If you’re serious about metalwork, you need to gear up with the best tools. Because, regardless of your industry or profession, the quality of your work is heavily dependent on the equipment you use!
Welding helmets are one of the must-haves when it comes to personal protective equipment. Your face and eyes are susceptible to a long list of long-term damage and side-effects if you don’t have the right materials covering you while you work. Using poorly made welding helmets can have drastic consequences—there’s nothing more important than protecting your face and eyes!
After tons of research and test runs, I’ve come up with everything you need to know about the best welding helmets on the market. This article features a series of in-depth welding helmet reviews to help you decide on a new welding helmet. We’ve also included a detailed guide that takes a comprehensive look at how you can find the right model for you, what you need to consider when choosing a welding helmet, how you should maintain a welding helmet, and some other additional information on this important piece of protective equipment.
- Best Welding Helmet – Comparison
- The Top 10 Welding Helmets Reviewed
- Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350
- Miller 281000 Digital Elite Welding Helmet
- Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VIKING 3350
- Jackson 46101
- ESAB Sentinel A50
- ESAB Sentinel A50 With Toolkit
- 3M Speedglas 9100 Welding Helmet
- YESWELDER LYG M800H
- Antra AH6 260 0000
- YESWELDER LYG M800H A
- Choosing Between A Passive Lens And An Auto-Darkening Lens Helmet
- What To Consider When Choosing A Welding Helmet
- Why Are Welding Helmets Important?
- How To Maintain Your Welding Helmet
- When Were Welding Helmets Invented?
- Answering The Most Common Questions On Welding Helmets
- Find The Right Welding Helmet For Your Needs!
Best Welding Helmet – Comparison
|Welding Helmet 3350||3.74" x 3.34"||3.2 pounds|
|Miller Digital Elite || 3.85" X 2.38"||2.15 pounds|
|Lincoln K3034-4 ||3.93" x 3.66"||3 pounds|
|Jackson Safety||3.93" x 2.36"||2 pounds|
|Esab SENTINEL A50||3.93" x 2.36"||1.4 pounds|
|ESAB Sentinel A50||3.93" x 2.36"||4 pounds|
|3M Speedglas 9100|| 2.8" x 4.2"||2.59 pounds|
|YESWELDER||3.93" x 3.66"||2.2 pounds|
|Antra Welding Helmet ||3.86" x1.73"||1 pounds|
|YESWELDER Helmet||3.93"X3.66"||2.2 pounds|
The Top 10 Welding Helmets Reviewed
Here’s my most up-to-date list on the top welding helmets you can choose from. While each entry has a couple strong points of its own, there are slight nuances from one helmet to another that you need to be mindful of when making your choice. You deserve a welding helmet that can keep up with your level of work!
Style, comfort, and safety all in one. This was my initial impression of the Lincoln Electric 3350. The model comes in a variety of different styles, but the sleek minimalist design of the black version is what stood out for me the most.
The first thing I noticed about this helmet was how lightweight it was. When I tried putting it on, there was next to no weight on my shoulders and neck. The specifications say that this helmet only weighs 1.45 kilograms, which is definitely one of the lighter helmets that are currently available.
The Lincoln Electric 3350 is constructed out of a mixture of nylon and polycarbonate, with extra padding along the back to help reduce the helmet’s overall weight. From the get-go, I see that this helmet as an option I would recommend for older welders, or people with neck and back problems that may interfere with the quality of their work.
In terms of lens shades, this helmet has a shade rating between 5 and 13, and you can easily adjust these shades according to the requirements of your work. The shades affect the entirety of the viewing area, which measures a considerable 3.74 inches by 3.34 inches.
One small downside to this helmet is that it is not equipped with an electromagnetic sensor. However, it does have four arc sensors inside which constantly monitor the areas around your face. When one of the sensors pick up on a spark, it automatically turns on the filter in the blink of an eye—literally! This switch is performed in just 1/25,000 of a second.
On to the strongest selling points of this helmet. The Lincoln Electric 3350 is equipped with a solar-powered battery, which means that you can work for months and even years without having to worry about replacing the battery. If you use your helmet outside or just place it under the sun, then it will automatically use the sunlight to charge itself. Do note that if you are going to be working under direct sunlight, then the lens has a tendency to switch between shades on their own.
