Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) is otherwise known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). It is a process that involves the production of heat and electricity using a non-consumable tungsten electrode. It rose in popularity as a method in the 1940s because of the amount of control it provides welders.
There are many good reasons why these are still widely used today, so let’s enumerate them. Shall we?
For starters, they are highly efficient and effective when used on various metals. It’s known for its precision capabilities and ability to produce a fine finish, not to mention its wide range of applications. If you can’t stand smoke and spatter during the process, it is the perfect method for you.
They’re also known for their variety. There’s one for everyone regardless of experience, financial capability, and working environment.
If you’re looking for the best TIG welder for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a selection whether you’re looking for something under $2,000 or you have other needs.
We’ve listed our reviews for every type of user in this article. Whether you’re a beginner or someone who’s on a tight budget, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for here. In the same way you want the right safety equipment, you’ll also want the right equipment.
Best TIG Welders for the Money
Can you get a TIG welder on a shoestring budget? Yes, you can. There’s a good selection of excellent options available out there that won’t break the bank. By doing away with the superfluous and focusing on the essentials, you own a reputable piece of equipment and still have money left. Here are our picks for the best TIG welders for the money.
1. AHP AlphaTIG 200X
When working on stainless steel and aluminum, the AHP AlphaTIG 200x delivers the goods in terms of utility and convenience. It’s also versatile as it can be used for 110V and 220V power outlets. You don’t have to worry about the equipment damaging those outlets since the output can be easily adjusted.
The AHP AlphaTIG 200X is so flexible that it can be used for home repairs and businesses. It comes with a steel case and plastic-encased buttons, making it one of the most durable options on the market.
The AHP AlphaTIG 200X is versatile enough to be used on 6013 and 7018. It’s even highly compatible with most sticks and rods.
What makes this stand out best is its ergonomic handle and nifty food pedals. They give you excellent control in any environment. High-precision work can become the easiest thing in the world when the machine you’re using feels like an extension of your arms.
The best part about the AHP AlphaTig 200X is its price. At just a little over $700, the AHP brings a lot to the table to satisfy even the pickiest craftsman. To sweeten the pot further, this amazing machine comes with a three-year warranty.
With so much bang for the money, it’s no wonder the AHP AlphaTIG 200X makes our list of best TIG welders under $2000.
2. Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG
Do you want one that does the job easily without the frills? The 500551 EZ-TIG by Hobart is just the thing. This user-friendly welder lacks the bells and whistles that can attract high-end users. However, it’s got a lot of things going for it. It’s especially the case in terms of utility and price.
For one, it can be used for both AC and DC outputs. It makes it easy to make quick work of oxidized steel. It’s got an extensive amperage range and a foot pedal, allowing you to fill craters with ease and in relative comfort.
Better yet, this option has all those features at a competitive price—a little over $300. Can you believe it?
3. Forney Multi-Process Welder
The Forney Multi-Process Welder is the one to go for if you put a high premium on versatility. It can be used for TIG, Stick, MIG, and Flux Cored. It’s so easy that even those who’ve never handled one before can switch between these processes with little effort.
Even with the amperage turned low, this machine packs a wallop. It results in a more stable arc and a smoother operation.
There are no two ways about it. If you want a multi-process option that won’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with the Forney Multi-Process option.
4. Lotos CT520D
The Lotos CT520D is not only a great catch because of its low price, but it also comes with a wide range of features. These will help you perform work like a professional. But this machine’s strongest feature is its plasma cutter, which allows you to cut through most metals easily.
The output range runs at a steady 15A – 200A. It provides you with a steady arc, which guarantees a refined finish. The Lotos CT520D gives you a great bang for your buck. If you’re on a limited budget, do yourself a favor by giving it a once over.
5. Everlast Power ITig
If you want quality work at a relatively low price, the Everlast Power ITig delivers in more ways than one. For starters, it’s got an extensive amperage range which allows for arc stability and excellent crater filling.
The Power ITIG has both AC and DC power output, giving you the ability to work on almost all types of metal. This includes magnesium and aluminum! It can deliver up to 250A while running on a 240v motor, helping you perform exceptional work for all types of jobs.
