Best TIG Welder For The Money [Buyer’s Guide for Small & Portable to Big and Powerful TIG AC/DC Welding Machines] 2021

There might be affiliate links in this post. Buying through them can earn us a small commission at no cost to you. This covers our wages and keeps our resources free to use. 

Last Updated on:

It is common knowledge that TIG welding (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is one of the more complicated welding processes

as you probably already know.

You also know how hard it is to pull out a good TIG weld without a good TIG welding machine,

image of best TIG welders

and finding a fantastic TIG welder that also is not “over the roof” expensive is the hardest part. To shorten your search, We have prepared a list of the welders that I believe fall into the “Best TIG Welder” category!

There will be budget welders and semi-professional welders with AC/DC capability for aluminum welding and other machines that I consider worthy of mentioning. 

We also updated our buyer’s guide for 2021 to fully cover every useful feature one should look at when purchasing a TIG welding machine. IF you give it a chance, the guide will help you to make the best choice in your budget range and for your needs exactly.

Please hop on, and let’s start…

Table of contents:

  • Comparison table.
  • Welder Reviews.
  • Things to consider when selecting your welding machine.

Best TIG Welder Quick Comparison

Welder ImageNameSpecialsVoltage inputsOutput Current TypeAmperage OutputDuty cycleDual VoltageCheck Price
yeswelder 250p ACDC
YESWELDER TIG 250P ACDC10% off Coupon Code: "OCT 10% WELDPROS"220VAC/DCTIG 5-250ATIG 60% at 250 ampsNoCheck Current Price
2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC...
2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC110V or 220VAC/DCTIG 10-200ATIG 60% at 200 ampsYesCheck Current Price
Everlast PT-250EX PowerTIG STICK Pulse...
Everlast PT-250EX PowerTIG STICK Pulse220/240VAC/DCTIG 5 A – 250 ATIG 60% at 250 ampsNoCheck Current Price
TIG Welder, Diversion 180, 120-240VAC
TIG Welder, Diversion 180, 120-240VAC120V or 220VAC/DC10 A – 180 A20% at 150 ampsYesCheck Current Price
Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 TIG...
Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 TIG120/230VAC/DCTIG 10 A - 200 A60% at 130 AYesCheck Current Price
Yeswelder MP200i image
YesWelder FIRSTESS MP200 5-in-1 Welder & Cutter10% off Coupon Code: "OCT 10% WELDPROS"110V or 220VDCTIG 20-200A60% at 68FYesCheck Current Price

Best TIG Welders Reviews

Let’s take a look at a selection of TIG machines that can be utilized for various uses of TIG welding.

1.  YesWelder TIG 250P ACDC – Best TIG Welder For The Money

YesWelder TIG 250P ACDC is an amazing TIG machine that offers so much for not so much money.

It is the best TIG welder at its price point, which means that it will provide you with the highest value for the money you invest in it.

This TIG machine is meant for professional work, but it is also very beginner-friendly. It is easy to set up and use, and you can smoothly perform almost any work with it.

It is an AC and DC TIG welder; it supports HF arc start, it has a bunch of professional features like:

Upslope and downslope settings, pre and post flow settings, it supports a low 5 amp start is crucial for thin metal.

It supports and comes with a TIG pedal. It has a squarewave for AC TIG welding which makes welding heck of a lot easier and better, there are AC balance control settings, it can do both AC and DC pulsed TIG welding and a lot more.

Overall, a great TIG machine with excellent build quality also does stick welding with a lot of features.

Extended review of this welder is here.

10% off Coupon Code: “OCT 10% WELDPROS”

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Top pick TIG welder for the money.
  • You can TIG weld with a fully adjustable pulse rate
  • High-Frequency Start
  • It has controls for start and end amps
  • AC balance control
  • Squarewave AC
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Very good Aluminum TIG welder
  • A brand with good customer service support


  • Works only on 220 volts


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW) and Stick arc welder (SMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Steel – 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum.
  • Input Power: 220 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: alternating/direct current.
  • Rated Output: 250 A @ duty cycle 60%
  • Amperage Output Range: TIG 5 A – 200 A.
  • Weight: 35 lbs.

