Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?
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  1. #1
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    Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Hey everyone,

    So I TIG welded with a friend last weekend it was really fun... That said, I really want to buy a TIG welder and get to practicing. I am also being a cheap *** with a kid on the way and can't drop $1,500 - $2,500 on a new Miller / Lincoln... Thus, I must settle for less... As well, I'm not sure I'm fully committed to this, so I'd rather not spend that type of money only to find out I didn't really want one.

    So, I've done quite a bit of research, but I'm torn on this last decision. I've narrowed it down to 3 TIG welders, but am open to suggestions as well.

    The 3 considerations:
    Thermal Arc 161S (DC) - $899 - http://www.thermadyne.com/thermalarc...rodID=W1003602

    Eastwood TIG 200 (AC/DC) - $749 - http://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-s-a...00-welder.html

    Everylast Power I-Tig 200 (DC) - $649 - http://www.everlastgenerators.com/Po...00-348-pd.html

    I'm looking to purchase here very soon and would love to hear from some other people on their thoughts of the 3 and which would be better. If there is one in consideration that I did not list, please suggest as long as it's under $900 bucks. Thank you for your help!

    Matt

  2. #2
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Ok, I will bite.

    Whatever you do, make sure if you want to do tig you can get a foot control. The Thermal Arc 161S does not allow for that feature. The 161STL does, but it is considerably more cash.

    The eastwood has the crappiest foot control I have ever seen. The whole package looks like something you would get from Toys R Us.

    I won't comment on the Everylast.
    "Nothing welded, nothing gained."
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  3. #3
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    The only one I'd even look at is the Thermal Arc. It's a relatively new machine, but their older TA185 has had good reviews here, same with the much smaller TA95S.

    That said don't overlook used. Several members here have picked up like new Syncrowave 180's and 200's, for just a few bucks more than you are looking at. Around $1000-1200. Then there's older bigger machines, like Miller 330AB/P's and the like, that many have picked up for as little as $300-800 depending on what's included. Another nice DC option is the Maxstar. Several have also picked up some nice used Miller Maxstar's in your upper range as well. New the Maxstar is only a few hundred more depending on what accesories you add to the unit. ( It's cheaper to build your own tig kit rather than get the contractor kit they offer)

    Another option might be to look into a class at a local tech school at night. Near me for the price of the class, you get to use top end equipment, get all the gas, wire, electric supplied, have access to plasma and OA as well as AC/DC tig, Mig, and stick, and all the practice material you want to use in class. If you are dedicated you can burn up way more in rod gas and material than the class costs you, and the instruction is "free" at that point.


    Slightly aside, I suggest you rethink a few priorities with a kid on the way. What you WANT many need to be set aside for what you NEED. This is especially true with something for a "hobby" that won't bring in income. If you plan to use the machine to bring in cash, The TA is the only one on the list I'd consider. At that point a Miller or Lincoln with a prooven track record isn't a luxury, it's a long term investment that will bring you back more than you spend in the short term. I hope you don't take the same mentality of going "cheap" with the kid.
    .



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  4. #4
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Well damn... Now I'm even more confused on what to get. Is Thermal Arc a good brand? I have read more than a few posts on the Everlast drama around here and I think it's pretty funny. I don't really care as long as the TIG welder will be good and last. Honestly, the Everlast is not my first choice, but the price makes it hard to ignore.

    My first choice is the Thermal Arc, but that price tag is hard to swallow. I've read both positive and negative things about the Eastwood, so I just don't know. This pisses me off because I want a welder now! I hate having to research and make decisions.

    shovelon, thank you for your feedback in my quest to find a welder... I guess I'll leave Everlast out of the conversation as I think it's a sore-subject around here. And I guess if the Eastwood is something you'd get at Toys'R'us, then it sounds like the Thermal Arc is the superior welder.

    Thoughts?

