10 Best Welding Helmets Reviewed & Rated in 2021

best welding helmets

For a quick take-away, if you are a beginner, DIY enthusiast, part-time welder, etc, the K3034-4 Viking 3350 auto-darkening helmet by Lincoln Electric will definitely suit your requirements. With a 12.5 inches square viewport, swift switching speed, and optical clarity as 1/1/1/1, you are not going to need any other helmet any time soon. 

Whereas, if you are an intermediate to a professional welder, then you may consider a Panoramic 180 view auto-darkening helmet by Yeswelder. It gives complete coverage with a super large viewing area, 1/30,000 seconds switching speed, and optical clarity of 1/1/1/1. You will never regret your investment!

A welding helmet is an integral part of every welder’s arsenal. This I can reinforce through my decades of experience as a welder. I have seen the evolution from a simple passive or fixed shade helmet to the auto-darkening or variable shade helmets. Since I personally have hands-on experience on almost all kinds of helmets so I find myself qualified to give some practical and instant guidance to all the welders out there.

Further, I feel beginners and newbies need to comprehend what factors they should look for before getting into the investment stage. So, if you feel you need some hand-holding, I have ensured that the nitty-gritty of a welding helmet should be imparted correctly. Whereas all the advanced and professional welders may get some more insight from my factors and reviews sections.

I have listed the 10 best welding helmets, each with its own USP. As per features I have mentioned who can use it, so I hope you will get your companion right on this list.

10 Best Welding Helmets in 2021 at a Glance

  • Yeswelder True Color Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Yeswelder Large View True Color Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Yeswelder Panoramic 180 View Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Lincoln Electric K3034-4 Viking 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Antra Wide Shade Range Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Dekopro Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Esab Sentinel A50 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Jackson Safety Ultra-Lightweight Insight Hxl-100 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Hobart 770890 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
  • Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet

10 Best Welding Helmets in 2021 with Reviews

Yeswelder True Color Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Starting as a third party back in 2006, Yeswelder turned the tables when in 2018, it decided to become a direct supplier in welding equipment and accessories. One of its best creations is LYG-L500A true color solar-powered auto-darkening welding helmet.

This bright black helmet has a view Area of 3.64 x 1.67 inches with two premium class senses. I would not say that this is the largest viewing area but it is decent enough to see your progress clearly.

It is incorporated with the true color optical class clarity of 1/1/1/2 which is not the perfect one for anyone who ever owned a 1/1/1/1 clarity optical lens. However, for beginners or intermediate welders, it will work well. A small downside of 1/1/1/2 or 1/1/1/- clarity is that it cannot justify to give you a realistic view through the helmet.

Yeswelder LYG-L500A features light states DIN4 and dark states DIN9~13. DIN is a German industrial standard that classifies the filtering levels of light. The bigger DIN number signifies that the lens will become darker and will block more light. Therefore, this helmet covers a wide range of adjustable lens shades which makes it suitable for MIG, TIG, and MMA welding processes.

Also, it takes 1/10000 seconds in transforming bright to dark. In my opinion, a good welding helmet should have a switching time between 1/10,000 and 1/25,000 per second which this particular helmet has. So, one more tick in the checklist.

Along with all these features, Yeswelder has equipped this helmet with UV and IR protection of DIN 16 to protect your eyes from intensive harmful radiations. Further, it utilizes a solar cell + non-replaceable CR2450 battery that gets charged when exposed to sunlight.

Adding to the comfort, this auto-darkening helmet gives excellent comfort with its pivot designed headgear. This design is compatible with magnifying lenses or cheater lenses which you can add as per requirement.

The mask is made of PP/PA (Polypropylene/Polyamide) thermoplastic metalwork. This material works great as welding helmets. These are inexpensive, give a high resistance to water or chemicals and come with high processability.

So, this leaves us with the question, if it complies with the needed safety standards? Yes! This helmet meets or exceeds the ANSI Z87.1/EN379 CE/CSA Z94.3 regulations to give you utmost protection against heat and flashes.

In short, a great helmet for beginners to intermediate welders at a reasonable price. The catchy part is, it is incorporated with various lens shade levels and with enhanced battery life.

