mig vs tig welding

MIG vs TIG Welding: Which Is Best for You?

TIG and MIG welding are two welding techniques that are commonly used in many work and home settings. What are the primary differences and similarities between TIG and MIG welding techniques, and which option is best for your worksite?

The most common similarity between MIG and TIG welders is both techniques use a shielding gas and an arc. These types of arc welding methods provide several benefits for various projects. For this reason, getting familiar with the specific advantages of each type of weld is essential, as TIG and MIG welders offer unique attributes to consider for your worksite and the type of metals used.

One of the main differences between these two welding processes is the electrode wire. TIG welding uses a hand-held filler rod, which is used to create a joint, whereas MIG welding applies a consumable wire that’s solid and fed into the machine to create a weld.

Metal inert gas or MIG welding is also known as gas metal arc welding or commonly referred to as GMAW. MIG welding uses an automatic arc or semi-automatic arc for welding, which makes it a productive and efficient method. This technique also uses consumable wire electrodes, continuously fed through a welding torch with a shielding gas and produces a weld.

Wire electrodes used in MIG welding provide filler metal or material, which means you’ll need to adjust the thickness of the configuration based on the types of metal used. MIG welding uses solid electrode wires, which are available in various spool sizes, and the type used to feed the wire depends on the project and materials involved.

One of the most critical settings in MIG welding is the wire feed speed, also known as WFS, which sets the proper amount of weld metal for creating a specific joint. MIG welding uses shielding gas, typically a blend of one-quarter CO2, and three-quarters argon, though these gases can vary based on the type of welding materials and consistencies used in the process.

Tungsten inert gas welding or TIG, like MIG welding, uses an arc to weld. However, this type of welding, also known as GTAW, uses non-consumable tungsten electrodes, and the filler metal or material is applied separately. The filler or rod of material must be fed manually into the weld puddle, while an arc is created with a non-consumable tungsten electrode.

Before you choose welding equipment for your next project, getting familiar with TIG and MIG welding characteristics and which option works best for specific metals and materials is crucial.


MIG Welding (Pros and Cons)


The MIG welding method is a modern, convenient technique that provides exceptional productivity and significant results within a short period. A MIG weld offers several benefits and a few drawbacks to consider for your next project.


The Pros of MIG Welding


MIG welding doesn’t require much clean-up following use, as it doesn’t produce any slag or residue.

  • This type of welding can be performed at a higher speed and deposition rates, which results in better efficiency without compromising quality
  • This welding procedure doesn’t require any fluxes
  • Electrodes are changed quickly, which minimizes downtime
  • For consistent results, MIG welding is adaptable to many indoor and outdoor conditions, including wind and temperature changes
  • It’s easy to automate, and MIG welding doesn’t require much training or experience to perform correctly

Generally, you’ll likely encounter no problems when using MIG welding compared to other welding processes, which tend to be more complex.


The Cons of MIG Welding


What are the drawbacks of MIG welding? While it’s an easy welding process for beginners, there are some notable disadvantages to remember when choosing this method.

  • The initial cost of setting up MIG welding is expensive and may not be an affordable option for small operations or projects with a limited budget
  • While basic MIG welding is relatively easy to master, setting variables with the equipment requires greater skill and expertise
  • In addition to initially high setup costs, MIG welding equipment requires a significant financial investment for ongoing maintenance, especially for replacement parts and electronic components
  • If high duty cycle requirements are needed, MIG welding may be less efficient.
  • Operating a MIG welder in a stable, dry environment is important, especially with shielding gases, which can sometimes be challenging


TIG Welding (Pro and Cons)


Tungsten metal inert gas welding or TIG is a popular way to weld metals with a clean, seamless finish. TIG welding provides excellent advantages, along with a few drawbacks that are crucial to consider when reviewing the benefits of this welding technique.


The Pros of TIG Welding


The TIG welding method offers excellent benefits, such as clean, well-defined joints and the ability to work with various metals and surfaces. Since it’s widely used in many industries and provides excellent results, it’s often the choice for many projects.

