To weld thin sheets and small and delicate parts, you may need to use gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) electrodes.
If you are looking for an electrode to weld aluminum, then you are most probably looking for the best tungsten for aluminum. But there are so many types of tungsten in the market.
That’s why choosing one of them becomes tough for beginners.
In this article, I’ll clarify the points to notice while buying a tungsten electrode for aluminum alloy.
I have also picked some best electrodes for your ease.
I hope this will help you to find a perfect electrode that can meet up your demand in order to weld aluminum.
6 Best Tungsten For Aluminum Reviews
1. TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes 2% Lanthanated - TOP PICK
This welding tungsten electrode is highly recommended for versatile usage. This product is also at the top of the users choice that’s why I’m keeping this as a top of the list. This is an alloy made with 98% tungsten and 2% Lanthanum. For using lanthanum, it is blue-colored.
This tungsten electrode can be used in almost every field; such as aluminum alloy, copper alloy, low-alloyed steel, stainless steel. However, If you are looking for one for aluminum alloy, this one is perfect.
There is a variation in size. You have to use ⅛” if you want to use for thin aluminum. There are 0.040”, 1/16”, 3/32” sizes available if you want to use for a thinner one.
With this one, you can use both DC and AC. But in the case of aluminum, you can use AC only. AC requires more amps than DC. So, you can use this ⅛” or thinner one for aluminum alloy.
Price is not too much compared to quality. It really worth the money.
As this one is lanthanated and blue marked, there is hardly any safety issue. You can use it safely.
2. TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes 2% Ceriated - Best For Beginner's
This tungsten electrode is also a users best choice in the category. I selected this for its versatile use and its premium quality. It is 2% ceriated with 98% tungsten for which it is marked with the color grey. It is completely the United States manufactured.
Besides aluminum alloy, this aluminum welding tungsten can be used in titanium alloy, copper alloy, carbon steel, stainless steel, low-alloy steel. This one works in DC and a low current setting better. But this electrode works great in AC current too.
As a ⅛” electrode, it can be used in small and delicate materials like welding sheets, small tubes, and pipes. However, it is not recommended for high amperage setting.
It is used mostly in ⅛” size. But 1/16”, 3/32” models are also available. These are 7” inches long. Like Lanthanated electrodes, it also can work in both AC and DC settings. However, for thinner parts welding, it is a perfect one.
The price is the same as the previous one. And considering quality, it is a great price. You won't regret buying this.
This electrode is Ceriated. Unlike thoriated tungsten, it doesn’t have mentionable hazards for which you can use it safely without hesitation.
3. TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes 1.5% Lanthanated - Best For Multi-purpose
If you are looking for a good alternative of 2% thoriated tungsten, this one can be your cherished electrode. This tungsten for aluminum welding comes at a great price with high quality. Even for a beginner who has just started a aluminum welding course, it can fit really well for them.
It can be used for titanium alloy, copper alloy, nickel alloy, and stainless steel. It also can be used for aluminum alloy. Like 2% Lanthanated tungsten, it also works both in AC and DC current.
You can use these electrodes for welding thinner parts only. As aluminum will require AC supply, you will need more amperage. So, this is not applicable for thick parts.
The available diameters are 1/8", 1/16", or 3/32" in this product. You have to choose one of these considering your needs. The length is 7 inches in each.
The price is reasonable in this quality. You don’t need to hesitate about the price.
This product doesn’t cause any safety issues. It produces good quality stable arcs without producing too much harmful gas.
4. 2% Lanthanated TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes - Best For Thinner Materials
This is another 2% lanthanide tungsten from the Patriot Tungsten brand. This is also popular among the welders of both beginner and pro level. For being non-radioactive, this electrode can be safely used. You can easily accomplish your TIG welding aluminum.
You can use this for aluminum alloy, copper alloy, carbon steel, stainless steel, and low alloy steel. However, if you are looking for aluminum small parts or sheets, this can fit well for your work. This works for both AC and DC as well. But for aluminum, it is better to work in AC current.
It is available in 1/8", 1/16", 3/16", 3/32", and 5/32” of diameters. The length is 7 inches.
The price is great in this quality. It is reasonable.
As non-radioactive tungsten, it is good to use. There is no harmful effect in using this.
5. TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes Pure Tungsten
This one is a pure tungsten electrode for aluminum welding which it is green colored. If you are looking for an electrode with the highest consumption, this one's for you. And this is perfect for good arc stability in AC sine wave.
This pure tungsten electrode will mainly work for aluminum alloy and magnesium alloy. It works on AC welding mainly. Because it doesn’t produce enough arcs in DC.
There are diameters of 1/8", 1/16", or 3/32" are available. These are 7” in length.
The price is comparatively cheaper than other alloys, though the price is almost the same.
Unlike thoriated tungsten, it is not radioactive. So, it is not so much harmful.
6. TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes 2% Lanthanated - Best Budget Pick
Lanthanated tungsten electrodes work better than most other types. So, I’m again keeping a Lanthanated electrode from another brand. This product is a bit cheaper but works well.
