The Best TIG Welders of 2022

A good TIG welder offers excellent versatility and high precision. Just ahead are some of the best machines currently available.

By Bob Beacham | Published Mar 24, 2022 12:35 PM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Tig Welder Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

The TIG welder was first developed in the 1930s as a way to weld lightweight magnesium for the aircraft industry. These machines can produce very neat welds, particularly on thin metal sheets, and have the versatility to weld a variety of materials. As a result, TIG welders are popular with engineers, automotive technicians, and craftspeople.

TIG welding demands good control from both the operator and the equipment. For those new to TIG welding, selecting the right machine can be particularly challenging. This article discusses the key features to consider and suggests which would make the best TIG welder for everyone from the novice to the experienced professional.

  1. BEST OVERALL: 2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: S7 Tig Welder, HF TIG/Stick/Arc TIG Welder,200 Amp
  3. UPGRADE PICK: PRIMEWELD TIG225X 225 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder
  4. BEST MULTI-PROCESS: Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD AC DC 200 Amp Tig/Stick
  5. BEST PROFESSIONAL: Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder
  6. BEST PORTABLE: EVERLAST PowerARC 140STi 140amp Lift Start TIG
  7. BEST DUAL VOLTAGE: YESWELDER TIG-205DS HF TIG/Stick/Arc TIG Welder
  8. BEST FOR ALUMINUM: LOTOS TIG200ACDC 200A AC/DC Aluminum Tig Welder 
  9. BEST TIG PLASMA CUTTER: PrimeWeld 50 Amp Plasma Cutter, 200A TIG/Stick Combo
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: HITBOX 3 In 1 Mig Welder ARC Lift Tig Mig Gasless
The Best Tig Welder Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

Before You Buy a TIG Welder

TIG’s versatility allows for the welding of a greater variety of metals than any other process. It is possible to produce very neat welds that need little or no further finishing. The best TIGs can work on both thin and thick material.

However, out of all the different types of welding, TIG is the most difficult to learn to do well. It requires good coordination and patience, since it is typically a slower process than other welding methods.

TIG welding is not usually recommended for beginner welders, and it is certainly easier to achieve success with MIG or stick welding. It is almost impossible to TIG weld outdoors. That said, there is no better weld for the accurate joining of thin sheets or small components, and many novice TIG welders persevere for this reason. TIG welding machines can be expensive, though we have found some affordable models ideal for occasional users and hobbyists.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best TIG Welder

TIG stands for tungsten inert gas and is also often referred to as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). When done well, it produces immensely strong precision welds in a wide variety of metals. The TIG welding machine and associated equipment can be complex, so there are a number of key features that need to be considered when making a purchase.

Type of Project

A TIG welder can weld various steels (including stainless), cast iron, brass, aluminum, copper, magnesium, and titanium. It can be used to join very thin materials, but depending on a particular machine’s performance, it can also weld considerable thicknesses.

Originally introduced in the aviation industry, TIG welding’s precision has become increasingly popular for aerospace, medical, electronics, robotics, and military applications. Appearance is a key benefit of TIG welds, so it is often the go-to method if the finished weld is visible.

TIG welding is also popular with the auto repair industry because of its neatness and because it is better for welding aluminum, which has become widely used on modern vehicles. Craftspeople and artisans also appreciate the performance of this welding method for fabricating delicate pieces or large sculptures.

Duty Cycle

Not surprisingly, the welding electrode (the part of the torch that melts the metal) on a TIG welder gets very hot—so hot, in fact, that the electrodes need frequent rest periods or they will overheat. Most TIG welders include a warning light as a safety precaution, and some will turn themselves off if this is ignored. It can be very frustrating in mid-weld, so it’s a good idea to be aware of this safety feature.

The period of time that a TIG welder can operate before it needs a break is called the duty cycle. The figure is usually given as a percentage of 10 minutes. So, if a particular machine has a duty cycle of 50 percent, for example, it means it needs to rest 5 minutes for every 5 minutes worked.

Usually the duty cycle is given when operating at maximum amperes. However, it is often possible to run the TIG welder at lower amperes (cooler) for longer. Manufacturers may provide more than one figure, such as 45 percent at 200A and 70 percent at 160A. Bear in mind it is not unusual for duty cycles to be as short as 25 percent, particularly on low-cost TIG welders.

