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Do you have queries regarding GMAW and SMAW? Or do you want to know which one would be suitable for your needs? If so, then this article has got you covered. Welding is the most popular metal joining method used now. Although welding is a dangerous process and could prove to be expensive, there are lots of benefits that you don’t get with other joining processes.

Welding gives you a permanent connection and this connection is often stronger than the initial materials. Moreover, it can be done relatively fast provided that you have sufficient experience.

There are a vast variety of Welding Techniques like Spot Welding, Gas Welding, Resistance Welding, and so on. Each of these methods is to be used in specific situations and unless you have sufficient knowledge, it is best to consult a professional. In this article, we will be discussing about-Gas Metal Arc Welding and Shielded Metal Arc Welding. as these two are the most popularly used Welding Techniques.


Similarities between SMAW and GMAW

  • Filler Material- Usually, the filler material is needed to fill the root gap. When using a consumable electrode, the electrode melts down and acts as filler. Both SMAW and GMAW use consumable electrodes instead of filler material.
  • Fusion Welding Process- Both SMAW and GMAW are examples of Fusion Welding. In this type of welding, heat is applied to join two metals by heating them up to the melting point.
  • Both these processes produce some amounts of splatter. Splatter is the molten filler metal produced that comes from the welding zone.
  • These techniques can only be used on conductive metals. Moreover, it is true for all the arc welding techniques. This is because the base metal is used as an electrode.
  • Both these techniques do not permit an autogenous form of welding. Autogenous Welding does not involve the application of filler material.

Differences between SMAW and GMAW

Lower filler deposition rate Higher filler deposition rate and more productive
The electrode used is short and small with a length less than 60cm A thing, long wire is used as electrode
It can be used in different positions. Can only be used in an inclined position
The electrode is coated with flux. There is no flux coating on the electrode.
Shielding gas is obtained from the flux coating. Shielding gas is obtained from an external cylinder
Electrode ought to be replaced frequently due to the short length. No need for frequent replacement of the electrode and longer welding time.
Is performed manually so there is a risk of error. Can be automated and minimizes errors.

Important Differences between SMAW and GMAW

  • Shielding Method- In SMAW, as the consumable electrode covered with flux melts, it turns into a gas that protects the molten electrode from atmospheric gases like Oxygen and Nitrogen. In GMAW, flux is not used. Instead, there is a Spool Gun that guides the position of the electrode. Additionally, this Spool Gun also emits gases like carbon dioxide, argon, etc that acts as the shielding gas.
  • Efficiency-In SMAW, there are frequent stoppages to replace the electrode. Also, when the flux vaporizes, it deposits small amounts of slag on the weld. It ought to be cleaned and is a time taking process. In GMAW, the electrode is fed automatically with the help of the spool gun and there is no need for periodic stoppages. Also, the welds obtained are cleaner.
  • GMAW processes are more costly due to the more expensive electrodes and machines used. Also, you need to have shielding gas as well.


This article would have given you a brief idea of how SMAW and GMAW differ. Both of them have their pros and cons and ultimately the choice depends on what the user wants. Hope this article will provide you some valuable information.

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