Which Tig Torch Should you buy?
Ok , lets say you decided to go ahead and buy a tig welding machine.
Now you need to decide what kind of torch to get...and you might even need to get more than one.
There are too many choices out there...air cooled , water cooled, air cooled with gas valve, flex head, rigid head, 100amp vs 250 amp ...you get the picture... so you need to know a few things before you buy.
If you are accustomed to using a small style torch whether water or air cooled, I can almost guarantee you will not be happy with a big one.
But lets talk about numbers for a minute so you will know how to order your torch...and lets separate tig welding torches into 2 categories just to simplify things....
And then lets divide air cooled and water cooled into 2 categories...like this:
- look for model numbers with a #9 like wp9, wp9v, wp9p. these are small air cooled torches that accept the small collets and collet bodies and tig cups.
- look for model numbers 17, 17v, or 26, 26v. the 26 torches are usually 200 amp and the 17 is usually 150 amp. These are pretty big torches , like almost as big as a chipping hammer. Try to imagine welding a set of headers and getting in and around the tubes in tight quarters with a chipping hammer. But....If you are going to be welding a lot of aluminum and you are dead set on an air cooled torch, you are going to have to use a 17 or 26 just to be able to handle the heat without it getting smokin hot before you are done with your welds.
going with water cooled solves that problem.
little water cooled tig welding torch - look for a model number 20 or 25, the little model 20 water cooled torches usually are rated for 250 amps and will typically handle every bit of 250 as long as your coolant pump is working good.
big water cooled tig welding torches - look for model number 18. rated for 350 amps You are going to have to be welding with some serious heat before you want a big water cooled torch. When It comes to tig torches, smaller is better. Remember the chipping hammer and header example?
A letter V usually means a gas valve on the torch body. This is usually only available in air cooled torches and is used for when you are rigging up a scratch start or lift arc setup with no solenoid valve for your shielding gas.
A letter F usually indicates a flex head torch. Useful sometimes... but flex head torches dont last as long.
dont buy your collets and collet bodies from your local weld supply...you can get them dirt cheap on ebay. Typically , you can get a whole assortment of cups, collets etc, for about 1/5 what you would pay at your welding supply.
And while I am on the subject , Ebay is a good place to buy your tig torch now that you know more about what you are looking for.
exit tig torch page and see other tig welding tips