Voltage and Amperage Range

Many TIG welders can run at two voltages, either 110V off a household supply, or 220V from a generator. While both can technically produce the same amperage, a 220V supply will produce a hotter weld, and one that penetrates thick materials more effectively. It can still be turned down for delicate welding. That flexibility makes 220V the preferred option among many pros.

Amperage (sometimes just called amps) varies depending on the thickness of metal being welded (low amps for thin material, high amps for thicker material). It’s difficult to give precise figures because the type of material also affects amperage.

AC/DC Spectrum

Many TIG welders, but by no means all, offer AC and DC welding. This is important for those who want to weld the widest variety of materials.

DC (direct current) is fine for mild steel and stainless steel. However, AC (alternating current) is required for aluminum. While normally considered a soft metal, aluminum can oxidize readily. This oxidation absorbs heat without melting properly and can result in poor welds. A DC TIG welder only provides a single stage current, whereas an AC TIG welder supplies both positive and negative electrons. Use of both positive and negative currents “cleans” off the oxides and produces heat for a better weld.

Multi-Process Capabilities

With the exception of machines dedicated to welding aluminum, the best TIG welder is seldom a single-purpose tool. In other words, they are usually capable of performing more than one type of welding. These machines are often called multi-process welders.

Stick welding (also known as MMA, or manual metal arc) is a common alternative built into some models. It is particularly good for outdoor welding. MIG, considered by many the easiest type of welding to learn, is another alternative. Plasma cutting is an option as well, and it uses the welding torch to cut through metals rather than join them together.

Professionals will generally want a machine that’s as focused as possible. Hobbyists and craftspeople might enjoy the versatility that a multi-process welder provides, and it need not be expensive. In some cases, TIG is a secondary process of a MIG welder, so it is important to check what is included. While the machine might be capable of TIG welding, the TIG torch might involve extra cost.

Weight and Portability

It is almost impossible to TIG weld outdoors, because even a slight breeze disturbs the protective gas bubble formed around the weld. As these tools are unlikely to be moved great distances on a regular basis, weight isn’t really of primary importance. However, it is still a consideration if you need to move the welder around the workshop, or from home to the workplace.

Depending on the model, a TIG welder can weigh from under 20 pounds to more than 90 pounds. Handles are invariably provided.

It’s also worth checking the length of the power cord and electrode holder (torch) cable, as well as the ground clamp. These factors will affect the amount of movement available to the operator.

Foot Pedal

If there is too little amperage, the metal does not melt properly, and the weld is not correctly formed. Conversely, with too much amperage, the welder can burn a hole right through the material. An experienced welder can set up the machine with a high degree of accuracy at the start, and so a foot pedal may not be necessary.

However, a foot pedal on the welder allows the user to vary the amperage while working. This feature often is recommended for beginners because of the increased control a foot pedal offers. Many professionals argue that they also increase productivity.

The foot pedal cord length can restrict movement, however. Cordless foot pedals are available, but the machines they work with are expensive. Additionally, it is very difficult to use a foot pedal if welding while standing.

It is important to make this decision at the outset. Some TIG welders include a foot pedal, but many do not, and it might not be practical to add one later.

Our Top Picks

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to read about the various features and functions of TIG welders, it’s now time to look at some real-world examples. The following products have been categorized to provide quick and easy reference for a variety of users looking for the best TIG welder for their workshop.

Best Overall

The Best TIG Welder Option: 2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick
Photo: Amazon.com

Choosing a single best TIG welder from the many options available is a considerable challenge. However, the AHP AlphaTIG consistently takes top spot in independent reviews for its combination of performance, versatility (it includes a stick-welding function), and value for the money.

Amperage control from 10A to 200A offers the flexibility to weld a wide range of metals, from ¼-inch aluminum to ⅜-inch mild steel. IGBT inverter technology and Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) provide more efficient energy use and precise control over output. Contactless HF (high frequency) start means the electrode doesn’t need to touch the material to be welded. This is particularly useful for aluminum, where sudden contact heat can burn through. A 60 percent duty cycle offers a longer working period than many rivals. The welder includes a foot pedal.

