Best TIG Welders Reviews & Top Picks (2020)

Whether you work in an autobody shop or tinker with metal art, a TIG welder is one of the most efficient tools that you can master. Since its development in 1941, it has been the technique of choice for several industries. In addition to providing more control and versatility, the best TIG welder will be able to give you a professional finish.

We’ve rounded up some of the top TIG welding machines on the market. Our goal is to help you find equipment that meets your unique needs. Use our reviews and buying guide below to make a purchasing decision that you’re confident in.

The Winners of 2020

ProductPriceEditor's Pick

AHP AlphaTIG 200X 

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Top Overall Choice

4.9/5

PrimeWeld Ct520d 

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Best for the Money

4.6/5

Miller MaxStar 150 STL TIG

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Premium Choice

4.5/5

PrimeWeld TIG225X

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4.4/5

Everlast PowerTIG 250EX

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4.2/5

Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A

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4.2/5

Everlast PowerARC 140

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4.1/5

Amico TIG 160DC

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4.0/5

Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG 165i

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4.0/5

Lotos CT520D

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3.9/5

10 Best TIG Welders Reviews

1. AHP AlphaTIG 200X TIG Welder – Top Pick

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The AlphaTIG 200X TIG welder from AHP is an efficient little machine that can handle jobs big and small. It operates on either 110 or 220 volts and can be fine-tuned to achieve the power output you’re after. The controls are relatively simple and feature straightforward labeling.

The welder can handle a wide variety of materials. It does a particularly good job on metals with a thinner gauge. With the included foot pedal and several adjustment knobs, you can perform precise welds without any issues.

One thing that we like about this TIG welder is that it’s accessible to welders of all skill levels. It has a handy 2T/4T switch, which changes how the arch is established and what steps you need to take to complete your job. Plus, there is a pulse width modulation selector and pulse frequency adjustment dial. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

For its versatility, the AlphaTIG 200X is our top overall pick. The machine is incredibly compact and light, weighing in at only 38 pounds without the accessories. With all of the precise settings, you can be in control of your weld at all times. While it’s not the most powerful machine out there, this TIG welder can perform well on most jobs regardless of what you’re working on.

Pros
  • Up to 200 amps
  • High-frequency start
  • 60 percent duty cycle
  • Operates on 110 or 220 volts
  • AC/DC
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Stick function
  • Includes foot pedal
  • Simple operation
  • Digital display
  • 2T/4T start
Cons
  • Hose isn’t protected
  • Finicky gas regulator

2. PrimeWeld Ct520d TIG Welder – Best for the Money

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With plasma cutting and stick welding functionality built right in, the PrimeWeld Ct520d great option for those who want a TIG welder that can do it all. It’s quite powerful, too. With the plasma cutter, it can output 50 amps. However, as a stick and TIG welder, it offers up to 200 amps. Adjustments can be made to the amperage settings with a simple dial.

As you’re welding, the large digital current meter shows how the welder is performing. In terms of efficiency, this TIG welder can handle a lot. It has a 60 percent duty cycle at its maximum amp settings and has a power efficiency rating of 85 percent.

The downside of this unit is that it won’t operate on AC power. The inverter transforms 110 or 220-volt AC to DC. This is great for cutting or welding thick stainless steel, but it may be too much power for low-density materials.

We chose the PrimeWeld TIG welder as our choice for “best for the money” because it has a lot to offer without breaking the bank. The affordably priced welder performs multiple tasks. You can easily switch between the plasma cutter, stick welder, and TIG welder. Essentially, you’re getting three tools in one portable package.

Pros
  • 3 in 1 machine with plasma cutter and stick welder
  • Up to 200 amps for TIG
  • 60 percent duty cycle at 200 amps
  • Works on 110 or 220 volts
  • Weighs only 32 pounds
  • Only a handful of settings to worry about
  • Digital current meter
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer as many power adjustments
  • User manual can be confusing
  • Doesn’t come with tungsten electrode
  • Doesn’t include foot pedal
  • No AC operation

3. Miller MaxStar 150 STL TIG Welder – Premium Choice

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The Maxstar 150 from Miller Electric is all about providing you with impressive performance anywhere. It’s one of the most compact TIG welders you can get, measuring a mere 5.5 inches wide. Thanks to the included case and shoulder strap, you can use the machine virtually anywhere.

