3 Types of Welding Explained: MIG vs TIG vs Stick

By Manmohan Hebbar •  Updated: 10/12/22 •  4 min read

There are several types of welding. The most popular are MIG, TIG and Stick welding. Each one has its own benefits and limitations; you just need to find out which one is best suited for the job in hand.

TIG is generally more suitable for clean intricate welding, where appearance is paramount ahead of efficiency. MIG is a much easier process, but the results aren’t quite as good as TIG. Stick welding is useful for rusty metal or farm work outside.

Welding is not one-size-fits-all. There’s no “best process” for welding, you have to choose what’s right for you. The chart below outlines the main advantages and disadvantages of different types of welding.

MIG vs TIG vs Stick

MIG Welding

MIG welding is a simple process for beginners to learn. To MIG weld, you will use a MIG gun that feeds a wire electrode out of a MIG welding machine when you press the trigger. This wire electrode arcs with the workpiece and creates a weld pool.

MIG welding uses shielding gas to protect the arc from the atmosphere, which would otherwise contaminate it. The gas flows through MIG guns and surrounds the wire electrode.

Pros of MIG Welding:

Cons of MIG Welding:

Gasless MIG (FCAW – Flux Core Arc Welding)

You can also use your MIG welder for flux core welding. In this process, you won’t use gas, but instead use flux cored wire which contains a core that will protect the weld pool from contamination. You can also use a designated flux core welder, which doesn’t need gas to work.

Pros of Flux Core Welding:

Cons of Flux Core Welding:

TIG Welding (GTAW Welding)

TIG welding is a more complex process than MIG welding, and it takes practice to get right. The plus side is that it produces even higher quality welds.

TIG welding is done by using a torch with a non-consumable tungsten electrode and slowly feeding filler rods into the weld pool to fuse the metals together. It’s tricky because it requires you to use both hands and a foot pedal, but it produces really precise welds. TIG welding has a number of advantages and disadvantages, some of which include:

Pros of TIG Welding:

Cons of TIG Welding:

Stick Welding

Stick welding or SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) is an old-school and inexpensive welding method. It’s used mainly to weld thick cast iron and steel.

Stick welding is a process in which a consumable flux coated welding rod/electrode is used, and an electric arc is formed between the electrode and the workpiece metals. During this process, the flux coating that surrounds the electrode then disintegrates and protects the weld pool from contamination.

It’s fairly simple to learn, but welding rod requires a bit more skill than MIG welding because the arc burns down if you aren’t keeping it at the right distance from the workpiece.

Pros of Stick Welding:

Cons of Stick Welding:

Manmohan Hebbar

An Industrial Engineer by qualification and a Digital Marketer by profession.

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