How to Buy the Right Welding Wire

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How to Buy the Right Welding Wire

The process of welding involves joining two pieces of metal together by melting them and fusing a piece of filler metal over them. The parts being joined together are called workpieces and in most cases, they are both melted and the filler is added over the top to cool them and form a strong joint. In order to melt the metal, a flame or an electric arc is used. The temperatures range between 1,500 and 3,000 degrees and the finished joint is almost always as strong as the original metal was.

Welding is a vital process that is employed in construction, the automotive industry, manufacturing, and many others. Without welding, there would be no way to join pieces of metal together to form a sturdy frame. Over the years, technological advancements have brought along many different forms of welding. A few examples are flux-cored arc welding, electroslag welding, friction stir welding, laser beam welding, arc welding, and mig welding.

Welders melt wire onto the workpieces to help join them. However, there are different types of wires that can be used and each of them comes in different sizes. The kind of wire to get depends on the type of welder being used and what the project is.

History of Welding

The first trace of welding has been traced back to the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. A Greek historian wrote that a man by the name of Glaucus of Chios single-handedly discovered how to weld iron. The method was then used to construct the iron pillar in Delhi India which was finished in 310 AD and weight 5.4 metric tons.

By the Middle Ages, advances were being made in forge welding. Blacksmiths would heat metal to certain degrees and then pound on them until they bonded. As a result, an entire welding industry began to grow. A description of the process as it was back then was published in 1540.

The kind of welding done today was not developed until 1802 when a Russian science discovered electric arcs. By 1882, another Russian scientist invented the first carbon arc welding method. Since then, more stable versions have been found throughout the years be additional scientists around the world.

What Are Welding Wires

Welding wires are essential in the welding process. Although they are not technically needed, the two surfaces of the work pieces are often not even, so there ends up being gaps in the connection which results in structural deficiencies. Even when they are even, the wire provides a little extra strength to the joint.

The wire is fed through the welder, which heats it up and melts it. It then comes out of a nozzle and is directed onto the surface of the workpieces. The kind of wire, its quality, its length, and its thickness determine how the project turns out.

Different Types Of Welding Wires

There are several kinds of welding wires that are used in various kinds of welding projects. Certain wires work best on particular surfaces. For example, one wire may be idea for a thin metal workpiece, like sheet metal, while others can only be used on heavy duty metal like framing.

The different types of wire may also require that they be used with a specific shielding gas. This is gas which protects the welding area from gases in the atmosphere that could reduce the quality of the welding.

Aluminium Welding Wire

Aluminium welding wire is used particularly for welding aluminium and aluminium alloy workpieces. It has to be used in conjunction with argon gas for shielding, and it is available in several thicknesses depending on what the project requires.

Stainless Steel Welding Wires

The stainless steel wires use a mixture of shielding gases. They can operate with argon, helium, and CO2. Stainless steel is temperamental and if it is not used with at least argon and CO2. However, using helium in addition to the other two helps control the slag and the weld penetration.

Carbon Steel Welding Wires

Carbon steel welding wires are most often used in the automotive industry. The only shielding gas they can be used with is CO2.

Solid Welding Wires

Solid wire is more of a category than a type. It is available in various sizes and lengths and can be used with the most types of workpieces. Within this category there are many types of metals available, such as steel. However the majority of solid wire works best with CO2 or a mix of CO2 and argon.

Flux Core Welding Wires

Flux core wire is hollow and contains flux inside it. Flux is a chemical that burns at such hot temperatures that it destroys all contaminants in the area around the welding project. While the metal wire is melting, the flux turns into a small cloud of gas around the area. This kind of welding wire is convenient because it eliminates the need to use shielding gas. This also means that welding on a windy day is not a problem because there is a reduced risk for dirt and dust getting into the metal. It is ideally used on only steel or stainless steel.

Because no gas is needed, the welding equipment is more affordable and users save money by not having to buy gas.

This kind of wire can be used for the majority of general-purpose welding projects. However, flux core wire is known to sometimes leave a residue on the metal. In order to remove it, the metal has to be chipped or grinded away.

Welding Wire Thickness

In general, thicker wire is used for heavier duty projects, while thin wire is used for more detailed work on smaller workpieces. How thick the wire can be depends on the machine. Welding machines come in different sizes that vary in their amperage range and how fast they can feed the wire. Both of these things affect how thick the wire can be.

Wire Size (in)

Amperage Range

Wire Feed Speed Range


30 - 90

100 - 400


40 - 145

90 - 340


50 - 180

80 - 380


75 - 250

70 - 270

Be sure to check the welder's specifications before shopping for the wire. Some welders can also only use certain types of wire.

Types of Welders

Keep in mind that certain machines only work with particular wires. Some welders also use sticks of metal rather than the wire and they are not interchangeable. There are three main types of welders that use wire.

Type of Welder


Ideal Uses

Gas Metal Arc Welder

Also called Metallic Inert Gas (MIG) welding; requires a shielding gas and automatically feeds the wire; has a high welding speed

Can be used on steel, stainless steel, aluminium, and cast iron

Gas Tungsten Arc Welder

Also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding; uses a tungsten electrode and a high-frequency generator; inert gas provides shielding and it has less splatter; produces high quality welds

Best used on thin sheets of metal, foil, and high-alloy metals

Submerged Arc Welder

Has an automatically fed wire; uses the flux core technology; produces fewer fumes, and has a high productivity rate

Should only be used on structural steel and other heavy plate applications

The choice of which welder to use depends on the nature of the project, and the welder used can in turn affect the choice of welding wire.

Shop for the Right Welding Wire on eBay

Once buyers have figured out which kind of wire they want to purchase, they can begin shopping. Some home improvement stores have a selection of wires to choose from. However, people who would prefer to find the best deals may rather shop on eBay where they can look at thousands of products instead of just a few. With the large amount of sellers that have products listed on the site, it is easy to bargain shop and get welding wire for the lowest prices possible.

Begin by typing the name of the wire that you want to shop for in the eBay search bar. The product phrase will look something like this: "stainless steel welding wire". Once you have pulled up a list of products you have the option to enter in your price range and choose whether or not you want new or pre-owned wire. Getting pre-owned wire from someone that doesn't need it anymore is a good way to save money if the wire is clean and in good condition.


Things have come a long way since the days of the blacksmiths pounding on hot metal to form shapes and combine pieces together. With the help of welding machines and other equipment, the process is now much more simplified and less messy. However the danger is still just as real as it was back then. It is important to match of the welding wire with the right machine and project for safety and technical reasons.

The wrong wire could ruin the welding machine and also damage the workpieces by burning a hole in them or having very little effect at all. Figuring out the right kind of welding wire to get may feel overwhelming at first, but with the information provided buyers can easily figure out which kind they need as well as what size based on the type of welder that they have and the kind of projects that they need to complete.

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