Chris is a teacher of Literature at a school in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He is also our favorite irreplaceable freelance writer who can turn such a boring topic into something that people read with interest and pleasure.
Thomas is a professional welder who gained his certification several decades ago and learned all the nuances of this job since then. When not at work, Thomas loves fishing in a lake near his summer house.
Last updated: October 29, 2020
Welding aluminum requires top of the line heat control to prevent burn-through because aluminum tends to retain heat. TIG welding comes second to none in controlling heat. The two-handed welding process is the most rewarding method to master as it produces high-quality and fine welding finishes. You need the best TIG welder to take your craft to the next level. With so many brands and models in the market, choosing the best welder that suits your needs and is within your budget will not be a walk in the park.
We scoured the market and came up with a refined list of the best TIG welders for aluminum. We considered some crucial parameters in our reviews like input voltage, duty cycle, weight, dimensions, maximum output, warranty, and material thickness among others. These features determine the welders’ versatility, efficiency, and convenience. For instance, it is easier to move around with a lightweight and compact welder and its maximum output will determine the thickness of materials you will be able to weld. Its duty cycle will directly affect productivity as it determines how long you can weld at a given power output.
"A dual-voltage TIG and Stick welder that features 10–200A output, 60% duty cycle and can cut aluminum up to 1/4” thick.110/120V.capable of welding 7018 and 6013.inverter technology with pulse width modulation."
"A dual-voltage TIG and Stick welder that features 200A/180A max. output, 40% and 60% duty cycle and can cut aluminum up to 3/16” thick.110/240V.MMA stick welding function with a stinger.rocker-style foot pedal."
This is without a doubt the best place to kick off this review. The AHP Alpha-TIG200X-2018 is a full-function TIG and stick welder with AC/DC capability. It has all the incredible features you would want on a welder including state of the art IGBT converter that makes it highly versatile.
The machine boasts of a robust 69-pound build. Its frame is impact resistant, thus can hold up well to frequent use. It features all the features needed for TIG and Stick welding like a metal foot pedal, pipes, an inverter, and a regulator. Also featured are top-quality TIG and Stick welding torches with all the fittings you need to get started.
Unlike most TIG machines, the AHP Alpha-TIG200X-2018 has straightforward controls that are super-easy to understand. In fact, it is one of the best TIG welders for beginners out there. It owes its simplicity to its 3-settings digital display that makes operating the machine much easier.
When it comes to power and duty cycle, it is hard to beat this welder. It has 2 power options; the 110v for maximum 150A output and 220v for a 200A maximum output. As for the duty cycle, you can crank it up to 220V and get a whopping 60% at 200A and 100% at 150A. This pretty impressive compared to other TIG welders within its range.
What makes it special? You will have to part with a hefty sum of cash for this welder but you will never regret the decision. It packs a punch with superior features that offer pulse welding for aluminum and other capabilities for other types of metals. It is a perfect choice for an experienced DIY home welder or a professional in a small workshop.
What cons did we find? Some users have complained that the welder’s foot pedal lacks ergonomics and can be a bit difficult to use.
Lincoln is an iconic brand popularly known for expensive and powerful welder models. The TIG 200 is one of their affordable options that offer outstanding value for money. It is a fantastic choice for beginners or home users looking for premium quality in a welder without decimating their bank balance.
As expected of a top welder brand like Lincoln. The TIG 200 has an exceptional sturdy build that can stand the test of time. It is remarkably lightweight, coming in at 46.5pounds, thus highly portable and easy to maneuver. It has all the features and fittings you would need to get started including; a flow-meter type of gas regulator, a foot pedal, a 10ft hose, and a TIG torch.
The machine offers unrivaled convenience with its straightforward user interface, a 40% duty cycle, and a dual input voltage of 120v/240v. its automatic gas shut-off also adds to its easy usability.
With the AC/DC capability, the machine can weld a myriad of metals. For Aluminum, you will get fine and beautiful results on the account of the AC TIG process which has a pulse signal system that offers the smoothest filler metal deposition.
What’s more, you can adjust the AC frequency for an adjustable bead width.
With this machine, you can weld from a 24-gauge sheet up to a 3/16-inch plate. You can adjust its voltage according to the thickness of the material to achieve a smooth and accurate finish.
What makes it stand out? This is a small and lightweight TIG welder that is beastly in its functionality. You can easily move around with it and it is capable of performing enormous tasks. It has superior build quality at a remarkably cheap price point thus a prime option for home users, craftsmen, hobbyists, and small fabricators.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? The welder’s duty cycle isn’t that impressive. At 120v, you get a 25% duty cycle for TIG and 20% for Stick while at 240v you get 60%.
This is by far the best digital TIG welder for Aluminum. It is a top flagship model for the renowned welder brand WeldPro. It has superb abilities that offer high-quality and fine welding finishes for aluminum and other thin materials.
