If you have ever had the pleasure of welding with a TIG welder, you know that this type of welder performs better. Also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW, this method of welding is ideal for joining different kinds of metal, welding titanium or working on thin or heat-sensitive types of metal. Here is some more basic information about TIG Welders and our list of the 5 best TIG welders on the market . Given short TIG welder reviews as well.

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Overview of TIG Welder: How it Works

Tungsten inert gas or TIG is a certain type of welding where the electrode is a non-consumable rod made out of tungsten. Tungsten is a hard metal that can withstand temperatures of up to 6200 degrees F without melting. That property is what makes tungsten perfect for guiding electrical current through a welding arc. The rod of tungsten is what conducts the current—it is sheltered by a collet. It is one of the things that makes TIG welding different from your common AC/DC stick welder.

A higher level of skill is typically what is needed to perform TIG welding properly. This is partly because TIG welding allows you to weld a variety of different metals that can differ in terms of thickness. However, if you master this type of welding you will realize that it is accurate. You will be able to achieve the best bead and therefore the best weld.

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During the TIG welding process, the arc has a tendency to jump between the work piece and a non-consumable electrode of tungsten. This welds the current and shoots the temperature. Weld oxidation doesn’t happenbecause of the existence of an inert gas shield that is often argon but sometimes helium. The shielding gas is meant to collect around the weld by means of a ceramic cup called a nozzle that is designed to make sure that the most heat possible is present. Cups differ in size from welder to welder, that is what makes each model of welder distinctive. Cup sized range from small to large for different job capabilities. A smaller cup is used for harder to reach places and smaller jobs. A larger cup is used for its enhanced gas current and larger beads.

TIG Welders: Capabilities versus Limitations

The tungsten electrode is a lot smaller than a stick-welding rod. It is because of the small size of the tungsten rod that it is possible to achieve more precise welds as well as the capability to weld on extremely thin or heat-sensitive metals, such as aluminum and stainless steels. After you have mastered this technique you will realize that TIG welding is unsurpassed in neatness, getting a smooth bead, and ease of use. Additionally, this precise weld continuously creates clean welds with minimal smoke, splatter or slag.It is the preciseness and cleanliness of TIG welding that makes it great for cosmetic applications like sculpture or auto work.

When using a TIG welder your work plates characteristically will necessitate more cleaning, fit-up, heat treatment and other ground work prior to welding. This cleaning can take some time, but it is of the utmost importance if you want an unsoiled weld. An uncontaminated surface is essential to getting a clean weld because any contamination like residues or moistness can blemish the weld. This high level of attention to detail and cleanliness of your work plates does tend to equal more time at work. TIG welding does take more time than other arc welding techniques, but while it takes more time you will achieve a superior weld.

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TIG Welders: How to Choose the Best TIG Welder

When you go out to buy your first welder—or even your second or third—it can seem overwhelming because of all of the manufacturers and models out there to choose from. The largest companies that produce welding machinery are ESAB, Lincoln, Miller, Hobart (owned by Miller) and Thermadyne. Each company will make a variety of different kinds of welders that are better suited to different tasks.

What you should be looking for is a machine that is capable of performing the tasks that you need to do. So you need to consider how portable you need your unit to be, what metals you will be welding, where you will be performing your welding and what kinds of jobs you will be completing.

It’s a good idea to do your research and read through reviews about the different models to see which one fits your needs the best, as well as your budget. Here are some things to consider before purchasing a welder.

Amperage Capacity

It is important to choose a model with the wide amperage range that your budget will afford. A welder with a wide amperage range is able to weld more kinds of metals that one with a narrow amperage range. If you can find a model that has an amperage range from five to two hundred and thirty, it would be ideal for welding all different kinds of metal thicknesses as well as types. It’s notable that the wider the amperage range on your welder, the more jobs you can do—without having to buy a different machine.

If you will be welding aluminum, it is important to realize that you will need a higher amperage than you would if you were welding steel. You don’t really want to get a machine with an amperage lower than 200A as the thickness of the aluminum that you can weld will be downgraded.

Arc Steadiness

The recommended arc stability for your TIG welder is less than ten amps. The low amperage of the arc stability makes sure that when you work with thinner metals, you get a weld that is free of warps. It also provides superior arc control, a stress-free start up and an enhanced crater filling capacity.

