For the new welders, “tig” in tig welding stands for “tungsten inert gas.” While it’s technically called “gas tungsten arc welding,” GTAW isn’t as catchy. The process in which tig welding is used takes a non-consumable electrode (that’s tungsten) and delivers the electrical current to the arc. Generally protected by argon, the tungsten and welded metal are protected from this inert gas. If you’re in the market to find the best tig welder, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading for an in-depth guide and reviews of the best tig welders on the market.
In a Hurry? Choose From Our Top Picks
|2016 AHP AlphaTIG 200X||Hobart 500551 TIG Welder||Lotos TIG200-DC TIG Welder|
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|Types||Tig Welder||Tig Welder||Tig Welder|
|Weight||38 pounds||60 pounds||32 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||19 x 23 x 12 inches||27.8 x 22.7 x 15.8 inches||18.7 x 14.6 x 13.5 inches|
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Table of Contents
- Tig Welder Buying Guide
- Best Tig Welder Reviews Roundup
- The Blue Demon (BLUEARC-90STI) Tig Welding Machine
- The Everlast PowerARC TIG/Stick Welder
- The Lotos TIG/Stick Power Welder
- THE 2016 AHP Welder with PULSE
- The Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG Welder
- The Lincoln Electric POWER Mig Multi-Process Welder
- My Top Recommendation
Tig Welder Buying Guide
Selecting the Best Tig Welder by Power Input
Before choosing the best tig welder, you want to look at their power input and which will be best for your application. Power inputs include:
Amperage range – One of the most crucial pieces of information you’ll see, you’ll need to find a tig welder that offers the widest range at an optimal cost. A range that’s too narrow can limit the amount of time, and materials that you use. The perfect range for amperage is between 5 and 230 amps, allowing you to have an optimal amount of flexibility, even with welding the thinnest materials. The thickness and thinness of your daily materials will most definitely aid in the final choice of tig welder. In short, a wider amperage range means more versatility in applications.
Low amperage – When you choose a tig machine, you’ll need something that has a low amperage for arc stability. You may be confused because of what I just said, but I’m talking about the actual machine that provides power to the tig welder. The tig welder itself needs a wide amperage range while the device needs a lower. For fantastic arc stability, the amperage for the actual machine should fall under ten amps. In finding this, you’ll see that you have much better control of the heat when using.
AC/DC welding – We aren’t talking about the band coming and helping you with their electrifying hits, we’re talking about AC and DC options for welding. AC should be used on soft metals that are self-oxidizing (like aluminum and magnesium), while DC should be used for hard metals (deoxidized metals) like:
- Stainless steel
In knowing output power information versus materials and usage, you’ll know what to look for later on in the product reviews section. Becoming educated in the craft of welding is easy when you know what to look for.
A duty cycle is measured in ten-minute intervals and allows you to see how much uninterrupted welding you can accomplish during this time frame. During the ten-minute interval, you’ll see the device can reach the highest current possible. After it reaches its highest current, you should leave it to cool accordingly. Over usage during the highest can result in injury and the device breaking.
However, the duty cycle isn’t as easy as reading, as you’ll have to do a bit of math manually. The duty cycle reading is usually done in percentages, so you must multiply the percentages shown by ten because of the 10-minute interval. If you don’t properly multiply and see it during its highest, you may fry the entire machine. An inexpensive and overall cheap machine usually sees one minute of welding out of every 10, meaning 10% of continuous welding without getting too hot. Unfortunately, this isn’t optimal.
Introductory industrial devices usually see a low of 20%, a medium between 40% and 60% and a high of 80% to 80% usage during this ten-minute period. Manufacturers of devices as such have also worked with their products to twist this a tiny bit, allowing more uninterrupted welding by amperage amount being lower. For example, 140 amps at 10% can run at 115 amps for 30% of the time. Choosing a device that allows you to do this is not only inexpensive in comparison with higher models, but it works for the time being.
The portability of a device may not be that important for those who are in the same enclosed area, however, if your business welds outside of your business at different locations, having portable equipment is imperative to a successful job. Inverters and engine-driven are two terms you may often hear when searching for a mobile machine.
Inverters are a type of power converter that allows you to take non-portable machines from their setting and… go portable! Typically, they are around 10 pounds and are 230V. Another type of machine you may see is an engine-driven one that are for those don’t usually use a supply of power for welding. Engine-driven is best used for construction, pipeline welding, and maintenance.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
It’s important to know that the price range of tig welder machines, devices, and accessories can be vastly different, whether they have the same features or not. Besides the price, you should also know about the proper controls. Another thing to look for is heat control options. Heat control is indispensable when operating a machine.
