Welding Helmet What’s The Best
Why an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet the Best Choice Over Other Welding Helmets
PT- 31 with 3 m Lead
Plasma /Welder Machine Sockets$19.95
Tig Welding Torch WP -17$99.00
Plasma Torch Power Hose 50 Amp$9.95 – $39.00
SG-51 Plasma Torch Body$29.00 – $49.00
P-80 Plasma Torch Wheel Guide$19.95 – $39.99
PT-31 Plasma Torch Guide$19.95 – $99.00
TIG Collets & Holders$5.95
A Welding helmet which are also called in the welding world as the “hoods” or “welding masks” are not only some of the most important but basically the most important pieces of personal protective equipment that every welder should have.
A welding helmet is the most adequate protection for your skin and eyes from the sparks and most importantly from the vision-damaging UV light and infrared rays that the arc emitted during welding. Without a welding mask even with darkened eyeshades, welding could not be safely possible.
The good things about the welding helmets today is that they have become more functional compared to the welding helmets 15 years ago. They now have become more developed and were turned into more high-tech eye protectors for welders and welding enthusiasts alike.
And by high-tech, we particularly mean the auto-darkening welding helmets which are the latest addition among the eye protection welding tools. Not only that. These helmets are now available with artistic designs like pieces of art which allow users the opportunity to choose their characters and personality right on the most important part of their welding gears.
Before we discuss more of the benefits of using an auto-darkening welding helmet, let’s take a look on the many types of welding helmets that we use today and talk about what they can offer to the welders.
Different Types of Welding Helmets
Auto Darkening Welding Helmets
As its name suggests, an auto-darkening welding helmet is equipped with an auto-darkening filter or ADF.
This helmet can quickly darken its lens automatically as soon as its sensors detect flashes of light coming from the arc. Different auto-darkening welding helmets offer different shades ranging from 4 to 13 to cater to welders using various kinds of welding tools.
Remember that as the shade number in the lens gets higher the lens gets darker and offer better blocking potential from the intense light.
The advantage of using an auto-darkening welding helmet is it allows you to use both of your hands to whatever you need to hold while welding.
Unlike with other types of welding mask that you need to pull down over your face before starting to weld, this helmet can stay on your head while doing any type of welding work and its lens automatically adjust its shade to protect your eyes from the glare.
Once the torch goes inactive, you also don’t have to remove this helmet as the lens will automatically return to its original shade.
The most obvious advantage of the auto-darkening welding helmet is it can serve as your best protection from flashes of the arc which produces the UV and infrared light that can damage the retina of your eye and from the metal sparks and spatters from the welding puddle that could land into your skin.
This is why wearing welding gloves during welding is also crucial to protect your hands.
Auto-darkening welding helmets are the perfect choice for light to industrial to heavy industrial uses which means you can use them for all types of welding applications.
Some sellers sell their helmets under the tag “variable shade auto darkening helmets”. These are, actually, also types of auto-darkening helmets that offer various shade options though in some varieties they offer wider range in shades.
All auto-darkening welding helmets must be highly adaptable to any type of welding style and also to any kind of metal you want to weld. That means even if you use high amperage welding or switch from stick to TIG welding, these helmets automatically adjust their lens shades to block off light intensities of varying degrees.
In this regard, you can work between projects simultaneously without the need to change masks.
Passive welding helmets
These helmets are the classic type of welding helmets that welders wear during the early days of joining metals but still in use today.
They are the standard type of welding helmets that only have one color spectrum which can be dark green with a bluish tint.
But though the passive welding helmets may seem to be tedious to use, these types of helmet are more solid and last longer than any other types.
They are also more effective in shielding our eyes because they have thicker lenses and their shades are rated 10 or 12 which means they have darker shades and offer more eye protection.
On the contrary, passive welding helmets require a lot of efforts in using them. Because they have fixed shades, they have limited capabilities on the amount of light they can be able to block.
In this case, when you have to deal with a project that requires, for example, shade 13, you still have to use other types of welding helmets with shade 13 which is right for the job.
They are also heavier and not recommended for use by beginners. Another disadvantage is most of the passive welding helmets lack the protection for the head and neck.
Thus, using these helmets may not only slow you down with your work but you get the risk of getting sunburned due to the flash.
