If you are searching for the best welding helmets, then this is the ideal guide for you. Safety is the number one reason people use welding helmet at their work. If welding is your profession or hobby, then you need to make sure that you keep your face and eyes safe at all times. There are a lot of dangers involved considering the welding process, and this makes the use of a helmet essential.
After extensive research, we recommend the 3M Speedglas 9100 as the best choice, due to its impressively high levels of functionality, fast ADF response and comfort. As a second choice, we recommend the Jackson Safety BH3, which is slightly higher priced because of its amazing technical features.
Before You Buy a Welding Helmet:
First and foremost, you need to protect your eyes from burning during the welding process. Wearing a helmet is by far the best and most safe way to achieve this. In addition to this, harmful fumes are caused during the process, which can be very dangerous for your health if you inhale them.
Another reason why welding helmets are a necessary part of your toolkit, is the fact that they offer protection from debris. During the welding process, the flames can cause damage to a number of parts of the martial being welded, which could jump around the place and burn you.
ALSO READ: Best Welding Helmets for Plasma Welding & Plasma Cutting
It becomes very clear that welding is a process that should be taken very seriously. The handyman should take all the necessary precautions in order to keep his face and body parts safe, starting from the welding helmet.
Those important facts are some of the main reasons why we decided to create this welding helmet guide. Hopefully, we can stress the benefits of its use and point out the appropriate usage of the helmet during this particular process.
Best Welding Helmets 2019
If you are looking for the best welding helmets of 2020, we have researched, used and reviewed 5 (plus one extra) auto darkening welding helmet models that you will love. They come in fairly decent prices considering their extremely high quality, and you can purchase them in an instant. Here is the list:
01 – Top pick – 3M Speedglas 9100
- 2.8 x 4.2 in. viewing area
- New comfortable headgear
- Sensitivity adjustment that allows use with all...
- SideWindows increase peripheral vision by over...
- For industrial/occupational use only; Not for...
To begin with, our first choice is an amazing auto darkening welding helmet, the 3M Speedglas 9100 (you can check it out here). Using the particular helmet, you are going to find out the difference between welding with an average helmet and a high quality model, like this one.
The 9100 has a great response time, resulting to switching very fast. It has a highly effective Auto Darkening Filter, which raises the level of protection towards the welder significantly. Users claim that they are 100% satisfied with the 9100, saying that they cannot recommend it enough.
Flashes are almost eliminated, and if you like working with a 180 degree view helmet, then you are going to be pleasantly surprised. The 3M company has made this possible, and the 3M Speedglas 9100 will allow you to work efficiently while having a clear view of your surroundings.
As you can understand, working with such a fascinating welding helmet, will introduce new levels of productivity and workflow for any type of welding process you might get into. Certainly, one of the best auto darkening welding helmets we can recommend for professional welders that want to invest into safety and optical clarity.
02 – Second choice – Jackson Safety BH3
- Jackson Safety BH3 Auto darkening filter lens...
- The Jackson Safety ADF has a variable shade range...
- The lightweight, high-density plastic shell helps...
- Meets ANSI/ISEA Z87.1+2010 standard for high mass...
- Comes with three headgear adjustments for the...
In case you are aiming for high visibility during difficult welding projects, then the Jackson Safety BH3 might be the perfect solution for you. This auto darkening helmet wears one of the best and most accurate welding lenses in the field, taking the optical clarity to the next level.
Apart from its legendary durability, the BH3 is designed to help the welder work conveniently even under the roughest circumstances. Being extremely comfortable, this welding helmet provides blue color filter along with remarkable flexibility, which makes welding as comfortable as possible.
If you work regularly in confined or tight places, then you should take the Jackson Safety BH3 into serious consideration. It combined high optical quality, strong structure and comfort, offering great levels of protection, making it the perfect welding helmet for all types of welding processes, no matter the place or the conditions that surround the user.
03 – Esab Sentinel A50
- Revolutionary shell design - high impact...
- Halo headgear - ergonomic, infinitely-adjustable 5...
- 3.93 x 2.36 in. (100 x 60 mm) viewing area....
- Color touch screen control panel with 8 separate...
- Hard hat adapter option available for use with...
Moving forward, the next welding helmet cannot be placed among the most lightweight helmet models of the industry due to its technical features. That said, the Esab Sentinel A50 is an auto darkening welding helmet of amazing durability and comfort, which is going to enhance the work convenience of the welder instantly.
The lens of the particular helmet provides true color and high level optical clarity, which will result in absolute accuracy when it comes to projects that require detail and special care. It has a great design, looking very professional, and its strong shell guarantees that it will keep the welder safe even under the harshest conditions.
The lens of the helmet has a curved shape, which though it can help the user acquire a wider view, it can also sometimes cause glares to appear, which is a fact for most curved lenses. Lastly, the Esab Sentinel A50 sits comfortably even when flipped due to the small distance it keeps from the welder’s head.
04 – Optrel Panoramaxx
- ISOFIT Headgear
- AUTOPILOT - Detection of the arc brightness and...
- TRUE COLOR - A specially developed UV/IR filter...
- LIGHT STATE 2.5 - The much brighter view of your...
If you are a professional welder, you can easily understand and appreciate the importance of auto pilot mode on an auto darkening welding helmet. This is a great advantage of the Optrel Panoramaxx which you can check out here, that makes any welding process fun, safe and easier than ever.
The helmet offers wide view with an extended field so that it doesn’t restrict the visibility of the user. What is more, it sits very comfortably on any type of head, and it enhances the freedom of movement while eliminating body lassitude because of its little weight.
As far as the optical clarity is concerned, the Optrel Panoramaxx offers true color making any welding process as convenient as possible. The accuracy of the lens is great, and the stiff structure of the helmet makes it a great choice for welders that are looking to purchase a high quality welding helmet model.
05 – Lincoln Electric Viking 3350
- 4C Lens Technology improves visibility and reduces...
- Better clarity, real color view - 1/1/1/1 Optical...
- Superior comfort with the pivot style headgear
- Increased battery life
- 3 year warranty
As a welder, you ought to be aiming for high functionality in order to boost your workflow to the maximum. The Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 is going to improve the levels of your productivity significantly, because of the simple fact that it has a flawless functionality.
The clarity of this welding helmet, and its ability to offer detailed view of the puddle, puts it between the best welding helmet models as far as visibility is concerned. The gold filters and the color variations that it offers, make it convenient for the welder to work accurately and have an even better understanding of the smallest metal joints.
Designed to prevent eye and body fatigue from welding long hours, it is fairly lightweight and provides a wide view for better results. Tip for the welders that are going to purchase the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350: you can use the Grind Mode in order to inspect your joints, as it impressively light and clean.
A welding helmet worth mentioning
06 – Miller Electric Digital Infinity
- ClearLight Lens Technology allows more colors of...
- Maximizes visibility with 13.4 sq. in. viewing...
- Four independent arc sensors provide superior lens...
- Four operating modes (Weld, Cut, Grind, and...
- Redesigned headgear with oversized comfort cushion...
Apart from the 5 welding helmet we reviewed above, we have an extra one that is worth mentioning among the best welding helmet models in the market. The Miller Digital Infinity is a great choice for every welder that want to invest into fast ADF response, clean view and safety way above average.
