Looking for the best AC/DC TIG welder to buy? You’re in the right place. In this article you’ll find all you need to know about AC/DC TIG welders, how to choose the best one and some reviews of the best on the market.
What is TIG welding?
Also known as GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding), TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) is an arc welding process that produces welding with a tungsten electrode that is non-consumable. The arc is shielded by an inert gas, usually argon. The arc heats the metal through the transition point provided by the tungsten electrode.
The weld joint can now be filled when the metal is heated and a filler rod is introduced which then melts to fill the joint.
Modes of TIG welding
Direct Current (DC) welding and Alternating Current (AC) welding are the two modes of TIG welding.
In DC welding, the electrons flow in one direction and in a steady manner. Welding with DC is easy and there’s little to no splatter produced.
It produces a smooth, quality finish and is good for welding all metals except aluminum and magnesium alloys.
Read: Best Aluminium TIG Welder
With AC, the flow of electrons does not go in one direction as it keeps changing, going back and forth.
If you’re looking to achieve great penetration, this is a good option. AC is good for welding thin metals. AC is used mainly for welding aluminum and magnesium alloys.
Subscribe and Join 13,976 people already receiving weekly updates from Vibelens.
What is an AC/DC TIG welder?
Simply put, an AC/DC TIG welder is a versatile TIG welder which can be used to weld all metals.
It gives you the opportunity to choose either AC or DC depending on the metal you’re going to weld. It can be used for both domestic and commercial purposes.
Reviews of the best AC/DC TIG welders 2022
Lotos TIG 200 AC/DC
This is a multi process unit which supports TIG, DC stick and MMA welding. It supports 110 volts, 120 volts, 220 volts and 240 volts input.
It has a duty cycle of 100% for 110 volts at 110 amps and 220 volts at 150 amps. However, for 110 volts at 150 amps and 220 volts at 190 amps, the duty cycle is 60%.
It comes with a control panel on one side of the unit which makes it easy to control and adjust settings. Its automatic regulator can automatically switch between 110 volts and 220 volts. It has a cooling system to prevent the risk of a fire caused by overheating.
It comes with a wide range of accessories including 220/110 volts converter pigtails, an argon regulator, a ground clamp, TIG torch, MMA/stick clamp and a foot pedal.
It weighs 58 pounds and comes with a handle to make transportation easy. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
PrimeWeld TIG 225X AC/DC TIG Welder
The PrimeWeld TIG 225X is a versatile unit with a dual input capacity of 120 volts and 240 volts. It also boasts of a wide amperage range of 10 amps to 225 amps which means you can weld metals as thick as half an inch and thick as 24 gauge.
It has a 40% duty cycle at 225 amps and 100% at 108 amps. Excited? Well there’s more. It is powered by an inverter based technology with a high frequency start and pulse width modulation.
It comes in an excellent package with a regulator, metal foot pedal and a CK17 American made torch with flex lines. On the front part of the unit are the user friendly controls.
It comes with a 3-year warranty and users have reported great customer service.
WeldPro 200 Amp Inverter Multi Process Welder
This is an AC/DC TIG welder which can be used for MIG and stick welding. It uses the Lift-Arc method to start an arc and comes with a TIG Torch. It uses inverter and silicon based technologies in operating.
It comes with a foot pedal but you can adjust amperage on the front side of the unit. It has user-friendly digital controls so you don’t have to worry about struggling to control while welding.
It is portable and even has a handle to make it easy to transport.
It has a duty cycle of 40% at 200 amps for 240 volts in AC mode and 60% at 200 amps for 240 volts in DC mode.
This unit does not use a lot of electricity like a traditional inverter welder will do.
It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Lincoln Square Wave TIG 200
With dual inputs of 120 volts and 230 volts, this is a flexible AC/DC TIG welder. It has a duty cycle of 25% for 120 volts at 125 amps and 25% for 230 volts at 200 amps for the TIG option.
It is powered by inverter technology and can store up to 200 amps of power on an internal microcomputer.
It comes with a ground clamp and cable, gas regulator, stick electrode holder, foot amortization, a torch ready-pack, and input cords, among other things, and may be used directly out of the box. It has a high frequency non-contact start to reduce contamination. It is portable, weighing only 46 pounds, and can be carried or moved around.
