HookedinFishing » Tungsten Vs. Lead Weights

Tungsten Vs. Lead Weights: What’s the Difference?

The biggest difference between tungsten and lead weights is their density. Tungsten weights are denser than lead which allows them to pack more weight in a smaller package. The higher density also allows tungsten to transfer more vibration up to the angler so they better know what’s happening at the end of their line. The other major difference is tungsten weights are more expensive than lead.

Comparison between tungsten vs lead fishing weights

Advantages of Tungsten Weights

  • Smaller – Fishing weights are used for utility, not their attractiveness. In almost every situation you want to minimize the sight of your weight. The best weight would be invisible, which unfortunately isn’t possible. The next best thing we can do is use smaller weights. Tungsten packs more weight into a smaller package.
  • More Sensitive – When fishing bottom contact baits you need to know what is happening on the end of your line. You need to know whether your bait is dragging over a stump or sliding across gravel best most importantly, you need know when you get a bite. Tungsten is much more sensitive than lead so it transfers more feeling up your line.
  • Better Quality – Tungsten weights have a clean, polished finish that is always consistent. Lead on the other hand is poured into a mold which can be inconsistent. This can create sharp edges that weaken your line overtime.
  • Louder – Another advantage of being denser is tungten produces more sound as it bumps into structure. That additional sound can draw in bass from further distances.
  • Better for Environment
Size comparison between lead and tungsten weights

Advantages of Lead Weights

The advantage of lead weights is their cheaper cost. On average, lead weights are 32% cheaper than tungsten weights. This discount really adds up when you get hung up and break off often. Weights get lost and the replacement cost can really add up over time.

Are lead weights safe?

Lead weights are safe for humans to handle but have a negative impact on the environment. The main threat from lead weights is to waterfowl. Waterfowl often eat pieces of lead weights by mistaking them for seeds. These pieces break down into their bloodstream and can cause lead poisoning.

What’s Better Tungsten or Lead Weights?

Tungsten weights are better for fishing than lead. The only advantage lead weights have is the lower cost. If the advantages of tungsten are worth the higher cost will vary from person to person.

If you are brand new to fishing or if the cost turns your off then lead is the clear choice. You will lose weights as you fish, especially when you’re new. The additional purchases can really add up. You will still catch fish even without using all the best tackle.

If you are fishing for money, want all the advantages possible, lead weights are illegal in your state, or have the financial means to the point where the cost isn’t a factor then tungsten is the best option. If you have invested in buying a sensitive rod then why not spend a few extra dollars for the maximum sensitivity advantage.


Is tungsten heavier than lead?

Tungsten is denser than lead which means it is heavier than the same size lead.

Why does tungsten sink faster than lead?

Tungsten is denser than lead which allows it to pack more weight in a smaller package. The smaller size allows tungsten to move through the water faster than lead which has a larger surface size.

Are lead weights illegal?

There are restrictions on the use of lead weights in New York, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington. Lead weights are legal in all the other 42 states.

Is tungsten safer than lead?

If you are looking for something safer to use instead of lead for your weights, tungsten is a good alternative. Tungsten is safer and has a lesser impact on the environment.

Will lead weights rust?

Lead weights cannot rust. Lead is one of the most stable metals which makes it resistant to rust. It can however develop a gray patina which only affects its appearance.