One of the main advantages of the this welding mask is the fact that it is very easy to adjust. The knobs and buttons placed on the particular helmet are pretty easy to configure, and it takes little to no time to take a good understanding of how to make the helmet function properly according to your specific needs.
If you tend to work in places that light changes regularly, then the autoset feature of the Miller Electric Digital Infinity is going to provide massive value for you. The extended view area and the comfort of this welding helmets are two of the main factors you need to take into account if you are interested in this auto darkening welding helmet.
Cheap welding helmets
Beginner and hobbyist welders tend to look for cheap welding helmets without many requirements. This happens because they do not use their helmets as often as pro welders, or because they don’t usually weld under difficult circumstances or in restrictive workplaces.
Below, we have reviewed some of the cheapest welding helmets in the market:
01 – Top pick – Antra AH7-860-0000
- 【Safety & Protection】Passive Filter with...
- 【Comfort & Convenience】Luxury large viewing...
- 【Performance】4 Premium redundant arc sensors,...
- 【Reliability】Interference Suppression...
- 【Versatility】A great personal protection...
This welding helmet is our top choice among the best cheap welding helmets. The Antra AH7-860-0000 has a great viewing area of decent size, and provides an extended viewing area for the welder in order to weld properly.
The additional sensors help the helmet darken easily at all welding angles, protecting the eyes of the user more effectively. Additionally, the visibility is clearer raising the accuracy levels. For way under $100, this is a must-have auto darkening welding helmet.
02 – Second choice – Tacklife PAH03D
- 【Auto Darkening Quickly】 The professional...
- 【Clear Large Vision】 An experience welder will...
- 【Good Toughness And Light】 Our welder mask is...
- 【Flexible Adjustment】 You can fix the helmet...
- 【Wide Application And Replacement Accessories】...
Our second choice is a helmet that is the perfect solution for welders on a limited budget. The Tacklife PAH03D has great levels of functionality, a resistant exterior part and very easy-to-use controls that will allow the user to make his own adjustments within minutes.
It feels very comfortable on the head, and the user can also adjust it to fit even better for more convenience. As far as visibility goes, it has an extended view field and a very clean lens.
03 – Dekopro Solar Powered Welding Helmet
- OPTIMAL EYE PROTECTION: Auto-darkening filter...
- CLEAN COMFORTABLE VIEW: Equipped with standard...
- INTELLIGENT, PRACTICAL AND COST-EFFECTIVE: The...
- MANUAL ADJUSTMENT MEETING DIFFERENT DEMANDS:...
- GOOD FOR VARIOUS WORKING ENVIRONMENTS: Recommended...
When it comes to durability, longevity and strength while on a restricted budget, then the Dekopro Solar Powered Welding Helmet is the ideal choice. A solid exterior part, along with an amazing design are only two of the advantages this welding helmet has to offer.
The helmet is fit for most welding processes as well as grinding, and is completely functional during longer projects. It is pretty comfortable, and helps prevent eye fatigue due to its quality lens.
04 – Tanox ADF-206S
- TOP OF THE LINE WELDING HEADGEAR: The TANOX AUTO...
- COMPLETE EYE SAFETY: The TANOX AUTO DARKENING...
- FUNCTIONAL AND EASY TO USE: The TANOX SOLAR...
- 20$ BONUS inside: Every TANOX AUTO DARKENING...
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: We know you will be...
If you want more features than you pay for, with this particular welding mask it is possible! The Tanox ADF-206S which you can find here, has several indicators such low battery light and a test switch, which make the usage of the helmet extremely convenient.
The welding helmet works great with any of the most common welding processes, the design is simple but elegant, and the structure seems strong enough to last for several years before you need to buy a new helmet.
05 – Antra AH6-260-0000
- 【Safety & Protection】 Passive Filter with...
- 【Comfort & Convenience】 Very light total...
- 【Performance】 4 Premium redundant arc sensors,...
- 【Reliability】 Interference Suppression...
- 【Versatility】 A great personal protection...
As our last recommendation, we have decided to include another welding helmet by Antra. The Antra AH6-260-0000 which you can find here, is an Amazon best seller and for a good couple of reasons.
It has amazing clarity, especially considering its extremely affordable price, and it comes with several extra lens covers in the package. The helmet offers decent visibility, clean and crisp. One thing we should mention, is the slight difficulty regarding the adjustments due to the small headband.
Welding helmets for women
If you are a woman and welding is your hobby, then most likely you are going to need a nice welding helmet to keep you safe during the hours you devote into joining metals and other materials. Protection comes first, no matter if you are a hobbyist, a beginner or a professional woman welder with years of experience.
Usually, it is more convenient for women to carry less weight than men, especially while working, since they have les body mass and hence they are less stronger. This is why, we need to research for lightweight, yet very functional and protective welding helmets.
In case welding is not your profession, I am assuming that you either won’t be able or not be willing to spend a fortune on acquiring the most expensive welding helmet in the market, at least not in the beginning stages.
That said, investing in a quality protective head gear such as an auto darkening welding helmet in the range of $200 to $300, is going to guarantee that you will be welding under the safest circumstances possible.
Fortunately, for female hobbyists that are on a budget, there is a wide range of inexpensive welding helmet which you can find in well-known shops or marketplaces. This way, you will purchase a highly protective helmet in a logical price that will help you do your job perfectly.
Why choose welding as a woman?
First of all, woman or man, male or female, it is not important. Welding works great both as a profession and as a hobby. The reason why, is the fact that with the minimum investment for the most essential gear, you can start welding in any room of your home or workplace.
What is more, it is a very creative occupation, that gives the ability to the female welder to demonstrate her ideas and showcase her skills, regarding making designs and structures with all kinds of materials.
Furthermore, welding offers the opportunity to the beginner or hobbyist welder to become better over time with practice and time devotion. Experience matters a lot, and the more time you invest into specific welding methods, the better you are going to become in the future.
Another thing I would like to mention at this point, is the fact that welding is a fairly inexpensive hobby. Of course, you have to be able to sacrifice a certain budget in the beginning stages in order to acquire the necessary equipment and protective gear.
It becomes very affordable long-term though, because you can work with all kinds of materials, even those that people tend to throw away. Such materials can be found everywhere, such as in a garage sale or someplace similar.
Choosing welding as your main hobby, can prove to be a source for side income too. For example, you can make creations with affordable materials that people ask for, sell to them and make a profit.
How do you start as a female welder?
Starting as a female welder, especially when welding is not your profession, is a very pleasant experience. You need to clear your schedule and start with welding courses or lessons, or find an experienced mentor willing to teach you.
The second thing you need to consider, is finding a place where you weldings are going to take place. Some sustainable ideas, is to use your garage, basement or even your yard in case you like working outdoors.
When you search for a place, make sure that it is isolated from other people, so that the fumes or smoke produced during the procedure do not affect them. Additionally, take all the essential precautions to avoid potential accidents, such as installing a fire extinguisher in your workplace.
Last but not least, you must make sure that you have the minimum budget required in order to purchase the necessary equipment to start welding. Don’t forget the protective gear too, such as gloves, safety goggles, fire blankets and a welding helmet.
