Flux-Core vs. MIG
I often get calls wondering if our MIG welders will weld with flux core. While this to some people may seem a forgone conclusion, it is not. So, once and for all, let’s clearly state it here: All MIG welders can weld flux-core if they are equipped with the drive rolls that are designed to grip the flux core wire without crushing it. As far as the Everlast Power i-MIG and PowerMTS welders go, they all will weld flux core when equipped with the optional flux core drive rolls. But the deeper question that people have often is: Do I need a MIG or a Flux-core welder? The answer lies in the customer trying to figure out what kind of situation he or she will be welding in. That may be difficult, if you are not currently welding and are just stepping into welding.
But, generally, take stock of your area where you will be welding. Is it indoors? Are you out in the open? Are you in the open but under a shelter? Are you wanting to weld in both inside and outside environments? If you are going to be welding indoors, nothing is as clean as far as wire welding is concerned as the MIG process. It is a fast, clean and efficient process which is used by the manufacturing industry every day. It has high levels of metal transfer efficiency and not much out of one pound of wire is lost to spatter.
The biggest factor is you must allow a budget for MIG gas. But when compared to the extra cost of flux core wire, the difference in operating expense can actually be less than Flux-core, depending upon the quantity and size rolls purchased. If you foresee yourself welding almost entirely outdoors, Flux- core is the way to go. There’s no substitute for speed, penetration and efficiency. But there is a great deal of loss of transfer efficiency as the wire is hollow and packed with flux. This flux turns into slag and is lost to the weld.
So a pound of Flux core may only turn into about 5/8 of a pound (or less) of actual weld metal. Spatter is significant and clean up effort is much greater than MIG with shielding gas. If you are welding in a sheltered, but open environment, or a mixture of outdoor and indoor it is a good idea to be prepared to do both. A sheltered, but open environment can often be made to block any disturbing breeze that would disrupt a steady flow of shielding gas. But there are times when breezes may win out or the area may not be protected where flux-core makes more sense to use. Whenever you purchase a welder, make sure you purchase both types of drive rolls. This will ensure that you get the best of both worlds and have everything at your disposal. One advantage that you may not have thought about is that the Everlast Power i-MIG welders also weld stick, so if you do not care for the spatter and clean up of flux-core, you have an additional welding option to consider.