So, you want to weld Aluminium. There are different types of heat-based welding, such as oxy-acetylene, air-acetylene, oxy-hydrogen, arc welding, MIG (Gas Metal Arc), and many more that you might use. However, some of these need heavy-duty equipment and protection. One very popular method for the semi-professional or hobby welder is TIG (Gas Tungsten Arc is also known as tungsten inert gas) which for beginners is a popular entry-level method and that’s what we’re looking at here. So, what are the “best aluminum tig welders for the money”?
We spent many hot hours – more than 70 – looking at popular and less popular brands, at different price points. We found that Tig Welder models with top reviews on some sites were OK but weren’t always the best tig welders for aluminum.
It’s in fact all about context. A good tig welder for aluminum for starters might be a different model to a frequently recommended high-cost brand. Then there is another specific use case where you need a highly portable tig welder for aluminum. Also stainless steel and aluminum are quite different use cases.
So we looked at seven best tig welders for aluminum. Before we dig into costs and features on our recommended list, let’s take a quick look at three best possible answers to “what is the best tig welder for aluminum”.
TOP 3 TiG Welders for Aluminium in 2022
So, that’s our top three best-rated budget and mid-range Tig welders for aluminum. Shortly we’ll look at them again in more depth, plus four other great models.
First, we’d like to go through why we think certain welders are a better fit or not.
What to look for in a home tig welder for Aluminum
Let’s start by saying that we don’t think very much of some of the more generic reviews and ratings you see on the internet on welders in general. Home welding thin material, for example, is different from professionally welding up a Car and definitely different than if you are working in a shipyard. So, give us break guys and don’t just trot out some topical buzzwords – do your research OK?
We assume you are reading this because it’s aluminum you want to weld and that this is TIG home welding in your garage etc. If you work in a factory doing welding, this is not the article for you. If this area is new to you, there is a nice short simple video of the basics of tig welding aluminum here.
It really comes down to whether you just want a TIG welder or you want a multi-purpose welder that does TIG as well. If it’s the former, (just TIG) then you have some simple choices about purchase cost, product quality, and supplied accessories. Top things to look out for include:
How much power (amperage) that it has can be important. More power is good, even if you rarely use it (because one day you might need it). You also need to be able to easily vary the amperage for different jobs – 5 amps to 230 amps is a good rule of thumb. Aluminum tends to need more power than some other metals. Watch out for welders that won’t work in a 110v socket too and that need higher voltage.
2. Ergonomics and controls
Simple to use and flexible controls are a big plus. TIG welding aluminum to a high-quality finish is already a bit tricky if you are a beginner and unless you are very experienced, you don’t want to be struggling with a complex product that is hard to get right. If you have a selectable pulse, this is a big plus for some trickier jobs. So is a quick change or variable torch. If you don’t have much control over the torch (or the ability to change the torch type) that again can be a drawback.
Some units come with accessories or even supplies that you would normally have to pay for. It is well worth considering some of the packages out there. Foot pedals can be useful, clamps too.
4. Special features: Waveform control, HF ignition, and lift-arc
We already mentioned square waves and also inverter features. Some models have quite a wide range of waveform choices you can dial in to get the precise mode of TIG welding for a specific job. Look out for models with square waves and soft squares.
Another feature to watch for is HF (high-frequency ignition). When welding aluminum, this lets the TIG welder operator position the tungsten electrode near the start of the welding job, and then simply press the torch trigger to start the TIG welding arc. This makes for an easier and often better initial weld.
Then there is Lift-Arc. If a TIG welder has a lift-arc ignition feature when you start the initial arc the welder’s tungsten electrode is briefly touched on the start point of the weld you are trying to perform and just as quickly lifted off. At this point, the start-up current is very low and that means, therefore, the tungsten point hardly sticks to the start of the job (which is neater) and the sharpened welder point is not damaged (which would otherwise happen and be an expensive hassle. The tungsten point is then easily lifted off of the weld. Special circuitry in the TIG welding machine senses that the contact has been broken and then carefully begins supplying a fuller or full welding current.
Lift-arc – if you can master it – is a cool feature (no pun intended) as it is user friendly and also very controllable. It is complex to make and tends to be on more expensive models as the whole thing must be very carefully controlled and calibrated to achieve really good results.
TIG welders can have a hard life and you need to have a well made and reliable unit. Some inverter models are a bit temperamental and all models need to be able to take a few knocks in your workshop or garage.
This matters to some but not others.
OK, if you want a multi-purpose unit, it gets a bit more complicated because, for example, you need to know how good it is at MIG or other types of welding.
The best TiG Welders for Aluminium
So, that’s some top tips on buying criteria. Now let’s look in detail at the seven presidential candidates for President of TIG Aluminum Home Welding.
1. Lotos TIG200ACDC 200A AC/DC Aluminum Tig Welder
Best inverter/square wave TIG welder for starters
This chunky and well laid out Lotos model is squarely pitched at home aluminum welders. It comes with AC/DC as AC is needed for good Aluminum welding – DC will not really cut it.
You get inverting and you also square wave welding, another big plus for aluminum. The look and the controls are a little Old School and might have come from Radio Shack (or a 1970s Mercury Coupe) but don’t be fooled – it is simple to use and really well laid out control-wise. Amperage wise it tops out at 200A which is plenty for this kind of use case.
If your idea of a holiday is to travel the world welding things in your hotel room, then the good news is that you get 110/120 V 220/240 V 50/60Hz operation. So you are good to go to Pennsylvania, Perth, Prague, and probably Pyongyang (if you are planning one of those North Korean welding tours). More to the point, watch out for good TIG welders that turn out only to support 110V as you ain’t going to be welding much Aluminum dude.
