How Do I Choose the Best Used TIG Welder?

K'Lee Banks

Anyone who is an experienced welder and metal fabricator knows how valuable a tungsten inert gas (TIG) welder is in the workplace. Purchasing a used TIG welder can help cut down on overall welder cost, particularly if you run a small business or are a self-employed welder and metal fabricator. Although a used welder can provide cost savings, the buyer should be certain the machine possesses all the required welder functions. You can soon negate your savings, and cost a company money in repairs and downtime, if you don’t take into consideration the overall quality of the used TIG welder, its available functions, and its output.

Welding goggles.
Welding goggles.

TIG welding is appropriate to weld any metal a novice, or even an expert, may encounter, from aluminum to stainless steel to titanium. It has a wider range of applications than either stick or metal inert gas (MIG) welding. The process of choosing the best used TIG welder requires consideration of the job at hand, the products the company fabricates, and the specific welder functions that are available on today’s market. Many newer models offer functions that some older machines do not, such as pulse arc. It is usually more cost productive to spend the extra money for relevant TIG functions suitable for the current job, than spend less initially only to find out that the used TIG welder doesn’t meet your needs and have to upgrade.

TIG welding is versatile and uses less energy than other welding methods.
TIG welding is versatile and uses less energy than other welding methods.

As you ponder what the best used TIG welder for your needs would be, consider the welder functions your business requires, particularly those that will make the process faster and more efficient. Some common functions include applied current/direct current (AC/DC) options; gas adjustments for both pre- and post-operation stages; and hot start function. Also often included are controls for downslope and upslope functions; mode selection for operating torch and cooling fluid refill; selections for remote control; gas test function; and TIG arc contact with high frequency (HF) ignition. Other features vary by welder make and model, but extra features usually mean higher costs. A used TIG welder may range in price from several hundred US dollars (USD) to the $5,000 USD range; however, new welders can start in the thousands of dollars and go up from there, depending on the model.

Certain additional features you may want to consider in a used TIG welder can make welding easier and more efficient. For instance, a push button control panel provides convenient access to all available controls and functions. Wave output provides control over the shaping of the wave bead. Pulse mode allows setting parameters for accurate control of weld shape, while TIG modes provide control over the slope, repeat, and spot weld crater and weld cycle.

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