What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?
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  1. #1
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    Dec 2011
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    What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    Hey everyone. I hope this thread doesn't annoy anyone, but I'm a very novice welder (strictly hobby but I still want to learn well) and I've been really wanting to learn TIG welding.

    I enjoy welding and I will be welding a lot of sheet metal on my 1966 Mustang. I am planning on tearing out the cowl and welding in new metal. I have a Clarke 135 amp MIG welder that I got for very cheap and works perfectly.

    I've been looking at the HF tig/stick welders, and I've been thinking of getting one. I know "you get what you paid for" is always true, but how bad are these welders? This is just for a beginner trying to learn so is it still not worth it? And I was thinking it would be nice to have a stick welder handy.

    So what do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    I did it just to learn and I liked it. Figured it was cheap and if I didn't like it I wasn't out a lot of money, but I love it and then bought a miller.
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  3. #3
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    Thanks a lot Gamble! Now that you have a miller (which I would love to get), how would you compare them? How different are they? Is one smoother or easier or more durable? What about features? Sorry to ask so many questions.
    Edit: I know there's really no comparison between a miller and an HF but what I want to know I'd what specifically makes the HF so much cheaper.
    Last edited by UMfan92; 06-18-2012 at 10:30 AM.

  4. #4
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    I suggest an everlast 140st. A bit more money but still cheap. Around $200ish. U get dual voltage and digital display and a lift arc tig starting as well as a torch that uses all stardard consumables for parts. Being able to see an exact readout of your welding current will help with repeatability and fine tuning of your welding esp when u don't have a pedal. Which u don't really need for learning steel but is a must for Al. I got one u can try out if u r local..
    Oh. HF 90 amps is really not enough to stick weld too much. At 140 amps u can run almost any 1/8 rod without a problem

    Sent from my SPH-D700 using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 06-18-2012 at 11:02 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    Quote Originally Posted by UMfan92 View Post
    Thanks a lot Gamble! Now that you have a miller (which I would love to get), how would you compare them? How different are they? Is one smoother or easier or more durable? What about features? Sorry to ask so many questions.
    Edit: I know there's really no comparison between a miller and an HF but what I want to know I'd what specifically makes the HF so much cheaper.
    They are worlds apart as I'm sure you expected.
    Foot pedal, ability to go from AC to DC, the amperage, the torch, the duty cycle, pretty much EVERYTHING is different.
    I did it because I got it on the CHEAP. I got a tig torch for $1 and the stick welder for $130, bought some consumables and tank of gas and started to practice. For me it was great because of my lack of experience welding and lack of funds and hand/eye coordination (moving dipping etc)
    I wouldn't really use it for much more than practice or small thin material projects. There is a guy on this forum that does it for ATV or dirt bike stuff but I forgot his name. He is on youtube.

    My honest opinion though is to save up some cash and get a decent welder. A used Lincoln or miller. Jody from weldingtipsandtricks.com did a video and said the everlast was a good machine. Some people say they have the eastwood machine and seem to like it, which is probably the less expensive of them all. But for starters check craigslist and look for a used one, maybe you can score something nice for cheap.
    Torchmate 2x2 CNC
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  6. #6
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    I've been looking everywhere for a used TIG at a decent price but the cheapest I've seen is like 500 and I don't want to spend that much money now. I guess I'll just have to wait.

  7. #7
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    Do it once do it right. Save up for the right machine it will be worth it.
    Torchmate 2x2 CNC
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    261

    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    I've owned the HF 90 inverter arc welder. It's not a bad welder at all. 90amps is limiting on the stick side, but it's good for the average home repair. I own a PowerArc 140st and it has been a very good welder. It's dual voltage so you can jump up and weld with 1/8 rods.
    I came close to getting a Thermal Arc 95s which sells for $300.00 on ebay. You have to start somewhere and it's hard to justify $1,000.00 plus for an entry level AC/DC tig. What your buying is more or less a toy; your not looking for a machine to make a living from. There's nothing wrong with starting out small and then working your way up. You may get a small DC tig and never have a need for aluminum, but then again after you learn how to run a bead you may need an AC/DC tig. Save you a little money, learn how to tig, and then go from there.

  9. #9
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    I have the 165A Harbor Freight TIG and I think it's worth it for a starter machine. Granted I only used it for about 5 hrs total, none the less, the arc was nice and stable. Just about the only thing that sucks about it is the lack of a foot pedal. For random weekend projects and fix-ups, it would certainly get the job done. I'm just spoiled and really wanted a foot pedal and AC capability, which is the reason my HF is now sitting collecting dust, lol.

  10. #10
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    in general they are junk they even try using AC current on a wire feed. small stick welders are useless, duty cycles on most of the machines suck... Just save and buy the right thing the first time. if you figure the cost of the HF machine which you will rapidly outgrow, and the cost of a better machine you will save money buying a better welder to start with, even the sponsored forum brands here are better than HF welders'
    4 Sale: GoWeld $395obo
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  11. #11
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    Re: What is the general consensus on the HF tig welders?

    Never bought a sh!t machine so couldn't help you! Hope that helps! What do you think you get when you buy a $200 car. Thats all i'll say. cheers tho
    I hate being bi-polar it's awsome




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