Because TIG is often used on thin metals it should run without a very high frequency or hot start. This will ensure that you will not damage your thin metal by burning though it when starting the welder.TIG welding models with special background circuit equipment will make certain that you achieve a highly stable,low amperage start.

Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) Welding

You will typically want a welding machine that can do both AC and DC welding. I say this because you need each one in their turn when welding certain metals. For example, you want to use AC for welding aluminum and DC for welding steel.

You want to us AC in particular for aluminum because you need the alternating currents to do different things with the metal. The positive half cleans the oxides on the metal while the negative half does the penetration of the base metal.

Duty Cycle

When someone refers to the duty cycle they are speaking about the quantity of continuous welding that a machine can handle during a time of ten minutes. After the duty cycle has been exceeded, the welder needs to take a break to let off some heat.

The duty cycle is expressed as a percentage and is calculated by multiplying percentage points by ten, which gives you the number of minutes available for welding for the period of a ten-minute cycle. One example is a TIG welder that has a 60% duty cycle; with this machine you can weld for 6 minutes out of 10 before you have to put it down to cool.

Movability

The ability to move your welder wherever the job may take you is certainly a nice feature, and sometimes a necessity. A unit with a handle usually means that it is meant to be transported easily, however, sometimes these units can get rather heavy—which means you may need more than one person to move it. They do have lighter welders, but those aren’t typically made for industrial applications, they are more for the home do-it-yourselfer or hobbyist. I’ve even found a welder that was 9 pounds! It got pretty good reviews for its specs.

Another thing to take into consideration is if the plug in is adaptable to both 110 V and 220 V outlets. That can make a big difference in where you can use your welder. Some come with switchable plugs while there are others you can buy a separate outlet plug in. Also, will you be using your machine out on the field where there are no electrical outlets? If so, you will probably need a model that can be plugged into a gas generator so you can use it when there is no electricity available.

Heat Control

Heat control is an important part of welding, no matter what metal you are working with. It is particularly important if you are working with thin metal like aluminum that can warp and burn through if the heat is set to high. Pulse welding can greatly help with heat control as it still fully penetrates the metal. It does this by switching from a high to low back to high current to control the arc and the heat output.

AC Balance Control

AC balance control feature is a really nice feature to have in an AC TIG welder as it gives you more control over the length of the positive and negative currents. What it does is it allows you to control the level of cleaning done contrasted with penetration. If you end up getting a model that does not feature an AC balance control you will have no control over the positive and negative current cycles. While having this feature is not essential, it does give you more control over the process and therefore a better weld that fits your specifications.

User Friendly

It is certainly always nice to have a welder that is simple to use, control and work with in general. You will want to find a model that either has clearly labeled controls, minimal controls or color coded controls. This will help you find what you are looking for and get the correct settings for your job. A digital display also can come in handy to ensure that you do indeed have the correct settings inputted for the job. I also find that the auto save feature on some of the higher end models is a real time saver. If you use a certain setting more often, you can simply save it and then bring it up quickly when you need it again.

Resilience

Everyone needs a welder that is sturdy, durable and well made. Who wants a hunk of junk that will break at the slightest sign of use? Luckily, many TIG welder come with special features designed to prolong the life of your machine.

One of those features is a fan to cool off the unit. Heat can severely damage your machine, therefore the fan will help to prevent overheating. Another special feature that helps to preserve your welder is an automatic thermal overload shut-off. It kicks in when the unit is too hot and prevents you from using the machine until it has properly cooled off.

Adaptability

You will always want a welder that allows you to perform more jobs with less equipment. If you can afford a high-end welder that can do basically any job you need done, you will ultimately save money on the multiple cheap machines you will have to buy and you will save time shopping for these units as well as the space it takes to store and transport them.

 5 Best  TIG Welders Reviewed

Here, I have included the five best TIG welders while keeping in mind all of the above mentioned points. This should give you a good place to start in your search for the perfect TIG welder that fits your needs. If your looking for the complete TIG welder reviews please click on the title.

Miller Dynasty 350 208-575 V

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If you are looking for an extremely high-end welder that is made by one of the best known companies in the business, look no farther. This little beauty is from miller and it delivers many premium features, including superior arc stability and performance.

