Top 5 AC/DC TIG Welder Reviews
Last updated ago
9 min read
By 
Welding Buddy Experts
Published 
November 18, 2021

Top 5 AC/DC TIG Welder Reviews

Last updated ago
9 min read
By 
Welding Buddy Experts
Published 
November 18, 2021
BEST VALUE
Vulcan Pro TIG 205
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BEST CHOICE
Eastwood TIG 200 Digital AC/DC Welder
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PREMIUM PICK
PrimeWeld TIG 225X
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If you have gotten the hang of your MIG skills, you might want to consider purchasing a TIG welding machine. The TIG process requires a lot of skill, technique, and experience to produce optimal welds with a smoother bead and is well suited for lighter metal sheets and shallow welds.

To be successful in the TIG world, you must learn to be patient and go at your pace. With an abundance of choices available on the market, we have pared down the options to a few proven-quality AC/DC TIG welders equipped with various power outputs for maximum efficiency and versatility. Before we discuss our TIG welder reviews, let us make sure we are on the same page.

What is TIG Welding?

TIG welding or Tungsten Inert Gas welding is a subclassification of gas metal arc welding and utilizes non-consumable tungsten electrodes to produce a weld. While the specifics of TIG welding equipment have changed since its inception, the basic concepts of TIG welding have not. Practical TIG welding takes a while to pull off, but it sure is worth your while, with impressive and truly professional results.

TIG Welding Process

The TIG welding process forms an arc between a pointed, non-consumable, and positively charged tungsten electrode and the work metal, shielded by an inert gas like helium or Argon. The intense arc produced by the pointed shape of the tungsten is favored for applications that require high welding precision.

Non-consumable Tungsten

The high melting point of Tungsten electrodes used in TIG welding means these electrodes can be used repeatedly without fear of melting, unlike the consumable electrodes used in MIG machines.

The arc formed in TIG welding facilitates the melt-cutting of the parent metal while simultaneously melting a different filler metal to form the weld bead (except for autogenous welds like temporary tack weld.)

Inert Shielding Gas

Meanwhile, an inert shielding gas keeps the molten weld pool clear. This is usually Argon or an argon compound, though skilled TIG welders can use helium under some situations for faster welding.

The shielding gas is fed directly into the TIG torch from the welding system. The TIG torch contains the Tungsten electrode through a supply pipeline. When the heat is dissipated from an arc weld, the weld pool begins to cool and solidify, giving you a successfully fused piece of metal. 

When doing TIG welding, you must synchronize the hand-held TIG torch's contact with a filler rod as well as the electrical current variation. Having the electrode at the proper distance from the weld, maintaining the filler rod tip in place, keeping them in the shielding gas, and changing the current all contribute to the difficulty of TIG welding.

Should I Stick With MIG Instead?

TIG welders seldom change careers to MIG welding later in life because TIG is a more complex practice and is seen as a higher class of welding. On the other hand, MIG welders usually progress to TIG welding after gaining a few years on their belt. More accessible disciplines, such as MIG welding, often lead to TIG welding.

Learning to MIG weld is similar to learning to drive an automatic— what you need to concentrate on are your pace and direction. Meanwhile, TIG welding is more like learning to drive a manual— incorporating hand-fed wire into the mix is just as complex as shifting gears in a manual car. It is significantly more challenging to remember and requires more intense coordination and focus. It is, however, possible to master even without a MIG welding background.

With all that being said, it is time to bring out our top guns for AC/DC TIG welding machines:

1. Eastwood TIG 200 Digital AC/DC Welder

The Eastwood TIG 200 gives professional-grade TIG results without draining out your bank account. This 200-AMP AC/DC TIG was designed for thin steel sheets, metal tubings, and bar stock, as well as aluminum and stainless steel. It can maintain precision with materials thinner than 1/4-inches.

The Eastwood TIG 200 comes packed with a WP-17 torch, a gas regulator, a foot pedal, as well as a trigger control. Its amperage starts around 25 amps, gradually lowering down to 10 amps.

On 110v, it can weld up to 1/8′′ steel, but only on 220v can it weld 1/4′′ steel. It is also compatible with 208 volts. It can weld aluminum with a thickness of up to 1/8′′. A 220v connection gives you the best performance possible with this machine.

This TIG welder's latest edition has a single five-pin connector for the foot pedal and finger power. This replaces the original Eastwood TIG welder, which had two two-pin and three-pin foot pedal connectors, as well as one two-pin finger trigger connector.

Another nifty addition is its stick welding capability, a feature not seen in the previous model. However, the electrode holder necessary for Stick is sold separately.

Except for the AC functionality, this AC/DC welder is identical to the TIG 200 DC variant. A 20-amp breaker is needed while welding on 110v, while a 30-amp breaker is required for 220v.