Pros

  • Works great for TIG, MIG, and MMA
  • Better clarity with 1/1/1/2 true color
  • Fully automatic power on/off
  • Rechargeable solar batteries
  • Works on temperature: 5 to 44 degrees

Cons

  • There is no side view area
  • May take time to trigger when the arc strikes.

Yeswelder Large View True Color Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The next one by Yeswelder is the LYG-M800H auto-darkening helmet with a larger viewing port of 3.93 x 3.66 inches with four premium senses which is more than Yeswelder’s LYG-L500A welding helmet. These dimensions and sensors increase the visibility by a considerable amount.

This PP helmet features light states of DIN 4 and adjustable dark states of DIN 5~9/9~13. This signifies that you can comfortably work with different intensities of arc radiations. Also, for protection from Ultraviolet and infrared radiations, it has DIN 16 as well. In addition to this, roughly it takes 1/10,000 seconds of response time to convert from bright to dark when exposed to an arc.

For better vision, Yeswelder has incorporated this helmet with a true-color view of 1/1/1/2 optical clarity. If you have used the lens of optical clarity of 1/1/1/1, I would suggest you choose another helmet of the same clarity otherwise it would be difficult for you to adjust. Besides, same as LYG-L500A, the side viewing port is missing in this helmet too.

Further, with such features and many more to come, this helmet will work well for intermediates to professional welders. You can efficiently for TIG, MIG, and MMA welding with this, and not only this, it comes with a grinding feature too. So this combo is a winner package for both welding and grinding projects.

Since it utilized rechargeable solar cells and a non-replaceable CR2450 battery, you get an increased battery life with an option to charge it when needed. Additionally, it is incorporated with a low voltage indicator which avoids any internal damage.

Coming to its safety standards, this helmet meets or exceeds ANSI Z87.1, EN379 CE, CSA Z94.3 regulations which implies that this very model is safe for welding working conditions. So you can confidently wear it and start your welding projects. 

The package comprises a unit of auto-darkening welding helmet, 2 replacement lenses, 1 replacement battery, 1 storage bag, and a user’s manual.

In short, this helmet is safe for both welding (TIG, MIG, and MMA) and grinding projects. Also, the true color technology preserves the optical clarity by minimizing the tint of lime green color. Thus, intermediates to expert welders may try their hands on this helmet.

Pros

  • Widescreen view
  • Increased operational control
  • True color for better clarity
  • Comfortable headgear
  • Low voltage indicator
  • Ideal for welding and grinding operations
  • Safe for your eyes

Cons

  • The side viewing port is missing
  • Fitting may be an issue for a few users

Yeswelder Panoramic 180 View Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Yes! I know what you are thinking after seeing this third helmet in a row from Yeswelder but I am not sponsored by this brand by any means. The fact is that I myself own a welding helmet by Yeswelder and trust me, I was impressed. So the last one is the EH-302C panoramic 180 view welding helmet by Yeswelder.

Out of all the mentioned models by Yeswelder, I suggest it only for professionals and experts who have a variety of projects to work on. This helmet is a great choice to do TIG, MIG, and MMA welding and even for performing plasma applications with grinding features.

The next attribute that I always check before investing in a helmet is the true color highest optical clarity of 1/1/1/1. EH-302C has a real color view, you can see your welding progress as it is without any color tint. Thus this feature definitely enhances the quality of your project and your skills.

This PA made helmet has many features to protect and relax your eyes. It is incorporated with a super large viewing port of 3.94 x 2.64 inches with 4 premium sensors which automatically adjusts the shade as per the arc intensity.

Besides the large viewport, this helmet gives you a panoramic 180 degrees view that aids in the full range of vision. I personally love this set up as it gives you full control over the settings and your workpiece.

Further, it features the light state of DIN4 and the dark states of DIN 5~9/9~13 which is almost the same as the LYG-M800H auto-darkening helmet with the UV.IR protection of DIN 16. The add-on includes the oversized comfort cushion of the headgear that helps in a comfortable and better fit. 

Not only this, it works independently and in sync with the help of 3 LCD screens which eliminates distortion, removes blurriness, keeps the shade uniform, and gives consistent shade at all angles.

