Wire Feed Vs Stick Welding

Wire feed welding is similar to MIG welding. Welders use different types of welding process to carry out different welding tasks. Every welder has a preferred method of welding and the skill one has also plays a great role.

In wire feed welding, metals are joined together by heating the metal and electrode using an electric arc. In this process, a shielding gas is used to protect the welded metal from contamination. Wire feeding machines are mostly used to join non-ferrous metals. This machine is good for the use of mild welding tasks.  The wire feed welder uses a consumable electrode for welding.

Wire feed welding is highly recommended to beginners because it is an easy skill to learn and use. However, basic welding skills are very important for you to be able to produce good quality welds. There are several types of welding used in the whole world but in this article we will look at two welding methods:

  1. The wire feed welding
  2. The stick welding

The Wire Feed Welding

The Wire Feed Welding Process

In this welding process a continuous wire electrode is use to weld joints. When the wire feed machine is connected to the power supply, the rollers begin and the arc is turned on. The shielding gas then begins to flow through the gun and the rollers feed the wire to the gun.

The arc heats the work piece and melts the electrode wire at the same time hence forming a joint. The shielding gas that is flowing through the gun protects the joint from environmental contaminants.

Advantages Of Wire Feed Welding

  • Wire feed welding produces high quality welds.
  • Wire feed welding is faster than stick welding.
  • Can be used to weld a wide range of metals.
  • It is easy to learn wire feed welding.

Disadvantages Of Wire Feed Welding

  • Wire feed welding is limited for some welding positions like overhead and vertical. This is because of the high heat used to weld.

What Is Stick Welding?

This is a manual arc welding whereby an electrode used is consumable and is covered by flux.  This welding process utilizes an electrode and electric supply to weld metals. Stick welding is also known as MAW or Flux Shielded Arc Welding.

The electrode is made up of a solid wire that is covered by mineral compounds, metal powders and a top binding. This binding holds all the agents together on the electrode.  In other words the stick electrode is made of a flux coated core wire.

During welding, the wire is put on the metal and a high heat is used to melt the electrode and the metal joining them together.  The flux coating vaporizes and forms a gas that protects the welded part.

How Does The Stick Welder Work?

In stick welding, an electrode coated with flux is used. The power supply goes through the flux coated electrode and arcs with the work piece at the point of contact. The electrode melts producing gases which shields the molten pool. The gases prevent oxidization of the molten pool.

When the weld pool cools, it turns into slag. This slag is removed after welding is done.

The Stick Welding

Why Use Stick Welding?

  • Stick welding can used to weld ferrous metals and some ferrous metals.
  • Can be used on dirty metals.
  • It is easy to join two types of metals using the stick welding application.
  • The welding clamps can be attached far from the welding point.

What Are The Advantages Of Stick Welding?

  • Unlike other types of welding, stick welding can be used indoors and outdoors and even under cold weather conditions.
  • Stick welding is a bit cheap because the equipment used is affordable.
  • Stick welding is portable because it doesn’t require a separate gas tank for shielding purposes.
  • This welding process can be done on dirty metals.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Stick Welding?

  • The stick welding process is a slow compared to other welding methods.
  • For one to be able to weld using stick welding technique, one has to have skills and experience.
  • Stick welding is time consuming because one has to clean up the slag formed when welding.
  • Stick welding is only suitable for thick metals because of its deep penetrating characteristics. It cannot be used to weld thin metals.
  • Unlike wire feed welding, in stick welding the electrode are replaced frequently.
  • Stick welding doesn’t produce pleasant looking welds.

Wire Feed Vs Stick Welding


  • In stick welding the electrode has to be frequently replaced while in the wire feed a spool of wire is used.
  • Stick welding is one of the most complicated welding applications therefore making it hard to learn and use while wire feed is easy to learn and use.
  • Wire feed is mostly suitable for welding thin metals while stick welding is used to weld thick metals.
  • Wire feed is faster compared to stick welding. This is because a welder has to clean up the work piece after welding.
  • Stick welding is can weld dirty, painted rusted metals while wire feed welding cant weld dirty metals.

Is Stick Welding Stronger Than Wire Feed Welding?

When it comes to strength of the weld, there are aspects that can affect the strength of the stick welding and wire feed welding. These aspects are:

  • Welding position OR Welding angle
  • Penetration
  • The size of the electrode.

Although Wire feed welding is versatile, stick welding produces very strong. Stick welding can also be done outside on harsh weather conditions and still produce strong welds. Stick welding is mainly used to weld heavy and thick metals 

Arc Welding Vs Stick Welding

Arc welding is the same as flux core weldingStick welding and arc welding hold very similar characteristicsBoth applications weld heavy metals and they produce very strong welds.


Comparing Wire feed welding and stick welding can be easy for you even if you’re a beginner. Both of these welding techniques are commonly used but they have their differences. Before deciding on which technique suits your welding job and the metals you have it’s good try testing both of them.


Edward, a seasoned welding expert, shares his extensive knowledge and insights on Welderit.com to help you enhance your welding skills.

Welderit.com is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. See affiliate disclaimer.

Leave a Comment