What’s the Best Type of Welding for Your Project? Find Out Here.

Thanks to Greg Sanders, owner of Cromweld.com, a website devoted to all things welding, for this guest post. Greg is semi-retired from welding but likes to keep learning, as well as share his knowledge through his website. You can also find him on Facebook.

When you need to create a permanent joint between two pieces of metal, nothing beats welding. This ancient practice allows for building structures that are stronger and more durable than ever imagined. It can even join other materials like PVC. Here, we’ll take a look at the most common welding techniques used.

Some, but not all, types of welding use a filler material that’s melted to fuse the sections you want to join. An arc is used to melt this filler and sometimes to melt the pieces so that a firm joint is made. But the same process isn’t adequate for every need.

pipe fitter welding pipes

MIG Welding

MIG welding is more properly called gas metal arc welding. It uses a wire fed through the machine itself as the filler material. MIG stands for “metal inert gas” since inert gases are used to shield the arc. CO2 is used, but usually it’s blended with argon or another gas. This helps keep the arc stronger and more focused.

In this type of welding, it’s the filler material that fuses with the base metals. The sections that you join don’t have to be the same, which means you have greater versatility with what you join.

MIG is great for a newcomer to welding. It’s relatively easy to learn and is a one-handed operation. The range of materials you can work with is limited, however. MIG welding isn’t powerful enough for cast iron, but it’s too powerful for aluminum.

tig welding

TIG Welding

TIG refers to tungsten inert gas, also called gas tungsten arc welding. This process is a bit newer than MIG. It was developed around World War II mainly for dealing with the lighter metals used in aircraft construction. TIG is always used to join two pieces of the same type of metal since the pieces themselves are actually fused.

Because it requires two hands, TIG is a bit more difficult to master than MIG. But it’s a useful technique to take up if you want to deal with thinner, more delicate metals. TIG uses a long-lasting tungsten electrode. In this case, a filler rod is held in the offhand while the welding nozzle melts it into the joint. TIG depends on argon, which is sometimes mixed with helium to create a hotter arc.

Since the filler rods are thinner than other stick rods, the weld is thinner. This helps make TIG the cleanest type of welding. It’s great for auto body work and even for metal sculpture.

Stick Welding

Also known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), this is an older and simpler type of welding compared to those mentioned above.

This technique uses a single consumable electrode. Like other welding types, the electrode melts to create the fusion between the pieces being joined. The flux coating of the electrode along with the gas feeding around the arc serves to shield it.

Stick welding is great for heavier metals, like cast iron and steel. Since it’s an older form of welding, it’s natural to expect that it works with tougher materials like cast iron and steel. Later welding methods are more “refined.” Stick is great for construction work and similar industries that require heavy-duty materials to be joined. It can even be done in less-than-optimal conditions or on pieces that are not clean. It has a steep learning curve and even experts find it messy, but it gets the job done.

Flux-core Arc Welding

Like MIG, flux-core welding uses a wire fed through the welder’s nozzle. But, unlike other types of welding, the flux provides all the shield you need for the arc. There’s no external gas source needed unless you need to use a type known as dual-shielded arc welding.

Flux core welding is great for heavier materials. Since it produces increased heat than other welding types, you want to be sure you only use it with tougher and thicker metals.

You do have the consumable flux core wire, but with no gas and a highly efficient process, you end up spending less on extra supplies. You’ll also find that many MIG machines are also suitable for use for flux-core welding.

While it’s efficient and doesn’t waste much, it’s not pretty to look at. If this weld is on an exposed surface where appearances matter, you’ll have to polish it a bit.

What’s The Best Type Of Welding?

The type of welding that works best is always going to depend on the project at hand. The materials you’re trying to join are the most important consideration. But, it’s good to realize that no welding type is overly complicated, even though some are a little tougher to pick up than others. But, if you’re interested in starting out, MIG is a good place to begin, based both on cost and skill level.

One last reminder – be sure to use appropriate protective gear when welding. High heat, shrapnel, fumes and blinding light can all put you and the surrounding area in danger.

Play it safe!