This doesn’t stop here, the response time of this helmet is 1/30,000 seconds which was 1/10,000 of the other two helmets discussed earlier. The package comprises this amazing auto-darkening helmet, 3 replacement lens, 2 replacement batteries, 1 storage bag with a user manual.

In short, for all the professionals out there, this helmet has 180 degrees panoramic view with a super-wide viewing port. It gives you a complete hold over the settings and adjustability and the helmet will work according to your requirements. Check this out before making a final decision.

Pros

  • Super large viewport
  • Response time of 1/30,000 seconds
  • Comfort fit
  • The optical clarity of 1/1/1/1
  • Ideal for full-time welders
  • Great for welding and plasma grinding
  • Gives panoramic 180 degrees complete vision

Cons

  • Some of you may not like the design of the viewing port.

Lincoln Electric K3034-4 Viking 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The next helmet is K3034-4 Viking 3350 by the oldest brand which is Lincoln Electric. Since 1895, Lincoln is known for its ethics, quality, and performance in welding equipment. Let’s check out its auto-darkening welding helmet.

Viking 3350 comprises Lincoln’s famous 4C lens technology which is Clarity of 1/1/1/1, Color of real true view, Carat means the lightweight helmets and Cut for uniform shade from any angle. This technology enhances visibility, minimizes eye strain by reducing the lime green tint through the helmet.

Moving on to the next feature, it features a 12.5 square inches (3.74 x 3.34 inches) auto-darkening port which gives a large field of view. Till now, this is the first helmet to feature an extra-large square viewport and 4 arc sensors. It enhances your productivity, adds to the safety attributes, and increases application versatility.

Be ready professionals and veterans, since you weld for the whole day long, this helmet is an X6 headgear that uniformly distributes the weight all along with the six key contact points. This attribute is beneficial to get supreme comfort with a customized fit, eliminates pressure points, and improves balance.

Viking 3350 is a generation 4 helmet, a perfect combination of optics, productivity, comfort, and protection. Additionally, it comes with a shade range of 5 to 13 and the response time is 1/25,000 seconds. This response time takes just a blink of an eye to turn from bright to dark shade.

Furthermore, the other reason why I have mentioned that professionals must consider it is that this black beast is capable to weld, cut, and grind. Plus, this model is compatible with cheater lens and hard hat too.

Most importantly, this helmet complies with ANSI Z87.1, CSA Z94.3, EN379 safety standards. Thus, it will take care of your eyes, skin, head, neck and be your companion for a long time.

The box contains this classy helmet, bandana, helmet bag, 5 outside cover lenses, 2 inside cover lenses, and a sticker sheet. It comes with 3 years of warranty.

In short, for veterans and experts, the 3350 series gives complete control over the sensitivity, delay, and shade. With the maximum switching speed, Lincoln K3034-4 outranks all the professional helmets I have reviewed till now. 

Pros

  • Square viewport (12.5 inches)
  • Switching speed 1/25,000 seconds
  • Ideal for welding, cutting, and grinding
  • The optical clarity is 1/1/1/1
  • Comes with 4C lens technology
  • Reduces eye strain 
  • Battery and solar cell operated

Cons

  • Pricey and advanced so beginners and part-time welders may skip this helmet.

Antra Wide Shade Range Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Antra is known for its superior quality auto-darkening AH6-260 Series helmets. This more than decade-old brand designs heavy-duty, durable and industrial-grade helmets for newbies as well as trained welders. 

This black mat helmet features a 3.86 x 1.73 inches viewing area with four premium ANTFi-X60-2 arc sensors. When the welding arc strikes these sensors, the control unit turns on the 2 LCD shutters. Not only this, you can adjust the delay time, sensitivity as per your project requirements. It is incorporated with passive ultraviolet/infrared filters which block the harmful lights.

While welding a lot of spatters, debris, intense radiations, strong visible lights are produced. AH6-260 is so carefully designed that it gives full protection to your face, head, and neck region. Its shield restricts the UV/IR radiations from penetrating.

The next attribute is its crystal clear lens vision through the wide range of 4/5-13 shade levels. This lens suppresses the blue light tint and keeps the clear vision consistent and convenient. 

Also, the shade levels 5 to 9 gives extensive flexibility, when you are working in low amperage welding or even plasma cutting. 