  5. #5
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    First off - why do you need TIG? Yes, it's fun (so are MIG and stick) but the machines you're looking at are so limited I'd just buy a little used Miller 135 or 140 MIG. I can do almost everything I work on with that little thing except the thicker parts for my tractor or Al stuff on boats. It's way cheaper to buy, easier to learn and faster to weld with (unless maybe you're a Zap level welder). It even works great for pretty thin stuff - like body work. I paid $400 for my 135 in PERFECT condition with 2 rolls of wire and a bottle of straight CO2.

    If you need TIG, buy a used Miller (or Lincoln). I paid $1000 for my synch 250 (WAY more power than you're looking for) in near perfect condition. Came with everything except a bottle of Argon.

    That said, I've read very good things about T.A. and good things about the eastwood MIGs if youre looking for a smally HOBBY style machine. I've never had anything but Millers but most everything I read about Neverlast is bad.

    ..... buy a used miller.... or Lincoln.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    DSW, all very good points and I appreciate the feedback... I'm definitely gravitating more towards the Thermal Arc. That said, just because I want it and have a kid on the way, doesn't mean I can't afford it... I could most definitely afford a $5k miller, but do I want to spend that much? Most definitely not. It's not about being able to afford it or not... it's about how much I want to spend.

    I like your night class welding idea as you're right, I'm going to burn up a lot of gas, metal, and stick practicing and it makes much more sense to pay someone to instruct me. Yes, this is a hobby and I'm right in the middle of building a chopper in my garage from the ground up. The welder will be used eventually to build more choppers, mainly welding items to pre-existing frames, not actually building frames. That said, I will need it for hobby type projects that don't bring in income... more practice up-front, then as I mentioned artsy type things and welding brackets, etc to chopper frames. The frames I believe are mild steel .120 wall thickness.

    Does this sound like the Thermal Arc meet's those qualifications?

  7. #7
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quick question... If I'm going to be welding .120 wall steel tubing and plate, possibly a little bigger, would the Thermal Arc 95s work or should I stick with the Thermal Arc 161?

    And I'm sure because I mentioned Everlast that everyone thinks I'm some shill now, so to squash any and all thoughts of that, let's just take that one off the table. Clearly the feedback supports the negative items I've read about it and it's not worth it for me.

    Also, buying used seems scary because since I don't weld, I have no way to tell if it's still good, still working, etc. Any thoughts here?

  8. #8
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Basically if your looking at used, make sure the person your buying from is willing to set it up and demonstrate that everything works properly. I sold a machine a while back and had it all set up and ready to go when the guy showed up. I ran a few beads on DC AC and showed him that everything was in good condition. The guy had no welding skill and was looking for a machine to learn on and I was more than happy to help him out to make the sale. If it is a machine with a strong positive reputation and everything works well then your risk is fairly minimal when buying it, unless you can see that it has been abused, dont be afraid to have them pull a cover off so you can look around inside and make sure its cleaned with no damaged/melted parts.

  9. #9
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    The TA95S is somewhat limited. You don't have any of the advanced options that come with more expensive machines. You will have to do basic scratch start tig using an air cooled torch with a gas valve. It's also limited in output. It's more a stick machine than a tig, but you can do some nice tig with one within it's limits. If you wanted to do say exhaust work it would work just fine, but without the option for a pedal it will take a bit more to learn.

    If you want to work on bikes, definately take at least one, if not several classes. You need to do the work right, and a good class will get you there faster than DIY most times.

    As far as used, in some ways it's a cr@p shoot. Having someone who's more familiar with tig would help. Perhaps another student, the assistant in the class or the instructor, or someone else can go with you to help evaluate the machine. Also knowing the machine will help. Miller Dynasty's and Syncrowave's have the ability to bring up how many hours they have been on and how many arc strikes they have performed. One poster here recently went and took a look at an older Sync 200 and after pulling up the hours, found it was almost never used. There are a lot of these machines out on the market nowdays with the ecconomy the way it is. PLace are down sizing, getting rid of machines they don't really use to raise cash to stay affloat. Same with hobbiests. They simply can't afford the toy any longer and ned to pay bills. Keep this in mind as well. Resale value on those import machines is almost nil. There are so many out there with issues that buying one can simply be buying someone elses problem. A good name brand machine will have more resale value and hold it longer. Chances are high if you buy a Syncro 200 used, for $1000, in 3 years you can probably get almost every penny back if you don't like it or need to unload it because of financial reasons.

