Welding Rod Sizes – Here’s The Complete Guide

welding rod sizes

Welding rods play an important role in the strong and sturdy bonding of metals. So, whether you are a beginner or a professional welder, you need not only a great deal of skill but also the right kind of welding rods.

Not just that, you also need to have knowledge about the varieties of welding rods and their functions as well as uses. Incorrect rods might weaken the weld causing your hard work into the vein. Hence, always be careful choosing the proper one before starting your job.

But, there are many types of welding rod sizes to make you confused enough. Also, you might have several questions regarding welding rods.

So, we are here to relieve you from your confusion. Therefore, let’s get through the whole article to know in detail.

What do the numbers mean on welding rods?

When you go shopping for the welding rods, you might notice some numbers printed on the electrodes. Now you may ask, what do the numbers mean on welding rods? Well, there are some specific meanings of these numbers.

What do the numbers mean on welding rods

First of all, the first two numbers represent the tensile strength of the rod, meaning it depicts the endurance of pressure that it can stand. For instance, if you multiply the two digits by 1000, then you’ll get the welding pounds of pressure per square inch or psi of the rods.

However, the third digit indicates the position of the rods for welding. There are mainly three numbers for the third digit to use such as 1, 2, and 4. Digit 1 indicates that the rods can be operated in all positions, 2 represents a flat or horizontal position, and digit 4 depicts the vertical, horizontal, or overhead position.

Finally, the last digit denotes the coating material and its corresponding current to be used. Because different currents are needed according to the coating material.

What is the most common size of a welding rod?

When buying the welding rods, it might peep into your head that, what is the most common size of a welding rod? Well, typically the 1/8” is comparatively a more common welding rod size than others. And here, 5/32” as well as 3/16” are also some common sizes.

Well, usually on-site, or outdoors, rod welding is not operated except the ‘field work’ and is replaced by the wire feed processes. That’s because they don’t require that much skill and are easily operable. But if you need to do massive welding, then you need to seek the help of large welding rods.

The larger the welding job is, the greater the welding rod is needed. But if it needs to be larger than 3/16”, then the work should be done in welding shops.

Welding rod sizes chart

To give you a clear idea about the sizes we have prepared a welding rod sizes chart below. In the chart, you can have both the welding rod sizes and numbers for a better understanding. We have also included the thickness of metal associated with the electrodes according to their sizes.

The welding rod size for metal thickness mm is a crucial decision and can determine the effectiveness of your weld. There are many factors to consider but the first one should be the thickness of the metal.

If this is not known, it will be necessary to measure it. Once you know the thickness, you will need to decide if you want an internal or external weld.

Welding rod sizes chart

So, from the chart above, you can easily understand for which type of rod the thickness is integrated and its corresponding diameter Thus, eventually you can use them in the related welding jobs properly.

How do I know what size welding rod I need?

Now that you have learned the sizes and numbers of an electrode as well as the meaning of those numbers, you may ask, how do I know what size welding rod I need? Well, the size of a welding rod usually depends on the depth of the metal that needs to be welded.

For instance, for the 2.0 mm thickness of a metal plate, a 2.5 mm welding rod is used for the welding task. And of course, an electrode of 3.2 mm as well as 4.0 mm is also used sometimes. Some other common rod sizes are 2.0 mm, 3.2 mm, and 5.0 mm.

So, before buying some check the thickness of the metal plate that you are going to weld. And in that way, you won’t have to worry about any kind of mistakes in your welding process.

What are the key considerations when choosing welding rods?

You might want to know, what is the best welding rod to use? Well, for the proper welding experience, you need to know the factors that can meet your welding requirements.

Firstly, you need to match the tensile strength of the welding rod with the base metal. As a result, you can get a strong and solid welding result. After that, check the compatibility with the power sources of the electrode. The 4th digit of the electrode number represents the current source showing whether it’s operated on AC, or DC, or both.

Next, look for the welding position which can be learned by the 3rd digit of the numbers of electrodes. In that way, you can know in how many directions you have to weld. Then, look for the great penetration characteristics for the perfect arc.

Always check the specifications of the rods as specific welding needs a specific type of electrode. For example, level of temperature or the environment of suitability, etc. because in critical applications some electrodes might be improper for welding.

Nonetheless, if you are new to this job and wonder, what is the best welding rod for a beginner? then I would suggest you go with the 6013 and 6011 welding rods. That’s because these can not only penetrate deeply but also can serve most of the welding tasks.

When to use the high deposition electrode?

If you are in a hurry or you need to get your job done faster, then you should go with the high deposition stick electrode. Moreover, they offer a great deal in terms of non-critical functions where a simple welding process is needed.

But, if you need to do the code-required or crucial employment, this electrode should not be picked. Because they can’t stand in the applications like pressure vessel or boiler manufacturing where welding requires excessive stresses.

In fact, the supplemental iron powder of the deposition electrode creates excess fluids, which causes sticking and splatter ruining the whole welding process.

So, it’s best to know when and how one should use them properly.

What is the purpose of flux surrounding?

Flux is basically the outer coating of the electrodes that has many purposes to serve. The function of the different types of electrodes actually depends on their flux or covering.

However, the stability of the arc relies on the ionizing elements of the flux. So, when you start to burn the arc, the flux melts and creates a sequential fusion of chemical reactions.

As a result, the elements of flux preserve the weld pool from contamination by releasing a shielding gas. After that, to prevent the weld metal from oxidation, it also creates a slag when the temperature goes down.

Flux is also the reason behind ductility as well as the tensile strength of the welding rods. Moreover, it can increase the deposition rate of the electrode if it’s highly concentrated with iron powder. So, one can clearly see how the flux surrounding serves many purposes efficiently.

How to store and re-dry stick electrodes properly?

To get the best results from electrodes, it is necessary to keep all the electrodes dry as well as away from moisture and humidity. Otherwise, the moisture of the electrodes might lead to porosity or cracking. Some electrodes don’t need extra care whereas some have to be kept in a proper temperature environment in order to keep them dry.

For instance, the low hydrogen electrodes need 250-300 degrees F of temperature and 1-2 hours of pre-drying to prevent oxidation and cracking. So, before using any low hydrogen electrodes, always try to dry them by spreading them inside the oven. And for reconditioning, use the temperature from 500-800 degrees of F to remove excess moisture of rods.

On the other hand, in terms of non-low hydrogen electrodes, try to heat them in the cabinets at the temperature of 100-120 degrees of F or just store them at room temperature. In the end, always check for the manufacturer’s suggestions for better storing.


At last, we have learned and known so much about the welding rod sizes and other important factors related to welding rods. Basically, the welding jobs or the electrodes depend on your level of work or the seriousness of the project. And different rods are used for different purposes.

So, remembering the welding rod sizes standard, get on with your work and do the job with patience.