It offers a user-friendly UI that makes adjusting settings simple.
Weldpro 200 Amp LCD Inverter 5 in 1 Multi Process Welder
This equipment is multi-process and can be used for more than just TIG welding, as the name implies. It’s also suitable for MIG and Stick welding. It is an improved version of the Weldpro 200 amp Inverter Multi process Welder.
It operates on silicon-based technology. In comparison to other inverter welders, it is lightweight and has a handle, making it even easier to transport.
It has digital controls, an LCD monitor, and can weld both AC and DC materials in addition to aluminium. At 240 volts, it has a duty cycle of 40% in AC mode and 60% in DC mode. The warranty is for three years.
Read: Best TIG Welder Under $500
You should know these
The duty cycle of a welder refers to its ability to work continuously over a period of 10 minutes at a given amperage.
It is expressed as a percentage. If a welder has a duty cycle of 40% at 200 amps it means that it can work continuously for 4 minutes at 200 amps and rest for 6 minutes in order to cool down. The amperage level affects duty cycle.
At higher amperage, duty cycle reduces and at lower amperage duty cycle increases.
This simply means creating a welding current between the base metal and the electrode. There are three ways of starting arcs in TIG welding;
High Frequency (HF) start:
With the High Frequency start, the arc is started without the tungsten coming into contact with the metal.
This prevents possible tungsten contamination. The only way the tungsten will contaminate the project in this method is when it is over sharpened or the amperage set is too high. This is the only method which welds aluminum best.
The scratch start is becoming outmoded as inverter based welders are being produced. In this method, the sharpened tungsten is scratched against the metal being welded in order to start the arc.
Lift arc start:
The Lift-Arc method is started with a very low current such that the tungsten does not melt and then it is slightly touched on the job and lifted off to start the arc.
This refers to the rate at which electricity is supplied. It determines how much heat will be made available to melt the metal for welding.
Factors to consider before buying an AC/DC TIG welder
Combination of AC and DC:
Since you have it in mind to purchase an AC/DC TIG welder, you should ensure that the unit you choose supports the use of both currents.
Space and size:
You should ensure that you have enough space to accommodate the unit you plan on buying. The size of the unit should help you determine the amount of space you need.
To make your workspace even tidier and more organized, you can purchase a cart and place it in together with all the accessories that come along with it.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a unit for both domestic and commercial purposes, portability is a must. Purchase a unit which can be easily moved around and is lightweight. Even if it is not so light, it should come with a handle to make transportation easier.
You don’t want to spend money on the side purchasing accessories to be used together with the welder.
Consider getting a unit with a good range of accessories including, a foot pedal, face mask, cables, work clamps, floor clamps among others.
Power here is in relation to amperage. Since you will be purchasing an AC/DC TIG welder, it is assumed that you’re going to weld a wide range of metals.
As such you need a unit with excellent power. You should consider purchasing a unit whose amperage can be easily adjusted so you do that depending on the metal you’re working on.
A unit with an amperage range between 5 amps and 230 amps is perfect.
Ergonomics and controls:
For convenience and ease of use, you should purchase a unit with user friendly controls which are adjustable.
TIG welding is already difficult on its own and you don’t want to add your inability of adjusting settings to do that.
Some units come with remote controls which make it easier to adjust settings; you may want to opt for one!
Read: Best TIG Welder For Beginners
What size of a breaker do I need for a 200 Amp welder?
For a welder which is 200 amps and above, it is recommended that you get a breaker which is at least 50 amps.
How do I know the amperage to weld at?
The diameter of the electrode to be used should help you determine this.
For instance, at up to 220 amps an electrode which is 5/32 in diameter will weld very well whereas an electrode which is ⅛ in diameter will weld greatly between 75 amps to 225 amps.
TIG welding is a bit more complicated than normal welding but a TIG welder with AC/DC features will go a long way to help you on different projects.
Always remember to do all the necessary checks before you invest in an AC/DC TIG welder. We hope we’ve helped.
Subscribe and Join 13,976 people already receiving weekly updates from Vibelens.