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
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.
- Advanced Inverter Technology: The AHP AlphaTIG 200X offers an Advanced Inverter Technology with PWM (Power width modulation) to give you a more reliable and long-lasting unit in its class. The inverter technology is responsible for converting DC to AC power, and it also controls frequency, input voltage, and output voltage. It also incorporates IGBT technology that delivers more power to enable you to weld on a wide range of materials cleanly and with accuracy.
- Dual voltage operation: The welding machine offers dual voltage capability on both 110V and 220V with a full range of high-performance pulse features. This provision allows for the best versatility in a welder at this price point. The duty cycle on this machine is also high to enable you to perform heavy-duty welds with ease.
- Stick /MMA welding: Besides TIG welding, this fantastic unit offers Stick/MMA welding function without spending any extra money. Beginners, can experience these additional features in a single machine for multi-purpose jobs or jobs requiring a combination of both TIG and stick welding. The unit also has a high-quality foot pedal for TIG control and ease of use
- High-Frequency TIG starts: The AHP AlphaTIG 200X has a High-Frequency start (HF) for increased productivity and better welding control and operation. It is also equipped with a separate control switch for TIG for users who wish to add the trigger switch option to the torch. Combine this with the amazingly stable arc you get an excellent unit capable of even the finest welds.
- The foot pedals give you more control over your work.
- Ideal for a range of materials, including aluminum, steel, and cast iron.
- It offers a high frequency start.
- Dual voltage capability.
- Surprisingly inexpensive despite having features of a high-end model.
- Versatility of AC/DC power options.
- This unit is on the heavy side when it comes to weight.
- Some users complained that the foot pedal is not up to the mark.
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 an 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, and stainless steel, among other metal materials.
Other favorite features of Lotos TIG200ACDC
- Precise Aluminum welding: The Lotos TIG200ACDC offers a square wave inverter for precise and accurate aluminum welding. What’s more, the arc starts quickly and results in a deep weld pool and a beautiful welding shape. It also features an HF starch that greatly improves the arc starting system and a foot pedal for full control of the weld pool. It also uses different kinds of acidic and basic electrodes.
- Easy switch 220V to 110v: You can run Lotos TIG200ACDC directly on 220V or 110V using a pigtail as per your needs and requirements. The machine is able to detect your welding conditions and adjust them accordingly automatically. So, you can handle both your heavy-duty and lightweight applications with efficiency without disruptions. The machine also has a 60% duty cycle for continuous welding and 2-4 minute breaks.
- Works with both DC and AC power: The welder is rated at 200amp AC/DC electric output for precise TIG welding the aluminum as mentioned above, steel, and thinner gauge materials. It has 80% power efficiency, which is combined with an advanced cooling system to ensure your welder has stable and durable performance. The model also features high-grade housing for added safety, even during dangerous welding jobs.
- Argon regulator for precision: Another great aspect of this model is that it comes with a hose and an argon regulator for hooking up to the gas tank. So, all you need to buy is the gas tank, and you are ready to weld. You’ll also get a TIG torch, converter pigtail, ground clamp, stick/MMA clamp, consumable set, and instruction manual to get you started.
- It is used for both TIG and Stick welding.
- A foot pedal is included for the TIG function.
- You can use this machine for welding both ferrous and non-ferrous materials such as aluminum.
- The duty cycle is reliable.
- It is exceptionally well built for anyone who wants to enhance their welding capability.
- Also included is the Argon gas regulator.
- It does not provide pulse arc.
- It is a light-duty unit, but it works great for DIYers.
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 functions. 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 job site to another.
- 2-in-1 welding machine: The powerful Mophorn Tig Welder 140 Amp is used both as a TIG welder and ARC Stick welder. It is used to weld up to 3/8″ thick metals including steel, titanium, chrome, and aluminum alloy, among other metal materials. It runs at dual 110/220V input, with voltage compensation to deal with fluctuations in the power network.
- Wide application: The Mophorn Tig Welder 140 Amp is widely used in machinery manufacturing, automotive maintenance, guardrail, and home decoration projects, among other large projects. However, it is DC TIG only so it cannot weld pure aluminum or stainless steel. It accommodates φ Max.3.2mm acid & alkaline electrode, and it allows for perfect control of the electrode so that welding can be done more easily and accurately.
- Highly portable: This model is small in size and lightweight for convenience during transport and storage. Setup is a snap, and everything you need to do apart from the tank is inside the box. It is a compact machine ideal for home repairs and hobby projects involving light gauge materials found in most households. So, you can just pick this welder and take it wherever you need to work, including the garage, workshop, farm, etc.