At 69 pounds, this model is heavier than many, and the earth clamp could be more substantial, but this is a great tool for the professional or enthusiastic amateur looking for a high-quality all-around welder.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: Yes
  • Amperage: 10A to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 60 percent at 200A

Pros

  • Precise control
  • Good duty cycle
  • Foot pedal included

Cons

  • Fairly heavy
  • Ground clamp could be improved

Get the AHP Alpha TIG welder on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best TIG Welder Option: S7 Tig Welder, HF TIG/Stick/Arc TIG Welder, 200 Amp
Photo: Amazon.com

The low-cost S7 TIG welder offers a surprisingly good feature set. It is a dual-voltage machine with easy HF start that is capable of welding steel, cast iron, copper, and other nonferrous metals. However, with no AC, it can’t weld aluminum. Its duty cycle is an outstanding 85 percent, though maximum material thickness of 3/16 inch is a factor. Typically, more powerful machines that can weld thicker sheets produce more heat, which results in shorter duty cycles.

The S7 TIG welder nevertheless provides good versatility thanks to the stick function, which is particularly good for outdoor work. At 22 pounds, the tool is also light and maneuverable.

This is the best budget TIG welder on our list, with controls that are clear and easy to use. However, the instructions are poor. While it is an inexpensive tool for small project work, and users can find more detailed instructions online, it is perhaps not the best TIG welder for beginner use.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: DC only
  • Amperage: 20A to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 85 percent

Pros

  • TIG and stick welding
  • Lightweight
  • Budget price

Cons

  • DC only, so not for aluminum
  • Poor instructions

Get the S7 TIG welder on Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

The Best TIG Welder Option: PRIMEWELD TIG225X 225 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder
Photo: Amazon.com

The powerful dual-current PrimeWeld TIG225X is capable of welding up to ½-inch steel, plus a full range of other metals. Inverter technology reduces power consumption, while pulse frequency and PMW provide exceptional weld control.

A welding mask and foot pedal are part of an extensive set of accessories, which includes the CK17 flex head torch and CK hose. These are preferred by many professionals for the flexibility and freedom of movement they allow. There is HF starting, and 2T/4T welding modes, which allow trigger-free welding if preferred.

The PrimeWeld TIG225X is a very good machine and difficult to criticize. However, it does weigh 90 pounds. It is also quite a complex machine that’s best suited to the experienced welder.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: Yes
  • Amperage: 10A to 225A
  • Duty cycle: 40 percent

Pros

  • Powerful TIG and stick welding
  • Inverter with PWM for precise control
  • Face mask and foot pedal included

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Somewhat complex

Get the PrimeWeld TIG welder on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best Multi-Process

The Best TIG Welder Option: Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD AC DC 200 Amp Tig/Stick
Photo: Amazon.com

Many TIG welders offer stick welding as a useful extra. The dual-voltage Weldpro 200 adds MIG capability, and flux core (like TIG, but without gas). While it’s a DC-only machine, which would usually mean it couldn’t weld aluminum, it has a separate spool gun for welding this difficult material using the MIG process.

Despite the versatility, the unit weighs just 30 pounds. While the duty cycle is a relatively short 30 percent at full power, the tool can run continuously when welding at 110A. Overall amperage range is 10A to 200A, but each process has different parameters depending on voltage. So, for example, when using TIG at 120V the maximum is 120A.

The Weldpro 200 will weld ferrous and nonferrous metals up to ½ inch using TIG. An LCD screen provides control functions, though some welders might prefer dials as easier to use and faster to set. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to fit a foot pedal on this model.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: DC only
  • Amperage: 10A to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 30 percent at 200A, 100 percent at 110A

Pros

  • TIG, flux core, stick, and MIG welding
  • Highly portable
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • No foot pedal
  • LCD control not everyone’s favorite

Get the Weldpro TIG welder on Amazon.

Best Professional

The Best TIG Welder Option: Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder
Photo: Amazon.com

Lincoln Electric has long been one of the leading welder brands, recognized for high-quality, durable, professional-grade machines. The Square Wave TIG 200 uses technology that crops the top and bottom of a standard AC sine wave. This provides a more uniform power flow, which increases weld cleaning and heating for stronger welds.

The Lincoln Electric is rated for 3/16 inch aluminum, up to 3/8-inch steel, and will weld stainless steel, chrome alloy, and nonferrous metals like copper. Stick welding is also available. It has HF starting, and the included foot pedal is notable for its smooth action.

