Welding is an integral part of many industries, but it can be difficult to know the best type of welding rods for your needs. Whether you’re a novice or experienced welder, understanding what types are available will help you produce better welds and provide you with more options when choosing the equipment for your project.
Think of welding rods as the fuel that keeps your welding machine running. You can find many types of welding rods, but not all are created equal. It is important to understand what you need for each project because some welders work better on certain materials than others.
For example, if you are working with aluminum or stainless steel, an E6010 rod will be your best bet. If you want a stronger bond between metals like copper and brass or copper and nickel silver, then use an ER70S-2 rod instead. The type of alloy in the metal does affect how well it bonds during welding so knowing which one to use is key.
In this post, we’ll go over each one in detail so that you’re able to make the best decision with your newfound knowledge next time you have a welding project.
What is a Weld Joint?
Welding is a process of joining materials such as two metal pieces together to form one. Welds are made by melting the base metals and adding filler material which is melted in turn, cooling down to join the pieces into one solid mass. The filler used for welding varies depending on the types of base metals and individual preferences.
Filler rods or welding rods work well with both flux core and MIG wires – they’re designed to work together. However, there’s more than just this type available for purchase so it’s important to know what else is out there when deciding which one you need to use for your next project. Let’s take a look at how much each type costs and other features that will help you make your decision when purchasing welding rods.
Different Types of Welding Electrodes
Electrodes are the rods used for arc welding. Since they have an electrical charge, they conduct electricity to start the process of welding metal which needs to be heated to a certain temperature in order for this action to occur. There are many different types of electrodes and each serves a distinct purpose depending on your needs.
Welding electrodes vary in strength and usability depending on what kind of material you’re working with and how deep of a weld you need or want to make. Here is some additional information about each type along with some pros and cons so that you can choose the best one for your project:
These are the most common types of electrodes you’ll find for welding. They can be used to make any type of weld, including fillet and gas metal arc welding (GMAW).
This is the most common type of electrode and can be used for a variety of welding jobs. Simple to use, inexpensive, and versatile which makes them an excellent option for beginners or experienced welders alike.
Tungsten electrodes give you a clean and precise arc for welding. It is best suited for stainless steel and aluminum as the heat can be distributed evenly without too much spatter or excess alloy.
Produce a more concentrated heat than non-consumables which makes it better suited for thin materials and sheet metal. They are also used to weld with GMAW because there is less splatter which means the workpiece won’t have as many contaminants or oxidation on it so it can be handled right away.
Light Coated Electrodes
Used for mild steel and are great for deep penetration. They work best on sheet metal, but make sure to keep the arc length shorter than usual when working with this type of electrode or you risk burning through your material.
Medium Coated Electrodes
Provide deep penetration and good arc control. This type of electrode is perfect for mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum which makes it a great all-purpose option.
Heavy Coated Electrodes
This electrode is used to weld on thin materials since it may cause excess sagging if the material isn’t strong enough. You can use this type of electrode for GMAW, but keep in mind that there may be more splatter than usual so protect the workpiece whenever possible.
Different Types of Rods
Welding rods are also known as filler rods, welding wire, or electrode wire depending on the type you’re using. They have a thin metalcore that is wrapped with flux to shield them from the air and other substances so that no impurities get mixed in your weld. There are many different types of welding rod materials depending on what kind of metal you need to work with. Here is some additional information about each type:
6010 rods are great for both AC and DC welding. They can be used to weld carbon steel, stainless steel, galvanized materials, or cast iron.
Appearance: Dark grey wire with blue coating on top of white flux core
Pros of 6010 Rods:
Provide deep penetration so you get a nice flat surface that won’t require as much grinding compared to other fillers. If you need to weld thick material then this is the right choice for you because it’ll yield strong joints while still being easy enough to finish. These rods are also very versatile, so if one project requires different types of metal then this is perfect since it can pretty much weld anything.
Cons of 6010 Rods:
Waste more heat than other types of filler rods. This is because it’s designed to produce deep penetration so if you need to stay close to the surface then you may want to go with a different type of rod instead. These are also fairly common so they are not as strong as some other kinds which makes them less desirable for certain jobs.
These are great for welding thin metalwork. They are also good for vertical down welding since they handle the heat better than most other rods.
Appearance: Dark grey wire with blue coating on top of white flux core
Pros of 6011 Rods
Most suited for thin materials and sheet metal, so if you need to weld something light then this is a good choice for the job. It is also versatile enough that you can use it to weld metal, stainless steel, or aluminum whenever necessary which makes it super convenient to have around. This rod will give you clean surfaces without any excess spatter or contaminants that may be left behind. You’ll find that your end result will be great for sheet metal or projects that require welding on aluminum or stainless steel.
Cons of 6011 Rods
This isn’t the best rod to use when working with thicker materials since it can’t handle as much heat compared to other rods like the 6010. However, there are still ways to work around this problem which is why if you need something for thinner metals then this might be the right choice for your job. There may also be more splattering than usual depending on what you’re working with, but luckily it won’t leave any impurities behind so there isn’t a lot of extra cleaning required. Keep in mind that if you have a job where the metal needs flat surface then this rod won’t cut it since the 6011 is designed to weld with deep penetration.
This type of filler rod typically has a dark grey coloring and is typically used for welding mild steel. The alloy ensures strong joints, even on thicker material where you would expect more heat to be required. It’s also easy to clean up afterward since there will be no need to grind the surface down after finishing your welding project. You can use this kind of rod when working with GMAW or GTAW processes.
