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What Is the Difference Between MIG and TIG Welding? | In-depth Comparison

MIG and TIG welding, these are the most popular welding types. And that is what makes newcomers totally confused about which one to get. Both of them comes with their own set of advantage and disadvantages. Plus, they are best suited for different purposes.

In order to get your hands on the right one, knowing how each of these functions, what is their strengths and weakness is mandatory.

And that is exactly why we are here. We have demonstrated all the differences between TIG and MIG welder so that you can have a clear picture of them and end up choosing the right fit for you!

Let’s get started then?

MIG WELDING VS TIG WELDING

Except for dissimilarities, MIG and TIG welding comes with some similarities too. And one major similarity between them is both are arc welders. Both of them creates Arc to well but in different ways. Another similarity is, both welders use Inert gas. See rest below!

Definition

The Abbreviation of MIG welder is Metal Inert Gas welder. In this welder, the arc is created between the consumable wire and base metal. The consumable wire is fed through the handle and that controlled by the trigger.

And this consumable wire melts when the arc occurs and that’s what produces the weld. Plus, in MIG welders shielding gas keeps flowing in order to present a clean weld.

TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas. In TIG welding the arc occurs between the base metal and tungsten electrode. There is a welding torch where the tungsten electrode is held and it is held about an eighth of an inch away from the base metal.

Electrode

This is where the main difference is in between MIG and TIG welding. An electrode is obvious in every arc welding since the electrode is what forms the arc. There are mainly two types of electrode consumable and non-consumable.

Consumable electrodes get meltdown by the heat of arc to fill the gap. On the other hand, the non-consumable electrode doesn’t melt by the arc heat, in that case, filler wires are used which melts by the arc heat and makes the weld.

A consumable electrode is used in MIG welding which itself melts down to fill the gap. And a non-consumable electrode is used in TIG welding which doesn’t melt hence filler wires are required.

Electrode material

In order to gain accurate, sturdy welding, the filler material have to be compatible with the parent material. If both materials are not compatible with each other, that will result in the defective weld.

In MIG welding filler material can be chosen depending on the base material which means electrode can be made of any material. So there will be no chance of defective welding.

On the flip side, in TIG welding the electrode is made of only tungsten and the reason behind is the high temperature, good shape retention ability, and high strength. Sometimes in order to make both materials compatible, some alloying elements such as thorium, cerium oxide, zirconia, were mixed with tungsten.

Spattering

Spatter means small filler metal droplets that form because of the arc scattering. And these droplets emerge out of the welding zone and sometimes they drop on the base metal which hampers the appearance. Hence, it requires grinding to remove those droplets. Spatter is a waste of filler metals.

That being said, both the MIG and TIG welder creates little spatter. But TIG welders make no spatters unless the base metal is not clean. And compared to TIG welders, MIG creates more spatters.

Filler Deposition Speed

The faster the filler metal deposits, the faster you will get your job done. MIG welders win in this section, these welders are very productive since they can deposit filler metals faster.

On the other hand, compared to the MIG welding speed, TIG welding filler deposition rate is slower which makes them less productive.

Overhead welding

There are mainly three welding positions, inclined, down-hand and overhead. Among these three overhead weldings is the toughest and for some welders overhead welding is near impossible. And it is not only about the machine, but the welder also has to be skilled, otherwise, it might get worse.

Doing overhead welding with MIG welder is impossible since the filler metal has to be deposited against gravity. There is a high chance of molten metal pool falling when doing overhead welding with MIG.

But that said, TIG can do an excellent job here. If the welder is skilled enough, doing overhead welding with TIG welder will be very easy.

Difficulty

In MIG welding, the wire is continuously fed which makes it easier to handle. But in TIG welding, the welder has to use both hands, one in holding the torch and another holding the filler material. So TIG welding is harder than MIG welding.

Thickness & Appearance

For thicker base metal, MIG welding would be a great choice, they give good penetration. On the flip side, TIG welding is only good for thinner metal sheets.

But when it comes down to appearance, no welder is even near TIG welding. if done right you will get shiny clear weld with TIG welding. That is something you can’t expect from MIG welding.

Cost

MIG welding machines are cheaper than TIG welding machines. That being said, TIG welders can deliver high-quality attractive welds, so they worth the money.

MIG WELDING

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to use.
  • Good for thicker metals.
  • Faster speed.
  • Consumable electrode.
  • Good accuracy.

Cons

  • Weak weld compared to TIG.
  • Not completely rust-resistant.
  • Doesn’t deliver shiny clean welds.

TIG WELDING

Pros

  • Sturdy and attractive welds..
  • Overhead joints.
  • Top-notch quality.
  • Offers great control.
  • Requires low maintenance.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Hard to learn.
  • Slower filler deposition.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Ques: MIG or TIG, which one is better?

  • As we mentioned earlier, both of these welding machines are good for different purposes. For example, if you need a light-duty welder for home use, then MIG welders will be good. And when you need something strong, then TIG welding fits there. So it completely depends on your need!

Ques: What is the easiest welder to use?

  • Among MIG and TIG welding, MIG is easy to use. And since TIG welding requires both hands, they are a bit difficult.

CONCLUSION

Are you still with us? Then you must know all the differences between MIG and TIG welding which will help you to invest in the right one. Happy welding!!!

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