Furthermore, this helmet is also equipped with 4C lens technology. This means that you don’t just get a complete view of your work area; you also view it in high-definition as well. When I tried this on, I was still capable of seeing all the exact lines and textures in the metal while I was working.
Overall, this is a strong contribution to the variety of welding helmets that you can choose from. I enjoyed working with the Lincoln Electric 3350 and would definitely recommend it for anyone who needs the additional layer of comfort, or someone who appreciates aesthetics in their equipment.
The Miller 281000 has a viewing area of 3.85 by 2.38 inches. I found that this view panel was enough for me to view my work from multiple angles. However, there was a little difficulty involved when I wanted to look at the sides. This would be a good helmet for standard pieces of work, but not the best for people who do out-of-position welds regularly.
This helmet weighs less than a kilogram. It’s a great fit for someone who wants maximum comfort while welding.
In terms of reliability, the Miller 281000 is equipped with four sensors. This way, it can easily detect the arc lights and trigger the auto-darkening mechanism immediately. To supplement the accuracy of these sensors, this helmet also has an additional electromagnetic sensor to block out any stimulus that bright sunlight might trigger.
This device comes with a three-year warranty in case you run into any issues while you are using it. When you buy this package, you also get two lithium-ion batteries that can run for up to three thousand hours with the help of solar energy.
If you ever need to replace your lenses, the replacements are sold in packs of five. I appreciated this feature because I found it more economical to spend money on buying the packs every once in a while, as opposed to having it sold per piece.
Overall, I approve of the Miller 281000. It is another solid and minimalist welding helmet that has a lot to offer in terms of safety, comfort, and functionality. The price tag is a little heavy but it’s definitely worth a look.
Here’s another contender from the Lincoln Electric line of products. This brand is well-known in the industry and it has established itself as one of the leading manufacturers in personal safety equipment. You can rest assured that any purchase you make from this brand is going to be worth it.
But what makes this model stand apart? In my experience, the K3034-4 3350 is outstanding because it incorporates the latest technologies in this helmet’s lightweight build. It’s got a large viewing screen, optimal clarity across a number of factors, and four sensors to detect any indication of bright arc light. Let’s examine these features one by one.
First, the viewing panel. The K3034-4 3350 has a screen size of 3.74 by 3.34 inches, which is a considerable panel even in modern standards. This is more than enough to get a clear view of what is immediately in front of you as well as the sides of your work, which is important if you will be working on out of place welds.
In terms of optimal clarity, this helmet’s auto-darkening capabilities have been certified to be the highest across four different categories: optical class, diffusion of light class, variations in luminous transmittance, and angle dependence of luminous transmittance. This means that you undoubtedly have a crisp, clean, and clear view of what you are working on, regardless of how bright or how angled it is.
The K3034-4 3350 comes in a variety of different styles, but the black one stood out to me the most because of its minimalist design.
Some considerations you may need to make before you buy this helmet is that first, it can be a bit face-heavy. A lot of the important technologies are wired in near the face area, so weight is not distributed evenly across the helmet and it can be a little disorienting at first. Next, the helmet’s exterior coating is susceptible to scratches. Be mindful of its glossy coating, especially if you are working in tight spots, and make sure to store it in a safe place when you are done with work.
The Jackson 46101 is an attractive helmet that contains most of the features of the Jackson models at a lesser price and a more comfortable fit. So how far can you go with a headgear that’s less than a hundred dollars?
First, it weighs only 900 grams. This is a good number for your neck and shoulder area, and I found that the helmet’s weight was evenly distributed along the front and back for maximum comfort. At this price you also have a viewing area that is 3.93 by 2.36 inches, which provides more than enough visuals without the need to take off the helmet mid-weld.
Despite its price point, the Jackson 46101 is built with four different sensors. This is a feature that is usually reserved for upscale models, but when I tried it out on a test weld it worked seamlessly in transitioning the lens from an inactive state to the darkened mode. This transition happens in 1/10,000 seconds, which is not as fast as the other helmets but still does a good job for protecting your eyes and face.
One aspect of this welding helmet that I really appreciated was the battery compartments. This helmet is powered by lithium ion batteries that have a low indicator light to inform you ahead of time about any changes in the battery that you need to make.
Another feature I am grateful for in the Jackson 46101 is its built-in magnification lens holder. If you need to zoom in on any fine details while you are working, then you don’t need to manually bring your head closer to your workpiece and risk damaging your helmet. All you need to do is maneuver the lens around any places that need extra attention.
