A Guide to the Different Types of Welding Stick Rods to Use Now

welder with welding rod

Welding can be fun especially if you are truly interested in it. It can also be overwhelming when you see the different choices of welding rod that are available. 

Choosing does not have to make you feel anxious that you are going to make the wrong choice. This guide is meant to help you understand the different types of welding stick rods and how they can be used.

What Welding Rod Do I Use?

As a beginner, you only need to know a few basic factors. So, you can learn more as you start to become more familiar with the different types of welders. Be familiar with the welding rod sizes chart too because the more that you know, the better your decisions are going to be. There is no need to know everything all at once. You can start by learning a few things at a time. As a result, this will help you understand things better.                                                                                                                               Below is a simple chart to help get started.                 

Chart - Standard Welding Rods For Mild Steel








high cellulose sodium

All positions



60,000 PSI


High Cellulose Sodium

All Positions




60,000 PSI


high titania


All Positions




60,000 PSI


high titania


All Positions





60,000 PSI


Iron powder low hydrogen

All Positions



shallow to medium

70,000 PSI


Iron powder

low hydrogen

flat horizontal Fillets



shallow to medium

70,000 PSI

What Exactly Is A Welding Rod?

welding rod

A welding rod is a wire that will be connected to the welding machine. The current will be fed through the wire that will be placed so that electricity will flow through the chosen rod. There are instances when the wires will also melt. As a result, this will allow the wire to be part of the weld. Wires that actually melt while the welder is being used are called consumable electrodes. 

There are also some wires that are used solely to make the electricity flow and to make the welding possible. These wires are called non-consumable electrodes.

If you think that welding rods can be easy to classify, you should know that under consumable and non-consumable electrodes, there are still various types that are available. You will hopefully understand all of the needed details so that you can pick the best welding rods depending on your needs. Referring to the welding rod sizes chart can be very helpful in this case.

Consumable Welding Rods

People who normally do stick welding will have to work with different types of consumable electrodes. Because It would depend on the materials that they have to work with. There are two main types that are available namely light coated electrodes and heavy coated electrodes.

  1. Light-Coated Electrodes

    You can already tell what light-coated electrodes are based on its name. This is a welding stick rod that has been lightly coated with a thin coating of various materials that will make welding easier. The coating can be done by brushing or spraying depending on what you need to weld together.

  2. Heavy-Coated Electrodes

    Some people refer to this as shielded arc electrodes. They are very similar to light coated electrodes but their coating is much heavier. This type of electrode can be used when trying to weld together various heavy-duty materials. A cast iron will not be welded properly with the use of light-coated electrodes.

Bare Electrodes

What about bare electrodes?

There are bare electrodes that are available. They are the electrodes that do not come with any coating or covering. However, they are rarely used because they can be very hard to control. Some welders will only choose bare electrodes when it is completely necessary. Otherwise, they may choose from light-coated and heavy-coated electrodes depending on the materials that they have to fuse.

Types of Coating Applied to Welding Rods

You may be feeling curious about the different coatings that will be applied to consumable electrodes. There are different coatings that are applied depending on the results that people want to get when they weld. Such as:

  • Cellulose Coating - This type of coating makes use of a layer of gas for the weld zone.
  • Mineral Coating - This type of coating can leave a layer of slag whenever it is used.
  • Cellulose and Mineral Coating - This type of coating provides the various benefits that the two different coatings can provide.

Consumable electrodes will be used more by people who would like to create smoother and more regular welds. Because the coatings that are applied to the electrodes will reduce the potential impurities that may cause the welds that will become irregular.

It is true that the mineral-coated electrode will form a slag whenever it is used but this does not mean that it is less effective than the cellulose-coated electrode. In fact, there are instances when the slag is needed because this will help the weld cool down in a slower manner. This will help you become more careful with your welds and get rid of impurities faster.

Non-Consumable Electrodes

There are only two types of non-consumable electrodes that you should be familiar with if you want to start welding. Like mentioned earlier, non-consumable electrodes will not melt while they are being used. They will just make sure that the items that are being welded will receive the right amount of electricity and heat in order to become fused together.

Carbon Electrodes

Carbon Electrode welding Rods

These are electrodes that are normally used for cutting different metals. They can also be used for arc welding. They are mostly made out of carbon graphite although there are some special varieties that may be made with other materials. If you would choose to use this, you need to be familiar with the welding rod size chart. There are various sizes available depending on the welding project you are going to do.

Tungsten Electrodes

These are the type of electrodes that are used by people who would do TIG welding. Some of the Tungsten electrodes are made out of pure tungsten while there are also other varieties that are available. The different varieties that you can see in the market are the following:

Tungsten Electrodes
tungsten welding color chart

Image: https://weldingis.com

Some people make use of pure tungsten when they only need to do some light welding applications for instance. It will not have the same strength compared to the other electrodes that have been mixed in with different alloys. You will also use this when the items that you need to weld would need weaker currents.

Using Tungsten Electrodes

When you want to use Tungsten Electrodes, you need to make sure that you will use the maximum current possible. This will allow the electrode to maintain its shape while you are doing the welding process. Admittedly, using Tungsten electrodes will still be far more complicated as compared to using consumable electrodes. You need to have the right type of welding machine to make sure that this will work.

Some Tips to Remember

There are still so many things that you have to learn about welding aside from the welding stick rods. You may think that the moment you have a welding machine, you can start welding. Here are a few tips that will help you out:

Tip #1

When choosing the right consumable electrodes, make sure to pick electrodes that are not bigger and thicker than the metals that you are welding.

Tip #2

Be aware of the tensile strength of the items that you are planning to weld. This refers to the amount of force that various items can take. The weld that you will create should always have higher tensile strength compared to the materials that you will weld together.

Tip #3

Consider the percentage of the iron powder that can be found in each wire electrode that you will use. The iron will turn into steel during the welding process. The higher the iron content, the stronger the weld is going to be.

Tip #4

Always try to educate yourself. The best thing about welding is there is something new that you will learn. Some of the details that you will learn can be taken from the articles that you will read. You can get some information from other people who have been welding for a long time. Still, there are moments when you would be learning your own tips, techniques, and tricks. It may take some time but you will start to realize that each electrode will come with a code that will let you know if you are using the best one.

Tip #5

Expect that you are going to make mistakes especially during the first few times that you have tried to do some welding projects. This is expected and you will learn more from the welding mistakes that you make.


You have hopefully learned enough details about the different types of welding rods that will help you in your next welding project. You can always start with some simple welding projects first. Use methods that are considered to be easy. If you have a multi-welder machine, this can be ideal too. The more that you learn, the more that you can progress to more complicated welding projects.      

Ronald Wilson

I’m Ronald, Specialist engaged in the manufacture of fabricated metal products. I’ve been involved in the fabrication industry since 1998. To continue my love in welding and to share my experience I've formed a research team and have created this website for our valuable customers.

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