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Stick Welding: The Pros and Cons

Regardless of the application, stick welding is one technique that will never go out of style. This form has been used for everything from industrial and commercial work to your weekend project ideas. So it must be a good welding process, right?

Stick welding is one of the most popular ways to join metal because it’s simple, versatile, affordable, and effective. However, there are drawbacks, such as its being challenging to master and slow compared to some of the other processes.

There are a lot of welding processes out there, and each one has its unique benefits and drawbacks. So, is stick welding a good process? In this blog post, we will look at the pros and cons of stick welding and see if it is the right process for you.

Picture of a person stick welding.

Here are some of the topics we cover:

  • When would you use a stick welder? What is stick welding used for?
  • What can be welded with a stick welder?
  • Best Stick Welder for Beginners
  • And more…

Is Stick Welding a Good Process?

Stick welding, also known as arc welding, is a type of welding that uses an electric arc to create heat. The heat generated by the arc melts the metal and stick electrode, allowing two pieces of metal to be joined together.

The beauty of Stick welding is its versatility and portability. One of the most significant advantages of stick welding is its versatility. You can use it to weld thin sheets of metal as well as thick plates. Additionally, you can use it indoors or outdoors and in various positions.

You can also use stick welding for steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and other metals. Beginners to welding who plan to weld different kinds of metals will do well with a stick welder.

Benefits of Stick Welding:

-The equipment needed for stick welding is relatively inexpensive. Stick welding equipment is almost 1/3rd or half the price of other types of welding equipment.

-It is a very versatile welding process and can be used on various materials. All you need to do is change your welding rod, and you can move between welding stainless steel and iron.

-It is a good choice when you have to weld outside your welding shop or garage. Wind or dampness does not affect the process.

-Ground clamps don’t need to be near the weld site, and with long leads, it’s easy to move around and weld in confined spaces.

-You do not need shielding gas for stick welding.

– Other welding processes need a lot of metal preparation before the welding. Stick welding helps avoid all that prep.

Drawbacks of Stick Welding:

-Stick welding can be a slow welding process.

-It can be challenging to weld thin materials with stick welding.

-The arc can be difficult to control in stick welding.

-Stick welding creates a slag you must chip away

Stick welding creates a lot of sparks

-Compared to other welding methods, stick-welding is a more complicated process.

So, those are some of the benefits and drawbacks of stick welding. Is it the right process for you? That depends on your specific needs and requirements. If you need a versatile, effective, and inexpensive way to weld, then stick welding might be your best option.

What is Stick Welding Used For?

Stick welding is most commonly used in the construction industry, particularly for iron and steel projects. It can be used to weld pipes, beams, plate metal, and other types of metals. Additionally, stick welding can be used to repair or fabricate equipment.

A range of stick welding electrodes lets you tackle different metals and a wide range of applications.

  • Stick welding equipment is light and portable and the process is not affected by wind or dampness. This helps you perform stick welding in confined spaces, hard-to-access areas, remote locations, etc.
  • It is a great option for on-call repairs as welders can carry the equipment in their vehicles and address all kinds of issues – big or small.
  • Disaster repairs are easier with stick welding as the crew can easily carry the equipment to the disaster-struck regions.
  • Stick welding is useful in strengthening temporary structures and is ideal for communities living off the grid.
  • On ships, stick welding is ideal for repairs and construction.
  • The petroleum industry relies heavily on this type of welding too.
  • Steel manufacturing, mining, and manufacturing also use stick welding.

What Can Be Welded with a Stick Welder?

You can weld new or used metal. Additionally, you can weld painted metal and galvanized metal without having to remove the paint or zinc coating. However, it is not recommended because the fumes created are toxic.

The best practice is to remove paint from metal before welding. It is also important to note that stick welding is not recommended for thin aluminum sheets.

Stick welding can be used for:

  • Welding metals that haven’t been cleaned or are rusty. This means welders need not spend time cleaning the metals.
  • It is useful for welding alloys and joints. Use it for stainless steel, steel, nickel, chrome, and even aluminum.
  • Stick welding is recommended for metals thicker than 18 gauge.
  • It is the process of choice for repairs in power plants, ships, farm equipment, tractor repairs, etc.

