Types of Welding Rods and Electrodes

There is no welding done without a rod or electrode. For clarity sakes, these two terms are similar and interchangeable. To be a skilled welder, you have to be abreast with the different types of rods used in the welding profession. A welding rod is a tool of metallic composition, which adds filler material to the welding area. It is held in place by a holder that acts as an insulator between the welder and the flowing current during welding. 

Types of welding rods are 6010, 6011, 6013, 7018, and 7024. The 6010  electrodes give deep penetration. You can use the 6011 on direct or alternating current. The all-purpose welding rods are 6012. 6013 forms an arc with splatter. The 7018 rods are applied in low to mild carbon steel welding, and the 7024 is characterized based on its high iron powder content. 

The type of rod used determines the quality of the weld, and this is part of the main reasons why a welder has to be familiar with practically all the types of welding rods to get the best work. 

Before advancing to the types of rods, there are three primary classifications of welding rods; consumable, flux, and non-consumable electrodes. 

types of welding rods

Consumable Electrode

These rods slowly burn off and melt during usage due to their low melting point characteristic, so the welder has to replace them at specific intervals. However, it is relatively cheap and easy to handle. 

Some of its features are that they are more efficient than the non-consumable ones, they are designed with different metal-based materials, mild and low-alloy steel are the popularly used cores with consumable electrodes, nickel steel included. 

The consumable electrode is also classified into the following:

Light Coated Electrodes 

An example of this is the citobest electrode. It has a 1.25 coating factor which is the same as the electrode’s to the core wire’s diameter.

Medium Coated Electrodes 

They have a coating factor of 1.45. They are not too light nor too heavily coated.

Heavily Coated electrodes 

The citofine electrode is an example of a heavily coated electrode with a coating factor of 1.6 – 2.2.

Bare Electrodes 

These electrodes do not have flux coating, and they are manufactured from aluminum or steel alloys. 

Covered Electrodes 

Covered electrodes are those with titania, iron-oxide, low hydrogen, iron powder, and cellulose.

Flux Electrode

These are electrodes with a flux coating. The presence of flux gives off gas during welding, which helps keep the welding area away from air or contaminants so the welder can perform a neat and clean weld. There are various flux coatings available. 

Non-consumable Electrodes

These electrodes are also called refractory electrodes. They do not burn off or melt during the process of welding, which means they are far more durable than consumable electrodes. This is attributed to the fact that it is made from materials of very high melting points like carbon and tungsten with 6700 and 6150 °F, respectively. 

Although this is more expensive and challenging to use than its counterpart, and they require a filler material to close any opening between the two pieces to be welded. A very significant advantage is that it has a wide range of uses; you can use them in carbon arc and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. 

Types of Welding Rods

The American Welding Society developed an Alpha-numeric method of giving names to welding rods. This system is also used and accepted in various countries. The characters consist of numbers and letters, which are written on the side of the rod. 

The letter ‘E’ means electrode, which is always at the beginning of the name. 

The subsequent two digits represent the minimum tensile strength, calculated in psi. 

The third digit stands for the ways the welder can use the electrode. Know that there are four ways or positions an electrode is used; horizontal, flat, overhead, and vertical. If this digit states 1, it means the welder can use the electrode in all the positions, but if it says 2, it means the electrode can only be adopted in horizontal or flat positions. 

The fourth digit (last digit) signifies the type of coating and welding current the welder can use with the rod. 

So for the types of rods, we have; 

  • E6010

E6010 is a very common electrode, and they are used when trying to get a deep welding penetration, and this requires great power densities (one Megawatt/centimeter square). These rods are used a lot in the casting of steels, welding of pipes, storage tanks, and shipyards. 

It’s advisable that only experience welders use this rod because it has a very tight arc, which makes them tough to handle, especially for inexperienced or uncertified welders. 

  • E6011

One unique characteristic of an E6011 electrode is that a welder can use it on direct current or alternating current, making it a convenient electrode as the current can be shifted from ac to dc or vice versa. Another good characteristic is that the E6011 can withstand 60,000 psi without failing, and just as the E6010 electrodes, this can also be used to achieve deep penetration. 

These electrodes are always the best for welding thick materials and other welding processes involving dirty, painted, or oily surfaces. The disadvantages of using this are that it leaves ripples and flat weld beads, affecting the aesthetic design

  • E6012

E6012 is an all-purpose welding rod with excellent bridging characteristics, especially with sub-par-fit-up. This electrode provides a stable arc, and it gives off very little splatter with a high current. It’s also safe to use this for both direct and alternating current. Various applications for this type of rod include fusing open joints, welding rusted carbon steel sheets, and repair works. 

Its significant limitations are that they produce waste material from smelting, and they are only used for shallow or thin penetrations. 

  • E6013

Among the common electrodes that give a soft arc are the E6013 rods; they develop soft arcs with tiny splatter. The E6013 is mainly used for mild welding penetration, and it has an easily detachable slag. One of its pros is its compatibility with ac and dc power sources. 