Best welding helmets for women
Being a woman welder, the first thing you need to know is how to raise your safety levels as high as possible. Purchasing one of these affordable, although highly protective welding helmets is a good way to start.
01 – Top pick – 3M Speedglas Steel Rose
- 1.73 x 3.66 viewing area
- Excellent optical quality
- Sensitivity adjustment allows use with most Stick,...
- Optical quality gives worker a good view of the...
- Attractive graphics designed to appeal to women
3M is one of the big names in the field of welding and for a good reason. They constantly provide their customers with high quality products, such the 3M Speedglas Steel Rose which you can find here.
If you are willing to spend a little more money, then you are going to end with this extremely valuable welding helmet. It is designed both for men and women welders since it is pretty lightweight, it has a shading range of 8 to 13 and four different modes: Weld, Cut and Grind, created to work efficiently for all types of welding projects and materials.
02 – Second choice – Jackson Safety 46131
- PREMIUM PIPE MEASURER: This easy to use marking...
- BEST VIEWING: This ADF helmet has a viewing area...
- DIGITAL CONTROL: With variable shades from 9 to...
- MULTI-USE WELDING: This variable auto darkening...
- SAFETY CERTIFICATIONS: This helmet provides...
Jackson Safety is a famous welding helmet manufacturer with many years of experience in the field of welding. The Jackson Safety 46131 which you can check here for more information, is a great example of their magnificent work regarding keeping female welders safe.
The particular unit is a variable shade welding helmet with an excellent ADF, fast darkening response time and a simple but elegant design. It has two modes, grind and weld, and it is an affordable solution for hobbyists that want to acquire a great head gear to start with.
03 – TGR Panoramic 180 View
- 4 Independent ARC sensors with adjustable...
- Lens auto-darkens in 1/10,000th of a second,...
- Grind: Protection against flying particles...
- Extra large viewing area and True Color...
- Certification: CE ANSI AS/NZS
If you like welding helmets with large viewing areas, then the TGR Panoramic 180 View is the right one for you. It has a significantly wider viewing area compared with similar helmets, providing the desired visibility enhancement that will help beginner and professional women welders.
Its optical class is considered top notch, and the headbands are going to help you adjust this head gear properly until it fits the shape of your head comfortably. It has quick response times, and its small weight will take away the pressure from the wearer.
04 – Instapark ADF Series GX990T
- Solar-powered welding helmet with 4 arc sensors...
- Revolutionary new design with convenient external...
- Wide range of variable shade adjustment from #5...
- Made of lightweight, yet durable composite...
- Suitable applications include Stick (arc welding),...
The Instapark ADF Series GX990T is a solar-powered auto darkening welding helmet, and it is one of the cheapest headgear solutions for girls that are into welding. For those on limited budgets, make sure that you check this helmet out.
The welding helmet comes with a variable shade lens, which is more than essential for those that want to rely on the protection of their welding helmet. It has a nice viewing area, large enough for most occasions, and it works greats for all types of welding processes, such as Stick, MIG or TIG.
05 – Sellstrom S26200
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN: This Sellstrom Welding Helmet...
- BEST VIEWING: ADF technology features internal...
- ADF ADVANTAGE: An auto-darkening filter easily...
- MULTIPLE MODES: Switch between weld and grind...
- SAFETY CERTIFICATIONS: Protecting user's eyes and...
Last but not least, the Sellstrom S26200 which you can find here, is an excellent auto darkening welding helmet for women welders, because despite being lightweight and easy-to-carry, it provides awesome face and eye protection, competing equally with more expensive welding masks.
This helmet by Sellstrom, works great for the majority of the welding methods, which is awesome if you are in the stage of searching and learning about the method you want to follow. It has a sufficient viewing area, adjustment knobs and a cheater lens for great visibility.
Conclusion for women welders
If you happen to be a woman welder, then taking care of your protection should be your priority. Learning how to weld requires time investment, and purchasing the right tools for the job.
Make sure that you have patience and practice daily if you want to achieve quality results, and take pleasure into your welding hobby.
The history of welding
Although there are facts that date the welding process back to the Bronze Age, the 19th century was the one that was responsible for the evolution of the welding due to electricity and the industrial revolution. This is the century that welding become a crucial part for the mass production of many industries, which started using the particular process to manufacture their products.
In the late 1880s the first electric weld was introduced into the market, and this was the beginning of the modern welding as we know it today. It evolved the majority of the industry, and it revolutionized the way and the speed with which products were manufactured.
In order to enhance the safety levels of their industries, the manufacturers started using welding helmets. Once the first helmet was introduced in the mid 1900s, it immediately became a must-have tool for the workers that were responsible for the welding process.
Since then, welding helmet have evolved technologically very fast, and they have become extremely safe in order to protect the users the best way possible.
What is welding
To begin with, welding is the process by which the worker manages to join two separate pieces of metal together, in order to secure them. Welding, is probably the strongest process of joining two pieces of metal, and this is why it can be applied to so many industries such as automotive or construction.
In order to achieve the bonding of the two separates pieces of metal, extreme temperatures of heat are used. Sometimes, other types of metals or gases are necessary in the process, so that the separates pieces become a new bonded piece.
There is a number of different welding methods that are used in the modern welding world. Some of the most common are:
- Gas welding
- Gas metal arc welding
- Arc welding
- Spot welding
- Underwater welding
These are 5 of the most common welding methods, although there are more methods which are applied according to the particular needs of each industry.
What is a welding helmet
The welding helmet is the main headgear workers use during the welding process. The purpose of the welding helmet is to offer protection to the user from the various dangers that the welding process causes.
The main dangers of the process and the reason why every welder must use a helmet for his protection is the ultraviolet light, the rays produced during the process, the jumping of debris around the place and extreme heat of the welding. There are also various other danger factors that make the use of the welding helmet absolutely necessary, but the ones mentioned are the ones that every welder should be aware of.
The last few decades the designs of the welding helmets have evolved rapidly. This is because manufacturers wanted not only a way to keep their workers safe (although this was their main concern and the initial purpose of the welding helmet), but also to design them in such ways that they will enhance the productivity of their workers too.
Where are welding helmets used
The main places where welding are used are the ones that arc welding takes place. Arc welding activities are very dangerous and every welder should very cautious. Such activities include shielded metal arc welding, gas metal or gas tungsten.
In order to boost the safety of those environment, manufacturers have to take extra protection measures regarding the welding environment in order to keep their workers safety at a high level. Such a precautions for instance could be to avoid having flammable materials in the workplace.
The benefits of a welding helmet
Before any welding process starts, it is absolutely necessary that the welder has worn his helmet. There is no better way to protect his face and eyes than the welding helmet. This is why wearing a helmet has become obligatory for every industry and manufacturer in order to protect their employees.
The main benefit of wearing a welding helmet is of course the face protection it offers to the user. With the helmet, the welder is able to avoid face burn and damages to his eyes, which may even become permanent if the eyes get exposed to the welding light and rays for too long.
That being said, even very a short exposal to the welding light could damage your eyes so it is advised that you avoid it without a welding helmet under any circumstances. In addition to this, the helmet may protect the welder from fumes produced during the process, which could hard him in many ways if inhaled.