Again, this welder sets itself apart with its digital controls. If you’re old school, you’ll find the absence of knobs and switches a little disconcerting but once you wrap your head around it, operating the machine will be plain sailing.
The machine has a tough 59.9 pounds impact-resistant build. The weight is perfect as it isn’t too light and flimsy, or too heavy to move from one place to another. Even better, it has a strong carrying handle that increases its portability. You will love its rocker style foot pedal and all the fittings with outstanding quality.
Another praiseworthy feature of this model is its amperage control settings found on its front-facing consol. This is a feature that many advanced welders will appreciate. With the settings, you can forget the pain of adjusting amperage settings with the foot pedal. It is especially helpful to welders who are extra picky on staying at a particular amperage range.
Moreover, the welder has pretty decent duty cycles. At a full 240V, you will get a 40% duty cycle of AC TIG welding and 60% for DC TIG welding.
Why is it special? With a 2-year warranty it is hard to find a better digital TIG welder at this unit’s price point. It has a robust build that will give you long-lasting performance and its duty cycles are also above average. The digital controls make it much easier to use though they need a little getting used to.
What are the flaws? Not everyone will find the digital controls fun and easy to use.
Everlast is famous for its professional-grade welders and the TIG 210 EXT does not fall short. It is one of the best TIG welders for thin aluminum as it has a ton of features that offer high-end performance and unparalleled convenience. This Everlast welder can easily find its way into a professional workshop and work pretty well alongside more expensive inverter TIG welders.
The welder comes in a tough 62-pound build with a metal housing and an exceptionally durable handle to help you manage its weight when moving around. All its features and fittings welding torches, pipes, cords, foot pedal, and remote control are of great quality. Its high-quality brass fittings are enough indication that the welder means business plus, you can cool it down with water to prevent overheating.
The welder utilizes state of the art IGBT inverter for both stick and TIG welding. This together with its dual 120v/240v input increases its versatility. The cherry on top is that it has automatic voltage detection. Its duty cycles are also up there with the best. At 240v, you get a duty cycle of 60% and 100% at 120v.
Its control functions are equally up to par. They are a combination of dials and touch buttons that will give you a super-easy and perfectly logical user experience. Plus, it has a 4-digit LED display and lights that allow you to access critical information easily.
Another noteworthy aspect that makes this welder a top consideration is its wide amperage range of 5 to 210amps. You can use the lowest end of this range to easily fuse any type of thin aluminum sheets or wires.
What do we love it for? It is hard to beat this Everlast welder with all its first-rate features like the advanced pulse mode that allows you to easily oscillate between AC and DC output. It also happens to be one of the few affordable professional-grade welders for Aluminum out there. Plus, it is backed by a solid 5-year warranty.
What were we disappointed with? We didn’t have any contention with this welder’s performance or build quality.
The Forney 220 ST PRO Welder is a TIG/Stick welding machine. The device can only carry out welding in direct current and not alternating current. However, the performances offered are almost professional.
It features high-frequency arc striking, advanced electric current control, and a high-performance cooling system, with two high-speed fans that allow you to extend the service life of the device.
One of the things we like, however, among other things, is given by the presence of the pulsed current mode. One of the most appreciated features of the welding machine is the solidity of its manufacturing materials; buyers found it solid and very durable.
The construction includes the use of aluminum, sheet metal, and die-cast parts. The product is multifunctional and ideal for professional use. Compared to other Tig and stick welders, this is available at about 20% lower price, so it is especially recommended for those who have to deal with a limited spending budget.
It costs less but, fortunately, includes an important operating mode, which is that of the pulsed current. You can use this welder on hard metals such as stainless steel, solid steel, aluminum, and cast iron steel.
Who says you have to break the bank to achieve fine and precise welds? The Lotos TIG 200 is one of the best entry-level TIG welders for Aluminum on the market. It has more than enough features that will give you the best beginner welding experience on your home repairs and simple DIY jobs.
The welder has a pretty durable build with a perfect weight of 58 pounds. It wouldn’t weigh you down and at the same time, it feels solid. It has a couple of features that make it a real bargain like an MMA/stick clamp, a ground clamp, an argon regulator, a foot pedal, and a TIG torch among others.
With its square wave inverter technology, you can work on multiple metals including aluminum copper, and tin. Its 110v/220v dual input voltage also contributes to its versatility. Even more, the machine has an automated switch process that simply detects the required voltage for a certain metal and adjusts itself accordingly.
The welder has an impressive duty cycle of 60% at both 150A for 110V and 190A for 220V. This allows you to weld metals as thin as 6mm and as thick as 1/4-inch.
