What Is MIG Welding vs TIG Welding?

What Is MIG Welding vs TIG Welding?

Metal inert gas welding (MIG) and Tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) are the two most common fabrication techniques in the welding industry. They both use an arc and shielding gas to create the perfect assemblies.

There is, however, a difference between the welding techniques employed in both cases. Plus, the results they yield are very diverse. And having an understanding of the difference can ensure better welding outcomes.

In our MIG welding vs TIG welding guide, let`s compare the two processes to help you choose the optimal one for your application.

What Is MIG Welding?

MIG Welding

MIG welding is a subtype of gas metal arc welding (GMAW). A welding current passes to join the base materials during the process. At the same time, a filler wire is constantly delivered through the welding gun. This can be either solid wires or a cored wire consisting of composites made from metal filling.

As the user boots up the welding machine, an arc forms between the piece of metal and the wire. The arc melts both the pieces to form a weld pool and create a secure bond.

When to Use MIG Welding?

The MIG Welding process is applicable for different scenarios. Some of these include:

  • Welding of thick and heavy pieces of metal used in cars, vans, and motorbikes.
  • Requirements of smooth welding results with minimal imperfections.
  • Working at challenging angles where the welder has a free hand to tackle the materials with the help of a MIG welding cart.
  • Welding for long periods.
  • When you are a beginner welder and require an easy technique.

The Pros Of MIG Welding

MIG Welding
  • Quick Turnaround: When you compare the time span between MIG and TIG welding, you will find MIG gives you weld more quickly.
  • Affordable: The process and the equipment used for MIG welding is not expensive.
  • Accurate Results: In a TIG vs MIG welding comparison, the latter has proven to give clean and precise results.
  • All Position Welding: MIG weld can handle projects at all angles.
  • Minimal Waste: Unlike other forms of welding, the continuous delivery of wire electrodes ensures all material comes into use.
  • Easy to Learn: Several steps of the MIG welding technique are automated, making it a beginner-friendly skill.

The Cons OF MIG Welding

  • Weakened Strength: MIG Welding may be accurate, but it does not produce results as strong as other forms of arc welding.
  • Prone to Environmental Hazard: MIG welding produces heavy smoke, fumes, and often sparks. These result in an unwelcoming situation.
  • Less Reliable: Problems with the arc stability and wires can occur during the MIG weld method.
  • Rust: MIG welds will leave deposits that can be rusty.
  • Outdoor Welding Challenges: MIG welding can be hard to carry out outdoors due to the effect of wind on the gasses involved.
  • Compatibility: While MIG weld is suitable for many forms of metals, it does have specific requirements for the wires and gasses used in the application.

What Is TIG Welding?

TIG Welding

TIG welding, also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), is another form of arc welding. It utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode along with a consumable filler material.

To initiate the welding process, the user has to fill the welding rod manually from the weld puddle while the electrode creates an arc. There is no need for a filler in the TIG welding process. The welders can also control the output of electricity that goes in the welding rod through a foot pedal.

When to Use TIG Welding?

Similar to the MIG welding method, the TIG welding produces optimal results in specific situations. These include:

  • Welding thin or small pieces of metal such as pipes.
  • Welding special materials like aluminum and copper.
  • You are an experienced welder with good hand-eye coordination.
  • You are welding areas that are easy to reach but compact. However, in this case, using a foot pedal or a TIG welding cart can be challenging.
  • You are welding for short periods.
  • When the project requires an aesthetic or artistic finish.

The Pros Of TIG Welding

  • Versatile: TIG welding can be applied to any size of metal. In fact, you can even join the smallest pieces with TIG that may seem impossible to weld.
  • Better Quality. If you look at the results of MIG vs TIG welding, you will notice the former process gives a more precise and high-quality finish.
  • Clean Air: TIG welds are good for environments and do not emit harmful gasses or smoke.
  • More Control: The TIG welding gives the welder more control as they can adjust the heat put through the foot pedal.
  • Minimal Maintenance: The electrodes used in TIG welds don`t require as much upkeep as the MIG welds. However, you should clean them between uses for durability.

The Cons Of TIG Welding

TIG Worker welding metal piping
  • Time Consuming: Compared with MIG welds, the TIG welding process takes more time to complete. It has a low deposition rate and is generally slow.
  • More Experience: TIG welding is not for beginner welders. To complete the welding project, you must be an experienced operator to handle the complexes of the technique.
  • Surface Preparation: You need to clean the welding surface prior to the process for a successful result.

Similarities Between the TIG and MIG Welding Process

During the welding process, TIG and MIG torches both create an electric arc between the material and the electrode. This causes the metal to melt until it reaches a liquid state. The liquid filler is then used to join the metals.

In both cases, inert shielding gasses protect hot weld beads from oxidation and contamination. The gasses are usually nitrogen, helium, argon, or a combination.

The MIG and TIG welding process are only applied to join conductive metals. For non-conductive metals, you must use solid-state welding.

While some level of surface preparation is necessary for all forms of welding, the TIG and MIG process requires extra care for successful results. Applying arc welding on an unclean area can bring in contamination. So, make sure you brush off all dirt and debris before MIG and TIG welding.

TIG Welding vs MIG Welding - What`s the Difference?

As you can observe from the above guide, both the welding process have their unique specifications. Here is a rundown of the differences between the two methods.


MIG Welding

TIG Welding


Automated method where a wire electrode is constantly delivered through the welding gun to create a joint.

The welder manually feeds the filler material on the weld while the other hand controls the welding torch.


Easy to handle, even for beginner welders.

There is a steep learning curve that can be challenging for new welders.

Forms of Metal

Can weld all types of metal.

Can weld all types of metal but is ideal for thin materials.

Metal Thickness

Welding is only suitable for thick pieces of metal. Chances of damage are common with thinner pieces.

Can weld all sizes of metal. However, TIG is a better option for thin materials.


Fast with a quick turnaround time.

Slow with more precise details.


Less costly


Final Results

High quality with minimal imperfections.

Perfect and clean finish. Often preferred for ornamental welding projects.


The debate of MIG welding vs TIG welding doesn`t end here. However, there is no perfect welding solution. The welding choice depends solely on your specific project requirements. As well as the ability to handle the different equipment.

We hope the above guide was beneficial for you. Regardless of your welding decision, do invest in a reliable welding cart to help in moving around. With the proper equipment, you can keep your tools organized and safe in all welding scenarios.