What Is The Difference Between Stick Welding And MIG Welding?
What Is The Difference Between Stick Welding And MIG Welding?

What Is The Difference Between Stick Welding And MIG Welding?

4 minutes, 34 seconds Read

Welding techniques are of various types, including TIG welding, MIG welding, and stick welding. Each of these types of welding wire has its advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different applications. This article will explore MiG and stick welding, introduce each technology, detail its advantages and disadvantages, and compare the two welding types.

MIG Welding

MIG welding uses consumable electrodes that are delivered from spools. Pulling the trigger on the spool gun causes the wire to flow at a pre-selected speed as current flows, melting both the electrode and the base metal.

MIG welding is usually done with DC (direct current) or reverse polarity, where the electrode is positively charged while the base metal is negatively charged. In any case, the base metal and the electrode melt together in the molten metal Weld pool, which is protected from external atmospheric pollution by a shielding gas. Welding machine spool gun with trigger and on/off switch is also easy to use.


There are several advantages to MIG welding, including:

  • Precision: MIG welding offers a high degree of accuracy, capable of welding metal as thin as 24 gauge, as well as creating complex welding designs.
  • Clean: MIG welding is a clean process with little splashes, allowing for smooth, high-quality, slag-free joints that require minimal cleaning.
  • Fast: MIG welding is one of the fastest welding methods, achieving high productivity
  • Flux core: MIG welding can also be used on flux-core welding projects

Stick Welding

Stick welding is an electric arc welding process that uses a metal rod or rod as the filler material. These rods are usually covered with Flux material and are available in various diameters and lengths. To achieve high strength welds, selecting the right type of flux core wire welding rod for your application is important. Often used to weld steel and iron, stick welding uses DC or reverse polarity current like MIG welding. 


The advantages of stick welding include:

  • Environment: stick welding creates a large arc that is not affected by wind, meaning it can be used effectively both indoors and outdoors. Stick welding can be done under ventilated conditions and even underwater
  • Paint and corrosion resistance: stick welding can be used to repair parts that have paint or corrosion at their welding point
  • Easy to learn: stick welding is easy to learn, which means that good quality welds can make someone with relatively little experience.
  • Changing filler material: changing filler material is easy when you need to weld different metals like cast iron or different stainless steel.
  • Reduce burn-through: using the DC option for ARC, it is possible to change the polarity of the electrode to reduce the possibility of burn-through when welding thin metals.

Stick Welding Vs MIG

In order to thoroughly ascertain the distinctions between stick welding and MIG welding, we will contrast them along a few important dimensions:

1. Weld Quality

Stick welding results in splashes and slags, hence MiG welds are more aesthetically pleasing than stick welds. However, in contrast, when welding thick metals with MiGs, the amperage needs to be elevated and the surface completely free of paint and rust so as not to affect weld penetration. When done correctly, stick welding creates a stronger joint than MIG welding.

2. Indoor and Outdoor Applications

MIG welding can only be done indoors due to the usage of shielding gas, as wind and rain can harm the weld. On the other hand, stick welding is air and water resistant so it can be done outdoors or even underwater. However, an arc with stick welding can produce too much fume and smoke, which means good ventilation is needed to protect the welder.

3. Metal Types and Thicknesses

MIG welding can be done from different types of metal, as long as the surfaces are clean. MiG welds can be used for thin metals including aluminum, brass, carbon steel, copper, magnesium, mild steel, and stainless steel. However, unlike stick welding, MIG welding is not ideal for thick metals, which can fuse thick metals. In contrast, stick welding is not as effective with thin metals as it can cause burns.

4. Applications

MIG is a clean and fast process, making it suitable for many applications, from small DIY projects to large industrial welding works. However, MIG is unsuitable for external or more extreme conditions as well as welding of thick materials. In these cases, stick welding is the preferred option.

5. Ease of Use

Although learning stick welding is not a special difficult skill, MIG welding is an easy technique to learn.  Stick welding is a bit more difficult because you need to strike precisely at the arc without damaging the weld metal.

6. Portability

Stick welding equipment is more portable than MIG welders, as it does not require an external shielding gas source.

7. Cost

Although MIG welding becomes more cost-effective when done on an industrial scale because of variables including better productivity, MIG welding instruments are more expensive than stick welders.


There are several important differences between MiG and stick weldings, including ease of technique, thickness of metals that can be easily added, and quality of welds. While MIG welding can be easy to learn, stick welding can also be carried out under adverse conditions. In addition, stick welding is not suitable for welding thin materials while MIG welding is not suitable for thick welds. Each type of welding process has its advantages and disadvantages when compared side by side, which means that both are viable when conditions and applications are appropriate.

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