Metalworking is a broad field that can be tricky to navigate, but a good place to start would be with TIG welders. TIG welders are generally used for delicate jobs, like welding on round objects or on tricky surfaces. They’re often used to produce everything from vehicles to bicycles.
But there are a ton of TIG welders out there, and it can be seriously disorienting to try and decide which one to buy. User reviews are often tampered with and lack credibility, and it’s really hard to find information that you can rely on. That’s why I created this guide! I want this to be the sole source of knowledge you need to understand how TIG welders work and exactly what to look for when buying one.
In this guide we’re going to look at 7 of the best TIG welders on the market, and we’re going to cover usage instructions and safety precautions!
- Best TIG Welder – Comparison
- My Top 7 TIG Welder Reviews
- AHP Alpha TIG 200x
- Everlast Power TIG 2019
- WeldPro 200 3 In 1
- Primeweld TIG 225X
- S7 Arc 200
- Amico TIG 200
- Mophorn 2 In 1
- What To Consider When Buying A TIG Welder
- How To Use Your TIG Welder Properly
- Everything That Can Go Wrong While TIG Welding—And How To Make It Right
- Metal Contamination Caused By Poor Gas Coverage
- Contaminated Bead Due To Wrong Polarity
- Grainy Aluminum Welds
- Incomplete Fusion At The Root
- Craters At The End Of The Weld, Resulting In Cracking
- Dirty Filler Metals And/Or Base
- Ugly Color On Stainless Steel
- Oxidation On Stainless Steel
- Unsightly Changes In Arc Length
- Final Words On TIG Welders
Best TIG Welder – Comparison
|2018 AHP Alpha||200 amp||110v 220v||69 pounds|
|2019 Everlast Power||200 amp||220 volts||60 pounds|
|Weldpro Multi Process ||200 amp||230 volts||30.4 pounds|
|PRIMEWELD TIG225X ||225 Amp||110v 220v||90.0 pounds|
| S7 Welding Machine||200 amp||220V ||9.65 pounds|
|Amico TIG Welder||200 amp||110V & 230V ||25 pounds|
|Mophorn TIG MIG Welder ||350Amp||110 volts||35 pounds|
My Top 7 TIG Welder Reviews
Here’s my current list of the best TIG welders available. Note that there are tons of developments that happen in this industry on a daily basis and this list is bound to change from time to time. However, I chose these welders because despite everything that’s going on in the ever-advancing field of metalworking, these TIG’s have held their value and they continue to impress welders of all ages with their brilliant performance.
The Alpha TIG 200x 2018 version is a solid mid to high-range machine that can be used on a variety of metals. It’s priced slightly higher than most TIG welders but for what you’re going to get in the machine, this purchase is definitely going to be worth your investment.
This machine is, first and foremost, a TIG welder. However, you can also use it for stick welding in a pinch. I find that the arc it produces is still smooth and there isn’t a lot of spatter that you need to clean up after.
The Alpha TIG 200x is a dual voltage welder, which means that you can have it run on either 120 volts or 220 volts and it will still produce the same high-quality output in different kinds of work. If you are new to welding or if you do not have a generator at your workshop, then this is a useful feature to look out for. You can choose to start on smaller projects and then slowly increase to jobs that are more demanding, all with one machine.
In terms of portability, this machine isn’t too difficult to transport. It weighs around 22.5 kilograms and you can invest in a cart so that you can transport it seamlessly from one part of your workshop to another. This versatility is made possible with the machine’s advanced inverter technology, which helps control power consumption.
One challenge I faced with the Alpha TIG 200x was its user interface. It isn’t the friendliest—there are tons of dials and displays that you need to get accustomed to at first. However, once you get over this initial learning curve, the machine itself proves to be a powerhouse in what it does.
Overall, I dedicate this first welder on my list to hobbyists who are looking for a good TIG welder under $1000, or welders who are just starting out. It’s a no-fuss machine that can cater to a variety of welding needs and it will definitely be a good welding companion in the long run.
This machine encompasses everything that Everlast is known for, but with dual voltage and an IGBT inverter. The Everlast Power was released just this year and is already making waves in the industry because of its strong performance.
This machine is dual voltage. Like the one before it, this means that it can operate on both 120 volts or 240 volts. It ensures maximum performance regardless of where you plan on plugging it in. This is definitely a feature that hobbyists should look out for!
