, an in-built TIG pulse, AC auto-balance, a fan-on-Demand and a digital meter are worth highlighting.
Everlast PowerPro 256S
When it comes to features, the more the merrier. Everlast PowerPro is a storehouse of futuristic welding technologies, convenient operability and portability. The system can be modified from a TIG welder to a plasma cutter and vice versa by changing the torch. The product has been carefully built to guarantee that the users find no difficulty in dealing with the control buttons.
The inverter-based construction minimizes the electric consumption, resulting in clearly lower electricity bills. The cycle for amperage while in use for TIG welding or plasma cutting has garnered good reactions amongst its user-base.
The best feature, however, is the current overload indicator that shows a warning signal when the duty cycle exceeds. PowerPro is packed with multiple rows of pulse and post flow to add a mean punch in power and versatility. Thanks to the stable and smooth arc starting and easy-to-use selector switches, this model deserves to be taken into consideration during your quest to select a good TIG welder for your purposes.
Miller Syncrowave 250DX
This tried and tested piece from Miller promises to serve you industrial strength and desirable welding output. Supported by both AC and DC power unit, the Miller Syncrowave is a decent option for TIG, stick and plasma cutting operations.
The IGBT inverter compresses the size and weight of the machine, making it a handy tool for DIY welding tasks at home. Welding aluminum materials is the specialty of this product due to the extended AC balance that allows adjustable penetration and improved arc stability.
The powerful arc force control helps in eradicating tungsten spatters during stick welding. Good pre and post flow control of this device are the main working force behind the dependable and long-lasting TIG welding. It creates a solid gas shielding protection before and after the welding. An HF start circuit placed inside the system at the heart of the machine makes this product easy to maintain. When you wish to skip the default High Frequency start, use the lift start function.
Process of TIG Welding
The process of Tungsten Inert Gas or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding is a bit different from the process used in MIG welders. It is very precise and demands a great welding acumen. TIG welding is broadly used by experienced welders to accomplish well-finished beads on a variety of metals of varying thickness.
While the work is in progress, the arc usually switches between the specimen and an electrode (non-consumable) made of tungsten to aggravate the temperature and weld the current. Weld oxidation doesn’t take place as inert gas shield is present around the work piece.
Argon or Helium (shielding gas) accumulates over the weld through a ceramic cup called nozzle that turns on the heat. The larger the size of the cup, the more improved gas current is delivered. TIG method has been a great success with thin metals. Smaller cups are mostly used for minor welds, it provides easy access to harder-to-reach parts.
Qualities of a Good TIG Welder
You should always try to look for a TIG device compatible with both AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) welding operations. You never know which option will come handy for the upcoming tasks, while AC welding is typically used on thin aluminum metals, DC is considered suitable for steel sheets. AC feature is particularly necessary as the positive end cleans the oxides on the self-oxidized material and the negative end penetrates the metal found at the base.
Long duty cycle
The technical term duty cycle implies the quantity of load a machine can handle during a time span, 10 minutes to be exact. When the duty cycle goes overboard, the unit needs to be cooled down before the restart. By calculating the duty cycle, you get the number of minutes available for welding in that 10 minutes’ cycle. For instance, a welder which has 80% duty cycle is capable of welding for 8 minutes out of 10 before you’ve to break off the work to reduce the heat. Normally, welders delivering 50 to 60% duty cycle are regarded to be of decent quality. High-end machines often extend it to 80 to 90% percent to boost the productivity.
Appropriate heat control is another critical attribute of a quality TIG kit. Heat control is customary, no matter which material of what thickness you’re dealing with. Uncontrolled heat particularly damages thin metals like aluminum, magnesium, causing warp and burn if the heat is too high. Many reputed brands have included a special pulse welding option which helps regulating the heat output and arc steadiness at the same time.
Low arc stability
Arc stability should be ideally less than 10 amps when you’re working on thin metals. Low amperage provides excellent arc control, better crater filling capacity, easy start-up and distortion-free welds. TIG welding technique is extensively applied materials that are thin. A high frequency or hot start might burn or warp the material throughout while welding. Look for TIG device which has a background circuit equipment stuffed inside. It ensures a highly steady, low amperage start.
AC balance control
Nowadays, every upscale branded TIG welder has one feature in common and that is AC balance control. This wonderful feature aids the welding action by allowing the user a great command over the length of the positive and negative currents. Thereby, the AC balance control setting option lets you control the level of cleaning against penetration. Some expensive models have gone a step ahead by engineering an automatic setting to help you build precision welds.
A TIG welder you can count on anytime with any metal has to reserve super resilience and sturdiness to tolerate the abuse of extreme temperature. Among the several features used to prolong the life of your welder, a powerful cooling system is of prime importance. If the heat goes past the pre-set limit, all your efforts can be damaged along with the machine itself. Therefore, a cooling fan has to function properly to safeguard the unit against overheating. Automatic Thermal Overload Shut-off is yet another intelligent feature that automatically puts off the system when it turns too hot and restarts only when it’s properly cooled down.
The best TIG welders allow you the liberty to perform multitasking without purchasing additional equipments that cost a fortune. Technologically advanced, feature-packed models from top brands are exclusively designed for accomplishing tasks beyond TIG and stick welding. Although the initial cost of purchasing such products means coughing a couple of extra bucks, it’s definitely going to earn you a good amount of profit in the long run.
Common Mistakes While Selecting a TIG Welder
Choosing a welder loaded with excess features
A very common tendency of many customers is to get lured by the appearance and grandeur of features of a TIG welder. It’s true that most feature-packed models are excellent in terms of quality and performance but why wasting money on the things you don’t need? For example, you can simply avoid a TIG machine offering AC balance control if you don’t intend to weld thin metals like aluminum or magnesium.
A reasonably priced TIG welder must contain a cooling system such as a Fan-on-demand to protect the system from overheating. Though it doesn’t get rid of the need for a capable welding helmet, it’s still better than no protection at all against overheating. An expensive machine that requires you to buy an extra cooling equipment leads to extra cost. If you’re on a tight budget, be smart enough to browse through the several options where the manufacturer offers a cooling system in the delivery package.
Miscalculation of power demand
It’s necessary to be well aware of the power demand and capacity of the machine otherwise you’ll land yourself in trouble when the power output is not in line with the intended welding specifications.
Conclusion – So, Which is the Best TIG Welder?
Beyond all the TIG welder reviews, word of mouth referrals and between-the-line analysis, there’s one more thing that’s going to help you opt for the best, and that is your intuition. If a product, despite all the online glorification and grandeur, doesn’t seem right for you, skip it unapologetically.
The most high-end TIG welders offer amazing flexibility in terms of choosing the specimen. From thick steel sheets to sensitive alloy materials, with a reliable TIG welder in hand, even the toughest welding assignments will feel like a breeze. Hopefully by now, you’re in possession of an extensive knowledge about a product you’re going to invest in. With that, I’d like to wrap up my buyers' guide on TIG welding machines.