Overall, this is one of the best auto-darkening welding helmets that you will get at its price range. Just make sure to handle it carefully as there are some issues with the shield and the exterior. However, this is just a slight issue compared to all the benefits that it brings to the welding table.
Here’s a different aesthetic when it comes to welding helmets. The ESAB Sentinel A50’s black and yellow getup is sleek, stylish, and easy on your neck. It is equipped with the same optical class ratings as the other helmets on the list and you have full control over the shades it switches over to during its inactive state and its work mode.
This welding helmet offers 3.93 x 2.36 in. in viewing area, which is a good amount of visuals. The ESAB Sentinel A50’s control panel also has a backlit display, which is super helpful when you are working in dark or low-light environments. In my experience, the user interface was so intuitive that I did not need to actually sit down with the user manual to understand how to get it started.
Most welding helmets only have a shade range of #9 to #13, but this helmet comes with a shade range of #5 to #13. This makes it the ideal welding helmet if you see yourself working on a variety of welding projects, especially those with lower amperage.
One of my favorite features on the ESAB Sentinel A50 is the display. Instead of the usual analog buttons to navigate through the controls, the helmet is equipped with a full-color LCD touch screen panel with up to eight different memory settings so you can save the settings which work for you best.
I would definitely recommend the ESAB Sentinel A50, not just because of its Halo aesthetics, but also because of the technologies and functions that accompany it. The fact that it comes from one of the oldest and most trusted brands for welding supplies alone is enough to convince me of its quality.
Do you have the extra budget to go all out for your welding helmet? Then this is an option for you! This is the ESAB Sentinel A50 welding helmet, with additional accessories to help you get started on the right foot.
The ESAB Sentinel A50 is one of the best welding helmets in terms of design and function. The exterior is highly reminiscent of the headgear found in the critically acclaimed Halo video game series, which is definitely a plus for the inner nerd in me!
The viewing panel also offers a crisp, clear, and unobstructed view of your work. It is 3.93 x 2.36 inches in size and leaves plenty of room for your work. The lens can go from shades #5 to #13, which is good for various welding and grinding projects.
In my experience, the helmet was a snug fit. I could feel the quality of the nylon against my skin. In terms of weight, it felt very well-balanced. At the side of the helmet, there is a built-in external button so that you can easily switch from weld to grind mode. This shows that this helmet really is designed to cater to professionals with a wide variety of jobs.
When you buy this package, you will also receive two extra lithium-ion batteries, three inside clear-cover lenses, two outside clear-cover lenses, one doo rag, and a storage bag for the helmet.
Overall, I think this welding helmet is definitely worth the extra payment that you would be shelling out. The fact that you also get additional accessories is also an advantage.
Here’s a more familiar name—3M is known worldwide for a number of products, such as scotch tape and post-it notes, but did you know that they manufacture some solid welding helmets as well? Enter the Speedglas 9100, the brand’s flagship model in this category.
The Speedglas 9100 is optimized to provide a crisp and colorful view of what you are working on without any of the glare and radiation caused by the arc. I found that the viewing panel was a pleasure to work with because it was easy to carry on with setting up, welding, grinding, and inspecting each job. I did not feel the need to remove my helmet just to take a closer look at any part of the process, even before and after I had to use the arc.
One salient feature of the Speedglas 9100 is the ADF 9100XXi, which refers to the model of the front panel. This front panel is where the external controls are located, which provide quick and easy access to the grinding and memory modes. You can configure these settings even with your gloves on and without the need to remove your helmet as well.
Another feature that I appreciated was the Grab and Go option, which has the ability to automatically detect when you pick up the helmet and then shade the lens to your chosen setting. It’s super handy if you are looking to get straight back to work after a break.
Finally, there are a couple of exhaust vents that line the sides of this welding helmet. In my experience, it can get unbearably hot and stuffy inside a helmet while working, so this was a welcome addition to its build. I found that I could work for longer periods of time with the helmet because of this feature.
Its lens can be adjusted anywhere from shades #5 to #13, which is a bigger shade range than most welding helmets are capable of giving in the market. The battery life of the Speedglas 9100 can run for about two thousand hours, which is plenty of time for welding work. I had no issues finding replacements for the battery because they were accessible and affordable.
