Best Choice The Best TIG Welders (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021 AHP AlphaTIG 200X
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Best Value The Best TIG Welders (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021 Forney Easy Weld 100ST
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Premium Pick The Best TIG Welders (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021 Primeweld TIG225X TIG/Stick Welder
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Published Nov. 4, 2020

We all love a good project, and nothing beats the satisfaction of knowing you did the work yourself. Fixing what’s broken, restoring what’s been neglected, and creating something new are all incredibly rewarding endeavors. There’s a lot that can be done in the average garage. Most automotive projects can be successfully tackled with hand tools, a smattering of cleaners and lubricants, and a little know-how. Eventually, though, you’re probably going to run into a job that requires next-level technique.

When wrenches and off-the-shelf parts fall short, you need the ability to cut and fabricate. For that, turn to a TIG welder to make more advanced metalwork possible. We’re here to help you sort through all the options on the market. There certainly are quite a few available, but only one with your name on it. 

These handy tools require specialized knowledge, so always make sure to get familiar with the manufacturer’s instructions and stay safe by stocking up on all the necessary protective equipment. Take a look at our favorite welding helmets to make sure you’re protected during your next project.

The Best TIG Welders

For those who want to work with the best tools available, look no further. Due to its price, this TIG welder might not be the best option for casual do-it-yourself projects. Its capabilities and build quality more than make up for the price tag, though. Take on low-carbon or mild steel up to 3/8-inch thick, aluminum up to 1/4-inch thick, and other thin-gauge metal components with confidence. This TIG welder allows control of frequency, amperage, and time pulse settings. Stainless steel construction means it can hold up to rough job site conditions. One of the best features, which isn’t available with many of the other TIG welders on this list, is a foot pedal for maximum control while you work.

This is not a cheap machine, but If you’re looking to add professional capabilities to your garage, we recommend spending the extra money on this TIG welder. One should note that it’s no small piece of equipment and weighs nearly 70 pounds. But this is something to expect with such a capable machine.

Key Features
  • High-quality construction
  • Ample control settings
  • Foot-pedal compatible
Specification
  • Brand AHP
  • Model Alpha-TIG200X-2018
  • Weight 69 pounds
PROS

Includes foot pedal

Professional-grade performance

Stainless steel components

CONS

Premium price tag

Bulky and heavy

Some jobs put a premium on space and portability, and that’s where this welder shines. Compared to the other TIG welders on this list, this is certainly the least expensive option, and it does require a TIG torch to be purchased separately because it’s primarily a stick welder. That being said, it’s hard to argue with a tool that adds stick and TIG welding capability to your garage at such an affordable price. Forney’s Easy Start feature takes some of the effort out of striking an arc, and intuitive controls make this a great choice for inexperienced welders. The welder weighs less than 10 pounds and takes up much less space than the alternatives. Keep in mind that many TIG welders out there weigh nearly 10 times as much and cannot easily be taken outside of the home garage. 

Heavy-duty jobs are better left to the other TIG welders on this list, but we appreciate this one for making it easy for hobbyists to get started on smaller projects.

Key Features
  • TIG/stick welder combo
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Compact design
Specification
  • Brand Forney Easy
  • Model 298
  • Weight 9.65 pounds
PROS

Low price

Weighs less than 10 pounds

Easy start prolongs electrode life

CONS

TIG torch sold separately

Not ideal for heavy-duty jobs

If you need a machine that emphasizes precision, you’re in luck. This TIG welder features both a high-frequency start and a foot pedal, which promise to produce high-quality welds. The high-frequency start removes the need to scratch-start the arc. This not only eliminates the risk of contaminating the electrode, but it also helps to reduce the amount of sharpening you’ll need to do. The foot pedal offers total control over the arc as well, which ensures you’ll be able to provide the exact temperature you need as you weld. If you don’t want to use the pedal, the extensive control layout still makes it very easy to lay a precision weld on any material. We did hold back one crucial detail: This model can also be used as a stick welder, making it a must-have for any farm.

The only thing not to like is its high price. This is an expensive and heavy machine, but the blow is softened when you find it comes with all the connections and accessories you need to start using it.

Key Features
  • MIG/TIG/stick welder combo
  • Foot-pedal compatible 
  • High-frequency start
Specification
  • Brand Primeweld
  • Model TIG225X
  • Weight 90 pounds
PROS

Can be used for many jobs

Foot pedal included

High-frequency start prolongs electrode life

CONS

Premium price point

Very heavy

This is a do-it-all tool we can’t get enough of at a price we just can’t ignore. This kit includes a touchless pilot arc torch to cut through copper, aluminum, and several types of steel without making a mess with excessive slag. Its TIG welding capabilities can be used with steel and thin-gauge pieces of other metals. 

