Posted on Jan 31, 2022
With so many options out there, it can be a bit of a minefield deciding which Tig torch you need. Of course it’s tempting to go for a one size fits all approach and use the same torch for everything. Let’s be honest…plenty of us have been there! But selecting the right torch is key to ensuring the best weld possible for your job.
The first choice to make is Gas or Liquid-Cooled. Liquid-Cooling the torch allows it to handle higher currents without overheating and to weld for longer periods of time. Liquid- Cooling also benefits your consumables by keeping them cooler and therefore helping to prolong their lifespan. However, Liquid-Cooled Tig setups are more costly, both in upfront costs such as the torch itself and additional equipment such as cooler units, as well as higher ongoing maintenance requirements.
Air-Cooled torches allow more flexibility in location – you don’t need so much kit. If you’re travelling to different jobs, Gas-Cooled is more convenient. But, you are limited on how long you can continuously weld as they can overheat, and Air-Cooling is not really suitable for higher amperages for the same reason. Of course, this may not be an issue dependant on the job and it’s really down to the requirements of your application. But, if you need to weld at high amperages, or you find yourself constantly having to stop welding because your torch is too hot, the improvements in productivity and performance from a Liquid-Cooled Tig torch will really outweigh the overall costs, even if that initial upfront outlay is a bit daunting.
Generally as a rule, Air-Cooled torches are best for thinner materials, jobs where you need portability and small projects, whereas Liquid-Cooled are better suited to large scale projects, thicker materials and aluminium welding. If you want to weld continually, go for Liquid-Cooled. If you’re only doing small jobs and you don’t need to weld for long periods of time, Air-Cooled is probably going to work for you.
What size Tig torch?
Next we’re onto sizing. Smaller torches allow for better accessibility, particularly in hard to reach spots. Plus, they’re lighter and more comfortable to hold. But, smaller torches can only handle lower currents due to the size – the higher the amperage requirements, the bigger the torch you need to be able to carry that current. This is where Liquid-Cooling can help. For example, our SGT9 and SGT20 are the same size, but being Liquid-Cooled, the SGT20 can handle higher amperages.
A good compromise is the SGT17. It’s more powerful than the SGT9, but lighter than the more heavy-duty SGT26.
The SGT17 is a useful all-rounder torch. If you are going to be welding a variety of different materials, then this is a popular option for a portable set-up that can be used on most machines (if you do want to go for that one-size-fits all approach, this could be the one!)
So which Tig torch should I choose?
Overall there is no right or wrong answer; it really depends on the requirements of the job at hand, and of course personal preference. If you need to weld in tight or difficult to access areas, look at smaller torches. If you need portability, Air-Cooled is the obvious choice. If you need higher amperages and to weld with little downtime, Liquid-Cooled will enable you to weld for longer without overheating.
If you are going to be welding for long periods, we also recommend looking for a torch that’s been designed specifically with the comfort and ergonomics of the welder in mind, like our Suregrip Tig range.
For more information on our different Tig ranges, and more detailed information on the options available, visit our Tig section https://www.parkertorchology.com/product/tig-welding/