What are 308 Welding Rods Used For?

Written By: Liam Bryant

Reviewed By: Russell Egan

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Welding rods are one of the most important parts of your welding setup. These parts function as electrodes, beginning the arc between your welding machine and the metal you are working with. Different types of welding rods differ in terms of polarity, strength, and other properties. This means you have to choose wisely when starting your project so you are using the right welding rod.

A 308 welding rod is the electrode used in stick welding. These rods are perfect for welding stainless steel. They are versatile electrodes that are great for any situation where you are welding steel, including electrical, manufacturing, and other industries.

E308L TIG Stainless Steel Rod
  • For welding 19% chromium – 9% nickel austenitic stainless steels such as 304L, 308 L
  • Available diameters: 0.030", 0.035", 0.045", 1/16", 3/32", 1/8", 5/32" and 3/16"
  • Available Packages: 1 Lb, 2 Lb, 5 Lb, 10 Lb and 11Lb

Here is what you need to know about the properties of this welding rod, which is a little different from other welding rods you might encounter.

308 stick welding rod

Properties of the 308 Welding Rod

Before getting into what a 308 welding rod is used for, let’s explain what makes this welding rod different from other welding rods first. To figure out which welding rods to use, you need to understand the basic properties first. The properties determine how the welding rod interacts with different metals.


The 308 welding rods are versatile because you can use them with a few different types of current. The polarity is important; you need to choose a welding rod that works with the polarity of your welding machine. Otherwise, your weld won’t work.

Note that 308 welding rods work best with DC+ currents. You can also use them with AC currents, but only old welding machines use this type of current, so it is a situation that won’t arise in a workshop with mostly modern equipment. 

Tensile Strength

Most welding rods have four digit welding numbers, with the first two digits representing the tensile strength in ten thousand psi. However, 308 welding rods are different since they have only three digits. Most manufacturer specifications say that this welding rod has a tensile strength of a whopping 75,000 psi. That means these welding rods are very resistant to cracking under pressure, making them perfect for heavy-duty applications.


Penetration describes how deep into the metal the welding rod can go. It is difficult to find penetration information for the 308 welding rod, but experience shows it has a medium penetration with versatile uses.

308L vs 308H

There are actually two different kinds of 308 welding rods:

  • 308L
  • 308H

What is the difference between the two, and when should you use them?

First, let’s talk about what 308 welding rods are made of. These welding rods are made of steel because they are designed for welding steel. 

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, which means that you get a lot of different types of steel depending on the exact composition and ratio of the alloy. For welding steel with a low carbon ratio, 308L welding rods are perfect. On the other hand, 308H welding rods are for welding high-carbon steel. 

The carbon content matters because the more carbon a piece of steel has, the stronger it is. The strength also makes it harder to work with, which is why you need a welding rod that matches its carbon content and resistance.

What are 308 Welding Rods Used For?

Now that you understand the properties of this welding rod, let’s talk about what it is used for.

Welders use 308 welding rods to work with austenitic steel. Austenitic steel is a steel alloy that contains iron, carbon, chromium, nickel, and other metals in smaller quantities. These steels have special properties. They harden only when you use cold working methods and are not magnetic. Austenitic steel is very popular because of its durability, so you will encounter it very often when you work.

Stainless steel alloys are further divided into different categories. There are 200-series, 300-series, and 400-series. These series differ in the composition of their alloys. The 308 welding rods are great for welding 200-series steel and 300-series steel that is graded 308 or less.

The 308 welding rods provide a quality weld when working with steel, including excellent corrosion resistance, high resistance to cracking, and easy weldability, making it perfect for beginners. It is popular in many industrial applications that require working with steel but primarily in the electrical industry. 

You can also use them for other materials, such as aluminum, but steel is the most common application.

Types of Welding Suited for a 308 Welding Rod

You can use 308 welding rods for a few different types of welding, including: 

  1. TIG welding
  2. Stick welding
  3. DCEP welding
  4. Single pass welding
  5. Multiple pass welding

Final Thoughts

If you are working with steel, it’s good to have 308 welding rods in your toolkit. You can use them for steel graded 308 or lower and for smooth, corrosion-resistant welding.