    You might also want to go up to the top left and add your location to your User CP so we know where you are at. You might find someone here who's willing to help you evaluate a machine, or who might post up a deal they spot on CL in your area.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

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  10. #10
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Take a welding course at the local CC or tech school.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quote Originally Posted by SundownIII View Post
    Take a welding course at the local CC or tech school.
    He has a kid on the way so I doubt he has time.
    The price you have listed on the eastwood is wrong. I can't comment on the eastwood machine itself since mine showed up broken, but it did look nice And their customer service is really good. It also comes with a 3 year warranty, foot pedal and everything you need to get started except a tank of gas. I did an upboxing video of it on youtube of that and my miller. Just so you can see what all comes with it.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Ya for sure... I will be attending a class, learning from my friend, and practice practice practice before I even THINK about welding to a chopper frame. Most of the welds hold important things together, like the fender my wife will sit on... the seat post I will sit on, etc so our lives might depend on it. For this build I will just have my friend help me tack the pieces in place and then bring it to my local certified welder to finish it up. I would only start welding on possibly the next build, if I feel I have what it takes. It's still hard to think about even when if I know what I'm doing to weld onto a $600 dollar frame and worry about messing it up.

    I'm currently looking into the next welding class at my local community college and as well, I found a guy on craigslist who will teach the "stack of dimes" at my house for a couple hundred bucks for a 4 hour personal training session with his tools.

    Also, I'm located in San Diego, CA and currently reside in Oceanside, which is North San Diego. I really do appreciate everyones help with this endeavor into welding.

  13. #13
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble View Post
    He has a kid on the way so I doubt he has time.
    The price you have listed on the eastwood is wrong. I can't comment on the eastwood machine itself since mine showed up broken, but it did look nice And their customer service is really good. It also comes with a 3 year warranty, foot pedal and everything you need to get started except a tank of gas. I did an upboxing video of it on youtube of that and my miller. Just so you can see what all comes with it.

    Wow, the sale must be over... It was just on sale for $749 for the last week or so... Either way, if yours showed up broken and the parts are kind of cheesy... no thanks.

    I believe I'm going to buy the Thermal Arc 161S at this time. I know it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, nor a foot pedal, but I'm ok with that. My buddies I welded at has a ESAB MiniArc 150 and he didn't have a foot pedal. I got the scratch start down pretty good within 20 minutes, so I'm ok learning the hard way... Hell, I learn everything else the hard way, why not this?

  14. #14
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgisonno View Post
    Wow, the sale must be over... It was just on sale for $749 for the last week or so... Either way, if yours showed up broken and the parts are kind of cheesy... no thanks.

    I believe I'm going to buy the Thermal Arc 161S at this time. I know it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, nor a foot pedal, but I'm ok with that. My buddies I welded at has a ESAB MiniArc 150 and he didn't have a foot pedal. I got the scratch start down pretty good within 20 minutes, so I'm ok learning the hard way... Hell, I learn everything else the hard way, why not this?
    I'm sure they have sold thousands and maybe I just got a bad one. Not a big deal a screw was rattling around on the inside and as soon as I tried to light up it would go into overload protection. Bottom line 1 phone call and fedex picked it up the next day and I got a refund check. They were going to send me another but I just wanted my money and I got a miller locally.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Drive up to LA and you can borrow my TA185 till you figger out if you like tig welding.

    I haven't used it in a while and my next project is going to be all mig anyway. More shelves for the new work van. Might as well let some one else enjoy it.

    We are in the middle of moving locations so I won't be available to meet until after Sept 8th. So the weekend of the 10th would work.

    Been through the new kid/ lack of time stuff already so I know how that is
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  16. #16
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    If you're on budget just buy something used. IMO you need 160-200 amp dc tig. If you have place in your garage buy transformer tig... ...yes they are heavy and big but reliable and easy to repair. If you want inverter then avoid chinese stuff.

