It can be hard to choose between the best TIG welders; they all seem to be reasonably similar to each other, and it can be confusing to know which will be the best for whatever you need to use it for.
To try to help you with this, we have compiled a list with ten examples of some of the best TIG welders on the market at the moment, along with a buyer’s guide to help you narrow down the choices.
We hope you find this guide informative and useful.
First of all:
What is a TIG welder?
If you’re new to the world of TIG welding, it’s worth us just briefly explaining what it is.
“TIG” stands for “tungsten inert gas.” Tungsten forms an electrode that provides current to the welding arc. This tungsten, and the weld puddle, are cooled using an inert gas (hence TIG, tungsten inert gas). This inert gas is usually argon.
Technically, the proper name for this process is “gas tungsten arc welding” (abbreviated to GTAW).
TIG welding is most commonly used with aluminum and 4130 steel. It’s very similar to oxy-acetylene welding, so if you have spent much time doing that before, it should be relatively simple for you to pick up TIG welding.
What is the Balance of a TIG Welder? Wave Form? Duty Cycle?
Several terms may be new to you when you first begin to look at the world of welders:
Balance – properly, AC balance – This is something that is found on many AC/DC TIG welders. It means that the arc can be adjusted for different uses. What the AC balance does is adjust the percentage of negative current to positive current being applied. So, for example, a 60% balance refers to 60% of the current being negative. Negative currents will give you more penetration, whereas a more positive percentage will be used more for cleaning. There is currently no international standard for how manufacturers introduce AC balance on their welders.
Waveform – Newer models may feature a “waveform” option. As the name suggests, this allows you to change the form of the wave. You can use what is currently the most common wave (called “advanced square wave” due to how it simply flips between positive and negative). Other options may include the sine wave (traditional AC), soft square wave, and triangle wave. For most applications, the advanced square wave will work fine for you, but the other waveforms are included if you want to adjust how the current is fed more closely.
Duty cycle – The duty cycle refers to how long you can use the welder at a given output without overheating the power source. In the United States of America, this is based on 10 minutes. So, for example, if you found a welder with a duty cycle rated at 200 A with a 40% duty cycle, you could use this welder at 200 A for 4 minutes before having to stop to allow it to cool down.
For the rest of the 10 minutes, the machine will have to sit and cool. If you are welding something particularly big, you will want a bigger duty cycle. This is because of the time it might potentially take, and there are TIG welders out there with a 100% duty cycle. In the majority of the DIY market, a welder will probably be rated to around about 20%. In contrast, a typical welder for use in industry is likely to have a duty cycle closer to 50%.
We now come to look at our list of the top 10 welders.
View The Best TIG Welders Below
1. AHP AlphaTIG 200X
We have selected this AHP AlphaTIG 200X as the best TIG welder to be currently available. With a warranty lasting for three years, you can weld up to 1/4 of an inch of aluminum and 3/8 of an inch of mild steel. As well as being useful for welding aluminum, steel, and stainless steel, the AlphaTIG 200X can be used for welding of thinner-gauge materials in a very precise manner.
It features a foot pedal so that it can be easily controlled, and runs off either 110 V or 220 V, with 200 Hz when on pulse and using AC (alternating current).
The AHP AlphaTIG 200X is a powerful 200 A AC/DC TIG welder that offers a good all-round service.
+ 110 V / 220 V / 200 A
+ TIG welder with a stick function
+ foot pedal
+ Balance: 30% – 70% 2T/4T
Why We Like It – We like the AHP AlphaTIG 200X for its dual voltage capability, high power output, and a good range of AC balance. The foot pedal makes it precise, and it’s often useful to have the option to stick weld on this AHP AlphaTIG model also.
2. Everlast PowerTIG 250EX
The Everlast PowerTIG 250EX has a low start-up current of only 5 Amps (+ / – 2 A) with an improved start-up circuit. It comes with a starter kit (this kit does not include tungsten). You can set it to a single phase or 3 phase, with fully adjustable controls, which is perfect for TIG welding.
