How To Weld Stainless Steel Exhaust (Mig, Tig & Flux Core)

As you already know, Mig welding exhaust stands out for its overall characteristics; I’d love to share everything related to what I know about it.

So sight tight and get some education right here.

What Is An Exhaust?

Stainless Steel Exhaust
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In short words, an exhaust pipe is a component of a vehicle’s exhaust system designed to carry and direct the exhaust gasses produced during the combustion process out of the engine and away from the vehicle. Exhaust is a part of car.

Exhausts of a car helps in controlling the noise, improving the engine’s performance, directing fumes away & enhancing the rate of fuel consumption.

Can You Mig Weld Exhaust Pipe?

Mig Welding Stainless-Steel Exhaust
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Of course, you can use a mig welder to repair exhaust pipes.

In fact, Mig weld is the most suitable and convenient choice out there as it tends to work so beautifully in welding relatively thin metals. And you know that most of the exhaust pipes use thin metal, for lightweightness.

There are two ways you can follow mig weld exhausts. They are

1. Gasless mig welding exhaust (Flux cored welding)

You can MIG weld exhaust without using external shielding gas. This process is known as flux-cored welding. Flux-cored welding employs a wire electrode with a flux coating that generates a shielding gas when arc is created and the weld pool starts to melt the base metal. This self-generated gas helps protect the weld from atmospheric contamination.

Honestly speaking, flux cored self-shielding wire is better to use for welding exhaust instead of Mig. Basically, Mig weld has been engineered to utilize wire using gas.

2. Mig welding with gas 

According to experts, you better switch to the correct shielding gas to get your work done. Some of the basic and most popular choices are Helium, Argon, Oxygen, and Dioxide.

What Are the Requirements for Welding Exhaust Pipe ?

1. Gas Requirements:

Use a shielding gas with higher percentage of argon (typically 90-98%) for MIG welding stainless steel exhaust pipes. Argon provides effective protection against atmospheric contamination during the welding process.

2. Filler Metal Requirements:

Select a suitable stainless steel filler metal that matches the base grade of stainless steel. Common choices include 308L or 316L filler wires for welding 304 or 316 stainless steel exhaust pipes, respectively. You may use mild steel filler metal for the purpose too. Carbon steel is also good but not as the stainless or mild steel filler material.

3. Welder Machine Amperage:

Set the MIG welder to the appropriate amperage based on the thickness of the stainless steel exhaust pipes. Refer to welding procedure specifications (WPS) or manufacturer guidelines for recommended settings.

4. Torch and MIG Wire Requirements:

Use a MIG welding torch equipped with a suitable contact tip for stainless steel welding. Ensure that the torch is in good condition and properly calibrated.

Choose a stainless wire or mild steel wire with the correct diameter for the welding application. Common sizes for exhaust pipe welding are 0.030 inches (0.8 mm) or 0.035 inches (0.9 mm).

5. Safety Issues:

  • Ventilation: Welding stainless steel produces fumes, so ensure proper ventilation in the welding area or use local exhaust ventilation systems.
  • Protective Gear: Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including a welding helmet with a proper filter for stainless steel, welding gloves, long-sleeved clothing, and safety glasses.
  • Respiratory Protection: In confined or poorly ventilated spaces, use a respirator with a filter suitable for stainless steel welding fumes.

6. Environment Requirements:

  • Clean Surfaces: Ensure that the welding surfaces are clean and free from contaminants, such as oil, grease, or rust, to achieve high-quality welds.
  • Temperature Control: Welding in a controlled temperature environment is preferable to avoid issues such as overheating or rapid cooling, which can affect the metallurgical properties of the stainless steel.

7. Pre-Welding Preparation:

  • Fit-up: Ensure proper fit-up and alignment of the exhaust pipe components before welding to achieve sound and aesthetically pleasing welds.
  • Joint Design: Select an appropriate joint design for the application, such as a butt joint or lap joint, and prepare the edges accordingly.

8. Welding Technique:

Employ proper MIG welding techniques, including maintaining the correct torch angle, travel & wire speed, and weaving patterns for optimal penetration and bead appearance.

By adhering to these requirements, welders can achieve high-quality, durable welds when working on stainless steel exhaust pipes. It’s essential to follow industry standards, manufacturer guidelines, and safety protocols throughout the welding process.

How to Mig Weld Stainless Steel Exhaust (Step by Step)

Mig weld stainless steel exhaust can be a little trickier. But if you get familiar with the correct steps, the whole task will appear to be a piece of cake.

So let’s get into it

  • Step-1: Setting Up the Torch

To start it up, make sure you get your hands on the filler wire in terms of setting it up from the welder’s reel to the tip of the torch. Only around ¼” from the welding wire should stay visible on your torch’s end.

  • Step-2: Determining Correct Angle

Remember that the flame should provide a direct hit to the desired area. You’re allowed to get it by setting up the torch at a 30-degree angle from the end of the joints.

Talking about the travel angle, it must range anywhere from 5 to 15 degrees. Afterward, hold the gun at a degree of 90.