When it’s being used as a TIG welder, the machine outputs between 5 and 150 amps. At its max amperage settings, it has a 30 percent duty cycle. While the welder doesn’t operate on AC power, it can be used with 115 or 230 volts. We appreciate this feature because it adds more versatility to where the welder can be used.

We also like the lift arc feature. Rather than initiating your arc with a push of a button, the torch will detect a closed circuit whenever you touch your work metal. In response, the welder will initiate the power sequence and slowly climb to your power setting for safety.

Why we have chosen this TIG welder for our top premium choice comes down to the Miller Electric brand. Miller Electric has been around since 1929 and has a solid reputation among welders. The company is known for producing great equipment that lasts. Furthermore, they offer generous warranties and have a great support team to help you out should you run into any issues.

Pros
  • Very compact
  • Has stick welding functionality
  • Operates on 115 volts or 230 volts
  • Produces stable arc
  • Weighs less than 14 pounds
  • Lift start
  • Solenoid valve
  • Includes case
Cons
  • Only operates on DC
  • Doesn’t include foot pedal or thumb switch
  • No high-frequency start

4. PrimeWeld TIG225X TIG Welder

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Another option from PrimeWeld is the TIG225X. It has a higher amp range than some of the previous welders on this list, going as high as 225 amps. At this setting, the TIG machine has a duty cycle of 40 percent, providing you with more time to work.

When it comes to versatility, this under $1000 TIG welder is top-notch. There are several settings available to customize your job. Whether you’re looking to weld thick stainless steel or low-density aluminum, the TIG225X can handle it. There’s even a pulse setting for enhanced control and stability.

While it can be used as a stick welder, this machine is primarily designed with TIG welding in mind. It operates with both AC and DC. There’s also an included foot pedal and plenty of adjustment knobs to get the settings just right.

The TIG225X is our top choice for beginners because the control panel provides a lot of useful information. Not only is everything labeled, but there’s a visual representation of the current flowing through your torch. You can control the settings at various points during the wave. Each knob points to the graphic, making it easy to learn how each setting changes the way the welder performs.

Pros
  • AC/DC operation
  • Works with 110 and 220 volts
  • Produces up to 225 amps
  • Pulse function
  • High-frequency start
  • Includes pulse width modulation settings
  • Digital amp display
  • Can be used as stick welder
  • Includes foot pedal
  • Easy-to-use controls
Cons
  • Foot pedal isn’t the best quality
  • Heavier design

5. Everlast PowerTIG 250EX TIG Welder

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If you’re looking for a TIG welder that can provide you with ultimate control, consider the Everlast PowerTig 250EX. This tool has plenty of settings for you to adjust. Best of all, they’re all color-coded and labeled. As a result, the welder is very user-friendly.

One of the things that we like about this welder is that it’s designed to maintain the integrity of the material you’re working on. Whether it’s aluminum or stainless steel, you can make adjustments to prevent overheating and accidental damage. For example, the low amp start feature works up to your desired settings to produce a quality weld.

Additionally, the machine has adjustable pulse settings and arc force control. The latter feature improves the stability of shorter arcs while reducing spatter.

Even still, this TIG welder provides enough versatility to work on a wide variety of projects. It works with both AC and DC. Regardless of which type of current you choose, the welder allows you to fine-tune your settings to get things just right. For this reason, the PowerTig 250EX is our top choice for AC/DC TIG welders.

Pros
  • AC/DC operation
  • Pre and post gas flow controls
  • Low amp start
  • 2T/4T start
  • Up to 250 amps
  • 40 percent duty cycle at highest amp setting
  • Adjustable pulse frequency
  • Digital amp display
  • Color-coded controls
  • Arc force control feature
  • Safety warning lights
Cons
  • Not the best foot pedal

6. Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A TIG Welder

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For those who are looking to work primarily with aluminum, this welder from Lotos is a fine choice. It’s a dual voltage welder that can operate on either 110 or 220 volts. Plus, it can be used with AC or DC.

From a power standpoint, this TIG machine is quite versatile. It has an output range of 15 to 200 amps with both TIG and stick welding. This offers great control when working on materials of variable thicknesses.

Another thing we like about this TIG welder is that it gives you the opportunity to make fine adjustments to your gas flow. There are pre-flow and post-flow dials. This helps to minimize oxidation as much as possible and preserve the integrity of the metal you’re working on.