There are two highlights that struck me. The first is that it operates on ‘clean power’. It’s good to know that the manufacturer goes the extra mile in ensuring that the use of their machine has less of a carbon footprint than its competitors.
The next highlight is the front display. It’s grouped and highlighted in different colors so that you always understand what you are doing with each dial. This is the machine that I would recommend for absolute beginners with no background in welding whatsoever.
The last advantage to buying an Everlast Power is the five-year warranty. In addition to this, it also comes with a thirty-day money back guarantee. This comes in handy, in case you have any second thoughts about your purchase.
The only issue I have with this device is that it’s a little pricey. However, for all the features that it comes with and the consistency of its output, I can confidently say that it is worth the price.
Who said that you needed to have separate machines for different types of welding? With the WeldPro 200, you can have all three crammed into just one machine. This device’s cheery yellow exterior might throw you off, but make no mistake, this welder is all about performance!
One handy feature of the WeldPro 200 is that you can adjust both the voltage and wire speed at the same time. This saves up on the time and effort you would usually spend on basic fine tuning.
This is a multi-process welder that is capable of four different kinds of welds: MIG welding, Flux Core welding, TIG welding, and stick welding. Given all that this machine is capable of, I was surprised when I found out that this welder only weighs 13.6 kilograms. It is also slightly on the smaller side. You can easily transport it from one area to another without a cart to wheel it around.
When you buy this package, you will also receive the following accessories: a ten-foot MIG torch, a 13-foot TIG torch, one earth clamp, one electrode holder, the flow meter and gas hose, and a brush hammer.
Overall, this is a pretty solid machine that is good for basic work. It’s very affordable, especially when you consider how it can perform the work of three separate welding machines.
The Primeweld TIG 225X is another dual voltage TIG welder that can readily perform a variety of tasks for hobbyists and professional welders alike.
The first thing I noticed about this machine was how smooth and consistent its welds were. For a mid-range product, it is capable of dishing out intense levels of penetration and has several high-end features that are not normally available at its price. This includes the advanced inverter technology, power with modulation aspects, and heat control. It goes to show that a lot of thought went into creating this welder and it shows in the work results.
In terms of portability, however, it is a bit difficult to move from one area to another because it weighs over forty kilograms. You will need to invest in a cart if you absolutely need to bring it around. Otherwise, I feel that this is a welder that was created to just stay in one place as much as possible.
The Primeweld TIG 225X is not just a TIG welder. It can also do some basic stick welding as well. This two-in-one function is useful for people who will need to switch between the two techniques regularly as they work.
This machine operates on a 40% duty cycle and can work well on several different metals. Throughout my testing, it produced strong welds with a smooth finish.
This welder is truly mid-range in every sense. It is not the best machine that you can get out there, but for the price you can definitely overlook the minor difficulties that you encounter. One aspect I love about this machine is how the manufacturers are very open with their customers and they are quick to respond to anybody who is reaching out to them. This adds more confidence in their three-year warranty, because I know that I won’t need to think twice before reaching out to them if I have any concerns.
Have you ever come across a welder with built-in energy saving designs and some sleek aesthetics to boot? That is what you can look forward to with the S7 Arc 200. With a chrome gray exterior and a 120 volt plug, this is a machine that was created specifically for repair projects around the house.
The S7 Arc 200 is the lightest TIG welder in this list, registering only 3.3 kilograms. You can easily pick it up and carry it to any part of your workshop or home. Its energy saving design also helps you cut down on your electricity bills without compromising the quality of the machine’s performance, and by extension, it is always reassuring to know that you are helping the environment.
When you buy this product, you will also get the accessories you need to enhance the machine’s work. This includes a strap, one hex wrench, two quick plugs, and the operation manual. Since this is a welder primarily for household use and welding beginners, I had high expectations for the manual and I was not disappointed. It is easy to follow, just like the user interface of the machine.
If you take a closer look at the front display, you will notice that there are additional vents immediately below the main dial. These compromise the additional cooling outlets that are built into the machine so that it cools down faster after you finish working. It is good to know that extra measures have been taken to help preserve the performance of the machine, especially because it is super small and only built for small jobs.
Overall, I would recommend the S7 Arc 200 for anyone who wants to try something beyond the industry’s top manufacturers as well as to beginners who want a simple machine that can capitalize on delivering its best performance. It’s definitely not as well known as other brands on this list, but this machine was clearly developed by people with extensive experience and dedication to welding.