Another huge benefit of using a welding helmet, is its ability to improve the welding process and making an easier task. It allows the welder to see significantly better and in more detail during the welding, which can lead to better and faster results.
In order to find out how a specific welding helmet could help you improve your work, you should do your research, read and test various types of welding helmets and their features. This way, you can determine which welding helmet is best for you and suits your needs.
How to choose the perfect welding helmet
There are various factors that determine which is the best welding helmet for you. Number one factor is the safety of the helmet. This is why we believe that you should invest your budget into buying the best welding helmet possible, so that you can make sure that you are appropriately protected.
Other than safety, for which the welding helmet is the best measure you can take, there are other features that you should look for in a welding helmet. Such features are the quality of the helmet, the material used to manufacture it and the available budget you have. Let’s take a closer look at the most important features.
What you should consider before buying a welding helmet
The weight of the helmet
Light-weighted helmet are mostly preferred by the welders and there is a good reason for that. Light helmets make the process of welding more comfortable for the workers, which means that he can work for more hours and be more productive.
Auto or passive darkening lens
Lens are a very important part of the welding helmet. They should be coat in such way that will help the welder see clearly and have a nice visual of every detail during the process. Passive lens come in 10 different shades and they are easier and more affordable to get. Auto lens on the other hand are preferred by the majority of the welders, as they are dark and very sensitive towards infrared materials and ultraviolet light.
How fast lens adjust
The speed with which the lens are able to auto adjust are a crucial factor when it comes to looking for features on a welding helmet. Various types of welding helmets have different lens switching speeds, and welders are advised to search for helmets with the fastest switching lens possible for better results.
Fixed and varying rays
Welders tend to make use of a wide variety of materials. This indicates that every helmet has a different usage. That said, it is a common rule that auto lens helmets are easier and faster to adjusts to different types of usage, whereas a welder should be able to acquire a number of different types of lens if he wanted to use passive lens. That last fact would make him les productive and would slow down his work significantly.
The safety standards of a welding helmet
In order to keep welders as safe as possible, there are some safety standards that should be met by every type of welding helmet. Such standards are the switching speed of the lens, or the levels of the lens darkening. The safety standards vary a lot between different countries, so you are advised to search for the standards of your own country before you purchase a welding helmet.
The two main types of welding helmets
There are two main types of welding helmets. The first one is the standard or most commonly known the passive type, and the second is the auto-darkening types. These two welding helmet types have some significant differences that you should be aware of before you purchase either type, and compare their pros and cons in order to make the best possible choice.
Here we go.
ALSO READ: Best Welding Helmets
Passive welding helmets
The difference considering the price is one of the first things you may notice when comparing these two types of helmets. Passive welding helmets are more affordable than the auto-darkening ones, which is due to the fact that it takes more to time to work with them properly.
They are considered very sturdy items, they are very hard to break and they will work under rough circumstances. The protection levels they provide are high, and they are very effective when it comes to welding.
Usually, they come with a 10 lens shade in the package, which is the standard, although you will most likely need other types of lens shades as well according to the needs of your work.
Passive or standard welding helmet are very easy to wear and start working with them in no time. You can wear them the same way you would wear any regular mask or helmet, and you take them off particularly easy too. You are advised to keep them on your head during the entire welding process.
The main downside of this type of welding helmet, is that it slows down the work. In order to check your work and manage to inspect all the details, it is necessary that you take off the helmet and start inspecting your project with a naked eye.
Passive welding helmets are best for experienced welder with trained eyes. Beginner welder should search and acquire and auto-darkening welding helmet, which is less time consuming and requires less experience from the user. The passive welding helmet that I highly recommend is the Jackson Safety Fixed Shade W10 HSL 100, and you can check it on Amazon.
Auto-darkening welding helmets
The second type, the auto-darkening welding helmets use a more evolved technology than the passive ones, and they have the ability to get darker automatically each time they spot bright light or rays coming from the welding or actually any light or ray source.
These helmets have the ability to protect the users eyes even when their lens is not active. This is extremely helpful for the welder, and enhances the safety levels of the helmet to the maximum. When the lends is not active, the shade sits at around 3 or 4 (this depends solely on the type of welding helmet).
Everyone can understand, that with auto-darkening welding helmets the welding process becomes easier, faster and safer. These three factors guarantee that the productivity of the welder will remain high, and that the work will take less time than with the use of a passive welding helmet.
Most important of all, your eyes and face stay protected during the entire welding process, without having to remove and put the helmet on your head multiple times. In contrast to the passive welding helmet, you can use the auto-darkening one to inspect your work while wearing it.
One minor disadvantage of the auto-darkening helmets is the fact that they require electricity in order to function. Of course, there battery-powered welding helmets available, which make the work much easier, and they provide additional convenience to the welder.
The second minor disadvantage is their price. Auto-darkening welding helmets are more expensive than passive ones due to their technology, so if you are looking to buy one you should make sure that you have the appropriate budget to do so. One of the best choices regarding auto-darkening welding helmets is the Jackson Safety 46131, and you can check its price on Amazon.
How to take care of your welding helmet
You need to take care of your welding helmet in order to keep functioning properly within the safest standards possible. You need to make sure that you are not taking any health risks, and caring for your helmet is the best way possible to ensure this.
In addition, welding helmet, especially auto-darkening ones are not cheap tools. You should keep in mind that the longevity and functionality of your helmet depends on the amount of time you spend into taking care of it.
Make a case of searching regularly for potential damages in the exterior parts of the welding helmet, such as cracks or scratches. Managing to fix such issues, will help your welding helmet function better and help your with your work.
Here are some ways you can take care of your welding helmet:
1 – Inspect for damages
Either as a professional welder or as a hobbyist, you must make sure that your helmet has no damages. It is advised that you make a quick check before and after every welding process, and a really in depth check every once in a while, such as once every two or three weeks.
Inspections will help you prevent any serious problems concerning your welding helmet. In order to be able to anticipate any fore coming issues that may threaten your health or the quality of your work, you should inspect thoroughly your welding helmet after a long period of time of not using it.
A thing that you are advised to really focus on is the lens. The lens must be inspected in detail because they are the means that keep your eyes safe. If you spot any damages on the lens, no matter how minor they may seem, make a case of changing with another lens. The money you are going to spend is worth considering the troubles and time it will save you.
2 – Clean the helmet often
The purpose is to prevent any issues concerning your welding helmet, before they actually happen. This is the reason why most welders clean their helmet regularly and this is the reason why you should too.
Cleaning the welding helmet is also another opportunity to check it for potential damages. In order to keep the functionality of your helmet at its best, make a case of searching for the cleaning products that the brand and the manufacturer recommend for the particular helmet.
There is a wide variety of cleaning products for your welding helmet. One that is a high quality product and I recommend using on your helmet is the Meguiar’s M4. The particular product is a heavy cut cleaner, which can restore scratches and minor crack easily. Check Meguiar’s M4 price on Amazon.
3 – Instructions from the manufacturer
In order to operate your welding helmet to its full potential, you should always refer to the manual provided by the manufacturer, no matter how experienced you are. Different welding helmets have different functionalities, and sometimes manufacturers add new ones that are not found on all welding helmet models.
