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MIG Welding vs TIG Welding

Making the decision whether to use MIG or TIG welding sees benefits and downfalls in both processes. Their primary outcome of fusing both the base and parent metals together is constant; however, the way they reach the end product varies massively.

1./ Metal inert gas (MIG) welding;

  • Uses a continuously feeding wire, and uses the filler wire itself to produce arc and melts to add to the weld pool.
  • Emits the need for additional filler wire and can be put down quite easily and quickly. Welding current in this case is decided by wire speed and power supply volt-ampere characteristic.

2./ Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding;

  • Produces arc with a non-consumable tungsten electrode. Tungsten is a rare metal which has the highest melting point of any metal, so can be used to transfer a welding current to an arc without breaking down or degrading.
  • Creates a weld pool by feeding in long welding rods, making it more controlled and keeping both hands of the operator busy. If the joint requires additional filler, it is added separately.

Whilst both have their place when welding, they are each geared towards particular projects. Before any welding begins, it is necessary to have sufficient PPE to protect yourself and other operatives. You can visit our range of Welding PPE essentials here.

3./ What are the two processes good for?

MIG welding

  • The speed and ease makes it perfect for putting down a large amount of welds. High deposition MIG welding can be up to 50% quicker and can be used on a variety of metals such as aluminium and stainless steel.
  • A range of material thicknesses can be welded, from thin gauge sheet metal right up to heavier structural plates.
  • This style of welding is geared towards productivity and ease.

TIG welding

  • More often used on thinner guage materials, items such as home appliances and furniture.
  • The low power option means there’s much more control and can create a fine and delicate finish.
  • To use TIG welding for heavier tasks such as pipe welding relies on a unit that is able to put out the required amount of power.

4./ What are the downsides of each process?

MIG welding

  • Although this style can quickly put down welds, the speed can compromise the preciseness of the weld.
  • MIG welding creates ‘spatter’, which occurs when bits of the wire electrode haven’t fused with the weld puddle. It is important to control spatter, too much can have a detrimental impact on weld results. Shop our anti-spatter products here.

TIG welding

  • Whilst this style is more precise, it is also very slow.
  • The process can also be cumbersome, as it requires two hands and a foot. You have to hold the torch, feed the filler rod, and run the electricity through a pedal with your foot, so tacking can cause issues.

5./ Which is best process?

This depends entirely on the job at hand. For a home project where the welder has little experience and needs a simple solution, MIG welding would be perfect. For the more precise welding jobs, TIG welding allows the welder to use the same machine for a huge variety of metals and is slightly lower-maintenance due to the external electrode.

At Foster Industrial, we work with the highest quality products and a team of experts who work with you to find the right solution. Get in touch to find out how we can help with your next project.

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