How to Choose Gases and Electrodes for MIG Welding Stainless Steel

Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is an arc welding process that involves supplying a passing gas and wire electrode through a metallic welding gun. Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is a subtype that involves the use of inert gases. Shielding gas, electrode, and right welding conditions are three of the most crucial factors in the performance of a MIG Welding process. If you are looking forward to buy a new shielding gas or electrode for MIG Welding Stainless Steel, you can find some helpful tips and suggestions here.

How to Choose the Right Electrodes for MIG Welding Stainless Steel

There are many types of electrodes available in the market suitable for different operations and purposes. Before you start looking for an electrode for Stainless Steel, you must know about various types of electrodes and their uses. Here is the list of most commonly used electrodes along with suitable shielding gas combinations.

Electrode Classification Base Welding Metals Shielding Gas Used

Carbon Steels & Mild Steels

C25 (25% Co2 and 75% Argon) or 100% Co2
ER308L, ER316L Stainless Steel C2 or 2% Carbon Dioxide and 98% Argon
ER4043, ER5356 Aluminum 100% Argon


So, if you are looking for electrodes for Stainless Steel, you might want to buy the second one from the list. It is still better to confirm from the seller or experts before purchasing. And also make sure that the electrode is fit for the specific grade of Stainless Steel you are using.

You must also know that MIG welding electrodes are commonly called Gas Metal Arc Welding electrodes so that you know exactly what you are searching for.

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Choosing A MIG Stainless Steel Welding Electrode

  • Match the electrode or wire type to the type of metal to be weld.
  • Also consider the type of transfer.
  • Metal position to be welded must also be considered.
  • Also keep in mind the abrasion or heat resistance.
  • Take suggestions from the welding engineer about the best electrode size and type for the purpose.
  • You may also consider taking the help of your local welding supplier about the proper electrode.

To be honest, most welders and even experienced engineers are not familiar with the types of electrodes. They usually know only about the ER70S-6 electrode, which is one of the most commonly used electrodes. But then, it cannot be used with stainless steel, so it is better to take help or suggestion from experts before buying electrodes for MIG welding stainless steel.

If you want to know more about different types of electrodes, you can read about American Welding Society (AWS) designations, which are unique codes assigned to identify the electrode types.

How to Choose the Right Gases for MIG Welding Stainless Steel

In most of the cases, the welding supplier who has sold you the electrode will also tell you about suitable gases to be used with that electrode. You can also find that information from the table above. According to table, C2 (2% Carbon Dioxide and 98% Argon) is the appropriate gas combination to be used with the electrode for MIG welding stainless steel. You may still want to confirm from your welder before buying the gas.

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Gas is one of the most crucial parts that make MIG welding possible. The name itself says, “Metal Inert Gas welding”.

The welding gas type determines many things, including the features of the welding arc, the depth of weld penetration into the metal, and the mechanical properties of the weld itself. So, these features must also be considered while choosing a gas for the MIG welding. The welders should also know that Co2 and Oxygen are not inert gases and when added to the gas mixture, MIG welding technically becomes Gas Metal Arc Welding.

The most common gases used with MIG welding electrodes are argon, CO2, Oxygen, and Helium. These gases are mostly used in a mixture form. Although Oxygen improves the characteristics of the arc, it can also cause welding defects when used in high percentage. The most common gas mixture is C2 (2% Carbon Dioxide and 98% Argon). Other suitable gas welding combinations include C25 (25% Carbon Dioxide and 95% Argon), 100% CO2, and 100% Argon.

Choosing the gas type for MIG Welding Stainless Steel

  • Seek help or suggestions from a welding supplier or an expert engineer before buying.
  • Make sure the gas mixture has the right combination of gases in the right amount.
  • You may also seek recommendation from the welding wire manufacturer for the right welding gas.
  • C2 is the best result gas combination for the welding of stainless steel.
  • The best possible tri-mix shielding gas combination for stainless steel is 90% Helium, 7.5% Argon, and 2.5% Co2.

One thing you must understand is the best electrode and gas combination is the one that works fine with your MIG welding stainless steel and produces the best results.

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