  • TIG welding is helpful in many directions, which makes it highly adaptable for various types of metals and projects. You can weld with this technique in various ways, including upside down, on the side, horizontally, or vertically, without any issues, as the welding torch is versatile
  • The tungsten welding torch is durable once the temperature you need is reached, as the electrode doesn’t exhaust, providing consistency from start to finish
  • It’s easy to control the heat for your TIG welder, so you can operate with the specific level you need to complete a project
  • You can work with various metals, including aluminum, magnesium, copper, gold, nickel, brass, titanium, stainless steel, and thinner metals
  • TIG welding is ideal for metals of varying thickness
  • Many types of applications are available when you use the tungsten electrode because it doesn’t melt, even when it achieves extreme temperatures
  • It’s exact and produces clean, professional results every time
  • TIG welding may reduce hazards, such as the number of sparks and fumes containing contaminants

TIG welding is one of the most ideal options due to its numerous applications. For this reason, it’s used in many industries, including food manufacturing, building and construction, aerospace, and automobile manufacturing. It’s easy to use everywhere and adapts well to many types of projects.


What Do MIG and TIG Welding Have in Common?


There are a few similarities that TIG and MIG welding techniques have in common when compared to conventional welding methods. They both function on the same principle: heat is generated using an electric current, which metals the base metal or materials and bonding materials. Once these metals cool, they form a solid, clean joint, which offers a clean finish.

Due to their consistent quality and results, TIG and MIG welding is widely used in many professional environments, including construction and manufacturing.

Each welding type can function with the same electrode negative and DC current and are compatible with many types of metals and thicknesses. The basics of MIG and TIG welding functions are essentially the same as many standard welding options.

An electric arc is formed that produces high heat and a controlled liquid weld puddle that connects or fuses metals. MIG and TIG welding can use filler material to build a weld bead, which helps strengthen the joint.

Both welding methods provide near-perfect finished results, which include a solid, durable joint that’s efficient and impressive. They are ideal techniques for consumer products and construction sites, and both MIG and TIG welding machines are used in many industries, including oil, marine, nuclear, automotive, and aerospace.


How Are MIG & TIG Different?


While both techniques offer high-quality results and function similarly, each method has striking differences. One of the main differences between MIG and TIG welding is the type of shielding gases used, as well as the level of precision, application, and how automated the welding process is when applying each type of weld.

The shielding gas role protects the weld puddle and the atmosphere in the work environment. Our natural atmosphere has the potential to contaminate a weld because of oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen, all of which are present and need to be shielded or blocked from the welding area.

The type of gases used in MIG and TIG welding differ considerably. MIG welding applications require CO2 gas, which is typically inexpensive and easy to acquire, which makes it an economical solution for many MIG welding projects.

The other shielding gases often used in MIG welding projects include argon, helium, and oxygen. However, they are applied less frequently and specifically for specific metals, such as aluminium. TIG welding, on the other hand, always uses argon gas as a shield or protection for the weld puddle.

Helium may be combined with argon as a shielding gas if specific metals, such as metals containing high amounts of nickel, are used. Argon may also be mixed with nitrogen or hydrogen for specific types of stainless-steel metals.

Each welding technique has a distinct history and has developed further with the advancement of technology and particular methods. MIG welding grew in popularity in the mid-1900s as manufacturing increased significantly, and there was a high demand for shops, construction, and automobiles.

MIG welding advanced further with the development of CO2 as the preferred shielding gas to strengthen the welding process and produce quality goods at a high-efficiency rate.


The History and Application of MIG and TIG Welding


TIG welding was created in the 1940s to provide an alternative method of fusing metals, such as magnesium and aluminum alloys. MIG and other welding techniques were less adequate for specific projects. While both MIG and TIG welding is widely used, TIG offers several benefits for specific materials, and MIG is often chosen for its high productivity rate.

TIG and MIG are generally efficient welding methods, though TIG can create a weld bead faster because of the manual style of this welding process. TIG welding requires a steady manual application for consistent welding with a rod, whereas the MIG welder can achieve the same result with automation.

TIG is often favored for its precision, not speed, though it is a highly effective way to create robust quality welds. MIG is chosen due to the automation, which produces quick results consistently.


Advanced Technology and the Development of TIG and MIG Welding Techniques


MIG and TIG welding methods are continuously improved through the advancement of technology and automation. While TIG focuses on more precise, manual welds, it has similarly improved its result along with the more automated style of MIG welding.

Other types of welding that are likely to compete with MIG and TIG techniques, which are more traditional, include laser welding and friction stir welding. These welding applications are expected to become more prominent in manufacturing and construction environments as they advance alongside MIG and TIG welding methods.


Want to Learn Where to Get Welding Equipment?


When you need quality welding applications and machinery for your construction site, manufacturing facilities, or worksite, Sunbelt Rentals offers a wide selection of welding and plasma cutting equipment for rent for all your project needs.

Whether you are looking for welding tips on the TIG welding process or if the MIG welding process is the best solution for your job site, our expert team can provide the direction and advice you need. Let our team help you make an informed decision for your building construction or project.