Additionally, as soon as the arc strikes, the super-swift auto-darkening feature comes into play and sets itself for the best clarity to see the workpiece. Plus, if you want vision correction, this model is compatible with a cheater lens or magnifying lens as well.

Let’s talk a little about its safety features. This lightweight shield of this helmet is incorporated with multiple joints for enhanced comfort and adjustable adjustments to set various positions. Even while with your gloves on, with the help of ratchet gear you can fasten the spring for easy operation.

Besides, it can swiftly detect and respond on welding arcs as low as 2 amperes. Thus, it performs welded for MIG/MAG, MMA/Stick welding, plasma cutting with sensitivity and delay time of 40% to 50%.

However, since DC TIG is a low amperage process so it may require sensitivity of 80% or above and a delay time of 60% or above. In my view, this particular model is suitable for part-time welders, DIY lovers, professionals, and even welding school students. Also, it meets all the ANSI Z87.1 safety standards.

In short, Antra AH6-260 is a great choice for all welders irrespective of the experience. From safety to convenience to versatility, this helmet owns everything like a boss. 

Pros

  • Handle multiple fabrication and welding processes
  • Clear vision with a wide lens shade
  • Minimum false triggering
  • Utmost protection to head, neck, and face
  • Flexible delay time and sensitivity
  • Battery indicator

Cons

  • A few professionals felt the sensitivity a little low.
  • The sensors may not perform for long.

Dekopro Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The next in the row is DX-980E true color auto-darkening red-colored welding mask by Dekopro. Starting from the clean, convenient and comfortable view, this red dragon is incorporated with a super large 3.85”x 3.15” clear visor viewport. It wonderfully diffuses the arc light, varies the angular dependence and luminous transmittance means it permits you to see clearly even at different angles.

To keep your head burden-free, this lightweight helmet weighs only 1 lb which increases your efficiency and is comfortable for working for long durations. It is a stress-free adjustable headgear. 

Further, it is equipped with ADF DX-980E auto-darkening filter which you can comfortably control and adjust according to your welding and fabrication environment. Also, it swiftly adapts the sensitivity settings from the ambient lighting source.

The one convenient feature is that if this helmet doesn’t see any spark or light for 30 seconds, it automatically shuts off which increases its durability. This feature helps it to work up to 5000 hours. If you must have guessed that this is a battery-powered helmet with a solar panel to enhance its life.

It takes just 1/25,000 seconds to switch on its auto-darkening filter that easily fulfills all the professional needs. Since it is installed with shade 16 so at any point, you will remain protected against IR and UV radiations. Again, the optical clarity rating is 1/1/1/2 which is not perfect but it works great for newbies to intermediate welders. To some extent, it clears out that green tint color while you weld.

Well! The next interesting feature is that it comes with a LED digital display which allows you to do the precise setting of delay time, sensitivity, and the lens shade. This helmet is capable of performing at its best even in ultra-strong or harsh welding environments. In addition to this, it features the filter’s illumination of DIN 4 with a switching time of 0.1 sec to 2.0 seconds.

DX-980E meets or exceeds Ansi Z87.1-2010 and EN379 4/9-13 safety standards. The package includes the Dekopro welding helmet, an adjustable headband, and a user manual for your convenience and guidance.

Pros

  • Wide visibility, lightweight
  • The shade range of DIN 4
  • The adjustable shade range is 9-13
  • Battery life up to 5000 hours
  • Ideal for MIG, MMA, TIG, plasma welding/cutting, etc
  • A reaction time of 0.00004 seconds
  • Perfect for occasional to intermediate welders
  • 1/1/1/2 true color optical clarity

Cons

  • Batteries may drain fast.
  • Professional may miss 1/1/1/1 optical clarity

ESAB Sentinel A50 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

ESAB was established in 1904 and it was the brand that was the first to invent flux-coated welding electrodes. Today, I will review how it is performing in its other product line of helmets. ESAB’s Sentinel A50 welding helmet is one of the popular headgear of the Sentinel Series.

After Optrel Crystal 2.0, I found an A50, another coolest looking helmet. It features a revolutionary shell design which is made of nylon material. Nylon is known for its high resistance towards impact, extremely lightweight, and highly durable material. So it is all safe and reliable material for a welding helmet.