The maximum current output is 250 A, meaning you get a very powerful welder in purchasing this model. You can weld up to half an inch on a single pass (either aluminum or steel). You can weld up to an inch or even more on a multi-pass.
+ 5 A start-up current
+ Starter kit included
+ 250 A maximum current output
+ Powerful welder
+ Easy to control and change settings
Why We Like It – It’s a low start-up current while also being a machine that produces a lot of power. This welder is the one we have selected as having the best quality on our list. It is very adjustable, meaning you can use it for many different applications.
3. Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG
We have chosen this product from Hobart as the best TIG welder for value on our list. Although, as you would expect, it has lower specifications than other models, there are lots of potential benefits for you as well.
You can use this EZ-TIG welder for welding up to 3/16 of an inch (which is certainly considerably less than some of the other welders we have featured on this list). The input voltage of 230 V leads to an Amperage range of 10 – 165 A. It also has a 20% duty cycle.
These lower specifications can be balanced out when you consider the great value of this welder, as well as its low weight of only 50 lbs. This low weight means it’s more portable than many units, although within reason, of course.
It will require some assembly when you get this welder before you can use it for welding.
+ Current range: 10 – 165 A
+ 20% duty cycle
+ Weighs only 50 lbs
+ One of the best value for money welders
Why We Like It – For light applications, this product is potentially all that you need. It’s also reasonably light, and therefore you can move it around with you much more easily than other competitor products.
4. Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200
This TIG welder from Lincoln has a nice 3-year warranty and is, for value, one of the best you can get.
It has a start-up Amperage of 10 A and a pulse feature that is limited to 20 PPS. The waveform is locked at 50%. Customers describe the arc as “steady” and the foot pedal as “very good”, making welding simple and easy for a good value machine.
This welder weighs about 73 lbs.
+ 3-year warranty
+ 10 A start-up
+ Waveform locked at 50%
+ Steady arc
Why We Like It – This is a great TIG welder with an attractive 3-year warranty. For value, it’s one of the best you can get.
5. Lotos CT520D 50 AMP
This TIG welder has an Amperage range of 15 – 200 A of DC output. The welding arc is stable, and the weld is pool deep.
A foot pedal is not included in this particular model, so make sure to get one separately. It does have a handle that you can use to move it around easily. Overall, the welder can be easily set up in no time at all once you have got it and unpacked it.
The welder comes with a 30-day refund and a 1-year warranty. To get this, you must submit a registration form on the company website.
+ Amperage range of 15 – 200 A
+ Stable welding arc
+ 30-day refund and 1-year warranty (if formally requested)
Why We Like It – Although, unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a foot pedal, you do get a warranty for one year, as well as a reasonably powerful machine with a stable welding arc.
6. Forney 324
The Forney 324 can work with an input voltage of either 120 V or 230 V, with an adapter included in the package to allow you to switch between the two. It is a 3-in-1 tool that also functions as a MIG welder and a stick welder, as well as a TIG welder.
Capable of producing up to 190 A of current, you can use this piece of kit for most DIY projects and some light industrial projects too.
Weighing in at only 43 lbs, this is one of the lightest models on the market, making it perfect if you need to move it around a lot. It also comes with an impressive warranty that covers many different parts and labor aspects of the welder, with some parts of the machine (the transformer) being covered for five years.
Unfortunately, the TIG torch and foot pedal do not come included – you will have to purchase these separately.
+ 3-in-1 tool
+ maximum current of 190 A
+ weight: 43 lbs
+ 5 / 3 / 1 warranty (also known as “Advanced Replacement” warranty)
+ great for the majority of DIY projects
Why We Like It – We like this MIG, TIG, and stick machine because it is a great, lightweight, and reasonably powerful piece of equipment for tackling a good variety of tasks.
7. EVERLAST PowerARC 160STH
The product we have featured here from Everlast is also dual voltage, running off either 110 V or 220 V. It has an Amperage capacity of 140 A, with a digital display that you can easily use to set the power of the welder.
It also has a rather unique over the shoulder carry strap, making it much easier to carry around without any risk of injury or dropping it. The carry case and TIG equipment are included as standard with this machine.
