E6011 and E6013

As we all know, welding is a process of fusing two or more parts using extreme heat or pressure to form a new part. Welding is extensively used in almost every industry including construction, mining, manufacturing, and whatnot. Since we are talking about stick welding, it requires electrodes also known as welding rods to complete the welding process, so let’s compare two very common rods – 6011 and 6013

What’s the difference between 6011 and 6013 welding rods?

Before we discuss the different aspects of the rods in more detail, in short, both 6011 and 6013 are very similar rods. They both can be run on AC, DCEP, as well as DCEN and, can be run in all positions (though running uphill 6013 is more difficult).

The main difference however would be the appearance of the weld, the slag composition, and the nature of the arc.

The 6013 has a soft arc, dense slag similar to 7018, and is more of a drag rod, while 6011 has a more violent arc, slag is flaky and you can manipulate the arc more by whipping it.

The 6013 welding rod offers light to medium penetration which can be used to weld thinner materials while the 6011 electrode offers a deeper penetration which will allow you to weld slightly thicker metals. The arc is very strong, a bit easier to strike with 6011 so it can be used in a project where you have to weld dirtier surfaces or tack things together.

The E6013 welding rod is commonly used in situations that require irregular or short welds that have to be pleasing to the eye because it ensures a smooth finish. It is mostly used to weld clean and new materials. It contains a high potassium coating and hence is compatible with the AC, DC+, and DC- currents which makes it more flexible than other rods.

The 6013 welding rod is usually the best choice for beginners as it is easy to use but I would recommend trying both of these out. The 6011 is a more manipulative rod so if you are not gifted with an extremely steady pair of hands like a lot of welders out there, 6011 might be helpful.

Tensile Strength60000 PSI60000 PSI
PositionAll PositionsAll position, difficult to run vertical up
Arc CharacteristicsViolentSoft arc
Flux compositioncellulose potassium (Fast Freeze)high potassium rod
Slag TypeThin, flaky, does not peelDense, does peel off
MotionSlight drag / Can whip (stich)Drag Rod
Comparison Table

What are the uses of the 6011 and 6013 welding rods?

The E6011 welding rods are multi-purpose welding rods used in general repair and fabrication and are most fit in processes where high penetration is required regardless of the welder setup or the position.

On the other hand, the 6011 welding rod is more often used on painted, dirty, or greasy surfaces where the focus is more on penetration than on appearance. It is mostly chosen by the welders for maintenance/repair work – For example, farm use.

The 6011-welding rods are designed for everyday use and are mostly operate on direct currents. It has a high deposition rate, it cools down very quickly making it perfect to weld in all positions.

The 6013-welding rod is commonly used for truck frames, sculptures and on metal furniture – in general, mostly where appearance is important. The 6013 electrodes are clean and visually appealing. The best way to use this welding rod is to drag it slowly which helps you avoid trapping slag into the bead.

The difference in polarity between the 6011 and 6013 welding rods.

The 6011 and 6013 welding rods can be used on both alternating and direct currents. If you did not know, an alternating current is a form of currency that changes its flow while a direct current has a steady flow.

While stick welding, DCEP is usually preferred, because it offers better penetration on the material that is being welded where-as DCEN or alternating current is used when less heat is needed on the material being welded.

How is the tensile strength measured for the 6011 and 6013 welding rods?

Moving to the tensile strength of the welding rods. What exactly does tensile strength mean?

It is the measurement of resistance a material has to longitudinal stress. In simple terms, it can be defined as the maximum amount of force a material can take without breaking.

The tensile strength can be determined by the first two digits in the electrode’s name. In the case of 6011 and 6013-welding rods, the maximum tensile strength is 60,000 psi.

What about the penetration of the 6011 and 6013 welding rods?

Penetration in the context of welding refers to the distance below the surface that metal is fused together from the heat created by the electrical arc between the welding rod and the base metal.

In comparison, the 6011-welding rod offers a higher penetration while the 6013- offers a lighter and a milder penetration that doesn’t cut through rust, zinc, and grease like the 6011-welding rod.

Is it possible to weld in all directions using the 6011 and 6013-welding rods?

Firstly, the 6011-welding rod is all positioning welding rods that can be used in welding in vertical, horizontal, and overhead positions. Likewise, the 6013-welding rods can be used in all welding positions.

So in short, both of the rods are all-positions rods, however, because of the dense slag, you would think it is difficult to run 6013 vertical-down. I believe because it does not penetrate as well as some of the other rods out there, it is more difficult to weld vertical up with 6013 rather than down.


Are 6013 rods good?

Yes, it is one of those rods you can weld the world with. Thanks to the arc performance, ease of striking an arc and ability to use in all positions makes it a great rod for almost anything involving mild steel.

What is the strongest welding rod?

Currently, the 7018 electrode with a tensile strength of 70,000 psi is the strongest welding available to consumer market

What is the best all-around welding rod?

The best all-rounding welding rod would be the 6011 electrode. It produces fairly violent arc that is easily manipulative and it does not produce much slag, which makes it a great rod to use in any position and with any polarity setting.  


Welding rods are available in various sizes depending on your needs and machine capabilities, the common ones being the 6011 and 6013 electrodes. It is important to know which welding rod is best for which task based on the consideration of the above factors such as polarity, penetration, tensile strength, and its individual characteristics in order to ensure the right electrode is being used for a specific task.

The 6011 and the 6013 welding rods have different characteristics that make them suitable for different welding projects. I hope This article helped you to gather your thoughts and helped you choose a suitable rod for your project.