The area in which this product excels is aluminum welding. It’s our recommended pick for aluminum because it has a square wave inverter. The squared-off shape of the current’s wave provides more time during the cleaning and heating process. As a result, the welder performs very well when you’re working low-density materials like aluminum.

Pros
  • Up to 200 amps
  • Operates on AC and DC
  • Square wave inverter
  • High-frequency start
  • Stick weld functionality
  • 60 percent duty cycle
  • Dual voltage
  • Digital amp display
  • Stick welder switch
Cons
  • Lower quality gas regulator
  • Foot pedal does not throttle amperage

7. Everlast PowerARC 140 TIG Welder

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The PowerArc from Everlast is a great TIG machine for small jobs at home. The device weighs less than 40 pounds and is small enough to carry around. There’s even an adjustable strap on top of the welder for portability.

While it’s certainly not the most powerful TIG welder on our list, it does a great job for most steel projects. It has a maximum power setting of 140 amps. At this setting, you’re getting a 60 percent duty cycle. So, there’s more time working and less waiting.

There are a couple of great safety features as well. First, the welder includes a durable ground clamp for peace of mind. Secondly, there’s an auto-regulated arc force control to ensure that you can get a clean weld without having to worry about the electrode sticking all of the time.

Beyond its low price tag, the reason we chose the PowerArc as our best TIG welder for home use is its simplicity. While other welders are filled to the brim with settings, this one only has a single current dial. You can set things up and start welding within minutes, which is great when you just want to get a few projects done at home.

Pros
  • Works on 110 or 220 volts
  • Very small footprint
  • Includes carrying strap
  • 35 percent duty cycle on the highest amp setting
  • Stable arc
  • 60 percent duty cycle
  • Safety lights
  • Digital current display
  • Includes high-quality accessories
  • Easy to use right out of the box
Cons
  • Runs on DC only
  • Lower amp range
  • Fewer controls
  • No foot pedals

8. Amico TIG 160DC TIG Welder

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If you’re on a budget, this TIG welder from Amico may be for you. The powerful little machine performs well in a range of tasks. It can weld a variety of metals that are up to three-eighths of an inch thick.

One of the things we like most about this machine is its small size. It weighs less than 15 pounds and is small enough to put on a garage shelf when it’s not in use. The welder has a durable handle for transportation and an adjustable shoulder strap, ensuring that you’re not tied down when you work.

Despite its small size, this TIG welder is pretty versatile. It operates on either 110 or 230 volts. It can be set to produce as much as 160 amps and has a duty cycle of 60 percent.

The biggest advantage of this TIG machine is its low price. It’s one of the most affordable options on our list, which is why it was chosen as our top budget welder. Not only does it have a lower sticker price, but the device already comes with a collection of tungsten electrodes in different sizes. So, you can use it right out of the box.

Pros
  • Stick and TIG welder
  • Dual voltage input
  • Small and lightweight
  • Digital current display
  • Simple controls
  • Up to 160 amps
  • 60 percent duty cycle
  • Includes electrodes
  • Ready to use out of the box
Cons
  • No AC functionality
  • Arc stability issues

9. Hobart 500551 EZ-TIG 165i TIG Welder

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This TIG welder from Hobart works well with most metals. Because it uses AC and DC, you can work on low-density materials like aluminum without any issues.

One of the most unique features of this welder is the control setup. Rather than using multiple dials, there’s a single multi-functional one. All you have to do is select the range and material thickness. This TIG welder has predetermined settings to make things easier, making the machine a great option for those who are just getting started.

A foot pedal is included as well to let you make adjustments on the fly. The welder can produce up to 165 amps. However, it draws less power from its source thanks to its built-in inverter.

The inverter pushes the current to a stepdown transformer to produce your desired amp setting. This results in a more energy-efficient machine. Plus, the inverter is lightweight, making the entire unit very portable. For this reason, we have chosen this welder as out top inverter-based welder.

Pros
  • Low amperage draw
  • Up to 165 amps
  • AC/DC output
  • High-frequency start
  • Portable design
  • Automatic high-temperature shutoff
  • Includes foot pedal
  • User-friendly controls
  • Automatic fan controls
Cons
  • Only 20 percent duty cycle
  • Can’t run on 110 volts

10. Lotos CT520D TIG Welder

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Are you looking for a simple machine that you can tinker with? If so, the Lotos CT520D may be for you. It’s a simple welder that has a lot to offer hobbyists. Not only can it perform TIG welds, but it can also do plasma cuts and stick welds.

