Best All-Around Welding Rods

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If you’re a DIY welder looking for the best all-around welding rods for, look no further than the E6013, E7018, and E7024 electrodes. These welding rods are your go-to options for tackling a range of general welding projects with high success rates. 

In this article, we’ll delve into why these rods deserve a spot in your toolbox.

Choosing the “best” general-purpose welding rod can be complex. It often depends on several factors, such as the welding you’ll be doing, the steel you’ll be working with, and your specific weld requirements. 

Welding rods have many applications, materials, positions, and currents. But despite all these considerations, some rods are versatile for most needs.

Read on to learn more about these versatile welding rods and why they should be your top picks for any welding project.

Comparing All-Round Welding Rods

ElectrodeE6013E7018E7024
PositionAll positionAll positionFlat or Horizontal
CurrentAC or DC
(DCEP & DCEN)
AC or DC
(DCEP only)
AC or DC
(DCEP & DCEN)
Flux CoatingHigh Titania, PotassiumLow Hydrogen, Iron PowderLow Hydrogen, Iron Powder
Difficulty Level
(1-Easy to 10-Hard)
342
PenetrationModerateDeepShallow to Moderate
Common use casesMaintenance, repair &
light production
Structural welding & heavy fabricationHeavy structural & production welding
StorageDry environmentOven at 250FDry environment
Relative Cost$$$$
RecommendationE6013E7018E7024

Best All-Round Welding Rods

Let’s take a closer look at these all-around welding rods.

1. E6013: The Ideal Choice for Beginners & General-Purpose Welding

If you’re a beginner welder or looking for a go-to option for light fabrication, maintenance, repairs, and construction, the E6013 electrode should be your first pick.

It’s easy to use and works well in all positions, making it a highly versatile choice.

Key Features Of The E6013:

  • Ease of Use: The electrode’s rutile coating ensures it’s straightforward to use with a smooth arc.
  • Forgiving Nature: The E6013 is very forgiving when it comes to electrode angle, travel speeds, and moderate penetration.
  • All-Position Versatility: This electrode works well in all positions, offering maximum flexibility in your projects.

The E6013 electrode falls under the classification of rutile electrodes, which means it has a coating that provides good arc characteristics and a light slag that’s easy to remove.

This coating also ensures a good weld bead appearance.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • All position electrode
  • Easy storage
  • Readily available

Cons

  • Only good for light materials
  • Intended for mild steel only
  • Prone to cracking

58% DISCOUNT
E6013 Recommendation
The Forney E6013 steel electrode is one of the most popular general purpose welding rods on the market.

2. E7018: The Go-To for Heavy Welding & Deep Penetration

For welders working on heavy structural projects, repairs, or maintenance requiring deep penetration, the E7018 electrode is your best choice. 

Despite requiring a higher skill level and specific storage conditions, its advantages of deep penetration and resistance to cracking make it a valuable addition to your welding toolbox.

Key Features of The E7018:

  • Deep Penetration: The E7018 is ideal for applications requiring significant penetration, such as heavy-duty structural welding.
  • Low Hydrogen Coating: This coating makes it resistant to cracking and provides a smooth bead appearance.
  • All-Position Versatility: Like the E6013, this electrode can be used in all positions, granting you much flexibility.

One downfall of this electrode is you’ll need a rod oven to store them once you have opened the packaging.

Per most welding codes, you can use them right out of the package for only two hours, and then you need to store them in an oven at 250F. 

This requirement exists because their coatings absorb moisture quickly, greatly increasing the chances of hydrogen cracking in your weld.

Once in the oven, only take out two hours of welding worth at a time; if you go over this time limit, per code, you should discard them.

Pros

  • Deep penetration
  • All position electrode
  • Not prone to cracking
  • Readily available

Cons

  • Rod oven needed
  • Higher skill level to use
  • More expensive

E7018 Recommendation
The Forney E7018 is a popular mild steel low hydrogen welding rod that reduces cracking and peeling of the weld material.