Admittedly, the panel display can be a little unintuitive. Still, you’ll get used to it eventually after several hours of use. It more than makes up for it in versatility.
Best for Beginners
It takes time for anyone to get good at using these. Most experts will tell you that it may take a couple of thousand hours of work to do work like an expert. There are ones built to be user-friendly for beginners. Here are our top picks for the best ones built for beginners.
1. The Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Option
The Weldpro 200 isn’t only the perfect welder for beginners. It’s also incredibly cheap.
Equipped with pre-set internal parameters, the Weldpro 200 calculates the recommended settings on its own. It means you don’t have to spend time adjusting it to the right settings because the machine automatically does it for you. Just turn it on, and you’re off to the races!
It’s hard for most beginners to maneuver the torch around. Thanks to the wire feed button, doing that has become much easier. It has a lightweight build, making it easy for anyone to lug around wherever you go.
If you haven’t been using it that long, the Weldpro 200 has many features that make you feel like an expert. It can make you produce results like an expert.
2. Lotos TIG 200 AC DC
At first glance, the Lotos TIG 200 AC DC looks like your run-of-the-mill welder with equally run-of-the-mill features. It’s more than that. For one thing, its longevity far outlasts the typical alternative AC/DC welder.
If you want an aluminum welder that will last you for many years, you can’t go wrong with the Lotos TIG200 AC DC.
If you have to work on small projects that involve aluminum, there’s no better product on the market.
This reliable piece of equipment has all the essentials. It does away with all the bells and whistles to ensure you pay only for what you need. And you don’t have to be an expert in using it.
It has one glaring disadvantage. It doesn’t come with the pulse and extensive frequency settings. But if you feel you can live without those, then there’s no other machine that can match it in terms of value.
3. ESAB 0558101694 MiniArc
The ESAB 0558101694 MiniArc Welder is a DC welder with a lightweight build. It makes it perfect for those who are still not used to working. It does pack a wallop with an amperage of up to 160 amps. This one stands out even more because of its fixed hot start. It allows you to strike an arc without causing the electrode to stick to the plate.
4. Forney 322 140-Amp MIG/Stick/TIG Multi-Process
Suppose you’re a beginner who focuses on maintenance work and light industrial work. This multi-purpose machine should hit many of your sweet spots. The Forney 322 is packed with useful features, including spool gun functionality. It also has MIG synergy and a stick electrode holder. An HD cast aluminum drive system as an inverter machine with MIG and TIG capabilities is another great feature.
Even those who haven’t used one before can switch between work processes with minimal effort with a built-in gas hose and regulator.
5. ESAB Thermadyne W1003202 Stick/Lift
This lightweight Stick/Lift welding system is the perfect option for beginners who want to carry out light repairs. Thermadyne W1003202 comes with a lift process specifically built for quality work, as well as a ground clamp and electrode holder. It allows for easier navigation and efficient maneuverability.
It’s also got a hard carrying case that lets you carry it around with ease. If you frequently work on small projects, this Stick/Lift TIG welder in one is a gift that keeps on giving.
Do you like our article on the best TIG welders so far, including ones under $2000?
Best Portable Options
Finding the right piece of equipment can be difficult if you’re not experienced with this type of work. If you’re new at this and want to work on aluminum with skill and high precision, you’d do well to use one that is lightweight.
Here are our top recommendations for portable options:
1. Everlast PowerArc
The PowerArc by Everlast might not be the most powerful machine on the market (it peaks at 140 amps). Its intuitive operational controls make it ideal for work that requires precision. It comes with an automated “hot start,” thus preventing the electrode from attaching to your weld and ruining the work.
One major flaw with the PowerArc is that it’s DC only, so skip this one if you plan to do AC work.
Weighing 24.8 pounds and having a compact build, the PowerArc is simply one of the most portable welding machines on the market. If you want to carry around a machine with you all the time without breaking your back, we can’t recommend the PowerArc enough.
