MIG Vs. Stick Welding: Which is Better!

The debate between MIG vs. stick welding isn’t a new one, but it’s an important one. When it comes down to the perfect combination of speed, dependability, and price, MIG welding will always come out on top.

The MIG and stick welding processes are the most common types of welding used, and they have their own particular set of advantages and disadvantages

This article will help you to understand the major differences between these two welding types and help you to choose the best process for your needs.

Most welders know what MIG welding is, but not everyone knows about stick welding. I wrote an article comparing these two methods so that you can easily get the idea easily.

MIG Vs. Stick Welding

Mig welding is great for heavy-duty projects like automotive work or anything that requires thick metals. Stick welding is better for lighter materials and more delicate jobs. So if you’re going to be doing a lot of automotive work, Mig is probably your best bet. If you’re building small things out of thin metal, stick welding might be more your speed.

Mig welding uses a continuous electrical current that is pulsed, while stick welding uses an intermittent electrical current that is constant. 

The pulsed nature of MIG welding allows for better control over the heat applied to the metal, which means it can be more precise than stick welding.

Stick welding has a lower heat input than MIG welding, which means it takes longer to melt the metal and therefore causes less distortion during cooling.

How MIG Welding Works? 

MIG Welding is a solid-state welding process that uses a continuous wire feeder to feed the wire through the gun and into the weld puddle. 

The wire is fed through the gun and out of a nozzle at high speed, where it is melted with an electric arc and deposited on the workpiece.

When you turn on your MIG welder, you’ll hear a high-pitched whine as electricity travels through the wire and creates an arc between it and the ground clamp. 

This arc melts both ends of your wire and sends it shooting toward your workpiece at extremely high speeds.

As this happens, molten metal from your spool will flow out of your gun nozzle and onto your workpiece. The wire itself isn’t actually being melted or burned away; instead, it’s just creating a path for molten metal from your spool to flow down and create a weld puddle on whatever part of your project you’re working on.

Also See: Are MIG Welding Tips Interchangeable?

How Stick Welding Works? 

Stick welding is a technique used to join metal parts together by applying heat to the end of a rod or stick and then pressing the heated rod against the workpiece. It is commonly used in the construction industry.

Stick welding is also known as manual metal arc welding (MMAW) or manual arc welding (MAW). Stick welding can be performed with an open arc or a shielded arc. With an open arc, the welder uses a continuous current that allows for multiple passes over the weld area. 

With a shielded arc, the welder uses short bursts of current that is controlled by foot pedals.

The process begins with creating an electrical connection between the electrode and workpiece by using a foot pedal to begin sending current through an electrode holder called a stick electrode. 

The electrode holder contains rods made from different materials such as mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum that are shaped like pencils so they can be held easily in one hand while welding takes place. 

The rods are covered with flux to protect them from oxidation during use; however, residual flux must be cleaned off for proper appearance after welding is complete.

MIG Vs. Arc Welding Pros and Cons

MIG Welding Pros 

Welding is a very useful skill to have in many different aspects of life. It can be used to make things stronger and more durable, and it can also be used to create art. 

MIG welding is one of the most popular types of welding because it is fast, easy, and requires little training. There are many advantages to using MIG welding, including the following:

  1. MIG Welding is a very versatile welding process that can be used to weld a wide range of materials.
  2. MIG Welding is fast and can be used to weld large sections in a single pass, making it suitable for mass-production welding applications.
  3. MIG Welding produces minimal spatter and slag, which makes it ideal for welding thin materials such as sheet metal or thin wall pipe.
  4. MIG Welding produces little smoke, so the operator can see clearly what they are doing while they work.
  5. The arc length of a MIG welder is adjustable from short to long, depending on the application.

Also See: Can You Do MIG Welding Exhaust Pipe Without Gas?

MIG Welding Cons 

MIG Welding has several disadvantages that should be considered before deciding whether it’s the right option for you. The following are some: 

  1. It’s expensive to set up and maintain a MIG setup, which is why most welders only have one or two machines in their shop. The cost of the welder itself, supplies, gas tanks, and other equipment can add up quickly.
  2. MIG welding requires you to purchase wire spools from a manufacturer like Lincoln Electric or Miller Electric Company each time you run out. You can’t just use any ordinary wire for your project!
  3. MIG welding requires a more skilled operator than other types of welding processes do because it requires more control over arc length and travel speed than other processes do. 