  • Current Type—AC / DC
  • Input Hz—50 / 60 Hz
  • Input Phase—1 and 3 phase
  • Input Voltage—208 V; 220/230/240 V; 380/400 V; 460/480 V; 575 V
  • Amperage Range—3 A to 350 A
  • Metal Thickness—up to 5/8 inch on both steel and aluminum
  • Features: Independent amplitude/amperage control for exact heat regulation; advance squarewave yields a quick freezing puddle, profound infiltration and fast travel speeds; a wide range of amperages; Blue Lightening, a high frequency arc starter; nine separate program memories.

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Hobart 500551 EZ TIG 165i 230-V

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This is a nice model that is easy to transport and simple to set up as well as use. Simple interface with only one knob and one switch will ensure that you have the correct settings for your project. Great welder for newbies and professionals alike.

  • Weight—50 pounds
  • Voltage—Dual 110v or 220v
  • Output—10 to 200 amps
  • Duty Cycle—150 A at 60 percent
  • Metal Thickness—22 gauge to 3/16 inch
  • Features: User friendly interface with minimal knobs and switches; both AC and DC output; fan-on-demand to prevent overheating; regulate amperage with foot control; Automatic thermal overload shut-off: HF start = non-contact start to avoid material adulteration.

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LONGEVITY Tigweld 200sx 

[easyazon_link identifier=”B00ATBQF5Y” locale=”US” tag=”mystore200d-20″]LONGEVITY Tigweld 200sx TIG Stick Welder[/easyazon_link]

This one is a great option for those of you who are out in the field where electricity is not always available. The LONGEVITY Tigweld 200sx can be plugged into a 5000W generator, making this the perfect welder for when there is not electricity source—or any other time since you can also plug this into any wall outlet with the included adapter.

  • Weight—37 pounds
  • Dimensions—19 x 12 x 23 inches
  • Voltage—dual at 110v and 220v
  • Maximum Amperage—200 A
  • Output Range—5 to 200 A
  • Duty Cycle—200 A at 60 percent
  • Metal Thickness—3/8-inch max
  • Features: Foot pedal controller; High frequency start TIG; Pre-flow, post-flow and clearance effect for more control while welding; AC and DC currents capable.

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Lincoln TIG 225 K2535-1 

Lincoln Electric Precision TIG 225 K2535-1 Welder

The Lincoln Electric Precision TIG Welder is not light whatsoever. At 245 pounds it is certainly not made to be very portable. However, it does pack quite a punch in power and versatility.

  • Weight—245 pounds
  • Dimensions—25.6 x 14.5 x 20.7 inches
  • Power Input—230 V
  • Output Range—5 to 230 A
  • Duty Cycle—90 A/ 23.4V/ 100%
  • Electrode Size—3/32 to 5/32 inch
  • Features: 10-foot cable length; 9-foot power cord; welds aluminum and steel; digital amperage display; MicroStar technology for sure, low amp starting, welding and cratering for AC and DC; 100% duty cycle at 90 A; AC auto balance.

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Everlast PowerTig 250

2015 Everlast PowerTig 250EX AC DC TIG STICK Pulse welder 220 Volt Inverter-Based AC DC

This is the newest Everlast TIG welder on the market. It has all kinds of updated features that are pretty user friendly and offer versatility while welding. It has industrial strength power in a portable machine that can weld a variety of metals, including aluminum.

  • Weight—60 pounds
  • Dimensions—24 x 9 x 17 inches
  • Maximum Voltage—240 V
  • Maximum Amperage—250 A
  • Duty Cycle Percentage—250 A at 60 percent
  • Metal Depth—up to ½ inch in one pass
  • Power Source—AC/DC
  • Features: Even, smooth arc with good puddle; modifiable weld limits for 2t or 4t task; Digital screen for precise amperage control; pulse function that improves weld while decreasing total heat contribution; ergonomic control; color coded knobs; can use with 10,000W “clean power” generators.

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Final Words

In general, the more you have to invest into a welding machine, the better quality you will get. You always want to take into consideration what specs you will need and what jobs you will be doing with your welder. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what kind of TIG welder you will be able to work with and can afford.

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TIG Welder Reviews-2015’s Best TIG Welders
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