About 316 welding rod you must need to know

A low carbon welding rod, the 316, is used for welding low carbon steel alloys. Traditionally, this rod and its variants have been used to weld type 304 and 316 stainless steels. And it is one of the popular stainless steel electrodes used to weld steel alloys. 

So should you pick this rod for your next welding task? Well, it depends on what you are welding. Below are some of the basic properties of the rod that should help you know when and on what type of steel to use it. 

All About 316/316l Welding Rod

316 welding rod

Mechanical properties of E316 rod

Tensile Strength70 Ksi
Yield StrengthNot Specified
Elongation30 %
Welding CurrentDCEP, AC
Welding PositionAll positions

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deposit composition of e-316

Weld metalCarbon (C)Chromium (Cr)Manganese (Mn)Molybdenum (Mo)Nickel (Ni)Phosphorous (P)Silicon (Si)Sulfur (S)Copper (Cu)
AWS Spec Max %0.04

welding parameters of 316/316L welding rod

DiameterCurrentAmp range (Flat)Amp range (V/OH)Voltage range
3/32”DCEP or AC70-8565-7524-28
1/8”DCEP or AC85-11080-9026-30
5/32”DCEP or AC110-140 100-120 28-32
3/16”DCEP or AC120-160110-130 28-32

316 welding rod specifications

So what are the 316 welding rod specifications? Starting with the 316 welding rod amperage, it varies based on the thickness of the rod. A 3/32 inch rod will have an amperage of between 70 and 85 amps.

A thicker rod of 3/16 will use an amperage of anywhere from 110-160 amps. As for the 316 welding rod polarity, it uses both DC and AC. Also, it can be used in all welding positions, but there are exceptions. 

The 316L-16 variant of this rod can be used in all welding positions except vertical down. The 316L-17 version, on the other hand, can be used only in flat and horizontal positions. This is mainly due to the difference in the chemical properties of the coatings of these different variants.

But we will get into that later on. When welding with this rod, the settings you use will also depend on the thickness of the rod. This rod also contains a number of chemicals, including nickel, silicon, molybdenum, and chromium.

316 welding rod uses

What is the 316 welding rod used for? Here are some common uses of this welding rod.

  • Used to welding austenitic steels that contain molybdenum
  • It is used in welding molybdenum steel with 18% chromium, 12% nickel, and 2% molybdenum, where corrosion-resistant properties are important
  • Welding equipment used in chemical and processing industries
  • Used to weld type 316 and 316L stainless steels

Is the 316 and 316L the same?

The 316 and 316L are not technically the same and differ in regard to their carbon content. The 316 has a higher carbon content than the 316L. The 316 has a maximum carbon of 0.08%, while the 316L has a maximum carbon content of 0.03%.

What is the 316L rod used for

The 316l is a low carbon electrode with low moisture absorption. So what is it used for?

  • Welding in chemical and petrochemical industries
  • Used in welding steel in the shipbuilding industry
  • For welding tanks and pipes
  • Used for welding in the food industry and welding heat exchangers

e316 vs e316l: Which one is better?

The two electrodes are used for different applications. The 316L is used to weld low carbon stainless steel compared to the 316. The 316L has better corrosion resistance, though. Thus if corrosion resistance is important, the 316L will be the ideal choice.

Differences between the E316L-15, E316L-16, and E316L-17

As mentioned earlier, the 316L-15, 316L-16, and 316L-17 differ based on their coating. The 316L-15 has a fast-freezing flux coating. Thanks to its coating, it has a self-peeling slag and is ideal for vertical down welding.

This rod is used in cryogenic and LNG applications where there is a requirement for impact toughness at low temperatures.

The 316L-16 welding rod has a rutile-based coating and also produces a self-peeling slag. This rod excels in applications that require a high degree of corrosion resistance.

The 316L-17 has a heavy coating and produces a concave bead with minimal ripple. Like the other two rods, it produces a slag that peels off on itself. It helps reduce the risk of pitting corrosion. It is ideal for welding types 316 and 316L stainless steel, where bead appearance is important. 

Frequently asked Questions

Can I weld 304 stainless steel with either a 308 or 316 electrode?

Yes, the general rule of thumb when it comes to welding stainless steel is to weld it with an electrode the same grade as the steel you are welding or a higher grade. Therefore, since the 308 rods and 316 rods are of a higher grade, you can use them for welding the type 304 stainless steel.

Can I weld 304 stainless steel to 316?

Yes, however, it is important to note that the 304 steel has a lower corrosion resistance than the 316. This will be the main challenge when welding these two metals together. To address if you can use the 309L rod, which will help keep the ferrite content low.

Also, it will be easier to weld the two metals using TIG. Achieving the right weld result will take some practice, though. 

Can I weld 316 stainless steel to carbon steel?

It is possible to weld 316 stainless steel to carbon steel. This can be done using TIG and MIG welding. Due to the difference in melting temperatures, it is recommended to use MIG welding when joining these two dissimilar metals.

Can I weld mild steel with a 316L rod?

Technically it is possible to weld mild steel with a 316L rod; however, it is not advisable. The resulting weld will have a low ferrite content, which can lead to hot cracking. The industry standard is to have a ferrite content of not less than 3.

When the 316L rod is used, its ferrite content will be diluted to below 4 or even 3. Generally speaking, it is not advisable to use a stainless steel rod on mild steel. But if you are to use one, the 309 is the one to use.

The 309 has a higher ferrite content of 13 than the 10 ferrite content of the 316L. This makes it a better choice for welding mild steel.


The 316 is a stainless steel rod used mainly to weld 316 and 316L stainless steel. It has a low carbon content that makes it ideal for low carbon steel welding applications. However, it has a lower ferrite content than the 309 rods.

As such, it is not suited to welding dissimilar stainless steels as the 309 rod is. It is, however, suited to welding different types of stainless steel, including types 304 and 308d. 

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