Fixed Shade Lens Welding Helmets
These types of welding helmets are more like the auto darkening welding helmet in design but they only have fixed shade lenses typically of shade number 10 or 12.
This shade number is good while your neck and your head get covered. If you are to work on a metal project that requires high amperage, these helmets can provide utmost eye and skin protection.
The disadvantages, however, is that if you need to switch from high to low amperage like from plasma welding to stick welding, the shade of the lens would be too dark for the low amp project.
This is why if your welding jobs require using different metal materials it still practical to choose the auto-darkening welding helmet rather than the fixed shade welding helmet.
So let’s also tackle about the source of power you want to have for your auto-darkening welding helmet. Will it be solar or battery-powered? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Power Sources for Auto Darkening Welding Helmets – Pros and Cons
Solar Powered Welding Helmets with Battery Assist
Again, as its name implies, these types of helmets take advantage of the availability of light for the batteries to store energy and provide power to the auto-darkening helmets.
Generally, the solar panels are placed securely near the lens so that not only the panels can absorb light energy from the sun but also from the flash of the arc.
Most solar-powered welding helmets today are being backed up by lithium batteries.
These batteries are rechargeable so they are continuously recharged by the solar panels while you work under some bright lights.
If you are working outdoor for a welding project you may find solar-powered helmets with battery assist very convenient to use and they have fixed batteries thus they can be your best investment if your work is in the construction sites or building bridges, and so on.
You can also leave them in the sun and the welding helmets will recharge by themselves. Their energy source is practically unlimited and as long as they are fully recharged you can also use them for hours even inside the tunnel.
Unfortunately, the batteries of solar-powered welding helmets are not replaceable though they may last 5 to 7 years. After this, the light filter may no longer work and the solar panels may also become useless.
Moreover, solar-powered helmets with battery assist are good options if you are building metal structures outdoor or joining metals for large projects.
Their solar panels may still charge with little light but the stored energy would not last for hours and that would be a problem.
Battery-Powered Welding Helmets
The good news about the battery-powered welding helmets is that once they are fully charged, you can use them instantly unlike their solar-powered counterparts that need light to store energy.
If fully charged, they can go for long hours as long as you don’t forget to turn its filters off during breaks. So if you are working on projects inside your shops the battery-powered welding helmets could be your best bet in protecting your eyes.
Now for the issues, once the batteries of these helmets which are usually replaceable get worn out you have to replace this immediately to continuously do your work. So always have a spare on hand.
On the other hand, we have a better suggestion when choosing a battery-powered welding helmet and that is choosing one that is solar assisted.
Battery-powered and solar assisted welding helmets will allow you to save your battery charge on your Lithium batteries if you work on a brightly lit environment.
Which Type of Helmet Would You Choose?
We asked many welders which among the type of welding helmets they prefer to use and the answers we got is the auto-darkening welding helmet. We were not surprised.
Essentially, this helmet will allow you to work on a different level. There’s no need to flip your mask up and down as you do with some passive welding masks and you can work comfortably on a different variety of metals from aluminum to stainless without manually adjusting the control to get the right amount of shade.
Many welders who get accustomed to using the passive and fixed shades welding helmets once they use the auto-darkening welding helmets don’t want to go back to their usual helmets.
And accordingly, with the auto-darkening helmets they can maximize their welding production, can work much easier and more comfortable and without necessarily losing their starting point like what happens with the flippable welding helmets.
In other words, there is no loss of valuable time with the auto-darkening helmets. You can weld on one material and work on the next material, you can adjust the voltage and ampere, change from stick to MIG to TIG welding and you only need to use an auto-darkening welding helmet for all of these.
Another great advantages that these helmet offers are their full head coverage because it is not only the flash from the arc that we have to aware of but also of the flying pieces of metal from the sparks and melting debris from the weld pool which if without the protective headgear could even burn through clothes and burn the skin.
There are a lot of auto-darkening welding helmets out there with varying ranges of shades. But what should be the best considerations other than the filtering capacity when choosing the best?
Selection Considerations for an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Look for a welding helmet with a full-coverage shell. This design can deflect spatter and can resist impacts.
If possible, it should also comply with the international safety standards of ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3 which means this product has passed the North American safety standards for safety and durability.
Check the viewing size although this aspect is also based on your preference.