2. AHP Alpha TIG 200X 110v 220v IGBT TIG/Stick – Best TIG Welder Under 1000

image of AHP Alpha TIG 200X

The AHP Alpha TIG welder is a machine that adds superior inverter technology. Combine it with PMW and IGBT inverter technology, and you get a good welder that can cut metal and aluminum with great success. Besides being a portable machine, the Alphatig 200x price is its greatest advantage.

Thanks to the added technology, the AHP Alphatig 200X TIG welder can provide unprecedented performances among its peers. Something that AHP Alphatig 200x also offers is pulse width modulated inverter and AC frequency control.

AHP Alphatig 200x is a great machine for aluminum welding, steel, stainless, alloy steel, and thin gauge materials. Depending on the needed work, you can use it both in DC and AC modes. The pulse feature is more than useful as it allows you to adjust the amount of heat generated. Another thing that I need to mention additionally about the AHP Alphatig 200x TIG welder is its usability. Its welding application is smooth, and it will increase the quality of the weld.

It comes with a foot pedal which increases productivity and enables better welding control and operation.

More on this machine here

2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X 200 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder with PULSE 110v 220v 3 YEARS WARRANTY
  • Listing for 2021 203XI MODEL with Fully Controlled LCD Screen WILL BE SHIPPED . 200 HZ on PULSE and AC FREQ, NEW TORCH, 3 YEAR Warranty

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • A lot of control options
  • AHP welder has ability to High Frequency start
  • Foot pedal included
  • AHP alphatig works on 120 and 220v power source
  • 3 Year warranty


  • AHP alphatig is heavy at 69lb


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW) Stick (SMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Plain steel – 24 ga. – 3/8 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless, Aluminum
  • Input Power: 110/220 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: alternating/direct current.
  • Rated Output: 200 A @ 60% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Output Range: TIG 10 A – 200 A.
  • Weight: 69 lbs.

3. YesWelder FIRSTESS™ MP200 5-in-1 Welder & Cutter

The Firstess MP200 is not the greatest TIG welder by a long shot. It’s not even the best choice for a hobbyist looking for a TIG welding process machine.

However, it’s an incredible value for the money. TIG may not be its strongest point because it offers lift DC TIG only. So, you can’t weld aluminum.

The MP200 does MIG, flux core, TIG, stick, and plasma. This is an affordable all in one solution that does its job really well but with certain limitations.

It’s meant for hobbyists. Not specifically TIG welder hobbyists! However, if you don’t need AC TIG or HF start, this will be the best choice.


Because you get all the other processes as well. The most beneficial being the plasma cutter. Everyone working with metal needs a cutter, and for the price of this unit, you can’t argue that it’s nothing but the best value for the money.

It’s easy to use thanks to its large display, lightweight and portable, well built, cheaper than most standalone welders, and comes with a 1-year warranty.

When compared with Miller or Hobart below, the MP200 provides a more user friendly experience, much more versatility but at the cost of advanced TIG features.

I encourage you to check it out if you are into TIG sporadically and you weld in other processes as well. You are unlikely to be disappointed by this machine. Granted that you are well aware that it’s built for DIY and light welding shop use.

Full Review of this Welder is here

image of Yeswelder Firstess MP200 front panel
10% off Coupon Code: “OCT 10% WELDPROS”

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • 5 in 1 Machine, including a plasma cutter.
  • Dual voltage
  • High duty cycle
  • Intuitive large digital display
  • Ten memory settings
  • Everything is included in the box
  • One year manufacturer warranty


  • Not recommended for heavy duty jobs
  • No HF start or AC output
  • No advanced settings for TIG
  • No Low amp start


  • Welding process: FCAW, GMAW, GTAW, MMA, and plasma cutting.
  • Metal Thickness: MIG: .031″-0.27″ (0.8-7.0mm), TIG: .031″-.098″ (0.8-2.5mm), MMA: .059″-0.19″ (1.5-5mm).
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless-Steel.
  • Input Voltage: 110/220V.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: DC.
  • Rated Output: 60% at 68F, 25% at 104F.
  • Amperage Range: MIG/FC/Stick/TIG 20-200A, Plasma 20-40A.
  • Weight: 25lbs

4. Everlast PT-250EX Power TIG 220 Volt Inverter Based Pulse Welder -Best TIG Welder For Aluminum

Image of Everlast PT 250EX

The Everlast PT-250EX Power TIG welder is a both a versatile and an economic welder. It is more than suitable for usage for both professionals for heavy duty and novice welders.