Take the time to read the manual carefully and learn about the specifications and detailed technicalities of the helmet you have purchased. The manufacturer always knows better and guide you through the process regarding how to use the helmet, how to take care of it, how to clean it and where to store it properly.
4 – Make proper use of the helmet
Do not use the helmet for processes other than the ones that it was designed for. For instance, you should take an ordinary auto-darkening welding helmet and use it for an underwater welding work. It is more than certain that you are going to face many dangers, and your well-being depends on helmet.
If you are looking for helmets for a particular welding process, talk with the salesperson and ask him for the specifications of the welding helmet you want to buy. He will point you to the right direction, and this way you are going to make sure that the helmet you purchase is the right tool for the job.
Where to store your welding helmet
You need to store your welding helmet properly to protect from outer factors, such as the weather or dust. Like the taking care part of the helmet, proper storage will be a crucial factor if you want to keep your helmet functional and extent its longevity.
The first thing you need to do, is keep the helmet away from areas that a lot of people have access to. This way you minimize the risks and the potential damage that people may accidentally cause to your helmet.
Make sure, that you store the welding helmet at a higher ground to ensure that no one will come in contact with it. A nice idea is to place is to the top shelf of a shelving unit, like the AmazonBasics 5-Shelf unit that I personally use to store heavy things.
In order to protect the lens, which is the most sensitive part of the welding helmet, you are advised to wrap it with a soft cloth or bubble paper for extra protection. In addition to this, you could place the helmet into a thick bag before you put it on the shelving unit. This way you are going to protect it from damages and dust.
How to repair a welding helmet
One thing is certain. The time will come that you will need to repair your welding helmet. Like all things, helmets require maintenance and various types of repair over time. When the time comes, the first thing you need to do is inspect the helmet and spot the problem. After you find out what the problem is, you can then search for a solution.
Firstly, the difficulty levels of the issue you are facing. Is it something you can repair on your own, or is it something that requires a specialist? If you are not sure, you should definitely refer to a specialist. He will have the knowledge and will be able to tell what to do.
Check the batteries. If the battery of the auto-darkening welding helmet is too old, it may not be able to store solar power any more. Search for the problem and find out if the battery is still functional. If it’s not, you must replace it with a new one to restore the helmet.
Next step is the lens. You need to check for any damages on the lens to secure its functionality. If the helmet is old, make a thorough inspection to determine whether or not the lens works well. In case the glass has even minor cracks, you will have to replace it as a whole because it is not going to be functional any more.
If you want to repair the lens on your own, you will have to know the drill. You need to start by unscrewing the exterior part of the glass which is called the frame, and unplug the glass carefully from the circuit board in order to remove it. For better results, you should buy a new lens glass provided by the same manufacturer that designed the welding helmet.
Same goes for the headband straps. It is best to buy straps from the same manufacturer that designed the welding helmet, because most of the times manufacturers use different kinds of mounts for their helmets. Again, if you want to do this alone rather than refer to a specialist, you simply need to unscrew the mount, which you can find at the exterior part of the helmet in case the helmet does not have snap-in headbands.
ALSO READ: Best Welding Helmets for Air Carbon Arc Cutting (CAC)
5 necessary welding tools and accessories
1 – Welding gloves
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Welding gloves are one of the most important accessories you are going to need in order to work properly. They protect your fingers during the welding process from serious nerve damages and the extreme temperatures produced during the welding.
Of course there is a wide variety of welding gloves available in the market, but the ones that I personally use and recommend are the RAPICCA Leather Forge Welding Gloves, which you can find on Amazon. They are very thick gloves, protect the skin and the fingers effectively from molten metal and rays because they are made of high quality leather, while being comfortable for the welder
2 – Angle grinder
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Angle grinder is a tool you will most likely going to need during the welding process, so it is essential that you invest some of your money into purchasing one of high quality. It is the tool which helps with almost any work associated with welding such as smoothing projects cutting metal or remove paint from an object.
The model that I have found does an amazing job with all those tasks is the Makita 9564CV. Personally, I think it is a high quality tool, with a very sturdy structure and extremely stable while cutting metal. It doesn’t get warm too easily and has the ability to eject eternal material such as debris or dust that tend to enter the tool during the welding, to keep it safe and functional at all times.
3 – Chop Saw
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Both for professional welders and hobbyists, it is sure that the chop saw is an essential tool, which will definitely make the construction process faster and more convenient. Chops saws are powerful tools that cut smoothly through metal without causing damages to the blade. They come in different sizes and work with several types of blades, having various speed levels.
In order to upper the quality of your work, you need to acquire a power chop saw that is going to make the job as convenient as it gets for you. This is why the saw that I use is the one that I am proud to own and I highly recommend, the Evolution Power Tools RAGE2, which you can find on Amazon.
4 – Welding blanket
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Welding blankets are another essential accessory if you are one of those that want to invest on safety overall. They are an extremely protective measure for the welders, as they prevent skin burns and serious injuries that may be caused by the debris or rays.
If you want to be sure that you have taken all the precautions necessary for the safety and convenience for yourself and your co-workers, acquiring a high quality welding blanket like the MCR Safety 38063 is a must. The particular blanket is a heavy product made of leather, and it offers extreme protection from heat, flames, sparks and cuts.
5 – Welder generator
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Power supply plays an important role when it comes to welding. Although welder generator are not the most affordable tool you will need to acquire, they are a necessary and reliable source of power for the welding process, as I am sure experienced welders would agree.
One of the best welder generators that I have come across is the DuroMax XP15000EH. It is a machine that works exceptionally well in exterior places and it has a total power of 12.000 watts. The generator’s engine works with gas, and it shuts off automatically when the oil gets low.
It makes the work of the welder as convenient as it gets, with the help of its control panel and light indicators about oil quantity, volt metering and power situation. In my opinion, one of the best tools to invest if you take your profession seriously.
How much does a welding helmet cost?
Investing money into a welding helmet of great quality is probably the smartest move for a welder, no matter professional or beginner. Having the best protection possible during dangerous welding processes is going to be the number one reason for effective work, productivity and safety under all circumstances.
If you search the market, you are going to find large numbers of different welding helmet in all price ranges. For instance, you may start from the cheaper ones which are the easiest solution for those on very tight budgets, such as the Solar Powered Welding Helmet by DekoPro for way under $100.
On the other hand, if you are serious about welding and you want the best type of protection for your face or respiratory system, you will most likely want to look for premium helmet models. A great example, is the Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, which has some of the best specifications and features for the welding industry.
How much to spend on a welding helmet?
To answer the question of “how much does a welding helmet cost”, we have to take into consideration the available budget o the buyer, and the usage intention regarding the head gear. Generally speaking, for professionals, being able to purchase a high quality auto darkening welding helmet is always recommended.
Money aside, you have to make sure that you aim for a significantly protective helmet, ANSI and OSHA approved, so that you are certain that it has passed all the necessary durability tests. Remember, that putting your personal health in danger is not worth saving a few bucks.
Most welding helmets, start at the price point of $50. Although there are models that go beyond that, I would recommend that you set a quality limit so that you can make sure that you get functional welding mask that won’t let you down in the middle of your work.