Let us now cover some of the best stick welders on the market.

DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder,160A ARC Welder Machine IGBT Digital Display LCD Hot Start Welder with Electrode Holder,Work Clamp, Input Power Adapter Cable and Brush

Best Stick Welder for Beginners: DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder

DEKO is a scale producer and supplier of cost-effective tools, and the brand has sold over 200 million products in more than 200 countries.

Don’t let the DEKOPRO 160 A’s competitive price trick you into thinking this is a low-end product that you cannot compare with Miller or Lincoln welders. The DEKOPRO’s strike is easy, flows nicely, and yields welds you will be proud of! Moreover, it can lay beads the same as any $3K machine.

DEKOPRO won’t overheat, won’t cut off, and will easily help a beginner get small to medium-sized projects done with super ease.

The best part from a beginner’s point of view is its ease of use. The start is smooth, it is easy to hold the arc, and there is no issue of electrode sticking. DEKOPRO’s is so small and compact that it can fit into a large backpack. It does the job on 120 V if the 220V is not near, and one could also use it with a generator.


  • Weighs less than 15 lb.
  • Compact – measures 11.4  x 4.92  x 7.87 (L x W x D)
  • Cord measures 71.6 inches
  • Current range 10-160A, voltage 110/220 V
  • Includes synchronous cooling system


  • Efficient design that is easy to learn and use for beginners
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Excellent overheat protection
  • Ensures stable current output – voltage accurately matches with current
  • DC welder that plugs into AC 110/220V


  • The ground clamp needs upgrading.

How it compares

For a tiny inverter welder, the DEKOPRO 160 A does pretty well on 110V. Also, other welders that professionals swear by cost nearly ten times this little one.

If you’re looking for a small portable welder that you can carry along and use with a generator for emergencies, this is an excellent choice. It does not require too much finesse, and any beginner can easily handle it.

Welding Machine, 110V Plug, 200Amp Power,Beginner Welder With Display LCD Use Welding Rod Equipment Tools Accessorie

Best Stick Welder for the Price – S7 Store Welding Machine Beginner Welder With Display LCD

The S7 Store Arc 200 Easy Welder is super easy to use. It is perfect for beginners as adjusting it is easy thanks to the LED display. It clearly shows the Amperage output is.

The Arc200 does well with 3/32 to 1/8” with ease. All in all, this is an excellent beginner-friendly welder that delivers value for money.


  • Weighs less than 8 lb.
  • Compact – Measures 12 x 8 x 9 inches. Lightweight steel and plastic construction.
  • Current range – 20 to 200 A; voltage AC-DC110±15%
  • Comes multiple protections: overheat, over current, over voltage


  • Easy for beginners to use and learn
  • Energy-saving
  • Stable heat dissipation
  • Portable and compact yet big on power
  • Silent operation
  • Convenient and quick connection – makes it safe, fast, and easy


  • Cables could be longer.


  • Works well with E7018 and E6011 in 3/32″

How it compares

This little machine has plenty of penetration, even on E6011 (3/32”) with a controllable arc puddle. It costs less than $75, which is way lower than many other welders. Ideal for beginners, you won’t have a problem getting it to arc. This little welder is a complete value for money.

YESWELDER Stick Welder 165Amp,Digital Display 110/220V Dual Voltage IGBT Inverter ARC Welder,Built-in Hot Start ARC force Portable MMA Welding Machine

Bonus: YESWELDER Stick Welder

Quality machines give you quality results. The YESWELDER has many brilliant features like overheat protection, advanced IGBT technology, pure copper transformer, and hot start arc force for a smooth arc.

YESWELDER also gives you reliable and dependable performance up to 165 A for 6010 to 7018 rods.

The easy controls let you select the current based on your welding habits and its safety protection systems to help protect against overheating, over-voltage, and over current. Moreover, it has an auto-adaptive design, which means less sticking without compromise on arc stability.


  • Overload protection, auto shut-down
  • Unique coating for electrostatic protection
  • High rpm
  • Range of electrodes – large is 1.6 to 4mm rod
  • Useful for welding a wide range of metals – cast iron, mild steel, stainless steel, square pipe, metal cage, sheet metal.


