Are you planning on getting your first welding machine and confused about which method to go with? Well, the most convenient welding types for the beginners are the MIG welding method and the Stick welding method. MIG is popular among the people who want to land some professional welds with less experience in welding.
It can help you land a very clean, neat and good looking weld on a variety of metal types within a short period. On the other hand, stick welding is the oldest welding method in the modern welding industry. If you’re confused about which one to take between the MIG welding vs Stick welding, I’m here to help. Stick to the article to know how these methods work and which one you should go for.
What Is MIG Welding
MIG is the acronym for Metal Inert Gas; it’s also popular by the name, GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) to the American welding society. It’s one of the easiest welding methods that you can learn as a beginner and land a professional-grade weld on the workpiece. As the name suggests, the MIG welding method uses inert gas as the shielding barrier for the molten poodle.
The inert gas is usually a mixture of CO2 and Argon; sometimes, you will use helium as well, depending on the type of metal. The electric arc will heat up the base metal and melt a continuously fed electrode on the poodle to join them together. The shielding gas will protect the molten poodle from oxidization until it cools down and solidifies.
What is stick welding
The stick welding method is an arc welding method that uses a consumable electrode stick instead of a feed-through wire. The filler electrode stick has a flux cover, which does the shielding job instead of using gas as the MIG welding method does. You have to use a ground clamp to complete the electric arc circuit from the welding machine.
As you weld using the stick, the flux cover will vaporize and make a gas shield to protect the molten poodle. You must choose the right filler stick according to the metal; there are different lengths and types of the stick available as well. After completing the weld, the shielding flux will create a slag layer that you will chip off later.
Mig welding vs stick welding: Key Differences
Choosing between MIG welding vs Stick welding requires you to know about them both very well. Here are the things you should consider going through while choosing the solution for your next welding project:
MIG welding is far better than stick welding when it comes to the aesthetics of the welded output. It will create no slag to chip off later and give you a clean and professional look to the weld. However, you have to use higher amperage to get deep penetration and clean the base metals from corrosion or paint before welding.
The stick welding method is not as clean as the MIG welding because it leaves many slags and spatters behind. You have to chip the slag and clean the weld from the spatter after completing the weld with a stick welder. However, the good thing about stick welding is, you can use it on metal with contaminations like paint, dust, or rust.
Indoor and Outdoor Use
MIG welding is a sensitive welding method that requires a controlled indoor environment to work with. It uses gas shielding, and it’s not waterproof, so you cannot take it to strong wind or rain, or the shield won’t work. It produces a lot of heat and fume, so adequate ventilation is important as well.
Stick welding, on the other hand, can be a great choice if you have to work outside your workshop a lot. It’s water-resistant and can stand against the strong wind to work outside just fine. If you’re getting the welding machine for outside jobs where it will be windy, and the material would be rusty, go for stick welding.
Metals in Use
The MIG welding method is an ideal choice if you’re planning to weld different metal types with various thicknesses. However, you shouldn’t weld heavy metals with MIG welding as it can damage your welder due to higher consumption. You can weld almost any type of thin metal with MIG weldings such as magnesium, mild steel, stainless, copper, carbon steel, or even aluminum.
Unlike its counterpart, the stick welding method is a great method to weld thicker metals, even if it’s thicker than 1/16. However, the stick welding method doesn’t do a good job with thinner metals; it can get you a burn-through if it’s sheet metal less than 18 gauge. If you’re planning to weld thick metals and get a better result outside, the stick welding is for you.
The intended application should be the main perspective of getting the welding machine in the first place. MIG welding is cleaner and quicker at its job; you should get it if you need a cleaner weld output. Applications like structure fabrication, DIY projects, gardening, fences, sculpting, automobile structure design are suitable for MIG welding.
Stick welding method is the best option if you’re going to work outside most of the time, especially for farming. It’s also suitable for harsh weather or rusty metal because the stick welder is waterproof and can work with dirty metal. If you’re doing small automotive repairs, lawnmowers, welding thick farming machinery, go for the stick welder.
Ease of Use
The MIG welding method is better for beginners who are still learning the process. All it takes is to feed the wire through the spool gun, hit the trigger, and the weld is in its place. However, it can be annoying if you have a mobility requirement because the MIG welding method uses a separate gas cylinder.
The stick welding method is free from the mobility problems because it’s usable outside, without external gas shielding. However, it can be a little harder to learn for beginners because it has some crucial learning curves. You have to practice stick welding a while for an accurate strike on the metal without damaging it.
Mig welding vs stick welding: Which Welding Process Is Best?
When it comes to finally deciding the ultimate go-to, it’s important to take the major criteria in front. You have to use it indoors, in a controlled environment with adequate ventilation, and it’s easy to learn! With MIG welding, you will get a higher cost of operation as it requires external shielding gas.
However, you should go for the stick welding method if you’re getting it for outdoor usage, especially for rusty and dirty farming welding. It can work in harsh, widdy, and rainy environments, and has less operation cost without any shielding gas.
To sum up the comparison between mig welding vs stick welding, I can tell you that you should choose your next welder on what purpose you have. You may be thinking about getting the MIG welder because it’s easier to learn! Well, think again! Stick welding is also fairly easy to learn, and it’s applicable in harsh weather conditions like rain, wind.
Most of all, it can work well on thick, rusty, painted metals that MIG cannot do well. However, If you’re getting the welder for commercial usage, it can be a cost-efficient and customer-friendly choice to get the MIG. It has less slag, quicker operation, and cleaner, professional weld after all!