MIG Vs. TIG Welding: What’s The Difference?

MIG Vs. TIG Welding: What’s The Difference?

Welding has been a well-known trade for many years.

While many people are aware of the main concepts of welding, it is not common knowledge that there is more than one type of welding – MIG and TIG welding.

What is the difference between MIG and TIG welding?

MIG Vs. TIG Welding: What’s The Difference?
man holding a welding torch

The main differences between MIG and TIG welding lie in how they meld metal and how the metal reacts to each one. In terms of practice, MIG welding is generally easier because the machine is much less difficult to control. TIG welding, on the other hand, can be a more expert level.

Whether you enjoy making things with your hands and are looking into getting started with a new hobby or you are looking for work in a growing field, you might have considered welding as a viable option.

Regardless of why you are interested in learning this craft, it is important that you understand the difference between the two main types.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of a MIG vs. TIG welding, we got you covered:

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Understanding The Difference

There are many types of welding; however, the two most prominent types of welding are MIG and TIG welding.

The names are similar, but they could not be more different.

In this section, we will be going over the difference between MIG and TIG welding in order to give you a better understanding of each one.

The difference between MIG and TIG welding lies in:

  • What they use to weld metal
  • What each process does to the metal

The main difference between Gas Metal Arc Welding, MIG, and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, TIG, is in what they use to meld metal and what this does to the metal.

As with any type of welding, both processes include manipulating metals to alter them or attach them to one another.

Both MIG and TIG welding use their own specific techniques and tools to actually meld the metals, and the materials will have a unique reaction to each one.

All About MIG Welding

All welding types have their own details.

To begin, we will discuss some of the MIG welding details.

MIG welding details: 

  • Short for: Gas Metal Arc Welding
  • Uses a heated wire and electrode
  • Melting electrode makes it faster and more efficient
  • Much easier to control

MIG welding uses a heated wire and an electrode that acts as a filler in melding metal. This melting electrode does two things for the welder.

First, it makes a faster and more efficient weld. Second, the MIG is easier to control.

This signature electrode filler weld joins two metals without having to heat up the metal that is being joined.

By being able to avoid super-heating metal, the welder can work on projects faster. This also ensures that both parts of the weld are structurally sound.

As there is no thermal expansion and contraction on the metal being worked on.

A risk with heating up larger or thicker pieces of metal is that the metal may crack or warp when cooling down.

For larger projects, such as welding on a residential property, this unstable metal could have dire consequences.

MIG welding is also notably easy to do. The filler does most of the welding work, so, if you have a steady hand, no serious difficulties should arrive when welding.

Issues with MIG Welding

TIG Vs MIG Welds

There are some issues with MIG welding, however.

The first issue is the size of the welds and their lack of precision. The second issue is related to the limitations of the metal filler of the MIG.

While the MIG is good for larger projects because of its metal filler, the same filler creates large weld marks. These large weld marks make MIG welding useless for smaller projects.

Since it is typically recommended that you don’t try to weld two different metals together because the different properties of the metals will affect the structural integrity of the weld, you must make sure the filler and the metal being welded are similar enough.

All About TIG Welding

TIG welding is the other most common welding type.

TIG welding details:

  • Short for: Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
  • Uses metal tungsten
  • No melting electrode is used
  • Higher temperatures
  • More difficult to use

TIG welding is different from MIG welding because of how it joins metals.

TIG doesn’t use a metal filler; instead, its Tungsten electrode heats up the metals to higher temperatures and welds to metals directly to one another.

The lack of filler makes TIG welding a more precise form of welding but more difficult for larger projects.

As stated before, when large pieces of metal are meant to be welded together, it isn’t a good idea to expose them to high levels of heat.

The heat can cause cracks and other welding issues as the metal meant to be welded cools off. The TIG welding arc requires the welder to use both hands to maintain control while welding.

A welder using a TIG must first use one hand to heat up the metal and the other hand to place filler where the weld is intended.

Because of the skill and experience needed with TIG welding, it is more common to see MIG welding than TIG. However, for smaller welding projects, TIG welding is ideal.

The precise welding provided by TIG creates a more appealing finish.

The Similarities Between MIG and TIG Welding

MIG Vs TIG Welding

So, what are the similarities between MIG and TIG welding?

Since both processes fall into the same category, there must be something that they have in common, right?

While MIG and TIG are very different in regard to how they weld and their purpose, structurally, they are the same.

The main similarities between MIG and TIG welding:

  • The structural process of welding
  • How they create heat to make welds

As you can see, MIG and TIG welding have a few characteristics in common, namely how they create heat to make their welds.

As described previously, both types of welding use separate processes to create this heat. Nonetheless, they still use heat to meld the metals and manipulate them as needed.

More similarities between MIG and TIG welding:

Both MIG and TIG welding uses an inert gas, usually argon, to create an inert atmosphere for welding prevending oxydation and other reactions. 

The gases also heat the metal to its liquid form, making it much easier to manipulate and weld together.

MIG and TIG are also the most common kinds of welding to be done by machinery and in factory settings.

This all goes back to the fact that the welding they do is the best for industrial settings.

As you can see, MIG and TIG welding are two separate processes that use their own techniques in order to manipulate and attach metal materials together.

As you become more experienced in the welding field, you will learn how each one is used in practice and be able to add these specific skills onto your belt as you progress in your hobby or career.