MIG vs TIG Welding 2021 – Real Differences with Legit Facts

Last Updated: October 19, 2021 by Louis Sham

When considering metal welding, there are several kinds of welding methods to go for. Two of the widely used welding methods in the U.S. are metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG). Most of the welders are confused between Mig vs Tig Welding.

mig vs tig welding

One wrong welding decision between Tig welding vs MIG welding and you are trapped into a bunch of related welding problems including corrosion of weld joint, weaker bonds, and even not being able to complete your welding project.

Mig Vs Tig Welding

Both welding methods are unique and useful in their own ways.  To choose the best method between tig and mig welding, you need to be sure about what each method offers. This guide will reveal tig vs mig welding differences to help you in your welding decisions.

What is Mig Welding:

mig welding

As compared to other forms of welding, mig welding comprises a direct, simple, and quick approach towards welding. Welders consider mig welding over tig when they want to conjoin thicker metals swiftly. In Metal Inert Gas welding, the electric arc is surrounded by a shielding gas that prevents oxygen in the air from reacting with the arc. The arc is safe within the designated area of shielding gas. Shielding gas adds to the safety of MIG welding.

The welder proceeds with a consumable electrode as a metal filler. By the process of melting itself, the metal works as a connector to the welding pieces. Electrode filler may vary based on the properties of the different kinds of materials you want to join.

What is Tig Welding:

tig welding

Tungsten inert gas welding involves a tungsten electrode within the welding gun. Having a high melting point, tungsten does not melt as quickly as other materials. So it becomes easier to conduct the arc of electricity towards other components that the welder wants to weld.

Tig welding does not entail any filler for the welding process. During tig welding, two metals conjoin easily without any filler material as they have cleaner joints. For this reason, the tig process necessitates more professional and experienced welders to carry out this method. Usually, the parts that you want to join are required to be thin so the heat and current can pass through easily. In the case of very thick materials, you can make sure of a more secure bond by having a filler-like Mig Welding Process.

Processes of Mig Vs Tig Welding

Process of MIG Welding:

Initial steps include a systematic cleaning of the metal surfaces that you wish to join. Since any dust particle may adulterate the surface of the metal that will affect the mig welding process. As it uses a filler, so there should be no other material that will stick to the weld. Metal clamps are used to hold down the materials that are needed to be conjoined with the help of electric current. Even a small dirt particle may diminish the quality of the weld.

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Process of TIG Welding

Tig welding demands two-hand usage while mig only requires one hand to grip the torch when using filler material. It is due to the filler being within the welding torch in mig welding whereas; in tig welding, it is to be held in another hand. To connect the metals, an electric current is sent through the welding torch. After having the heat from the current, the metals melt to form a weld puddle. In order to easily heat the metals, tig welding requires exceptionally thin metal pieces like about 0.005 inches in width.

Differences between MIG vs TIG Welding

Difficulty:

Mig welding is an easier technique to handle as compared to tig welding. Tig welding demands experienced welders as you need to use both hands; one to hold the welding torch while the filler material is in another.

Technique:

In mig welding, a wire electrode is being fed simultaneously with the spoon gun that creates the weld. Whereas, in tig welding, separate filler material is fed onto the weld by one hand and the welding torch is held in another.

Object Thickness:

Mig is capable of welding thicker metals while for tig you need to use thin for a better weld. Mig is flexible with many metals like stainless or mild steel and aluminum. Tig welding also works with them but in thinner gauges.

Speed:

If you want a faster and higher production rate then the ideal choice would be mig welding. However, if you require detailed weld and timing is not an issue then you can proceed with tig welding.

Appearance:

For a detailed finish keeping in mind the purity factor, tig welding works best as it provides all the desired aesthetics.

Control:

Beginners can opt for mig welding, as its functioning is easier. Tig welders need to have a sight for precision between timing and appropriate materials, as it requires the work of both hands.

Costs:

Mig is cost-effective and cheap while tig is an expensive method to go for.

Pros and Cons of Tig Welding & Mig Welding

Keeping the advantages and disadvantages of any welding technique in mind can give you a complete overview of whether that kind of welding is suitable for your project or not. Eventually, you will be able to make a successful decision towards your welding goal completion. Here are some of the pros and cons of both Mig and Tig welding:

Mig Welding Pros
  • Takes less time
  • More cost effective than tig welds
  • Availability of required equipment is high
  • High accuracy bond is achieved
  • Produces a clean weld
  • Requires little post-weld maintenance
Mig Welding Cons
  • Decreased arc stability and wire burn-back
  • Can cause rust deposits
  • Requires certain thickness
Tig Welding Pros
  • More precise
  • Higher quality welds
  • Cleaner process for the environment
  • Doesn’t require filler material
  • Adjustable heat input
  • Greater level of control
  • Lower maintenance
Tig Welding Cons
  • Higher cost of tig welds
  • Clean welding surface required
  • Welds are more complex to execute
  • Takes more time to prepare and weld

Applications of Mig vs Tig Welding

Application of MIG Welding:

Mig welding offers an array of applications including construction welding, trailer hitches, pipe welding, automotive repair and manufacturing, metal component repairs, farm equipment, shipbuilding, railroad track repair, and even underwater welding projects. All of these indicate the versatile nature of mig welding. Whenever you need to finish the welding project on an urgent basis or on thicker metals, mig welding is the ideal welding technique for you. However, it also means that you prefer speed to quality.

To weld in bulk, you can continuously put in the filler material on the spool and conjoin the welds to attain a desirable final product. Since this kind of welding doesn’t focus on details much so it might require additional smoothing or grinding once the weld is done. Overall, in cases where you want large production that can be easily managed with fewer skill requirements and in less time, then mig welding is suitable for those scenarios.

Application of TIG welding:

Tig welding applies to the project whose requirement is welding thinner metals. Expert welders can properly carry out this kind of welding, as it requires hand-eye and hand-foot coordination. Being a precise method, it demands patience and skills. Areas that are small or have odd angles may be a bit difficult to weld. But the welders can use the finger-tip control rather than the foot pedal to successfully perform tig welding and reach out all the angles and welds appropriately.

Tig welding applies to most metals including aluminum and copper. However, it is not compatible with cast iron. Technical welds that are for a short-run may go for tig welding. Long runs are not very favorable, as they may get a bit expensive and complex. Aesthetically pleasing projects are carried out through tig welding. Toolbox or sink and even any artwork, automotive project, or ornamental design, all can be targeted through tig welding.

Final Verdict:

All the factors combined above will help you decide between mig vs tig welding. Type of material that you are thinking of weld being the key factor. Mig is known to be ideal for thick and bulk material while tig welding can be carried out on small and thin metal sheets.

Both the welding techniques are compatible with aluminum, stainless steel, and steel so you have to be more precise on the thickness and amount of time and weld required. Another factor that is crucial to consider is the kind of expertise required.

Tig welding requires a higher level of expertise whereas mig welding is fairly easier. Home projects may require less experience so mig welding would be ideal for them. However, for detailed welds, tig welding should be your final call. Lastly, the amount of maintenance required for both also varies. Tig is the winner of low-maintenance as it allows the welder to carry out a variety of welding processes in the same machine without any mishaps.

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