Finally, the welder includes a 5-year warranty for parts and labor, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
+ 35% duty cycle
+ 140 A maximum current
+ Digital display
+ Easy to carry around
+ 5-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee
Why We Like It – We have chosen to add this welder to our list because it features a 5-year warranty and a shoulder strap, giving it a good unique selling point. It is also produced by Everlast, a company well-known for producing good-quality welders.
8. Miller Electric TIG Diversion 180
This Miller Electric TIG welder, produced in the United States, has a duty cycle of 35%. It has a start-up Amperage of 10 A with a maximum output of 180 A, which is a decent amount of power for when you are welding.
The fan only spins on demand, a feature that is also found in many other good TIG welders. This prevents the fan from allowing too much dust and debris to get into the Miller Electric’s system during welding.
The machine weighs only 50 lbs and can work with mild steel (0.030 inches to 3/16 of an inch) and aluminum (0.025 inches to 3/16 of an inch).
+ Duty cycle of 35%
+ 10 A start-up and a maximum current of 180 A
+ Weight: 50 lbs
Why We Like It – This reasonably lightweight machine, the Miller Electric welder, has a decent duty cycle, which is useful if you think you may need to use it for a long time.
9. Lincoln Electric Precision TIG 225
The main feature of this Lincoln welder is the Amperage range, which is from 5 A to 230 A. This is one of the most impressive available for a welder, because of both the maximum and minimum output.
The welder comes with all the TIG stuff you’ll need. If you want a stick welder attachment also, though, you will have to pay a little more to get it as an added extra.
The machine also features wheels, which are much needed, due to the rather large weight of 258 lbs.
The simple controls make this welder ideal for a beginner who is just learning the first steps of TIG welding. It currently has a 5 / 5-star rating on Amazon.com.
+ Amperage range of 5 A to 230 A
+ Simple controls
+ 5 / 5 rating on Amazon (at the time of writing)
Why We Like It – This TIG welder comes with a great power range, with a current ranging from 5 A to 230 A. This means that you can use this welder for a great variety of different welding tasks. The low Amperage at start-up is as important as the high maximum output.
10. LONGEVITY Tigweld 200D
This TIG / stick welder operates on a dual voltage system (110 V / 220 V) and features a foot pedal for as much control as possible. You can switch between TIG welding and stick welding easily by simply flicking a switch.
The machine has pre-flow, post flow, and cleanse functions to ensure that you have as much control over your welding as possible. The maximum current output is 200 A.
Weighing in at 37.9 lbs, this is a very lightweight model, meaning it’s very portable and can be carried around with you for many different welding situations.
+ Stick and TIG welder – easy to switch between the two
+ Dual input voltage
+ Maximum Amperage of 200 A
+ Weight: 37.9 lbs
Why We Like It – We like this product because it’s lightweight and also easy to use, with a high maximum Amperage, meaning it features a good amount of power for whatever you need to use it for. This is certainly one of the best all-rounders you can get.
TIG Welders Buyer’s Guide
What are the Best TIG Welders?
As you can see from the above list of products, we have chosen the AHP AlphaTIG 200X as the best all-round AC/DC TIG welder. This is because of its relatively high power of 200 A (compared to other models) and adjustable AC balance. This machine is likely to be able to do whatever you need to use it for. The AHP AlphaTIG 200X is great for many different TIG welder applications.
As the highest quality machine, we chose the Everlast PowerTIG 250EX. What is most impressive about this TIG welder is its high maximum current output and also low start-up power. This can come in very handy.
What’s the Best TIG Welder for a Beginner?
For a beginner, we would recommend getting simple, easy to use controls and a machine that has a reasonable amount of power. It’s also probably worth getting a welder that you can only use for TIG welding, rather than any of the other processes, as this may make your setup slightly more complicated. You can always advance onto more complicated pieces of equipment after getting used to a simple TIG machine.
If all you are doing is learning to use one, we recommend finding some trusted training material. This will advise you on the best TIG welder to use as you begin to learn. Overall, though, you should prioritize finding a machine that is easy to use and simple.