Getting to the more expensive side of things, you can find welding helmet models even for more than $500. These are usually technologically advanced auto darkening welding helmets, such as the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 MP which you can check out here.
Deciding on the helmet model that suits you best, depends on several factors, such as the usage intensity and how regularly you will be using the welding helmet. Furthermore, for rougher work situations, like overhead welding or huge pipeline constructions, the specifications of the helmet should increase accordingly.
Starting with a cheap welding helmet
For beginner welders, starting with a low-priced welding helmet model might be the best solution. The reason why, is the fact that they have to test the waters and find out if the profession of the welder is the right one for them.
This fact makes investing a lot of money into an expensive welding helmet an unnecessary expense, since there is always the possibility of quitting. Fortunately, there are lots of affordable welding helmets, both passive and auto darkening, that can offer the desired protection, visibility and comfort.
If you want to get an idea about what type of affordable welding helmet to search for, take a look at the Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet. Although being significantly low-priced, the helmet offers a wide variety of features to boost the workflow of the welder.
Investing in a quality welding helmet
If you have already made your mind, and you are about to get into welding professionally, having a budget and investing your money into a high quality welding helmet is a must. The welding helmet specifications tend to increase dramatically, when you purchase a welding helmet within the price range of $150 to $300.
This is the point where thing to become interesting, since you can find lots of amazing auto darkening welding helmets with technological features that might surprise you. Speaking of which, you will have a bigger range of modes to choose from, more adjustment settings and awesome quality lenses and Auto Darkening Filters.
A magnificent welding helmet that I have used for years for more than one welding methods, is the Welding Helmet 3350 Series by Lincoln Electric. Since I am into TIG, MIG and Plasma, this multipurpose helmet has been one of the best choices I have made regarding convenience and functionality.
How much do passive welding helmets cost?
Passive welding helmets tend to be far more affordable in comparison to auto darkening helmets. This is due to their lack of technology, and the fact that they have to be used manually during welding. For instance, in order to work, you need to put the helmet on, and then put it off when you need to inspect the progress of your welding project.
That said, passive welding helmets have also been evolved and improved significantly by the manufacturers the last years, since they are still an essential tool for many welders. You can find some of the best passive welding helmets for less than $100 if you are into them.
A great passive helmet I have come across is the Jackson Safety 24737 WH10 HLX 100 which you can find here for more information. It is comfortable and very easy to wear on and off, and comes with a large viewing area for enhanced visibility.
How much do auto darkening welding helmets cost?
The higher cost of auto darkening welding helmets is due to the technological features that allow them to work automatically. Depending on the number and variety of the features and specifications, along with their size and their viewing area, their cost might increase.
A logical price range for an auto darkening welding helmet would be $100 to $400. Helmets priced around $200 would be the most regular choice for the average welder, since they offer everything the user needs in a fairly affordable price.
Such welding helmets tend to be the choice for most professionals. For instance, the Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet is an ideal solution, since it has 4 different modes, and can be used both for welding and cutting purposes.
In addition, the Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Steampunk Welding Helmet is a mush-have welding helmet if you are required to increase your productivity, since it offer fascinating optical clarity, along with an extended viewing area. Design-wise, it is one of the most eye-appealing welding helmets in the market, due to its amazingly detailed graphics that go along with it.
Finding the right welding helmets, whether it is passive or auto darkening, depends on the cost of the unit and the available budget of the buyer. No matter how much money you are willing to invest, there are lots of welding helmet models in all price ranges which offer sufficient functionality and comfort.
Make sure that you read the reviews and test the welding helmet you are about to purchase, and don’t hesitate to compare different models.
The optical clarity of a welding helmet
Although the initial purpose of the welding helmets is to protect the eyes and the face of the welder from fumes, ultraviolet and infrared rays and debris, the optical clarity of the welding helmet is one of the most important things someone should focus on before purchasing a helmet.
Safety is and will be the most essential specification of a welding helmet, but optical clarity should not be overlooked. The importance of optical clarity is major, because it can enhance the workflow and the productivity of the welder, making the welding process faster and more efficient.
Having the ability to see clearly through the lens of your welding helmet, allows out to work more precisely when it comes to thinner surfaces and more elegant metal pieces. Regarding auto darkening welding helmets, it allows the welders to make inspection of their welds more conveniently and thoroughly, not having to put their helmets off.
So, to avoid damaging the weld or taking wrong decisions during the welding process, manufacturers have focused on improving the optical clarity of their welding helmets, making the lenses as clear as possible, and the auto darkening filter better regarding the time response and light sensitivity.
Evaluation of the optical clarity
To make sure that the optical clarity of each welding helmets meets the necessary standards, every helmets has to go under thorough evaluation. There are 4 separate categories that are used in order to evaluate the quality of the optical clarity, and they have a scale (score) of 1 to 3, 1 being the highest rating.
When a welding helmet passes every category with the highest rating, it is commonly characterized as a 1/1/1/1 welding helmet, which means perfect rating. The last years, welding helmet manufacturers compete each other for creating helmets with the best optical clarity possible, which is a positive thing for welders. Let’s find out which are the 4 categories of evaluation for welding helmets:
1 – Optical class
The optical class of a welding helmet refers to how clear and accurate the visions of the helmet is. For instance, is you see everything blurry and distorted through the lens of your welding helmet, it could be rated as an optical class 3 welding helmet.
For example, a great welding helmet in terms of optical class is the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100. The 3M Company takes serious consideration into the demands of its customers, and has created this model and other high quality ones with top optical clarity.
2 – Diffusion of light
The particular class deals with low quality issues regarding the lens of the welding helmet. Such issues may occur during the manufacturing process, sue to false design or poor structuring of the lens. The quality of the lens depends on the quality of the materials used to create it. High quality materials and careful processing will lead to the manufacturing of a high quality lens which is going to be rated 1, regarding the diffusion of light class.
The lower the price of a welding helmet is, the poorer the quality of the lens is going to be. This is a disadvantage that comes with affordable-priced helmets. An example of an affordable auto darkening welding helmet is the Tanox Auto Darkening Welding Helmet ADF-206S. It is a very effective welding helmet, although it could be improved in terms of diffusion of light.
3 – Light consistency class
In order to find out how clear we can see through the lens of a welding helmet, we need to inspect all the pieces, even those that are not too visible, to make sure it is as effective as it should. Through the variations in luminous transmittance class, we can spot the dark or light spots that prevent us from seeing clearly.
To rate the particular class of a welding helmet, we need to focus on the functionality of its shades. As a general rule, welding helmets use shade 3 to 14. For welding purposes, shade 9 is the lowest point which a welder can use in order to weld.
To evaluate the welding helmet, we need to test the consistency of the shade, while working in different situations with various points of the lens. This way, the variations of the luminous transmittance of a lens shade can be ratted with accuracy, and determine whether they are functional or not.
What we are looking for is a rating of 1, for ideal functionality. With such rating, it means that the shades of the lens are equally delivered on its entire surface. An amazing welding helmet with top variation in luminous transmittance class, is the Miller 268618 CAT Edition 1 which you can find here.
4 – Angle dependence on luminous transmittance
The fourth and last category of welding helmet evaluation is the angle dependence on luminous transmittance. The rating of the particular class, determines whether the view of the welding helmet is clear, without having signs of blurriness, stretches or dark spots when seeing through the lens.