Despite the solid build, the Lincoln Electric Square Wave only weighs 46 pounds. It is renowned for being remarkably intuitive and easy to use, and it might rank as the best starter TIG welder if not for the high price.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: Yes
  • Amperage: 10A to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 60 percent at 130A, 40 percent at 160A, 25 percent at 200A

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • HF starting
  • Foot pedal included

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Reports of poor customer service

Get the Lincoln Electric TIG welder on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best Portable

The Best TIG Welder Option: EVERLAST PowerARC 140STi 140amp Lift Start TIG
Photo: Amazon.com

The Everlast PowerARC offers a number of attractive features in a compact and lightweight package. It weighs under 25 pounds and comes with a tough plastic case for accessories, making it very easy to carry around. It has dual voltage, and although the 140A maximum is lower than some, the IGBT inverter provides stable power with low energy consumption. It is at its best when welding steel up to ⅛-inch thick, which is typical for hobby and DIY projects.

This TIG welder uses a lift start, which isn’t contactless but requires only a light touch against the metal. It is much cleaner and more controllable than a traditional scratch start, particularly for those new to TIG welding.

The Everlast PowerARC comes with a basic welding mask, though not a foot pedal. Although it won’t weld aluminum, the low cost, portability, and ease of use make it arguably the best home TIG welder in this selection and among the best small TIG welders out there.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: DC only
  • Amperage: 10A to 140A
  • Duty cycle: 35 percent at 140A

Pros

  • Compact and easy to move around
  • Stable, controllable power
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • No foot pedal
  • Not for aluminum

Get the Everlast TIG welder on Amazon.

Best Dual Voltage

The Best TIG Welder Option: YESWELDER TIG-205DS HF TIG/Stick/Arc TIG Welder
Photo: Amazon.com

The key feature of dual-voltage TIG welders is that they can be plugged into a standard 110V household outlet for light-duty use or run off a generator for full power. At under 15 pounds, the YESWELDER is also very portable, which is an ideal feature for home or job site welding. Maximum welding in steel is 3/16-inch thickness.

The YESWELDER TIG-205DS comes with HF start, which is a surprise on a budget machine. It has stick-welding capability and a foot pedal (though it is the simple on-off type that doesn’t control voltage). It does have overload protection and automatic current balancing so it will maintain stability if there are fluctuations in the power supply.

If the lack of aluminum capability is not an issue, the YESWELDER is another model that makes a strong argument as the best TIG welder for the money.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: DC only
  • Amperage: 10A to 205A
  • Duty cycle: 60 percent at 205A, 100 percent at 158A

Pros

  • HF starting
  • Easy to use
  • Automatic voltage compensation

Cons

  • Not for aluminum
  • Foot pedal is only on-off control

Get the Yeswelder TIG welder on Amazon.

Best for Aluminum

The Best TIG Welder Option: LOTOS TIG200ACDC 200A AC/DC Aluminum Tig Welder
Photo: Amazon.com

Welding aluminum is a challenging process. While the metal is soft and melts easily, if power isn’t evenly supplied, the weld will be inconsistent or weakened by contamination. The Lotos TIG combats this with an energy-efficient inverter machine that uses square-wave technology to deliver very precise and stable control.

Lotos is one of the world’s leading welding machine manufacturers, and the TIG200A offers the brand’s proven build quality and reliability. While often chosen as the best TIG welder for aluminum, it is also capable of welding steel to ⅜ inch, stainless, cast iron, and nonferrous metals. It also has a stick-welding capability.

A foot pedal is included, though the action isn’t as smooth as it could be. The AC TIG weighs 60 pounds. While not unmanageable, it is heavier than many.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: Yes
  • Amperage: 15A to 200A
  • Duty cycle: 60 percent

Pros

  • Precise square-wave control
  • Renowned durability
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • Foot pedal could be smoother
  • A little heavy

Get the Lotos TIG welder on Amazon

Best Tig Plasma Cutter

The Best TIG Welder Option: PrimeWeld 50 Amp Plasma Cutter, 200A TIG/Stick Combo
Photo: homedepot.com

Plasma cutters offer rapid cutting of steel, cast iron, and most nonferrous metals. They can be used both indoors and out. The multi-process PrimeWeld 3-in-1 machine can slice through steel plate up to an impressive ½-inch thick, and it changes quickly and easily to TIG welding with a maximum weld of ⅜ inch. A stick-welding capability is also included. IGBT inverter technology provides good welding stability.

