Arc welding and MIG welding are two methods of joining metals together.
Arc welders use electricity to create a hot arc between the metal being joined, while MIG welders use a wire electrode that is coated with flux so it melts as it comes in contact with the surface of one piece of metal. The difference between these two processes has been hotly debated for years.
In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 things you should be considering before deciding on which process is best for your project.
1. MIG Welding Is More Affordable Than Arc Welding
To understand whether the Arc welding process or the MIG welding process is right for your project, the first step is to determine the cost.
Arc welding is typically more expensive than MIG welding, but there are a few factors to consider. Some factors include the cost of the machine, the consumable materials, and the cost of labour.
Arc welding is more effective for structural work that involves large pieces. MIG welding is more effective for projects that involve smaller pieces or thinner sheets.
So determining which is right for your welding project all depends on the price of your project and whether the project is big enough to warrant needing an Arc welder.
2. Arc Welders Are Heavier and Bulkier Than MIG Welders, Which Makes Them Less Portable
MIG welders are typically much lighter and more compact than welders that use an arc function.
This makes them more portable, which is one of the main reasons why MIG welders are used on construction sites. In industrial settings, welders are most often used indoors, so portability is less of a concern.
However, Arc welders are considerably heavier than MIG welders. This may be a con for people who plan on carrying their welder between job sites.
Either way, if you’re considering a compact, lightweight welder that is easy to transport, the MIG welder might be a better choice for you.
3. Arc Welders Require an External Power Source While MIG Welders Can Be Powered by a Battery Pack
MIG welders are usually powered by an inverter, which requires external power.
In most industrial settings, this is not a problem, but in some settings, it can be an issue. Some MIG welders can run on a battery pack, making them portable, but they may require external power.
An Arc welder, on the other hand, requires an external power source. The power source can be either a gas-powered generator or a propane tank.
Generators must be used outdoors since they add noise to the working environment, and their fumes can be harmful.
4. Arc Welders Produce More Heat, Which Means They’re Better for Thicker Metals Like Steel
Arc welding produces a hotter flame than MIG welding, which allows it to weld thicker metals like steel more efficiently and easily.
Arc welding is also preferred by workshops that have large metal shops, since it produces fewer sparks that can fall down the chute and, thus, damage the metal shop. However, this increase in heat also means arc welders produce higher volumes of smoke, fumes, and harmful emissions.
This makes Arc welding a worse choice when working indoors.
5. The Wire in Arc Welding Is Thinner and Easier to Work With Than the Wire in MIG Welding
The MIG wire rod in welding is thicker and harder than the wire rod in arc welding. This makes it heavier to use.
The friability of the MIG wire rod means that it breaks more easily, which means you need to work harder to control the wire while welding than with an arc welder. The thinner wire also makes it easier for you to get into tight spaces with the nozzle of your welding gun.
6. The Materials Used in Arc Welding Are Cheaper Because You Don’t Need Shielding Gas or Flux Core Wire
The materials required for arc welding are much cheaper than those used for MIG welding.
This is because most materials don’t require high shielding gas and flux core wire, both of which need to be purchased separately for arc welding. The wire used in arc welding is also stronger.
The thicker wire used for MIG welding requires larger and more expensive spools.
7. MIG Welders Are Easier to Maintain Than Arc Welders
MIG welders can be a lot easier to maintain than Arc welders, which Is the reason it’s more popular with small workshops.
Arc welders require regular maintenance, but MIG welders require almost no maintenance. This is partially due to the lower cost of the materials and wire rods for MIG welding.
The wires are also a lot thinner than the copper wires used for arc welding.
8. The Fumes Produced by Arc Welding Can Be Hazardous to Your Health, While the Fumes Produced by MIG Welding Are Less Harmful
Arc welding fumes can be hazardous to your health.
They provide respiratory irritants that can be harmful to the lungs. The fumes that arc welding produces can be more hazardous to the welder’s health than to the welder’s lungs.
This is because of the increased volume of fumes. The fumes are heavier than the air we breathe, which means they are easier to inhale than lighter particles.
MIG welders produce fewer fumes than arc welders. However, they still release some, which can be harmful.
9. The Heat Generated by Arc Welding Will Damage Any Nearby Plastic or Rubber Components, but This Won’t Happen With MIG Welding
Heat can severely damage any nearby plastic or rubber components, including roller, gears, and bearings.
This can cause an expensive disaster on an industrial worksite. However, heat isn’t as hard on the MIG welder.
This is because the MIG welder uses a smaller welding gun that produces less heat, but penetrates the material further. This protects the plastic and rubber parts from the heat.
10. MIG Welding Requires Less Training and Skill Than Arc Welding
MIG welders don’t require as much training and skill as arc welders.
They’re easier and less intimidating to use and don’t require the welding skill to control the power needed to stay inside the arc. Arc welders require a lot of skill, which is why welders must learn different techniques and skills for arc welding.
This higher level of skill makes arc welders less intimidating to use. However, it’s also meant to make arc welding a more dangerous practice.
MIG welding is a great option for those who need to weld on the go or want to save money.
However, if you have thicker metals like steel and are willing to spend more upfront for an arc welder, then it may be worth your while because they produce less heat than MIG welders and can use flux core wire which is cheaper than shielding gas. If cost isn’t as much of a concern but portability and ease-of-use are important, then consider investing in a MIG welder.
And no matter what type of welder you prefer, make sure that it’s easy enough to maintain so that you don’t wind up spending all day fixing broken equipment instead of working!