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What’s the Difference Between MIG and TIG Welding?

During MIG welding, a continuously-fed electrode wire and shielding gas feed into the welding area via a hand-held MIG torch. With TIG welding, the torch holds a consumable tungsten electrode and shielding gas is fed over this through a supply line. At the same time, a hand-held filler rod is fed manually into the weld puddle while electrical current is varied with a torch-mounted control or a foot pedal.

Is MIG or TIG welding better?

It all depends on what ‘better’ means to you and your welding project? Since introduction to the US aerospace industry in the 1940s, what we now know as MIG and TIG welding have evolved as staples of amateur and professional welding worldwide.

MIG welding is widely accepted as being simpler and easier to learn and master than TIG welding. Because of its continuous feed, the MIG process is faster than TIG. What’s more, because MIG’s filler means you don’t have to heat the workpiece all the way through to form the weld, it’s arguably better for thicker materials, including heavy structural elements.

Greater control and precision

Compare this to TIG welding’s greater control, precision and neatness, applicability to welding in different positions and minimal requirement for finishing. Then there’s its suitability for a very wide range of metals, including exotics. And for welding thinner-gauge metals.

Ask a professional who’s used both processes and we’d wager they’ll say TIG welding is the ‘better’ process – followed shortly afterwards by the qualification that it all depends on the job, thickness of the workpiece and time available... For welders fluent in both processes, one of their greatest skills will be choosing between MIG and TIG for a given project.

What is the easiest welder to use?

It’s a fair generalisation that, for a novice with a given level of latent ability, MIG welding will be easier to learn then TIG welding.

What is a TIG welder used for?

In terms of materials, TIG welders are great with steel, aluminium, copper and titanium to name just a few. In terms of applications, TIG’s range is wide: motorsport; aerospace; industrial fabrication; production line creation; containers; industrial structures; and much more – particularly where very thin metal is used…

What is the best welder for a beginner?

There’s a very strong argument for stick welding being the best process for absolute beginners to learn first – but we’re not talking stick welding here. So, when progressing to MIG or TIG, there’s a strong consensus that it’s MIG.

As for the best MIG welding machine to buy? Talk to an experienced supplier with a long track-record selling welding equipment and see what they suggest. In the case of UK-based R-Tech Welding Equipment, it could easily be the popular R-Tech 180 Amp Portable Inverter Mig Welder (240v) …

Is TIG stronger than MIG?

To offer a definitive answer here, going one way or another, is hard. You see, it all depends on variables including the welding task, materials used, the welder’s skill, quality of set-up, whether tensile strength or malleability is most important and the process used for that particular project.

It’s probably true to say that TIG welding is inherently stronger. And that it will give stronger welds in the hands of a skilled professional. Now qualify this by factoring in the greater skill level required for good TIG welding. In that case, a less-skilled welder or an amateur is unlikely to get the best from TIG. In that situation, the strongest weld they’ll be able to achieve might come from the simpler-to-learn-and-master MIG welding process.

Further reading on the strength of TIG and MIG welding

For an example of further reading on the strength of TIG and MIG welding with stainless steel, read the 2017 paper by Assistant Professor Saurabh Kumar Khotiyan in The International Journal of Advance Engineering and Research Development (IJAERD): ‘Comparison of Hardness and Tensile Strength of TIG and MIG Welding Using Stainless Steel-202’ Interestingly, the paper concludes that ‘TIG is the best suitable welding process to join Stainless Steel grade-202 as compared to MIG welding processes.’

Why would you use MIG welding?

For starters, there’s MIG welding’s relative simplicity, ease of learning if you’re just starting welding, and suitability for materials such as aluminium, mild steel and stainless steel. As mentioned earlier, it’s way faster than TIG welding. And if the signature ‘stacked coin’ TIG finish isn’t a priority – or you’re happy with lots of manual finishing – it’s a very acceptable welding process for many applications.

Given that MIG welding uses a continuously-fed filler wire, it’s also suitable for welding moderately thin to thicker metals. It’s not that TIG welding can’t be used for heavier welding, but that the TIG machine you’ll need will have to be very powerful indeed.

Get more advice on MIG and TIG welding

Whatever your MIG or TIG welding project, you’ll benefit from helpful advice and a quality welding machine. Whether you’ve already decided on a TIG or MIG machine, or you need help choosing between processes, an experienced, reputable welding equipment supplier can help.

Let’s talk about the difference between MIG and TIG welding

Please remember that the R-Tech team is here for you – with more than 25 years’ experience manufacturing, supplying and supporting MIG and TIG welding machines direct to pro- and amateur welders. Several team members have practical experience as welders.

And of course, all the team like helping customers and prospects make the right process and machine choice – or simply talking about the difference between MIG and TIG welding.