TIG welders give you heat control, which is key for welding more sensitive metals like aluminum, stainless, titanium, or thin sheets. With so many TIG welders on the market, at a range of price points, it can be hard to narrow down your choice.
I’m going to attempt to make that easier for you.
When choosing the best options, I looked for:
- TIG adjustability features
- Value for money
- Machine build quality
- Brand reliability and support
- Overall user satisfaction
My personal favorite is the Eastwood Elite 200, which ticks all the boxes above and is excellent value for money if you’re comparing it to a classic like the Lincoln TIG 200.
Note: I purposefully avoided the cheap Chinese TIG welders as I have had bad experiences with them. Either they weren’t reliable, the parts were hard to find, or their support was non-existent.
With that in mind, let’s dive in.
A Quick Comparison
Eastwood Elite TIG 200
Easy to use with LCD screen
Pro features for the cost
Alternative to the Lincoln TIG 200
Lincoln Electric TIG 200
AC TIG for aluminum
Powerful but portable
Excellent for DIY shops
Well built & well reviewed
Penetrates well, smooth welds
Dual input: 110v & 220v
Everlast PowerTIG 255
Pulse modulation to 500 Hz
True low amp operation
Dual AC/DC welding
AHP AlphaTIG 203Xi
Feature-rich for the price
Preprogrammed amperage ranges
Highly rated with lots of reviews
ESAB Rebel EMP215ic
Designed for outdoors
Dual 120/240 input
Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD
Lots of features for the money
Dual input: 110/220v
Miller Electric Maxstar STR
Professional TIG welder
Versatile - 110v to 480v
Wide amperage range
Canaweld TIG AC/DC 201 Pulse D
Complete digital control
Handles stock as thin as 0.002 in.
Popular & widely available in CA
9 Best TIG Welders for The Money
Here's a list of the best AC/DC TIG welders I recommend:
1. Eastwood Elite 200 LCD Digital AC/DC TIG Welder
- AC/DC TIG welder
- Dual 120/240 input
- AC TIG/Pulse
- AC Frequency Control
- Programmable Settings
- Adjustable Pre & Post Flow
- Square wave power
- No-Hassle service
- 3-year warranty included
- Exceptional arc stability and build quality
- Excellent alternative to Lincoln Square Wave TIG 200
- User-friendly LCD screen
- AC/DC TIG and stick welding capabilities
- Highly portable at just 34 lbs
- Packed with professional features like pulsed TIG
- Comes with high-quality accessories including a flex-head torch
- Memory function for favorite settings
- Excellent and generous warranty program
- 20% duty cycle at 200A may not be sufficient for some tasks
- Good build quality but not 'elite'
- Minor manual design flaws
- Absence of VRD (Voltage Reduction Device)
- Advanced TIG functions may require a learning curve
- Stick electrode holder not included
Eastwood has become one of my favorite brands of late. I recently reviewed the new Eastwood Elite TIG 200 LCD welder and found it to be a fantastic option for both beginners and professionals, particularly given its price point. Compared to the Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200, it beats it both in price and features. You can read my complete comparison in the Eastwood Elite TIG 200 review here.
It’s a lightweight, dual-voltage machine that’s incredibly portable and simple to operate, thanks to its intuitive large LCD screen. With its impressive range of advanced features, including AC/DC TIG and stick welding capabilities, pulsed TIG, and memory function, the Elite 200 stands out in the market. It also beats the VULCAN ProTIG 205.
While it’s a great value with high-quality accessories and a 3-year warranty, the duty cycle is limited to 20% at 200A, which may not be great for lengthy, single-pass welds on thick metals. The build quality is solid, but perhaps not ‘elite’ as the name suggests, and some minor flaws in the instruction manual could be improved.
But considering the price point, features and the competing models it competes with, this would be my go-to choice for those looking to dip their toes into the world of TIG welding.
