top of page

The 4 Main Types of Welding Processes of 2024

image of a technician welding 2 pieces of metal

Welding is a centuries’ old process of joining two or more metal pieces together using heat, pressure, or both. Today, a quarter of the way through the 21st century, there are now over 30 welding types, many of which can be used for steel welding and aluminum welding. Thankfully for professional welders, these welding types can be grouped into four main processes.


The 4 Main Types of Welding Processes

        I.            MIG

Also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

MIG welding uses a thin wire as an electrode. This wire heats up as it is fed through the welding instrument and towards the welding site. Shielding gas (such as argon or helium) must be used to protect the weld from contaminants in the air. MIG welding is the most common type of welding used in aluminum welding and manufacturing.


      II.            TIG

Also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)

TIG welding uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and an external gas supply for shielding.

The current is controlled by a foot pedal. Professional skill and procession with TIG welding will produce strong, high-quality welds. It is used in both aluminum welding and steel welding.


    III.            Stick

Also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

Stick welding is a manual welding technic that uses a consumable electrode coated in flux, which is a mixture of minerals, chemicals, and alloying materials that protect the weld from contamination. This type of welding works well outside and on dirty or rusty metal.



   IV.            Flux Cored

Also known as Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

 Flux cored welding uses a continuous wire-fed process with a semi-automatic arc that allows for a high welding speed and portability. It is a quick welding process that is easy to learn.


Choosing Your Welding Process

There are many factors that will affect which type of welding process you use. Here is a comparison of four factors for each of the welding processes listed above.





Flux Cored


· mild and low alloy steels, aluminum, and stainless steel


· can use it with 26 gauge or thicker metals


· not for specialty metals such as copper, brass, titanium


· aluminum, stainless steel, and other non-ferrous

· various metals and alloys, including iron, steel, stainless steel, and cast iron


· almost always used for thicker metals (18+ gauge)

· thick materials and dirty or rusty surfaces

· works on all the most common welding metals (carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum


· best for flat and horizontal welding positions

· suitable for all positions

· any position, including overhead and vertical

· suitable for flat and horizontal welding positions


· high

· slower than MIG

· slow

· high

· high-quality with good appearance and penetration

· high-quality with excellent appearance and penetration

· acceptable quality but lower quality than MIG or TIG

· lower-quality welds compared to other methods


More Things to Consider

Each welding process also has its pros and cons. Some of the main ones are laid out below.





Flux Cored


· easy to learn

· good for steel welding

·  strong, clean welds

·  clean welding; little clean-up

· enables high-precision, aesthetic welds

· good for aluminum welding and stainless-steel welding


· well-known, multi-purpose type of welding

· produces a strong weld with very little experience even on rusty materials

· well-suited for outdoor/field work

· simple and accessible

·   provides a combination of portability, speed, and affordability

· good for general repairs, working with rusty material, fabricating at construction sites, or welding outdoors

· works on most common welding materials and in any welding position







·  requires shielding gas and therefore is not very portable

·  difficult to learn and slower to perform

·  requires you to hold a consumable filler rod in one hand and a torch in the other; there is no bracing hand


· limited to the metals you can weld

· there is a lot of spatter

· produces heavy smoke, so it requires a well-ventilated area to work in

·  causes a lot of spatter

·  most FCAW machines don’t draw a lot of power, so they can’t be used to weld thicker metals

·   can’t be used to weld many common alloys

·  produce heavy fumes, so a well-ventilated area is required


Get Professional Welds in Alberta

If you are looking for professional steel welding, aluminum welding, and any other welding services or fabrication, in the Edmonton, call Advantage Manufacturing Ltd in Drayton Valley.  We create and repair through welding and offer steel sales. We truly are your one-stop shop for your manufacturing, vehicle and construction needs.


bottom of page