  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use


  • Needs a better ground clamp.


Replace the leads with longer ones.

How it compares

Great little welder, the YESWELDER will easily get most projects done. It is ideal for beginners, although some may need to refer to online videos to learn how to strike. YESWELDER is a reliable brand name, and the price of this welder is reasonable as well.

Picture of a man stick welding.

Is MIG Welding Easier Than Arc Welding?

MIG welding offers a smooth and clean weld without slag. It also works well on sheet metal which means that car bodies can be welded without the fear of burning through the metal.

In addition to welding steel, MIG welders also weld aluminum and stainless steel using appropriate wire and inert gas. MIG welding may sound more complicated than it is. Once the equipment is set up, the wire feed makes MIG welding simpler than arc welding.

Aesthetically, most welders will state that MIG yields better results. However, one must ensure that the surface is entirely free from paint and corrosion to ensure optimum penetration.

Moreover, the arc with stick welding tends to produce smoke, so you need good ventilation. Stick welding is not effective with thinner metals and could blow a hole.

MIG is a clean and fast process, but it cannot be used outdoors and in extreme conditions. Hence, MIG may have limited applications.

Should a Beginner Mig or Stick Weld First?

Most welding schools teach beginners Shielded Metal Arc Welding, SMAW, or stick welding. However, beginners often get frustrated with maintaining the arc, ensuring proper angles, and running the bead at optimum speed. 

That is why it is better to learn MIG welding first. MIG welding equipment setup may be tricky, but once that is out of the way, it is a lot easier for beginners to maintain the right angle. The feed wire also runs through the machine at a preselected speed.

Moreover, MIG welding is used extensively in industrial and construction work, which makes knowing how to use this method great for securing a job.

Is MIG Stronger Than Arc Welding?

There is no right or wrong answer here. T e strength of a weld depends on the material property. P oper technique can give you strong welds in both cases. In short, you cannot really quantify the strength of a weld – it depends on the strength of the filler material parent material and the operator’s standards too.

MIG and stick welding can produce a high-quality finish as long as the welder knows how to finish the surface.

Do You Need Shielding Gas for Stick Welding? 

Stick welding does not need a shielding gas. You just need the buzz box and the welding rod. The latter serves as both the electrode to melt the metal and the filler material.

The welding rod has a shielding agent on it that protects the integrity of the weld. B cause of this shielding agent, you must store the arc weld rods in a sealed container to protect them from moisture.

Does MIG Welding Need Gas?

In MIG or GMAW, a welding wire is continuously fed into the welding area. The wire carries the current and is surrounded by a shielding inert gas. This gas is provided through the hose and welding gun. The most commonly used shielding gases for MIG welders are carbon dioxide, argon, oxygen, and helium.

Is Stick Welding Versatile?

Yes, stick welding is very versatile. You can use it to work on metals with a wide range of thicknesses. You can also stick weld indoors or outdoors – even in extreme conditions.

 A beginner can stick weld in just about any position that suits their skill level. The lack of gas makes it easy to work in any circumstance. You can stick weld alloys like nickel, aluminum, copper, steel, iron, etc.

Conclusion – Is Stick Welding a Good Process?

Stick welding is effective, simple, versatile, and cost-effective. You can use it indoors and outdoors for welding alloys like steel, stainless steel, copper, etc. 

The versatility of stick welding makes it a good process. We recommend the DEKOPRO stick welder as it is reasonably priced, easy to use, and ideal for beginners. Check out my other recommendations as well!

Is Stick Welding Cheaper Than MIG?

Yes. Stick welding enjoys immense popularity because it is cheap. A beginner can easily get into stick welding for far less money than he’d spend on TIG or MIG.

Can You Stick Weld With a Mig Welder?

A MIG welder has only Control Voltage output making it unsuitable for Stick welding. However, some multi-process welders are designed for MIG and Stick welding.

Is Stick Welding the Most Common?

Stick welding is one of the oldest welding processes. Its simplicity and versatility make it an exceedingly popular and commonly used welding process.

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