It features one of the largest viewing areas of 3.93 x 2.36 inches. This size gives a clear view of what is happening on your workstation with a considerable amount of coverage. Besides, it comes with the true color optical clarity of 1/1/1/2 which is quite a good clarity. This clarity removes the green tint from your view and makes it clear as maximum as possible. 

Further, the auto-darkening filter has shades from 5 to 13 which covers a wide spectrum range. As soon as the arc strikes the lens, it changes the lens number as per the intensity and saves your eyes from the sudden shock of light transition.

Moreover, you get a full-color touchscreen control panel that has 8 different memory settings. It allows you to store your settings as per different welding programs and operations. Also, shade 4 is exclusively for a grind button which can be activated externally. So when you need to do grinding projects, just switch it to shade 4, and then there you go!

Above all, talking about the comfort, its halo headgear is highly ergonomic with adjustable 5 point headgear. These 5-point maintains the balance and distributes the helmet weight evenly so you don’t feel a burden at any particular point. Especially, when this low-profile designed helmet is in up position, the central pivot point gives the maximum head clearance

In short, ESAB Sentinel A50 has comfortable and convenient headgear. Its lightweight and low-profile design never burden your neck and head. Even the large viewport gives a wide-angle view. 

Pros

  • Black beast with a large viewport
  • Nylon material shell design
  • Ergonomic and adjustable headgear
  • 1/1/1/2 true color clarity
  • Grind button on shade 4
  • Color touchscreen control panel

Cons

  • No side view windows
  • Batteries need replacement as the solar panel is missing.

Jackson Safety Ultra-Lightweight Insight HXL-100 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The Insight HXL-100 auto-darkening helmet by Jackson safety is rugged, well-equipped, and a budget headgear. This ultra-lightweight shell comes with easy digital controls and a variable auto-darkening filter. 

What I loved the most about this brand are its design and aesthetic sense. Let’s see what is there in this helmet. The viewing port of 3.93 x 2.36 inches is sufficient to view your work without lifting off your helmet.

The positioning of the independent 4 sensors and lithium batteries minimizes any chance of blockage while you are busy welding. Coming to its extent of adaptability, it has variable lens shade from 9 to 13. It digitally adjusts the delay time and sensitivity as per your project types and durations. So you can freely work on your welds with enhanced color recognition and amazing visibility.

As this economical and efficient welding hood meets ANSI Z87.1 2010 and CSA standards, it safeguards your eyes from extreme and radiant arcs and flames. Also, the helmet is made out of nylon material which is highly resistant to hot metal embers and impact. 

In short, Jackson’s safety ultra-lightweight helmet is a classy head hood that features a great dimension of viewport which everyone is going to love. Plus, the variable lens range of 9 to 13 covers, is sufficient especially for intermediate welders.

Pros

  • Innovative and rugged design
  • Large viewing port
  • Long-lasting comfort and value
  • 9 to 13 variable shades
  • Used for weld and grind operations
  • Digital controls for flexibility
  • Comes with 4 sensors
  • Ideal for intermediates and veteran welders

Cons

  • The average battery life (823 hours) is low
  • It doesn’t come with a replacement clear lens.

Hobart 770890 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet

I am quite impressed with the journey of Hobart. It made its first welder in 1925 and before that, it used to make generators and air compressors. Its consistency and strive for innovation made it one of the biggest and established brands, “Hobart Brothers.”

Today, I will review the Hobart 770890 auto-darkening helmet which is made of polyamide nylon. This material makes your headgear impact-resistant, lightweight, unbreakable, etc. thus, your head is in the safety hood, cheers!

Moving on to its large viewing area of 9.3 square inches. It is an extremely widescreen which is certainly going to increase your visibility and clarity. With this viewport, four sensors are installed which are actually photosensors. In my very first review of Yeswelder’s LYG-L500A, this model has two sensors.

The more number of sensors indicates more coverage. Whenever there is an arc, especially when you are trying to weld out of position, the two sensors may not be able to register that arc and may fail to darken the lens. However, there is less probability in a helmet with four sensors that it can miss an arc. The moment it detects the arc, it immediately darkens the lens. This adds to a safety point for your eyesight as well.

