If you are familiar with the welding industry, you already know the two popular types of welding, MIG and TIG. While each option is ideal for many welding situations, do you know which one to use depending on the project?
Let’s look at both welding styles before deciding which one to choose for your upcoming welding needs.
Introduction to MIG vs TIG Welding
Welding is a process used for generations to create a joint or bond between two pieces of metal with the help of heat, pressure, or both. Most forms of welding require the use of a hand-held gun and some form of metal filler material or flux.
Two of the most popular forms of welding are MIG and TIG. Both of these welding styles utilize electrodes and heat to melt filler metal to create a bond between two pieces of substrate. While they are both very effective in many situations and with many types of metal, they do differ in many ways.
What Is MIG Welding?
MIG welding is an electrical arc that bonds two pieces of metal together, formed by a continuously heated wire electrode after coming in contact with the base metal.
The welding gun used in the MIG welding process feeds a shielding gas of carbon dioxide or argon (typically) simultaneously with the MIG weld to protect the weld pool from contamination.
- Works quickly
- Electrodes have high efficiency
- You can weld in all types of positions
- Equipment is affordable
- Equipment is easy to clean
- You can weld on most types of metals
- You cannot use this welder outside in the wind or other weather
- Creates hot spots and disturbances in the metal
- Prone to burns
- Requires constant gas charging
- Not as precise as other welding equipment
Uses and applications for MIG welding:
- Automotive industry
- Sheet metal welding
- Home repairs
- Piping systems
TIG welding, also called tungsten inert gas welding, utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode, which is an electrode that will not melt. The electrode produces an arc when coming into contact with the base metal. The TIG weld is created when a filler metal is melted by the arch, creating a joint.
The electrode and the welding area are shielded from contamination and oxidation with an inert shielding gas, usually helium or argon. This welding technique is a little challenging to master, with excellent coordination required.
- Works well on thinner metals
- Versatile, allowing you to switch from one material to another
- Your weld is slag and corrosion-free
- Requires excellent coordination
- Can be time-consuming
- Requires a clean welding surface
- Equipment can be expensive
Uses and applications:
- Construction site jobs
- Automotive industry
MIG and TIG Welding Comparison
MIG and TIG welding are very similar. They both utilize a heated arch to create a sound bond between two types of metals. However, there are many differences in each process as well.
MIG welding is typically a faster welding method than TIG. With that said, it can also be much more difficult to control due to the speed. While TIG welding is a bit slower, it is much more versatile but requires more experience and a higher skill level to master.
The quality of TIG welding is often better compared to MIG. TIG welding is known for no spatter or smoke and can weld joints with much more precision. Thanks to the transparent arc with TIG welding, it is much easier to see the welding puddle, giving you a better visual as you work.
MIG welding is prone to undercuts and burning and disturbances in the metal and hotspots.
In this category, MIG welding is the winner, economically speaking, anyway. Because the MIG welding process is much faster than TIG, productivity is greater. Simultaneously, MIG welding equipment is more affordable than TIG parts and also more accessible.
Ease of Use
Lastly is ease of use. It’s pretty safe to say that MIG welding is much easier to learn and master than TIG, mainly due to the basic requirement of pulling the trigger. When MIG welding, the gun does all the work for you, while TIG welding requires both hands on deck.
When to Use MIG Welding
MIG welding is a very versatile form of welding and can be used in many different situations and on materials other welders wouldn’t be able to handle. This is the best way to weld heavier industrial metals.
A MIG welder is typically best when used on:
- Thicker metal
- Production work
- Outdoor work
When to Use TIG Welding
TIG welding is a more decorative form of welding that is ideal for detail, clean design, and thinner metals. While it might require a steep learning curve, once you master it, it is worth the time and effort.
A TIG welder is typically used on:
- Thin metal
- Precision work
- Clean and beautiful welds
What is the difference between MIG vs TIG welding?
The most significant difference between MIG and TIG welding is that MIG uses a consumable electrode and carbon dioxide or argon gas. TIG welding uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and helium or argon gas.
Can MIG welding be used for precise work?
MIG welding is not recommended for precise work. TIG welding is definitely more accurate and often used for decorative welding and finer details with clean welds.
Can TIG welding be used for outdoor work?
TIG welding is nearly impossible to use outdoors. Using MIG welding when working on a project outside is definitely better.
Which type of welding is faster, MIG or TIG?
MIG welding is much faster than TIG welding. The TIG welding process requires a slow, precise pace to create beautiful welds.
Is one type of welding better than the other?
Each style of welding is a great way to bond two pieces of metal together. While one isn’t necessarily better than the other, each of them works best in different situations.