The Everlast Powertig provides versatile solutions when it comes to welding which is backed up by performance.

It is capable of displaying  250 amps of TIG weld power on a single-phase 240V. It also means that it comes with a 60% duty cycle while doing it.

Besides this, the Everlast Powerarc comes with numerous features that include AC balance control, AC frequency, a fully adjustable pulse, stick function with stick options like arc force control, and surprisingly enough, a 2T 4T switch for remote control.

The Everlast Powertig welder operates efficiently on both 240 input voltage single-phase and 240 input voltage 3 phase power. The Powertig 250EX is extremely light as well. Alongside it, you will get an 18 Everlas series TIG torch, DINSE style connectors with a 10-feet long work cable.

Read more here.

Everlast PT-250EX PowerTIG STICK Pulse welder 220 Volt Inverter-Based AC DC
  • Pre flow and post flow control for maximum shielding Gas protection before and after

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Perfectly suitable for beginner and professional precision welding jobs
  • Low 5 amp Start feature
  • Packed with adjustable settings from amp start to features like spot weld timer
  • Easy to set up and use
  • It comes with TIG welder equipment
  • High-Frequency start
  • Built-in 240V receptacle on the TIG welder for water cooler
  • 5-year warranty


  • It can only be used on 220/240V power input
  • It is heavy, so not really portable


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW) Stick (SMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Plain Steel – 24 ga. – 1/2 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum
  • Input Power: 220/240 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: alternating/direct current.
  • Rated Output: TIG 250A @ 60% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Output Range: TIG 5 A – 250 A.
  • Weight: 65 lbs.

5. Miller Diversion 180 TIG Welder 120V/240V TIG Welder

image of Diversion 180

The Miller Electric Diversion 180 TIG Welder is specifically made to cater to novice and everyday welder needs. Miller maxstar products aim to help people who are learning to become welders and not just professionals.

Besides ease of usage, this TIG machine is also portable and easy to move, and has a suitable price. Some of the prime features include both 120V and 240V plug compatibility.

There is also the inverter-based alternating/direct current power source, an efficient and consistent source of power.

Also, the Miller Electric TIG welder comes with HF ARC starting. The Arc Start helps with better arc control and arc stability. Not allowing you to contaminate the weld pool when working. Finally, the Miller TIG machine comes with the auto-post flow that automatically adjusts depending on the amperage output.

Read more on Miller Diversion on this page.

TIG Welder, Diversion 180, 120-240VAC
  • Price For: Each Series: Diversion 180 Aluminum - Material Thickness: 0.025" to 3/16" Mild Steel - Material Thickness: 0.030" to 3/16" Includes: 12.5ft. Torch with Backcap, Ceramic Gas Cup, 3/32in...

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Multivoltage TIG welder. Works on 120 and 220v power input
  • Great for workshop heavy duty use and hobbyist welders
  • High Frequency start
  • Advanced AC squarewave for deeper and fast freezing weld puddle
  • Foot pedal included
  • Fan on-demand feature (great to protect from dust and other containments)
  • Relatively low unit weight and size
  • Availability of spare parts
  • USA brand product
  • 3 Year warranty


  • Expensive
  • Low duty cycle


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Plain Steel – 24 ga. – 3/16 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum
  • Input Power: 120/220 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: alternating/direct current.
  • Rated Output: TIG 150 A @ 20% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Output Range: 10 A – 180 A.
  • Weight: 50 lbs.

6. Hobart 500551 TIG Welder 230V (EZ-TIG165i)

image of EZ TIG 165i

Don’t be put off by the Hobart EZ TIG machine price range. It may be a bit pricy for novices, but it is an excellent machine for any welding process you have in mind. With both the AC and DC power options available, this TIG machine can weld aluminum, magnesium, steel, and stainless alike.

Its prime feature is the easy-to-adjust knob, allowing you to adjust the amperage range based on metal thickness.

Finer amperage range also means finer control. Inverter-based power sources also account for better arc force control. Also, the High-Frequency start offers contactless arc start eliminating material contamination.