Further, the machine features a precise foot pedal heat control which combines with the high-frequency start hand torch control to offer you precise welding. Also featured is a PAPST cooling system that helps to cool down the machine’s plasma cutter faster for a stable and durable performance.
Why is it special? Just like other LOTOS welding machines, the TIG 200 offers a very stable and durable performance. Its features are well balanced such that a seasoned welder would make the most out of it and a beginner would wrap his head around its usability quickly.
What are the flaws? Some users have complained that the foot pedal needs some getting used to.
In the realm of affordable TIG welder, the Amico MTS-205 is a top contender. Amico is a reputable welder brand popularly known for its effective and durable welders. The MTS-205 is often overlooked because of stiff competition from other popular brands but a single glance at it is enough to tell it is no mickey-mouse welder.
The welder is ultra-lightweight, perhaps the lightest in the industry, weighing a mere 25 pounds. Unlike most lightweight welders, the MTS-205 has unquestionable durability, thus a prime choice for an on-the-go welder. It is also a tad smaller in size than most welders.
The machine has a massive set of features and accessories that make it highly versatile including the IGBT inverter technology. Additionally, on top of TIG, it has MIG and stick welding capabilities allowing you to work on different types of metals.
Surprisingly, its duty cycle is also up there with that of high-end models. You get a 60% duty cycle at 205A maximum output. You also have an option between the 100v and 240v input voltage.
What are its best features? This is a fantastic choice for a beginner or a hobby welder. It is usually overlooked and associated with the lower end of the TIG welding spectrum yet it is one of the best Aluminum TIG welders for the money. It has a wealth on accessories, versatile functionality, and a superbly compact and lightweight build.
What could be improved? There are a few complaints about the welder feeling flimsy.
Things to Consider
There’s more to choosing the best TIG machine than just walking into a store and picking one that catches your eye. Other than the numerous brands and models to pick from there is a load of information that you need to put into consideration for you to make the best buy. This section has some basic guidelines that will help you better understand what to look for in a TIG machine. You will get to know what a TIG welder is, the benefits of TIG welding, and the features to consider when choosing the best TIG welder for Aluminum.
What is a TIG welder?
A TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welder, is an arc welder that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce a weld. It uses an inert gas shield to protect the weld puddle from airborne contaminants.
Benefits of TIG welding
Other than producing clean, precise welds on different kinds of metals, there are a lot more benefits associated with TIG welding including:
Welds more metals than any other welding process
You can use a TIG welder to weld various metals and alloys like steel, stainless, aluminum, copper, gold, magnesium, bronze, brass, and nickel alloys. You can use it to create art, do automotive work, or even do home building and repair jobs like welding bike frames, door handles, and lawnmowers among many others.
TIG welding creates high-quality clean welds
Where appearance matters, you can trust a TIG welder to give you the best-looking weld finishes. In fact, it is highly preferred by cosmetic welders who do sculptures, automotive work, or any other creative work. This is because TIG welders use a superior arc and weld puddle control to create clean welds.
You also get precise weld bead control with a TIG welder because you can control the heat input by pressing on a foot pedal. This way, you can heat up or cool down.
Additionally, unlike other welding processes, you wouldn’t experience any sparks or spatter because no excess filler metal is added to the filler puddle. You also don’t get any flux or slag because the shield gas (Argon), protects the weld puddle from airborne contaminants. As for slag, there won’t be any blocking your view of the weld puddle and even your finished weld will not have any slag to remove between the weld passes.
Another thing you won’t experience with TIG welding is smoke or fumes. Unless your base metal contains elements like grease, zinc, paint, lead, oil, or other contaminants, you TIG welder will never generate smoke or fumes.
TIG welding uses one shielding gas for nearly all welding applications
Since you can use Argon to TIG weld nearly all metals with different thicknesses, you only need one type of gas to handle all of your welding applications.
Weld in different positions
You can make TIG welds in various positions from flat and overhead to vertical and horizontal. This comes in handy when you need to work inside confined areas like roll cages.
Features to consider when choosing the best welder for aluminum
For you to buy a TIG machine that is suited to your needs, consider the following:
This should be a top consideration because it determines the type of materials you will be welding. It is safe to go for a machine that has both AC and DC capability like the Lotos TIG200. AC (Alternating Current) is essential for working on thinner materials like aluminum and magnesium. If you intend to weld aluminum with your TIG welder, then the AC capability is a must-have.
The DC (Direct Current) is suitable for welding thicker materials like steel and stainless steel. Most high-power machines have DC capability but because of its low melting point and other special features, it cannot be used to weld thin materials like aluminum.
This also determines the types of materials you will be able to work on. Voltage combines with ampere output to determine the overall heat input of the welder. If you are not sure of the materials you will be welding, it is safe to go for a welder with dual voltage and a wide range of amperage output like the AHP Alpha-TIG200X-2018. It offers the flexibility of working on different materials with varying thicknesses.