- Efficient heat dissipation and protection: This machine also features a powerful cooling system to protect the machine and the operator. Heat can cause all kinds of problems, and you can especially burn through your materials if they are thin. The inbuilt heat protection saves you from wasting materials and increases the durability of your welder. It also has features for over-voltage and over-current protection.
- Perfect entry TIG welder.
- Lightweight and portable to carry around.
- It welds beautifully with almost no clean up.
- Great heat dissipation and protection; the unit is safe and flexible.
- It features a HF start, so no scratching is necessary.
- The owner manual appears skimpily written, but the machine is pretty easy to use.
- DC current only.
Morphorn has a solid reputation for quality building. 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 skill level and confidence.
Key features of Lincoln Electric K5126-1
- Excellent machine for welding aluminum: The Lincoln Electric K5126-1 has an HF start, which is mainly preferred for aluminum, but it is also suitable for whatever project you’re performing. The dual voltage allows you to adjust depending on the material thickness, and you can plug it into your standard household power outlet. It operates on AC/DC for ultimate versatility.
- Advanced features: Most users agree that the Lincoln Electric K5126-1 is an advanced welder, a design that packs about 200 amps in a lightbox weighing less than 50 lbs. The interface offers simple controls, but it may take time to get used to the system, especially for beginners. It, however, comes with a carrying handle, and it is easy to carry between jobs.
- TIG and stick welding from one machine: Like other models in this list, the Lincoln Electric K5126-1 stick offers Stick welding besides TIG in one package, including all the accessories needed for the two welding processes. It is used for high-precision jobs, and you’ll also enjoy the speed at which the arc is formed between the torch and the material, which reduces the risk of any contamination.
- Auto-gas shut-off: The auto-gas shut-off feature is able to detect gas overflow and stop the gas flow making this welder one of the most efficient machines out there. It also offers basic safety features like overheating protection and a cooling fan. It also has exceptional built quality, and you can use it to weld from any position.
- It is multi-purpose; it is ideal for a variety of TIG and Stick welding applications.
- The auto-gas shut-off feature is makes this machine very efficient.
- Great arc starting, and it lays weld fast.
- It includes AC and DC power output.
- One of the most portable machines on our list; you can take it anywhere you need it.
- Quite pricey, but it is a great welder for the money.
- The user interface is not friendly, especially for beginners.
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 is one of the quickest machines to assemble and use. All you need is to plug in your machine, select your materials, and you are ready to go. Plus it is ideal for machine welding applications ranging from industrial level to low-profile repairs and more.
Features and Benefits of Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG 165i
- Easy-to-use user interface: Unlike other complicated welding combos, the Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG 165i is pretty easy to use even for a novice. All you need is to power your machine and set the material range settings. It offers a unique and straightforward control knob for quick setup and ease of use. The instruction guide is also comprehensive, and it provides you with all the information you need to use the machine.
- Convenient fan-on-demand: The integrated fan runs only when needed to help reduce dust and debris that may be drawn into your machine. This feature is essential because the dirt may affect machine efficiency and cause further damage to the machine or personal injury. The best part is that the fan switches off automatically when not in use, thus saving on power.
- Infinite amperage control: Hobart 500551 offers a wider amperage operating window with excellent control, allowing you to set the amperage depending on the need and to weld thinner gauge materials with ease. It is capable of welding from 3/16 inches to gauge 22 for both AC power (for aluminum welding) and DC (suitable for steel, chrome, and stainless steel).
- Lightweight inverter-based design: The EZ-TIG 165i superior welding performance is aided by its convenient inverter design with a foot pedal that allows you to weld effortlessly. It is one of the best TIG welders to carry anywhere, so for people looking for portability, this welder is the best fit. It also has a non-contact HF start that helps to minimize material and tungsten contamination, which is especially useful for welding aluminum.
- Competitively priced welder for home users or shop needs.
- The machine is easy to set up and use.
- The foot pedal feels great, and it gives you control over your welds.
- Fan-on-demand for precise control.
- The HF start ensures minimal electrode and material contaminations.
- The short duty cycle is perhaps the major drawback.
- TIG only; no stick or arc welding.
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 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, a 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 a welding function if you plan to use other processes in the future. Last but not least, don’t forget to use proper Protective Equipment like welding Gloves, Welding Helmet, Welding Jacket, etc while welding.