  • Step-3: Pulling the Beads Up

Let’s switch on the power straight away and draw the bead of the weld as gently as possible towards the final point. Using moderate speed and power is a good idea to eliminate the risk of forming spatters.

Is TIG or MIG better for exhaust

Choosing between TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) and MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding for exhaust depends on specific factors. They are-

  • Precision: TIG welding allows for precise control, making it suitable for thin exhaust materials. Mig welding lacks the feature here.
  • Clean Welds: TIG produces clean and aesthetically pleasing welds with minimal spatter compare to mig welding
  • Versatility: Suitable for various metals, including stainless steel and aluminum. While for mig welding you may need a spool gun for aluminum.
  • Speed: MIG welding is faster, making it efficient for large-scale exhaust production. TIG welding is generally slower than MIG, requiring more time for completion of weld bead. 
  • Ease of Use: MIG is user-friendly, making it accessible for both beginners and experienced welders. While TIG welding demands a higher skill level, making it better for experienced welders.
  • Cost-Effective: MIG welding equipment is often more affordable than TIG setups.

In conclusion, we may say that TIG is preferred for professional welders working on high-end exhaust systems with a focus on precision and aesthetics. And if efficiency and versatility is prioritized, then MIG is a suitable process for stainless steel exhaust pipe welding.

Which Welding Type Is Best for Welding Exhaust

Indeed, it won’t be fair to choose any of them as a clear winner in terms of welding types. Ask me why?

Because welders often choose them according to their own preferences. So let me give short briefs about them so that you can understand what suits your requirements:

  • Among different kinds of welding, Mig welding process is by far the easiest one used mostly by newbies in the auto industry. “Electrode” is the component that it generally uses.

Moreover, shielding gas tends to travel via welding guns. It’s an ideal pick if you can’t afford costly equipment.

  • Another technique to employ for successful welding the exhaust pipe is tig. You’ll need to apply pro techniques and both hands for tig welding. Let it be aluminum, nickel alloy, steel, or titanium; Tig is always an excellent option to go with.

But it is, at the same time, more pricey than the Mig welding.

  • Like the Mig welding, flux core also uses a power supply and constant wire. If you want to weld relatively thicker joints or metals, simply go with it. Plus, users choose it to reach in every direction while performing their desired welding projects.

But the bad part is that it may offer noxious fumes at times, which are harmful to both the environment and human beings.

Advice: If I share my personal opinion, then you better go with the MIG welding as it is way friendlier with the environment and pocket, as well as beginners.

Differences between 304 and 316 stainless steel exhaust?

  • 304 Stainless Steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. And 316 Stainless Steel contains 16-18% chromium, 10-14% nickel, 2% molybdenum.
  • 304 Stainless Steel has good corrosion resistance and is suitable for most atmospheric conditions. While corrosion resistance of 316 Stainless Steel is excellent, particularly in an aggressive environment.
  • 304 Stainless Steel does not contain molybdenum. While 316 Stainless Steel contains 2% molybdenum, enhancing corrosion resistance, especially in chloride-rich environments.
  • 304 Stainless Steel offers a bright and shiny appearance. And 316 Stainless Steel has a slightly darker, more matte finish compared to 304.
  • 304 Stainless Steel is suitable for high-temperature applications but may experience slight scaling at elevated temperatures. While 316 Stainless Steel is better resistant to scaling and retains strength at higher temperatures due to the presence of molybdenum.
  • 304 Stainless Steel is commonly used in exhaust systems, appliances, and architectural applications. While 316 Stainless Steel is preferred for applications where higher corrosion resistance is required, such as marine environments and chemical processing.
  • 304 Stainless Steel is generally more cost-effective than 316 stainless steel.
  • 304 Stainless Steel possesses excellent weldability, suitable for various welding processes compared to 316 stainless steel
  • 304 Stainless Steel is not susceptible to sensitization, while 316 type can be prone to sensitization during welding.
  • 304 Stainless Steel is commonly denoted as “18-8” stainless steel. And 316 Stainless Steel is often labeled as marine-grade stainless steel.

In summary, both 304 and 316 stainless steel are suitable for exhaust applications. 316 stainless steel is chosen for its superior corrosion resistance, especially in harsh environments.

The choice between the two depends on the specific requirements and environmental conditions of the exhaust system.

Best Mig Welder for Exhaust (Stainless Steel)

From my experience I have chosen 2 welders that are the best MIG welder for exhaust stainless steel Pipe welding.

1. Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder

Due to the control selector of voltage in five different positions, you’re allowed to weld stainless steel way smoothly with the Hobart 500559. The maker has added a double gauge regulator with a gas hose for your convenience.

Hobart 500559 Handler MIG Welder
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If the material you need to weld is up to ¼ inch, this one should really deserve a place on your top-priority list.

Design and Construction:

Weighing around 57lbs, it won’t eat up too much space in your garage for its compact design. And the build quality is also good enough, despite being a plastic-made frame.


To ensure optimal performance in stainless steel weld, the maker makes it compatible with flux-core wires. Thus, it works well on mild steel.