  1. Welding is a process of seamlessly combining two or more pieces of metal together using heat and pressure. When heat is applied to metal it becomes soft, enabling parts to be joined by applying adequate pressure. The concept of welding has been in existence since the middle ages when metal pieces were first heated on a flame at very high temperatures before being hammered together to join them.

  2. for me its TIG all the ways. you can do almost everything with it. as much as I appreciate MIG, it has lot of limitations and that is bad for business.

  3. Great post sir
    it has proved highly useful for me. it is quite easy now to differentiate among various kinds of welding. i have started doing tig welding and it is a great source of pleasure.

  4. Your article has been the great source of information. previously, i could not have differentiated among types of welding. however, i have separated Tig welding and it has been greatly helpful for me. thankx.

  5. It is a really helpful article for beginners. I will appreciate the information which you can share with us. welding itself is important to work but if you know how many types of welding and for what purpose Mig or Tig can be used. one more thing is that can you please tell us some tips for beginners to weld properly.

  6. Flux-core arc welding is actually really great. It is so useful for both lighter and heavier materials if you can use it properly.
    I am so clear about different types of welding and their applications after reading your post.

    Thanks for your great share.

  7. It was interesting to learn about how MIG is older than TIG which requires two hands. I can see how it could be really useful for a business to make sure that they can get their welding done so that products are safer. It could be really useful for them to get it done by a professional.

  8. I think Tig welding is best that can be used for stainless steel, auto body task and also for aluminium.

  9. Helpful article for a clear concept to the type of welding. But I think MIG is good to go for beginners.

  10. Thank you for helping me learn more about the different types of welding. My husband and I are needing a welder for a project. Knowing that stick welding is better for heavy metals will help us in finding the right welder for our project.

  11. Really appreciate you taking time to educate and encourage beginner welders.

    We provide a small welding service and came across this article.

    Enjoyed the way you broke down each welding process with informative suggestions. MIG welding is surely a good choice for entry level welders. Thanks John and good luck to Greg!

  12. The blog you posted here is very informative. Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by using high heat to melt the parts together and allowing them to cool causing fusion. Welding is distinct from lower temperature metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering, which do not melt the base metal.

  13. From my perspective MIG welding is simpler to begin with. By and by, numerous individuals begin with stick welding since gear is less expensive and no gas is required.
    Can’t say much regarding TIG welding since I have not attempted it previously.

  14. Just a note for those readers interested in MIG welding. You can weld aluminum with a MIG welder and very successfully. Thinner aluminum is tricky but heavier stuff is ok. Any aluminum boat these days is welded with a MIG. The big issue with MIG welding aluminum is that the welds arent that pretty. If you want good looking welds TIG welding is the way to go.

  15. The post you shared here is informative and revealing about the best process in welding. According to me, TIG welding is an expensive process but it is the best welding process in all types of welding.

  16. Great article! that helps the metal industry to choose appropriate welding for their project. You all know argon gas is known as an inert gas or a noble gas. It is mainly used in the metal industry for the purpose of welding and cuttings.

  17. MIG is the best for beginners and pro level welders.this types of welders are easy to use but a little expensive.and entry level welder should be aware of safety gears.such as : welding helmet,welding gloves,welding sleeves,welding jacket,welding boot

  18. It offers clean and fast welding with very less amount of smoke and minus any spatter. While looking for a TIG Welder, you need to consider a wide variety of factors. It is much more than just looking at the appearance or price point

  19. Hi,

    I really like reading your articles. I have a mobile welding business and always enjoy reading your welding articles

  20. flux-core arc welding is really great. It is useful for both lighter and heavier materials if you can use it properly.
    I am so clear about different types of welding and their applications after reading your post.

    Thanks for your great share.

  21. From my point of view MIG welding is easier to get started with. Nevertheless, many people start with stick welding because equipment is cheaper and no gas is needed.
    Can’t say much about TIG welding because I have not tried it before.

  22. Thanks for helping me learn more about some of the different types of welding. I actually didn’t know that TIG welding is usually used for auto body work because it’s a clean welding type. I’m kind of interested to visually see this in action compared to other welding techniques, especially if they can all work on a similar job so that you can compare the results.

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