In terms of actually welding, a beginner is likely to find MIG welding easier than Stick welding. The reason for this is due to the process. The process of MIG welding is simpler to understand than Stick welding. However, you may also want to take into account the set up required for each type of welding.
In this case, Stick welding takes the lead as you will likely find set up a little tricker for MIG welding.
The setup needed for MIG welding has a number of variables that need to be considered. These are the nozzles, the contact tips, the gas, and the size of the wire. Getting these right initially is important. The tricky part comes in knowing what to use and how to get it set up correctly.
That being said, as soon as you have it set up, you will likely find that you will get much smoother welds with a MIG welder in comparison to Stick, and you will also have less clean up after the fact! These are both essential elements of welding that can make or break the experience. Being able to easily achieve a smooth weld makes MIG welding a nicer experience for beginners, and will, therefore, be far easier for them.
Stick welding is, on the other hand, easy to set up and the best choice for use on welding outside. As such, it also tends to be the better choice for rusty metal such as those you may find outdoors. In this respect, Stick will be easier than MIG welding.
With these factors in mind, the majority of welders will likely find MIG welding much easier than Stick welding overall. Other than the trickier setup, it is far easier to do, and more simple to get a precise weld than Stick welding.
There is also less clean up involved after MIG welding. However, depending on what and where you are welding, STick welding may be better suited as it is a little simpler to set up and better for outside jobs and rusted metal.
Can I Stick weld with a MIG welder?
No, you should not and cannot Stick weld using a MIG welder. This is because a MIG welder uses a Constant Voltage output (also known as CV output) which is not suitable or intended for use for Stick welding. As well as this, this also works the other way around, since you also cannot use a Stick welder for MIG welding. This is because Stick welding uses Constant Current output (CC output) which is not suitable for use when MIG welding.
Now, it is important to note that you may well be able to create a welding arc when using either of the two welding processes (MIG and Stick) on both Constant Current and Constant Voltage outputs, but this does not mean that you should.
You should only use what is recommended to ensure that the arc conditions remain stable. If you use the wrong output – in this case using a CV output MIG welder to achieve Stick welding – then you can expect an unstable arc that will be difficult to maintain and impractical to use.
Is MIG welding as strong as Stick?
No. On the whole, MIG welding is not thought to be as strong as Stick welding. This is because Stick welding has the reputation for being able to penetrate tougher materials and deal with more substantial projects than their MIG counterparts. However, there are some caveats to consider, and it may not be quite as straightforward as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
Stick welding is best for hardy jobs such as those involving rusted metals. MIG welding is less likely to be strong enough to weld these rusted materials. MIG welding was originally designed for thinner metals, hence its popularity for use on sheet metal. That is not to say it is not as strong. Quite the opposite.
It can be just as strong (at least at certain jobs) as Stick welding. For example, if Stick welding and MIG welding were both used on sheet metal, the results are likely to be the same as both of the welding types are suited to thin metal.
However, as MIG welding is not designed to penetrate thicker metal and other materials in the same way as Stick welding is, it is unlikely to fare as well, resulting in the assumption that Stick welding is the stronger of the two.
With these factors in mind, it is safe to say that overall, you could regard Stick welding as being stronger than MIG welding. However, this all depends on the material in question, and in some cases, you may find MIG and Stick equally efficient and just as strong, especially on thin metal. On thick or rusted metal, however, Stick welding is certainly the strongest and best choice.