The 5 Best TIG Welders for 2020 – Latest Reviews & Buying Guide
TIG is a welding process that uses a non-consumable electrode to heat up welding material resulting in a weld. The process offers high purity and clean welds, and it uses inert gas, usually Argon or helium, to keep the weld area free from contamination. And due to the high-quality welds produced by a TIG welder, it is typically used to weld aluminum, steel alloy, copper, carbon, and magnesium.
TIG welding is probably one of the most complex and difficult processes to learn due to the operator skill needed, but with the best TIG welder and proper practice, you'll be able to pull off and deliver high degree precision. For this reason, it is important to weigh your options to get the right TIG machine for simple repairs at home, automotive applications, and industrial uses.
The Best TIG Welder Comparison Table
Type of Current
1. AHP AlphaTIG 200X
This unit from AHP is a powerful 200 amp AC/DC TIG welder capable of working on all ferrous materials and a range of materials including copper, aluminum, and stainless steel. It also has a stick function, and it offers a variety of welding opportunities for both hobbyists and professional welders. Besides, it can be connected to your home network or an external generator, and it comes at a reasonable price allowing even a part time operator to own a quality TIG welding machine.
This machine is stable in terms of everything, and it is equipped with the useful features you need to get the job done even for the less experienced. It will serve as an excellent machine for someone who doesn't want to be limited to what they can weld or those who know they will have different welding needs in the future.
2. Lotos TIG200ACDC
The Lotos TIG200ACDC is a compact yet versatile TIG welder with a simple array of controls that allows the user to operate under a range of different situations. It comes with useful features like argon gas regulator and a foot pedal for high precision. The inbuilt square inverter makes it the best TIG welder for welding aluminum, and it is also ideal for welding mild steel, stainless steel, among other metal materials.
Other favorite features of Lotos TIG200ACDC
The Lotos TIG200ACDC earned this position in our review as it offers excellent performance at an affordable price. It is a perfect choice for any professional welder or just a weekend enthusiast looking for a low priced welder with industrial quality features.
3. Mophorn Tig Welder 140 Amp
The Mophorn Tig Welder 140 Amp is a robust 2-in-1 combo machine with both TIG and Stick function. Its steel construction makes it ideal for professional use and repair work, and it can be used to weld carbon steel, copper, and traditional electric welding. It is also quite light and highly portable so you can carry it from one jobsite to another.
Morphorn has a solid reputation for quality built. The Mophorn Tig Welder 140 Amp is a continuation of that tradition with exceptional quality and is ideal for different skill levels. The setup is pretty straightforward, and it is undoubtedly one of the most portable welding machines you will find.
4. Lincoln Electric K5126-1
The Lincoln Electric K5126-1 effortlessly welds on various materials delivering clean and shiny welds time and again. It is a portable TIG and Stick welder that allows fabricators and artisans to explore their creativity and enhance their welding expertise. Professional users can also take advantage of the advanced features and functionality to grow their skills level and confidence.
Key features of Lincoln Electric K5126-1
The Lincoln Electric K5126-1 does not disappoint, and it is perfect for all skill levels. It is designed to help you take your welding expertise to the next level, and it does not step back when delivering its intended job, whether for an entry-level welder or professional work.
5. Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG 165i
When it comes to performance and adjustability, the Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG 165i holds the lead in both. It is a unique 230V AC/DC TIG welder, and it one of the quickest machines to assemble and use. All you need is to plug your machine, select your materials, and you ready to go. Plus it is an ideal machine welding applications ranging from industrial level to low profile repairs, and more.
Features and Benefits of Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG 165i
The Hobart 500551 offers easy to use interface, and we recommend it if you want something versatile and powerful enough for different applications. It features durable construction, but all these come at an expensive price tag, which is pretty obvious for a high-end welding machine.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best TIG Welder
i. Input power
Voltage requirement is a primary consideration when choosing a TIG welder. Ideally, light-duty units require low input power of between 110V-150V, which is more than enough to weld light materials. On the other hand, massive projects require up to 240V-250V, so you'll need equipment that is more equipped and powerful enough to weld thick materials. However, most welders have a dual voltage capability, which is definitely a plus by ensuring that your machine doesn't struggle to weld metal of any thickness.
ii. Foot pedal
The foot pedal is one of the accessories that set a TIG welder from the rest. It allows for a hand-free amperage and heat levels control. Since you need to use both hands for TIG welding, the foot pedal comes in handy by ensuring that you're able to adjust those settings without taking your eyes off the weld. The pedal should be very responsive, and the surface should not be too steep. Most machines come with the pedal, but you can buy one separately if your machine doesn't have one or if you don't like the one it came with.
iii. AC/DC Power
TIG welders offer either AC or DC or a combination of the two depending on the application. The type of current you choose depends on the material you need to weld and the electrodes. However, it is recommended to get a machine that offers both current if you are working with more than just one material. Ideally, materials with a layer of oxide such as magnesium and aluminum require you to use AC, while DC is used for welding hard metals such as stainless steel nickel, copper, and more. So, it is important to determine the metals you work with more often and buy a TIG welder for your needs.
As mentioned earlier, TIG welder uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode, which can either be pure tungsten or a tungsten alloy. Pure tungsten is the most expensive since it offers the highest melting temperature when welding different metals. Additionally, the electrodes are color-coded; pure tungsten is green in color while alloys are red, blue, brown, or yellow depending on the type of alloy. The thickness of the electrode is also important. It should not be too thick to burn through the material or too thin to damage itself.
v. Material Thickness
The thickness of the material you're going to weld will determine the amperage range of the welder you need. Ideally, a good welder should have the widest amperage range as possible so that you are not limited on the materials you'll be able to weld. Any machine with a range of between 5A-230A will ensure that you are able to weld any material from 1/4" down to 24 gauge without warping the material or without struggling to pull off the weld.
vi. Type of arc start
TIG welders have three main ways of striking the arc, i.e., High Frequency start, lift arc, and scratch start. The most common one is the high-frequency start, which is also popular with plasma cutters. The HF allows you to position the electrode near the work material and start the arc by touching the torch trigger. The HF is typically found on most AC/DC TIG welders or professional DC machines.
However, most DC TIG welders allow you to use either the HF start or the lift arc. A lift arc machine works by touching the metal using the electrode, followed by lifting it off. On the other hand, a scratch start involves scratching the metal with the electrode to strike the arc. This method is less popular because the process can leave behind the tungsten and contaminate the metal.
Ideally, TIG is the cleanest process, and it does not produce sparks, spatter, or fumes as long as the metal surface is clean. With TIG high degree precision is possible, and it is used to weld even fragile metals. That said, finding the best TIG welder will help you deliver clean results and accomplish your projects with ease.
Ensure the welder you pick has high-quality construction, a high duty cycle, and one with both AC/DC power for versatility. You should also look out for features such as HF start and the foot pedal for improved control and better handling of high-precision jobs. Also, choose a model that gives you the power you need and one with more than welding function if you plan to use other processes in the future.