Large viewing lens allows you to have a wider peripheral vision and best when welding large structures or assemblies.
A narrow lens is better for those who wear glasses so they can focus more on their welding subject when working.
Know the number of shades capacity. Entry-level helmets usually have shades 9 through 13 but the premium class offers 5 through 13 ranges.
So the more shades coverage, the wider range of filtering capacity the helmet can offer.
Choose your choice of color spectrum wisely. Not all auto-darkening welding helmets have the same color shades on their lenses.
The old color spectrum is usually the lime green color but today manufacturers are using better technology to let you choose between 5 color shades so that you can work comfortably on your shade preference and avoid eye fatigue.
Ask these questions:
Does the helmet has a delay control that could suit up to your dimming reaction preference? What shade number does the helmet offers? How fast can the lens automatically go back to its original shade once the arc has died off?
The availability of delay control is crucial because you can use it to shorten or lengthen the amount of time for the lens to go back to its clear state which would be useful like during tack welding or when welding a certain area that requires a continuous arching.
Check for the sensors of the welding helmet.
Typically there would be one or two. But if there are 3, 4 or more there’s the best chance that the helmet has a very active and highly sensitive dimming system.
Choose whether the control should be internal or external.
Auto-darkening welding helmets have controls to let you manage the shade when welding or grinding metals.
External controls can allow you to control the functions while you’re wearing the helmet. However, the wiring could be exposed to impacts or damages.
Internal controls are positioned near the lens cartridge inside the helmet and offer better protection for the wires.
The downside part, on the other hand, is you have to take off your helmet to set up your shade or your dimming reaction time preference.
Lastly, take note of the weight of the welding helmet.
A heavy helmet can take a toll on your neck and cause neck fatigue.
The generic auto-darkening welding helmets are now lighter and they only weigh between 534 and 602 grams (18 to 21 ounces) and already have a full-coverage shell.
The smaller versions can also weigh around 368 to 425 grams (13 to 15 ounces).
If you are ordering an auto-darkening welding helmet online, make sure you check the size and know the diameter of your head. Men tend to have larger heads than women like Large or Extra Large size.
To give you some tips on what type of welding (with varying degrees of amperages) is suited best for the level of shade you need for your welding helmet, here is some info we got from our research.
Welding/Cutting Type – Potential Amperages – Recommended Shades
Stick Welding – 20 to 500 amperage – between 9 and 13 shades
Mild Steel MIG with Argon – 80 to 500 amperage -between 10 and 13 shades
Mild Steel MIG with CO2 – 40 to 300 amperage – between 10 and 13 shades
Aluminum MIG – 80 to 350 amperage – between 10 and 13 shades
TIG – 5 to 250 amperage – between 9 and 13 shades
FCAW – 125 to 350 amperage – between 10 and 13 shades
Plasma Cutting – 60 to 35 amperage – between 11 and 13 shades
Plasma Welding – 10 to 30 amperage – between 9 and 10 shades
An efficient auto-darkening welding helmet can always give you protection from dangers that could harm your eyes, head, and skin. They are now considered one of the best discoveries since the invention of the welding masks. Lots of companies are now providing their welders this kind of welding helmets because primarily it can increase the productivity of their workers in many different ways.
It is not only the productivity that is enhanced but also the feeling of comfort for the welders gets to improve while doing their jobs. If welders get distracted, they may decrease their productivity. That’s why we want to pursue our goals in encouraging individuals, company welders and all welding enthusiasts to switch on using auto-darkening welding helmets. We can assure you that once you’ve tried using this kind of welding helmet, you won’t be coming back to your old single-shade helmets.
Moreover, we want you to take every precaution when you do your welding jobs and should wear the necessary gears for protection like welding gloves to cover your hands also from the damaging UV rays, metal debris and from high-voltage electricity which you will be dealing with all the time.
You must also consider your working environment that should stay safe for other workers since any kind of welding can harm people’s eyes around you. So what we can suggest is to use welding screens to block off the harmful infrared and ultraviolet rays that come from your arch.
If you also need quality MIG torches, TIG consumables, and MIG consumables, we can deliver them to you for free as long as you are in any part New Zealand. Inquire from us now all about your welding needs and we would be happy to give you the specifications of the stuff available .