Mig Vs Arc Welding: Comparison Based on Several Factors

mig vs arc welding

We will do a comparative analysis of two main welding methods, such as MIG vs Arc welding methods.

The construction industry has grown steadily in the past decade and continues to boom. Thanks to the growing population, there is never a lack of demand for the building business.

Welding technology was a revolution in construction and continues to become better with more and more technological advancements.
It is a promising, lucrative career for anyone interested in building.

A very useful skill to have.

Common Welding Methods

With so many people trying their hands at welding, it is essential to know what to expect for professional or household purposes.

Buying your first welder machine can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look for.

The three most common welding methods are

  • MIG (Metal Inert Gas)
  • Arc
  • TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas).

Of these, TIG welding requires the most amount of training and experience. It is also the most sophisticated of the three.

MIG vs. Arc welding options are often confusing for first-time buyers because of their similarities. We will be focusing on these two welding methods in this article, along with a MIG welding vs Arc welding comparison based on several factors.

MIG Welding

MIG welding works by feeding wire into the machine, which gets heated up and melts at the welding surface. The wire acts as an electrode when passing through the machine.

Additionally, an external gas source is required for shielding the material from atmospheric gases.

The two main types of MIG welding are gas and gas-less.

In gas MIG welding, a gas source such as a gas cylinder produces a shielding gas, which helps avoid the welding surface’s oxidation.

A gas-less MIG welding uses a flux core to produce the shielding effect. Among the two, a gas MIG is usually less expensive despite its complications with an additional gas source.

Arc Welding

In Arc welding, two metals to be fused are heated up by passing electricity through a rode coated with flux. The heated-up metals melt, and the electrode forms an electric arc.

The melted metals are then fused, with some filling added to help with the fused area’s integrity. The flux coating provides the shielding gas that protects the material from contamination. Arc welding is the oldest welding of the three main methods.

MIG Vs ARC Welding: 4 Things to Consider

Ease of Use

MIG welding is faster, cleaner, and uses more aesthetically pleasing equipment than the arc technique. 

It requires the least amount of skill or experience because of the simplicity of the equipment. The welding gun is very handy and less complicated than an arc welder.

Unlike the other welding methods, you don’t have to worry about striking the right angle between the electrode and the metal or damaging the welding material with too much amperage. You can control the speed at which the wire is fed into the machine with a gun switch.

The Arc welder, although uncomplicated, needs some getting used to. The main concern includes matching the material to be welded with the rod’s size and maintaining an optimum gap between the metal and the electrode.

This can be a tough task for a beginner since maintaining a steady hand when using heavy equipment doesn’t come easily.

Another concern is that you have to know how much amperes of current can be used against a certain material. The texture and thickness of the material need to be kept in mind. A higher than optimum average can damage the material instead of fusing it.

However, arc welding uses more portable machines and can be used in all settings. MIG welding can be tricky in outdoor settings since the external gas shield can be blown away in the wind. Since arc welders use a flux coating on the electrode itself, the gas shielding is more likely to stay intact.

Compatible Materials

MIG and arc methods work well with different kinds of metals and different levels of thickness.

MIG is more sensitive to the thickness of the material. Extremely thin foils such as aluminum cannot be welded with MIG since there is no amperage control. The material is likely to get burnt.

On the other hand, extremely thick materials may damage the welding machine. However, overall, MIG allows for seamlessly switching between different materials without changing the settings.

Arc welding is more flexible when it comes to materials, with a slight preference for thick ones.

Arc welding is also more resilient on rusty metals compared to MIG.


MIG welding equipment is generally more expensive. The spool gun itself is not that expensive, but the additional accessories, such as the wire used as the electrode, can be quite expensive.

It also requires an extra gas cylinder for the shielding effect. Overall, the MIG types of equipment are more expensive and less portable than arc.

Quality of weld

MIG usually gives a cleaner, higher-quality weld joint. Unlike arc, MIG has a continuous feed of the electrode wire, helping to make the welding process seamless. Also, slag is rare because it doesn’t use flux for shield gas sources.

Arc welding uses short electrodes that need to be reloaded whenever it runs out. As a result, the welding could turn out to be uneven. Arc welding also causes wastage and residue. A bit of each electrode piece is left unused, and the flux core produces a lot of slags.


The choice of appropriate welding equipment should depend on your needs and skill set.

MIG welder might be the best option for a beginner who plans to work on projects that are located mainly indoors. However, it can be a bit heavy on the wallet.

On the other hand, an arc welder is best suited for more rugged conditions outdoors. It is also pocket-friendly.

Arc welder might be the best option for people looking into welding as a long-term career option.

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