Selecting the right filler metal - Part 1 SMAW AWS E6011

When it comes to stick welding steel, the old standby for many welders is the AWS E6011. It's probably not the rod that you'll find in regular use out on pipelines or in the serious fab shop. No, it is not highly regarded by some, though it is broadly capable and a popular rod for use by portable repair guys and many farm shops. The 6011 is very similar to the 6010 which is favored in industrial use. It has a similar cellulose flux, and a penetrating arc that burns through rust and paint. It also considered a fast freeze rod where the puddle cools quickly. The main difference is that the 6011 has added arc stabilizers to the flux, which does soften the penetration up a bit. But it can be used in AC and straight polarity where the 6010 is decidedly a reverse (DCEP) polarity rod. While the rod makes is a joy to use in almost any circumstance that involves less than clean circumstances, it’s slightly lower penetrating capability over the 6010 takes it out of contention in many industrial uses. The rod simply burns right through paint and rust and works well on many “mystery” steel repairs. Side by side, though, it’s hard for the average welder to see a difference in results between it and the 6010. The advantage it has though is that almost any welding machine made can weld with the rod. This means that the 6011 rod burns well on a cheap “buzz” box welder such as the Lincoln AC225, or on more sophisticated equipment like the Miller Maxstar 150 and the Everlast PowerArc 140ST. The 6010 requires higher voltage output and a particularly stable arc, more than an average homeowner welder will have. If you’re stumbling around looking for a reliable, all around rod, the 6011 is probably the one you should check out. It will be reliable, inexpensive, and easy to strike and keep an arc.