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MIG VS TIG Welding: What are the Differences?

Electric arc welding includes MIG welding, TIG welding, Stick welding, and Flux-cored welding, of which MIG welding and TIG welding are the most common welding techniques and both use electric arcs and shielding gases. However, there are still some differences between MIG welding and TIG welding, knowing the difference between welding MIG and TIG is of great importance for welders to choose the right welder and welding process.

In this article, we will compare MIG welding and TIG welding from the aspects of welding processes, welding pros and cons, welding applications, and selection of MIG vs TIG welders, so as to help you distinguish the welding techniques and choose the right welding process.

I. Welding Process of MIG and TIG Welding.

1) MIG Welding Process 

MIG welding stands for Metal Inert Gas welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), which is a widely used welding process that uses a consumable wire electrode to join metals. It is a relatively easy and fast process that produces high-quality welds with excellent appearance and strength. The process uses a constant voltage (CV) welding machine, a wire feed system, and a welding gun to deliver the welding arc to the workpiece. The process also uses a shielding gas to protect the weld from oxidation and contamination. MIG welding is a versatile process that can weld various metals, including carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.

2) TIG Welding Process 

TIG welding stands for Tungsten Inert Gas welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), which is a welding process that produces high-quality, precise, and clean welds. The TIG welding process uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create the welding arc, and a separate filler metal is used to create the weld. The process also uses a shielding gas, usually argon, to protect the weld from oxidation and contamination. TIG welding is a versatile process that can weld various metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium, among others.

II. Pros and Cons of MIG and TIG Welding.

1. Pros of MIG Welding:

1) Faster welding speed: complete large welding jobs quickly.

2) Easy to learn: an ideal welding technique for novice welders.

3) Versatile welding technique: weld multiple materials like steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.

4) High-quality welds: high-quality welds that are strong and durable.

5) Less slag: less clean-up after the welding job is complete.

6) Less distortion: maintain the shape and integrity of the material being welded.

2. Cons of MIG Welding:

1) Higher cost: more expensive than other welding equipment.

2) Not suitable for outdoor use: requires a constant flow of gas.

3) Not suitable for all welding positions: hard to weld in certain welding situations.

4) Higher cleanliness requirement: the metal being welded must be free from rust, oil, and other contaminants.

5) Limited penetration: can not penetrate thick materials as deeply as other welding techniques.

6) Limited thickness: can not weld materials that are too thick.

3. Pros of TIG Welding

1) Preciser and cleaner: ideal for thin materials and metals like aluminum and magnesium.

2) High-quality welds: no slag, spatter, or other impurities, is ideal for welding metals that require a clean, aesthetic appearance.

3) Greater control over the welding process: capable to adjust the heat input, weld speed, and weld puddle size to achieve the desired weld.

4) Versatile welding technique: weld multiple materials like stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and titanium.

4. Cons of TIG Welding

1) Slower welding speed: less suitable for high-volume welding applications.

2) Higher skill level: takes years of training and practice to master.

3) Expensive equipment: less accessible for beginners or occasional welders.

4) Limited penetration: less suitable for welding thick materials or joints with deep penetration requirements.


A table shows the differences between MIG welding and TIG welding:


Welding Speed

Thick Materials

Thin Materials

Ease of Welding

Weld Precision

Strength of Welds

Weld Aesthetics

Welding Costs

III. Application of MIG and TIG Welding.

MIG welding is easy to learn and is particularly effective for thicker metals and is typically used where weld aesthetics are not a priority. MIG welding is commonly used in industries such as automotive, construction, and manufacturing. 

TIG welding is hard to learn and is widely used to weld materials that require high precision, such as aerospace, motorsport, industrial structures, production line manufacture, and more. 

IV. Selection of MIG and TIG Welder.

Selecting the right MIG or TIG welder can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to welding. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a MIG or TIG welder.

1) The materials and their thickness to be welded: MIG welders are ideal for welding thicker materials such as steel, while TIG welders are better suited for thinner materials like aluminum. Look for a welder that has the appropriate power and amperage for the materials you will be working with.

2) The duty-cycle and cooling system of the welder: A welder with a high-duty cycle can handle long periods of continuous welding without overheating. Look for a welder with a built-in cooling system to prevent overheating and extend the life of the welding machine.

3) The usability, portability, and durability of the welder: Look for a machine that is easy to set up and use, with clear controls and displays. Consider the weight and size of the machine if you need to move it frequently. Look for a machine with a sturdy build and a warranty to ensure it will last.

4) The budget of the welding machine: Welders range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Determine your budget and look for a machine that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

If you need to buy a MIG welder or TIG welder after knowing their differences, you can contact Megmeet Welding Technology (one of the best CO2/MIG/MAG/TIG welding machines designer and manufacturers in China) to choose the suitable one based on your needs and budget. If you want to learn more welding tips, you can collect Megmeet News Center Page or follow our Linkedin page.