If one of your daily tasks is welding then you are well aware of the damages that can be caused by the intense flashing lights. These could cause extreme eye strain and will lead to decrease in vision or even the loss of eyesight if no proper protection is used. There are a lot of welding helmets out in the market and have their own level of specialty. Some comes with tinted glass while others are digital auto-darkening panels for easier use. Depending on your preferences, there are a lot of things to take note with best welding helmet. I know that will be very difficult to find a best welding helmet. So I have synthesized 4 best welding helmets for you.
How to Choose the Best Welding Helmet?
Welding helmets are very important because it protects the operator from infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by welding arcs. It should also be the top priority of the operator because proper selection of welding helmets can result to high quality of welds, improved welding ability, and high level of comfort. However, this equipment is not built equally and choices are quiet confusing. There are several factors to consider in determining the right welding helmets to buy. They are: number of sensors, auto or passive darkening lens, viewing size, variable or fixed shade, lens reaction time, helmet weight, adjustable delay and sensitivity controls, battery life, and national safety standards.
- Auto or passive darkening lens-the viewing lens or filter are dark tinted glass pieces with IR and UV coatings. Shade numbers determine the ability of the lens to filter light. A common auto-darkening lens has shade number of 3 or 4 which relatively means easy to see through like that of sunglasses. This would help the operator to see clearly his welding gun or torch to the material he is joining. Passive darkening lens usually has #10 shades and has been widely used because of its affordability. However, there are difficulties in using the passive lens such as tack welding, poor weld starts, neck fatigue and inadvertent arc flashes.
- Variable or fixed shade-If the operator welds only one type of material with similar welding process and amperage used, a #10 fixed shade lens is recommended. But, most welders use different materials and are best to use a variable shade lens which can be adjusted at either inside or outside of the helmet. Adjusting of shade lens should vary on the level of amperage and sensitivity of the eyes.
- National Safety Standards– ANSI Z87.1 is the latest national safety standards of American National Standards Institute and Society of Safety Engineers for welding helmets. It requires manufacturers of darkening lens and helmets to have darkness shade settings, switching speed and other necessary specifications in their products. Examination for these products should pass the high velocity impact test and filtering requirement in high temperatures.
- Helmet weight-Operator should choose a lighter helmet to reduce the risk for neck fatigue and discomfort.
- Battery life-some welding helmets are built with solar assist panel and non-replaceable battery. The problem with this, the helmet’s lens won’t work if the battery wears out. And it is only wise to use helmets with replaceable battery to be able to work right away in cases of drained battery or power shortage.
- Lens reaction time or switching speed-some auto-darkening helmets have an advertised lens switching speed. This serves as a note on how fast the switching of lens from natural light state to darkened shade during welding. Too slow switching speed may cause eye fatigue.
- Viewing size-this depends on the out-of position welding that the operator would be doing. View sizes are usually from 6 sq.in.-9sq.in.
- Number of sensors-this means more sensors, better coverage. Typical number of sensors ranges from 2-4.
- Adjustable delay and sensitivity controls-delay control enables the operator to set the longevity of lens in the dark. Longer delay time is very helpful at high amperages welding. On the other hand, sensitivity control is need for low amperages welding especially for TIG processes.
Reviews of 6 best Welding Helmets
Depending on your preferences, there are a lot of things to take note with best welding helmet. I know that will be very difficult to find a best welding helmet. So I have synthesized 4 best welding helmets for you.
1. Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The glass quality of this helmet is the best out in the market because of its all-around functionalities. It is an auto-darkening filter with optimum optical quality, efficient diffusion and variation of light transmittance along with being under the angle dependence class which gives the user the flexibility to see regardless of angle. This helmet is also made with high-density plastic that is not only lightweight but is also welding splatter resistant and heat resistant. It is an all-around protective headgear that provides protection from the head to the neck. Along it comes with numerous personal preference adjustments, from the headgear adjustment levels to the panel adjustment levels. The panels are easy to control and are self-explanatory without too much technical numbers. You can find 3 buttons, grind, torch and wield, which will adjust the shade of the panel. You also have sensitivity, delay and a numerical shade control for a more technical adjustment.
- Effective multi-level eye protection
- Lightweight and compact
- Easily adjustable
- Durable and heat resistant
- Decreased peripheral view
How to use Jackson Safety W70
Mounting is still the same with other conventional helmets, only this time there is an easy wheel to tighten your headgear allowing one hand adjustments when in the midst of work. There is also an on button inside the helmet where the digital control panels are located. On the left are three pre-determined shade levels while on the right are the shade, sensitivity and delay controls.
2. 3M Speedglas 9100xx Welding Helmet
This helmet provides spontaneous protection from ultraviolet and infrared radiation regardless whether the helmet is turned on or off. This is because of the glass materials they are made of that is a mixture of laminated Liquid crystal panels.
It is also an auto-darkening helmet with digital panels for easy adjustments and to maximize protection no matter what you are doing, whether it may be welding or torching. You can fully adjust its sensitivity, darkness shade and even timeout delay before the panels return back to its original shade. With only a .1 millisecond delay before the panels activate, you are guaranteed maximum protection without limiting your view.
It is well-designed ergonomically to prevent any unnecessary body strains and will help you achieve a more comfortable working feel. With its design are 5 dark shade filters that are installed on both sides helping to increase field of view during work without cutting through the power supply.
- Wider peripheral vision
- Digital and automatic
- Lightweight, durable and heat resistant
How to User 3M Speedglas 9100xx Welding Helemet
Mounting the speedglas helmet is the same for other types of helmets but before mounting, adjust necessary information on the digital panel inside the helmet. There are different levels of shades on the lower left corner, each level is specified by a specific task. On the lower right corner are 5 levels of sensitivity with 5 being the most sensitive and below that is a delay panel.
3. Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet
A high-quality welding helmet made from dense plastic that are welding splatter proof and also heat proof protecting the head from possible damages and dangers. It fully covers the entire head including the ears and reaches down to the neck guarantying all around protection. It is equipped with a large panel of glass to increase field of view. This helmet features four arc sensors along with adjustable glass sensitivity, delay and shade. The entire helmet is solar powered but can be assisted by replaceable batteries to prevent unforeseen power outs.
- Large front panel
- Total concealment
- Heat resistant
- Looks too plastic
- Too large
- Analogue adjustments
How to use Lincoln Electric Viking 3350
The adjustments of this helmet is quite different since they are in analogue control knobs instead of digital. You can find the 3 control knobs which will control shade, sensitivity and time delay. Mounting is just the same as any other helmet.
4. Rhino Large View Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
This helmet is made with quality materials with an overall built from carbon fiber and an external lightweight nylon shell. The carbon fiber maintains shape and hardness without risking being light weight while the nylon shell guarantees being weld splatter proof as well as heat resistant. It sports a wide 10 square inch welding glass panel for wider view. It is auto-darkening equipped with 2 arc sensors powered via a solar panel in front while assisted by two other replaceable battery for uninterrupted performance. You will get a fully adjustable auto darkening helmet with control dials that controls delay, sensitivity and shade of the glass panel. With an activation period of less than a millisecond, you are guaranteed with all-around eye protection.
- Durable and long lasting
- Sleek and clean design
- Wide view
- Durable and long lasting
- Sleek and clean design
- Wide view
- Analogue dials
How to use Rhino Large View Welding Helmet
Mounting is the same as any other helmet, though the adjustment of the headgear is controlled by a knob allowing for one-hand adjustments during emergency cases. This also comes with 3 analogue adjustments knobs in the helmet.
5. Hobart 770756 Impact Variable auto-darkening Helmet
The Hobart welding helmet has a lot to offer especially its viewing panel. It has a total viewing area of 7 square inches completely installed with 3 independent arc sensors for fast and consistent reaction time. It also features automatic on and off preventing the constant hassle of saving battery. The entire helmet is made from durable and lightweight material called polyamide. It is designed that it will resist weld splashes as well as be heat resistant and provide comfort while using the helmet. With a slashed down price, it is as cheap as it can get. You get a fully adjustable welding helmet that lightweight at an average weight of 2.2 pounds. It also comes with a 2 year warranty ensuring equipment quality.
- Heat resistant
- Thin field of view
How to use Hobart 770756
You mount it just the way you mount any other welding helmet. Adjustments made easy with an easy turning knob at the back to adjust your head gear easily. Inside the helmet you can find the adjustment knobs for the sensitivity, shade and delay which are easily usable.
6. Miller Electric welding helmet
A sleek and ergonomic design meant to let weld splashes and sharp foreign material to slide off the surface of the helmet. It is fully adjustable with auto-darkening glass panel powered by a solar panel that can be found just in front of the helmet. It provides full head protection including the ears and covering up to the neck while still maintaining an average weight of 2.1 pounds keeping the helmet lightweight preventing unforeseen neck or back aches. This is a durable helmet made from a dense plastic shell resisting dents and external forces that will protect your head. Finally, it is installed on a headgear with detents to help your helmet in place no matter what.
- Sleek design
- Long lasting headgear detentes
- Less durable compared to the more expensive helmets
How to use Miller 251292
There is a protective removable lens that covers the auto-darkening glass, always remember to keep that glass intact whenever using to prevent damaging the fragile auto-darkening glass. As soon as the lenses are fully in place, adjust the settings depending on your work preferences. The helmet has an analogue adjustment panel to control the shade and sensitivity of the helmet. The helmet then goes smoothly through your head as you adjust the tightness of the headgear.
Advantages of using Welding Helmets
- Higher precision – since the glass cover of welding helmets are tinted or darkened, you can partially see where you are pointing your welding rod even when there are already intense lighting. This will prevent you from losing sight of your current work leading to more accurate and precise outputs.
- Injury avoidance – the main purpose of welding helmets are to prevent injury on your eyes may it be in terms of eye strain or foreign objects. The helmet fully conceals your head preventing red hot foreign materials to hit your face. Also the tinted and protective glass prevents excess light radiation to enter your eye.
- Increase efficiency– since there is no longer the need to recover from the intense light or to cover your eyes from time to time thanks to the protective tinted glass, you are now able to perform uninterrupted work increasing efficiency.
Disadvantages of using Welding Helmets
- Decreased field of view – welding helmets are made with only a small strip of glass where you are able to see. This means that you are not able to see wider and can only concentrate on what you are working on or what’s in front of you.
- Price – welding helmets don’t come in free. The additional safety measure means money to be invested in this type of equipment.
- Increased weight – you are now saying good bye to eyestrain and eye damage but you might be saying hello to back aches and neck pains. Welding helmets are made with metal and some other heavy materials requiring the need for more effort to keep in position.
- Temperature – your head is completely concealed when using welding helmets which means air is not a choice to keep you cool. You might need a water bottle near you as you will be constantly sweating.
Each welding helmet has their own ups and downs, may it be the price or the durability. These helmets are important and getting the proper ones might mean between long term vision and losing your eye sight so pick the best welding helmet for your money. Also don’t forget that these helmets don’t come in cheap so choose the one with the best quality than repetitively buying a new each year.