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Differences of Stick Welding (7018 vs 6013)

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Stick Welding with 7018 vs. 6013 - What Do the Numbers Mean?

As you get into stick welding, you may find yourself with a lot of questions about all the numbers thrown around. What's the difference between a 7018 and a 6013 electrode? Are they interchangeable? What does the E that sometimes appears at the front of the numbers mean?

Once you learn the differences between these numbers, it’s easy to order what you need. To make it simple, follow our straightforward guide to stick welding electrode numbers.

The Letter "E"

Looking at an electrode, you can find the numbers stamped on the rods themselves. If you see the letter “E” on a rod, that means “electrode.” There is no difference between rods with or without the “E.” It’s only the four-digit number that matters.

The First Two Numbers

The most common electrode rods will start with 60 or 70. These digits correspond to how many kilopounds per square inch (KSI) of tensile strength the electrode will create. 60 signifies 60,000 pounds, while 70 equals 70,000 pounds. In many cases, this means the weld itself is stronger than the materials you're fusing.

If you’re welding for a simple home project, you will most likely use a lower number electrode. But if you’re welding metal for a large-scale project, such as a construction site, you may find yourself needing an electrode with a higher number.

The Last Two Numbers

Once you know how many KSI you need, you can look at the second set of digits, which correspond to the rod’s flux coating. Higher numbers mean the rod has more coating. A 7018 rod will have more coating, while a 6013 rod will have less coating.

The Third Number

In addition to being part of the coating scale, the third number also signifies one of three possible electrode positions. The number 1 signifies an all-position electrode, which is the most flexible. The number 2 means flat or horizontal, while 4 means flat, horizontal, vertical down, and overhead.

Which Do I Use?

If you’re looking at different rods, there isn’t one that’s definitively better than the others. Your decision mostly depends on the project you’re working on and what your experience level is. Many beginners will learn to use a 6013 in their welding classes. Unless a building project calls for a higher KSI value, the 6013 is a commonly used and reliable option.

In many cases, the 7018 is an industry standard. In addition to having the higher KSI and coating, it's also a low-hydrogen option, meaning it’s less likely to cause cracking on crucial infrastructure projects like bridge construction. However, the rod’s lack of hydrogen does mean you’ll need to keep it in a rod oven to prevent it from absorbing moisture, which could weaken the rod.

Once you know which type of welding stick you need for your project, visit Industrial Metal Supply. We sell an assortment of sizes and options, perfect for tackling most projects.