Difference Between TIG vs MIG Welding – [Ultimate Guide]

TIG and MIG welding processes weld metallic objects using electrical arcs and both use inert gas mixture in order to prevent the corrosion of welding electrodes.

While comparing TIG and MIG welding we come to know that each process has its own unique features and offer different benefits. Both of these welding processes share some common features but have a lot of different factors as well which affect the choice of the chooser.

Related: Best Tig Welders

What is TIG welding and how it works?

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is an arc welding process that uses non-consumable tungsten electrode to weld. TIG is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). In TIG welding the electrode transfers current to the arc.

TIG welding fuses metals directly by using long rods. The TIG welding filler comes in small diameter of 1 – 3 mm with the rod length of 60 – 180 mm. During the process of welding an inert gas is used to protect the welding area and mostly argon and helium gasses are used as inert gasses in TIG welding.

What is MIG welding and how it works?

Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding, a subtype of Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is an arc welding process. In the process of MIG welding two materials are joined together by continuously feeding a solid wire electrode through a welding gun into the weld pool.

A wire moves through the gun creating sparks and then melts to form the weld. The MIG welding filler comes in small diameter 0.5 – 2 mm and several hundred meters long wire. MIG welding uses inert shielding gases such as helium or argon. Check it out if you are looking for Best Mig Welders.

Let’s have a look on the differences of TIG and MIG welding based on following factors:

1. Ease of Control

TIG welding is a difficult one and is used by skilled welders. In TIG welding you are controlling your three elements, your leg is controlling heat, one hand is controlling filer metal deposition rate and non-consumable tungsten electrode creates your arc to move through the bead. TIG welders need to have experience with timing and balancing materials in both hands.

On the other hand MIG welding is the easiest welding process used by even beginners to learn and by professionals to get the job done. It is much easier to learn because all the parameters are preset. Due to its ease of use it is the most popular welding process and used in both do it yourself (DIY) and big projects. If you are new in welding, you can also read our Best Welder for Beginners.

2. Range and Material Type

TIG welding has the greatest range of metal to weld. Any metal that conducts electricity is welded by TIG welding it includes steel, stainless steel, aluminum, nickel alloys, magnesium, copper, brass, bronze and even gold. It works great on thinner metals.

As compared to the TIG welding, MIG welding is best one when it comes to thick metals. It hits a wide variety of metal thickness and has a wide range of metals that it can weld. It can weld many different types of metals like carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper, nickel, silicon bronze and other alloys.

3. Quality of Welding

TIG welding provides the highest quality welds and the more pleasing and clean results than all the other welding processes. It does not uses filler materials and it is a direct metal to metal welding process so this results in spatter free and attractive finish of welding.

While MIG welding provides clean and good quality welds but not as well as TIG welding. Since a filler material is used in it this mostly produces spatter which causes loss of costly filler metal.

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4. Current Type and Poductivity

TIG welding uses either DC or AC with constant current power source and whenever aluminum is welded it uses alternating current (AC). As it doesn’t use filler and welding is done by heating the metals so it is a comparatively slower welding process. The productivity rate is low because of its low rate of filler deposition.

In case of MIG welding, it has one standard voltage and polarity type; it uses direct current (DC) voltage. It is comparatively the fastest welding process as compared all the other welding processes. Productivity of MIG welding is high because its filler deposition rate is very high.

5. Mode and Production Cost

TIG welding process is mainly suitable for autogenous mode welding and can also be employed for homogeneous and heterogeneous mode by supplying additional fillers. TIG welding has high production cost. The material used in TIG welding is slightly expensive than the MIG welding but the time it takes to weld the metal makes it costly.

On the contrary, MIG welding process is for homogeneous welding and its filler is applied inherently so it cannot be carried out in autogenous mode welding. It has comparatively low production cost than TIG welding.

6. Application

TIG welding is common in aerospace, repair, automotive industry and art fields.

On the other hand, MIG welding is commonly used for sheet metal welding, automotive industry and home improvement industry etc. Especially if you enjoy working on cars then MIG welding process suites you the best.

Conclusion

TIG and MIG welding processes have different unique features depending on their qualities. Both of these welding processes have advantages and disadvantages as well but before selecting a welder you must know the purpose of the welding.

For highest quality and thin metal surfaces TIG welding will give you the best results and there is no need to do extra steps like electro-polishing to give the welding an attractive look. But for easier use and faster results MIG welding will serve you great as there are no hard and fast rules and the parameters are preset.

For big projects you should go with the MIG welding. Moreover the selection of the welding process also depends on the thickness of the material, surface condition and sometimes cost of welding. So, make sure to look for the above mentioned factors before choosing the welding process and choose the one which suites your job the best.

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