There are "analog" TIG welders where the parameters are directly controlled by rotary knobs and buttons. For example this one. Then there are "digital" ones where parameters are controlled by one rotary encoder and several buttons. Link this one.

Besides the actual difference in the user interface, does a digitally controlled welder have any general benefits over an analog one when it comes to welding performance? (Or perhaps vice-versa?)

  • $\begingroup$ welding machines used by robots on production lines have digital control ie feedback to control the welds giving the highest speed, or quality etc $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 16, 2019 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ I think the OP is asking about arc performance. For example, a digital TIG welder can produce a "true" square wave versus a sine wave when doing AC welding. Also, better control over frequency, etc. someone(google) confirm, but digital tig welders allow you to use different electrode grades which all allow different arc performance and shape/control current carrying capacity. Google is your friend here. It gets you a lot of bells and whistles which give you better quality weld with more ease. $\endgroup$
    – GisMofx
    Sep 12, 2020 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ harder to get back to the same settings with analog. because of this, digital often correlates to more consistent. $\endgroup$
    – Abel
    May 6, 2022 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ Microprocessor managed arc start. Lift start or HF start. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Sep 2, 2022 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


Most rotary knobs are resistive potentiometer that have moving mechanical parts that tend to wear out over time and also change the electrical characteristics. This will affect the performance of your analog TIG welder.

Below is an image of the internal of an rotary knob

Internal of rotary knob

With rotary knobs it is hard dial in the settings. Due to wear and tear their is additional variations

Alternatively digital controls has minimal mechanical components are designed to last a long a period of time with minimal wear and tear. Below is an image of a digital membrane switch.

Example of a digital membrane switch

These membrane switches will always command the an accurate settings. This is will improve the performance of the welder.

Below is a cross section of a digital membrane switch

Cross section of digital membrane

Depending on the step sizes it is possible to accurately adjust the settings. It is much harder to achieve high accuracy with analog rotary knobs

Also digital controls switches tend to be cheaper compared to matching rotary components. This is also an advantage. The electronics technology is advancing every day, this transitioning over to digital can provide better products are cheaper price.

Additionally digital TIG welders had additional features to improve the performance. I suggest checking out the below references for details


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm well aware of the function of the input controls. My question was about any potential difference in welding performance between "analog" and "digital" welders. $\endgroup$
    – Pibben
    Dec 16, 2019 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ Well designed digital welder will perform better than analog welders. I have updated the post with some links $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 2:23

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