Finally, you can move the machine anywhere as it weighs only 50 lbs (23KG). It may be on the expensive side compared to the 10 best TIG welders, but it offers great value for money.

Full review of this machine is here.

No products found.

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • This model offers precise amp control based on metals thicknesses
  • Simple, beautiful unit design and easy to use settings
  • Availability of replacement parts for the TIG welder
  • Fan on-demand feature
  • USA brand product
  • 5/3/1 / Hobart warranty


  • Expensive
  • Low duty cycle
  • Needs 230 volts input


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Plain Steel – 22 ga. – 3/16 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless, Aluminum
  • Input Power: 230 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: alternating/direct current.
  • Rated Output: 150 A @ 20% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Output Range: 10 A – 165 A.
  • Weight: 50 lbs.

7. Lincoln Electric Square-Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder

image of Lincoln TIG*200

The Lincoln Electric Square Wave is a perfect TIG machine for beginners.

It is more than easy to use and is perfect for hobbyists or people who are expanding their welding skills. Probably a top 10 best welder for starters.

Besides TIG, this one is good for various other welding applications like a stick welder and can be used to cut aluminum, steel, stainless steel, and chrome-alloy.

The user interface is easy to use as you just need to set the power input and weld. This TIG machine is pretty light. Portability is definitely its advantage as it weighs some 46lbs. It offers a 120/230V option with a power output is 10-125A TIG and 10-110A Stick at 120V and 10-200A TIG and 10-170A Stick at 230V. Pulse welding is available at 0.1 – 20 pulses per second.

The Lincoln Electric K5126 can weld metals of up to 3/8″ steel thickness and 3/16″ aluminum and achieve better penetration.

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Very easy to use with a simple display for reading
  • This TIG welder is portable given its dimensions and weight
  • Multi voltage power input
  • Sturdy case with a really nice appearance
  • USA brand name TIG welder
  • Superior torch and foot pedal quality and other components
  • Provides a smooth arc.
  • This welder does TIG and Stick tasks


  • Expensive


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW) Stick (SMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Steel – 22 ga. – 3/16in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless, Aluminum
  • Input Power: 120/220 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: alternating/direct current.
  • Rated Output: TIG 200 A @ 25% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Range: TIG 10 A – 200 A.
  • Weight: 46 lbs.

8. Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A 110/220V TIG Welder

image of Lotos TIG200ACDC

The Lotos TIG200 is a great starter kit for beginners.

You would probably not see it as part of an experienced welder’s arsenal, but it is a good budget TIG welder that will enable you to learn and do some home repairs and other simple welding projects.

It does come with a square wave inverter technology, suitable for copper, tin, and aluminum.

This welder also is pretty good for precise welding. It has a high-frequency start hand torch control combined with precise foot pedal heat control. Dual input power at 110/120V 220/240V 50/60Hz.

The price tag for the welder is pretty affordable especially when you see that it comes with a power supply, TIG torch, foot pedal, MMA /Stick clamp and ground clamp, Argon regulator, and a 220V/110V converter pigtail. Also, the added PAPST cooling system will help the plasma cutter cool down faster for stable and durable performance.

LOTOS TIG200ACDC 200A AC/DC Aluminum Tig Welder with DC Stick/Arc Welder, Square Wave Inverter with...
  • ★ ALUMINUM WELDING--200A AC Square-wave inverter for accurate aluminum welding.

Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Affordable light duty machine
  • Multi voltage input support
  • Lotos models are lightweight and portable
  • High Frequency start
  • Pedals included
  • This TIG welder does both TIG and Stick tasks


  • Not for heavy work
  • TIG pedal doesn’t allow for fine amp adjustments


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW) Stick (SMAW).
  • Weld Thickness Range: Plain Steel – 25 ga. – 3/8 in.
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum
  • Input Power: 110/220 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: alternating/direct current.
  • Rated Output: TIG 190 A @ 60% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Range: TIG 10 A – 200 A.
  • Weight: 58 lbs.

9. YesWelder TIG-205DS TIG/ARC -Best Budget TIG Welder – Best Budget TIG Welder
[The Cheapest Welder with HF!]

The YesWelder TIG-205DS is the cheapest TIG welding machine with an HF start of all welders on the market.