One challenge I had with this helmet was the viewing area. It is only 2.8 inches high x 4.2 inches wide, which is one of the smaller sizes on this list. If you are working on welds that do not require a lot of maneuvering or different positions, then this is an option for you.
Looking for an auto-darkening helmet with a great viewing window? Look no further—the Yeswelder LYG M800H model is where it’s at. It has tons of remarkable features, considering its low price range.
First, the viewing size. At 3.92 by 3.66 inches, this is definitely one of the biggest panels that we have on the list. It is the ideal choice if you are looking for a helmet that can give you a complete view of the work in front of you. With its True Color technology, which solidifies the hues of what you are working on even with the dark tint, you will not have any difficulty monitoring your work.
But for all its front-facing capabilities, one issue I have with this helmet is that it does not have a lot of side view. If you have the extra money to spring for this feature, look for the Yeswelder LYG Q800D model. It offers an additional 4.3/1.96 x 4 inches worth of side view, with the same technologies as the LYG M800H.
One downside to owning this helmet is that structurally speaking, it is not as sturdy as other welding helmets that are available. This is a piece of equipment that is best suited for hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts. This is definitely one of the drawbacks that come with its price tag, but even then it is still a strong option for light welding work.
The Yeswelder LYG M800H is equipped with four arc sensors so it can immediately pick up on any bright arc lights and switch on the auto-darkening function in just 1/10,000th of a second.
Overall, this is a good entry-level helmet for beginners who are just getting into welding. It is affordable, sturdy, and easy on the neck.
The Antra AH6 260 0000 is another budget helmet with capabilities that go above and beyond its price range. It’s a simple model that will definitely be appealing to hobbyist welders and beginners.
The first feature I noticed on this helmet was the plethora of customizable functions that it comes with. It has a time delay function which you can tinker with to increase or reduce the amount of time that the lens remains dark after it stops detecting bright arc light. It also has sensitivity functions that determine how much light triggers the auto-darkening feature, which is important for people who will be working under the sun or outdoors.
The viewing screen is 1.78 by 3.86 inches. Considering the other view panels that we have on this list, this is definitely on the smaller side. There is still enough room to be able to do your work without too much hassle, especially if your welding is exclusively for DIY jobs and small welds.
The Antra AH6 260 0000 is powered by batteries and a solar panel. Two sources of power means that you do not have to worry about running out of energy before you start an urgent job, or worse, in the middle of a job already.
This welding helmet is designed out of polyamide-nylon, which is a fairly comfortable and durable fiber. In addition, the entire model only weighs 435 grams—which is the lightest in this entire list.
Overall, this is a great starting point if you are looking for a helmet which has the basic functionalities of most upscale models. The only challenge I had with this welding helmet was its view panel. To circumvent this, adjust your work and the table accordingly so that you can get the most out of what you can see while wearing the helmet.
The last welding helmet to make it to the top ten is the Yeswelder’s LYG M800H A. With a super large viewing screen and four premium sensors to power its auto-darkening function, it is one of the best welding helmets available within the price range.
The viewing panel is 3.93 by 3.66 inches, which is one of the biggest screens in this list. With the 1-1-1-2 optical clarity rating, I could see what I was working on in high definition—it really helped with reducing glare and following the weld line. You can choose between shades #3 to #13 with this welding helmet, which is an important customizable option if you work on all sorts of different welds.
One challenge I had with this model was that sometimes, I had to manually adjust the shade setting based on whether I was doing TIG, MIG, or grinding. However, this is a small price to pay when you consider the overall stability of this helmet’s work.
In terms of comfort, the LYG M800H A is equipped with a comfort cushion that allows you to adjust its fit in multiple different ways, ensuring that your head is fully supported at all times. This helmet only weighs around 900 grams, so it is also easy on your neck and shoulders.
There are three adjustable knobs on the side of this welding helmet and learning how to navigate them while you are wearing it is a breeze. In my experience, the controls were easy to identify and interpret even when I was in full protective gear.
You will also receive a storage bag, three replacement lens, and one lithium battery when you buy this product. One feature I appreciate in the LYG M800H A is that in addition to the solar cell, you can also rely on prolonged battery life. The manufacturers have optimized the way that the helmet is wired to encourage more responsible energy consumption.
Overall, this model is a good option for all types of welders on a budget. The large viewing panel is definitely a plus, as is the True Color technology and all the other measures taken to ensure user comfort.