2. Zojan TIG Handheld Mini-welder
The Handheld Mini Machine by Zojan is a high-performance tool that boasts a superpower electrode. It also has an anti-supply voltage change and a current that won’t overheat. These features make this a reliable tool whether you’re using it as a homeowner or a professional. Weighing only 2.5 kg makes work fast and accurate.
3. Lotos LTPDC2000D Non-Touch
The LOTOS LTPDC2000D Non-Touch Plasma Cutter is a multi-purpose machine that combines TIG and Stick in one compact package. You even get plasma, too! Switching between these three functions is easy street courtesy of the ergonomic flip switch.
You can rest assured that the arc is always stable. With an adjustable hot striking arc current, it can run smoother even in different conditions.
4. Ansen 160AMP
Maybe you want something lightweight and compact yet packs a lot of punch in terms of features. The Ansen 160AMP certainly delivers the goods. Thanks to its IGBT dual functionality and portable handle, the Ansen is easy to use. You’ll love its lightweight frame, and the controls are easy to operate. Use it on a wide range of steel metals under any condition you could imagine!
It also has self-locking mechanisms and adjustable time delays to make adjustments fast and efficient.
5. CT312 Ridgeyard 3 in 1 Combo
Some beginners want to get the best of all worlds. Finding a machine that can execute three functions can be hard TIG, plasma cutting, and MMA functions are often desired in the same machine. It’s something professionals love having together.
Look no further because the CT312 Ridgeyard 3-in-1 combo machine can pull that off and more. And while it is small, it still packs quite a punch with a duty cycle rate of 60%. It’s powerful enough to cut through 8mm of steel.
The CT312 is also perfect for the outdoors as it comes with a wide range of accessories that will prove useful when you’re out and about.
What is TIG welding used for?
Most commonly, you’ll find TIG welding is used in the pipeline industry. However, it can also be used in the Aerospace and aviation industry as it can tightly weld titanium. While working with electrically resistant metals, TIG welding is considered best. It heats up fast, and you won’t even require filler material for the rod.
Without a doubt, it’s the best option when you want clean work. Get a splatter-free result as the process of TIG involves direct contact between the metals. It leaves no room for a mess.
What settings do I use to TIG weld aluminum?
AC is preferred for welding aluminum between AC and DC, and DC is used for milder metals like stainless steel. If your project requires thick materials, you will need a high-frequency setting of about 80-120 Hz.
A 150 to 250 Hz frequency on thinner materials helps avoid burning through the metal. For a joint corner weld, you might need to turn down the frequency to 80 Hz so that the arc cone has more width.
What do you need to weld aluminum with a TIG welder?
Firstly you’ll need a TIG welding machine and aluminum rod fillers. You’re going to need a shielding gas which is mostly argon with professional welders, so buy a couple of canisters. Thirdly, you’ll need a non-consumable electrode as well as a wire feeder.
A temperature indicator is a good buy to get an idea of how hot the metal is before starting. You’ll require a pair of TIG welding gloves in the safety equipment. You’ll also need a pair of safety welding goggles and preferably an auto-darkening helmet. On the day of welding, the choice of clothes should be good quality denim. You can even wear an apron if you’re worried about a mess.
Do you TIG weld aluminum on AC or DC?
While MIG welding is done on Direct current(DC), TIG welding is done on Alternating Current or AC. The electrons run back and forth in regular cycles in this current type. AC is commonly used for household electricity.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
How do you set up a TIG welder for aluminum?
- Insert the tungsten
Start by inserting the tungsten into the cup of the welding machine. Ideally, the distance of tungsten you should have sticking out should be about the radius of the cup.
- Tighten the back cap
The back cap of the machine should be firmly attached and ensure the cup and tungsten are also tightly placed.
- Decide which attachment to use for the tungsten.
You can use a simple diffuser-type attachment. However, most will prefer a split/slit wedge with aluminum. A simple wedge collet will work just fine as well. However, wedge-style collets are known to last longer and suffer fewer distortions.
- Slide your tungsten into the wedge
Insert the tungsten into the wedge and place the cup on top. And you’re all set up for welding!