If you want to utilize your welding capability at maximum level, I’ll recommend you to pick a lanthanated one. This type bears the advantages of both thoriated and ceriated electrodes but doesn’t have the bad sides of them.
This electrode can be used in aluminum alloy, copper alloy, nickel alloy, carbon steel, stainless steel. Though it can work both in AC and DC, to weld aluminum, you have to use AC.
In the case of steel and stainless steel, you can use DC. This electrode can be used in small and delicate parts like automobile small parts, engine mount, exhaust system, and art sculptures.
There are some variations in the size according to needs. The diameters can be .040" (ref 1.00mm), 1/16" (ref 1.58mm), or 3/32" (ref 2.38mm). All the electrodes are 6.89" (175mm) long.
The price is a little bit lower than the previous ones. But according to the users, quality is not worse than the previous ones. So, you can consider buying this.
As lanthanum is not a radioactive material, this electrode won’t spread radiations. So, it is safe to use.
What to Look For When Choosing The Best Tungsten For Aluminum?
Tungsten is used as electrodes while welding thinner materials. Because the melting temperature of tungsten is highest among all the materials.
There are some different types of tungsten electrodes available. Not all of them are applicable for aluminum welding.
There are some facts to consider while choosing a tungsten electrode.
Consider your needs first:
Welding can be done for various purposes. For each purpose, there is a specific type of tungsten electrode.
In this article, I’m discussing the use of aluminum. For aluminum, you will need the AC sine wave of current.
So, you need to choose the products that support the AC supply. By the way, you can use almost every type of electrode for aluminum.
There is another point to consider.
Are you going to weld only aluminum? Or you may need to weld copper, nickel, titanium, stainless steel, carbon steel, etc besides aluminum.
In this case, you can choose one that can fulfill all your needs. For example, you can use Lanthanated tungsten. Because it can weld almost everything.
Again pure tungsten can weld only aluminum and magnesium. You can not weld copper or nickel alloys with pure tungsten.
Notice the colors:
Different types of tungsten electrodes have different colors so that they are easily identified.
For example, 2% lanthanated tungsten electrodes are blue marked, pure tungsten is green marked, thoriated tungsten is red marked, ceriated tungsten is grey marked, 1.5% lanthanated tungsten is gold-colored, zirconiated tungsten is brown colored.
So, notice these colors and choose which one is suited for your application.
Size is a great factor:
The thinner area you need to weld, the lower diameter you need to choose. In most cases, people choose ⅛” or 3/32”.
If you need to weld thinner sheets or parts further, you can use 1/16’’. There are 5/32’’ and 0.040’’ diameters available in the market too. You can also use those if you need to.
Care about safety:
Most of the tungsten electrodes are safe. But thorium is a radioactive metal.
Though thoriated electrodes gives extra advantages over the pure ones, it may be harmful to your health. You can use the alternative to thorium such as lanthanide tungsten.
Lanthanated tungsten electrodes can do better than thoriated ones and cause no safety issues.
After all considerations, you have to choose between balled, pointed, or truncated point. A balled point is good for zirconated and pure tungsten. It is recommended for AC wave.
However, don’t make the tip too thick (more than 1.5x than the electrode diameter). It can cause an unstable arc and contaminate the welding.
Pointed one can be perfect for almost all types of tungsten. It will work well on indexed DC and AC current.
To grind the tungsten properly, you can use a tungsten grinder.
Lanthanated vs Ceriated vs Pure Tungsten:
If you are a beginner in welding, you may face confusion while choosing the right tungsten. Professional and expert welders give good reviews about lanthanated, ceriated, or pure tungsten.
Then you may think which is better among these? Now I will compare these tungstens.
At first, I will talk about lanthanated tungsten electrode as I highly recommend this for both rookies and professionals.
You can use this for versatile purposes.To say clearly, it is like Jack of all trades.
You can weld aluminum, titanium, copper, nickel, magnesium, carbon steel, and stainless steel.
The same things go for the ceriated electrodes. But they have some differences.
Many welders found that the arc produced by the lanthanated electrode is wider than the ceriated one.
And some of the users claim that lanthanated ones take the heat better than the ceriated ones.
Then about the pure tungsten, yes, this works well. But it can weld only aluminum and magnesium.
Moreover, its amperage capacity is not too good comparing to the others; for which it is not popular even for magnesium welding.
So, Which one's is better:
Among these three, I will keep the lanthanated electrode ahead. Thoriated electrodes work well too. But as I said before, it has radioactivity.
So, I advise you to choose a Lanthanated electrode for the best experience in TIG welding for aluminum.
Choosing a perfect tungsten electrode for a beginner is too tough. Many people often choose the wrong one.
So, I’ve explained the traits and recommended values. I’ve also given the description of the best tungsten for aluminum.
If you have read this article, you should have a clear idea about tungsten electrodes.
So, now it’s your turn to choose one considering the points you’ve learned.