I remember when I first started learning how to weld, choosing the right welding rod was one of the most confusing decisions ever. There are way too many options out there and on top of this, the information is also confusing. A lot of times people cannot afford to buy multiple electrodes and making the wrong decision can turn out to be costly. Let’s take a look at a comparison between the 7018 and 6010 electrodes and which one will suit you better.
The 7018 has a low hydrogen coating while the 6010 has a cellulose sodium coating. While the 7018 offers higher tensile strength and more versatility in terms of the current with which they can be used, the 6010 offers deeper penetration. The 7018 is considered an industry staple for uses in buildings and bridges and requires a much more careful storage procedure.
MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOTH ELECTRODES
- The first major difference which I feel people generally don’t take into account is the different storage requirements of both the electrodes. We will come to the physical characteristics and applications in a bit, but this storage point is something that people often overlook, especially people who are new to welding.
The 7018 has a low hydrogen coating which makes it extremely susceptible to moisture and dirt in the atmosphere. You can’t just store a 7018 electrode in your house without having the proper equipment to protect it. You will usually have to keep this electrode in a welding oven baking at 300 degrees F. This is not the case for 6010, making the 6010 much easier to handle on a day-to-day basis.
- You can also use the 6010 on dirty, rusty, or slightly contaminated surfaces which increases its versatility. While the 6010 can only be used on a DC+ current while the 7018 can be used on DCEP and AC, furthermore, the 7018, unlike 6010, requires extremely clean surfaces to achieve great results.
- The 6010 also produces a violent arc which helps it in its penetration capability. The slag which is produced is also slightly different in both electrodes. While the 7018 produces a thick and sluggish slag, it can be removed quite easily. While the 6010 produces a thin and flaky slag but it is a bit harder to remove.
- The 6010 is also considered a fast freeze electrode. This means that the molten material which is deposited during the weld tends to get solidified fast.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS REPRESENT?
Whenever you want to know the properties of any electrode then you should know what the numbers represent, they can give away a lot of information and most of the time they will convey most of the information you need.
THE FIRST TWO DIGITS ‘XXxx’
The first two digits of any electrode represent the tensile strength of the electrode. So, in the case of 7018, it will offer a tensile strength of 70,000 psi while the 6010 will offer a tensile strength of 60,000 psi.
THE THIRD DIGIT ‘xxXx’
The third digit basically means the positions in which you can use the particular electrode. For example, some electrodes are only meant to be used in a horizontal position and those electrodes will not be suitable for any overhead welding jobs. In this case, both the 6010 and 7018 have the same third digit, that is, 1. The ‘1’ means that these electrodes can be used in any position, be it horizontal, flat, overhead, or incline.
THE LAST DIGIT ‘xxxX’
The last digit of the number tells us the coating of the electrode. This coating will represent a number of things including the penetration levels and the metals they can be used on. The electrode coating also tells you how sensitive the electrode will be to air and moisture which will further represent the storage needs of the particular electrode. They also tell us the polarity with which they can be worked on.
In the present case, the 7018 has a low hydrogen and iron powder coating which makes this electrode very sensitive to moisture. This is the reason why you need to be very careful while storing them. On the other hand, the 6010 has a cellulose, sodium coating which also leads to deeper penetration.
WHICH WELDING ROD PROVIDES A BETTER PENETRATION?
The coatings of the electrode also tell us the penetrating ability of the electrode. The 6010 has one of the best penetration abilities in the market. If you ever have to work on thicker metals, then this is the option you should go for.
The 7018 offers a medium penetration and is generally used on industrial-scale projects that need high tensile strength welds.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE TWO ELECTRODES?
Even though with all of these differences there are some similarities between the two electrodes as well. For example, both of these electrodes can be used in any position. This is the factor that adds to the versatility of these rods. On top of this, you can drag both of these electrodes while welding, though it’s possible to manipulate the 6010 more because it’s more of a fast freeze.
WHEN SHOULD YOU USE THE 6010 AND 7018 ELECTRODES?
As I have stated before, the 6010 electrode provides a deep penetration with a high deposition rate and is the perfect electrode to be used on painted, galvanized, and unclean surfaces. This electrode is not the most beginner-friendly, but with some practice, you shouldn’t have a problem handling the violent arc it has. The 6010 (besides 6011) is one of the most versatile electrodes in the market and can be used for most of your home needs. You can also use the 6010 rods to create beautiful patterns by practicing the weaving technique.
The 7018, on the other hand, is known to deliver some of the best quality welds among any of the rods out there and combined with its ease of use makes it a go-to choice for many welders. This electrode works best on medium carbon, high carbon, and low alloy steels. One thing to keep in mind here is that the 7018 should be used on a clean and dry surface. If done right, the 7018 produces stronger welds which makes it very suitable for working on buildings and bridges.
Another factor that comes into play is the storage issues associated with the 7018, if you have to go for a welding job outside then you will have to carry a proper storage device as the rod tends to oxidize and crack pretty quickly.
The most common places where both electrodes are used include industrial applications like pipes, storage tanks, bridges, etc. The uses of both these rods differ, while the 7018 is usually used for a hot pass, fill up and cap beads, the 6010 is usually used for joint root pass welding which requires a deeper penetration.
|Tensile Strength||60,000 PSI||70,000 PSI|
|Position||All position||All position|
|Polarity||DCEP||DCEP and AC|
|Flux composition||Cellulose Sodium (fast freeze)||Low hydrogen|
|Motion||Slight Drag/Whip||Drag rod|
|Slag||Thin, flaky, does not peel||Fluid, Thick, does peel|
|My Recommendation from Amazon||More details||More details|
More charts on welding rods here
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Going through all of this information can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you are new to the world of welding. But you can only make the best decisions when all your doubts are cleared. I’ll go through some of the most frequently asked questions related to this topic and I hope it will clear some things for you.
Although both the electrodes are considered pretty easy to use, the 7018 is usually considered to be the easier out of the two. But because of the specific storage needs of the 7018, usually, 6013 is recommended for beginners.
The 7018 is more versatile when it comes to the polarities of the rods. While the 7018 can be used with both AC and DC+. The 6010 can only be used with DC+.
This is one of the most important aspects of the 7018 rods, you will have to be extra careful while storing them. Any slight exposure to moisture or water will completely ruin the rods. Make sure to invest in a good electrode oven or some other storage options.
One of the special features besides violent arc penetration of the 6010 rods is that it is one of the best electrodes to practice your weaving techniques. This can be mastered to create some beautiful and impressive ripple patterns through your welds.
To sum it all up, both the 7018 and 6010 electrodes are great choices, but there are some fundamental differences between both. While the 7018 offers better tensile strength, the 6010 offers better penetration. Both the electrodes can be used in any position and are pretty easy to use. Unlike 6010 the 7018 usages is limited by its storage requirements.
After reading all this, I would advise you to watch the video below.