The device is small and will look right at home in your workshop. It can work on 110 volts or 220 volts as well, so you don’t have to worry about modifying your outlets just to get things up and running. Once you have everything set up, the welder can produce up to 200 amps.

Unfortunately, the welder is not your best choice for aluminum. It operates with DC only and is too powerful for the low-density metal. However, it works wonders with steel.

The Lotos TIG welder is our recommended pick for hobbyists because of its simplicity and versatility. There aren’t a ton of dials to worry about like there is on other machines. Even still, the machine is fully capable of taking on a wide range of jobs. Whether you’re cutting steel for furniture or welding together scraps of metal for an art project, the many functions of this device can make it happen.

Pros
  • 3 in 1 machine with plasma cutter and stick welder
  • Up to 200 amps
  • High-frequency start
  • Digital current display
  • Dual voltage
  • Can be set up in minutes
  • Weighs less than 40 pounds
  • Simple controls
Cons
  • DC only
  • No foot pedal included
  • Unreliable support
  • Short ground cable
  • Low-quality gas regulator

Buyer’s Guide (Tips & Tricks)

The Benefits of a TIG Welder

TIG welding goes by a couple of different names. You may see it referred to as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, which is commonly used by industry professionals. Or, you might see the technique being called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). Regardless of what name is being used, this method differs dramatically from other techniques. One of the biggest differences between TIG welding and MIG welding or stick welding is the lack of flux and consumable metals.

You see, TIG welding utilizes tungsten electrodes. Tungsten has the highest melting point of all metals at 3,410 degrees Celsius. As a result, there’s no need to provide a constant feed of sacrificial metal. Instead, the tungsten electrode remains intact while it forms an arc to the base metal. In an instant, a molten weld pool is formed. You can then feed a filler metal into the pool to fuse the two metals together.

To address issues that may come from a lack of flux, an inert gas is used to protect the tungsten electrode and weld pool. Typically, argon is the gas of choice. It helps to prevent oxidation. Because no flux is used, the finished weld is slag-free, clean, and strong.

While TIG welding does require two hands and great dexterity, the finished product has higher purity. Plus, you’re provided with more control. This makes it a suitable alternative to other welding techniques when precision is a top priority.

TIG welding is commonly used for bonding metals like stainless steel, aluminum, copper alloys, and magnesium. In fact, the process was first developed for non-ferrous metals that react quickly to oxygen, such as aluminum and magnesium. With that being said, the technique can be used on most metals.

It has become the go-to choice for many metal workers due to its versatility. TIG welding torches can operate on lower amperage settings than most equipment. Some of the best TIG welders also offer precise heat and amperage controls to make switching between different metal surfaces more efficient.

Factors to Consider

Despite all of the versatility that TIG welders offer, some tools are better at specific tasks than others. Whether you’re new to TIG welding or you’re a seasoned pro looking for new equipment, there’s a lot to consider when you’re shopping. The following considerations can determine what your new welder is capable of doing and how well it gets the job done.

Input and Output Power

When it comes to power, there are two main factors to consider. These include amperage and AC/DC power capabilities. In most cases, TIG welders do just fine on AC. AC power is suitable for low-density metals like aluminum and magnesium. However, if you’re working with thick base metals or harder materials like stainless steel, the welder will fair better with a DC current.

Luckily, most TIG welders give you the opportunity to use both. Not only that, but high-quality tools let you tune the current settings to achieve the optimal weld.

As for amps, the higher the output range, the better. More settings provide you with greater flexibility in what you can do. Generally, TIG welders can output between 5 and 250 amps. Though, you can find models that can do more. Of course, robust amperage controls are a must-have. Your welder should have stable performance regardless of the settings you’re working with.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle of a welder refers to how long the equipment can produce a steady current. All welders need time to cool down. Pushing the machine past its duty cycle can result in damage and possible safety issues, so it’s important to consider how you will be working.

Longer duty cycles are most prevalent in industrial settings. If you’re looking for a welder that you’ll use at home infrequently, you can get away with a lower duty cycle.

This figure is typically represented as a percentage of the total active time of the welder, which is 10 minutes. So, if the welder has a duty cycle of 30 percent, that means that it can run for 3 continuous minutes during that cycle. After that, it needs to rest for 7 minutes before you can work again.