If you aren’t aware of the proper controls for temperature control, you could ruin the machine, the project, or the job you’re working on. An integral Tig pulser is something to look for in your search, and the best Tig welders come with this feature. In having this, you’re able to supply a decent amount of heat input in a controlled fashion. Knowing your desired price range and what to look for (or to compromise on) regarding temperature control and features is an excellent basis for the beginning of your search.
Best Tig Welder Reviews Roundup
The Blue Demon (BLUEARC-90STI) Tig Welding Machine
The Blue Demon, also known as BLUEARC-90STI, is an inverter style stick and tig welding machine. A versatile device that’s compact, other features of the demon include:
- TIG option features on a stick welding device
- Portable enough to be used anywhere
- Power output from a small transformer
- Shoulder strap for comfortability and portability
While primarily an inverter stick welding machine, it does have TIG options for those who need a bit of versatility. Using 90-amps, this lightweight machine also comes with a shoulder strap for jobs that keep you moving a decent amount. Because of its portability, the power output for the Blue Demon originates from a smaller transformer, allowing the device itself to be much more lightweight than the competition. The optimal materials to weld with this machine are:
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
- Cast Iron
- Hard surfacing
As for AC or DC, this machine is DC and can handle more difficult materials as mentioned above. The only qualm with this device is that it is rather small and may not hold an arc as well, but more experienced welders think this machine is a decent starting point in the world of Tig welding. The Blue Demon is a rather cheap tig welder with a great portability, it gets the base job done and is optimal for spot welding as a homeowner.
The labels, switches, and controls are laid out in a fashion that makes them easier to read and easy to operate. Quality and heat control seems to surpass preconceived notions of the Bluearc-90STI, and the those who have purchased have raved about the packaging. Even if you don’t work in the world of welding and need a reliable machine for home use, the Blue Demon is one you shouldn’t skip over. Versatility, portability, and inexpensiveness are deciding factors that point to “yes” for purchase.
The Everlast PowerARC TIG/Stick Welder
A highly versatile machine, the Everlast PowerARC has both TIG and stick welding capabilities. These are the basic features, as the Everlast has other appealing elements. These features include:
- 25mm style connectors
- Ability to weld steel and stainless
- 140 amps, dual voltage
- Manual gas valve built into the handle
Before going on and deciding if this is the welding setup for you, the best size rods for this are 3/32. You can also use the stick welding mode and weld 3/8” steel in the 120V mode with no problem at all. If these stats are perfect for your home workshop or small business, then the Everlast PowerARC is perfection in a box, catering to you.
The 25mm style connectors provide an easy use for a quick connection. With dual voltage, you don’t have to buy a separate machine, as it allows you to work with 120/140V. For the 120V, there’s an 85a amp maximum output, though, which may be the only disadvantage of the Everlast PowerARC. The processes the Everlast is capable of with the PowerARC machine are:
werARC machine are:
- DC GTAW
Hard metal stick and tig welding are made possible at a consumer level with the PowerARC. For the price, the Everlast is one of the best tig welder on the market, allowing you to get the best bang for your buck. Rod types include:
- 1/8 & 3/32 styles of 7018
One of the most popular is the 6011 and 7018 options. As for the duty cycle, you can go through quite a few rods without even reaching the duty cycle. You won’t have to worry about overheating and frying the machine as you use this welder comfortably. Lightweight and powerful, it’s a great addition to any shop, but not suitable for welding aluminum. If aluminum is your choice of metals, you’ll want to choose a TIG welder that deals with AC, not DC.
The Lotos TIG/Stick Power Welder
Get ready for this next welder, as the Lotos TIG/Stick power welder packs a powerful punch while delivering an abundance of features. Aesthetically pleasing with clean lines, you won’t have to worry about a messy application. Even for the newest rookies in the game, your welding can start off pretty clean. As for the features, the Lotos includes:
- Pedal inverter
- DC / hard metal capabilities
- 200 amps
- 120V to 220V capabilities
The only one mentioned so far that has a pedal inverter, this allows you to operate the welder with ease. As for its welding capabilities, hard metals like stainless steel, copper, carbon, and more can heat up with ease. The buttons and readability of the entire machine are also clear and concise, with only three small buttons, a large on and off switch, and a control knob. There are also two color coated input connectors that make usage simple.
