Welding calls for a great deal of skill, whether you are a professional welder or a hobby fabricator who welds once in a while. Electrode selection is critical to any welding process since it determines the weld strength, ease of cleanup, and bead quality.
Welding electrodes come in different types and sizes, but the 7014 and 7018 are the most popular welding rods out there.
Although these two electrodes are designed for different applications, some welders especially, beginners may be in a dilemma when choosing between the two options.
In this blog post, we are going to compare the 7018 vs. 7014 welding rod to help you decide the best out of the two.
The 7014 is mainly used to weld mild steel alloys. It is an all-position welding rod that is generally easy to use and learn with.
On the other hand, the 7018 is a low-hydrogen welding rod. It offers a better deposition rate and deep penetration. But unlike 7014 that is ideal for beginner users, 7018 is somewhat sophisticated and requires a high level of skill.
Here is a quick comparison of the two welding rods
The 7014 Welding Rod
The 7014 welding rod is a Titania iron powder coated electrode that can be used in all four welding positions (i.e., F, V, OH, H). It is primarily used for welding mild steel and low metal alloys and provides medium to high deposition rates.
The 7014 welding rod is characterized by a smooth bead appearance, low spatter, and quick slag removal. It is also easy to handle, making it ideal for hobby and household welding.
However, it is important to note that 7014 welding rod amperage settings vary from one manufacturer to the other, so you may want to check the user manual when setting your welding current.
7018 welding rod overview
Much like the 7014 welding electrode, the 7018 is also an arc welding electrode that is used to produce high-quality arc welds. It is used in all welding positions, and it is ideal for jobs that require high deposition rates and spatter-free arc.
And just like 7014, it has smooth arc characteristics, excellent bead shape, and easy slag removal. While it provides strong welds, it might pose controls issues, especially for beginners.
What is a 7018 rod used for?
The main selling point of this welding rod is its ability to tolerate materials with poor weldability, such as high Silicon and Sulphur steels. It also excels in out-of-position welding applications and the ability to deliver x-ray quality welds. In addition, it offers higher strength joints, better penetration, and faster welding.
The welding rod is ideal for welding both low and high carbon steel. Other applications include the construction of hard-steel structures, bridge construction, among others.
What is the difference between 7014 and 7018 welding rods?
As you’ve noticed so far, both welding rods offer almost similar features and specifications. You can use both of them in any welding position, and they provide the same tensile strength.
So, what sets them apart? Let’s find out
i. Electrode coating
The main structural difference between 7014 and 7018 is the flux coating. 7014 comes with Titania iron powder coating. The coat protects the welded metals from damage while helping to stabilize the arc. In addition, it improves the quality of the weld by ensuring less spatter and safer slag removal.
On the other hand, 7018 features a low-hydrogen iron powder coat, which is critical in ensuring good weld quality. Ideally, low-hydrogen electrodes are often used to weld high-strength carbon steels. They are also used in power generation industries and applications that involve highly-sensitive base metal.
The low-hydrogen coat also offers high strength that is required to produce a tough bead without cracking down.
Out of the two welding rods, the 7014 is the easiest to use. It is ideal for light welding projects and is mostly used in household welding or to teach beginner welders. Besides, you can use it with any application involving mild steel fabrication. Typical applications include ornamental iron fabrication, sheet metal, general fabrication and maintenance, frames, and more.
On the contrary, the 7018 welding is ideal for professional and heavy-duty welding. It is mainly used to weld high carbon steels, and it is the best choice for joining hard-to-weld steel and steel alloys. Typical applications include welding of piping and fittings, structural bridges, shipbuilding, among others.
7018 being a low-hydrogen electrode, must be stored away from moisture to function optimally. Excessive moisture can degrade the weld quality and is the leading cause of weld porosity.
In addition, high moisture in this electrode is associated with high levels of diffusible hydrogen that results in hydrogen-induced cracking issues, often in the heat-affected zone. As such, it is important to keep this electrode away from moist and damp storage conditions.
On the other hand, 7014 is not affected by damp or moist conditions, making it easier to store than 7018.
However, all welding rods must be dry and moisture-free containers to ensure they remain in optimal condition.
The 7014 welding rod is ideal for all welding in all positions and can be run on AC, straight (DCEN), or reverse (DCEP) polarities. However, DCEP is by far the most used polarity. You can also run it on AC or DCEN, but these setups yield less penetration.
Much like 7014, a 7018 electrode is used in all welding positions. However, it runs on AC and DCEP polarity only. It is also not recommended to run this wire with a low-voltage AC welding machine i.e, a welder with less than 90V AC output.
7014 vs. 7018 welding rod—Which is right for you?
Whether you are a seasoned metal fabricator or learning the trade, you’ll need to have a good grasp of both 7014 and 7018 welding rods and how they are used.
We believe that now you’re in a position to choose what works for your application needs and what doesn’t.
Here is a short summary to help you make that final decision.
7014 is the best option if:
- You’re looking for a welding rod that is easy to use
- You want something simple and straightforward
- You want something for handling DIY activities around the home
- You want something that’s easy to store
You can choose 7018 if:
- You want something for heavy-duty and professional use
- You want a multipurpose electrode for welding or tacking carbon steels, including hardened steels
- You’re looking for an electrode with a deep, penetrating arc.