Control Systems

The way that you can control the welder can ultimately affect your workflow. As we mentioned earlier, TIG welders are capable of switching between amperage settings easily. Some use a thumb switch while others take advantage of a foot pedal. Foot pedals are considered to be the most convenient. Remember, a TIG welder requires both hands to operate. Having the ability to make heat adjustments with a flick of your foot can make all the difference.

Many welders use digital displays as well. They can be useful for following manufacturer recommendations and preferred settings. But, they don’t offer the fine control that a manual switch does.

Protective Features and Cooling

Next, let’s talk about safety. The best TIG welders are designed to prevent potential safety issues for you and the material you’re working with. One of the most useful is thermal overload protection. As the name would suggest, this feature helps to prevent the welder from overheating. It’s directly related to the machine’s duty cycle. Many models will automatically stop the current and shut the welder off once it’s used beyond the duty cycle. This ensures that the cooling system has enough time to prevent overheating.

Speaking of cooling systems, there are two options available. These include air-cooled torches and water-cooled torches. If you plan on taking your welder with you from job to job, air-cooled machines are your best bet because you don’t have to worry about finding a water supply line. However, water-cooled torches are more efficient. These welders typically have higher duty cycle percentages and can operate for much longer.

Convenience Features

Extra features to make your job easier are always welcome. There are a few notable additions you can look out for when you’re searching for the perfect welder. High pulse settings are great for working on thinner materials that require greater control. Some TIG welders offer as much as 5,000 pulses a second. To make things even better, you can often set up pulse settings with a foot pedal. That way, you can control heat and avoid burning through your metal.

You can also find TIG welders that offer a built-in plasma cutter and stick welder. These features aren’t a requirement, especially if you already have separate machines. However, the added functionality these extra bring can save you a lot of time as you work.

Portability

If you are constantly on the go, portability is an important thing to consider. TIG welders vary dramatically when it comes to size and weight. On the smaller end of the spectrum, you can find tools that only weigh 20 to 50 pounds. These options are often equipped with handles for easy transport. Larger welders can weigh well over 100 pounds. They’re not suited for welders on the move. Though, they can be used with carts or durable caster wheels for movement around your shop.

It’s important to consider how the size and weight of your welder will affect performance. There’s a fine balance between portability and power. Smaller machines have to sacrifice on output and duty cycle due to the size of the transformer. On the other hand, larger models can usually accommodate bigger jobs.

User Friendliness

Last, but not least, there’s user-friendliness. TIG welders are advanced machines that require plenty of know-how and a steady hand to operate efficiently. With that being said, some welders are designed to be accessible to workers of all skill levels. These options often have automatic features and digitized controls.

Automatic features are ideal for those who don’t have much experience with TIG welders. All of the settings are predetermined and ready to go, minimizing the amount of time you have to take figuring things out. Plus, they are engineered to react accordingly to any performance issues that come up. This ultimately decreases the overall maintenance involved with owning a welder.

The same goes for digitized controls. Welders with digital readouts let you keep a close watch on how the tool is performing. They’re easier to follow the recommended settings and are virtually fool-proof when it comes to finding the right power settings. Of course, with automation, you’re sacrificing control. If you’re a professional who knows the ins and outs of what a TIG welder can do, you won’t have any issues using a manual welder.

Conclusion

While any one of the welders on this list can serve you well, the AlphaTIG 200X from AHP is a cut above the rest. When considering performance and versatility alone, it’s the clear winner. Sure, it may not have a built-in plasma cutter like other devices, but it makes up for that shortcoming by giving you complete control over how you weld. Let’s face it, welding jobs can come in all forms and capacities. Having the ability to adapt your tools to accommodate all of those jobs makes all the difference. The AlphaTIG 200X is one of the best TIG welders because you can manipulate every aspect of the current you’re using. Not only can you choose between AC and DC, but you can select the shape of the wave, pulse frequency, starting amps, ending amps, and so much more.

When compared to products from Everlast, Amico, Lotos, and even Miller, the AlphaTIG 200X is in an entirely different league when it comes to versatility. Even the Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A, with its square wave inverter, doesn’t have as many current options as the AlphaTIG 200X. This machine can take on a wider range of materials and is simple enough for even beginners to approach. On top of all of that, it’s much more affordable than welders that can only perform a fraction of the jobs. Ultimately, the AHP TIG welder checks off all of the boxes. It has a large amperage range, high duty cycle percentage, and is portable enough to take with you on the go. What’s not to like?

 

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