FCAW Wire

To be honest, I am not a big fan of FCAW method since I mostly work indoors and flux-cored welding process produces a lot of nasty fumes, (It is important to work in a well-ventilated area or even better, in the open air) but because it seems to be an upcoming trend among beginners, since it is a very forgiving and fairly cheap welding method, I did some digging to find the best wire for Flux-Cored Arc Welding. The results, in fact, are quite striking, check out the Top Pick below!

While FCAW is mostly used in shipbuilding and in the construction industry, mainly because it has advantages like higher productivity, machine portability and the ability to work in windy conditions, gasless welding is gaining popularity among newcomers.

If you are already a serious welder with some experience, you know that the quality of the weld is affected a lot by the quality of wire which used in the process, although it might not affect the experienced welders as much as beginners, quality flux-cored wire makes our life much easier and learning much more fun.

So let’s get right into it!

Blue Demon E71TGS .035

Features & Benefits

  • Really cheap
  • Made in the USA
  • Good for all positions
  • Available in 0.03, 0.035 and 0.045 diameters

Likes: It would be the best option if you are looking for a welding wire on a small budget since it is two times cheaper than most of the quality wires on the market right now. Produces fairly low amount of splatter and smoke while welding, most of the time runs really smooth, hot and it has nice penetration.

Dislikes: Single-pass welding only. According to some people, the main problem would be inconsistency in the quality of the product.

Check Price On Amazon

INETUB BA71TGS .030

Features & Benefits

  • Single-pass welding
  • Low splatter
  • Easy to weld
  • Good to go in all positions

Likes: First of all, what impresses me the most, unlike other flux embedded wires, this one does not suffocate you with the toxic smoke cloud while you are welding. Furthermore, I found out that compared to other wires on the market, surprisingly this wire produces very little to no splatter as well! It is amazing how clean you can weld with this, it flows like butter and for that reason, you don’t even need to use the nozzle gel! Can’t get much better than that.

Dislikes: Single-pass welding only

Check Price On Amazon

Hobart H222108-R22

Features & Benefits

  • Single and multi-pass welding
  • Works in all positions
  • Available in .03 and .035 diameters

Likes:  As always, Hobart produces high-quality products that you can rely on, and this wire is no exception. Particularly designed for thin-gauge mild or galvanized steel, it runs really hot and smooth while producing very little splatter compared to most FC wires on the market. Besides that, you are able to run multiple passes with this one.

Check Price On Amazon

Dislikes: It is a bit pricey.

Does flux-core wire need gas?

Yes and No, the self-shielded wire does not need protective shielding gas because while welding, the flux itself creates a shielding over the weld puddle. In some rare cases on the industrial level, shielding gas is added to make the work process faster and more efficient.

Is there flux-cored aluminum wire?

Plain and simple. no. Although theoretically, it might be possible to create a self-shielded wire for aluminum it has not been done for the consumer market.

Can any MIG welder use Flux-core wire?

Yes, it is possible but is important to keep in mind, for that to work, you need a special drive roll and change the polarity of the machine.

Is MIG welding better than FCAW?

Both have their own pros and cons. MIG welding is more suitable for indoors and thin metal. Flux-Cored Arc Welding is more suitable for outdoors because of the self-shielded gas.

How do I know if I have Flux-cored wire?

Regular MIG wire, in most cases, looks like copper, it is orange. The self-shielded wire is usually much softer, hallow, and grayish.

Do I push or pull with FCAW?

With this method, you always pull the nozzle away from the welding buddle to avoid contaminating the welding bead with flux, which results in weak weld although you may not see it with the naked eye.

Conclusion

Whether you are experienced welder or just a novice, as a rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong if you pick Hobart E71T-11, but if you have not tried the INETUB .035 flux-core welding wire before, then you definitely have to! In my opinion, this welding wire is underrated and although it is bit more expensive than other options, I think it is fair to say that it has by far the best price-quality ratio on the market. As we all know, you get what you pay for and if you want a high-quality product for cheap price, you have to buy two products, one cheap and one high quality.

All in all, I think that INETUB is the best all-around welding wire available in the market today, and after laying your first beads, you will definitely be pleasantly surprised.

Key Things to Keep in Mind before Using Flux-Cored Arc Welding Method

  1. The main thing most welders tend to forget if you were using a welder with shielding gas option make sure that the polarity is set right before you start – DCEN or in other words your electrode/wire has to be negative. Furthermore, it is important to make sure that you have a suitable wire feed roller.
  2. It helps if you have a ground clamp attached, I’ve been trying to weld without a ground clamp for years now, and it has never worked.   
  3. Work in a well-ventilated area, or if possible, outdoors would be even better.
  4. Don’t forget to keep slag hammer and nozzle gel close by.
  5. Use a contact tip one size bigger to avoid the wire getting stuck because of the amount of splatter produced. For example, if you are running a 0.30 wire, use a .35 contact tip.
  6. Choose right-sized spool according to your welder.

Cracking the Self Shielded Wire Specification Code

  1. E- Electrode – simply mean that the filler metal is carrying the welding current in the process
  2. 7- Tensile strength of the filler metal in pounds per square inch or is you multiply it by 10000 you’ll get 70000 psi tensile strength.
  3. 1 – Number in this position indicates the welding position the electrode can be used in. one means that this electrode can be used in all positions. 0 would indicate that the electrode can only be used in the flat and horizontal position.
  4. T- Indicates that the electrode used is tubular or in other words Flux-Cored
  5. GS- Denotes that the electrode is suitable only for single-pass welding.

I hope that this brief overview was helpful to you in terms of choosing the best flux-core wire for your home project.

If you find this post valuable, feel free to hit the share buttons on the left side of the screen.