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Water Cooled MIG Torch VS Air Cooled MIG Torch

20 Oct, 2022

Keeping welding equipment cool protects the power cable, torch, and consumables from damage caused by the radiant heat of the arc and the resistive heat from the electrical components in the welding circuit. More importantly, it provides more comfortable working conditions for operators and protects them from heat-related injuries.


Water Cooled MIG Torch

Coolant is drawn from a radiator unit generally integrated within or near the power source, then enters into the torch handle, neck, and consumables through a cooling hose inside the power cable. The coolant returns to the radiator, where the baffle system releases the heat absorbed by the coolant. Surrounding air and shielding gas further dissipate the heat from the welding arc.


Air Cooled MIG Torch

Surrounding air and shielding gas dissipate the heat that accumulates along the length of the welding circuit. It uses a much thicker copper cable than water cooled one, which allows the copper cable to transfer electricity to the torch without excessive heat generation due to electrical resistance. In contrast, water-cooled systems use relatively little copper in their power cables because the coolant carries the resistive heat away before it builds up and damages the equipment.



Water cooled MIG torch requires more equipment than air cooled one, not an ideal choice for applications that require portability. Transporting the cooling system and coolant hoses of a water cooled MIG torch can cause unnecessary downtime and reduce productivity. Therefore, it is most practical in stationary applications that rarely move. In contrast, air cooled MIG torch can be easily moved from one location to another within the shop or in the field.

Water Cooled MIG Torch

Water Cooled MIG Torch

Lightweight & Comfortable

In an industrial or construction environment where welding jobs are likely to last all day, a heavy, bulky, and difficult-to-handle welding torch can take a continuous physical toll on the operator.


Water cooled torch features a small size and is lightweight because water is more efficient than air at carrying away the heat that builds up from the arc and resistance heat. It uses fewer cable wires and has smaller torch parts, resulting in less operator fatigue.


Air cooled torch is typically heavier and more difficult to handle than water cooled torch. However, MIG welding torch manufacturers have different unique designs of the MIG torch, which greatly impact comfort and fatigue levels.


Weld Amperage

In general, air cooled MIG torch is rated for 150-600 amps, and water cooled MIG torch is rated for 300-600 amps. And it's worth noting that the MIG machine torch is rarely used to the limit of its duty cycle, which means it is better to buy a MIG machine torch rated at less than the maximum amperage it will face. For example, a 300-amp MIG torch is a much lighter and easier-to-handle solution compared to a 400-amp one.


In a word, water cooled systems are better for high amperage applications, and air cooled systems are better for low amperage applications.


Duty Cycle

The duty cycle is another factor closely related to the ampacity of the MIG machine torch. Exceeding the duty cycle of the torch can lead to operator pain, and also reduce weld quality and the life span of the gun and consumables.


You may notice that two MIG torch rated for the same amperage may have different duty cycles. Therefore, it is important to consider the amperage rating and duty cycle to assess the torch's capabilities accurately.



Deciding whether to use the water cooled or air cooled MIG torch can significantly impact productivity, operator efficiency, and equipment costs. But it is not an easy task. As one of the leading MIG welding machine manufacturers in China, GET STAR WELD can help you to find the most suitable one based on your needs. If you want to get more information about top-quality China MIG welding machine, please feel free to contact us at info@getstarweld.com!

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