If you look at other welders in a similar price range, you will see that none of them comes with HF functions that extend the life of the tungsten electrode.

Additionally, this welder is versatile (Stick/TIG), provides great functionally, and is capable of delivering great results.

Its efficiency is credited to some advanced functions that are not seen in the same price range. It is durable and has a quality build.

Its efficiency and functionality make it a good tool for a hobbyist. It delivers perfect results for its cost and is good for any DIY projects, maintenance, or simply fixing anything around the home workshop.

Another great feature of the TIG-205DS HF ARC YesWedler is that it has automatic compensation for input voltage fluctuation, automatic temperature control, IGBT soft switch technology, and 110V/220V dual voltage input. It is sure to deliver and nice clean weld and a welding job done with accuracy. More on this welder here.

10% off Coupon Code: “OCT 10% WELDPROS”

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Incredible value considering a really low price
  • Two voltage power input
  • HF start
  • Simple to use for newbie practice or as a hobby welder. Easy to get started.
  • Durable and well-made tig welder
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Welds TIG/Stick and leaves really nice bead


  • The lowest amp setting is 15 amps. It would allow for even thinner metals if it had a ten amp setting, but the fact is that considering the price, it is acceptable.
  • No AC output. DC Welder only.


  • Processes: TIG (GTAW) Stick (SMAW).
  • Weldable Materials: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum
  • Input Power: 110/220 V, 60 Hz.
  • Input Phase: 1-Phase.
  • Current Type: DC.
  • Rated Output Power: TIG 205 A @ 60% duty cycle.
  • Amperage Range: TIG 15 A – 205 A.
  • Weight: 34 lbs (lightest in the review).

TIG Welder Buying Guide

So you can better understand what to look for in the TIG machine, here are some basic guidelines. Put on your gloves for safety, and let’s learn how to weld. And if you want to learn more about TIG welding, itself self check out this page.

TIG Welder Features to look for (TIG Arc Start Features)

The most important part and the first thing to look at when buying a TIG welding machine is of course the way it starts an arc. There are 3 ways this is done and some are better than the others (and also more expensive).

Scratch Start

Scratch start may be a basic process usually found on low-cost inverter welders or multiprocess welding machines where TIG is not a primary welding process. However, it is still not obsolete and is used for those welders that have been designed for Stick welding or MMA. What you need to do is to scratch gently the TIG tungsten electrode to initiate the arc and quickly lift it away so it doesn’t stick. At the same time, you shouldn’t lift it too far away as that may extinguish the arc.

image of a welder doing a TIG weld

Scratch start needs some low-cost TIG welding equipment like a DC TIG welder, a cylinder of argon, an air-cooled TIG torch, and a flowmeter. The equipment is all basic stuff, but the process is not what you would describe as user-friendly. It’s harder to learn and requires more skill to operate, ergo more room to make a mistake and even small mistakes can cost a lot.

Now, this does not mean you should not use it. Skillful and professional welders can create wonders with scratch-start TIG welders. It’s a great way to learn TIG welding, with a low-cost machine that will allow you to skill-up to a level where lift start or high frequency will be a breeze for you.

Lift Start

The lift start feature involves touching the workpiece with the tungsten electrode and then pulling it upward and away to start the arc. The startup current is low, so there is no danger of the tungsten sticking to the workpiece. Because of the low current, the sharpened point will not get damaged.

As you gently lift the electrode away, the machine will sense that the contact is broken and will steadily start to supply a full welding current. As opposed to scratch start, lift start is more user-friendly and can be easily controlled. However, it could be challenging to manufacture as the electronic process must be carefully calibrated for the machine to work properly. So if the startup current is not minimized, it will cause the tungsten electrode to stick to the workpiece.

High-Frequency Start

The high-frequency start is probably the easiest process to start the arc. Pay attention if the machine is in your budget range and if it has a high-frequency start. All that you need to do is to position the tungsten electrode near the workpiece and press the trigger on the torch to start the arc. As simple as that.

However, HF start is usually found on some professional TIG welding machines, like an AC DC TIG welders or a DC TIG machine. Additionally, these machines have a choice between an HF start or a lift start.

Source (1), (2).

What is the 2T/4T Torch Control Feature on a Welder?

