6011 Vs 6013 Welding Rod: How Do They Differ?

Welding rod joins two pieces of metal by producing an electric arc. This arc creates an extremely high temperature, causing them to melt and fuse together in a strong bond. So, choosing the best electrode for your weld job type is crucial because the end product depends on it.

If you are newly into welding and don’t know much about the 6011 and 6013 rods, this article is a must-read for you. Here I have tried to explain their formula in an easy way.

So, which one is better between the 6011 vs 6013 welding rod?

In a short answer, both of them are flexible, all-position electrodes that work with both AC and DC. Choosing one depends on what your welding job requires. 6011 has more penetration capability while its counterpart gives off a seamless finish and cleaner appearance.

E6011 Electrode

If you are new in the world of welding you might wonder about the 6011 welding rod meaning. It is a classification for the welding rod or electrodes from the American Welding Society (AWS). Electrodes having different characteristics are classified using this standard, such as E6010, E6011, E6013, E7018, etc.

Now, let’s see what this E6011 means. The prefix “E” indicates an arc welding electrode or welding rod. The next two characters indicate the tensile strength which is 60 here. 60 specifies the tensile strength of a 6011 rod is 60,000 psi.

The fourth character in E6011 is “1” which indicates the welding positions. It means 6011 can weld in all positions- flat, overhead, vertical, and horizontal. And the last character tells us the flux coating of the rod, the suitable current type, and the penetration capacity.

Now, we can see the last character is 1 which means the electrode coating used is cellulose potassium, the appropriate current type is AC and DCEP and the penetration level is light.

E6013 Electrode

Now you may ask, what about the 6013 welding rod meaning? As I have said it’s E6013, so the tensile strength here is the same, 60,000 psi. The third character here is the same as before, which is “1”, meaning it can be welded from every position- horizontal, vertical, flat, and overhead. However, it is difficult to run the electrode vertically upward position compared to the 6011 rods.

As we can see, the last number is different from the previously mentioned rod. Here it is “3” which indicates the flux coating used here is rutile potassium. Again, the current type this electrode can be used with is AC, DCEP, and DCEN. Lastly, the penetration level here is deep.

Now that we have understood the basic characteristics both of the electrode’s formula discloses about them, let’s dive into deeper details.

6013 Vs 6011 Welding Rod: Head-To-Head Comparison

Coming to the great debate in the welding world, what is the difference between 6011 and 6013 welding rods? Here’s a quick comparison chart before we start pointing out their differences.

Considered Factor 6011 6013
Tensile Strength 60,000psi 60,000psi
Electrode Coating Cellulose Potassium Rutile Potassium
Arc Nature Violent Very Stable
Welding Position All All but difficult to run uphill
Slag Characteristics Thin Dense
Penetration Deep Light
Cooling Time Faster Slower
Application Thicker metal or where the appearance does not matter much Smooth finished welds where appearance matters


Both the 6011 and the 6013 work with AC and DC power supply. AC stands for alternating current. It changes the direction of the flow periodically. DC stands for direct where the direction of the current flow remains the same. Now here is a difference between them. While the 6013 rod works with both the DCEP and DCEN polarity, the 6011 one can operate only in DCEP.

Now, DCEN or straight polarity has deeper penetration. Metals having high melting points such as cast iron, stainless steel, titanium, etc. are joined by DCEN. On the other hand, DCEP has lesser penetration but good arc and oxide cleaning action. It provides welds with a nicer appearance. Metals with low melting points such as aluminum, copper, etc. are joined by DC+.

You won’t get the advantage of working with DC- polarity using 6011 electrodes. They only operate on the positive or reverse polarity of DC, making it less flexible to work with. Whereas, 6013 rod offers more versatility by working with both DC+ and DC- because of the rutile potassium-based flux coating.


Both of them can be welded in all positions be it flat, overhead, horizontal, or vertical. But, unlike the 6011 electrodes, the 6013 welding rod has a soft arc. As a result, it is difficult to work with them when traveling in an uphill position. So, if you need to weld on walls, dragging the rod in the upward direction might be tougher with 6013 rods than its 6011 counterparts.

Tensile Strength

The tensile strength of a material indicates the resistance it shows before breaking due to longitudinal stress. From both of their formula, we can see their tensile strength is 60,000 psi which means they can take this much force before breaking.