  17. #17
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quote Originally Posted by ravselj View Post
    If you're on budget just buy something used. IMO you need 160-200 amp dc tig. If you have place in your garage buy transformer tig... ...yes they are heavy and big but reliable and easy to repair. If you want inverter then avoid chinese stuff.
    The China Thermals are quality machines. Lift-arc on the 95s too. There are many good options buying used on dc only tig machines. Quality/value is easy to find on Craigslist..
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  18. #18
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    Drive up to LA and you can borrow my TA185 till you figger out if you like tig welding.

    I haven't used it in a while and my next project is going to be all mig anyway. More shelves for the new work van. Might as well let some one else enjoy it.

    We are in the middle of moving locations so I won't be available to meet until after Sept 8th. So the weekend of the 10th would work.

    Been through the new kid/ lack of time stuff already so I know how that is
    I can't emphisize how benificial a foot control is, or at least a finger amptrol. Liftarc is a last resort choice for me and makes me sad.

    That is a nice thing that Ed wiil lend you his TA.

    Additionally you are welcome to visit me in the SF Valley and I will let you give my TA 400GTSW a spin. We will be working this Sat. if you are available. You are welcome to take a Dynasty 350 to task as well.
    Last edited by shovelon; 08-25-2011 at 04:11 PM. Reason: spellin
    "Nothing welded, nothing gained."
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  19. #19
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    I can't emphisize how benificial a foot control is, or at least a finger amptrol. Liftarc is a last resort choice for me and makes me sad.

    That is a nice thing that Ed wiil lend you his TA.

    Additionally you are welcome to visit me in the SF Valley and I will let you give my TA 400GTSW a spin. We will be working this Sat. if you are available. You are welcome to take a Dynasty 350 to task as well.
    Nice to hear you and Ed offering to help him out. It's one of the great resources we have here that I don't think many guys understand, the network of people like you both (and others) that are willing to go that extra mile to help people learn.

    You'll spoil him with that Dynasty... He may hate you after that for letting him play with one.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

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  20. #20
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    I own an everlast/longevity combo welder.
    works great.
    they have excellent phone help 6 days a week for newbes.

    before I purchased mine i talked to a guy that started tig welding when he was 12.
    he is now retired, owns a everlast.longevity tig welder & loves it.

    just saying.

  21. #21
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    there was a digital Lincoln Precision Tig 185 and a Miller Sync couple weeks bak on craigs , BOTH with carts AND bottle for $1000..........and they looked clean .... if my beautiful 175 was broke
    Lincoln SP-135 Plus, Lincoln 175 SquareWave, Iwata LPH 400

  22. #22
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Holy crap... you guys are too nice... I'm scared I will break your expensive machines, but very much appreciate the offers. I'm torn because I would love to borrow / use the equipment, but I don't want to do something stupid as a newbie and fry a machine and then be out the money. I really want the thermal arc, but just don't want to pony up the money for 161SLT as it's considerably more. I will be up in the area though this Sunday for the Long Beach Cycle Swapmeet and could swing by to play around for a bit to see if it's something I'm interested in. Let me know what you think and thank you again to everyone for their help and offers to get me in the right model of welder.

    Matt

  23. #23
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    I found (and bought) a Maxstar 200dx for $600 on Craigslist. Guy bought it from a pawn shop (still had receipt) and sold it to me for a few bucks less.
    Con Fuse!
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  24. #24
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    I live in the city of Orange and have a Thermal Arc 95S you are more than welcome to try out. I will be out of town this weekend though...

  25. #25
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    Re: Best TIG under $900 - Everlast, Eastwood, or Thermal Arc?

    Quote Originally Posted by con_fuse9 View Post
    I found (and bought) a Maxstar 200dx for $600 on Craigslist. Guy bought it from a pawn shop (still had receipt) and sold it to me for a few bucks less.
    im glad u said it...i didnt want to b aliar.......ther was a miller sync for $500 , i shat....it was gone in a minute
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