What is Stick Welding? All You Should Know About It

Shielded metal arc welding, which is commonly known as stick welding, is a particular type of welding that uses arc heat to melt the tip of a consumable electrode and the base metal at the same time to join the pieces of metal together. This is one of the typically used methods of welding in the US because of its plenty of advantages.

Although when you go deep inside to know the types of welding, then you come across various types. But remember, they all are not affordable. If you want to avail the most inexpensive welding, then stick welding is the best option to choose.

Stick welding is not only cheap, but it can conveniently work with a variety of thicknesses and is portable as well. The story doesn’t end here!

In this informational article, we have gathered all the significant information about stick welding. If this term is new to you, then you must be aware of what is stick welding so that you can have its perks in the future.

Stay with us and scroll ahead!

What is Stick Welding?

Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding, which is also abbreviated as SMAW has its basic use to weld steel and iron. This oldest type of welding allows a welder to do his job in the finest way, as the welder can use it in four different positions, overhead, horizontal, vertical, and flat.

This type of welding uses both types of currents, i.e.; alternative current and direct current to make a constant current. Stick welding needs less current to deal with thin metal surfaces and requires more current to weld thick electrodes and metals.

Although the technique of stick welding is pretty darn simple yet it requires skillful knowledge to perform it well. Stick welding is an all-rounder type of welding because it can easily deal with a variety of applications, for example, earth-moving equipment, welding pipes, shipbuilding, construction, etc.

There is so much to explain about SMAW, so go ahead without further delays!

What are the Steps of Stick Welding?

Are you looking for the easy steps to stick weld the metal? Here, we will show you how this welding can be performed. Before hopping in, let us know that the process requires strict professional knowledge, so don’t try it yourself!

1.      Get the Necessary Equipment

If you are interested to know how to stick weld a metal, then make sure you have complete information about the equipment, as this is the most important step of the process to follow.

The mandatory equipment involve in this structural welding procedure are:

  • A face shield or mask to prevent the face from potential impacts of sparks that can create severe damage.
  • A welding helmet covers the entire face, especially to protect the eyes from IR and UV radiation.
  • A good power supply.
  • Insulated welding cables with the adequate cross-sectional area.
  • Ground clamp that should carry the electric current without hazardous damages.
  • Electrode holder to deliver welding current to the electrode.
  • Safety goggles.
  • Finally, a stick-welding electrode.

2.      Connect Both Ground Clamp and Electrode Holder to the Power Supply

To make sure the arc is successfully transferring between the holder and the electrode, the second step in the stick welding process is to connect the electrode holder.

In case the power supply is inadequate, then it will create an issue with the passage of the electrode.

3.      Connect Ground Clamp to the Base Metal

Another important step in the stick welding process is to make a correct connection of the ground clamp to the metal you are going to stick weld. To make sure the accuracy of the connection, you can check that the clamp’s temperature is normal. Too hot, the ground clamp is a sign that the process is going wrong!

Moreover, the base metal and the ground clamp should be in close contact with each other.

4.      Start the Welding

Now, it’s time to start the stick welding. First, you have to match the stick holder with the electrode. Make sure the electrode you are going to attach is compatible with the parent metal.

Stick weld the metal in a circular motion or side to side.

5.      Check the Path of Weld

Here is an important point to remember! Doing the wrong stick welding will create waste material. And you should find some ways to avoid this issue.

To make sure the accuracy of the process, you should check it at least three times. If you still find any issues, stop the process urgently and repeat it.

Now, you are all done with stick welding!

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Stick Welding?

Although stick welding is the most beneficial of all the welding procedures and has plenty of benefits, we shouldn’t ignore its downsides.

So let’s have a glance at both advantages and disadvantages!


  • Stick welding is an affordable welding process as it doesn’t require heavy and costly equipment.
  • This welding doesn’t require any gas tank and has portable equipment.
  • No rigorous cleaning of the metal surface is required.
  • It makes quick repairs even in harsh conditions.
  • It can conveniently weld rusty as well as unclean metal.
  • No vast space is required to perform the welding process.
  • One of the oldest as well as the most reliable welding procedure to deal with vast applications.
  • It can weld the metal surface at different positions. So you are free to weld the surface uniquely with stick welding!


  • Stick welding creates waste material along with slag deposits.
  • It is good to go with thick metal surfaces but not a perfect suggestion for thin metal surfaces.
  • Reactive metals can’t be welded with stick welding.
  • This process is not fast as other welding processes like TIG and MIG.
  • Stick welding is a manual process, that’s why it requires professional knowledge.
  • Toxic fumes are produced during the process.

Last Statement

If you are looking for a good manual welding process, then stick welding is one of the incredible processes you can go with for fabrication, construction, and so many applications. This oldest technique has the most promising results, and you can experience it. Hopefully, this article has cleared up your concepts regarding what is stick welding and how it can be performed. Stay professional!

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