Tungsten has been getting a significant buzz recently as one of the trendiest materials to use in multiple branches and even wedding rings. To the modern worker, it’s eye-catching besides its various applications. Perhaps because of its newness to the welding stage, not many users are familiar with it.
To begin with, the other name for tungsten is wolfram. And one of its signature characteristics is its strength that rivals even the titanium. What’s more, it’s abrasion-resistant and has high melting points. If you place it in normal surroundings, at room temperature, it demonstrates high stability.
Was that enough to pique your interest? This material has been widely used for aluminum in welding. So, today’s piece is all about the best tungsten for aluminum that one can find available on the market. Besides the reviews where we’ll describe the features as well as the pluses and the challenges, we’ll lay out a complete guide for potential buyers as well as some frequently asked questions that have been bothering customers and users.
How To Choose The Best Tungsten for Aluminum
There are some key details to consider before choosing the perfect tungsten for aluminum. In the following paragraphs, we’ll go over some of the common ones.
One of the main areas of application for tungsten is welding or arc welding, to be more precise. When welding, the users should find the tungsten that applies best to their technique as well as a material like the tungsten for stainless steel like aluminum. They should also possess the knowledge for applying tungsten on top of aluminum.
Besides welding, using electrodes of this type is common in the illumination industry. Also, they can be found on the television tube. One of the signature characteristics of these electrodes is the ability to withstand very high temperatures. Because of that, people use them in X-ray, too.
Tungsten electrodes can be separated one from the other due to their specific color among other things. Below, we’ll list some of the colors associated with each tungsten type as well as its characteristics.
- Green: This color indicates the pure tungsten type. What’s more, these electrodes have the highest amount of tungsten in them. To be exact, they have 99.5% tungsten. That is why they’re some of the most consumed ones. While it isn’t a great idea to use it for DC welding, pure-tungsten electrodes work exceptionally well when you’re arc welding.
- Orange: Widely known as ceriated tungsten electrodes, they have a slightly lower amount of tungsten or 97.3%. Besides this material, they have 2.2% cerium in them. Unlike the green-coded electrodes, these are mostly suitable for DC welding.
- Red: Thoriated electrodes are associated with the color red. It’s safe to say upfront that these are the most frequently used electrodes. A reason for that is the numerous positive specifications they display. To begin with, users can weld both DC as well as AC with them. And they’ll be less contaminated while doing so because of the low rate of deposition. With that being said, they’re user-friendly, easy to operate with and are pretty durable. The materials these electrodes are made of include 1.7% thorium (which gave them the name) and 97.3% tungsten.
- Other colors: Besides the above-mentioned color-codes, tungsten electrodes can be found coded with other less popular colors. These may include, but aren’t limited to, blue, gold, grey, brown, and so on.
This feature is the one where most welders get it wrong when they’re purchasing tungsten electrodes. The variety of electrodes, which are available on the market, are different in shape and size. Perhaps this should be blamed for the confusion of many people who like welding.
Nevertheless, the general advice is to avoid very small electrodes. That’s because they often result in a sloppier welding technique.
When users are going for slightly higher temperatures, the minimum recommended size is around 1/8 inches. If you’re into AC welding, the size can even go up to 3/32 inches, as one of the largest types of electrodes regarding the quality tungsten for aluminum.
Reviewing The 10 Best Tungsten for Aluminum
Tungsten Electrodes for TIG Welding
Due to their versatility and durability, these electrodes are popular among those that weld professionally or as a hobby. In fact, they can be utilized for welding not only aluminum but special metals and mild steel, as well.
They are known for striking the arc with ease thus creating a stable arc. Not to mention that the tungsten electrodes tend to be long-lasting and capable of maintaining a low rate of burning off. This makes them suitable for welding aluminum above all else. Also, they support DC and AC applications while needing low amperage to operate.
Despite this, some users noted that the break-off isn’t very clean as the rod splinters instead.
Some specific features are as follows:
- Size: 3/32 inches x 7 inches
- Weight: 6.1 ounces
- Color: Blue-2% Lanthanated
- Package quantity: 10
Genssi TIG Welding Tungsten Electrode 7 inches - Blue
Genssi manufactured these to represent one of the best tungsten electrode brand. Therefore, they possess a nice ground finish that’s concentric. This makes them durable.
To contribute to this, there is the fact that the electrodes are 2% lanthanated, meaning that they support AC and DC welding.
Regardless, welders should have in mind that the size of the electrodes doesn’t vary as they come in only one size.
Here are some other key features:
- Size: 1/16 inch
- Length: 7 inches
- Color: Blue (even though the end appears green, which is normal)
- Package quantity: 10
Kamas 2mm500mm TIG PVC Stainless Steel Tungsten Electrodes
Although they are made of stainless steel these electrodes are lightweight. They provide a full welding effect and can be utilized for welding aluminum without any troubles.
Another useful detail is the fact that they can resist corrosion. Not to mention that their melting point is low and they can operate on wide applications. This includes welding pure aluminum, argon arc as well as an aluminum bus.
Despite this, some users report that a downside may be that the electrodes can bend and are prone to breaking.
For those that want to learn even more specific features, here are some:
- Quantity: 10/20/50 pieces
- Color: Silver
- Length: 19.7 inches
- Weight of one wire: Around 3.5 grams
- Material: Aluminum
JSP ARC TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes 2% Lanthanated
Especially beginners and owners of smaller machines for TIG welding that want to tackle aluminum will find these electrodes helpful. As they are a part of the cheap tungsten for aluminum, they are known to make an arc that’s stable.
When it comes to assorted sizes, these electrodes can be found in 4×0.4 inches, 3×1/16 inches, and 3×3/32 inches. Because of this, all of them are applicable to smaller TIG machines.