Choosing Between A Passive Lens And An Auto-Darkening Lens Helmet
In a nutshell, you can choose from two types of welding helmets: passive lens and auto-darkening lens. Both are solid options for any welding job, and ultimately, the choice to use either will fall on your personal preferences, budget, as well as the nature of your work. Regardless of the type of lens you will eventually go for, both offer a variety of models to choose from.
Passive Welding Helmet
A passive lens helmet is equipped with UV and IR dark-tinted glass that remains a fixed shade, regardless of whether you are on the job or not. They will usually have a shade value of #10. You will need to wear it in the up position as you are positioning your electrode, gun, and torch. Then with a quick nod or flick of your head, you can drop it into position right before you strike the arc.
Passive welding helmets are the oldest helmets available and they have consistently stood the test of time. However, they may be difficult to use for novices and other people who do not weld on a regular basis. The challenge of using a passive welding helmet is particularly highlighted in tack welds or short welds, where you regularly have to switch from lifting and lowering the helmet. In the long term, these repetitive motions may lead to neck fatigue and even stress-related injuries.
Finally, if you fail to properly lock the helmet into place or if you start working before it is positioned, it can lead to dangerous arc flashes which pose a direct hazard to your face and eyes.
Auto-darkening Welding Helmet
An auto-darkening helmet addresses all the issues of a passive welding helmet. These types of helmets are equipped with sensors that determine the shade of the lens. If it does not detect any bright flashes of light, it rests at a #3 or #4, which is roughly the shade of your everyday pair of sunglasses. When the sensors detect an arc start, it seamlessly transitions the lens into shades #8 to #13 in just 1/12,000 or 1/20,000 of a second.
Some aspects to consider about auto-darkening helmets are that these types run on batteries, which means that you always need to have replacements on hand to continue your work. There is no indication that they will stop working until they just don’t, at which point you will get flashed.
What To Consider When Choosing A Welding Helmet
There are many aspects of a good welding helmet that you need to consider. As mentioned in the previous section, the very definition of a suitable helmet can change from one person to another because of their personal preferences, the nature of their job, and the environment that they work on. Think through each aspect carefully and use your answers to draw up a small checklist of features that you want to have in your next welding helmet.
The Size Of The Viewing Panel
You will definitely need to consider how big the viewing panel is so that you can have a full and uninterrupted view of your work. If you are the kind of person who needs to work in different positions or unusual areas, then you may need to consider looking for larger viewing panels that go all around the sides as well. Typically, the view size on welding helmets range between six inches (for light welding) to nine inches (for heavy welding).
How Fast The Lens Reacts To High-Intensity Light
This refers to the time it takes for the lens to switch from an ‘inactive’ shade, which is normally around #3 to #4, towards an ‘active’ one, which is all the way up on #10 and beyond on the scale. Ideally, you should go for helmets with the least reaction times for maximum eye protection.
The reaction time of an entry-level welding helmet usually takes about 1/3600 of a second, while industrial helmet lenses can react in just 1/20,000.
Whether You Have The Right Number Of Sensors For Coverage
If you are considering an auto-darkening helmet, then look for the number of sensors it has. Industrial welding helmets will usually have four sensors, while its light-use counterparts get by with just two. These sensors are responsible for detecting bright flashes of light and darkening the lens automatically.
You may want to think of getting additional sensors if you see yourself doing a lot of out-of-position welds because certain angles may obstruct one sensor or the other.
Whether The Helmet Has Built-In Sensitivity Controls
Sensitivity controls are what you use to adjust how much brightness is needed before the sensors trigger the darkening of the lenses. These controls are necessary if you are going to be working under direct sunlight, which could affect the way that auto-darkening lenses function, or if you are working at a lower amperage and the arc is not letting out a lot of flare.
Whether The Helmet Has Delay Controls
This feature controls how long the lens stays dark after it senses that your work is finished. If you are working at low amperage jobs or track welding, then it a short delay time would help expedite the process because you can switch easily from welding to preparing other parts of the metal. On the other hand, if you are working on high amperage welding, then a long delay is recommended because the molten light will still emit radiations until the weld has fully cooled down.
What Powers The Welding Helmet
Most auto-darkening welding helmets are powered by batteries. Thankfully, there are certain helmets on the market that are now solar-powered—they are fitted with a solar panel of their own as well as a non-disposable lithium battery. They are solid alternatives but can interrupt your flow of work if not charged beforehand. Solar charging will take some time and it will hold up your work if you were not able to fill up the battery overnight.
