MIG vs TIG Welding

MIG vs TIG Welding: Basics

In this post I have covered the main differences between TIG Welding and MIG welding. If you are looking in depth info on MIG vs TIG Welding, you are at the right place.

There are two common types of welding processes: MIG and TIG. Both are fusion welding methods, but the main difference is that TIG is a manual welding process and MIG is not, it’s a semi-automatic welding.

MIG stands for metal inert gas, and it is a type of welding that uses an electrode wire in form of a wire spool that is fed through a wire feeder. The electrode melted into the workpiece, and the heat created by the arc welds the two pieces together.

TIG stands for tungsten inert gas welding, and it is a type of welding that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce an arc. A filler wire is manually added to the weld pool to create a weld joint.

MIG Welding vs TIG Welding: Working Principle

MIG Welding Working

MIG Welding full form is Metal Inert Gas Welding. It is a type of Gas metal arc welding process.

It is a semi-automatic welding process where welder only control the torch movement and wire feeding is automatic via a wire feeder.

An externally supplied inert gas (such as Argon or helium or mixture of both) protects the hot weld from contamination & oxidation. When the process uses CO2 or Argon+CO2 mix, this process is called MAG Welding i.e., Metal Active Gas Welding.

Read More: MIG Welding vs MAG Welding

Equipment setup mig mag

Mig welding can be used on a variety of metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel. It is often used in automotive applications because it can produce strong, clean welds with minimal distortion. Mig welding is also relatively easy to learn and can be performed by beginners with little experience.

TIG Welding Working

TIG is the acronyms for Tungsten Inert Gas Welding and also stands for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW.

TIG uses two types of electrodes:

  • Non-consumables Tungsten electrode to generate heat,
  • Consumables filler wire electrode that is fed manually to the weld pool
gas-tungsten-arc-welding

TIG process is manual where welder control the torch movement and filler wire feeding to the weld pool.

For more details on Manual and semi-automatic welding, please refer to my post on the Manual vs Semi-automatic vs Automatic Welding.

Similar to MIG welding, TIG also requires external gas shielding to protect the weld pool from oxidation and contamination.

In summary, TIG welding is a popular welding process that uses an electric arc to create heat. The process is often used to weld metals such as aluminum and stainless steel and other exotic metals.

The TIG welding process begins by creating an electric arc between the metal being welded and the tungsten electrode that has a high melting point. This allows the electrode to remain cool while the arc is created.

The welder then uses a filler material to add metal to the weld joint. The filler material is added slowly so that it doesn’t melt too quickly. Once the filler material has been added, the welder can then start working on the next joint.

MIG vs TIG Welding: Summary of Main Differences

MIG welding is often faster than TIG welding, as it is a semi-automatic process that can be used on thicker materials. It is also less likely to produce weld defects, making it ideal for high-quality work.

However, MIG welding can be more difficult to master than TIG welding, and it is not suitable for all materials.

MIG vs TIG Welding
MIG TIG
 Welding Polarity  DCEP, Pulse ✅DCEN, AC, Pulse
 Wire form  Wire Spool Straight-length wires (1-meter length)
 Shielding Gases  Argon, Helium, CO2, Mix of argon+CO2  Argon, Helium (only inert gas shielding)
 Cost ⛔Low ✅High
Weld output ✅High ⛔Low
 Weld Quality  Moderate ✅Excellent
 Welding Aluminum ✅Excellent, especially AC MIG  ✅Excellent
 Suitability for beginners ✅ Easy to learn ⛔Requires a lot of practice
 Arc Start Easy, press the torch button   Scratch, Lift arc, HF
 Weld Spatters ⛔ High  ✅ No spatters
 Post Cleaning ⛔ Required  ✅ Negligible
 Suitability for sheet metal  Moderate  ✅Excellent
 Welding Speed  ✅High  ⛔Low
 Weld Aesthetic  ⛔Low   ✅High

MIG vs TIG Welding Differences

MIG vs TIG Welding: Welding Strength

When it comes to welding strength, TIG gives you deeper penetration and thus stronger welds. For example, small Tack Welds made with TIG will have higher weld pentration than MIG due to deep welding penetration.

This is because the heat is concentrated in a smaller area, making it easier to achieve deeper penetration. Additionally, TIG welds are high quality and have fewer defects than MIG welds due to use of controlled weld pool & pure inert gas.

However, MIG welding can be more forgiving than TIG welding. This is because the heat is spread over a larger area, making it easier to control the welding process.

