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Differences in Stick Welding (7018 vs 6013)

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Differentiating 6013 & 7018 Stick Welding Rods

Stick welding is an absolute art form that takes years to master. Like any art form, stick welding incorporates various techniques and equipment that must be understood before starting any professional work effort. This article will focus on the two most common welding sticks utilized within the world of professional welding, 6013 and 7018.

For more information on welding, read our beginner's guide to welding, which covers various welding techniques, materials, welding tools, and equipment.

6013 & 7018 Stick Welding Rod Characteristics

So, what do the numbers on electrodes mean? A welding stick’s letters and numbers signify the characteristics and how many kilopounds per square inch (KSI) of tensile strength the electrode will create. The first and second sets of printed numbers on a welding stick signify different characteristics that will determine the type of application used by the rods.

Once you learn the differences between these numbers, ordering what you need is easy. Follow our straightforward guide to stick welding electrode numbers to make it simple.

The First Two Welding Stick 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. So, what do the 60 in e6018 and the 70 in e7018 stand for? 60 signifies 60,000 pounds, while 70 equals 70,000 pounds. Thus, in many cases, the weld is stronger than the materials you're fusing.

If welding for a simple home project, you will likely use a lower number electrode. But if you’re welding metal for a large-scale project, such as a construction site, you may require 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 corresponding 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.

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 indicates 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.

What Does the Letter “E” Signify on my Stick Welding Rod?

If the letter “E” appears on your welding rod, it can be ignored. The “E” refers to “electrode,” another name for a welding stick. There is no difference between rods with or without the “E.” It’s only the four-digit number that matters.

6013 Welding Rods

Industrial 6013 welding sticks are used for alternating and direct current applications where the maximum tensile strength is 60,000 psi. The 6013 electrode is best used for light to medium penetration on thin or sheet metal pieces. 6013 electrodes are commonly used in manufacturing truck frame bodies, metal furniture, storage tanks, farm implementations, or where aesthetics are critical.

6013 Welding Rod Benefits

Manufactured from mild steel that provides a smooth penetrating arc, 6013 welding rods offer extreme versatility and can work in all positions throughout a welding job. The arc created by a 6013 welding rod is typically easy to maintain with low spatter loss. 6013 welding rods also hold a high titania potassium coating. This coating helps create deeper penetration, and the 60,000 PSI tensile is enough strength to cover most DIY welding jobs.

  • High-quality weld
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Works in all positions
  • Not as strong as other rods

6013 Welding Rod Applications

6013 welding rods are suitable for light and medium penetration jobs. Additionally, they are great for welding carbon steel and can weld at any angle. Some of the most common uses of 6013 welding rods include:
  • Sheet metal
  • Ship repair
  • Vehicles
  • General machinery

7018 Welding Rods

Premium 7018 welding rods are designed for low, medium, and high carbon steels and higher strength low alloy steels. This rod will give you reasonable control over the arc and minimize the post-weld mess. 7018 welding sticks are easy to strike, cause little spatter, and create a smooth puddle flow and an easy slag release. One of the most significant benefits of the 7018 welding rod is that a weld can be made while holding the electrode in any position. 7018 welding sticks are ideal for high-strength low alloy steel structures and low, medium, and high carbon steels.

7018 Welding Rod Benefits

Carbon steel-manufactured welding rods are used for structural and general-purpose welding applications requiring extra polish or high melting points. 7018 welding rods can be used in all positions while utilizing both AC and DC power sources. The 7018 welding rod’s low-hydrogen iron coating makes it crack-resistant and protects the welding beam from oxygen and moisture, allowing it to perform well in freezing temperatures.

  • High stability
  • Splatter free
  • Reduced noise
  • Performs well in freezing temperatures
  • Minimal penetration

7018 Welding Rod Applications

7018 stick welding rods are highly suitable for welding carbon steel and ideal for structural applications and jobs within the retail welding industry. Common 7018 welding rod applications include:
  • Bridges
  • Military vessels
  • Power plants
  • Below-zero work environments
  • Pipelines
  • Steel structures

6013 or 7018 Welding Sticks – Which Should you Choose?

The type of welding rod you choose will depend on your application and experience. 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.

Contact IMS for Precision 6013 & 7018 Stick Welding Tools & Equipment Today

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

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