Difference Between TIG And MIG Welding? MIG Vs. TIG Breakdown

Welders are important tradespeople who probably have a hand in making over 50% of products in the country – at least in the USA. If you’re looking for a career in welding, you probably want to know the difference between TIG and MIG welding. That being said, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading and we will breakdown the MIG Weld Vs. TIG Weld welding subject in the best way possible.

MIG Or TIG Welding?

If you’re unsure about what is MIG welding, don’t hesitate to go through our detailed MIG welding guide for starters.  

Both TIG and MIG welding uses an electric arc in presence of inert gas to weld two metals together. TIG and MIG welding both have their pros and cons. So, it is important to know the difference between these two welding techniques before buying a MIG welder or taking on a project, or the whole welding career.

As the title suggests, this post talks about the difference between MIG and TIG welding. We will talk about the basics of these welding techniques, their best applications, and how to choose between MIG or TIG when working on a welding project.

Let us get started!

TIG Vs. MIG Welding Difference

TIG or Tungsten Inert Gas welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, is an arc welding process where the electric arc is formed between the non-consumable tungsten electrode in presence of inert gas. The arc heats the metal for the joint to form. The shielding inert gas is used to protect the welding surface from oxidation and other atmospheric containments.

MIG or Metal Inert Gas Welding, also known as Arc Welding, is also an arc welding process where the arc is formed between the consumable wire electrode in presence of inert gas. The electric arc creates a weld pool where both the filler metal and base metals are heated to form a joint.

Just like TIG welding, MIG welding also uses the shielding gas to prevent oxidation and protect the welding surface from any containments.

Moreover, shielding gas also helps in stabilizing the arc on the base metal surface, produce arc plasma, and ensure a smooth transfer of molten filler metal in the weld pool.

Uses of TIG And MIG Welding

TIG MIG Welding

In MIG welding, the electrode wire material is selected based on the nature of the base metal. When it comes to TIG welding, uses a tungsten electrode that works irrespective of the chemical properties of the base metal.

TIG welding is mainly used to work on thin stainless steel and non-ferrous metals like magnesium, aluminum, copper alloys, and similar metals. Expert welders can produce the perfect welds with a handsome appearance using TIG welding. However, newbies may mess up the job as TIG welding is preferred for intermediate to expert level welders only.

MIG welding is the ideal choice for building bridges and working on automobiles. Moreover, if you often come across fabrication steel sheets, buying a MIG welder is the right choice for you. Quality MIG welders can weld thicker metals and perform deep groove welding.

Some Facts About MIG Welding

Following are some hard facts (not just opinions) about MIG welding:

  • MIG welding technique is generally simple and best suited for beginners. You don’t have to be highly trained to operate a MIG welder.
  • MIG welding works in DCEP or AC polarity to speed up the process of melting the electrode wire. In this way, the welding is carried out at a faster rate.
  • The shielding gas used for MIG welding is the mixture of carbon and argon gas. For special cases, a mixture of helium is also used.
  • You cannot use a MIG welder in any position. A special gun position is a must to make quality welds.
  • Electrode wire is continuously fed from the wire spool.
  • The filler metal used in MIG welding often consists of small diameter sizes – ranging from 0.5mm – 2mm. On the other hand, the wire spool is generally very long – up to several hundred meters.
  • The MIG welding process is faster and the filler decomposition rate is low as compared to TIG welding.
  • MIG welders are used to weld both thin and thick materials including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and other metals.
  • Unlike TIG welding, MIG welding produces spatter, smoke, fumes, and sparks during welding. It results in the loss of electrode wire filler metal.  

Some Facts About TIG Welding

Here are some hard facts about TIG welding:

  • TIG welding requires a skilled and experienced welder to establish and maintain the arc. It is not recommended for beginners.
  • Most of the time, TIG welding uses argon as the only shielding inert gas. Whereas MIG welding may use a mixture of two gases.
  • Sometimes, TIG welding causes a tungsten inclusion effect. In this case, a broken or melted part of tungsten is induced in the base metal.
  • TIG welding is used to weld things like toolboxes, kitchen sink, and other copper/brass/zinc objects.
  • Both MIG and TIG welding can only weld conductive metals.
  • The filler wire in TIG welding is also consists of a small diameter ranging from 1mm-3mm. However, the length of filler wire is shorter in TIG machines as compared to MIG welding machines. They are usually 60-180mm.
  • TIG welding uses a non-consumable electrode. Thus, the length of the electrode wire is shorter as compared to MIG welding.
  • In some cases, TIG welding machines may require an external filler metal.

Similarities Between MIG Welding and TIG Welding

Following are similarities between MIG and TIG welding:

Arc Welding Process

Both TIG and MIG welding techniques use the arc welding process. The arc is produced between the electrode and the base metal to melt down the two metals and form a joint. MIG and TIG welding is also called fusion welding processes as they include fusing the base metal to make the welds.

Shielding Gas

In both techniques, MIG or TIG, a shielding gas is used to protect the metal surface from atmospheric containments and oxidation. Generally, Argon, CO2, Nitrogen, Helium, or their mixture is used as shielding gas.

Electrode Used

A bare electrode is used both in MIG and TIG welding. They do not use flux-coated electrodes in the welding process. However, the material of the electrode is different in both welding techniques.

Conductive Metals

TIG and MIG welds can only join two metals together – ferrous or non-ferrous metals. All arc welding processes can only weld conductive metals. To join any non-conductive metals, soiled state welding is used.

Difference Between MIG And TIG Welding

MIG Welding Vs. TIG Welding

Though MIG and TIG welding has many similarities, following are some key differences between these two welding techniques:

Base Material

MIG welding uses an electrode wire that is continuously fed from the wire spool to melt and join with the base metal. It helps to weld thicker metals without heating them till their melting point. On the other hand, TIG welding uses a non-consumable electrode and heats the base metal to melt and make the welding joint. Thus, MIG welding is the best solution to weld thicker materials including steel, aluminum, and mild steel.

Welding Quality

TIG welding produces more clean welds and leaves a handsome appearance afterward. On the other hand, MIG welds are not so clean and are rough.

Cost

The labor cost of MIG welding is less than TIG welding. MIG welding is fast, thus, you will be done with the job sooner than TIG welding. Also, MIG welding machines are cheaper. You can expect to find the best MIG welder under $500.

Precision

The TIG welding technique gives you more control over the welding and the heat gun. Thus, it is more precise and product cleaner welds on the base metal.

Usability

TIG welding requires you to use your foot and both hands to weld the metal. Thus, more practice and expertise are needed to make quality welds. On the other hand, MIG welding is best suited for beginners. You only require one hand to weld. Plus, you can find special MIG welders for beginners on the market.

Welding Speed

TIG welding is slower as compared to MIG welder. MIG welding is faster – ensuring less labor cost.

Spatter or Cleanliness

TIG welding produces little to no spatter during welding. It is generally a cleaner process. On the other hand, MIG welding produces more spatter, fumes, smoke, and sparks. Some gasless MIG welders work otherwise.

Summary – MIG TIG Difference

Difference between MIG and TIG welding

Verdict

Both MIG and TIG welding have their advantages and limitations. While TIG welding requires more experience, MIG welding is the best choice for beginners to start with.

Moreover, MIG welding is corporately cheaper than TIG welding. You can get the best MIG welding deal under $1000 and even under $500.

On the other hand, the TIG welds are generally cleaner and produce little to no spatter at all.

Thanks for reading through the post and I hope that you now better understand the TIG MIG difference. In case of further questions or if you want any suggestions, feel free to leave a reply and I’d be more than happy to help.

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