Again, maximum output and input voltage go hand in hand. Both of them determine the overall heat input of your welder.
When looking for a TIG welder for welding aluminum, you have to be extra keen on its amperage range as well as amperage control. Welding aluminum requires superb performance at low amperage and sometimes getting a welder with amp specifications that go as low as 5amps might not be enough. It might also experience fluctuations especially when the arc strikes and this may affect the quality of your weld.
This is why amperage control is a key consideration. It will save you the hassle of checking gauges all the time and guarantee you a high-quality weld.
This is another crucial aspect worth considering. It refers to the actual amount of work your welder will be able to do every 10 minutes and how much time it will need to rest. A welder has to rest and cool down after doing rigorous work. The amount of time it will need to cool down depends on its cooling system, its quality, and the cooling equipment you will be using.
Duty cycle is measured in percentages. Before purchasing a TIG welder, be sure to check its label for the duty cycle it offers. If for instance, it reads 60%, it means the machine will be able to run for 6 minutes before it rests. The duty cycle also helps you choose the peak currents you will be using on your projects.
Thermal overload protection
This is directly tied to your welder’s duty cycle. It prevents your machine from getting damaged whenever you exceed the duty cycle. The thermal overload protection modules of most welders monitor the internal temperature of the unit and cut power supply in case it runs beyond the safe thresholds. They come in handy when you work in warm environments or the sunny outdoors.
Some high-end welders like Forney 220 ST PRO Welder have more than one fan to supply fresh air and remove excess heat from the unit efficiently. They also prevent the entry of dust and debris into the machine.
Welding electrodes, also commonly known as welding rods come in different sizes. There are 7 commonly used welding electrodes that are perfect for a variety of welding tasks. For the best welding results, you need to know the best electrode diameter for your projects. For instance, the 7024 is ideal for welding thicker materials and the 6011 is the most versatile. You can use it with a machine that has AC/DC capability in all directions. Its superb penetration power is what makes it a favorite for most seasoned welders.
Whether you a beginner or a seasoned welder you should consider buying a welder with a user-friendly interface. A user-friendly interface will save your time and energy. Therefore, it is safer to choose a machine that prioritizes automation and digitization in its design. If features like high-temperature shut-down and balance are automated you will have an easier time operating the machine especially if you are an amateur welder.
Another feature worth considering is a digital display. Not everyone will love it, especially old school experienced welders but it will help you to follow the manufacturer’s instructions like the voltage, preferred materials, and power output. What’s more, if the machine comes with more preset features like voltage and amperage, you are likely to achieve precise welds.
Welder quality and performance
The quality of the welder and its performance should be your main concern when purchasing a TIG welder. You should be keen on its build quality and features just to be sure that you will get top-notch performance from it. To get the best value for your money, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of the model.
If you intend to do professional entire-day welding, go for top-brands like Miller, Hobert, Everlast, and Lincoln. They offer a wide range of capabilities and solid performance. You will have to dig deeper into your pockets but you will make the most out of it. On the other hand, if you are just a hobbyist or a home DIYer, then any of the models on our product list would suit you.
Portability is determined by the dimensions and weight of the machine. It is the size of your machine’s transformer that determines its size and weight. If you are a nomadic worker, be sure to go for a lightweight welder like the AmicoPower MTS-205. Also, choose a welder that has features that make it easier to carry from one place to another like a sturdy carrying handle.
A TIG welder that is backed by a generous warranty should always be your priority. A good warranty usually acts like a value-added proposition. Most manufacturers offer between 1 and 5 years warranty. The longer the warranty the more you can trust the welder’s quality.
These include foot pedal, TIG welding tips, and inert gas attachment tips. They are all necessities for TIG welding and some like the foot pedal makes the machine more user-friendly.
It is the inflammation of the cornea, also known as welder’s flash that is caused by overexposure to harmful UV radiation from the arc during welding.
TIG welders are fairly complex machines compared to other welders. They require utmost attention both during operation and selection. Therefore, choosing the best can be a bag of experience. With all the guidelines on this review, you should be able to make the best-informed choice without sweating it. Especially with our top-quality product line up.
Our call for the best all-around TIG welder was the AHP Alpha-TIG200X-2018. The 200-amp welder has AC/DC capability and utilizes the advanced Inverter technology for maximum efficiency and safety regardless of the metals you choose to weld. Our premium choice, the Lincoln Electric Square Wave TIG 200 set itself apart with a user-friendly interface and its TIG ad Stick welding capabilities.
Weldpro TIG200ACDC scooped the third position because of its versatility. Its incredible wide ampere range of 5-200amp and 60% duty cycle went unmatched. Its MMA stick welding capability with Stinger set it apart as one of the best TIG welders for aluminum that money can buy.