If your shielding gas line ever gets damaged, you can have it replaced with a spanking brand new TIG AC/DC torch. A WP-9 torch works fine with his welder, but the trigger plug will not. If you read up on some Eastwood TIG welder reviews, you will find that people prefer this product for hobbies and personal projects while turning to more established names like Miller for heavy applications.

Quick Specs:

  • Applications: AC/DC TIG, Stick
  • Range of Amperage: 10-200 amps
  • Duty Cycle (TIG Welding): 60% at 145 amps(120v)
  • 60% at 190 amps (220v)
  • Voltage: Dual (155/230)
  • Thickness of Weld: 24 ga. - 3/16 in
  • Weight in pounds: 46 lbs

Pros

  • Versatile welding applications
  • Smart and Intuitive control display panel
  • Easy Amperage Management
  • Can weld varying material thickness
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Not built for professional use
  • Lack of Stick Weld Torch
  • Not as durable as other similar models

2. Vulcan Pro TIG 205

In this special Harbor freight TIG welder review, we present the Vulcan ProTIG 205 TIG Welder— a top model in Harbor Freight's TIG range with 205 amps of AC/DC TIG output, enough to weld 5/16-inch steel in a single pass. This is a dual 120/240-volt unit that can provide 130 amps while powered by 120 volts. The service cycle of this welder is estimated at 25% at full operation. Stick mode has a maximum current of 175 amps at 240 volts and 80 amps at 120 volts.

This machine features AC Balance and pulse frequency changes, all of which help to keep the weld puddle clean and allow you to monitor the bead characteristics. The Vulcan ProTIG 205 TIG Welder comes with a 25-foot lead and a foot pedal heat control. Some users dislike this pedal because it sets the amperage level in steps rather than in a fast, steady manner.

The 2T/4T trigger lock on the Vulcan ProTIG 205 TIG Welder reduces hand fatigue during long bead runs. It also provides a pulse current, which alternates the power output between high and low to minimize overall heat and promote better metal fusion. The duration of the pulses is entirely customizable. If you are in the market for a dual-input, AC/DC pulsed TIG but do not need 205 amps; the Vulcan ProTIG 165 has much of the same functionality at a much lower price.

Quick Specs:

  • Applications: AC/DC TIG, Stick
  • Range of Amperage: 10-200 amps
  • Duty Cycle (TIG Welding): 60% at 145 amps (120v)
  • 60% at 190 amps (220v)
  • Voltage: Dual (155/230)
  • Thickness of Weld: 24 ga. - 3/16 in
  • Weight in pounds: 46 lbs

Pros

  • Automated modulation of pulse width
  • Can weld both stainless steel and aluminum
  • Regulator included
  • Designed with heat control feature for foot pedal
  • High-Frequency arc start

Cons

  • Torch lead is a bit lacking at about 10 feet

3. Everlast Power i-TIG 201

The Everlast Power i-TIG 201 is a dual voltage input TIG welder equipped with a 26 series TIG torch, heat control pedal, an electrode clamp, and an argon gas adjuster. For an economical machine, it offers an impressive array of innovations. Everlast states that this compact welder can work in the same room just as well with the higher-ups like Lincoln Invertec and Miller Maxstar. Those models could easily cost three to five times the price of Everlast 201. 

While this welding machine will indeed give other brands a run for their money, Everlast has yet to come up with significant and established product lines. It is also important to note that Everlast does not have as many dealership branches and support networks. This could turn out as a hassle if you are in the market for stellar customer service common to other, more established American brands. 

The Everlast i-TIG 201 can weld up a 5/16-inch plate in a single pass at 200 amps in its DC TIG 240 setting. With five amps, this machine is already capable of working with 22-gauge metal sheets, making it a fine choice for auto body and ducting work. Moreover, the Power i-TIG 201 is backed by a 5-year warranty, which assures anyone some peace of mind.

Quick Specs:

  • Applications: AC/DC TIG, Stick
  • Range of Amperage: 10-200 amps
  • Duty Cycle: 60% at 175 amps
  • Voltage: Dual (155/230)
  • The thickness of Weld: 24 ga. - 3/16 in
  • Weight in pounds: 46 lbs

Pros

  • Choose between lift start and high-frequency no-touch pulse control up to 250 hertz
  • It has a heat distribution pedal
  • A gas regulator is used
  • Stick arc force is adjustable

Cons

  • Complaints of subpar customer experience

4. PrimeWeld TIG 225X

This TIG welder has a sound power output, performs excellent welds, and costs less than $1000. But do not let the low price fool you because this TIG machine provides decent performance more than you would expect. These seem to sell out quickly, so if you wanna keep your hands on one of them, better do it fast while they are still in stock.