Another useful attribute of Hobart 770890 is that when you are working in the grind mode, the lens will not darken and hence increases the visibility. So I can conclude that from intermediate welders to experts, this helmet is suitable for all.

This helmet is CR2 lithium batteries operated which are easy to replace. Also, the package contains the helmet and protective lens kit. 

In short, Hobart’s 770890 auto-darkening helmet with four independent sensors is perfect to give geometry, status, and position of the weld. Also, the grinding mode is quite useful, if you don’t want your lens to get dark.

Pros

  • 9.3 square inch wide viewport
  • Multiple wide sensors
  • Operates on lithium batteries
  • Polyamide Nylon material
  • Grinding mode for enhanced visibility

Cons

  • The batteries may need regular replacement.
  • The side screen is missing

Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet

The last one on my list is the Optrel Crystal 2.0 welding helmet 1006.900 which is the next helmet I am going to invest in. Look at the design of the hood! I just can’t resist looking at it. This helmet gives you a clear and real view of what you can do in your workspace.

Professionals and veterans, embrace yourself! It features a crystal lens technology (CLT) with a light state shade of 2.0. Through this lens, you can see the melted weld pool, your created weld seam, filler material dipped in the weld pool, etc. You can experience each step and by having the entire control over your welding process. I have a strong feeling that this technology is as good as the true color optical clarity of 1/1/1/1.

Additionally, this technology gives you such a fantastic vision that you will feel like looking through your window. Then its autopilot mode automatically detects the arc brightness and adjusts the shade level from 4 to 12 so you get self-driven protection for your eyes.

The next catchy attribute is its twilight feature that slowly gets bright from the dark state. This feature protects you from eye fatigue through this gradual transition after the switching state (transition from light to dark state).

Not only this, Optrel Crystal 2.0 helmet permits you to change the switching sensitivity adjustment while doing outdoor welding in bright sunlight or for changing ambient light conditions.

Like Hobart 770890, it is incorporated with the grind mode in which you can grind the workpiece while your hood is still on. In this feature, you can swiftly switch between weld mode and grind mode with the aid of external controls.

To give maximum comfort when you are engrossed in your welding project, it comes with an integrated particle filter that has the highest safety class (TH3). This particle filter mask safeguards you from dust, aerosols, and smoke.

In short, the Optrel crystal 2.0 welding helmet is a dream helmet for all the veterans out there. With comfort, crystal clear, less fatigue, and various effective features, this helmet is a must buy and it is well worth your investment. Trust me on this. 

Pros

  • Crystal clear technology for a realistic view
  • Shade adjustment between shades 4 to 12
  • Improved and advanced true color mode
  • Grind mode to switch fastly from welding to grinding process
  • Twilight feature to keep your eyes relaxed
  • Automatic sensitivity adjustments
  • Autopilot feature for detection of arc
  • Operates on 2 CR2 Lithium batteries

Cons

  • Comes with only 3 sensors so you may feel that it lacks coverage.
  • You may not find it effective while performing stick welding.

How to Choose the Best Welding Helmets in 2021

Lens Shade

The standard lens shade in a passive helmet is generally #10 which has ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) filters. Since the shade number is fixed, this makes such helmets affordable than the other kinds of helmets that are auto-darkening helmets.

Of course, the downside of the passive one is the flexibility which you will not get in case you decide to change your welding method. Therefore, if you are sure that you are going to work in a fixed amperage range then here you go.

Coming to the auto-darkening helmet or variable shade, these feature auto-darkening filters (ADF) that have light or arc sensors installed near the lens. The good news is that such helmets are incorporated with the lens with shade from #9 to #13. However, the bad news is this flexible feature comes with a price so these helmets are a little pricey.

Here I am for your rescue. The golden rule is if you have enough to spend and you often work on varied amperage range, different electrode sizes, etc. then without any second thought go for variable shade helmets.

Finally, let’s quickly check out which shade number you can opt for as per the process or method you are working on. 