How Heavy The Helmet Is
Welding entails a certain level of risk, and one aspect of this job that most people fail to consider is how the protective equipment may be contributing to that risk. If you’re on the skinny side and the helmet is either too heavy or not the best fit, then it can affect your neck, shoulders, and back.
When you are buying the helmet, try it on and make sure that the helmet can be adjusted around your head. Move your head from side to side and ensure that the helmet does not slip out of your head while you are doing so.
Why Are Welding Helmets Important?
Welding helmets protect the most important part of your body from severe and long-lasting damage. Some risks that you would be exposed to if you weld without a helmet include corneal inflammation, retinal burns, light sensitivity and radiation which can increase the likelihood of cancer. Welding helmets are specially designed to protect you from all these health and safety hazards due to the material, the lens, and the inner fabric.
If your helmet begins showing signs of wear, it is important that you take the time to either switch the parts out for replacements or find a replacement for the helmet entirely. Due to the nature of what you are exposed to while welding, it is possible for these dangers to seep in through small cracks and scratches in your helmet.
Welding should not be taken lightly. In addition to a welding helmet, you should also use other protective equipment to safeguard the rest of your body against the dangers of your work.
How To Maintain Your Welding Helmet
Welding helmets can be super resilient against all the risks that you are exposed to while welding. However, even the hardiest helmets won’t be able to stand the test of time if they are poorly maintained and left uncared for. Always bring out the best in your equipment with these quick tips on cleaning and maintenance.
Keep Your Helmet Safe
Your welding helmet may be capable of protecting you from spatter, ultraviolet, and infrared—but it might not survive a long fall off the shelf. Avoid tall places, dusty areas, and other locations where it might get wet. Finally, it should also be kept out of the reach of children.
Pack It Securely While Traveling
The occasional scratch here and there may seem harmless at first, but if they increase over time then they damage the stability of your helmet. There are bags that are made specifically for transporting welding helmets, but if you do not have the budget for them, a normal bag will do. Just make sure that you keep the lens area of your helmet well-protected.
Give It A Thorough Clean-Up After Use
The simple act of wiping down your helmet after every job will go a long way in keeping it serviceable. This piece of equipment will have been exposed to dust and all sorts of chemicals, and a good wipe will wash the harmful residue away. Pay extra attention to the inside and outside part of the lenses.
Inspect Your Welding Helmet Regularly
I would recommend scheduling these inspections at a certain day of the week, so it becomes a part of your routine to look over your helmet. Make sure that all the individual parts are working, the lenses are still functional, and there are no cracks or scratches that could hamper its performance. These precautions put you one big step ahead of possible injuries.
Don’t Skimp Out On The Cleaning Products
Don’t just use any run-of-the-mill cleaning products to wipe down your helmet! The everyday spray or cloth may contain chemicals or abrasive materials that scratch away at the integrity of your equipment. Read the instruction manual beforehand because they will definitely list down the appropriate cleaning materials to use.
Read The Manual And Instruction Guide
The manual contains everything you need to know to use and maintain your helmet. Follow these instructions to the letter and keep these booklets in a safe place for future reference. The internet is always a good place to search for information, but nothing beats the guides that will come with your welding helmet.
Keep The Lenses In Top Shape
The helmet in its entirety is important, but the lens is the most vital part of your equipment. If the lens coating is damaged or worn, then the ultraviolet or infrared lights have unfettered access to your eyes and skin. These could result in dangerous skin burns and eye conditions.
Replace The Helmet Parts Regularly
Some parts of your helmet can be replaced and the manual will be able to help you out on this matter, especially when it comes to the lenses and filters. There are no hard and fast rule to replacements, but it would be a good idea to have a few spares on hand if you need some new filters or a different sweatband fitted.
Have Spare Lenses On Hand
Replacement lenses can be difficult to obtain, so make sure that you have a spare or two in your toolkit so that you can just switch one out for another and get back to work. It is always a priority to keep your helmet in top shape and your eyes well-protected.
Replace The Sweatbands Regularly
If your welding jobs are under the sun or outdoors, you’re bound to sweat buckets. This can be unhygienic, especially if it builds up inside your helmet. Keep a few pairs of sweatbands beside your replacement lenses as well so that you can easily switch them out for new ones as needed.
