Which is cheaper MIG or TIG?

MIG welding is typically cheaper than TIG welding due to its simpler equipment and faster welding process. MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding uses a continuous wire electrode and an inert gas to shield the weld, while TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding requires a non-consumable tungsten electrode and separate filler material. The additional complexity and equipment needed for TIG welding contribute to its higher costs compared to MIG welding.

Which is cheaper MIG or TIG

Investment Cost Comparison

The cost of welding is an essential consideration in the manufacturing process. This section will provide a cost breakdown for both MIG and TIG welding.

MIG Welding Investment Costs

MIG Welding Machine Costs

MIG welding machines vary significantly in cost, depending on their size, functionality, and power. Entry-level machines typically cost around $500, while industrial-grade machines can cost several thousand dollars.

MIG Welding Machine Model Price Range
Entry-level (e.g., Hobart Handler 140) $500 – $700
Mid-range (e.g., Miller Millermatic 252) $2,000 – $2,500
Industrial-grade (e.g., Lincoln Power MIG 350MP) $4,000 – $5,000
MIG Welding Consumables

MIG welding requires a consumable wire electrode, which costs about $50 for a 33-pound spool of 0.030″ diameter wire. The shielding gas typically used, argon/carbon dioxide mix, costs about $30-$60 per cylinder, depending on size.

TIG Welding Investment Costs

TIG Welding Machine Costs

TIG welding machines are typically more expensive than MIG welders. The cost for an entry-level TIG welding machine is about $1,000, while a top-quality machine can cost up to $3,000.

TIG Welding Machine Model Price Range
Entry-level (e.g., Hobart EZ-TIG 165i) $1,000 – $1,500
Mid-range (e.g., Miller Diversion 180) $2,000 – $2,500
Industrial-grade (e.g., Lincoln Precision TIG 375) $4,000 – $5,000
TIG Welding Consumables

TIG welding requires a non-consumable tungsten electrode, which costs about $10 per pack of ten. The filler rod required for TIG welding costs around $20 for a 1-pound pack. The shielding gas for TIG welding, pure argon, costs approximately $40-$80 per cylinder.


Comparison of Operating Costs

Operating costs are a significant aspect to consider when comparing MIG and TIG welding. These costs include the electricity consumed, consumables, and the time taken to perform the welding.

MIG Welding Operating Costs

Electricity Costs

A MIG welder typically operates at around 120 to 220 volts and draws around 20 to 30 amperes. Assuming an average electricity cost of 0.13 dollars per kilowatt-hour, the hourly cost of running a MIG welder ranges from $0.31 to $0.85.


A 33-pound spool of MIG welding wire costs approximately $50 and could last for about 11 hours at a deposition rate of 3 pounds per hour. This makes the cost of the wire about $4.5 per hour of welding.

A cylinder of argon/carbon dioxide mix for shielding gas costs approximately $45 and can last for about 6 hours of welding. This leads to a shielding gas cost of around $7.5 per hour.

TIG Welding Operating Costs

Electricity Costs

TIG welders typically operate at around 230 volts and draw around 20 to 30 amperes. Given the same electricity rate, the hourly electricity cost for TIG welding is approximately $0.60 to $1.00.


A pack of ten tungsten electrodes costs about $10 and can last for approximately 200 hours of welding, assuming each electrode lasts about 20 hours. This means the cost of the electrode is about $0.05 per hour.

The filler rods cost around $20 for a 1-pound pack. Considering a typical deposition rate of 1 pound per hour, the cost is $20 per hour.

A cylinder of argon shielding gas costs about $60 and lasts for around 6 hours of welding. This results in a cost of about $10 per hour for shielding gas.

Summary of Operating Costs

Electricity Costs (per hour) Consumable Costs (per hour) Total Operating Costs (per hour)
MIG Welding $0.31 – $0.85 $12 (wire + gas) $12.31 – $12.85
TIG Welding $0.60 – $1.00 $30 (filler + gas) $30.60 – $31.00

MIG vs TIG Welding - Main Differences Explained

Factors Affecting the Cost of MIG and TIG Welding

Welding Materials

Different types of metals require different levels of heat and different types of filler material to weld. For example, welding aluminum usually requires more expensive, specially designed filler material. Additionally, thicker materials require higher power levels to weld, leading to increased electricity costs.

Welding Equipment

The type and model of welding machine also influence the costs. High-end welding machines with advanced features and greater power efficiency might cost more upfront but could provide savings in the long run through reduced energy consumption and improved welding speed and quality.

Labor Costs

Welding is a skilled job, and the level of skill and experience of the operator can significantly affect the cost of welding. Highly skilled welders can perform the job more efficiently and produce higher-quality welds, reducing the need for rework. However, their hourly rates are typically higher.

Welding Speed

MIG welding is generally faster than TIG welding. As a result, projects requiring large amounts of welding are often cheaper to complete with MIG welding due to the reduced labor hours. On the other hand, TIG welding, while slower, can produce higher-quality welds, which might reduce costs in scenarios where precision is more important than speed.

Consumable Costs

The cost of consumables, including welding wires/rods, shielding gases, and electrodes, is a considerable part of the overall welding cost.

Maintenance Costs

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the welding equipment operates efficiently and has a long lifespan.

Which welding process is cheaper, MIG or TIG?

MIG welding is generally cheaper than TIG welding due to lower equipment and labor costs.

What is the average cost of a MIG welder?

MIG welders can range from $300 to $1,500, depending on the brand and specifications.

How much does a TIG welder typically cost?

TIG welders are priced between $500 to $3,000, depending on the features and brand.

Is MIG welding faster than TIG welding?

Yes, MIG welding is faster, with an average welding speed of 8-10 inches per minute, while TIG welding averages 2-8 inches per minute.

Why does TIG welding require more skilled labor?

TIG welding demands higher precision and control, requiring skilled welders, which can increase labor costs.

Which welding process is more efficient in terms of material usage?

MIG welding is more efficient in terms of material usage as it uses a continuous wire feed, reducing waste compared to TIG welding's manual filler rod application.

Does the size of the project affect the cost difference between MIG and TIG?

Yes, for larger projects, the cost difference between MIG and TIG welding can be more significant due to the increased labor and time required for TIG welding.

What are the primary advantages of choosing MIG welding?

MIG welding is faster, more cost-effective, and suitable for thicker materials, making it ideal for large-scale projects and production environments.

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