It may also be worth considering getting a lightweight TIG welder. You may have to carry it around with you more than you think if you are learning.
When welding with a TIG welder, most examples of these machines have a foot pedal to use so that the power can be accurately and safely controlled. Some models use hand controls instead of a foot pedal. It’s up to personal preference, which of these you prefer to use. We would recommend finding what you are most comfortable with before progressing onto a different TIG welder.
What is the Best Aluminum TIG Welder?
Alternating current (AC) is the most effective input for welding aluminum. Therefore, as long as the TIG welder you have can put out alternating current, you should be fine. Note that you may have to manually select this in one way or another by using the machine.
Is TIG Welding the Best?
There are different reasons to weld using different methods.
The other main types of welding are MIG and stick welding. In comparison to these, when using a TIG machine, you will find that you have:
- Higher quality than MIG and stick welding, due to the more precise weld that you get from a TIG torch
- A more reliable weld when finished.
- Almost no amount of residue or smoke
- Potentially no need for filler wire (depending on what your project is)
- The capability to weld most metals if necessary, although it is usually used on aluminum and steel.
What are PWM and IGBT?
Here are some other key terms you may have seen:
PWM – this stands for “pulse width modulation.” This is how long the current stays on the high side. You are likely to want to use at least 30% PWM. Otherwise, there will simply not be enough heat. This could make welding somewhat difficult.
IGBT – Stands for ” insulated gate bipolar transistor.” IGBT welding machines can switch the current very quickly. This makes them very efficient, more so than simple transformer-based welding machines.
How Do I Choose a TIG Welder?
There are several things that you should take into account when you are deciding which TIG welder to buy and which will be best for you.
Is it easy to use? – If you are a beginner, you’re most likely to be looking for a welder that is easy to use.
Cost – A good welder can cost a lot of money, and clearly, you want to be spending as little as possible. Perhaps if you are unable to decide between two different welders, the overall cost may help you to decide which machine will be better for you. Always bear in mind, though, that you are likely to get what you pay for. If something is cheaper, there will probably be a reason for it.
Warranties and guarantees – Following on from cost, it’s probably a good idea to ensure your expenditure on your welder is safe. A good warranty might save you an awful lot of money down the road, so look out for products that come with a warranty included, or from manufacturers where you can request one.
Current output capabilities – If the welder you are looking at has a high output current, then it can produce a lot of power and will be useful for tackling bigger jobs and thicker pieces of metal. But it might also be important that the welder has a low Amperage at start-up. This means that the power is not too intense too quickly and will be more effective for welding smaller, thinner pieces of metal.
Portability – You may need to move your welder around with you in your workspace. If this is the case, then you should, of course, either look for a more lightweight unit that can be easily carried, for example, with something like a shoulder strap or a handle on top, or a machine with wheels, to make moving it round simple and easy.
What metals you are welding – The metal you are welding may make a difference as to whether or not you need a TIG welder in the first place. A stick or MIG welder may be more appropriate for what you are planning to do. A TIG welder is generally used for aluminum and types of steel, such as stainless steel.
Features – How much control do you have over the current and wave pattern, and how much do you need? You may want any or all of the following from your TIG machine: AC/DC, waveform selector, current settings, for it to be TIG and stick, or MIG, or any combination of the 3, etc. You should also consider how easy (or not) these are to use.
Duty cycle – How much power do you need, and how long do you need it for? On a TIG machine, if it has a low Amperage, the duty cycle is likely to be higher. This makes sense if you think about it. The lower the Amperage, the less the power will be at any given time, and the welder will produce less heat. This means that you can use it for a longer period.
Is the TIG torch easy to hold? – It may sound obvious, but the TIG torch must be easy to use and hold. If the TIG torch is too tricky to hold, it will be difficult to use effectively. You may also want to consider your work environment and how simple it will be to use the torch and, indeed, the whole unit in the space you have available
We hope this guide has been useful for you and that it will help you as you search for a good TIG welder that you can use for whatever you need it for.
As always, thank you for reading, and make sure to come back soon for more articles.