3. E7024: The “Jet Rod” for High-Speed Welding & Shallow Penetration

If you’re working in manufacturing, fabrication, or equipment repair and need a high deposition rate with shallow to moderate penetration, the E7024, also known as the “jet rod,” is the electrode you’ll want to reach for. 

Particularly useful for tacking and preparing joints for heavy welding, you can only use this electrode in the flat or horizontal position.

Key Features Of The E7024:

  • High Deposition Rate: The E7024 offers a very high deposition rate, making it ideal for jobs requiring quick progress.
  • Iron Powder Titania Coating: This unique coating increases arc temperature, travel speed, and the deposition rate.
  • Limited Position Use: This electrode is best used in flat or horizontal positions and requires a higher skill level to control common issues like cold lap and undercut.

The coating of the E7024 is an iron powder titania type, which is responsible for its high deposition rate.

However, this makes the electrode challenging to use in positions other than flat or horizontal.

Related read: What Do The Numbers Mean On A Welding Rod?

Special Characteristics:

An interesting fact about this electrode is that its coating burns slower than the core electrode.

Most of the arc length will be within the coating to the point that you can almost use this rod without a welding helmet.

Doing this isn’t recommended for safety reasons, but this makes arc re-initiation a little more difficult, as you’ll have to break off that extra coating to expose the bare electrode again.

Pros

  • High deposition rate
  • Very user-friendly
  • No special storage needed
  • Easy to clean as the flux releases easily

Cons

  • Shallow penetration
  • Not an all-position electrode
  • Poor bead appearance
  • More expensive
  • Not as easy to find

E7024 Recommendation
Blue Demon is a popular brand and their E7024 is an excellent high speed, iron powder, heavy coated electrode for high deposition rates on horizontal and down hand welding.

The Most Difficult Rods to Run

Now that we’ve discussed the easiest electrodes to use, you should also be aware of the most difficult rods to run: cellulose electrodes and high alloy electrodes. 

These types require advanced skills and understanding and are often used in projects where failure isn’t an option.

If you’re a beginner, you may want to avoid these. So, let’s a closer look at them.

New to stick welding? Check out these stick welding tips to take your technique to the next level.

Cellulose Electrodes

If you’re working on pressure pipes and vessels, cellulose electrodes like E6010 and E6011 are the go-to options.

However, these require a high skill level and come with the risk of spatter, uneven fusion, and sticking to the parent metal.

Key Challenges:

  • Fast-Freezing Weld Puddle: Requires proper arc length, travel speed, and electrode manipulation.
  • Arc Instability: Leads to spatter, uneven fusion, and difficulty maintaining consistent penetration throughout the joint.
  • Sticking Issues: A mismanaged arc length can lead to electrodes sticking to the parent metal, making it very easy to get arc strikes outside the weld zone, creating major weld faults.

Failure in projects involving these electrodes could endanger lives and the environment, making expertise and hours of practice essential.

Welders using these in sensitive industries are among the highest-paid.

You can identify these electrodes where the classification is EXX10 and EXXX1—like E6010 and E6011.

High Alloy Electrodes

With electrodes like E312 or E410, you’ll need a deep understanding of metallurgy and welding procedures.

These electrodes produce a very fluid weld puddle, leading to weld faults like undercut, lack of fusion, and slag entrapment.

Key Challenges:

  • Fluid Weld Puddle: Difficult to control, increasing the risk of common weld faults.
  • Metallurgical Knowledge: Matching the parent metal to the electrode is crucial.
  • Heat Management: In-depth knowledge of pre-heating, inter-pass temperatures, and post-weld heat treatment is essential.

These electrodes are often used with specific types of stainless steel, each requiring unique welding procedures and treatments. Incorrect procedures could lead to complete project failures.

Note: Before using cellulose or high alloy electrodes, make sure you’ve done your research, practiced extensively, and consulted with professionals for the best results.

Wrapping It Up: Choose Wisely & Practice Diligently

Selecting the right electrode can make or break your welding project. While easier options are available, understanding how to use difficult rods can significantly enhance your welding skills.

Remember: Welding may not be easy, but mastering it can be incredibly rewarding.


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