Best wire for welding 304 stainless steel

Best wire for welding 304 stainless steel

For welding 304 stainless steel, choosing the right wire assure the high weld strength, good corrosion resistance and long life. The most popular choice for welding the 304 stainless steel is austenitic stainless steel wire, which contains a higher percentage of nickel and chromium than other types of stainless steel wire. This specific composition allows for better corrosion resistance and high matching strength.

What I have noticed throughout my career, the most commonly best wires for welding 304 stainless steel are ER308L and ER308LSi. These wires are used with TIG and MIG welding applications. They are available in the form of wire spool and straight length.

Types of Wire for Welding 304 Stainless Steel

When we talk about 304 stainless steel welding using wire, we can either use TIG or MIG with solid wires or use FCAW with flux- cored wire. Basis this, two main types of wires are mostly used for welding 304 steel:

  1. Solid- such as ER308L and
  2. Flux-cored such as E308LT1.

Tig and MIG welding wire for welding 304 Steel

The most commonly used TIG welding & MIG Welding wire for 304 steel is ER308L, which contains low carbon content that reduces the risk of carbide precipitation and thus help to prevent issue of sensitization of welds & HAZ areas.

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TIG and MIG welding wires for 304 stainless steel welding are classified in AWS A5.9 specification where you can find the chemical compositions for the welding wire.

For welding 304 Stainless steel, the commonly used TIG & MIG welding wires are:

  1. ER308L
  2. ER308LSi
  3. ER309L
  4. ER316L
  5. ER316LSi.

Out of these wires, as mentioned earlier, ER308L wire is most common. ER308LSi with added silicon is used for MIG Welding. Higher silicon added to stainless steel wires (ER308LSi, ER309LSi, ER316LSi) in the wire provides better weld pool fluidity and thus improved weld profile for 304 welds.

Flux core welding wire for 304 Steel

The E308LT1, E309LT1-1, E316LT1, EC308L, and EC308Si are some of the most commonly used flux core welding wires for 304 steels.

The E308LT1 wire is designed specifically for welding 304 stainless steel with low carbon content. It provides excellent weldability and low spatter levels, making it ideal for both novice and experienced welders alike. Similarly, the E309LT1-1 wire is perfect for joining dissimilar metals such as stainless steel to carbon or low-alloy steels. Its high silicon content allows it to resist cracking even at high temperatures.

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Gasless MIG Welding wire for 304 Steel

There are various types of gasless MIG welding wires available in the market that can be used for welding 304 steel. TGX type TIG wires are also available in market for welding without shielding gas.

Related reading: Welding Gasless MIG- TIG- A New Way to Weld?

The most common ones include E308T0-3, E308LT0-3, E308HT0-3, and E309LT0-3. These wires have been specifically designed to provide excellent results when used on 304 steel.


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