How to Choose Welding Rod Sizes & Amperage

By Manmohan Hebbar •  Updated: 10/11/22 •  4 min read
How to Choose Welding Rod Sizes & Amperage

This page serves as a point of reference for selecting the right stick welding rod size and amperage for your stick welder. These guidelines may vary from one manufacturer to another, so always check the manufacturer’s guidelines if possible.

guide for selecting the right stick welding rod size and amperage

How to choose the right welding rod size

The primary factor when choosing the size of a welding rod is the thickness of the base metal that’s going to be welded.

The welding rod should be thinner than the base metal but not thinner than half of the base metal. The thicker the base metal, the larger the welding rod diameter and amperage.

It’s a good idea to select a welding rod with the same diameter as the metal thickness you’re going to be welding. That way, you won’t get too much heat and cause warping and blow-through.

If the welding rod diameter is less than half the thickness of the metal, it can result in slag inclusion, which can be dangerous and make for a poor weld. Ideally, you want an electrode that’s just smaller than the joint.

When welding vertical or overhead, choose a smaller welding rod diameter that creates less deposition and an easier-to-control weld pool.

What are common stick welding rod sizes

The most popular welding rods for hobbyists are 3/32” rods. 1/8” and 5/32” are also very common.

Larger welding electrodes are only really needed for welding 1/2” and above, so won’t be used on most home welding projects. The required amperage to use these electrodes might also be too high because many portable stick welders only go up to 160A.

Welding rods of smaller diameter are hard to handle and not often used because stick welding produces a lot of heat and it’s easy to burn through thin metal.

If you’re not sure which type of electrode to buy, check out our comparison of 6010 vs 6011 vs 6013 vs 7018 vs 7024.

How to choose welding rod amperage

When choosing a rod diameter, use the stick welding rod chart at the top of this page to find out the amperage range for that specific electrode.

When you choose an amperage for your welder, there are several factors to consider. Use a high amperage on thicker metal and a low amperage on thinner metal. You should set the amperage high enough to give the best possible penetration without welding defects.

The amperage will differ for each type of welding rod of a certain diameter because the flux coatings on different types of rods react differently under different currents.

A good starting point for setting your welding amperage is to choose an amperage in the exact middle of the range for a horizontal fillet weld. For example, a 1/8″ 6011 rod would be 100A at its middle amperage. Adjusting from this point based on variables will give you good fusion, no sticking and not too much heat.

Base Metal

Welding position

Joint Type



Troubleshooting welding amperage

If you’re not getting the results you want but aren’t sure if you’ve set the amperage too low or too high, check out these indicators.

Different manufacturers can have slightly different amperage ranges, so make sure to check the packaging and follow their guidance. .

When the amperage is too low

When the amperage is too high

So That’s the end of this article, and I hope you learned something from it. if you really did, don’t forget to share it with your friends, that being said goodbye and catch you guys next time.

Manmohan Hebbar

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