Stick welding is a popular and versatile welding technique that is used in a wide range of applications, but the one question that has stumped many welding enthusiasts is “Is the stick welding electrode positive or negative?” This simple yet crucial aspect of stick welding can have a significant impact on the quality and strength of your welds. 

Whether you’re a seasoned welder or just starting out, understanding the polarity of stick welding electrodes is essential for producing top-notch welding results. 

So, buckle up and get ready to discover the ins and outs of stick welding electrode polarity!

Introduction to Stick Welding Electrode  

Stick welding, also called SMAW (shielded metal arc welding), is a type of welding where a metal filler electrode coated in flux is used to join metal parts. 

The electrode is held by a holder and manually moved along the metal. As it melts, it releases a protective flux and acts as the filler material for the weld. 

The right electrode must be chosen for the specific welding application and metal being welded.

Basics of Stick Welding Electrodes 

Stick welding electrodes are metal filler material coated in flux used in stick welding to join metal parts. 

They release the flux for protection and shielding and also act as the filler material for the weld. Different types of electrodes exist for various welding applications and it’s important to choose the right one for the metal being welded and the welding conditions. 

Understanding the basics of stick welding electrodes can improve your welding results.

Is stick welding electrode positive or negative?

Stick welding uses a manual electrode that is moved along the metal parts to be welded. 

The electrode is connected to the welding machine using direct current (DC) power and the electrode’s polarity, either positive or negative, determines the flow of electrical current during the welding process. 

Usually, the electrode is negative and the metal parts are positive (DC electrode negative or DCEN), but in some cases, the electrode can be positive and the metal parts negative (direct current electrode positive or DCEP). 

The right polarity depends on the welding application and the metal being welded.

How to Determine the Correct Amperage for Your Welding Project?

Welding requires the correct amount of electrical current, or amperage, to create a strong and stable weld.

Using the wrong amperage can result in a weak weld or damage to the metal parts.

Consult Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Adjust Based on Welding Conditions

Start with Lower Amperage

Monitor the Weld

Is Stick Welding Electrode Positive Or Negative?

Determining the Polarity of Stick Welding Electrodes 

5 Steps to Determine the Polarity of Stick Welding Electrodes:

  1. Look at the Electrode Label: Most electrodes are labeled with the appropriate polarity, either Direct Current Electrode Positive (DCEP) or Direct Current Electrode Negative (DCEN).
  2. Choose the Right Polarity: The polarity should be chosen based on the type of electrode being used. DCEP is used when welding with coated electrodes, while DCEN is used for welding with uncoated electrodes.
  3. Understand the Impact of Polarity: The choice of polarity affects the transfer of electrons from the electrode to the metal workpiece, with DCEP producing a spray transfer and DCEN producing a globular transfer.
  4. Avoid Using the Wrong Polarity: Using the wrong polarity can lead to a lack of fusion, porosity, and other defects in the weld. It is important to choose the right polarity to achieve better quality, penetration, and efficiency.
  5. Consider the Cost: The choice of polarity can also affect the electrode consumption and overall cost of the welding process, so it is important to choose wisely.

Unleash Your Welding Potential: Discover the Correct Polarity for Stick Welding Electrodes Today!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Positive and Negative Polarity 

Stick welding is a popular welding method that uses a consumable electrode covered in flux to create an electric arc between the electrode and the metal being welded. The electrode can have either a positive or negative polarity. 

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each polarity is important for making informed decisions about which polarity to use for specific welding applications.

Positive Polarity: 



Negative Polarity: 



Real-World Applications of Positive and Negative Polarity in Stick Welding

Stick welding is a widely used welding method that is popular for its versatility, affordability, and ease of use. The polarity of the electrode used in stick welding can have a significant impact on the quality and outcomes of the weld.

Positive polarity and negative polarity each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different real-world applications.

Positive Polarity Applications:

Negative Polarity Applications:

Is Stick Welding Electrode Positive Or Negative?

Factors That Affect the Choice of Polarity 

The choice of polarity in stick welding affects the quality and outcome of the weld. Here are the key factors to consider when choosing polarity:

  1. Thickness of metal: Positive polarity generates more heat and is ideal for welding thicker metal, while negative polarity generates less heat and is better for welding thin metal.
  2. Type of metal: The type of metal being welded can impact the choice of polarity, as different metals may require a different approach.
  3. Desired outcome: Positive polarity is often used for heavy-duty welding applications, while negative polarity is often used for welding thin metal and avoiding spatter.
  4. Welding environment: The welding environment, such as a confined space, can influence the choice of polarity to minimize spatter and fumes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Is stick welding electrode positive or negative? 

A: The electrode in stick welding is usually considered the positive pole, while the workpiece is considered the negative pole.

Q: What type of electrode is used in stick welding? 

A: Stick welding typically uses coated electrodes, made of a metal alloy and a flux coating.

Q: What is the main purpose of the flux coating in stick welding electrodes? 

A: The flux coating helps to protect the weld pool, stabilize the arc, and provide shielding from atmospheric contamination.

Q: What is the difference between AC and DC stick welding? 

A: AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) stick welding differ in the direction of the current flow. AC changes direction periodically, while DC flows in one direction only.

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of stick welding? 

A: Advantages include: versatility, low cost, ease of use, and ability to work in all positions. Disadvantages include: slow speed, limited penetration, and limited weld quality.

Q: Can stick welding be used on stainless steel? 

A: Yes, stick welding can be used on stainless steel, but the type of electrode used will depend on the grade of stainless steel and the welding application.


In stick welding, the electrode is typically considered the positive pole and the workpiece is considered the negative pole, known as reverse polarity. This setup helps concentrate heat in the electrode tip and provides increased penetration and reduced spatter during welding.