Tig vs. Mig Welding: Understanding the Difference (And When to Use Each)

Tig vs. Mig Welding: Understanding the Difference (And When to Use Each)

Whether you're a hardcore DIYer or use your welding skills professionally, it's important to pick the right method and equipment.

As similar as different welding methods might seem, there are some big differences.

With over 400,000 welders — and growing — currently working in the US, now is a great time to learn this useful skill

If you're trying to decide between TIG vs. MIG welding, keep reading for a quick look at both methods and what makes them different.

What Is MIG Welding?

Metal Inert Gas welding or MIG welding is one of the simpler welding methods to learn and use.

MIG welding makes use of a consumable wire electrode which is shielded from atmospheric gases during the welding process. When MIG welding, a tool called a spool is used to feed the wire electrode onto the welding surface while the weld is formed within the shielding gas.

While this process might sound a little complex, it's relatively simple to set up and control. But, you must make sure the welding surface is very clean and that you have the right combination of gas and electrode for the metal you're working with.

MIG welding can be done more quickly than other methods but is usually better done indoors.

What Is TIG Welding?

Tungsten Inert Gas or TIG welding is another form of welding that's a bit more complicated than MIG welding.

TIG welders do not feed welding material right into the weld. Instead, the user must operate the welder with one hand while feeding a filler rod into the weld with the other hand.

While TIG welding is a little more complicated and time-consuming to learn, most welders prefer the tight, precise welds that can be made with it.

TIG welding is also the preferred method for working with stainless steel. And since the shielding gases are not as temperamental, TIG welding is easier to do outdoors.

TIG vs. MIG Welding

If you don't have much experience with welding, it would be easy to assume that these two methods are pretty similar. But the reality is, MIG and TIG welding are very different.

Not only do the two methods involve very different procedures, but they require different levels of skill and experience.

TIG welding takes significantly more skill and practice to master, but the result is often a much cleaner weld that looks better and requires less cleanup.

MIG welding, on the other hand, is much easier to learn and can often be done faster than TIG welding. But, MIG welding can be hard to do outdoors or on surfaces that are not completely clean.

Which One Is Right for You?

Ultimately, TIG vs. MIG welding is a matter of both choice and application.

If you need the precision or plan to work with stainless steel, TIG is probably the best choice. But, if you need to move more quickly and will be working indoors, MIG may be a better choice.

If you're new to welding, be sure to check out our post on picking the perfect welding machine.

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