Additionally, MIG welds can have more defects (such as weld porosity, weld aesthetics) than TIG welds but they are usually not as severe if all process parameters are properly controlled.

In conclusion, both TIG and MIG welding are strong. However, if you’re looking for the strongest weld possible, then TIG welding is the way to go.

Ease of learning

TIG Welding: Easy or Difficult?

When it comes to learning how to weld using the TIG method, many people often find it difficult and it is infact.

One of the main reasons for this is because you need manual control on both the torch movement and feeding filler rod. If you’re not careful, you can easily destroy the tungsten rod during welding as well as when welder start the arc (even you are using a HF unit).

Another issue is that it’s easy to lose control of the weld formation, resulting in a poor quality weld. And lastly, the process is quite slow compared to other welding methods and needed patience when welding and adding filler rod to weld pool.

Despite all these difficulties, TIG welding is still considered one of the best ways to produce high-quality welds. If you’re patient and willing to put in the effort, you can definitely master this technique.

MIG vs TIG welding 1 MIG vs TIG Welding
MIG VS TIG Welding (Image Courtesy:Fractory)

MIG Welding: Easy or Difficult?

MIG welding can be learned relatively easily, as long as you have access to the proper equipment and training.

MIG welding is one of the most popular welding processes because it is relatively easy to learn.

The welder does not need to control the wire feeding, only the torch, and can make welds in a variety of positions, including flat and horizontal.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when MIG welding. First, the welder should have a firm grip on the torch and be sure to maintain a consistent speed while moving it.

Second, it is important to keep the torch at a consistent distance (maintain Electrode Extension and Stick-out) from the work piece in order to create a good weld bead.

Finally, it is important to use proper ventilation when MIG welding in order to avoid breathing in fumes.

MIG vs TIG Welding: Speed

MIG welding and TIG welding are both popular methods for joining metals. But which one is faster?

MIG welding is typically the faster of the two methods. This is because MIG welding can be done with a continuous stream of wire (automatic wire feeding), while TIG welding requires stopping and starting to add new filler rod manually.

That said, TIG welding can be faster in some cases. If you’re only welding thin metals, TIG may actually be the quicker option since it gives low heat input compared to MIG Welding.

TIG welding is faster when automized for specific operations.This is possible when using orbital TIG, a variant of TIG Welding for welding pipes.

MIG welding gives overall high weld deposition with higher welding speed compared to TIG welding.

MIG vs TIG Welding: Welding Aesthetic & Quality

MIG vs TIG Welding: Aesthetics

When it comes to weld aesthetics, TIG welding is generally considered to be the superior method. This is because TIG welds are typically much cleaner and more precise than MIG welds.

However, this does not mean that MIG welds are always ugly – it just takes a bit more skill to produce a good-looking MIG weld. MIG welding produces spatters that need to clean while in TIG spatters are not a concern.

MIG vs TIG Welding Differences

While both types of welds can produce high-quality results, TIG welding is generally considered to be the better option for achieving a great looking weld.

MIG vs TIG Welding: Quality

In terms of welding quality, MIG and TIG are both very capable methods. However, MIG welding does tend to produce slightly higher quality welds overall. This is due to the fact that MIG welding uses a constant flow of filler material, which helps to ensure that the weld bead is properly formed and free of defects.

MIG vs TIG Welding: Cost

MIG welding is a cheaper option when compared to TIG welding. The equipment needed for MIG welding is less expensive and the process is faster, meaning that less time is needed to complete a welding job.

This ultimately reduces the cost of labour, electricity and resources planning. In addition, MIG welders can be used on a variety of materials, further reducing costs.

TIG welding may be more expensive initially, but it often pays off in the long run. The TIG welding process produces a higher quality weld which is less likely to fail.

This can save money on repairs and replacements down the line. TIG welders can also weld more delicate materials (e.g., Aluminum welding, magnesium welding, Titanium welding, Tantalum welding etc., meaning that they can be used in a wider range of applications.

MIG vs TIG Welding: Welding Polarity

One of the biggest differences is the type of polarity that is used during MIG and TIG welding.

MIG welding uses DCEP polarity or also called reverse polarity (electrode positive), while TIG welding mainly runs on DCEN and AC polarity to protect damage to Tungsten electrode that can occurs with high heat input concentration of tungsten electrode during DCEP welding.

For more details on Types of welding Polarity in Welding, please refer to my post on the Welding Polarity in Welding & Their Types.

AC Polarity is very popular for welding aluminum and magnesium materials during TIG welding. Here, AC Polarity offers excellent cleaning action for removal of oxide layers during welding.


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