2. Lincoln Electric 200 AC/DC TIG Welder
- Dual voltage 120/240 input
- AC/DC processes
- 10 to 200 amp range for TIG
- Ready to weld aluminum
- Industrial build quality
- 20 pulses per second for heat control
- AC balance control for TIG cleaning
- High frequency no-touch arc starting
- Includes a foot controller
- Comes with a nice regulator
- Lacks key features
- No pre & post flow control
- No LCD screen
- No memory function
- No adjustable pulse ratio
- Runs on foot pedal only
The Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 is a trusted TIG favorite for hobbyists, craftsmen, artists and small fabricators. It’s easy for beginners with advanced features to take advantage of as experience grows.
This is an AC and DC machine, welding from 24-gauge sheet up to 3/16-inch plate. For aluminum, the AC TIG process on this machine has a pulse signal system for smooth filler metal deposition, yielding more beautiful work. Pulse modulation offers the ability to clean the weld puddle as it goes. It’s also got adjustable AC frequency for adjustable bead width.
An easy settings interface, 40 percent duty cycle and dual 120/240 input voltage make for a convenient welding machine that can be used anywhere. Lincoln Electric offers a 3-year warranty for this welder. There are some reports of this welder failing in the shop without much use, so a good warranty offers some peace of mind.
The only drawback of this machine is its age. Lincoln hasn’t updated it for some time now and is lacking some features and adjustability that some welders will want to play with as they start to advance.
3. Primeweld TIG225X AC/DC TIG Welder
- Pulse Width Modulation
- Inverter powered
- High frequency arc starting
- Includes regulator
- Duel input: 110v & 220v
- Has a CK17 US-made torch
- Includes metal foot pedal
- Extra wide 10 to 225 amp range
- 200 hertz pulse frequency
- 3 year warranty
- Costs more than others in its class
- Some complaints about flowmeter
Primeweld's TIG225X TIG welder offers the most versatile and easy to use mix of features available on an AC/DC TIG welder in this price range. Inverter based high frequency starting with pulse width modulation delivers a 10/90 pulse ratio from 10 to 225 amps, an incredibly wide amperage range for its class. A 200 hertz pulse frequency makes for a smooth TIG welder and adds true TIG ability for using one side of the AC cycle to clean the weld puddle. This machine has a 100 percent duty cycle at 108 amps, enough power output to weld continuously on ⅛-inch metal. It has a 40 percent duty cycle at full power rating.
Primeweld backs the TIG225X AC/DC TIG with a 3 year warranty and highly rated US-based customer service. The TIG225X ships with a metal foot control, a regulator and the much-loved CK17 American made torch with flex lines. This provides for an upgrade to water cooling by purchasing the optional CK20 water-cooled torch and water cooler from PrimeWeld.
The TIG225X is dual 120/240 volt input capable and offers lots of versatility, with a stunning array of adjustments on the front panel. 225 amps can weld ½-inch metal plate and 10 amps can get you all the way down to 24 gauge sheet metal. Owners rave about the welding quality with this machine and PrimeWeld is known for its amazing old-fashioned customer service. Users report excellent packaging and this machine comes with a nice selection of parts and accessories, though some owners have had issues with the included flowmeter. PrimeWeld has stood behind its product and solved these issues for owners that have encountered it.
4. Everlast 255EXT AC/DC TIG Welder
- Dual 120/240 input power
- TIG 240v duty cycle 100 percent at 200 amps
- Multiple AC wave forms
- 2T/4T torch trigger lock switch
- DC and AC TIG welding
- High frequency and lift arc start
- Pulse modulation frequency up to 500 hertz
- Gas preflow and postflow for better shielding
- AC balance control for weld puddle cleaning
- 240 TIG power 3 amps to 250 amps
- Water cooled torch, but no water cooler
- Reports of HF board failure
The Everlast is a DC and AC TIG pulse welder with dual 120/240 volt input power with a 100 percent duty cycle at its rated power. It features gas preflow and postflow, which starts the shielding gas just before the arc strikes and then waits until after the arc is off before shutting off the gas. This keeps the weld cleaner and means less chance of porosity in the weld bead.
