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Push or Pull MIG Welding | What’s the Difference and Which is Best?

One of the most discussed debates in MIG welding is push vs pull mig welding. The main difference between them is in weld quality. Those who ask, which is the correct method of welding? You can check both of them and decide which one is preferable. In most cases, pulling or pushing is up to your personal choice or comfortability.

The main goal of welding is to get the best results despite any technique. For beginners, who have just entered in and are confused about push or pull mig welding, this guide is going to clear your all concepts.

push vs pull mig welding


What’s the difference between push and pull?

Both techniques work well and equally and all process depends on how you hold the weld gun and weld puddle. In the push technique, the user holds the weld gun behind the puddle and pushes it forward as it weld whereas, in the pull technique, the user handles the mig gun in front of the puddle and pulls it along with the joint as it weld. As you can see the result in the image.

pull and push mig welding result on steel metal

Push MIG Welding

In this method, you place the gun at the back of the puddle and push forward the molten weld pool to get a stunning bead. You’ll get a smooth and wide puddle through this process, but not penetration. So, this is useful where you only need appearance instead of weld depth. Beginners should read What is Mig Welding?

What We Like
  • Flat and smooth puddle
  • Attractive bead
  • Best for fabricators
  • You can see ahead of the weld puddle
What We Don’t Like
  • Not deep weld
  • Not suitable in tough conditions

Pull MIG Welding

This Pull ( drag ) process is easy as compared to the above one because you can clearly see what’s happening with the weld gun. Moreover, the pull strategy includes positioning your machine next to the weld and pulling the puddle back. Pull is an excellent method for slag.

What We Like
  • It provides deeper penetration
  • Strong connection with the base metal
  • You can see the bead
What We Don’t Like
  • Don’t create a smooth weld
  • Cleaning and grinding is required after the weld

When to use Push Weld

You can use push:

  • When aesthetics is needed instead of a strong deep connection.
  • To weld irregular shape workpieces such as curves and bends.
  • When welding in a vertical down direction.

When to use Pull Weld

  • It’s great for creating strong welds because of deep penetration.
  • Instead of push, it works well on straight lines and corners.
  • As flux core welding produces slag, so it’s better to use pull weld in flux-cored mig welder.

Can we use both processes on the same weld?

It’s up to you, but in conditions where a strong weld is needed with the appealing bead, you can use both methods together. Start with the pulling for a strong weld and then, push it back to the opposite side of the weld. Moreover, if you want to weld without gas, you’ll like to read how to mig weld without gas?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is meant by slag in MIG welding and how to clean it?

Slag is a non-metallic element that is formed during the weld to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contaminants and arc. For the additional pass, you have to remove it to get the work done successfully. Pull process is recommended when slag is on metal and according to the rule of thumb “ if there’s slag, you drag”. Further, you can remove it by grinding or brushing.

Q2. What’s the reason behind poor mig welds?

There can be many reasons but the most common mig welding defects are lack of experience, improper wire feed rate, high amperes, inaccurate gun angle, and fast welding speed.

Last Words

There is not any specific rule for push or pull mig welding and everyone has its own opinion regarding it. What we observed from experience is explained above and the more you try, the more you’ll learn about it. At end of the weld, your goal is to achieve the strong and aesthetic bead and it doesn’t matter by which technique you achieve it.

Josh Rogers

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