Arc/ Stick Welding Pros

The following are the advantages of stick welding:

  1. Stick welding is also very inexpensive compared with other types of welding methods available today, especially when compared with MIG (Metal Inert Gas).
  2. Stick welding is often preferred because it allows for greater precision in joining small parts. The electric arc produced by the machine provides a focused heat source at the point where it touches the electrode, allowing for more precise control over where the weld will be made.
  3. You can also weld thicker materials with stick electrodes than some other types of electrodes because they have larger diameters than most others do. 
  4. The process allows for a lot of flexibility in terms of how you can use it. You can choose from a wide variety of electrodes and even decide whether or not you want to use gas-shielded electrodes or regular ones.
  5. Stick welding provides excellent penetration, which means you can weld thick materials with ease.

Arc/ Stick Welding Cons 

Stick welding is a popular alternative to other welding procedures, but it has its downsides.

  1. Stick welding has a higher heat input than other welding processes, which can be bad for some materials and parts.
  2. It’s also difficult to do on thin metals or in tight spaces.
  3. The process can leave a lot of slag on the weld, which is sometimes hard to remove.
  4. The bead shape and size are limited by the stick electrode thickness, so it’s not always possible to control the size or shape of your weld bead.
  5. Ineffective to work on stock less than ⅛ inches. 

How Strong is MIG Welding?

MIG welding is a very strong and durable process. It can be used to weld all types of metals, including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. 

The strength of the weld depends on a number of factors, including the thickness of the metal being welded, the type of material being used, the method used to prepare surfaces before welding, and whether or not a filler rod is used during the process.

The main advantage of MIG welding is that it produces a very strong bond between two pieces of metal because this process uses an electric arc instead of sparks, like traditional welding methods. 

This means that there are fewer contaminants present in the final product, which can reduce corrosion over time as well as increase resistance against fatigue failure when compared with other methods, such as arc welding or oxy-acetylene cutting which rely on sparks from an open flame instead of electricity from a machine.

There are several different types of materials that you can use for MIG welding, including steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, bronze, nickel-based alloys (nickel silver), copper alloys (brass), magnesium alloys (aluminum bronzes), titanium alloys, zirconium alloys, tungsten carbide ceramics, molybdenum carbide, etc.

What are the Criteria to Make Stronger Welds? 

Usually, when welding, you want to make sure that you can create a strong weld. Welders use different criteria to make sure that their welds are strong enough. They usually use three main criteria:

Penetration: Penetration refers to the depth of the weld into the base metal. The deeper your penetration is, the stronger your weld will be.

Roughness: Roughness refers to how rough your weld is. If you have a rough surface on your weld, it will be more prone to cracking and breaking than if it were smooth and even throughout its entirety.

Heat-Affected Zone (HAZ): The heat-affected zone refers to the area surrounding where you’ve actually melted your metal together with a torch or welding gun; this area tends to expand outward from where it was heated up during the process of joining together two pieces of material via melting them both together into one piece (welding).

Right Material: To make a stronger weld, you need to use the right material. The metal you are welding should be similar to the metal that you are using as a filler. If they are not, then they will not fuse properly and will not form a strong bond.

Arc Type: Another important factor is the type of arc used during welding. It needs to be set at an angle that allows it to produce a wide arc around the joint being welded. This helps to ensure that there are no gaps between the two pieces of metal being joined together and ensures that there is enough heat surrounding them in order for them to fuse together properly.

Is Stick Welding Harder than MIG?

Stick welding is a very useful and versatile welding technique, but it’s definitely not as popular as MIG. The reason for this is that stick welding is much harder to master than MIG, and it’s more difficult to use in certain situations.

Stick welding has many benefits over MIG. It does not require gas or electricity to work, which makes it a great option for people who don’t have access to electricity or who are working in areas where the gas would be dangerous. 

MIG welding requires less effort from the welder because it works with an electric arc instead of flame-like stick welding. 

This means that you don’t have to hold your torch steady for as long when using MIG because the machine does most of the work for you! 

The downside of this is that sometimes an arc will break down if there isn’t enough metal available in one place: this doesn’t happen with stick welders because they hold onto their torches while they’re working!

Major Differences Between Stick & MIG Welding 

1. Wire Feeding System: 

The main difference between stick and MIG welding is the way the wire is fed through the gun. Stick welding uses a stick of solid wire, while MIG welding uses a spool of wire with a gas-shielded flux core.

Stick welding requires that you manually feed the wire into your gun. It also requires that you manually set the amperage (how much current passes through your gun) and voltage (how much energy passes through your gun). 

This means that you need to know how much heat your material will take before beginning to weld, and you need to know how fast you want to feed in the new wire as you go along. This can be very difficult for beginners who are just starting out with welding techniques, but it can be rewarding once mastered as well.

MIG welding allows for more automation than stick welding: instead of having to manually feed in new wire yourself, it automatically feeds wire through a spool as needed, according to what settings you’ve chosen on your machine’s control panel. 