It’s a pretty generous set of accessories that comes with it too – TIG torch, MMA/Stick clamp, Foot Pedal, Argon Regulator, 220V/110V Converter Pigtail. Ground clamp and some consumables. You can also buy it from this store.
It should be obvious by now why the Lotos sits at the top of our list of candidates for the best welder for TIG Aluminum.
Verdict: If you really want to weld aluminum using TIG methods, the Lotos gets our vote and should get yours. It is pretty good at other applications too.
2. Lincoln Electric TIG 200 TIG Welder, K5126-1
Best square wave home welder
Our ‘red’ candidate This Square Wave welder is slightly higher priced but you get a lot for the money. That includes dual TIG and stick operation from one power source. A square wave is especially useful for Aluminum as the AC switching between positive and negative polarity means that the positive cycle will help remove oxide and clean up the surface. That means stronger and better-executed welds. So, if it’s home use aluminum welding you are after, then a good shot at the possible great tig welder for aluminum title.
That lot means you get a lot for your money – not just 73 pounds weight. OK, on to the extra goodies – 200 amp power, really robust design, foot pedal and other accessories, continuous HF for aluminum welding mode, dual voltage operation, waveform selection, etc.
So, although this is targeted at the home or the hobby market it is a serious product. You can also order it here.
Yes, there are way cheaper models out there – but nothing like the quality and longevity of this big red President Lincoln.
Verdict: If you have the cash and its home use aluminum welding you are after, then this luxury Lincoln is a good shot at the possible best tig welder for aluminum title.
3. 2021 Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Welder
Best budget 3 in 1 with TIG/Mig/Arc Stick
It’s hard to compare this multi-mode Weldpro unit with the first two rivals on our list as it does so much more than TIG aluminum welding, You get MIG and Stick as well as TIG. If it’s TIG you are after and aluminum is your focus, then you’ll like the 200 amp power, 220V operation (110v is possible too but you are unlikely to use that for Aluminum) and a lift arc tig feature, and comes with a specific tig torch.
Verdict: A great all-round product from Weldpro at a reasonable price
4. HeroCut AC/DC TIG200P Pulse Aluminum Welder
Best heavy duty TIG welder for Aluminum
OK enough with the lightweight models, let’s get into some heavy metal – or more accurately AC/DC with this big beast from Herocut. The dual handles on the top and MaRSHALL Amp style switches and rotary controls do indeed make it look like something Angus Young would plug his guitar into for ‘Thunderstruck’. Sadly, The supplied foot pedal does not do wah-wah, and in fact what this TIG200 is, in reality, is a Pulse aluminum welder, with inverter ads selectable square wave. At 63.5 pounds it’s not what you would call portable but it is powerful and well-made.
Verdict: We’d buy it just for the looks but this is a very capable no-nonsense TIG brute. Whoever designed it surely played in a metal band.
5. ATO / Millers 200A AC DC Welder Dual Voltage TIG Welding Machine
Best mid-price home TIG welder
We mentioned the big brand of Miller of Wisconsin in our introduction and now here is one of their very capable TIG range “under the ATO badge” that supports aluminum.
OK this ATO is not cheap (though by Miller standards it is as a basic Miller Dynasty 210 aluminum welder is around $6,000) – and in reality, you could buy two or more cheap models for the same price – but it is amongst the very best quality in this sector. In fact, it is starting to cross over into semi-pro territory. It’s well made and you will be taken a bit more seriously by hobby welder aficionados if you post your picture with this ATO on social media. You can lord it over lesser machines with its full complement of must-have features, like the dual voltage, AC/DC, 10-200 amp range.
Verdict: You pay a bit more and you get a bit more with this ATO – but pay a lot more and you could get a Miller.
6. Miller Electric – 907514
Best high-end TIG aluminum welder for the hobbyist
Now we come to a real Miller welder. Let’s start upfront saying this is serious money – but not necessarily out of the range of the well-to-do home welder. It is quite simply the best TIG aluminum welder on our list – if you are prepared to pay the big bucks.
For a big chunk of cash, you get Built-in pulse and advanced AC waveforms all deliver at up to a whopping 280 amps. Both TIG arc and Stick arc welding are supported. You get a big choice of AC features, including various square, soft square and other advanced waveforms and a big gamut of ranges of balance and frequency.
It’s not for the novice but if you are serious – then this is a serious Aluminum welder.
Verdict: If your welding hobby starts to get serious then this Miller will take you to the next level – but you are going to pay big bucks to get there.
7. MTS-205 205 Amp MIG/TIG-Torch/Stick Arc Combo Welder
Best budget TIG Aluminium welder
Let’s finish off with an exceptionally affordable inverter model from MTS. Despite its low price and relatively compact size it still packs 205A power, dual AC/DC power, and a wave-form control system. It is happy welding up to 1/2″ aluminum. Not bad for such a low price. You could, in fact, buy more than 10 of these for the same price as the Miller. So, has to worth thinking about, right?
Verdict: It’s hard to argue with the price of this Amico, which is real value for money.
Cheapest TIG Welder for Aluminum
So our seven candidates have made their pitch and now it’s time for you to vote. As you’d expect and as we mentioned, it’s hard to make a direct comparison between a 500 dollar TIG machine and a 5,000 dollar higher-end model. Also, it’s not really fair to compare TIG or TIG/Stick only single use welders with combined MIG/TIG multi-function products.
We hope though we have given you some insights into what to look for and why.
Thanks for reading and please send us any comments.