Arc Characteristics

6011 has a violent arc, the slag is kind of thin and flaky. However, this arc can be manipulated by whipping it. As the arc is very strong, which is why it is easier to strike with 6011 electrodes. But the oxide cleaning action by the arc is not much good. As a result, the weld produced has a poor appearance.

On the other hand, the 6013 electrodes have a softer arc that is more appropriate for shorter welds. Here the oxide cleaning action is much better than the previously mentioned one, making the produced weld’s appearance and finishing more seamless.


Penetration means the depth a fusion reaches into the base metal from the surface during the welding process. The degree of weld penetration is current. More amperage means greater welding current causes deep penetration. On the contrary, less amperage means, decrease in welding current, making the penetration profile to be lighter.

6013 welding rod amperage is less, which is why lesser current flows from the electrode to the base metal. As a result, it can’t go that deep into the metallic workpiece. That being said, 6011 welding rod amperage is greater, causing more current flow through the base metal from the welding rod. This is why it digs deeper into the metal.

So, if you are working with a thicker metal sheet or sturdy stainless steel, 6013 can be a better choice for you, considering its deep penetration power. For thin metal sheets, or soft metals like copper, aluminum, etc. will be okay to weld with 6011 welding rods having a light to medium penetration profile.


6013 rod’s arc characteristics are softer. You can do short or irregular welds with them. Whereas, the E6011 welding rod has a fiercer arc but it is easier to manipulate it by whipping. If you struggle to keep your hand steady while welding, this can be a great option for you to weld with.

Now, if you ask me, what is the best welding rod for a beginner? My answer will be, both of them are pretty manageable electrodes for beginners. Just a tip, make sure the rod is dry before you weld. These electrodes easily collect the moisture from the air, making it kind of wet. Wetter they are, there is more chance they will stick and splatter. This will ruin the appearance of the end result.


Coming to one of the frequently asked questions, what is a 6011 welding rod used for? As it can penetrate deeper thick and sturdy material like steel, stainless steel, titanium, etc. can be welded using this welding rod. But the oxide cleaning action is not that good because of its fierce arc. This is why the appearance and the finishing of the welds are not that aesthetically pleasing. Rusty, greasy, or painted surfaces can be welded easily with this electrode. Welders choose this while doing repair or maintenance jobs.

Now, what is 6013 welding rod used for? Because of its soft arc and low amperage rating, it can’t penetrate rusty, greasy, or painted surfaces. Its arc is not strong enough to weld materials with zinc coating on them.

So, what are 6013 rods good?

Well, they have better oxide cleaning capability, making the produced weld’s appearance visually pleasing. It gives off a seamless finishing which is why welders use it where appearance matters more. As a result, while building sculptures, metal furniture, or truck frames they pick this as the electrode.

6011 vs 6013 Welding Rod: Which One Is Suitable For You?

Coming back to the question, which is better 6011 or 6013 welding rod? As you can see both of the rods provide manageability, flexibility, and usefulness. Choosing one of them solely depends on your use case because they are both suitable in their own way.

6011 has a low decomposition rate. It cools down quickly making it perfect to weld in every position. 6011 welding rod uses a fierce arc with a high amperage rating, which is why it can penetrate deeper into the base materials. So, it can be a great option for everyday use when all you do is repairing. Thick material or rusty, painted, the greasy surface can be welded with it too.

On the other side, unlike the former one, 6013 doesn’t cool down fast. As a result, it is a little bit tougher to work with when you are traveling in the vertically upward position. But by operating on AC, DC+, and DC- it brings more versatility. Having a softer arc brings more manageability while working with it, which is another plus. But let me tell you, this arc is not strong enough to go through zinc, rust, paint, or grease like its counterpart. However, better oxide cleaning leaves off seamless finish and nice appearance on the end product. So, you can use it if appearance is a priority in your job. Just a tip, drag it slowly while welding. That way you can prevent trapping slag into the bead.

Final Verdict

Both the E6011 and E6013 are good all-position electrodes having high tensile strength. The difference between 6011 vs 6013 welding rod comes into the picture when we consider their arc characteristics, slag type, and penetration profile.

Again, while the 6013 can work with both the positive and negative polarity of DC, 6011 runs on only DC+. Though it lessens a bit of flexibility, you can stick weld perfectly with the reverse polarity of the direct current. So, keep your use case in mind and choose them accordingly.