e6011 welding electrodes

If you have just started reading about and getting into the field of welding, it can be difficult to find a starting point. It’s not that there is not enough information out there, on the other hand, the problem can be that there is too much information. Anyone who is new to the field can get confused and intimidated by all of the technical jargon and different specifics of the technique. If you are just starting out, the truth is that you don’t need to know all the details of each and everything. Learn the basics and start practicing the discipline, you will figure out everything else on the way.

6011 electrode is one of the most versatile ones available on the market. It has a violent digging arc and the puddle is fast-freeze making it a good fit for beginners as well as professional welders. The size options, ability to use it in all positions and polarity variation makes it virtually usable in all scenarios.


When you are in the market for electrodes you will see a lot of numbers like 6010, 6011, and 7018 and it can be pretty confusing about which one to go for first and whether you are making the right choice or not.

Let’s get the basics out of the way. While it is important to know the uses and practical aspects of using the rod, it is as important to understand what the 6011 number means. They didn’t just number the electrodes as they felt like, there is a lot of information which you can get just from the numbers.

The first two digits, that is, 6-0 conveys the tensile strength of the weld. In this case, it would translate to 60 thousand pounds of tensile strength on the final weld.

The third number tells you the position in which the rod can used. Some electrodes can only be used in certain positions, in this case, the 1 means that it is an all position rod. On the other hand, if there is a 2 on the third position then it is suitable for flat welds as well as horizontal welds.

The last two numbers indicate the type of flux coating on the rod and this further indicates the type of current which should be used (AC, DC- or DC+).


6011 is one of the most common welding rods out there. Some of the best features of the rod are its ability for deep penetration, it can also be used to penetrate rust, paint, and weld on dirtier surfaces in general. The utility aspect of the rod also works in its favor. Two factors, quick cooling and being able to weld in different positions makes this electrode one of the most versatile in the market. What takes these rods to a whole different level is the fact that 6011 electrodes can also work with multiple types of welders because they run on AC, DC+, and DC-.

This rod can be used for almost anything that requires deep penetration, no matter the polarity options you have on a welder or the position you have to weld in. To name a few everyday applications, I would bring out Construction, shipbuilding, pipe welding, galvanized steel welding, and storage tanks.


As a beginner, it is always important to check the recommended values while deciding the amperage setting to be used for a particular weld. Like any other electrode, the 6011 comes in different sizes and the amperage settings would vary depending on the size. The amperage also differs depending on the position you are going to weld in.

Let’s take the example of a 3/16” electrode, it would require 160-180 amps for vertical welds and 140-180 for the overhead position. Similar trend can be seen for the size difference. Horizontal welds for a 1/8” (3.175mm) will need about 90-140 amps while the 3/16” (4.7625mm) will need about 160-195 amps. As a rule of thumb, the amperage settings are directly proportional to the diameter of the rods you are using.

Tensile Strength60000 PSI
PositionAll Positions
Arc CharacteristicsViolent
Flux compositioncellulose potassium (Fast Freeze)
Slag TypeThin, flaky, does not peel
MotionSlight drag / Can whip (stich)


The 6011s are available in most of the sizes out there, except in the 1/16” and 5/64”, for these two sizes, usually only the 6012 and 6013 are available. The size range of the 6011 is from 3/32” to 5/16” including the ¼”.

Keep in mind that the rod diameter which is needed for a project increases with the thickness of the metal you are welding. This is because thicker electrodes have more filler material in them. That means they require more amperage, thus they penetrate deeper.


A lot of electrodes out there only work with a specific polarity. Arc welding is most often performed using DC current, the rod being used with negative electrode. This is known as the DC- or straight polarity welding. Some rods might only work with a DC+, also known as reverse polarity welding, or with only AC current. AC-only machines are quite popular among hobbyists, because they are inexpensive, so it is important to check your machine and make sure you have the right polarity options for the rod.

Remember the numbering system we discussed above? The last two numbers not only determine the flux coating on the electrode but also the type of current which can be used. The 6011 rods work with any polarity. You don’t have to stress about whether you have a cracker box, DC- or a fancier machine that can handle different polarities and AC frequencies, the 6011 will perform with all of these. You will have one less thing to worry about while using these rods.


The first choice for welding cast iron would be nickel alloy rods followed by cast iron covered rods and then steel rods. If you are in a pinch working on scrap metal, then you can use a 6011 although it is not the first choice for welding cast iron. Ideally, you want to work with a 55/45 ratio of nickel to iron although the best option is the 99% nickel rods. The reason nickel rods are preferred for welding cast iron is that they don’t cool as quickly compared to iron rods.

The problem with cast iron is that it is very brittle under stress and if you are using a 6011 you have to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, you should try to cool down the cast iron slowly after welding. Secondly, try to weld in a way that keeps the base metal at a lower temperature than you would with other metals. That’s because while welding, the cast iron will get heated up at the particular spot near the welding bead, but will remain cold in the surrounding area, creating stress on the metal.

One of the tips which I could find while doing research for this article was to let the cast iron cool a little bit after the weld and then heat it up again using a torch although not to the same temperature as before, repeating this 3-4 times lets the metal cool down slowly and relieve the stress created by uneven temperature changes. Some people also recommend immersing the cast iron in the sand after welding, this would also be a great option and I have seen it work a couple of times.  


All of this information is enough to intimidate any person who is new to the world of welding and it is natural for you to have some questions related to the topic. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions that people have.

Is 6011 a good welding rod?

There is a reason for the 6011 for being one of the most popular welding rods out there. Although being a cousin of the 6010, it has the added advantage of being able to work on different types of current and positions. As a downside it is not preferred if you are looking for the prettiest beads or something more pleasing to the eye. Also, since it is kind of an aggressive rod, it hard to be used on thinner materials.

What’s the easiest welding rod to use?

The preference for using electrodes are highly subjective and opinionated. A lot of people recommend the 6011 people recommend it because of its versatile nature and the fact that it will cut through just about anything.

Can you weld downhill with 6011?

As mentioned earlier the second number of the 6011 means that the rod can be used in any position and a downhill weld will not be a problem because it does not produce a lot of slag.

Can you run 6011 rod on DC?

As the fourth number in the name of the electrode indicates, the 6011 can be used with DC-,  (straight polarity) DC+,  (reverse polarity) as well as on AC.


To sum it all up, the 6011 electrode is one of the most versatile electrodes available on the market while also being one of the best electrodes to be used by beginners. The size options and polarity variation make it usable in all scenarios. Although the electrode is not suited for welding cast iron, if you are in a pinch it can get the job done. This is one of those electrodes which should be in your garage or collection at all times and can be a wonderful first buy if you are a hobbyist.