When Were Welding Helmets Invented?
Welding helmets were first manufactured in 1937. They started off exclusively as passive lens types and continued to be so for many years, until in 1981. During this year, a Swedish manufacturer named Hornell International introduced a prototype for an LCD electronic shutter that could automatically darken when it sensed a bright welding arc.
Since then, the industry has expanded dramatically. There are more brands to choose from and a variety of features that serve to enhance the welding experience, such as extra controls for delayed lightening, wider view panels, and more.
An industry-standard called the ANSI Z87.1+ has also been created to certify that certain auto-darkening helmets are still capable of providing full protection against both ultraviolet and infrared lights even when on an ‘inactive’ state.
Answering The Most Common Questions On Welding Helmets
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Welding Helmet?
Overall, welding helmets are meant to last for over six to seven years before they need to be completely replaced. From time to time, you may need to switch out certain parts for new ones. This can include the lens for your face and eyes, as well as the sweatband for hygiene. Welding helmets are built for the long run, which is why it is so important that you make the right choice the first time around.
How Dark Should The Tint On My Welding Helmet Be?
Your welding helmet should have a tint between #9 to #13. This is considered the safe range for workers who weld on a regular basis. To give you an idea of how vast this scale is, the kind of tint that your every pair of sunglasses is equipped with is only around #3.5. This is why you can’t just buy any random helmet from a nearby store to help you with your welding—you deserve protective equipment that fulfills industry standards of safety from bright light and heat.
What Lens Shade Should I Look Out For On My Welding Helmet?
Welding lenses are responsible for providing a filter against the harmful ultraviolet rays and bright light. If you are working on low amperage, you can start off with #8 shades. As you progress toward higher amperage applications, the shades should also adjust accordingly with #13 shades or more.
Should I Wear Safety Glasses Under My Welding Helmet?
Yes, you should still wear safety glasses under a welding helmet because it provides an additional layer of protection against sparks or other debris. Your shaded helmet works mostly to protect your eyes and skin from the ultra-bright arc.
Does The Brand Matter When I Am Choosing Between Welding Helmets?
The top brands in the welding industry are known to provide a minimum and consistent level of quality regardless of the amount of money you are shelling out. Emerging brands, on the other hand, are doing a great job of providing new perspectives in the market and amping up the competition when it comes to developing bigger and better equipment.
But even with the increase in quality across the welding industry, you still need to remain vigilant about where your welding helmet is coming from so that you don’t end up with a dodgy piece of equipment.
How Big Or Small Should The Lens Size On My Helmet Be?
Most of the entry-level welding helmets that you will come across have lenses that are three and a half inches (3 ½) across and one and three-quarters of an inch (1 ¾) high. This is more than enough if you will only be working in workshops or on cars.
However, if your work obliges you to weld in slightly more challenging positions like under the car or for installing a roll cage, then you need to go for larger view helmets. These helmets will feature lenses that are around three and a half inches wide (3 ½) and two and a half inches high (2 ½).
When Do I Need To Replace The Battery On My Helmet?
This is hard to say. Even the batteries in welding helmets are built for the long run—some of the entry-level welding helmets that are on this list, for example, can work for as long as three years without needing replacements. This is because the battery is only utilized during the initial darkening of the shield.
As a consequence, if you leave your welding helmet unused for extended periods of time then they will not experience any discharge. Just watch out for initial signs of discharge, such as a delay in the darkening or an incomplete darkening in the lens.
Can My Welding Helmet Protect Me From Grinding As Well?
Depends on the model you are buying. You may have to shell out a little extra to get this feature, because the kind of light and heat you are exposed to during grinding is different from welding. Make sure that you fully understand the model that you are considering before you go ahead and buy it.
Find The Right Welding Helmet For Your Needs!
Now that you know what how to research, clean, and maintain your helmet, feel free to go and scout for the right model for you!
The welding industry can be a little difficult to keep up with—there are so many developments that are occurring on a regular basis and it can be a challenge to sort the good innovations from the bad. At the very least, I hope this guide has pointed you in the right direction and clarified any doubts you have had about buying this important piece of equipment.
Finally, remember that you should never skimp on safety equipment. Poorly made PPE can lead to discomfort, injury, or worse! Have fun and stay safe while welding. Always have a steady eye and a sharp mind when you are on the job.