A digital TIG welder comes with some advanced features like the 2T and 4T mode. Welders are perhaps more used to a foot pedal for amperage control, but there are cases where you would want to use the trigger on the torch. The foot pedal allows you to control the amperage as you weld and the trigger is basically an ON and OFF switch. However, having the 2T and 4T mode allows you to control the amperage and the gas flow as you weld.

image of a welder worker

The T stands for Touches. With 2T, pressing the trigger will allow you to weld in the amperage you selected and continue doing so until releasing the trigger. There is even an option of setting the ramp-up time so you don’t get all the amperage at once, helping you to avoid burn-through.

With 4T mode, you have four touches to deal with. Pressing the trigger will start the gas flow and the arc at the predetermined start amperage. It will stay there until you release the trigger.

Once you release it, the machine will go to set working amperage and stay there while you weld. Pressing the trigger again will slop it to the ending amperage and terminate as you release the trigger.

Pulse TIG Feature

The main benefit of using Pulse TIG welding is that it provides better results when working near an edge. It basically looks a lot better. It also helps for lowering heat input and for automated TIG welding applications.

However, it will mostly depend from person to person as some Pulse TIG settings are not going to be beneficial for everyone. It depends on the kind of work you are planning to do and the results that you want.

Graph showing TIG pulse in practice

The Pulse TIG feature is not going to bring a significant upgrade to your work if you are a stay-at-home welder. But if you are looking for an edge compared to the opposition, it will do you good to have it with your TIG welding machine.

Multi-Process TIG Welding Machines

Why buy multiple machines and clog your workshops when you can get a single multi-process TIG welding machine that does all the work for you. Besides saving you on space, multi-process machines are labor-saving as you can switch to a needed process much faster than you would by setting up an entirely different machine.

Another important advantage, particularly for those on a budget, is that it will save you money as you are not going to need to buy more welders. You can invest in a single welder that does all the work for you.

They are perfect for smaller types of jobs, DIY projects, or stuff around the house. For those, you don’t really need a professional machine so a multi-process welder makes more sense if you are not planning on becoming a career welder.

Output Current Type AC/DC And Aluminum Welding Capability for a TIG welder

When looking for a suitable TIG welder, there is a good possibility that you will be welding aluminum and magnesium at some point. Subsequently, you will need to be looking for a TIG welder that runs on both DC and AC current.

Most of the TIG welder reviews that I have on our list include machines with both AC and DC welding settings. However, picking a machine with suitable AC capability is important to weld aluminum and magnesium.

Using TIG Welder on Alternating Current (AC)

Alternating current (AC) TIG welding means that once flowing the current will not go down to zero until welding has ended. Most TIG inverters come with both AC DC settings, and there are only a few machines that have AC only.

Welding in AC current mode means that the current supplied by the inverter operates with either positive and negative elements or half-cycles. Simply saying, the current flows one way and then the other at different times.

The Square Wave

Square wave machines were created when more electronics were added to standard AC DC TIG welding inverters. Thanks to the advancements in electronics, the cross from positive to negative can happen instantaneously.

This allows for a more effective current in each half cycle due to a longer period at maximum.

Graph showing the square wave current on TIG machines

The use of magnetic field energy stored in a machine creates waveforms that are very near square. This will allow the system to control both positive (cleaning) and negative (penetration) half-cycles.

Maximum Penetration or Maximum Cleaning

Maximum penetration is achieved when placing the control to the position that will enable it to spend more time in the negative half-cycle. This practice will allow you to use a higher current with smaller electrodes as more heat remains in the positive. The increase in heat will also allow deeper penetration when welding at the same travel speed and balanced conditions.

Maximum cleaning is the opposite – Allowing the control to remain more time in a position within the positive half-cycle. It results in an active cleaning current that can be used. However, there is an optimum cleaning time, after which more cleaning is not possible and there is a greater possibility of damaging the electrode.

TIG Welding with DC (Direct Current)

DC TIG welding current is when the current flows in one direction. DC is mainly used for TIG welding materials such as Mild Steel or Stainless Steel, as opposed to AC which is better for aluminum welding.