Among the main issues people have experienced, though, is the inability to operate with thick aluminum. Instead, welders can work with thinner aluminum of 1/8 inches or even thinner than that.
As for more detailed features and specifications, here are some:
- Weight: 3.52 ounces
- Package size: 10 pieces
- Standards: ANSI or AWS A5.12M98 and ISO 6848
- WL20 2% Lanthanated
Amplify Brand 2% Lanthanated Tungsten Electrodes
The list of best tungsten for aluminum tig isn’t complete without Amplify’s electrodes. The 2% Lanthanated indicates that they are suitable for welding aluminum. To accompany this, they are consistent in terms of stable arcs.
Moreover, these electrodes are made to operate on both AC and DC applications as well as handling large quantities of current. This is possible thanks to the concentric ground finish that they possess.
However, it should be noted that they don’t support thick aluminum. Below are some other key features to consider:
- Size: 1/16 inches
- Color: Dark blue
- Package: 10 pieces
- Performance: Similar to 1.5% tungsten
TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes for 2% Ceriated
Among the first things users notice about these electrodes is that they are precise. While working on TIG applications, welders can be sure to get high-quality arcs that are in accordance with ANSI and AWS standards.
Connected to this, the rate of burning off is low for this model since it’s 2% ceriated. This comes in handy especially for those that are just beginning with welding.
Leaving all of these details aside, though, for some welders the price of the electrodes isn’t very affordable. What follow are some specific features to have in mind:
- Dimensions: 1.8 inches x 7 inches
- Package quantity: 10 pieces
- Color: Grey
- 2% Ceriated
Amplify Tungsten 2% Lanthanated Electrodes - 3/32 inches
As the name suggests, these electrodes are 2% Lanthanated. In fact, they are a non-radioactive alternative to thoriated tungsten. Therefore, when it comes to the top rated tungsten for aluminum they can be counted in this category due to their high performance, which is similar to the 1.5% Lanthanated electrodes.
Aside from this, this model incorporates features for good ignition and long life.
Yet it shouldn’t be overlooked that the penetration with them isn’t full. To give you a complete idea, here are some other details:
- Size: 3/32 inches
- Length: 7 inches
- Standards: ISO 6848 and AWS A5.12
- Package: 10 pieces
- Color: Dark blue
Radnor Safety 1.5% Lanthanated Tungsten Electrodes
These electrodes are known for a few things like the stability they provide, the quality arcs as well as the long operating range. Not to forget, they have a low rate of tip erosion. All of this is done although they are 1.5% lanthanated.
Moreover, in weight, the electrode incorporates from 1.3% to 1.7% of dispersed lathanum oxide, which is responsible for the main features welders find useful. Leaving this aside, there is a minor con to have in mind. Users reported that it may require adjustment of operating conditions.
Some more detailed features are as follows:
- 100% current tested electrodes
- Standards: ANSI/AWS
- Dimensions: 3/32 x 7 inches
- Package: 2/pack (5 pack)
TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes 2% Thoriated
Among the first things that are noticeable is that these electrodes are red in color, which shows that they are thoriated. The 2% ensures the production of nice arcs in accordance with the AWS and ANSI standards.
Related to this, precision and low burn-off rate are other key features people get with this model. And when it comes to TIG welding, they represent some of the best tungsten electrodes for aluminum on the market.
However, some welders were struggling with the size as it was reportedly too big or too small for the price.
Anyway, what follows are other key details:
- Dimensions: 5/64 inches x 7 inches
- Package quantity: 10 pieces
- Batteries: None included and needed
- 2% Thoriated with T&D materials
WP-20 Pure Green Tungsten Electrode for TIG Welding Torch PK/10
This one operates especially nice on aluminum and magnesium. As a model with a green color code, it’s responsible for providing stable and precise arcs. However, mainly it works for AC wave welding.
Still, the electrodes minimize the weld contamination and are consistent no matter the heat.
After this, here are more numbers about these electrodes:
- Diameter: 5/64 inches
- Height: 6 inches
- Package: 10 pieces/pack
- Model number: WP-20
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For users who can be proud of having healthy skin, it doesn’t present an issue. On the other hand, people who have sensitive skin may encounter some mild irritations. This is considered to be one of the challenges that could be improved.
Individuals who are into welding and are looking for the right tungsten electrode face a dilemma as the density varies from thick to medium to thin electrodes. So, the pure tungsten electrodes may be the most adequate for aluminum welding. To make things easier, they’re the green-coded ones. Having said that, these electrodes paired with a professional user and a reliable welder machine can do great work with aluminum.
Just like the material itself, welding on titanium can be a pretty challenging procedure. However, it isn’t impossible with adequate techniques and tools. Before thinking of using electrodes, individuals should make sure that the titanium surface is very tidy and clean and has no coating or similar. Only this step will ensure smoother work on titanium.
The short answer is – absolutely yes. Even though this color isn’t among the top three most popular ones, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective. On the contrary, these electrodes are used in the application of all sorts of metals – from aluminum and steel to titanium, carbon, copper, and everything in between.
To begin with, titanium is considered to be a tough material. But it isn’t a match for tungsten in that field. Although titanium is more resistant to scratches than tungsten, still the capabilities of the latter are surmounted by the former. Because they’re strong and formidable, users can’t reshape or resize both of these materials. But, it should be noted that they aren’t very pricey, so you can buy extra in the shape and size you want. Further, the price isn’t fixed, but can slightly change due to the size, style, design, et cetera. Both of them are recently used in jewelry and as ornaments. However, there may be some differences regarding weight. Namely, experts count titanium in the lighter metal, which isn’t the case with tungsten as it’s a bit weightier.