Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), otherwise known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), 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 under any circumstances.
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 a wide variety of 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 are 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, whether you’re looking for something under $2,000, or you have other needs.
In this article, we’ve listed our reviews for every type of user. Whether you’re a beginner or someone who’s on a tight budget, it’s highly likely that you’ll find what you’re looking for here. The same way you want the right safety equipment, like gloves, you’ll also want the right equipment.
Best TIG Welders for the Money
Can you get a TIG welder on a shoestring budget? Why, 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’ll be owning a reputable piece of equipment, and still have some money left for other expenditures. 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 both 110V and 220V power outlets, and 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 both 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, not to mention that it’s highly compatible with most sticks and rods.
What makes this stand out best, perhaps, is its ergonomic handle and nifty food pedals as 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, however, is its price. At just a little over $700, the AHP brings a lot to the table that it will satisfy even the pickiest craftsman. To sweeten the pot further, this amazing machine comes with a three-year warranty as well.
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. Though this user-friendly welder lacks the bells and whistles that can attract high-end users, it’s got a lot of things going for it, at least in terms of utility and price. For one, it can be used for both AC and DC outputs, making it easy to make quick work of oxidized steel. It’s got 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, if you can 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. For one, 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, resulting in a more stable arc and a smoother operation.
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 that 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, thus providing you with a steady arc, which guarantees a refined finish. The Lotos CT520D, quite simply, 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 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, including magnesium and aluminum. It can deliver up to 250A while running on 240v motor, helping you perform exceptional work for all types of jobs.
Admittedly, the panel display can be a little unintuitive, but you’ll get used to it eventually after several hours of use. Thankfully, 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 be able to do work like an expert. That said, 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, meaning you don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time adjusting it to the right settings because the machine itself does it for you automatically. Just turn it on and you’re off to the races!
It’s hard for most beginners to maneuver the torch around, but 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. Better yet, 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 the equally run-of-the-mill features, but it’s more than that. For one thing, its longevity far outlasts the typical alternative AC/DC welder.
Simply put, if you want an aluminum welder that will last you for many years, you can’t go wrong with the Lotos TIG200 AC DC.
Also, if you have to work on small projects that involve aluminum, there’s no better product in the market.
This reliable, no-nonsense piece of equipment has all the essentials and does away with all the bells and whistles to ensure that you pay only for what you need. And you don’t have to be an expert to use it.
It has one glaring disadvantage, though: 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, which makes it perfect for those who are still not used to work. It does pack a wallop with an amperage of up to 160 amps. What makes this one stand out even more is its fixed hot start, which 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
If you’re a beginner who wants to focus on maintenance work as well as light industrial work then this multipurpose machine should hit many of your sweet spots. As an inverter machine with MIG and TIG capabilities, the Forney 322 is packed with useful features including spool gun functionality, MIG synergy, a stick electrode holder, and an HD cast aluminum drive system. With a built-in gas hose and regulator, even those who haven’t used one before can switch between work processes with minimal effort.
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, allowing for easier navigation and efficient maneuverability. It’s also got a hard carrying case that lets you carry it around with you with ease. If you’re someone who works frequently on small projects, this Stick/Lift TIG welder in one is a gift that keeps on giving.
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 and portable.
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), but it’s 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’re planning on doing AC work.
Weighing 24.8 pounds and having a compact build, the PowerArc is simply one of the most portable welding machines in 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, an anti-supply voltage change, and a current that won’t overheat. All these features combined make this a reliable tool whether you’re using it as a homeowner, a professional, or a hobbyist. Weighing only 2.5 kg, the it makes work effortless, fast, and accurate.
3. Lotos LTPDC2000D Non-Touch
The LOTOS LTPDC2000D Non-Touch Plasma Cutter is a multi-purpose machine that combines TIG, plasma, and Stick in one compact package. Switching between these three functions is easy street courtesy of the ergonomic flip switch. You can rest assured that the arc is always stable, and with the addition of an adjustable hot striking arc current, it can run smoother even in different conditions.