2. Welding Results: 

Both types of welding have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to weld quality. Stick welding produces deeper penetration in the material being welded than MIG does, but it also creates burnt edges on the underside of your welds (called undercut). 

This means that if you’re working with thin metal sheets or sheets that have been chemically treated (like stainless steel), stick welding will leave behind a blackened edge that may not look as nice as you’d like. 

On the other hand, MIG offers cleaner edges on the underside of your welds than stick does; however, this comes at a cost. MIG tends to be more difficult for beginners because there’s more room for error than there would be with stick welding. 

3. Different Applications: 

Stick welding is a style of welding that uses a welding rod and an arc to form the weld. The arc is created by striking an electrode against the workpiece while the welding rod supplies filler material. This style of welding is typically used outdoors because of its ability to be done in windy conditions.

Indoor MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding uses gas instead of flux. The inert gas protects against oxidation, which can occur when you’re working with certain metals such as aluminum or stainless steel. This type of welding is typically used indoors because it’s easier to control than stick, but it can also be used outside if necessary.

4. Convenient to Use: 

The major difference between MIG and stick welding is the ease of use. Stick welding is a more manual process, where you have to hold the torch in one hand while you weld with the other. 

This can be difficult for some people who have disabilities or injuries that prevent them from being able to hold things in their hands for long periods of time.

MIG welding uses a machine that feeds wire through a gun and automatically feeds it into the arc as you weld. This means that you don’t have to hold anything in your hands, making it easier on your body than stick welding.

5. Cost Difference: 

Another difference between these two processes is cost: MIG welding machines cost more than stick welders because they are more complicated and require more electricity to run them. 

However, if you want a higher quality weld, MIG can provide this for you at a lower cost per foot than stick welding.

6. Portability: 

Stick welding is portable. MIG welding is not.

Stick welding equipment is generally smaller, lighter, and more compact than MIG equipment. This makes stick welding much easier to set up and take down for transport. 

Stick welders can also move around with greater ease since they’re not attached to a power source or gas tank. They just need their tungsten rods and their shielding gas supply.

The portability of stick welders allows them to be used in many different settings: construction sites, home improvement projects (like repairing your car), or even on the go if you’re an artisan who travels with your tools like a blacksmith or farrier.

MIG welders are more difficult to transport because they require a power source and gas tank that must be transported separately from the welder itself.

Which Factors Determine the Weld Strength? 

There are various factors that determine weld strength. Some of the most important factors that determine the weld strength include:

  • The composition of the weld metal and base metal.
  • The amount of heat input during welding affects the temperature of the weld zone.
  • The thickness of the weld joint and its depth below the surface of the parent metal.
  • The type of joint formed between different materials in a welded assembly, such as a butt joint or lap joint (in a butt joint, two parts are joined directly to each other without any overlap).
  • The degree of fusion between two parts during a welding process (fusion is achieved when all surfaces are melted completely).

Stick Welding or MIG Welding: Which One is Better? 

Stick welding, or “stick,” is one of the oldest forms of arc welding. It’s also the most common, with more than 50% of welders working with it on a regular basis.

When you’re looking for a good way to put together metal parts and make them stick together, there are a few better options than stick welding.

While MIG (inert metal gas) welding is a newer process, it is also much more versatile and adaptable than stick welding. This means that while it can’t be used in certain situations where stick welding would be ideal, it can handle a wider range of applications overall.

So if you’re looking for an easy-to-learn process that will give you consistent results every time, stick welding might be just what you need.

If you want something that will allow you to do more advanced work and take on a wider variety of projects, then MIG welding might be better suited for your needs.

Wrapping Up!

Both MIG and stick welding are easy to learn and great to use, so you can choose whichever one you think is the better choice for your own welding.

When deciding to weld MIG vs. stick welding, consider how much you’re willing to spend and how much time you want to invest in learning the process, along with which type of metal you will be welding, what thickness it is, and how strong it needs to be.


What is stick welding best for?

Stick welding is ideal for general fabrication and repair anywhere there’s a need for quick, cost-effective joining. Stick welding is particularly good for joining heavier materials where higher heat input is required, including carbon steel and stainless steel up to 1/4″ thick, aluminum, and other metals. A welder can be used in positions that may not be at the best angle for a lance or submerged arc method.

What type of welding is strongest? 

The strongest welding is done with MIG and TIG. They can be used for any type of metal, including stainless steel and aluminum.

What type of welding is best for beginners?

MIG is one of the most popular welding types for beginners. It is easy to set up, easy to understand, and produces strong welds with good penetration. MIG has a single wire electrode with a shielding gas shield that protects the weld pool from contamination by oxygen in the atmosphere.

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