In addition to this, this category determines if the shade of the lens is evenly delivered on the surface of the lens, both when looking forward when wearing the welding helmet, as well as when looking downwards or upwards. This happens in order to decide if the helmet is appropriate for difficult positions, such as overhead welding.
If the quality of the lens is not too high, then we should be able to spot stretches or dark spots when working in such positions. One of the best welding helmets regarding the angle dependence on luminous transmittance, is the Jackson Safety TrueSight II which you can check on Amazon.
Why is the Optical Clarity of a welding helmet important?
The top rating regarding the optical clarity of welding helmets is the EN 379 1/1/1/1. This rating means that the welding helmet is of the highest quality, and the welder can see clearly through its lens, while it delivers even shade across the entire surface of the lens in all working positions.
In plain words, such auto darkening welding helmets have two main advantages. First of all, they offer the clearest view possible to the user, which means that he can work with great detail on his welding projects.
Their second advantage is the fact that they offer extreme protection no matter the circumstances. For example, if the welder works in several different positions, no matter their difficulty, the lens of the welding helmet is going to offer shade across the entire lens protecting their vision effectively.
The 1/1/1/1 rating is extremely difficult to find even among the most trustworthy and experienced welding helmet manufacturers. What is more, such rating is not a requirement by the National Safety Standards because of the difficulty to achieve it.
A great benefit of the welding helmet rating is that welder do not have to test manually the welding helmet in order to find out its quality level. They can research and read about the ratings of a particular welding helmet in all 4 categories, and determine whether it is the right helmet for them.
In addition to this, a lot of accidents during the testing of a welding helmet can be avoided. In order to determine the quality of the lens, welder had to test it in real welding condition. As a result, they could harm their eyes if a welding helmet was poorly manufactured.
Welding is one of the most difficult professions. Welders have to wear their welding helmets for long hours during the day, working under rough conditions and difficult positions. This is what makes the optical clarity of a welding helmet a very important factor when it comes to purchasing a helmet.
There is no argument that the clearer the view of a helmet the better. With a large viewing area and a high quality optical clarity like for instance those of the Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, the welder is able to weld properly, inspect his projects thoroughly and have a better understanding of his working environment while wearing the welding helmet.
While welding, the welders have to make adjustments constantly both to the welding arc and the positions they work in, in order to have a better view of the welding area and achieve more successful joints.
This is why, optical clarity is a major factor when it comes to welding with accuracy no matter what the position or the needs of each project. It is also a great time investment, because when you work accurately you do not need to return to the joint in order to repair damages or cracks.
Advantages of the optical clarity
As far professional welders are concerned, they are the best judges regarding the quality of a welding helmet. Optical clarity is an instant improvement regarding their weldings, and the process becomes a lot more comfortable and faster than with low quality welding helmets.
Being able to see clearly what the welder is welding, as well as being able to inspect thoroughly the project while the arc is inactive is a major advantage too. Additionally, when the arc is active, being able to see the welding area without distortions or black spots is the key for successful joints.
The enhancement of the productivity is another huge advantage of the optical clarity too. Because of the fact that welders have the ability to work with high quality welding helmets such as the Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Motorhead, they can work for longer periods of time without feeling the slightest sign of inconvenience.
Lastly eye fatigue is widely avoided when you don’t have to face distortions or malfunctions of the lens during the welding. If his eyes don’t get tired, then the welder can work more comfortably without having to make long breaks to rest them.
How does the viewing area affect the optical clarity?
The size of the viewing area plays a very important role as far as visibility is concerned. It allows the welder to have more flexibility when it comes to moving, as he gets a better view of the working area and the tools he operates.
A welding helmet with a high quality lens and a large viewing area, provides maximum convenience and accuracy to the user, while making the welding process a lot faster and mistake-free. A fascinating helmet that combines great optical clarity with a large viewing area is the Optrel VegaView 2.5 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet, which you can find here.
Regarding welding in tight places, welding helmets with large areas are an essential tools that will make the job a lot easier. When the welder has to work in an area with limited amount of space, he is not able to make as many moves as he usually does.
A large viewing area provides the desired visibility to the welder, so that he can make as minimal moves as possible by working right on point. This way, no matter the limited space, the precision of the welding remain at high levels, and the work of the welder is effective.
Finally, the positioning of the welding helmet is a factor that affects the viewing area and as a results the entire visibility of the welder. If the helmet stays tightly in position, the welder doesn’t have to adjust it in order to get the viewing area into place.
Having a stable welding helmet, allows you to take advantage of the size of the viewing area, which along with the high quality optical clarity is going to make the welding process a pleasure for the welder.
As we can see, there are a lot of reason why the optical clarity is an important factor when it comes to choosing the right welding helmet for our needs. Not only it determines the quality of our work, but the precisions and safety of the welder relies on it too.
Before you purchase a welding helmet, make sure you learn everything you can about its evaluation and ratings. In addition, make sure that you acquire a headgear that meets all National Safety Standards to keep yourself protected constantly.
10 things you need to know about the lens of your welding helmet
The lens of your welding helmet is among its most important parts and features. The first reason why, is because it keeps your face protected from debris and high temperature so that you can avoid face burns during welding.
The second equally important reason, is the fact that the filtering of the lens protects your vision. During welding, there are UV (ultraviolet) and IR (infrared) which are very harmful for the welders eyes, and his general health condition.
Keeping in mind the importance of acquiring a welding helmet with a high quality lens, it is common sense that we should take into consideration every feature and specification of our lens, so that we can make sure that we keep our safety standards to high levels.
The general quality of our welding helmet is also a critical factor regarding our safety. High quality welding helmets usually come with extremely effective protective lenses, such as the Welding Helmet Black 3350 Series by Lincoln Electric, and this why you should invest some money for better safety.
In this article, we have made a list with some of the things you NEED to know about the lens of your welding helmet, so that you can invest in a quality helmet that will keep you safe and will allow you to focus on your projects.
All the considerations that we recommend in this article, should be researched and test before you purchase your welding helmet. This way, you are going to be sure that you have acquired the right helmet model for your specific needs.
1 – Auto darkening or passive lens?
This question always comes first regarding lenses. Passive welding helmets were used worldwide for decades by welders effectively, until the auto darkening helmets started making their appearance. In just a few years, they almost replaced the passive helmets for being more convenient and far safer.
The automatic features of the auto darkening welding helmets are their main disadvantage. They get activated one the welder strikes the arc, and they keep him protected even if their electronic stop working, although not as well as when they are completely functional.
All auto darkening helmets need to pass the National Safety Standards, which means that they have been tested multiple times for maximum protection. This means that every welding helmet that is available in the market, is absolutely effective and has no chance of failing. A great example is the Jackson Safety 46131 which you can find on Amazon.
They protect the welder from harmful rays that are produced during the welding process. Such harmful ray as mentioned above, are the UV and IR rays, which if not filtered by the lens can harm the vision of the user or even cause blindness.
There is a wide range of different shades applied by the auto darkening welding helmets, and that depends solely on the helmet model and the manufacturer. When low amps are applied the welder can use shade 8, and when high amps take place he can use up to shade 13.