Looking for a reliable TIG welder from a reputable brand that won’t break the bank? The Amico TIG 200 is the way to go.
This machine can handle a 60% duty cycle, which is one of the highest cycles we have on this list. Despite its diminutive stature, it goes beyond TIG welding and is capable of some stick welding as well. During my test run, I noticed that there was a reduced amount of spatter, which I appreciated because it also reduced the amount of cleaning I had to do after every weld.
The Amico TIG 200 can be plugged into any outlet because it is capable of handling both 120 volts and 220 volts. This makes it a useful tool for professional welders who may also need to do some work around the house. However, I did experience some difficulty with forming a perfect arc as I worked. As I continued using it, I realized eventually that this was because it was a contact welder. It is not explicitly stated anywhere in the product and you may need to take this into consideration because it is a new technique that you have to master.
Overall, it is a good machine for its price and apart from the contact welding, it is quite low-maintenance in comparison to other TIG welders that are available. Given the issues on forming an arc, it may not be the best machine for beginners. However, I would recommend this as a backup machine for professionals because it can definitely produce great results if you are in a pinch.
Here’s another solid machine that can churn out a 60% duty cycle. The last welder on this list is the Mophorn 2 in 1, the ideal choice for welding on sheet metal, site work, vehicles, and light repair or maintenance services.
With its distinctive blue color and clear display, you can easily see why it is so popular from the get-go. This is a machine that has clearly been optimized for people from all walks of life, regardless of whether they are professionals or beginners. It is always reassuring to invest in a machine that has the end customer in mind.
If you take a closer look at this device, you will notice that it also has additional vents under the front display. It is similar to the S7’s Arc 200 in design and in function. These are cooling vents, supported by a high-grade cooling fan to keep the welder in top shape even after prolonged periods of use.
This package includes the ground clamp, the cutting torch with a three meter cable, five ceramic shield cups, five swirl rings, five electrodes, five tips, and one regulator. All these accessories are more than enough to get you started on the right foot.
One small downer to this machine is the instruction manual that it comes with. If it advertises itself as a beginner-friendly device, one of my first expectations is that it has a clear guide to help people set it up. When I leafed through the manual, however, I felt that they could have added more instructions in. For example, one aspect that the manufacturers left out was that this machine is wired according to European standards. This may be a small roadblock for welders in the US who are used to operating machines under American standards.
Regardless, this is just an additional consideration that you need to think about before buying this welder. It does not affect the quality of its performance. If you are looking for a new TIG welder that is mid-range in price, capabilities, and work capacity, then this is the ideal machine for you.
What To Consider When Buying A TIG Welder
You will never run out of choices when it comes to buying a TIG welder. In fact, there are tons that you can choose from and finding the right one can be a bit daunting at first. That’s why I have compiled this quick checklist of features that you need to consider before you decide on going for a certain model.
The Types Of Metal You Want To Weld
You need to consider the kinds of metal that you will be working on with your TIG welder because it will affect the amount of electrical input you will be looking for. For example, if you are going to work on bronze or steel, then it would be best to go for an AC welder. These welders run on electrical energy that goes from one direction to another, which is the ideal method for good finishes on these types.
The Thickness Of The Metal You Want To Weld
This is an important consideration you need to make because not all welders are optimized for thick metals. To save up on the energy used, some are designed to give their best work on certain lengths exclusively. You can check how far the welder can cut through by looking at its amperage. As a rule of thumb, you will want to get a welder that is capable of working on higher amperage if you are working through broad metals on a regular basis. Welders with low amperage will only go from 165 to 200 amps, while those with high amperage climb up to 310 to 700 amps.
How Much Space You Have In Your Workshop
How much room can you free up for your TIG welder? Take a quick look around your workshop so that you don’t end up buying a machine that may not even fit through the door. Make sure that you also have the right outlets for their electric consumption—there are some welders that can run on 120V, while others may need 220V.
Think of how heavy your TIG welder is as well, and whether you can work with that kind of weight. These machines can range anywhere between 40 to 200 pounds.
The Amount Of Work You Need To Put In
TIG welders work in bursts of energy called responsibility cycles. This indicates how long your machine can weld throughout a ten-minute gap before it overheats. These sequences can run from 15 percent to 60 percent.
