A lot of folks wonder what the difference between inexpensive import TIG Torches you see being sold at a lot of online welding suppliers, and the quality name brand– and yes, more expensive TIG torches such as the ones carried by distributors like Arc-Zone.com.
One of the biggest differences between brand-name and no-name torches is the materials used in manufacturing…
There is tellurium copper, which is very basic plumbing type copper and then there is leaded nickel copper which is a high conductive, high tensile strength copper alloy. This is important for two reasons, one it’s a better conductor, and two it is more durable, the TIG torch body threads last longer, collets don’t buckle and twist etc.
Weldcraft changed the rules when they introduced the Silicone rubber molded TIG torch. Prior to that all torches were molded in a hard plastic material. Difficult to hold, impossible to bend and very susceptible to arcing out. You would think that silicone rubbers are all the same, but again there is a big difference in the material quality, and how much heat it takes before it begins to breakdown, and how well it is bonded to the copper TIG torch body. Materials and preparation are key here and come back to the basics of production standards
Teflon is Teflon Right? There is “Virgin” teflon and there is High-Performance glass-filled teflon material which has a much higher life span when exposed to heat than “virgin” teflon.
Other differences you’ll find are a result of short cuts in manufacturing, or manufacturers that don’t have a good understanding of the TIG Welding process:
- Handles that are made from non-reinforced plastic with sharp edges that can cut the hose
- Torch handles that aren’t long enough to properly insulate the high-frequency current used in the TIG welding process.
Other manufacturing shortcuts may include:
Brazing versus Soldering:
Some manufactures use solder to build torches, but high quality manufacturers use a high temperature silver brazing process which offers better conductivity, and makes for more durable, cooler running, tubes don’t pull out of heads.
This should be a no brainer but again we have seen “industry standard” TIG cables and hoses with wrenches that don’t fit properly — not US, not Metric. This results in a rounding of the nut. We’ve also seen many parts that when tightened, the nut collapses and becomes oblong. And we have seen TIG current nipples and connectors with no cross holes for water and gas flow.
So when you decide to buy a TIG torch, keep in mind that price should not be the only determining factor. Quality of the materials used is an important part of the equation, and in the long run you may end up paying more.
And always buy from a trusted source– a company with a a proven track record of quality TIG products.