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Are You Using The Right Rods?


A lot of stick welders tend to learn with one electrode type. This makes sense. It allows you to perfect your skills without having to worry about different parameters and settings.

However, it also comes at the cost of versatility and contributes to the epidemic problem among stick welders who treat every electrode type the same. To make sure you never fall victim, we’ve compiled the best stick welding electrode guide with details of the different stick welding electrode types and how to use stick welding electrodes.

6010 Stick Welding Electrodes

Both the 6010 and 6011 are Fast Freeze rods. Fast Freeze means exactly what you’d think (thank you welding-namer guy). Fast Freeze electrodes cool faster than other types, keeping the puddle from blowing out and getting too hot.

This means you’ll be able to lay down a thinner bead that penetrates farther into your workpiece. It allows you to burn through rust and dirtier material, so you don’t have to clean your material up before welding. One thing to keep in mind is that 6010 rods only run on Direct Current Electrode Positive.

6011 Stick Welding Electrodes

Electrodes are made, not born. But if they were, the 6011 would be the twin sister of the 6010. They’re both Fast Freeze rods, making them great for root bases and pipe welding. Their smaller welding pool leaves little slag for easy cleanup. While the 6011 was specifically designed for AC machines, it can also run on DC, giving it an advantage over the 6010 electrodes (which can only do Direct Current Electrode Positive).

6013 Stick Welding Electrodes

A common mistake for Stick welders is to treat their 6013 electrodes like 6011 or 6010 rods. While similar in some aspects, the 6013 has an iron-pound slag that requires more power to push it. Welders get confused when their beads are full of wormholes, not realizing they need to turn up their amps.

You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble by simply referencing your needed settings before you ever start using a new type of rod. It’s pretty easy, especially with one of our favorite free welding apps (which you can find here). It’s also important to clean your metal as best as possible before you start welding. The 6013 has a more mild penetration with a larger pool that doesn’t cut through rust like the 6010 or 6011.

7018 Stick Welding Electrodes

This electrode is a favorite for structural welders based on its smooth arc. Its mild penetration and bigger pool leave larger, stronger, less defined beads. Like the 6013, the mild penetration means you must have clean surfaces to weld. Likewise, the 7018s have different parameters than other rods, so make sure to check your settings before you begin.

For most experts, the hardest part about these electrodes is storing them properly. Once the box has been opened, it’s ideal to store any leftover electrodes in a rod oven. The idea for stick welding rod storage is to keep moisture from entering the flux by keeping them heated at 250 degrees.

7024 Stick Welding Electrodes

The 7024 is the big daddy of electrodes, boasting a heavy, heavy slag coating. Like the 7018, it leaves a nice, smooth bead with mild penetration and requires a clean material surface to work.

There are two common problems experts tend to see with 7024 rods. First of all, welders don’t use enough arc force to push the slag and end up with a tolerable, though imperfect, weld. Again, a quick five seconds on a reference guide app will save you a lot of hassle. The other problem is when welders try to use 7024 rods on overhead welds. The heavy slag turns into raining fireballs, meaning you won’t need a haircut for a while.

Stick Welding Tips and Tricks - Using the Best Materials

While this is hardly a stick welding for beginners guide, it is our hope that it has provided at least an understanding of the different stick welding electrodes. You should never treat all electrodes the same despite all of them performing a similar job. If ever in doubt, quickly looking up some free references, here is the best point to start.

Of course, using the right rods doesn’t matter if they’re from sub-standard brands. Luckily we stand by all our consumables to give you the best welds possible. Check out the difference this can make over the big box store rods right here.