MIG vs. TIG Welding: What’s the Difference?

A professional, high-quality welding job creates a clean, reliable joint between two pieces of metal. Metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG) are two popular fusion welding methods that both use an electric arc with a shielding gas to join metal parts. However, there are important differences between MIG and TIG welding.

In this article, we’ll explain these differences, compare the advantages of MIG and TIG welding methods and help you decide which is better for your project.

What Is MIG Welding?

MIG welding creates an electric arc between a consumable electrode and a metal plate on the weld zone. An inert gas shields the welding pool, which the metals form as the arc melts them.

The electrode is usually made by feeding a thin wire through the welding gun, which heats it and aims it toward the weld zone. The shielding gas protects the welding pool from contamination. MIG welding is also called gas metal arc (GMAW) welding. It is a clean, quick and simple way to produce durable welds up to large scales.

What Is TIG Welding?

TIG welding is another popular welding process. TIG uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode to form an electric arc that melts welding plates and filler metal on the weld zone. Like MIG, TIG employs a shielding gas to prevent contamination.

This versatile method requires precise welding skills. A well-executed TIG weld creates a strong, quality joint, especially between thin metals. Experts also call this process gas tungsten arc (GTAW) welding.

MIG vs. TIG Welding: Comparing Strengths

There are several important differences between MIG and TIG welding. In this section, we’ll compare MIG and TIG welding to show their different strengths and applications.


MIG welding is a faster process than TIG welding. The rounder and broader arc that MIG creates allows for improved heat dissipation. MIG welders can also employ automatic feeding of filler material into the weld pool. Therefore, MIG welders can cover an extended area in less time without overheating.

Air-cooled TIG torches tend to overheat more quickly than MIG torches, resulting in more interruptions and a slower work speed. Water-cooled TIG torches mitigate this disadvantage but are more expensive. Additionally, the hand-held filler rod used in TIG cannot supply filler material at the same rate as the automatic feeding system that MIG welders use.

MIG generally outpaces TIG because of these factors. This can be a significant advantage in larger-scale projects.


Both MIG and TIG can produce reliable, quality welds.

TIG can create stronger welds that are less susceptible to defects since it generates a focused arc for metal penetration. The method also allows for more precise welds. However, the welding professional and the material they are joining will have a major impact on weld quality.

Highly skilled welders can create the most powerful bonds using TIG, but their advanced skills are indispensable. MIG can produce durable welds at a mass scale without relying as heavily on the proficiency of individual technicians. MIG is also the ideal method for durable welding of heavy-duty materials. TIG’s quality is superior when welding thin metals.


TIG creates the most detailed, beautiful, pristine welds. MIG can produce good-looking welds at scale. However, the higher the value you place on aesthetics for your weld, the more likely TIG is your best choice. TIG demands attention to detail, which contributes to welds of outstanding beauty.


MIG welding is more cost-effective than TIG welding because it:

  • Takes less time than TIG.
  • Requires less labor and skill than TIG.
  • Produces less waste than TIG.
  • Suits large-scale production that is more affordable per unit.

In the long term, the option that suits your materials and priorities will be the best investment.


MIG and TIG welding use different types of electrodes to create their electric welding arcs. MIG uses a consumable wire electrode, while TIG uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode. The nonconsumable electrode in TIG is more stable, giving this method a precision advantage. It is also more sensitive to overheating, so MIG’s consumable electrodes make faster welding possible.


The materials you need to join could be the deciding factor as you consider which welding process is right for you. MIG and TIG each produce the best results when applied to different metals.

If you need to weld delicate materials that are vulnerable to defects, TIG offers the precision to create powerful bonds without harming the metal. TIG is the ideal method for a wide variety of thinner and nonferrous metals such as aluminum, copper, lead and nickel.

If the material or section you need to join is thicker, MIG can apply the power you need for a strong bond. It is the preferred choice for heavy materials like stainless or carbon steel. It is also a popular choice for aluminum, copper and nickel.

For the most heavy-duty materials, MIG is likely your best choice. For the thinnest metals, TIG will be more precise. For cases in between, you’ll need to consider the thickness of the specific section and whether speed and scale or aesthetics and detail are higher priorities for you.

choosing mig welding vs tig welding


MIG and TIG have become popular in different industries because of their distinct advantages. MIG is commonly used in:

  • Construction
  • Renovation
  • Railroads
  • Structures
  • Automobiles
  • Large-scale industrial work

TIG is often preferred for:

  • Bicycles
  • Aircraft
  • Spacecraft
  • Pipes
  • Machine parts
  • Precision industrial work

These preferences are just general tendencies based on the work most commonly needed in each industry. A business in any industry could use either method or both, depending on the requirements of a specific project.

Which Is Better for Your Project: MIG or TIG Welding?

The right welding process for your project will depend on your requirements and priorities. Here’s a summary of the advantages of each, to help you decide which is better: MIG or TIG welding.

Choose MIG welding for:

  • Speed
  • Scale
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Thicker metals

For example, MIG welding would be your ideal choice for manufacturing and repairing railways, building structures or any mass-scale work on heavy materials.

Choose TIG welding for:

  • Detailed or delicate work
  • Aesthetics
  • Thinner metals

For example, TIG welding would be best for your project in aerospace parts, precision machines, piping or any fine work on lighter materials.

contact mid-atlantic steel fabrication for your welding needs

Contact MA Steel Fab for Your Welding Needs

Whether your project requires MIG or TIG welding, MA Steel Fab has the skills to meet your custom welding needs. Our experienced team creates high-quality MIG and TIG welds at any scale. We help with all kinds of projects, including:

  • Piping
  • Frames
  • Railings, catwalks and stairs
  • Supports
  • Precision product components

Located in Ronks, Pennsylvania, our shop is perfectly positioned to serve our Commonwealth and customers in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. We can also ship throughout most of North America, delivering precision welding and fabrication work to your location. Some of the advantages of our custom welding services include increasing visual appeal, reducing weight, providing structural support and boosting safety and security.

Our trusted team and state-of-the-art equipment will secure you all these benefits and more when you rely on MA Steel Fab for your project. Contact us at 717-687-7313 today for more information or a free quote for your welding project.