Everlast gave this electric TIG Welder multiple AC waveforms, which let you fine tune the arc characteristics for TIG aluminum welding. Home workshop welders might never need to decide between true sine, two kinds of square sine or triangular waveforms. However, it’s nice to have the ability when your welding skills advance to the point where it’s useful.
The Everlast PowerTIG 255EXT is also equipped with a digital display, settings memory and microprocessor-powered easy setup parameters. The high-frequency no-touch arc start means avoiding any contamination of the tungsten electrode. There’s a stitch weld timer for doing spot welds and the Everlast PowerTIG welding machine comes with a 5-year warranty on this machine. 3 amp to 200 amp range lets you weld from 24-gauge sheet up to 3/8-inch plate.
5. AHP AlphaTIG 203Xi AC/DC TIG Machine
- 120/240V input power
- Large, color LCD screen
- Preprogrammed amp ranges
- 2T/4T Modes
- High Frequency and Lift TIG start
- Pulse in AC and DC
- Sequencer Function allows remote control without a foot pedal
- 200 amps of power
- Light enough to move around
- Pulse Mode
- Easy-to-use preset amp ranges
- 4T Mode for long welds
- Rear electrical outlet for water cooler
- Comes with foot pedal
- Long 3-year warranty
- Not for heavy-duty use or large shops
- Some don’t like the included foot pedal
AHP describes their AlphaTIG 203Xi as a TIG welder with professional-level features in an economical package, and that is not far off the mark. For starters, it has a digital control panel and a large, color LCD display.
It can TIG in both AC and DC modes, so lots of versatility, which includes welding aluminum. And it includes pulse in AC and DC modes, allowing users to minimize heat and distortion warping. Plus, the pulse feature helps to control the puddle width and blow-throughs.
Many users will find the new Rapid Set feature handy. This gives you pre-programmed amperage range settings when you enter the tungsten electrode size and metal thickness.
Rapid Set functions in stick mode as well (did we mention you can stick weld with this machine?). Simply choose the electrode type (e.g., E6011, E7018) and diameter, and the preset amperage range will automatically be provided.
The torch trigger can be used in 2T or 4T mode, which is nice if do lots of longer welds. Plus, the 2T/4T Sequencer function allows this machine to be used with a remote switch, allowing you to control and cycle programmable functions such as pre/post flow control, and start/end amps. This is handy in tight spaces or when you are out of position, where the foot pedal is not an option.
Professionals will appreciate the features included in the price, some of which we didn’t even mention like high-frequency arc initiation. Novices will appreciate the ease of setup and use and can grow into more advanced features. So, the AlphaTIG 203Xi is a good all-around machine, and it is a popular machine for this reason. But it is not for large shops or daily, heavy-duty use.
6. ESAB Rebel 215ic DC TIG Welder
- Flux core, MIG and TIG
- Large display screen
- 3-year warranty
- Dual 120/240 volt input
- Heavy duty weatherproof case
- User manual on the display
- Includes MIG gun and TIG torch
- Comes with a gas regulator
- Automatic settings with override
- On-board parts list
- DC TIG welder only
- This one is pricey
The ESAB Rebel EMP215ic TIG welder is designed to IPS23 standards for outdoor duty. The case is built to industrial standards for all-weather use. It’s got dual 120/240 volt input, 40 percent duty cycle, and is one of few multi-process TIG welders that do both MIG and TIG in addition to flux core, but it’s not AC/DC power output.
If you want AC for TIG and have the budget, check out the ESAB Rebel EMP 205ic.
ESAB equipped the Rebel 215 with a big, high-resolution digital display for settings with the user manual and parts list loaded into it. This easy-to-use machine lets you save four presets for each welding process. There’s a 2T/4T switch with a trigger lock for long welds to save hand fatigue.
ESAB’s Smart MIG technology adapts to individual styles, making small incremental improvements to the machine settings as you go. There’s also an automatic settings feature where you input wire diameter and plate thickness, and the machine processor sets up for you. This feature has an override for experienced welders and special situations.
The Rebel 215 carries a 3-year warranty, ships with Tweco MIG and TIG torches, and has a Victor regulator.
7. Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD AC/DC TIG Welder
- 120/240 volt dual power
- 2T/4T hold switch
- Wide 10 to 200 amp range
- Comes with a foot pedal
- Angled control panel
- High frequency pilot arc
- 200 hertz pulse modulation
- Preflow/postflow for cleaner welds
- AC and DC welding
- AC balance for cleaning oxidation
- Pedal isn’t high quality
- Reports of non-working current knob
The Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD TIG Welder is an easy to use TIG welder that runs on dual 120/240 volt input power and has both DC and AC TIG with 200 hertz pulse width modulation for variable bead width. The adjustable AC balance goes from 30 to 70 percent and cleans aluminum oxidation while delivering good weld penetration.
The Weldpro Digital is equipped with a CK17 torch with a flex head that uses standard American parts. There are quite a few complaints about quality issues with the heat control pedal. The Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD features a 2T/4T switch that works as a torch lock. This lets you make long bead runs without needing to hold the torch trigger down while MIG welding.
These TIG welders offer a wide 5 to 200 amp TIG AC range when using a 240 volt power source. There’s up to 140 amps on 120 input. The AHP AlphaTIG 200X includes a high-frequency no-touch arc start, keeping contamination away from the tungsten electrode.
The Weldpro Digital TIG 200GD has a digital display and it’s backed with a 2-year warranty and includes MIG and TIG torches, a regulator and an electrode clamp.
8. Miller Electric Maxstar STR TIG Welder
- 1- and 3-phase input voltage
- Uses any power source from 110 to 480 volts
- Memory card data port
- Updatable software
- Sleep timer powers down idle machine
- Among the top AC/DC TIG welders in its class
- High frequency arc starting
- Settings memory makes it easy to use
- 10 amp low end welds thin sheet metal
- 100 percent duty cycle at 175 amps
- Doesn't include a TIG torch
- DC processes only
The Miller Electric Maxstar STR 210 TIG Welder with High Frequency lift start is one of the newest additions to the Miller TIG welding lineup, designed for professional DC TIG welders for stainless and mild steel. DC can work for welding aluminum, but it’s a welding process not often done in production environments, because careful cleaning and helium/argon mix add too much expense. The MaxStar can provide the means to do it if called on, however.
The MaxStar has a standby power switch on the front panel to put the machine into sleep state, conserving power when it’s not welding. Miller’s TIG Pro-Set system provides factory presets to get you up and running quickly. The wireless remote means the Miller Maxstar STR210 TIG Welder is easy to use from 300 feet away without having to walk all the way back to where it’s stationed just to make adjustments. This is just one more feature designed for industrial use on this amazing TIG welding machine.
Our top pick, the Miller Electric MaxStar 210 STR is a great value, featuring a wide amperage range with improved low amperage operations, allowing much smoother control when welding sheet metal. A memory card port lets you save settings between machines. Auto-Line multi-voltage input, 100 percent duty cycle at 175 amps and Miller’s 3-year warranty earned the MaxStar 210 our Premium Pick.a
9. Canaweld AC/DC 201 PULSE-D TIG Welder
- 200 amps
- Handles 0.002 in. to 1/4 in. thickness
- Dual voltage input, 120v and 240V
- Adjustable pulse parameters
- 3-year warranty
- Digital control of all parameters
- Long warranty
- Automatic fan, better heat management, and dust control
- High-frequency arc initiation
- AC and DC pulse
- Adjustable arc force in stick welding mode
- Widely available and popular in Canada
- Not the cheapest option
- Lacks a 4T mode
- No foot pedal in the “silver package”
The TIG AC/DC 201 Pulse-D is a solid TIG machine. It puts out 200 amps of power, but it also goes low. That means it is excellent with thin metals, as thin as 0.002 in. If you work with thin stock, this unit might be what you need.
For those in Canada, this Canaweld machine is worth a look. You get free shipping across The Great White North on orders over $150 CAD. They do ship outside of the country, too, but you will likely need to pay for the international freight.
This welder also incorporates control over its pulse width and frequency. This gives you control over your beads. You also can also adjust the slopes, pre and post-flows, starting current, and many other settings. The TIG AC/DC 201 Pulse-D fits the bill for those who like control.