Reference

MethodArc Current (Amperes)Shade Number (Minimum)Shade Number (Comfortable)
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)Less than 60
60-160
160-250
250-550
7
8
10
11

10
12
14
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
Less than 60
60-160
160-250
250-500
7
10
10
10

11
12
14
Tungsten Inert Gas Arc Welding (TIG)Less than 50
50-150
50-500
8
8
10
10
12
14
Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)Less than 20
20-200
100-400
400-800
6
8
10
11
6-8
10
12
14
Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)Less than 20
20-40
40-60
60-80
80-300
300-400
400-800
4
5
6
8
8
9
10
4
5
6
8
9
12
14

View Area

The common stereotype is that the more the viewing area, which will be about 3.74 x 3.34 inches, the more easily you can weld. Though this is true that a large view area gives more visibility and accessibility from multiple angles but it may increase your overall helmet weight along with the price.

Further, the large viewing area increases your peripheral vision with a convenient wide view. This makes it comfortable for you to see your progress without straining your eyes and removing your helmet after every session.

Whereas the smaller viewport gives a more focussed view and is quite beneficial when you do a similar kind of welding process. Although it might be enough for your welding jobs, however, it may constrict your movement if at any point in time you have to weld in difficult areas and positions.

Still confused! No worries. There is no hard and fast rule for the viewing area. All you have to do is check the fitting and overall weight of the helmet. Yes! Certainly, a large viewing area is a better option.

Weight, Size, and Coverage

Logically, the weight should be as light as possible. Generally, a lightweight helmet may weigh around 20 ounces or so which is an ideal weight to save your neck from fatigue and pain after wearing it for longer hours.

The catch is the lightweight helmets will cost more and heavy helmets will be affordable. Here, the expert tip for you is if you are a professional or welding is your mainstream job then you must opt for a lightweight helmet. On the other hand, if you are a welding enthusiast who does it as a hobby or DIY projects then a little heavyweight helmet is not a bad idea.

Coming to the size or the fit, a proper fit and coverage will always save you from flying spatters, UV or IR rays, and heat. How? A snugly fitted helmet will cover your exposed skin and for extra protection, you may wear a welding bib. In short, go for a perfect fit and an average weight helmet, it will worth your every penny.

Reaction Time 

Reaction time or switching speed is how much time a helmet lens takes to switch from light to dark mode. The standard lens shade is 3 or 4, however for the safety of our eyes, the reaction time should be from 1/3600 of a second to as high as 1/25,000 of a second. In short, the low switching speed of the auto-darkening filter may lead to eye fatigue or blurry sight. 

In this scenario, welding is more like a hobby for you, you may go for an entry-level reaction time that generally has reaction time between 1/10,000 to 1/20,000 of a second. But if you are a professional and welding is your full-time job then “my dear” I would strongly recommend you to go for a helmet with the fastest switching speed.

Sensitivity and Delay Time

Sensitivity is the minimum amount of arc light required to enable the auto-darkening feature or to darken the helmet lens. In advanced auto-darkening helmets, you can select the brightness level that will activate the darkening of the lens. 

This feature is useful for intermediate to a professional welder. Also, I would suggest using this feature while welding at a low amperage such as TIG welding (comparatively less bright) where you may need to adjust the sensitivity at a higher level.

Next is the delay time which is the duration for which the helmet lens remains dark after the arc stops. Whenever you are working on high amperage, always select a long delay time. As at high amperage, generally, the metal continues to glow even after you stop welding.

Thus, this setting will keep the lens brighter for a longer duration even when there is no arc. Hence, it will save your eyes from straining and fatigue.

While, when you are doing tack welding or low amperage welding, you may opt for short delays. In these settings, you don’t need to bobble your head up and down to check the progress.

Safety Standards

Verify all your welding equipment, gears and accessories should meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 safety standard. This safety regulation demonstrates the norms for testing, marking, using, choosing, and maintaining the needed eye protection to reduce eye injuries.

Further, ANSI Z87.1 compliant auto-darkening helmets must provide complete safety against both Ultraviolet (UV) and Infrared (IR) rays even when the lens is not in the dark state. Therefore, never show your warrior skills and always go for ANSI Z87.1 compliant welding helmets only.

True Color 

Professionals may look for the panoramic welding helmet comprising a true color 180-degree viewing port. This true-color technology permits you to see realistic colors along with an accurate view. It transforms the low contact green shade to the higher resolution contrast. This change in the shade enables you to clearly see the weld pool melt and become a proper weld.

