Last updated on April 7th, 2023
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is known for its precision, versatility, and high-quality welds. It is much better than traditional welding methods.
You can use TIG welding to weld a variety of metals including steel, aluminum, and copper.
However, the TIG method is not only an effective but also an expensive method of welding. It requires a precise and sophisticated welding process that in turn requires a high level of technology.
The exact cost of a TIG welder depends on multiple factors. There are TIG welders ranging from simply $100 to $3500. The expensive welding machines come with additional features and higher technological upgrades.
In this article, we will be discussing everything that affects the cost of a TIG welder. Let’s dive into the details.
Types of TIG welders
There are two main types of TIG Welders that are used widely all over the world:
Inverter-Based TIG Welders
Inverter-based TIG welders also known as portable TIG welders are lightweight and easy to carry. You can take them with you for on-site welding jobs.
These machines come in a compact design that is easier to carry and travel with. You can carry them alone to the work site and get the welding job done, before returning with the machine.
Adding to this, these machines consume less power which makes them more cost-efficient as compared to the other type of TIG welders.
However, they are not suitable for heavy-duty welding. Also, portable TIG welders are very expensive. The final price depends on several factors that we will be discussing later down below, but they are still considered very expensive machines.
Transformer-Based TIG Welders
Transformer-based TIG welders are bulkier and heavier. They are not easy to carry around and are usually stationed in one place.
It’s not like they are immovable but moving them from one place to another is certainly a hassle and definitely not the job of a single person.
Compared to compact and portable TIG welders, these ones do seem outdated, but that is not the case.
Transformer-based TIG welders are built for durable and heavy-duty welding applications. While the portable TIG welder is very limited, these ones can be used for anything. They do consume more power but also yield finer and better welds.
TIG Welder Price Ranges
Generally, TIG welders can be divided into three main categories based on their cost.
Here’s a brief overview:
Budget TIG Welders (under $500)
These are basically entry-level machines that are designed for beginners. They have lower amperage and are also limited in terms of their application.
So, you cannot weld metals that are too thick with these machines. They just come with a basic set of accessories and may not be as durable as some of the expensive models.
Their price range starts from just 100 dollars and can range up to 500 dollars.
Mid-Range TIG Welders ($500-$1500)
These are versatile TIG welders with a wider range of amperage, duty cycle, features, and higher-quality accessories. You can weld thicker materials with these machines.
Some of the mid-range welders come with more advanced features such as pulse welding, adjustable AC capabilities, and a specific controller or foot pedal.
Compared to the budget model, these machines are more durable and have a higher service life. They can range from 500 dollars to 1500 dollars.
High-End TIG welders ($1500 and up)
These are professional-grade TIG welders that are designed for heavy-duty applications. They are made for the most complex and sophisticated projects and are able to handle just any task.
High-end TIG welders offer a wider range of amperage or power output and come with the most advanced features. They are the most durable machine made with the highest quality components.
These machines provide welders with industrial-grade settings and come from reputable brands with reliable customer support and a long-lasting warranty. They start from 1500 dollars and can range up to 3500 dollars or more.
Cost Breakdown of TIG Welding
The cost of TIG welding varies greatly depending on several factors. In general, TIG welding costs can be divided into two main categories.
TIG Welder Machine Cost
There are various factors that affect the cost of a TIG welder. When you are shopping for a TIG welder, you must get these factors into account to estimate the final cost of your machine.
A. Power output
The power output of a TIG welder mainly determines its welding capabilities. It means that TIG welders that have higher power output are more suitable for welding thicker materials.
The higher the power output a TIG welder has, the more expensive it is going to be. Expensive ones are bigger, badder, and can handle tough and demanding welding jobs.
Ideally, TIG welders with higher output are preferred by professionals and commercial-grade users, while the ones
B. Duty cycle
The duty cycle refers to the amount of time a welder can operate before it overheats. So, obviously, welding machines with higher-duty cycles will be expensive.
Professionals and heavy-duty users need to work on large and complex welding projects that require continuous use of welding machines and cannot bear the expense of downtime. So, they will choose expensive TIG welders with high-duty cycles.
On the other hand, low-scale users of the machine would not worry about the duty cycle much as their task is neither demanding nor complex and they can easily manage the downtime. So, they can go with a less-expensive machine with a lower-duty cycle.
C. AC/DC capabilities
TIG welders come with either just DC capability or both AC/DC capabilities. The ones with later functionality are more expensive.
Here’s a simpler explanation. The machine with just a DC current has limited application and cannot be used to weld aluminum.
So, if you want your TIG welder to have versatile capabilities and to be able to weld through anything including steel and aluminum, then it should have both AC and DC capabilities.
Portability is another factor that significantly influences the cost of a TIG welder. Smaller and more portable TIG welders are often less expensive when compared to larger transformer-based models.
Now, you might think that portable models should be more expensive and yes there are some special ones that are really expensive but generally, the portable means a lower duty cycle, less power output, and fewer capabilities which also reduces the cost.
E. Brand Reputation
The cost of a TIG welder is also influenced by the name of the brand. A popular and well-reputed brand is bound to have higher costs than a new and lesser-known brand in the market.
The higher cost is usually because brands have better customer support, better product quality, and better warranties, which justify their costs.
Lesser known brands might use lower grade materials in their machine and might not provide reliable customer support or warranty on the product, which helps them maintain the lower costs.
F. Extra features
The machine can come with tons of extra features that may or may not include foot pedals, remote control, pulse control, digital display, and other features.