Appearance: Fark grey wire with blue coating on top of white flux core
Pros of 6013 Rods
As with most kinds of rods, this kind will give you the ability to weld steel easily. This makes it good for working with different projects, so if you need to switch between jobs that require metal or stainless steel then 6013 rods are a good overall choice since they can handle both. The dark grey coloring of these rods also ensures deep penetration so even on thicker materials you’ll get strong joints at the end that don’t require any excess cleaning or grinding afterwards.
Cons of 6013 Rods
This type of rod isn’t very versatile because it only works well when welding mild steel, carbon steels, and other similar alloys. This is why many people prefer using other types like 6010 since it can work with more materials in general which makes it useful when switching between jobs is necessary. It’s also not the best for thinner metals since there is high risk of burning through which will happen with higher heat levels so if you want something strictly for welding steel then this is good, otherwise 6010 or 6011 might be better.
These rods are one of the best choices if you frequently weld on stainless steel and aluminum since they work perfectly for these materials. They offer a low splatter rate which makes them easier to clean up afterwards so there’s no need to worry about grinding down your weld or having extra contaminants in between layers. You can use this type of rod whether you’re working with GMAW, TIG welding, and even plasma cutting processes if necessary.
Appearance: Dark grey wire with blue coating on top of creamy yellow flux core
Pros of 7018 Rods
This rod is a god-send if you’re working with carbon steel and metals like aluminum or stainless steel since it can weld these types easily without any problems. Many people find the 7018 to be one of the best rods for welding on materials like this and prefer using it over other kinds since it guarantees a high-quality job with low splatter and contaminants that will need cleaning up. It also works well with all kinds of welding processes including GMAW, TIG, and plasma cutting which makes it useful if you want something versatile.
Cons of 7018 Rods
This kind of rod is more suited for welding carbon steels than anything else so keep that in mind before buying them if you don’t regularly work with those types or have no use for them at the moment. It’s also a bit harder to clean up after since the splatter rate is low so it can be difficult to grind off without sanding or scraping, but if you want something with high-quality fast welds on your stainless steel then this kind of rod will work perfectly.
If you want a rod for welding on aluminum, stainless steel, and similar types of materials then 7024 is another good choice. It has the same qualities as 7018 when it comes to cleanliness and low splatter but won’t handle aluminum as well since it requires lower heat levels to ensure safety when working with that material. You can use this type whether you’re using GMAW, TIG, or plasma cutting processes.
Appearance: Grey wire with blue coating on top of creamy yellow flux core
Pros of 7024 Rods
Used for high-speed flat or horizontal welds, this type of rod is another great choice for stainless steel and aluminum which makes it good if you need something that can switch between jobs with ease. It doesn’t have as high heat tolerance compared to 7018 but works just as well when welding these materials which make 7024 a better choice than 6010 for your needs.
Cons of 7024 Rods
This rod specifically works best for flat or horizontal fillet welds so if you’re looking to weld vertically on thin metals then there are more appropriate options like 6013 or 6010 instead. This also isn’t the best choice if you’re working with carbon steel since it performs worse than 7018 in terms of splatter rates, it does work for some types of stainless steel for example but you might need something with less power like 7024 or 7018.
How Do I Choose a Welding Rod?
Figuring out which welding rods are the best for your specific needs can be difficult when there are so many options.
The type of metal you want to weld is a good starting point when deciding on the right rod since it determines what kind of heat tolerance you need, for example stainless steel will require rods with less power while carbon steels need ones with more.
If you’re using GMAW or TIG then stainless-steel rods like 6010, 6011, and 7024 are ideal since they have lower heat levels compared to milder materials like carbon steel which means that they won’t burn through as easily if you’re not careful. If you know that you’ll mainly work with carbon steel then 7018 is a good choice for fast and clean welds as well as aluminum and stainless steel.
Other things to keep in mind are the spatter rate which can be helpful if you want something with less cleanup, what types of welding methods you’ll be using since some rods work better for those processes, and how much money you want to spend. Of course, other factors may come into play but these should give you a general idea of what to look into whenever you’re deciding on the right rod.
What Is the Best Welding Rod for Stainless Steel?
If you want a stick welding rod that can handle stainless steel well then consider one of these three types: 6010, 7018, or 7024. Each has its advantages and disadvantages but all have higher heat tolerances compared to carbon steel which means that they work better for working with stainless steel which requires lower levels of heat in general.
Properly chosen welding rods can provide a lot of benefits for any welder, but they can also offer a lot of problems if you choose incorrectly.
An example is the fact that carbon steel rods have thicker coatings compared to stainless ones but are less likely to leave splashes and slag behind due to their lower heat tolerance so if you’re trying to save money then those types might be better for your needs. It’s still recommended that you do careful research on the different types so you know what will work best since the last thing anyone wants is wasted time and effort from poor choices.
It’s important not to blindly rely on brand names or advertising either, always double-check everything before committing to a purchase to avoid regrets from purchases that aren’t the best for your situation.
In general, it’s always good if you can get expert advice or recommendations on welding rods before spending your money so that you know exactly what to buy without any mistakes. Some experts may recommend using generic brands since they work just as well even though they’re cheaper than trusted brands like Lincoln and Hobart but the choice is ultimately up to you.