Further, the 180 degrees view gives a larger field view as compared to the conventional helmets. Also, such helmets have auto-darkening side panels with true color technology that never force you to lift your helmet to check your progress. This super combination of panoramic auto-darkening helmets with a 180-degree view is a divine combo for professional welders.

Optical Clarity

The benchmark for the auto-darkening lens is the EN 379 1/1/1/1 rating which gives an even level of shade all along with the complete height and width of the viewport. This arrangement of optical clarity minimizes the brightness of the visible light and provides you with a more shaded region.

It is a popular rating in European countries but slowly many of the US brands are also incorporating their welding helmets and glasses with 1/1/1/1 optical clarity. However, beginners, DIYS, or hobbyists may skip this but professionals or experts must not ignore this feature for a perfect quality lens and detailed view. 

Types of Welding Helmets Explained

Passive or Fixed Shade Welding Helmets

Passive helmets are inexpensive because they would have only fixed lens shade and glass lens. Many welding veterans still prefer this traditional type of helmet because apart from lens and glass flexibility, it gives complete protection to the skin and the eyes.

If you are a newbie or a hobbyist and works in a fixed amperage range then a passive helmet would work best for you. Although whenever you want to examine your progress, you have to lift your helmet, reposition it, for a short period of working hours, it is still manageable.

Advantages of Passive Helmets

  • Reasonable than a variable shade or auto-darkening helmets
  • Inexpensive lens replacement and can be swiftly changed
  • Mostly lighter in weight than variable shade
  • Simple design without any batteries and adjustable controls

Disadvantages of Passive Helmets

  • Poor newbies may face difficulty to locate the torch tip during the initial welding projects
  • If by chance you work on a variety of welding projects or DIYs, you may need to buy various lens shade numbers to see your progress through the helmet.
  • Lastly, repeated snapping of the helmet down may cause neck pain.

Auto-Darkening or Variable Shade Welding Helmets

An auto-darkening helmet features a lens shade that either manually or automatically changes depending on the intensity of the arc light. Unlike passive helmets, you don’t need to lift it to see the weld or your progress.

Not only this, the advanced helmets are incorporated with the panoramic 180 degrees viewing area which gives ample flexibility in the welding environment. Also, loaded with several features and comfortability, these helmets give complete protection against any spatters, flashes or heat.

In my opinion, beginners and part-time welders may skip this helmet if you don’t want to ready for such a big investment. Passive helmets are perfect for you. However, all the professionals and experts should definitely invest in such helmets as they provide complete protection, comfort, and your eyes will never get hurt.

Advantages of Auto-darkening Helmets

  • Side windows enhance your visibility
  • Lens gives extra protection against UV and IR radiations
  • No need to remove or lift off your helmet, eradicates neck and head pain
  • Narrow and small designed helmets are quite helpful to comfortably work in congested spaces.

Disadvantages of Auto-darkening Helmets

  • Certainly expensive than passive helmets
  • You may find the lens much delicate so should be handled carefully
  • Yes, lens replacement is also pricey than passive helmets. 

Frequently Asked Question

Can You Put Stickers On Welding Helmets?

Yes, you can put stickers on a welding helmet provided that they don’t affect the inspection. The stickers must be of the see-through type so that your employer can check the helmet for any cracks or dents.

Can You Use A Welding Helmet To View A Solar Eclipse?

Yes, you can look at the solar eclipse with a welding helmet. The condition is, it should come with a lens of shade 12 or higher. On top of that, it should not have scratches or cracks developed.

What’s Next…

Just to emphasize my conclusion, the K3034-4 Viking 3350 auto-darkening helmet by Lincoln Electric could be a great choice for the amateurs and novice welders However, if professionals are looking for that one best hood then for them, Panoramic 180 view auto-darkening helmet by Yeswelder will be magnificent choice to make.

Further, there are a variety of things that you may have missed during your welding classes, practice sessions, etc. To keep your learning spree going, you can start right from my HOME PAGE and choose which area you want to start from.

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Josh Miller

Josh Miller

Hey there, I’m Josh Miller. I teach my readers how to master the skill of welding effortlessly and how to meticulously fuse the workpiece together. Follow my guides to make welding fun & easy for you. Thanks!