For all its versatility, the PrimeWeld 3-in-1 weighs just 32 pounds, which is light enough to transport from home to job site if required. A foot pedal is available, but it costs extra and is quite expensive. This is a DC machine, so while the plasma cutter can pierce aluminum with ease, it cannot weld it. Despite those small drawbacks, the PrimeWeld 3-in-1 plasma cutter offers tremendous value for the money.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: DC only
  • Amperage: 550A plasma, 200A TIG
  • Duty cycle: 60 percent for all processes

Pros

  • Terrific versatility
  • Good portability
  • Surprisingly affordable

Cons

  • Foot pedal extra
  • Cuts aluminum but cannot weld it

Get the PrimeWeld 3-in-1 TIG welder at The Home Depot or on Amazon.

Also Consider

The Best TIG Welder Option: HITBOX 3 In 1 Mig Welder ARC Lift Tig Mig Gasless
Photo: amazon.com

At first glance, the Hitbox 3-in-1 seems like an impressive multi-process welder, and it will certainly appeal to those who need a budget-friendly machine for light-duty MIG, stick, and TIG welding. It weighs just 10 pounds, offering great portability.

Using the MIG function, which is particularly attractive to beginner welders, the Hitbox can weld up to ¼-inch steel plates. With the TIG function, this is limited to 3/16 inch. However, that is still competitive for a welder in this price range. Its duty cycle is also reasonable at 40 percent. Changing the Hitbox 3-in-1 from one process to another is straightforward, and the controls are easy to use.

The drawback is that this is primarily a MIG welder, with TIG as a secondary function. As a result, the TIG torch will need to be purchased separately. While these need not be expensive, it does affect the otherwise low price, and it takes the total cost above that of some comparable TIG welders.

Product Specs 

  • AC/DC: DC only
  • Amperage: 15A to 120A
  • Duty cycle: 40 percent

Pros

  • MIG, TIG, and stick welding
  • Light and compact
  • Low cost

Cons

  • TIG torch is extra
  • Not for aluminum

Get the Hitbox TIG welder on Amazon.

Our Verdict

The AHP Alpha is a popular TIG welder with good all-around performance, though at the price it’s perhaps more likely to appeal to pros than to home users. The S7 TIG welder is a terrific value for the money, but it can require a learning curve for new users.

How We Chose the Best TIG Welders

I am an engineer by profession, and I also like to tinker with old vehicles in my spare time. I have worked with a variety of welders, and although I haven’t used TIG welding often, I understand the techniques. The Bob Vila team augmented my experience with market research to ensure we had all the relevant, up-to-date information.

Performance is key, but rather than compare a range of high-end models, we have tried to find tools that meet all needs. We set out to find a good TIG welder for aluminum (because it is one of the materials at which TIG excels for welding), but we also looked for the best TIG welder for home use, pros, or certain features.

Durability is a major factor, and we largely chose brands that are recognized within the industry for long-term reliability. That said, we also considered small TIG welders for those with a modest budget, provided there was sufficient user feedback to warrant their inclusion.

FAQs

The information above provides a comprehensive look at the many features offered by these machines and suggests the best TIG welders to suit different users or tasks. While many questions will have been covered, during our research we came across several that deserve further attention. The answers to those are provided here.

Q. What is the difference between a TIG welder and other welding machines?

A TIG welder generally offers greater precision, particularly when welding thin sheet metal or small items. You can read more in this article about the four main types of welders.

Q. Can you TIG weld without gas?

No. Gas protects the weld from contamination and is often also used to cool the welding torch.

Q. Can I TIG weld at home?

Absolutely. We have recommended some compact and affordable TIG welding equipment above. Although a little more challenging to learn than other welding methods, it is ideal for small projects, home auto repair, and creative welding.

Q. How long does a TIG welder last?

The torch and other components will wear eventually, but as long as users care for the welder according to manufacturer recommendations and avoid damage from dropping it, a TIG welder should last many years.