Comparing multi process MIG, TIG and Stick units for the best buy.
Comparing multi-process MIG welders can be confusing because of overlapping/similar functions and features. But comparing what each function offers as far as ease of use and connection is important. Many of these welders offer TIG as a second function, with gas-valve torches, and inconvenient connections. And some don’t offer foot pedals either so you are basically limited to scratch start TIG or lift start DC TIG without amp control at the foot.
This is a disadvantage when using TIG in a shop where this function is relied upon. It doesn’t mean you can’t TIG weld successfully, but it does mean that it doesn’t offer you the convenience of variable amp control as you need it, and even means the tungsten stays live! Another feature to consider is the type of start it has for TIG. Most either have scratch start, or lift start. Lift start is definitely preferable to scratch start, but it isn’t the best start available. Again, units like the PowerMTS units from Everlast offer a superior feature. These units feature High Frequency starting of the DC arc. This means that the tungsten never contacts the metal when making a start and doesn’t contaminate the metal. It’s the way any good, dedicated TIG welder starts an arc.
Other features to look for in TIG performance are the presence of pre/post flow controls, slope and even pulse. It’s also worth looking at the stick welding capability of the unit and see what features it offer in the way of arc force control and hot start control. If these units offer little or no adjustment in this feature, it means the stick feature isn’t meant to be used at a professional level and stick welding results won’t be as good as an advanced stand-alone stick welder.
Of course, most of these units offer advanced MIG control options, with everything from synergic control, to gas flow options, but keep in mind, MIG isn’t the only reason you are buying an MTS. If it is, there are usually a lot less costly options out there in a dedicated MIG.