How Much You’re Willing To Spend
Of course, your budget is always going to be an important consideration in any investment. There are tons of welders that you can choose from and there’s sure to be one that fits your needs, regardless of your budget. The price of TIG welders can be anywhere between $500 to $2,500, determined by the amount of power they can muster as well as other additional features.
Any Additional Features You Might Need For Work
Sometimes, a run-of-the-mill TIG welder just won’t cut it. You may be working in niche markets that require you to look for extra safety measures, high-frequency arcs, and more. If so, you may need to consider increasing your budget for your machines as these accessories don’t come cheap. In case you feel that you really need an extra feature here and there, then it’s best to save up for a machine that can offer it first so that you get the best TIG welder for the money.
What The Warranty Covers
Does the manufacturer of your welder offer a two or three-year warranty? Can they offer a 90-day return policy? In case you have any bad experiences with your machine, you need to be secure in the belief that you will still be supported by the company without having to go through any extra hassle.
How To Use Your TIG Welder Properly
There’s a process to preparing your TIG welder for any kind of activity and I strongly recommend that you read through it before you begin. This is to lessen the risk of bringing harm to you or your machine. Here’s a quick run-through of what you need to prepare, but always make it a point to read through your machine’s instruction manual as well in case there are any nuances to your product that you need to follow too.
Step 1: Choose The Right Electrode For The Job
Electrodes refer to the different kinds of rod used for welding. An electrode is what conducts the current through a workpiece so that the two pieces fuse together. For example, if you are welding on aluminum, a tungsten electrode would be an ideal choice. It is the best metal to channel the current you need to establish an arc.
It is possible that your TIG welder will come with the right electrode in it already. Make sure to check beforehand so that you don’t accidentally use the wrong type for your weld.
Step 2: Grind The Electrode
If you have a brand-new cylinder, it will not have a pointed or rounded tip yet. In this case, you need to grind it to a point before you pop it in so that you can get the best arc.
As you weld, the pointed tip will eventually melt and become rounded. Check up on it regularly so that you always have a smaller, more focused arc. If it remains rounded while you use it for welding, the arc will have a tendency to dance around and become unstable.
Step 3: Slip The Electrode Into The Collet
The collet is what holds your electrode in place. Unscrew the back and insert your rod. The tip of the rod should only be ¼” away from the protective sheath.
Step 4: Configure Your TIG Welder’s Settings
The usual TIG welder will have three main options for electricity: alternating current (AC), direct current that is electrode positive (DCEP), and direct current that is electrode negative (DCEN).
The AC is divided into two settings: Cleaning, which is used for shallow welding, and Penetrating, which is for deeper welding.
DCEP is used for stick welding, while DCNP is for welding steel. The difference between the two lies in what direction the electricity flows; whether it is stimulated from the metal to the electrode, or from the electrode to the metal. This small detail can have a massive impact on the amount of heat that the metal absorbs.
Step 5: Switch On The Gas Valve
The welding gas functions to protect the weld from becoming corroded. If you do not use the right gas, then the metal will rust or oxidize when it reaches high temperatures as you are working. If you are working on aluminum, use pure argon. If you are working on steel, then use a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide.
Step 6: Prepare The Metal
Now you need to prepare both the metal you will be working on as well as the table you will be using. You will need a large metallic area so that the electricity can flow smoothly into your metal. If you don’t have a welding table yet, then a large piece of sheet metal will also do the trick.
Clamp down the metals so that they will stay in place while you are welding and spray your work surface with some anti-spatter. This will prevent the metal from sticking where it lands, so you can just wipe it off after and preserve the work surface.
Step 7: Put On Your PPE
TIG can be super harmful if you are not properly equipped. It can burn, blind, or even cripple. I strongly recommend that you buy your personal protective equipment (PPE) even before you buy your welder.
Make sure that all the parts of your body are properly covered. Put on a pair of thick welding gloves, closed shoes, a welding coat, and a helmet.
Step 8: Conduct A Test Run
Go through the motions of welding before you begin so that you can make sure your movements are free and uninterrupted. Secure the electrode in your dominant hand and make sure that the cord can move around freely.
Step 9: Start Your Welding
Hold the electrode about an inch away from the metal and get to work. Never press it against the type of your metal because the molten metal can leap into the electrode and cause it to clog. If this happens, immediately stop working so you can remove the rod and grind it back to a point.
Step on the foot-pedal to start up the machine and slowly make your way on the metal. Work quickly as you go, because if metal stays heated for too long then there is a chance that it will warp.