Other features, like an automatic fan for better heat management and dust control, show an attention to detail. They even used a metal face panel for durability.
Another aspect of this welder that many users like, is its size and weight (just 29 lbs.) make for an easy-to-move and transport machine. With the ability to work with both 120V and 240V inputs, you can easily get the job done when you have to go to work.
In short, there is a lot to like with AC/DC 201 Pulse-D, especially if you live or work in Canada with the free shipping. But this is not the cheapest option, and be sure to note the two options. The silver package does not come with a foot pedal, but the gold package does.
What To Look For When Buying A TIG Welder
Whenever you’re shopping for the best TIG welder, the main factors that should determine your choice are:
- What types of projects will you do the most?
- What specific functions do you need?
- What is your budget?
What Types of Projects Are You Planning to Do?
TIG welding is most suitable where bead appearance is important, like in bicycle frames or on truck bumpers, lawn furniture, and the like. It’s also the most appropriate way to weld very thin sheet metal because stick and MIG processes put too much heat into the metal and result in burn-through.
Aluminum and stainless steel are the other main places where using a TIG welder is the best way to get the work done because of its penetration and lack of contaminants in the weld.
What Kinds of Functions are Required for Your Work?
Although it’s possible to weld aluminum with DC, you will frequently see the rule that you must use AC output to weld aluminum. One reason for this is that AC welding allows high-frequency pulses that keep the weld puddle clean. Another reason is that a primary advantage of TIG welding is heat control, a crucial factor in welding aluminum.
Options to look for regarding available functions are AC vs DC capability, plasma cutter, ability to select the AC waveform, for example, square wave or true sine wave, and an adjustable pulse rate.
Multi-Process Machines Offer More Functions for Your Money
A multi-process welder can give you more versatility for the same money. Sometimes they can offer MIG or plasma cutter ability along with TIG.
How Much Can You Spend on Your Machine?
In the end, there are enough functions and technology choices available when buying a TIG to drive welder costs to the same level as building a house.
It’s important to decide what functions and equipment are most important and staying under your final number to find the best TIG welder for the money. Don’t forget to take the length of the warranty into account.
What to look out for
Some equipment is essentially necessary, such as a foot pedal to control heat or a flow meter-type gas regulator.
Does the TIG welder you’re looking at include these items?
Will you need to buy higher-quality pieces to get the real potential out of the welder?
Check The Duty Cycle Rating
Check the duty cycle rating of the welding machines and the output power they’re rated at for that percentage.
The duty cycle is the percentage of 10 minutes in which the welder can operate continuously before overheating.
A 40 percent duty cycle means you can weld for 4 straight minutes at the rated power. That’s actually quite a long time to weld continuously. You will find that the more expensive American machines seem to have much lower duty cycle ratings than the less-expensive Chinese-built welders, even though they cost more.
Remember the old adage about something seeming too good to be true?
This has to do with rating methodology. The expensive big-name companies are more cautious because professionals use their equipment on long shifts over years in tough environments.
Don’t forget to budget for gas cylinders, the cost to fill them, and optional but important parts like water cooling.
This is the Big Leagues
TIG welding is a big step up from basic welding skills, and TIG machines cost a lot more than other welders, offering obscure features not found on other machines. Educate yourself at welding forums and manufacturer’s websites on what terms and functions mean before spending your money on something you don’t even need.
With those factors taken into account, we believe the Miller MaxStar STR is the best TIG welder as it offers the most bang for the buck and it is designed with professionals in mind. Features like memory card storage, wireless remote control, Miller’s legendary customer service, and the lengthy warranty are some of the big reasons why I love the MaxStar as my ‘professional pick’.
If you don’t want to splash out on a Miller machine but want most of the important features, then the Eastwood Elite 200 is a great value option. While the price point is aimed at hobbyists and auto-welders, professionals will still appreciate the adjustability and extra features this machine packs.
The PrimeWeld TIG225X is also worth a look with great customer service in a similar price range.