As a stick welder, this unit can be used with a variety of acids and basic electrodes. Run this welder off 220-volt power or purchase a separate adapter to use 110-volt power. This tool doesn’t include a foot-operated control pedal, but we appreciate that it’s compatible with pedals that can be purchased separately. A robust suite of features, paired with a compact size, makes it a very versatile option.

Key Features
  • TIG/stick welder and plasma cutter combo
  • Foot-pedal compatible 
  • Compact design
Specification
  • Brand Lotos
  • Model 04-ZVGR-0O8D
  • Weight 42.35 pounds
PROS

Can be used for many jobs

Easy to transport

Reasonable price tag

Can run on 110- or 220-volt power

CONS

Short leads

If you need a quality, easy-to-use TIG welder that won’t blow out the budget, we recommend this model. While it comes in a small, 32-pound package and undercuts higher-price alternatives, this little tool doesn’t sacrifice capability. Easily switch between TIG and arc welding. Use the 50-amp, plasma-cutting function to slice through metals up to a half-inch thick. Take on metals from iron and stainless steel to aluminum and softer alloys. Controls are intuitive and conveniently located on the front of the machine. In addition to a very competitive price, high operating efficiency means this welder also costs less to run. This tool is backed by a three-year warranty and a responsive customer service team that make it easier for amateur welders to get started with confidence.

Of course, as a budget machine, it does have limitations, and some users have reported defective products. However, the manufacturer will replace a unit that has any defects, and it’s otherwise an outstanding option for the price.

Key Features
  • Compact welder
  • TIG/stick welder and plasma cutter combo
Specification
  • Brand PrimeWeld
  • Model CT-520D
  • Weight 32 pounds
PROS

Great warranty 

Lightweight

CONS

Poor quality control

Here we find another tool any handyman with an array of jobs to complete should consider. It may seem like cheating to include it on our list because it lists as a MIG, but it’s capable of TIG and arc welding as well. This particular unit offers decent performance as a MIG and can even be fitted with a spool gun for welding aluminum and stainless steel. However, the TIG function takes things further by giving you the ability to weld brass, bronze, chromoly, and more. And the arc welding function solidifies this as an all-in-one welder that can be used for plate steel. The user experience is complemented not only by the quality torches, but the digital display as well. This, in combination with dial controls, makes it very easy to fine-tune the welder’s settings for any project.

Unfortunately, this model is very costly, and because it’s a combination unit, sacrifices are made to include all welding functions. For example, there’s no pedal control available for TIG welding.

Key Features
  • MIG/TIG/stick welder combo
  • Quality construction 
  • Dial control and LCD
Specification
  • Brand Weldpro
  • Model MIG200GDsv
  • Weight 30.4 pounds
PROS

Can be used for many jobs

High-level performance for any welding

CONS

High cost

Lack of pedal compatibility

This is one of the lowest-priced welders on our list, but before writing it off as “too cheap,” you should consider all that it has to offer. This handy little unit is perfectly capable of welding a wide range of material thicknesses because of its 15 to 205 amps. And despite having such a low cost, it features a high-frequency start. That means you don’t have to strike an arc or make direct contact with the workpiece to begin welding. So you’re prolonging the tungsten electrode’s life and preventing any contamination that could impact weld quality. It doubles as a stick welder, which gives it excellent value. There’s also an LCD display to aid in properly tuning the machine before each welding project.

However, there are some issues. Most notable is the lack of controls over the arc. But this is something to expect, and it’s still a great welder for anyone who’s on a tight budget.

Key Features
  • TIG/stick welder combo
  • LCD and dial control
Specification
  • Brand YesWelder
  • Model TIG-205DS
  • Weight 23.4 pounds
PROS

Low price 

Can TIG weld various material thicknesses

CONS

Lack of controls

Lotos takes another spot on our list with yet another versatile piece of machinery. This model is a plasma cutter, TIG welder, and stick welder all in one. The plasma cutter makes quick work of half-inch steel, which makes it an ideal tool for any welder to have on hand. It’s also almost totally ready to go right out of the box, only requiring you to install a quick-connect fitting so it can attach to your air compressor. As a TIG welder, this unit offers respectable performance. It can produce 15 to 200 amps, making it easy to weld a wide range of material thicknesses. It also features a high-frequency start to preserve electrode life and helps produce high-quality welds, as there’s no risk of contamination. When paired with the optional foot pedal, this TIG welder can make some of the best welds possible.