Direct Current TIG Welding – Electrode Positive (DCEP)

Welding in this mode means that the TIG welding torch is connected to the positive output of the inverter while the work return cable is connected to the negative output. After establishing the arc, the heat distribution in the arc is around 33% on the negative side and 67% on the positive side of the arc.

In this case, the electrode is subjected to the highest heat levels and must be much larger than with DCEN mode to prevent the electrode from overheating. The workpiece is subjected to lower heat, resulting in lesser weld penetration.

Image showing DCEP TIG welding

Direct Current TIG welding – Electrode Negative (DCEN)

Using this method, the TIG welding torch is attached to the negative output of the inverter while the return cable is connected to the positive output. After establishing the arc, the current will flow into the circuit while the heat distribution will be at around 33% on the negative side of the arc and 67% on the positive side.

Balancing it out this way will result in deeper penetration and the reduction of heat in the electrode. The heat reduction also allows the smaller electrodes to carry more current compared to other polarity connections.

Image showing DCEN TIG setup for maximum penetration

TIG Welder Power and Metal Thickness

The main thing when choosing a welder is the thickness of the metals you will be working on. A machine with good capabilities will help you with precision work or any issues you may have with different thicknesses of materials.

However, if you are not really sure about the maximum thickness you will be working on, it is best to pick a TIG welder machine with a high amperage output. But besides a high amperage output, you also need a wide range as well.

image of stainless steel metal

Going with a machine with a power output of 200A doesn’t account for adjustability. You need a machine that can also offer a low amperage as a setting in addition to high output.

One of the best TIG welders offers the ability to work on both thin and thicker materials. TIG is usually used for thinner materials, like welding aluminum. So an amperage range rate of a minimum of 5 to 10 amps is more than suitable. But if you know the thickness of the material you will be working on, make sure to check the amperage range or see if it comes with amperage control.

Amperage Output –
Performance at Low Amperage or Low Amp TIG

Welding thin materials especially stainless steel and aluminum require good performance at low amperage. Simply having a welder with amperage specifications that go as low as 5 amps or 10 amps may not be enough. Welders with low amperages may also experience fluctuations or impairments and especially as the arc strikes. This means that the quality of the weld can be compromised.

Suppose you want to be sure that you don’t run into this problem. You need to get your hands on a good unit. The ones mentioned in our reviews are all stable and have amperage control. You won’t have to check gauges all the time. Accounting for a better weld. Brands like Miller don’t only offer precision with their units but stability as well. It allows users to have a sustainable amperage from start to finish of their welding jobs.

Duty Cycle With TIG Welders

The duty cycle is another important aspect of a welding unit. The duty cycle represents how much actual work your unit will be doing in a span of 10 minutes and how much it will rest. After rigorous work, each welder will require some time to cool down. This mostly depends on the quality of the machine and the cooling system it has or the cooling equipment you are using.

The duty cycle is measured in percentages. So you will often see labels that provide a duty cycle operation of 60% or 50%. So if the number on the label says 60%, this means that your device will be able to work for 6 minutes before rest.

Therefore, each machine has rates for specific amperages to determine their duty cycle. It also helps with determining the peak current that you will be using. This is one of the requirements you will need to look for before making your decision and purchasing your new unit.

Here is also a nice video by explaining it.

Heating Protection

Heat protection is directly tied to a better duty cycle of your welding machine. More expensive welders plugged into 220v outlet frames or higher should have more than one fan to distribute the fresh air and remove heat from the machine more efficiently and reduce the dust and debris intake.

Having the duty cycle function protects the welder as well as your machine. Once thermal overload is reached, the protection will automatically switch on by switching your machine off. You don’t want your machine to overheat and burst into flames. You will save on expenses as you don’t need to get a new machine because of an unwanted accident.

Accessories: Foot Pedal

A good thing to have from the TIG welding accessories is a foot pedal. There are torches on which you can adjust to amperage setting and gas flow, but if you are sitting and working from your welding table, the solution is to have a foot pedal.

You don’t need to be an expert-level welder to operate the foot pedals. You will develop a skill quickly, and changing the heating input to a base metal will ease the job immensely, so check if your welder has a connection for a foot pedal.

Price, Quality, and Warranty

Even though some people like the YesWelder Digital TIG 200P, which offers the best value for the money, you still need to think carefully before making your final choice. You need to think about flexibility and versatility equally. But most importantly, you have to be sure that the machines will do everything you plan to use them for.

