Mig VS Stick Welding : Which Welding Process Is Best!

What is the difference between MIG welding and arc welding? This is one of the most asked questions about welding. In truth, arc welding refers to any welding process that relies on an electric current. As such, Metal Inert Gas welding or MIG welding falls under arc welding. However, to most people, arc welding is Shielded Metal Arc Welding, which is also referred to as stick welding.  For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume arc welding refers to stick welding. In this regard, we will be comparing stick vs mig welding.  We will look at what each welding process entails and offers. Also, we will go over each welding process’s pros and cons. Finally, we will look at the similarities between the two.

MIG welding

mig welding process

Stick welding

stick Welding Process

MIG Welding vs STICK Welding

The mig vs. stick welding is one that still rages on. Both are great welding techniques that yield strong welds. However, some differences make them suited to different tasks. In this section, we are going to look at these differences.

Which one Can Penentrate Easily in Ramble of Mig vs Stick

The first round of the Stick vs Mig battle is metal penetration. Both processes offer high penetration. However, amp-for-amp stick welding has an edge. MIG may require higher amperage to penetrate thicker metals.

Also, to get a deep penetration with MIG, you need to clean the metal surface first. Stick welding offers high penetration, whether the metal surface is rusted or dirty.

Operation Costs

Which is cheaper mig vs arc welding? The equipment used for MIG is usually pricier than the equipment used for stick welding. However, for high production in a shop setting MIG welding may be less costly.

Thus it depends on what your needs are. Ultimately though, stick welding is less expensive and more portable than MIG welding.

Safety and welder quality

The quality of welder has more to do with the welding machine you opt for. Both processes have a great selection of welding machines you can choose from. When it comes to safety, MIG has more safety requirements.

As mentioned previously, MIG welding has a high heat output. Therefore, it cannot be used for overhead or vertical welding. Stick welding does not have such a high heat output and is thus a bit safer for overhead welding.

Mig Welding vs Arc Welding: Which Is Better For What?

MIG is a cleaner welding process that produces beautiful welds. Stick welding is a more rugged weld process. For general welding projects such as farm work use stick.

MIG welding machine is mainly used in fabrication. The reason being that it requires a clean and unpainted metal surface. Also, it excels when it comes to welding non-ferrous metals such as aluminum.

For outdoor works where you are dealing with rusted, painted, and even dirty surfaces, stick will be the ideal option.


The next round in this STICK welding vs MIG welding is how beginner-friendly the two are. Generally, MIG is easier to learn compared to stick welding. However, this is not to say stick welding is difficult.

Weld strength

In terms of weld strength, both produce strong welds. Nonetheless, with MIG welding, you can create a good looking weld that is not strong. This is mainly for beginners. An aesthetically pleasing weld is not always a strong weld. This is something you should keep in mind.

Which Metal To use - In Battle of Mig vs Stick Welding

MIG welding is used mainly in fabrication works. Standard MIG welding machines may struggle when welding thick metals. Trying to weld thick metals such as cast iron may destroy your MIG machine.

Stick welders, on the other hand, can weld thicker metals. But are poor at welding thinner sheets of metal. A standard AC stick welder will burn through metals thinner than 1/8 inches. MIG welders can weld metals up to 24 gauge in thickness.

When welding using an MIG welder, you must ensure that the surface is clean. Unlike stick welders MIG welding does not work on dirty, rusted, or painted surfaces.

Indoor & outdoor Use : Mig Or Arc

When it comes to arc vs mig welding conditions, they are both suited to different environments. MIG welding is primarily done indoors. Stick welding is done outdoors.

Due to the use of shielding gas, MIG is not suited to outdoor welding. Wind and rain causes interferes with the shielding gas resulting in a poor weld. Stick welding on the other hand, produces thick smoke and fumes, thus it is best done outside.

The appearance of the weld

MIG welding is predominantly used in fabrication and sculpting. The reason being that this method produces an aesthetically pleasing weld. The same cannot be said about stick welding. With the latter, you get a lot of slag and spatter, and the finished weld is not aesthetically pleasing.

Gas shielding

Stick welding does not require an external gas tank to supply the shielding gas. Instead the gas is created the flux coating burns. MIG welding does require a gas tank to provide the shielding gas. In MIG welding, a solid wire with no flux coating is used.


Stick and MIG welding are two of the most common welding methods out there. And while they have their similarities, they are primarily different. Stick welding is more functional and rugged and is used for general purpose repair works.

MIG welding is more refined and produces more aesthetically pleasing welds. It is used mainly in fabrication works and sculpting. So if you are wondering which is better mig vs. stick welding? It all depends on your welding needs.