What to Look for in the Best TIG Welder
Looking to buy the best TIG welder is not as simple as buying a smartphone. Since you are shopping for the best TIG welder 2017, it is safe to assume that you are a skilled welder. After all, TIG welding requires more skill than using a MIG welder. You not only need to have good hand and eye coordination in using a TIG welder, but you should also practice a lot to be able to master the use of this unit.
Best used for highly cosmetic applications, TIG welding is a very precise process. It yields very clean welds without spatter and nominal smoke. It is more appropriate for welding light metals like copper alloys and aluminum, which require precise heat control to avoid warping or burning.
- 1 What to Look for in the Best TIG Welder
- 2 What to Look for in the Best TIG Welder
- 3 Final Verdict
You should choose a TIG welder with a wide amperage range. You don’t want to be stuck with a TIG machine that has a narrow amperage range because it would limit the variety of materials that you can work on. Consider getting a unit with a range of 5 to 230 amps so you can work on many thin materials, from a 24 gauge stainless steel to a ¼ inch thick aluminum.
Remember that aluminum needs higher amperages compared to other metals like stainless or mild steel. You should have a machine that has at least 200 amps so you can take on aluminum of various thicknesses. Simply put, the wider the range of the welder, the more applications that you can perform.
You also need to have good heat control with a TIG welder. As you may know, heat control is critical in TIG welding. It is particularly important on thinner materials, as it can reduce warpage.
Pulse weld is one of the ways to control heat input without compromising weld penetration. In pulse welding, the unit switches between low background current and high peak current to maintain the ac and allow the joint to cool. Some units have an integrated TIG pulser for good heat control.
WhileTIG welding is a more complicated process than mig welding, that doesn’t mean you will get a unit that is complicated to use. In fact, the really good TIG welders are very easy to use. These units have very user-friendly features.
One feature that should be in the unit is foot pedal amperage control. It should be made of metal to ensure you of its durability. This feature lets you increase or decrease the amperage, as needed. This is an essential especially if you are to weld aluminum.
There are also units with hand amperage controls, but a foot pedal amperage control is a lot easier to use.
If you are to weld metals like magnesium and aluminum, you’d rather have a unit that plugs into an AC output. Should you opt for an AC TIG welder, look for a unit that has an AC balance. This feature allows you to tweak the setting of the arc depending on the application.
But if you are to deal with stainless steels, the machine would plug into a DC output. A combination AC/DC welding machine is more recommended if you are to weld various metals.
Other Factors to Consider in Choosing a TIG Welder
TIG vs MIG welder? Well a good for form home usage, will have 1 major benefit:
Cooling—a good TIG welder has a thermostatically controlled fan to provide cooling when needed. A fan that constantly runs isn’t recommended because it can draw in dust that may damage that internal components.
What to Look for in the Best TIG Welder
There are tons of TIG welding machines available online, which can put you in a daze if you are to choose just one unit. But I have made a shortlist of the most recommended TIG welders today so you will have an easier time in choosing one machine:
This is a very versatile machine that is also budget-friendly. It not only offers DC TIG welding, but also DC stick welding. Included in the briefcase-like package are tig torch, stinger, collets, ground clamp with copper contacts, and a pigtail conversion that can be plugged into a wall outlet.
You can work on all types of metals with this unit, from steel, copper, and alloys. It is also very lightweight, weighing just 10 pounds.
It also has a very basic control panel, with a power button and a couple of knobs. There’s also an owner’s manual that you can refer to if you are unsure of how to operate it. It also comes with a one-year warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee.If there’s something I don’t like with this welder is that it can’t weld aluminum. Plus, it doesn’t have a foot pedal.
But unlike its competitor, it can handle aluminum. If you’re curious about this unit welding aluminum, you can weld the said material up to .25 inches thick with passes from both sides.
Another difference of this unit from the Lotos model is that it has a foot pedal, which makes it more suitable for TIG welding. Not only does the foot pedal adds to the convenience in using this unit, but further makes this welder more user-friendly. The TIG torch is also replaceable.
This could have been the best in this list if not for some flaws like the LED readouts that are too small to read.
It is not only versatile but also very powerful. Its TIG welding power starts at 5 amps all the way up to 250 amps, with a high 60 percent duty cycle. Your welding jobs should be faster to complete when you have this welding unit.
You should have no problems operating this welder thanks to its user-friendly interface. Its controls are also color coded for ease in access. It can weld a maximum ½ inch of steel and aluminum metal sheet in one pass.
The usual complaint about this product is that the torch hose is stiff. Other than that, it’s a very solid choice for a TIG welding machine.
This also has a foot pedal that gives you more control over your welding operations by letting you set amperage limits. It has an easy-to-use dial, with enough spacing between the knobs so that you won’t make mistakes. And you can even make adjustments to the units while you are in the middle of a welding job.
The problem with this unit is its torch may be a bit big if you are to weld small materials.
With a weight of 32 pounds, this is also a very portable unit. Although the foot pedal is optional, you can buy one if you desire to have more control in your welding operations.
You just have to be extra careful in using this machine as it is not the most durable. Repair is also very expensive especially if the one-year warranty limit lapses.
TIG welding is more difficult than MIG welding. As such, it is only reasonable that you buy a reliable, easy-to-use machine. This is very much true if you’re not that confident yet in your TIG welding skills.
And even if you’re an expert in TIG welding, you would still love to have an easy to use unit. It can make your work faster and yield more precise, clean welds. The good news is that there are many TIG welders that should suit your requirements.
Consider getting any of the five models I listed in this article. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for the best TIG welder.
Editors Rating (Own Testing)
- Lotos Technology TIG140 - 8/108/10
- AHP AlphaTIG 200X - 8/108/10
- Everlast PowerTIG 250EX - 7/107/10
- LONGEVITY TIG Weld 200sx - 8/108/10
- Lotos CT520D - 9/109/10