The only downside with this unit is that it has relatively short leads. However, at such a low price for a combined tool, it’s hard to consider this something to complain about.

Key Features
  • TIG/stick welder and plasma cutter combo
  • High-frequency start 
  • Can TIG weld various material thicknesses
Specification
  • Brand Lotos
  • Model CT520D
  • Weight 38.5 pounds
PROS

Can be used for many jobs

Simple setup

Reasonable price

CONS

Short leads

Yes, this is yet another combination machine that has made our list. But the flexibility of this model makes it worthy of your consideration. This model is compatible with both 120-volt and 240-volt power sources. That means you can set up and start welding virtually anywhere a power source is present. It also weighs less than 30 pounds and comes complete with a carrying case to help you take it wherever you need to. It doubles as both a stick and TIG welder, which means you can use it to weld virtually anything that needs repair. Operation is made very simple and only requires you to set it to weld in stick or TIG mode. It has a single dial to control the settings to help keep it simple. Tuning is made very easy with an LCD that displays a positive reading of the amperage.

Of course, the use of a single dial does limit the ability to truly fine-tune performance. But this model is made more for being able to weld in remote locations than to produce show-quality welds.

Key Features
  • TIG/stick welder combo
  • Compact design
  • Easy to use
Specification
  • Brand Everlast
  • Model PowerArc 140STi
  • Weight 24.8 pounds
PROS

Compatible with 120- and 240-volt power sources 

Includes carrying case

CONS

Lack of controls 

Not ideal for high-detail work

Best TIG Welder Buying Guide & FAQ

What TIG welder do you need? This depends on a few factors. But you should never settle for a subpar piece of equipment that isn’t going to perform when you need it to. This is true regardless of whether or not you’re a professional welder.

It’s a fact that welding is an art form that requires you to be in tune with the metal and the machine. It’s all about feel and understanding what’s going on. However, the machine still plays an incredibly important function.

Of course, a person who won’t put the machine to use for hours every day doesn’t exactly need the top-shelf model. But when a TIG welder costs as much as it does, you want to know where your money is going.

Why Do You Need a TIG Welder?

With so many types of welders out there, you may be wondering why you need a TIG. TIG welders are notoriously expensive, require a lot of training and practice, and require you to use both hands to start welding. However, there are some serious advantages to using this type, and all the best welders use them for a reason.

TIG welders are known for producing the best-looking welds and are used on all different kinds of projects. Many folks may associate them with welding thinner materials and more delicate tasks, but that’s only a small portion of what they can do.

Flexibility is their real claim to fame. This is true because they allow you to work in virtually any position and with almost any material. TIG welders can be used for extremely thin or respectably thick materials and are a favorite whenever an aesthetically pleasing product must be produced.

  • Weld more materials. TIG welders make it very easy to weld a variety of materials including stainless steel, magnesium, chromoly, brass, and aluminum.
  • No splatter. By only introducing exactly what is needed to the weld puddle, no splatter is created during the welding process, resulting in a great-looking weld.
  • Weld in tight spots. TIG welders offer the user the flexibility to weld in virtually any position and are ideal for projects where space is limited. tig welder

The Most Common Types of TIG Welders

The good news is that selecting the right TIG welder doesn’t come down to having to choose from an array of different machine types. Most of it comes down to the specs of the machine. Amperage, control settings, and the machine’s construction are all you really need to pay attention to.

However, two different types of machines are commonly available to you. Which to choose really comes down to your budget and what kind of work you need to perform. Keep in mind that both can function as any TIG welder will, but one simply offers a little more flexibility.

Standard

These are your run-of-the-mill TIG welders and take up the majority of your search results. Standard TIG welders can vary significantly from one another, though. The quality of construction is a significant factor in whether it’s worth investing in, and this will take some in-depth research to determine. Furthermore, they can have different amperage ranges. Like with any other welder, this is a determining factor in how thick of a material it can work with.

Perhaps the most crucial detail to consider is whether the machine comes with a foot pedal. A foot pedal offers amperage control, which is more desirable to a professional worker. While it may be commonplace for TIG welders to be compatible with foot pedals, not all are.

Combination Welder

Many welders need more than one type of machine. They may perform jobs that require a TIG, MIG, or arc welder. In this case, it can be wise to invest in a combination machine.

These machines combine the different types of welders into a single device. Some may only offer MIG and arc welding abilities, but there are those out there that can TIG weld as well. If you need a MIG welder, you may want to consider our review of the best options on the market.