Determining the pros and cons is a good idea. But research says that more popular brands like Hobart, Miller, Lincoln, or Everlast provide more capabilities. The thing is that they are more than capable of allowing you to work all day.

However, if you just need a machine for regular work or as a hobby and don’t plan to do any entire-day welding, any of the mentioned units in this article is more than suitable. Always make sure to strive for quality fabrication in terms of your budget.

Another important aspect to consider is the warranty, More expensive machines come with an extended warranty. Extended hours of welding will accumulate a lot of wear and tear on your machine. It might affect the operating range of the machine and diminish its welding capacity in the long run. Five years of work can wreak havoc on your machines. So having a better warranty may be more favorable here.

Weight and Portability

This part is probably the easiest to understand; the weight of your machine can hamper and influence the quality of the work you are doing. It makes moving about the job site much more difficult (you may need a welding cart) and will strain the welder, especially if they are working long hours.

Therefore, if when you are picking your next welder, besides durability and the offered adjustments, be sure to consider the weight.

Lightweight products will make it a lot easier for you to finish the job well. You can even seek some with a shoulder strap to make it easier to move around. All in all, a lightweight welder will be easier for you and any kind of welding project you are working on.

Frequently Asked Questions [F.A.Q]

Why are TIG welders so expensive?

A: First of all, they are expensive because of the quality of the weld they deliver, then they use pure Argon as a protective gas to shield the arc and molten metal pool from contamination. Also, the technology of a TIG welder is much more complicated than, for example, on a simple inverter stick welder.

Is TIG stronger than MIG? (TIG vs MIG)

A: Yes in some applications, but both MIG and TIG have their own pros and cons and their own applications; the operations are completely different.

TIG welding is much more expensive than MIG. Much slower and handles dirt very purely but looks much better and gives the most quality welds possible. On the other hand, MIG welding is much faster, very easy to learn, and quite inexpensive.

With the TIG process, the heat input is done through the TIG torch ( electrode holder ) and an electrode made of tungsten alloy with 2% of a radioactive element called Thorium, and “add material” is done through a filler rod with your free hand.

With the MIG welding process, the welding gun’s consumable wire acts as an electrode and as a filler material that automatizes the process and speeds it up immensely.

Both use gas for shielding the arc and the welding pool from the oxidation of the weld. The shielding gas exposure to the weld will help in reducing the possibility of contamination. It is also important for the welded material not to come in contact with air before it cools off, so one has to check the flow meter of the gas cylinder and gas shutoff when working.

Can All TIG Welders weld aluminum?

A: Yes, TIG welding is a process primarily used to weld aluminum and stainless steel.

Do you TIG Weld Aluminum on AC or DC?

A: Welding aluminum is done by using AC. DC is usually used when welding steel. On the other hand, AC is the go-to method for welding aluminum. AC offers welders with the melting and cleaning option simultaneously and will resolve the problems that one usually comes when welding aluminum. With AC, the current switches by default and allows cleaning and melting to be balanced out just right.

Should I buy a TIG welder?

A: Buying a TIG welder is a good idea for many reasons. However, one should take into consideration the actual need for getting one first. TIG welders are useful for many things. They are necessary for working on thinner metals and can provide quality work. They allow consistency and are used for visually appealing welds.

If this is something that you strive for and will need to do at some point, the verdict is easy, and you should definitely get a TIG welder. But the process is hard for beginners, and it takes more time to master than with some other types of welders.


If you are on the hunt for a good TIG welder but don’t have the budget to spend on a costly one, check out the ones on the list above. I understand how hard it is to choose the right one as many of them are on the market. Each product here is a good option for inexperienced people without much expertise, but they also come with some major features that pros will enjoy.

There are various machines out there, and every person will eventually choose based on their own needs and preferences. Our reviews are here to help you better understand the choices in front of you and make a better decision. Spending more does not always have to mean good performance. Think economically and still get everything you need.

Photo of author

Adam Mason

Welder by trade for a decade and more. Now also a web designer and a blog owner. Doing product reviews and writing blogs about welding trade and perks and minuses of being a welder.

Leave a Comment