With a maximum performance of 225A, the 225x is one of the most powerful on this list. It is dual voltage and will weld up to 1/4′′ aluminum and 3/8′′ steel at 220V. We have seen it on 225A on 3/8" steel, and the welds are smooth and of high quality. The duty cycle is excellent at 40% at 225A. You can also conveniently turn to stick mode to weld up to 1/2′′ steel, and it is 7108 and 6013 capable.

There are several knobs on the front to fine-tune the settings, and the power output is shown on a digital monitor. The knobs are pleasant to use since they are simpler to manipulate than clicking through digital menus, they are easier to use when wearing gloves, and they are certainly more effective than a microprocessor.

Since PrimeWeld is a newcomer to the industry, they have not stood the test of time like the big name brands. But the majority of users seem to be having a lot of fun with these machines. They provide stellar customer support and have a three-year warranty to cover your investment. The equipment seems to be of higher quality within the packaging than you would expect for the price. The pedal is not great, and it is a bit light, but it does come with a top-of-the-line CK17 Torch.

Overall, this machine is difficult to overlook, particularly at this price. It is ideal for a beginner TIG welder and experienced welders alike.

Quick Specs:

  • Applications: AC/DC TIG, Stick
  • Range of Amperage: 20-225 amps
  • Duty Cycle: 40% at 225 amps
  • Voltage: Dual (155/230)
  • The thickness of Weld: 24 ga. - 3/8 in
  • Weight in pounds: 41 lbs

Pros

  • Up to 3/8′′ stainless smooth welds.
  • Excellent value for capital.
  • Three-year warranty on the CK17 Torch HF start.

Cons

  •  Dual voltage 2T/4T button.
  • The fan is very loud.
  • TIG pedal of poor quality.
  • Long-term dependability is unclear.

5. Lincoln Square Wave TIG 200

With TIG and Stick welding options, the Lincoln Square Wave 200 provides a high level of flexibility. This enables working with a broader range of materials, including aluminum. When you need the bead to be more accurate and on target, you can use the TIG option.

It is a dual voltage welder, so you can use a regular household 120V outlet or hook it into a 230V for more power. The device comes with two power cables, one for each voltage, making it simple to switch from one to the other.

The welding machine has an AC balance feature for improved control of your weld. You may change the EN for this unit between 60 and 90 percent (electrode negative).

If you are welding a thin material and require a larger bead, more cleaning operation, and a shorter tungsten lifetime, you should use a lower electrode negative.

Instead of continuous output, the pulse mode allows for a pulsed current. The Lincoln Square Wave 200 has a pulse rate range of 1-20 per second.

Thanks to inverter technology, more power can be harnessed in a much smaller machine. This technology allows for 200 amps of power to be packed into a 46-pound unit. It stored and distributed power using an internal microcomputer.

This welding unit is also lightweight due to advancements in technology. As a result, you can take it wherever the job demands it.

Quick Specs:

  • Applications: AC/DC TIG, Stick
  • Range of Amperage: 10-200 amps
  • Duty Cycle: 60% at 175 amps
  • Voltage: Dual (155/230)
  • The thickness of Weld: 24 ga. - 3/16 in
  • Weight in pounds: 46 lbs

Pros

  • Excellent construction
  • An interface that is intuitive and easy to use
  • Aside from the gas tank, it comes with everything you need to get started
  • Capability for stick welding
  • The use of dual voltage
  • Lightweight at 46 lb

Cons

  • More costly than Chinese-made welders

FAQs

Is it better to TIG weld aluminum on an alternating or direct current?

Aluminum is welded using alternating current (AC). When forging material, direct current (DC) is usually used. AC, on the other hand, is the preferred tool for welding aluminum. AC provides welders with the option of melting and cleaning simultaneously, resolving the issues that are common when welding aluminum. The current flips, by contrast, allow washing and melting to be perfectly balanced for alternating current.

What Is the Reason Behind the High Cost of TIG Welders?

First and foremost, they are costly due to the high strength of the welds they have, and they use pure Argon as a protective gas to protect the arc and molten metal tank from corrosion. Furthermore, the technology of a TIG welder is much more complex than that of, say, a simple inverter stick welder.

The Final Arc

If you are looking for a decent TIG welder and do not mind spending a buck or two, look out for the welders mentioned above. We can appreciate how difficult it is to pick the best one because there are too many on the market. Each product on this list is a decent choice for new people with little skills, but it also has some extensive features that professionals can appreciate.

There are different machines available, and each person will ultimately decide based on their own needs and desires. Our reviews are here to help you better consider the options available and make a more informed decision. Spending more does not necessarily imply better results. Think economically but always put your safety and work needs above all else.

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