Because it provides a smooth and stable arc. It is the best for irregular welding applications, especially for those that need position changes like welding mild-steel pieces, ship manufacturing, and repairs, fusing of sheet metals, and simple fabrications. 

  • E7018

The E7018 rods are versatile rods, mainly used for welding low to mild carbon steel. The design of this electrode is made to withstand a force of 70,000psi. Its iron coating, which is from a low-hydrogen compound, makes it unique. As this compound vaporizes, it protects the weld beam from being contaminated by moisture or air. 

This electrode can be used in all four welding positions and can also accommodate ac and dc. All these make the E7018 very essential in structural welding; power plants, bridges, and factories included. 

  • E7024

The outstanding characteristic of the E7024 is its high iron powder content, which is a very distinct feature because it greatly increases the extent of deposition, which makes welding a lot easier for the welder.

E7024 rods are primarily used for horizontal or speed flat welds, and they are very suitable for welding applications that need a smooth finishing.

Types of Welding Rods Based on Material Composition:

Bronze Rods: 

Bronze welding rods are utilized when brazing has to be carried out to fuse a copper and a metal piece. These rods also repair damaged bronze workpieces. Brazing requires a bronze rod due to its strong resistance to corrosion by saltwater. 

Aluminum Rods: 

These are used when fusing aluminum workpieces and dissimilar aluminum alloys. Aluminum welding can be used with MIG or standard arc welding equipment. A welder can also use TIG welding techniques with this rod type. 

Steel Rods: 

Steel rods are the most used rods in welding presently, as many welded materials are from steel. These rods come in various alloys of steel, including stainless, low alloy, and mild steel, and they are readily available with flux coating or without coating. 

Composite Rods: 

This type of rod is made up of two or more material layers, when combined, give a high-quality weld. The flux is infused in the welding rod’s center rather than the surface of the rod. This increases the effectiveness of the flux and prevents it from wearing out. 


What is the 7018 welding rod used for? 

The 7018  is a welding rod that is frequently used in general-purpose welding, mainly for carbon steel. It is usually coated with an iron-based, low-hydrogen compound. This helps to shield the weld from contamination, either from moisture or air. 

It is used to weld thick metals like structural steel, it produces high-quality welds with impact properties, can be used even in winter or cold weather, and high carbon, carbon steel, and low alloy. 

What is the difference between 6013 and 7018 welding rods? 

Though both are mild steel based but are of different coating. While the 7018 possesses a low hydrogen potassium cover, the 6013 has a high Titania potassium. They also differ in tensile strength and yield. The 7018 has better qualifications in both. 

What are 6013 welding rods used for? 

The 6013 welding rods are used mainly for medium to light penetration for thin metals. The 6013 offers a better penetration for lighter materials. 

It is used for materials with a tensile strength of about 62,000 psi minimum. 

What are the 4 types of welding rods? 

There are four commonly used types of rods in welding, which are 6010, 7018, 6013, and 6011. The rods’ tensile strength is usually determined by the two first numbers, which stand for the pounds, i.e., Psi (per square inch). 

What is G in welding? 

It involves welding located on the upper side of each joint. The molten metal in this position is put down inside the joint. The result is easier and faster weld. G is used to specify the position for the groove or refers to a type of welding. Groove weld is also denoted as G. 

What material is used in welding rods? 

Different rods come in mild steel, cast iron, high carbon steel, unique alloys, and iron-free. Most welding rods used for building up other steel alloys are made of copper coating with a mild steel alloy, 3% of nickel steel alloy, and carbon steel alloy. 

What is a 6013 welding rod used for? 

They are used for penetrating light to thin metals. It offers a better and preferable penetration when working with lighter materials. Not suitable for thick workpieces. 

What’s the difference between 6011 and 6013 welding rods? 

The 6013 welding rod is used for penetrating medium to light thin or sheet metal. In comparison, the 6011 welding rod offers a higher penetration than 6013 so that thicker materials can be welded easily. 

The 6013 is made of a soft arc, with a dense slag similar to that of the 7018.  While the 6011 has a violent arc with a flaky slag and can be manipulated by whipping it. 

What is the best all-purpose welding rod? 

The best all-purpose welding rod is the E6011, mainly for the hobbyist. The 6011 gets more job done for almost all welding materials. 

  • Fill-freeze rod and is swift. 
  • Operates on both ac and dc. 
  • Removes dirty and contaminated jobs faster than other electrodes 
  • Can be used for a wide range of welding applications.  


It is vital that anyone who welds know these types of welding rods, most especially a welder, so you can quickly pick the right rod that would guarantee the best result for the job. It’s paramount that you have the correct type of welding rod before performing any welding task, and if you are not sure of the specific rod to pick, consult a professional or a manual for the right guide. 

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