Though there are some circumstances where a hobbyist may consider upgrading to a water cooled torch, the air torch is an excellent choice for most hobbyists that weld only occasionally. Air cooled TIG torches are lighter weight, easier to use and more portable than their water cooled counterparts. In addition, the simpler design of an air cooled torch means that they require much less maintenance than other types of torches.
Air cooled TIG torches have many advantages of their water cooled counterparts. Many hobbyists appreciate smaller amperage air torches for their portability. Those that travel to various faires, farmer's markets or other locations to showcase their hobby love being able to take along their torch to replenish their stock as it sells. The portability of these smaller units also makes them great for those who do not have dedicated hobby shops. The biggest disadvantage of these torches is that they tend to heat up in your hand after prolonged use. Hobbyists that use the torches frequently or for long periods of time in single stretch may want to consider upgrading to a water cooled torch if the heat generated from their air cooled model is a problem.
Due to the simplified design of air cooled TIG torches, they require much less maintenance than do water cooled torches. When the coolant system of a water cooled torch fails, it can burn up the torch cable. Regular maintenance is required on these units to prevent costly damages that may occur due to systems with coolant leaks, blockages, or that are low on fluid. Hobbyists that do not need the power of a water cooled system will find air cooled torches a more cost-effective way to meet their welding needs. Air cooled torches are cheap to buy and in time have a lower total cost of ownership just because of the maintenance required by water torches.
Though the needs of every hobbyist will dictate the type of TIG torches that will best meet his needs, most hobbyists find that air cooled torches are a great solution. They are light weight, portable in lower amperage models, and require very little maintenance. More serious hobbyists may still need to purchase a more robust water cooled system.