  • It incorporates a stable and smooth arc at every welding thickness.
  • Able to weld no less than ¼ in relatively mild steel (24 gauge).
  • Speaking of the feed range speed, it gets 40 to 700 IPM.
  • The built-in regulator lets you control it quite smoothly.
  • Friendly with aluminum, steel, and stainless steel.


  • A little weighty
  • Pricey a bit

Why Recommended:

If you want to weld mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel in the best way possible, give the Hobart 500559 a try.


Miller ELECTRIC MIG Welder features a 10ft mig gun, solenoid valve, dual regulator gauge, gas hose, and so on.

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That might be the reason behind its huge price tag. It works really nice on mild steel of 3/8-inch and stainless steel of 1/4-inch.

To add icing to the cake, you’ll get a fast-select drive roll, overload protection, smooth-start system, and many more striking specs right here.

Design and Construction:

It weighs no more than 49.89lbs, making it less weighty than the previous choice. And the overall construction appears to be sturdier as well.


Like my previous choice, Miller Mig Welder stands out for its flux-core wire consumables, which work great on the majority of mild steel.


  • CSA certified and suitable for mild stainless steel.
  • Thermal overall protection offers protection against overheating issues
  • Regulator with a material gauge of thickness to improve welding performance
  • Ideal for both hobbyist and farm jobs


  • Too pricey

Why Recommended:

For its professional features and versatility, it suits both hobbyists and professionals.

Best Mig Wire for Exhaust

 Among so many different choices, I’ve incorporated the 4 best MIG wires for exhaust. Let’s see what they are-

1. YES WELDER Flux Core Gasless Mig Wire

From offering smoother arc action to the easy-peasy welding operation, the YES WELDER Flux Core Gasless Mig Wire features all the standout features to take your welding performance to a new height.

YESWELDER Flux Core Gasless Mig Wire
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Moreover, it tends to provide lower spatter, hassle-free slag removal, and a decent bead appearance.

Why It Is Good for Stainless Exhaust:

Flux-cored wire seems to be a suitable choice when you need to weld stainless steel, and that’s what the YES WELDER comes in. With its 2 lbs spool, you can easily get your heavy projects done.

Gas Required or Not with That:

As the name suggests, it’s a flux-core gasless welding wire, so it won’t require any gas usage to perform the welding task.


  • Provides higher feed-ability, smoother arc action, and hassle-free weld
  • Able to perform both multi and single welding
  • Suitable for windy outdoor environment


  • Some people complained about its strength

Why Recommended:

If you’re looking for a mig wire that is easy to use and gives value for money, YESWELDER Mig Wire can be your cup of tea.

US Forge Welding Stainless Steel MIG Wire

Let it be a paper, dairy, textile dyeing, or even other chemical components, the US Forge Welding Stainless Steel MIG Wire can deal with every nook and cranny, making it a versatile welding wire in the current marketplace.

US Forge Welding Stainless Steel MIG Wire
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Like my previous choice, it’s also known for low spatter, and slag removal will be a breeze!

Why It Is Good for Stainless Exhaust:

The necessary components it gets are quite friendly with the stainless steel exhaust pipe. That is why anyone can pick this up to perform their desired stainless steel welding projects.

Gas Required or Not With That:

Yes, it requires shielding gas (CO2) of 25% as well Argon of 75%.


  • Capable of offering a cleaner, smoother, and brighter surface
  • Weighing around 2lbs, ensuring optimal feed ability
  • Works really well on a variety of materials


  • A bit pricey in this category

Why Recommended:

In this list, this is by far the most “easy-to-use” welding wire, making it ideal for beginners.

Guide To Choose Mig Wire For Exhaust Welding

What Size Wire to Weld Exhaust with Mig?

For those who are hungry for cleaner weld, using a welding wire of 0.030″ is a good idea. In contrast, the wire of 0.035-inch deposits relatively more metals, which is suitable only for filling gaps through welding.

What Should Be The Feed Quality?

Satisfying feed quality is quite necessary when it comes down to MIG weld stainless steel exhaust. In this case, nothing can beat the efficacy of helium. The Argon equally stands out if we talk about the better quality gas.

Moreover, each can improve the overall fluidity and penetration of the weld. As for the rate, both the feed and burn rates require to be 100% equal to ensure stable welding.

Spatter and Flow of Wire

Flow and spatter are considered to be an inconvenience and a captious factor during the weld. They make up pesky-little molten balls of metal, which get stuck around your welding gun and obstacle gas flow. Thus, injuries to welders, excess loss of metal, and sticking to tooling/workpieces may occur.

To get rid of the occurrence of spatter, make sure you use the correct wire, choose a clean workplace, and strictly eliminate the usage of incorrect consumables.

Last Words

That was all about the mig welding stainless steel exhaust. Along with the necessary information regarding welding exhaust, I’ve added the 4 best MIG welders and MIG wires for exhaust. Try any of these out, and you’ll thank me later.

Good luck and happy welding.

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