What is the difference between MIG and MAG welding?


Gas Metal arc Welding (GMAW)

Gas metal arc welding or GMAW is the broad classification for various gas shielded metal arc welding processes such as metal inert gas or MIG, Metal active gas or MAG, Electric gas welding or EGW, and Flux-cored arc welding or FCAW. All above welding processes requires external shielding gas to protect the weld pool and hence they are called Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW).

Welding process designation according to ISO 4063

MIG-MAG welding is also known as GMAW but the right word is MIG and MAG Welding. As per DIN EN ISO 4063, MIG & MAG welding is classified as given in the below table.

DesignationWelding Process Name
131MIG welding using solid wire electrode & inert gas
132MIG welding using flux-cored electrode
133MIG welding with metal-cored electrode & inert gas
134MAG welding using solid wire electrode & active gas
135MAG welding using flux-cored electrode & active gas
138MAG Welding using active gas and metal-cored electrode

MIG welding uses inert or inactive gases for example argon and helium for shielding the weld while MAG welding uses active gases such as CO2. MIG welding is mainly used for non-ferrous metals like copper, aluminum, copper alloys, and titanium, etc.

The below figure shows the diagram of a GMAW equipment setup.

Difference between MIG and MAG welding?

When we compare MIG & MAG welding both are gas shielded metal arc welding. But the difference between both the MIG and MAG welding processes depends upon the type of shielding gases used during the welding operation.

Click here to learn various types of shielding gases used in welding & their roles in Shielding.

Difference between MIG and MAG welding

Referring above figure, here MIG stands for metal inert gas using only inert or inactive gases for example argon and helium for shielding the weld. MIG welding is mainly used for non-ferrous metals like copper, aluminum, copper alloys, and titanium, etc.

Click here to learn about Shielding Gas used for Stainless Steel & Duplex Stainless Steel Welding.

MAG refers to Metal active gas. in MAG welding, active gas mixtures such as Carbon-dioxide, a mixture of Ar +CO2, Ar+O2, or Ar+H, or trimix of these three are used. Both the MIG and MAG welding are types of gas metal arc welding (GMAW) as explained earlier.

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