Whether it’s choosing a Solid Wire for MIG Welding or Wire for Flux-Cored Welding, there are many elements which should be considered before selecting a material.

Unfortunately, many novice welders often look for a ‘One-Size Fits All’ wire for a wide variety of applications and this can be problematic.

And while MIG Welding has been a hugely popular method for a number of years, Flux-Cored Welding has become increasingly prevalent due to its efficiency and productivity.

With higher deposition rates and operator efficiencies, Flux-Cored Welding offers productivity benefits, high performance and great weld quality.

Suitable for a range of industries, flux cored wires are a great solution for general fabrication, manufacturing, construction, offshore and shipbuilding applications.

There are two kinds of flux cored wires, self-shielded and gas shielded, with both able to weld mild steel and low alloy steel. Gas Shielded can also weld stainless steel and nickel alloys.

Self-Shielded Flux Cored Wire

The difference with Self-Shielding wires is that they do not require a shielding gas when the arc is active, which eliminates the need for a gas cylinder.

This makes it a great choice for remote applications or when portability is important. Self-shielded wires are also a great choice for outdoor welding and windy conditions because the wire can withstand strong windy conditions.

Self-shielded wires are a good substitute for shielded metal arc welding electrodes, due to their ability to increase productivity.

Gas-Shielded Flux Cored Wire

Gas-Shielded wires have higher operator appeal, meaning they are easier to control and use and produce higher quality welds.

These wires are a good substitute to solid wires because of their ability to produce higher deposition rates, which can get the job done a lot faster.

Gas shielded wires are suitable for thicker metals or in out-of-position applications and have a molten slag that solidifies more quickly than the weld pool.

Unlike Self-Shielded wires, gas shielded wires aren’t as suitable for outdoor conditions. Any wind or movement in the air can affect the shielding gas performance and weld quality.

Flux-Cored Welding v MIG Welding

Solid wire (MIG), self-shielded flux-cored wire and gas-shielded flux-cored wire are all effective materials – provided they are applied correctly.

The type of wire you choose will be dependent upon the location of the job, thickness of the application, shielding gas and the type of equipment available. 

As far as user appeal, both solid wire and flux-cored wire are relatively easy to use and are ideal for novice and occasional welders working in automotive, farming and home hobby applications.

Welder appeal on solid wire (MIG) may be better on thinner applications because there is no slag to remove, it is ready to paint, and the weld beads may be more aesthetically pleasing.

For Welding of Thicker materials and to use in outdoor conditions, Self-Shielded Flux Cored Welding may be a better option.