TIG welders are also often combined with a plasma cutter, which is something to consider as well. Even if it can perform only one type of weld, its cutting ability is very desirable for the fabricator. We’ve also reviewed the best plasma cutters if you need a dedicated machine. 

tig welder

 

The Most Important Features of TIG Welders

What features make one TIG welder better than the others? If you’re looking for a TIG welder, it’s likely because you want to produce great-looking welds. Sure, a great welder can work around many obstacles, but it still helps to select a machine with features that make your job as easy as possible.

Quality Construction

The overall quality of the machine is something to be very aware of. For one, welders will be used in harsh environments. The unit will likely be bumped or have to face its share of mishaps. That’s only a part of why you don’t want to purchase a machine constructed from flimsy materials, though.

To produce high-quality welds, you need a torch that feels good in your hand. During use, flaws in castings, uneven surfaces, and anything else that can create awkward handling of the tool will become apparent.

You’ll also likely use a TIG welder for prolonged periods. One that doesn’t use quality materials or feature a proper design is likely to overheat and create gaps in a project you would rather do without.

High-Frequency Start 

A welder with a high-frequency start function is highly desirable. Without it, you physically need to strike the surface to create the arc for welding. This process can result in a contaminated electrode that will impact the overall quality of the weld.

A high-frequency start eliminates this step in the process entirely. Instead, one only needs to place the electrode near the workpiece’s surface and press the torch trigger or pedal to begin welding. Welders with this feature may also have a lift-arc setting, which helps preserve the electrode, as you’ll only need to place it on and lift it from the workpiece to create an arc.  

Pedal Compatibility 

Professional TIG welders lean toward machines that feature a pedal or are compatible with a pedal because it gives them amperage control.

Without a foot pedal, the arc is whatever you set it to on the machine, but a pedal allows you to manipulate voltage output as you weld. That means you can alter the welder’s performance as you perform a task.

While most modern welders are compatible with a pedal, some still are not. Another thing to keep in mind is the type of pedal it can be used with. Not all are created equally, and you’ll need to do your homework to ensure you pick a model that will work with the pedal you desire.

Care and Maintenance for TIG Welders

A big part of having a successful welding experience is keeping up with your machine. Over time, parts will get dirty and need to be cleaned or replaced. This may seem like a pain, but TIG welding is all about precision and patience.

Of course, you always want to practice common sense and never subject the machine to an environment that can be harmful to its inner workings. So proper care starts with appropriate storage. However, TIG welders are very heavy and often reside on the welding cart you already keep in a safe place in your garage. But there are some other things you need to practice regularly to ensure your TIG welder is always ready to get to work:

  • Clean the torch body. The torch body should be disassembled and cleaned regularly to optimize performance.
  • Check connections. Over time, gas and electrical connections may deteriorate and need replacement. 
  • Mind the tungsten. TIG welders rely on a tungsten electrode, and the condition of the tip will need to be cleaned and properly sharpened to function as needed.
  • Clean and adjust your points. Older machines may rely on points for high-frequency start that will need to be cleaned and adjusted in order to function properly.
  • Machine blowout. Dust, metal shavings, and other debris can collect inside the machine and should be blown out with compressed air.

Best TIG Welders FAQ:

Perhaps we didn’t answer everything on your list. And while we can’t exactly answer what’s on your mind through some form of miracle, we can reflect on some commonly asked questions. We’ve gathered these FAQs that pertain to TIG welders to hopefully help clear up any confusion or provide the answer you need.

Q. What is a TIG welder used for?

A: TIG welders are used for a variety of tasks. Their versatility makes them great for work with sheet metal or structural projects. 

Q. What’s the best TIG welder for a beginner?

A: The best TIG welder for beginners depends on their budget and intended use. However, we find that the PrimeWeld CT-520D is an excellent entry-level option. 

Q. Why are TIG welders so expensive?

A: TIG welders feature a lot of copper wire, which is expensive. Complex circuitry can also drive up the price to consumers. 

Our Top Pick

In the end, the AHP AlphaTIG 200X takes our top pick. That’s because it’s such a high-quality option. Of course, there are things to dislike about this welder, but we can only take issue with the weight and price tag. And when you’re working with a professional-grade TIG welder that can produce high-quality welds every day, these are to be expected. Besides, there are more expensive models on the market that aren’t quite as capable.

Final Thoughts

The AHP AlphaTIG 200X is our favorite welder, but the PrimeWeld CT-520D makes an excellent choice for anyone who’s just getting started. Of course, you can invest in less expensive models. But in our experience, it always pays to go with a quality welder.

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