These features are bound to enhance your welding experience but on the other hand, they also increase the cost of the TIG welder.
So, if you are going to be investing in a TIG welder, you must take the above-mentioned factors into account which will help you set the right budget range for the TIG welder.
TIG Welding Accessories Cost
In addition to the TIG welder, there are several accessories that are required to complete the set. These accessories will cost you a bit extra and will add to the overall welding cost.
1. Tungsten Electrodes
The tungsten electrode is the most significant component of a TIG welder. Although your primary machine might come with an electrode, you will need to purchase some more for future use.
These electrodes are responsible for creating the arc that melts the metal to create the weld pool. They are available in a variety of sizes and types depending on the use. The cost can vary depending on your choice.
These electrodes can cost from $10 to $20 each.
2. Filler Metal
The filler metal is also a crucial component of this type of welding. TIG welding is the only method of welding where the filler metal is optional and might not be required in some welding processes.
However, depending on the weld joint, you might have to use filler material which is available in a variety of types and sizes. The cost of the filler material will again depend on the quantity and type of material you use. It can vary greatly.
Usually, the cost of filler material ranges from $50 to $100 per pound.
TIG welding requires a shielding gas to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination. There are various types of gas you can use.
You can use either noble gasses like Argon or Helium which are commonly used or specific blends of gasses to achieve desired welding results. You will have to purchase gas cylinders that are available in various sizes.
The cost of gas will add up to the total cost of welding. The cost of a gas tank ranges from $50 to $100 per tank.
4. Shielding Gas Regulator and Hose
A regulator and a hose are required to control the flow and quantity of shielding gas used in TIG welding. Based on the specific application, you might have to use a specific flow of gas for welding.
Higher flow means more gas will be consumed but also means you will get a better weld. There is a wide range of these accessories available and their cost depends on the type and features of the product you choose.
The regulator and hose can cost you around 50-70 dollars.
5. Safety Gear
Safety gear is a must with TIG welding or any type of welding. You have to protect the sensitive areas of your body from the welding and also your body as a whole from electric current.
You have to purchase a welding helmet, or welding gas to protect your eyes and face. Then you will need welding gloves to protect your hands. These two are a must.
Other safety gear includes welding shoes that will protect you from electrocution and full-sleeve welding clothes that are resistant to flame. You must not compromise on the safety gear or you will get injured or face worse if an accident occurs.
You can purchase all of the safety gear for 100-150 dollars in good quality.
Total Cost Breakdown
So, all in all, the total cost of the accessories will be around $250 to $450 depending on the material you choose at each point. Adding to the cost of the TIG welder machine itself, it can become quite expensive.
Why Are TIG Welders Expensive?
TIG welding requires a sophisticated welding process which in turn requires a higher level of technology and machine components. So, it has a higher price point as compared to other types of welding machines.
With TIG welders, you get the most precise and high-quality welds, which ensure accuracy in the welding process. The complex welding process results in a higher cost of production of welding machines.
Not to mention the high-quality components and materials that withstand the high temperatures that are associated with the welding. Considering the tungsten electrode and shielding gas alone, the cost of TIG welding increases significantly.
Various factors influence the cost of TIG welders and we have discussed most of them above. These factors and accessories increase the overall cost of the machine and welding process.
While these machines are expensive, they do justify the cost by providing precision and high-quality welds. TIG welding is considered a good investment by professionals.
Rent a TIG Welder
It is not necessary to purchase a TIG welder. There are various rental companies that will rent you a TIG welder if you only need it for a short period of time.
The rental companies have all sorts of machines available. So, you can purchase the portable model or the heavy-duty model depending on your need.
I would like to point out that if you will be using the machine for a little longer than a short period then the rental costs will add up very quickly combined with the cost of accessories you need for the welding process.
So, purchasing your own TIG welder might prove cost-effective in the longer run.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a portable TIG welder cost?
The cost of a portable welder depends on many factors including the brand, quality, and features. You can find them for as low as $500 and as high as $3000. The expensive models come with higher-quality components and better features.
How much to charge for TIG welding?
The cost of the service depends on multiple factors including the complexity of the project, the required materials, and the expertise of the welder. It can cost anywhere between $20 a $100.
Is TIG welding expensive?
Yes, this method of welding is considered relatively expensive as compared to other types of welding methods. TIG welding is extremely precise that uses specialized equipment and gives you cleaner welds.
How much does it cost to rent a TIG welder?
The cost to rent a TIG welder can also vary depending on the type of machine, rental period, and brand of the machine. It can range from $20 to $200 per day. The machine will come with the required accessories included.
How much do TIG welders make?
The salary of a TIG welder is not fixed. It can depend on various factors including the experience of the welder, the equipment he uses, his skill level, and the area of his operations. He can earn anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 per year.
To sum it all up, the cost of a TIG welder depends on several factors along with the cost of the machine and the cost of accessories.
Various factors like amperage, duty cycle, AC/DC capabilities, portability, brand reputation, and additional features influence the cost of the machine.
Similarly, various accessories also add to the overall cost of the TIG welding process. It is an expensive welding method but the quality of the weld justifies the cost.
By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose the right TIG welder for your needs. Remember to invest in safety gear as they are a must for your own protection.
With proper maintenance and careful usage, a TIG welder will last for many years, allowing you to make high-quality precision welds. It is a good investment for any welding professional.
If you have any questions, you can drop them in the comments section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Happy Welding!
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