Rod ovens are heating devices that maintain electrodes at temperatures that prevent moisture absorption. They also “repair” compromised electrodes (those exposed to the atmosphere). Yes, you need a rod oven.
If you perform a lot of stick welding, you go through a lot of electrodes. You need a rod oven to protect your stock. If you don’t do a lot of stick welding, your electrodes sit around unused for a long time. You need a rod oven in that case as well.
Why Do I Need a Rod Oven?
In stick welding (SMAW), the most frequently used welding electrodes are coated with flux, which easily absorbs moisture from the air. This flux coating burns and releases a shielding gas that protects the weld pool from contaminants such as hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and others. If these contaminants enter the weld pool they will cause defects such as cracking, sputtering and porosity (worm holes.)
These defects are substantial. They compromise the strength of the weld, cause aberrations in the appearance of the welds and pose a slightly elevated risk to the operator.