4. Ansen 160AMP
If 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, portable handle, and lightweight frame, the controls are easy to operate, so much so that you can use it on a wide range of steel metals under any condition. 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. However, finding a machine that can execute three functions, namely TIG, plasma cutting, and MMA functions, at a professional level can prove difficult.
Well, 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.
Do you have more significant needs?
Are you a person who is working on some more serious projects than what can be considered beginner levels, or are you trying to increase your capacity when it comes to what you are able to offer, then there is no doubt that most of the machines that we have previously mentioned on here simply won’t be able to do the work.
Are you often working on projects that don’t have ready access to a power supply, where you might be needing to rely on an external generator to power your equipment? Well, if so, you probably know that you aren’t able to use about any type to get the work done, as normal welders aren’t able to provide the peak capacity that these machines need in order to power them up.
While you may have some needs that only require 140-150 amps of power, if you are a more serious craftsman who is trying to increase the offering of your services, that simply may not be enough. In addition, you may not be able to always have access to a stable power supply, you still need something that is capable of getting the job done, we also have a recommendation when it comes to choosing one that is in a different competitive class than the others we have covered.
It may just be that you are looking to buy something more substantial. Perhaps you are looking to get one that offers as many as 250 amps at a 100% duty cycle? Does that sound interesting to you? If so, you might rather want to look towards the Miller Bobcat, or perhaps some of our other engine driven welders. They aren’t just great when it comes to welding substantially more demanding stuff than some of the other machines that we have included on this page, but they also give you a range of other advantages, including the possibility to power your other various machines that you are bringing along with the generator that is included in them.
For those people with really big needs that cannot even be satisfied by the Miller Bobcat 250, there is yet another machine above it, ready to take it upon themselves to help you out with any of the potential challenges that you put in front of it, while providing you with an even greater amount of power. However, also at a significantly higher price tag than you will be experiencing with the Miller Bobcat 250. We’re talking about the Miller Trailblazer 302 which will make anything else you’ve been looking at look like a toy for beginners. This impressive machine is able to provide you with 13,000W of generator peak power for the tools that you should otherwise need to power, and doesn’t just offer TIG, but Stick, MIG and Flux-cored processes as well.
If you are working with this impressive piece of machinery, you will be able to get as much as 300 amp, while still being able to weld at amps as low as 10! The range and various functionalities provided by this machine is simply impressive, while still being able to offer a relatively quiet compressor at 31 CFM.
If you want one that can offer you the possibility to TIG weld, while you may not have the desire to spend quite the amount of money that the the Miller Trailblazer 302 will set you back, you still have a very good contender in another piece of machinery – the Miller Blue Star 185. The Miller Blue Star has another advantage, and that is that it doesn’t weigh nearly as much as the Trailblazer does. While the TrailBlazer offers great functionality, it also does have the disadvantage that the machine in fact weighs 771 lb. In comparison, the Miller Bluestar 185 comes in at a much lower 296 lbs, making it significantly lighter.
Meanwhile, it will still be able to get a lot of the construction and farm work done, while providing decent industrial applications also with a maximum of 195 amps of power, being rated 100% duty cycle at 150 amps. The peak watts that this machine is able to offer is, however, significantly lower than that of the Trailblazer, being a peak of 6,500. While being able to run approximately 7.5 hours with its 6.25 gal tank, you should be able to get through the day and get the work done. If you do need more capacity than that, we encourage you to check out the fuel transfer tanks available on our website as well.
There is no denying that there isn’t one single machine out there that will be able to get the job done in all the different scenarios you can imagine, but we hope that you have gotten a better understanding of your various options, and that you may choose to consider one of the machines on here, should you have a desire to.
We have a growing number of tools and reviews that we offer on this site, and we hope that you’ll be coming back to check out when you’re in need of a tool for your garage or shop. We try and stay as unbiased as possible, and we always welcome feedback on all the welding articles we put out there.