Everything That Can Go Wrong While TIG Welding—And How To Make It Right
TIG welders are usually recommended in jobs that have strict requirements about the aesthetics or the finish of the metal. There are tons of ways a weld can go wrong if you are not careful. To make the most out of your TIG welder, I’ve compiled a list of the most common problems encountered and the solutions you can take to resolve these issues (or prevent them entirely).
Metal Contamination Caused By Poor Gas Coverage
Shielding gas is important because it maintains the purity and the harmony of your welded metal. If it is not turned on, or if there is too little or too much, then the metal will become contaminated.
Before anything else, check the gas label to make sure that you are using the right gas for your welding. Next, set the gas flow to 15 to 20 cubic feet per hour. Do not attempt to go beyond this— it’s a common misconception that the higher the gas flow, the greater the protection provided. However, all this does is create turbulence and swirling currents that pull in airborne contaminants.
After that, check the fittings and hoses to make sure that you do not have any leaks. If there is a breach somewhere, it will pull in air into the shielding gas stream and contaminate the weld. One way to find out if there is a breach is to wash the hose with soapy water. If bubbles start growing in a certain part, then that’s where your leak is and that’s the component you need to replace.
Contaminated Bead Due To Wrong Polarity
What happens when you try welding metal with the wrong electrical energy? For example, if you weld aluminum on DCEN? This leads to a contaminated bead. The weld will not be able to break through the layer of aluminum oxide and the filler metal will mix in with the partially melted oxide.
Always use the right electrical energy for your metals. If you are working on aluminum, go for an alternating current (AC).
Grainy Aluminum Welds
Grainy welds are caused by problems with the filler metal. There are subtle differences in filler rods from one manufacturer to another, and you may need to conduct some extra research to find out which brand of rod would fit best on your machine.
The rod may also be defective or it could be the wrong type of rod to use entirely. Before you begin welding, check your filler metal type and clean away any grease, oil, and moisture to prevent this problem from happening.
Incomplete Fusion At The Root
There are a ton of wrong moves that could lead to an incomplete fusion: an improper fit-up, the torch held too far away from the joint, the filler rod not positioned properly inside the collet.
As much as possible, try reducing the arc length so that you do not encounter this problem. Also ensure that you do not under-fill the joint. Finally, weld at a steady pace.
Craters At The End Of The Weld, Resulting In Cracking
Craters are caused when there is a drastic reduction in welding power, which results in the puddle cooling down too quickly. It also happens when you remove the filler rod in a hurry at the end of each weld. Thankfully, it is easy to fix this issue—all you need to do is continuously feed the filler rod as you are slowly reducing the current when you are approaching the end of the weld.
Dirty Filler Metals And/Or Base
The first step in welding just about anything is to ensure that your materials are clean. If you don’t take the extra effort to do so, then it will likely lead to contamination. Grind, brush, and wipe off any metals that you will be using to prevent this from happening. If you are working with aluminum, invest in a stainless steel brush to prevent contamination from other types of metal.
Ugly Color On Stainless Steel
Discoloration does not just ruin the look of a metal; it also has an impact on the metal’s mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. Prevent this from happening by reducing the amperage, increasing the travel speed, or shortening the length of your arc.
Once this happens to your weld, however, there is no way to remedy the situation. Prevention is always better than cure.
Oxidation On Stainless Steel
Once a weld is exposed to air, it can lead to ‘sugaring’, otherwise formally known as oxidation. Avoid sugaring your welds by reducing the weld amperage or by back purging the weld with argon shielding gas.
Unsightly Changes In Arc Length
Once you start welding at a certain position, you need to maintain that position so that the weld remains consistent. Arc length determines the voltage of your TIG welder and if you hold too long of an arc, it increases the overall heat input as well as the potential for distortion.
Final Words On TIG Welders
There are tons of machines out there and it was super tough to find the best TIG welders for this list. After a lot of test runs and some in-depth research, I finally came up with my seven top choices and a few other tidbits of information that will surely help you in your welding journey.
Welding isn’t easy work, but it’s extremely satisfying to work with metal and see what you can come up with. I’m glad I got to share what I learned with you in this guide and I hope that it has clarified some of your doubts on how TIG welders work. Remember to always be safe when starting up your machine and to come prepared to every job. Have fun and here’s to making the most out of every weld!
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