Passive welding helmets, although they are the cheapest option they can be very inconvenient to use, especially if you are a beginner learning how to weld. You have to flip the into the right position just before you strike the arc, and many times you need to adjust them again for better fit.
Passive welding helmets such as the JACKSON SAFETY Passive Welding Helmet work significantly well and they are more than capable to protect the welder. Their main disadvantage is the fact that you have to list the helmet up and down during welding, when its time to inspect your project.
As a result, welder tend to get tired more easily, especially after several hours of welding. Passive helmets cause fatigue and sometimes even neck problems or injuries, which are a result of the constant putting on and off of the welding helmet.
Another disadvantage of the passive welding helmets, is the fact that because of the lack of automatic features, its possible to fail locking into position in time. This can lead to small arc flashes that may hurt the eyes of the welder, depending on the exposure to the arc and the amp power.
It get very clear, that auto darkening welding helmets have a lot to offer regarding safety and productivity, especially to inexperienced welders. If you are just starting with welding, it would be my advise to acquire a quality helmet for your projects.
2 – Number of lens shade
It is a common mistake for most people to misunderstand the meaning of the shade number. The majority of beginner welders, tend to think that the bigger the number of shade, the bigger the protection of their vision.
The truth is, that all welding helmet, especially quality welding helmets with nice structure and highly protective designs can filter out the entire amount of Ultraviolet and Infrared rays produced during the welding for maximum protection.
The number of the shade, is an indicator of the darkness provided by the particular lens. It is advisable that welders use it to determine which shade is the most comfortable for their specific projects, and then adjust the lens to what works best for them.
In order to see as clearly as possible, you should use the shade numbers provided by the manufacturer as a guide, and then decide if you need to up them or not. The best practice in my opinion, is to choose the shade that allows you to inspect your projects clearly when the arc is off.
3 – Variable or fixed shade
Regarding the type of shade, you have to choose between variable shade lens or fixed shade lens, assuming that you have already decided on auto darkening welding helmets. The decision is up to you, and you should decide depending on the needs of your projects.
If you usually weld a variety of different materials that need different welding methods, such as TIG, MIG or stick welding, then it advisable to go with a helmet that has variable shade lens such as the Hobart 770756 Impact Variable Auto-Dark Helmet which you can check here.
Variable shade lenses protect you better when it comes to using different amperage ranges and arc brightness. This means that the shade is going to adjust accordingly, and will allow you to see better when the arc is not active.
On the other hand, if you are using specific welding methods for similar or a single material then you should go for a fixed shade lens welding helmet, such as the ArcOne S240-10-0300 Hawk Fixed Front Welding Helmet. Fixed shades lenses darken to a specific shade. The most common shade is 10.
4 – Reaction time
The lens reaction time is another very important feature welder should take into consideration. The reaction time is responsible for the time it takes a lens to darken. This means that the lens is going to have a low shade close to natural light, for example 3 or 4, and it will take a specific amount of time since the arc is activated to go up to higher shades ranging from 10 to 13.
From the above, we can understand that auto darkening welding helmet lenses with quicker reaction times, such as the Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, are going to protect more effectively the vision of the welder.
If you are welding a lot of projects in a single day, meaning that you work long hours and you strike the arc quite a few times, then it is recommended that you look for a welding helmet with quick reaction time. This way you are going to make sure that your eyes stay protected at all times.
In case you weld many hours a day with a low-reaction time welding helmet, you are going to find out that your eyes are going to feel tired very soon by the arc light. Try to go for welding helmets with shade lenses with a reaction time of less than a millisecond which cannot be perceived by the human eye.
5 – Solar powered vs battery welding helmets
This is up to the personal preference of the welder. There are no differences regarding the convenience these two types offer to the user. They mainly are two different power sources, which are both very effective and can be used for most types of welding.
One main disadvantage of the battery-powered welding helmets, is that they have a features that shuts the battery off after some time of inactivity. That means that the lens stops darkening too, so in case the welder is not cautious enough and strikes the arc, he could get flashed.
6 – Size of the lens
Another very important factor for welders that determines which welding helmet is the right one for particular welding projects. A large viewing area results in a larger lens, which is critical for the convenience of the welder.
The larger the size of the lens, the better the visibility of the user. This is especially helpful for tight spaces, where the welder is more restricted than when working in open places and needs to work with fewer moves.
Having a good perception of the surrounding environment, makes it easier for the welder to decide how to position the stick or gun which strikes the arc, or help him inspect his projects more thoroughly leaving no details out.
Optical clarity is a huge advantage for welding helmets. Auto darkening welding helmets with large viewing areas and significantly high levels of optical clarity such as the Instapark ADF Series GX990T which you can find here, are preferred by the welders for the convenience they offer and the fact that they enhance the user’s productivity.
7 – Light sensitivity controls
These controls allow the adjustment of the lens reaction time and its sensitivity to light. The more sensitive a welding helmet is to light, the easier its lens darkens when a source of light is detected by its sensors.
Usually, all types of welding helmets no matter how affordable or expensive they are, offer light sensitivity controls. You can use them to adjust how easy you want your lens to darken, especially during high amperage projects.
On the other hand, if you are working under the sun or under powerful light, you can adjust them to activate the darkening of the lens more difficult, so that the other light sources don’t confuse your lens. You will find them extremely helpful for welding methods such as TIG, that work with low amperages.
8 – Delay controls
Delay controls determine how long the lens I going to stay dark, after the welding arc is not active any more. When working in projects that require high amperages, longer delays are especially helpful because they offer higher protection levels from harmful rays that last longer periods of time, such as molten metal.
In contrast to this, for welding tasks that require faster transition to other positions, smaller delays are ideal. This way, you are allowed to start welding other areas of the same project, without having to wait too long.
9 – The number of sensors
Basic level welding helmet usually have two sensors, whereas professional welding helmets tend to have around three or four sensors. The bigger the number of sensors, the higher the coverage for the welder, which results to better protection.
Out-of-position welding requires fours sensors for better coverage and protection for the welder. When you have a specific sight towards where you want to work, then two or three sensors might be enough in order to do the job properly.
A great example of an auto darkening welding helmet with four sensors is the Pyramex Safety WHAM3030GB Leadhead Auto Darkening Welding Helmet. It has great coverage, and works great if you weld in spaces that other welders work too.
10 – The lens manufacturer
Last but not least, the manufacturer of the welding helmet and the lens is another factor that will help you decide what helmet to acquire. You should prefer trustful manufacturers, that offer high quality welding helmets. This way you make sure that you stay protected and that you do the best job possible regarding welding.
To sum up, these are the 10 things you need to know about the lens of your welding helmet. Test the quality of the lens before you purchase the helmet, and make sure that it is ideal for the specific needs of your projects.
Coming to end of this guide, safety comes first considering welding helmets. You need to make sure that the welding helmet you are going to choose meets all the necessary National Health Standards, and take care of it so that you extend its longevity and keep its functionality to the highest standards.
Keep in mind that you are going to use your helmet for a long time, for bigger and smaller project, so make sure that you acquire a comfortable and effective one that is going to help you do your work properly, in detail and without unnecessary distractions.
Keep researching, and the best welding helmet for you!