If you are a welder or aspire to be one, you know that the most important consideration when it comes to welding is safety. One of the most widely known pieces of protective equipment is the welding helmet. There are many types, and it can be difficult to know which one is the best for you. In this article, we will answer commonly asked questions about welding helmets and provide a list of the best welding helmets.
1. What Is A Welding Helmet?
A welding helmet is a piece of protective equipment used during welding activity to protect the head, face, eyes, and neck. This type of headgear protects the face, eyes, and neck from ultraviolet light, flash burn, infrared light, sparks, and heat.
They are typically used with arc welding processes such as gas tungsten arc welding, shielded metal arc welding, and gas metal arc welding. These helmets prevent retina burns and arc eye, both of which are eye injuries that can lead to a loss of vision due to exposure to infrared and ultraviolet rays.
Welding helmets are made of solid materials thick enough to withstand any flying objects and the sparks generated from working. They also typically include a lens shade, which is a window covered with a filter that allows the welder to see to work. This window may be made of tinted plastic, tinted glass, or a variable-density filter that is made from a pair of polarized lenses.
2. What Are The Types Of Welding Helmets?
The two most widely known types of welding helmets are passive lens helmets and auto-darkening lens helmets. In the category of auto-darkening lens helmets, there are a lot of different options.
Auto-darkening helmets can be fixed-shade helmets, which typically come in shade #10 or #12, and helmets with variable shade lenses, why typically have a shade range of #9 to #13. Some helmets can be solar-powered, battery-powered, or a combination of both. Manufacturers will often combine two or more of these types of helmets to increase convenience to the operator.
3. What Is The Difference Between Passive Lenses And Auto-Darkening Lenses?
The main difference between passive and auto-darkening helmets is the lens shade number. This refers to the lens' ability to filter light. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages and should be researched thoroughly.
All auto-darkening helmets may range from a #8 shade for low-amp applications up to a #13 shade for high-amp applications. If they meet the ANSI Z87+ standard, they provide protection against harmful UV rays and infrared light. If they are top-of-the-line helmets, they may have additional ranges from #3 to #8 for cutting or grinding.
Passive lens helmets use dark-tinted glasses that are IR- and UV-coated and have a fixed shade value; usually #10. These helmets are worn in the up position while the user positions the gun, electrode, or torch. Then the user flips the helmet into position by a snap of the neck or quick nod immediately before striking an arc.
4. How Do I Know Which Helmet Is Right For Me?
There are several factors that go into choosing what type of helmet is the best welding helmet for you.
First, you want to make sure that the welding helmet meets the ANSI 87+ standards, which ensure that the helmet and lenses have passed independent testing to show they can provide 100% infrared and ultraviolet filtering regardless of the shade setting, survive impact from objects flying at a high velocity, and meet advertised darkness shades and switching speeds in temperatures at a range from 23-degrees Fahrenheit to 131-degrees Fahrenheit.
The second factor to consider is the type of lens used. Whether it has passive lenses or auto-darkening lenses, you want to make sure that it will not cause you too much eye strain or fatigue for your projects. You should also consider the intensity of the welding you will be performing. You always want to choose a helmet that is appropriate for the level of risk involved and the type of welding activity.
Another factor is the weight of the helmet. Just a one pound difference can cause a noticeable difference in neck strain and fatigue, so it's better to choose lighter helmets. You also want to consider your working environment; for example, if you do a lot of outside welding, a solar powered or battery and solar powered helmet may be the best welding helmet for you.
How We Reviewed
After performing exhaustive research and testing, as well as going through user reviews, we were able to compile this list of best welding helmets. We reviewed the following helmets based on their features, pros and cons, price, and availability. We are sure that you will be able to find which is the best welding helmet for you by comparing the helmets found on this list.
Overall Price Range
Welding helmets have a large price range that can start around $$ and go up to around $$$. Some features available in higher-priced helmets include a wider lens shade range, better ANSI ratings, inclusion of multiple helmet types, and more adjustable settings.
What We Reviewed
- 2.8 x 4.2 in. viewing area
- New comfortable headgear
- Sensitivity adjustment that allows use with all Stick, MIG and TIG welding processes, with grinding and torch modes
The first on the list of best welding helmets is the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100. This black, modern auto-darkening helmet is designed to mimic the natural shape of the human head, making it ergonomic and comfortable for extended use. It features multiple adjustments, including large knobs that can be adjusted while wearing gloves and padded straps on the inside.
The auto darkening lens classification is 1/1/1 with Trueview. It has a 73 x 107mm viewing area with additional side windows that increase peripheral view and adjust in five different ways to lighten or darken each side, providing protection against UV light rays and infrared radiation.
It is powered by two replaceable Cr2030 3V lithium batteries that have a life of up to 2,500 hours. It also includes an exhaust vent to help reduce humidity, heat, and fogging and is suitable for MIG, stick, and TIG.
The ArcPro 20702 is an auto-darkening, solar and battery powered welding helmet that comes with great safety features. It has an integrated switch that automatically turns on and off, preventing the battery from needless wastage. It is certified with ANSI. The padded headband assures the wearer's comfort for long-time use and it features a unique design as well.
The switch time is pretty good, taking just 0.00004 seconds to react. The viewing field is wide, measuring 3.86 inches by 1.61 inches, and is adjustable and easily reversed. It is operated by rechargeable lithium batteries that are fitted inside the helmet. It is also environmental and user-friendly due to also being solar-powered, eliminating the need to replace batteries.
- Price For: Each Battery Type: Solar Cells Lens Shade: 5 to 13 Viewing Area: 3.74" x 3.34"...
- ADF Controls: Knobs Number of Arc Sensors: 4 Color: Black Grind Mode: Yes Country of...
The Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Welding Helmet, black series, definitely deserves its place as one of the best welding helmets. It has pivot style headgear that moves as you move, providing superior comfort. It weighs four pounds, which helps to reduce tension and pressure on your head. It also includes an adjustable design with straps that adjust to fit your head and padded areas for added comfort.
One of the greatest features of this welding helmet is the 4C lens technology, which lets you see more when using it in an active or inactive state. This lens has the highest 1/1/1/1 optical clarity rating in all four classification categories as well as a wide viewing window measuring 95mm x 85mm.
It is powered by a single CR2450 replaceable battery that provides 2,000 hours of battery life. It also includes a grinding mode and a three-year warranty.
- Industrial-grade welding helmet with flip-up lens designed for maximum safety and comfort against UV and IR light
- Compliant with ANSI Z87.1-2010 and CE EN175 requirements for RX safety eyewear; made from impact resistant polypropylene
- Includes handy flip-up #11 shade lens for easier viewing of welded objects or to use the helmet as a face shield
The Neiko 53847A is an industrial grade welding helmet that has a simple design with focus on technicalities. It is very large and comfortable on the neck, with a round build that prevents fumes from entering the helmet. It has an adjustable front-rear that allows the user to lift the viewing window without having to remove the helmet as well as an attached headband. It is extremely lightweight, reducing the chance of neck fatigue or tension.
This helmet has a viewing window of 2 x 4.25 inches, which is quite large for this type of welding helmet.
The Miller Electric Digital Elite Welding Helmet is a digital, auto-darkening helmet that is extremely lightweight, weighing only 1.13 pounds. This ensures that you can complete jobs with no fatigue or tension from the weight of the helmet.
This helmet has a 9-inch x 9-inch viewing window, providing plenty of viewing room. The auto-darkening feature ensures that the helmet will detect arc welds in front of you and darken automatically to protect your eyes. It has a good switching time of 1/20,000 seconds and includes delay control. It is operated by a single lithium battery and has a low battery indicator.
One of the great features about this helmet is that it has four operating modes for different welding applications and four arc sensors.
- This adf has the best En379 ratings (1/1/1/1) for optical clarity, light diffusion, luminous transmittance variation,...
- Variable shade (9 – 13) shields & protects eyes from radiant energy during welding (mig, tig welding, arc welding) &...
- Lightweight, high-density plastic shell protects your face, forehead, neck & ears from sparks; aerodynamic curved front...
The Jackson Safety Fixed Shade W10 HSL Welding Helmet is a fixed-shade helmet with a more narrow design than most other models, allowing you to work in cramped and tight spaces. It has a larger front than other models to protect more of your upper body and neck and is compatible with hardhats worn on construction sites, but it is light at only 1.24 pounds.
This helmet has a 1/1/1/1 optical rating, making it extremely high-quality, and has a switching time of 0.15 milliseconds. It comes with a standard filter plate in #10 shade, which makes it suitable for most jobs.
The Hobart 770753 is a black auto-darkening helmet that is extremely lightweight, weighing only 1.27 pounds. It is made of polyamide, which ensures that it will be both durable and comfortable for the wearer. It includes knobs for adjusting delay and sensitivity and adjustable straps for increased comfort.
This helmet has an optical clarity rating of 1/1/1 and a switching time of 1/25,000 seconds as well as a delay control of 0.1-1.0 seconds. This helmet is a variable-shade helmet, with shades ranging from #8 to #13. It also has an additional shade #3. The 7.05 square inch viewing area ensures that the user will have a good field of vision in both inactive and active mode. It is powered by a single lithium-ion battery.
The Antra AH6-260-0000 is a solar and battery-powered welding helmet that definitely deserves its place on this list of best welding helmets. It is very lightweight, weighing only one pound, and is fully adjustable for the comfort of the user.
This helmet has a large viewing size of 3.86" x 1.73 inches and is designed to be compatible with cheater lenses and magnifying lenses. One of the most outstanding features of this welding helmet is that it has a total of 16 different shades available, with a shade variable of 4/5-9/9-13, which allows it to cover most common welding tasks as well as plasma cutting applications. However, it is best when used with grinding tasks.
This helmet is powered by two replaceable lithium batteries and also includes solar cells. The on/off function is completely automatic and it also includes and off delay feature.
- 180 Degree ADF holder lens (shade #10)
- High quality ADF fixed shade 3/10 with a 2 year warranty
- World's 2Nd largest viewing area (23 square inches)
The Save Phace 3010288 Chameleon Gen-X Series Welding Mask is a great choice on any list of best welding helmets, with a gas mask design that offers plenty of free space for head movements while working. It has halo headgear to completely surround the head and nine points that adjust to fit the exact shape of your head.
This welding helmet has a 23 square-inch viewing window, which is the second largest window on the market today. This lens works with the ADF lens holder, which is equipped with a 180-degree rotation and an ADF 3/10 fixed shade. It is also compatible with Cheater lenses.
The Hobart 770753 is very similar to the earlier Hobart model. It is an auto-darkening helmet that is also lightweight, weighing 2.4 pounds. It is also made of polyamide, and it also has knobs for adjusting sensitivity and delay as well as adjustable straps.
The switching time is 1/30,000 seconds in this model. It still has an optical clarity rating of 1/1/1 and the same delay control of 0.1-1.0 seconds. It includes the same shade range of #8 to #13 and #3 for grinding mode. However, this model features a larger 9.02-inch viewing window, offering the user greater visibility. It is powered by two lithium-ion batteries.
The Verdict: The Best Welding Helmet
After comparing the specifications, reviews, and performance of the ten helmets listed above, we choose the Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet. We definitely feel that the many features it offers, such as a fast switching time, a test button, large viewing window, a solar cell, and the ability to be used in a variety of welding applications makes it worth it, especially for the low price point.