A disadvantage of this machine is the weight. It’s not as lightweight as the others, but not super high weight. Being 32 pounds at its minimum, if you’re looking for something a little more lightweight for those with back problems, this may not be your choice. However, it’s compact enough to put on a car of some sort and roll with – while not necessary or entirely needed, it’s a resolution. The weight distribution of the machine makes it so that it’s ergonomically comfortable for everyone.
The power behind the Lotos is perfect for both professional settings as well as home workshops, allowing precise applications for heavy duty jobs and smaller, patch jobs at home. When you purchase the Lotos TIG/Stick power welder, you’re receiving at least 85% transfer efficiency, which is fantastic for the price. The Lotos is of industrial quality, so durability and longevity is something you won’t have to worry about with this one.
THE 2016 AHP Welder with PULSE
While others mentioned are ideal for home workshops with no questions asked, our next TIG welder review goes to a model that’s geared more towards the industrial welding scene and is known to be one of the best tig welder currently available. The 2016 AHP AlphaTIG is a staple piece in any welding kit inventory. With organized knobs that are marked with their purpose, you won’t have to worry about hitting the wrong button. The only one on the list that comes with the PULSE option.
You don’t always have to use pulsing, but you’ll want to use it during out of position welding. Because gravity exists, using a machine when you’re out of your normal position that doesn’t have a pulsing option, won’t help you keep the liquid metal up. Instead, you’ll probably see it on your work clothes, and your job won’t be very effective. Pulsing, also seen as PPS, helps work against gravity to keep your metal on the area you’re welding. Before we dive deeper into the AHP AlphaTIG welder, other features include:
- AC frequency abilities, along with DC
- ¼” aluminum, 3/8” mild steel capabilities
- Capable of welding 7018, 6013
- Foot pedal
The versatility to weld both soft and hard metals allows an all-in-one style of machine. With the options of using 7018 and 6013 style rods, you won’t have to worry about finding a new machine. Lastly, there’s a foot pedal for optimal control of your device and the heat. The readability of each knob is clear, allowing you to be confident during the operation.
While the welding device itself is fantastic, the customer service of the company is not up to par, but thankfully, this is the only disadvantage and doesn’t play into the performance of the AlphaTIG. Beyond everything else stated, this is a fantastic purchase for industrial settings and even home settings that work daily with TIG welding.
The Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG Welder
The Hobart 500551 is a very good tig welder and has appealing features. Some of the features include:
- Single knob operation
- Easy assembly and easy usage
- AC/DC capabilities
- 230V, inverter based
The design of this device is simple and straightforward, so there isn’t too much to say. However, the single knob operation is one of the hottest features on the market, making operation quite simple. You won’t have to worry about setting up and hitting three different buttons to begin your welding job.
Being able to weld both soft and hard metals, you won’t have to worry about switching to another machine, either! The Hobart 500551 promises ease of use and simple operation. One of the best tig welder machines on the market today, and the highest rated, this one is worth the purchase for your work setting.
The only qualm with this welder is the weight, at 62.2 pounds. Unfortunately, it’s not super lightweight, but it is compact so that it won’t become a nuisance in size. Other than this, the Hobart is most definitely worth the purchase and is far superior in design to its competitors.
The Lincoln Electric POWER Mig Multi-Process Welder
Last but not least, the Lincoln Electric Power Mig Multi-Process is quite the catch in a sea of oversaturation with welding devices. This multi-process welder boasts about its features, which include:
- Large color display
- Dual voltage inputs
- Push and turn digital controls
Besides the ease of use features, the Lincoln Electric also comes with an ultra-flex TIG torch and foot amptrol. Being one of the lightest on this list, it weighs a nice 40 pounds for optimal portability. The large color display installed on this device walks even the newest welders through the setup process with both simple and advanced options for optimal welding.
With dual voltage inputs (120V, 230V), you can plug any power supply into this, which many other welding machines do not offer. Lastly, the push and turn digital controls make usage a breeze, allowing a quick setup and an even more immediate start in comparison with older models. Currently, there are no obvious disadvantages to purchasing this updated device, as it’s been nothing but a blessing for both home workshops and industrial settings. It gets the job done and efficiently.
My Top Recommendation
I bet you’re over hearing the words “TIG,” “Stick,” “volts” and “welding,” but it’s important to determine the most pivotal piece in your business. If you’re still stumped on which to choose, I think the 2016 AHP AlphaTIG works perfectly for not only busy home workshops but for industrial settings that need quality applications. With many more features than competitors on the market, the price can’t be beaten and the quality of the machine is impeccable. I highly recommend this device for rookies and veterans of the welding world.