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My son recently began fabricating metal buildings and told me he wants to buy a new welding helmet. We discussed the best options, models, and things that you should avoid when buying one.
The Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 series is the best welding helmet for many reasons, but its auto-darkening lenses and lightweight construction set this product apart. There are other excellent helmets on today’s market with similar features which may better fit your needs.
The best welding helmet is a personal preference. Still, there are some things to consider, such as the helmet’s weight, lens darkening switching speed, auto-darkening power options, and shade type (fixed or variable lens).
If you are looking for the best welding helmet, you have come to the right place. In this post, I review five of the best welding helmets. Later, we will highlight the essential factors to consider when choosing a welding helmet.
Welding Helmet Reviews
1. Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 Series – Top Pick
The Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 Series is a welding helmet that provides excellent protection from light sources while allowing you to see what you are working on clearly.
Although welding is challenging and dangerous work, this helmet is designed to be comfortable and fit your head correctly. The head size is adjustable to fit whoever uses the helmet.
The Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 Series comes in ten different styles, each looking different and sporting a unique design.
All the styles look great while ensuring your safety. This helmet is one of the safest on the market.
It comes with an impressive auto-darkening feature that changes shade from light to dark immediately after the welding commences. As soon as the welding stops, it reverts to the normal state.
We used this helmet during the arc, TIG, MIG, and Plasma welding with similarly impressive results. The feature, while automatic, can also be adjusted. You can customize the shade from six to thirteen using the shade selector knob.
Many helmets are heavy and lead to aches after a full day of using them. However, the Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 Series has a suspension system to make it lighter for you. The suspension system is comfortable and practical.
To adjust your vision, we observed that the helmet comes with an AFT adjustment feature. It is possible and easy to determine the distance between the lens of the helmet and your face.
The 4C lens technology on this helmet is another feature that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. It comes with four arc sensors that catch the arc spark during welding and appropriately darken the lens.
It gives perfect optical clarity.
During testing, we observed that while the helmet provides good ventilation, it keeps fumes and harmful gases away from the welder. Click here to see the best price.
- 95 x 85 mm viewing area
- 1 CR2450 replaceable battery
- 3-year warranty
- 1/25000 sec switching time
2. Antra Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet – Best DIY Helmet
The Antra Welding Helmet AH6-260-0000 is a welding helmet designed for DIY enthusiasts and welding hobbyists. The helmet has a compact and durable design.
It weighs a mere 1.9 pounds which is relatively lightweight. Therefore, users can use it for extended periods without experiencing fatigue.
Unlike some other helmets, the Antra Welding Helmet AH6-260-0000 comes in a single color: black. It is made of high-impact Polyamide nylon material.
This material is both durable and contributes to the safety of the wearer. The helmets offer excellent visibility with a viewing area of 98 x 44 mm.
You can wear this helmet outdoors in inclement weather. There are adequate ventilation and space to keep the helmet comfortable to wear for long periods. The performance of this helmet is quite decent, especially considering that it is mainly a DIY helmet.
You can use It for different types of welding. Thus, you will find protection using this helmet, whether you are into MIG, TIG, MMA, or other welding processes, and you can use it in grinding applications as well.
With a permanent shade, the helmet provides visual safety at all times. When welding begins, the lens turns dark, and after welding, it returns to its DIN13 shade.
The helmet has good sensitivity and delays adjustment. It needs to have this feature because it ensures that it darkens when it needs to.
While the Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 Series has four arc sensors, this helmet comes with just two. While this is disappointing, we still found it adequate for our needs. The helmet has a solar cell in addition to replaceable batteries. Click here to see the best price.
- ON/ OFF Switch
- TIG/MIG/MMA compatible
- 1/1/1/2 optical class
- DIN 4 light state lens
- 98 x 44 mm viewing area
3. Jackson Safety Auto Darkening Welding Helmet – Best Value for Money
Suppose you are a welder looking for a serious welding helmet that delivers excellent protection, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money. In that case, the Jackson Safety Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is an excellent choice.
The helmet comes with various features that enable every welder to work safely and efficiently. If you are putting in a long shift, the lightweight and flexible build of the welding helmet makes it an ideal option.
Aside from the lightweight build, it comes with several features that make it a great choice. It features an ADF lens that is good enough to meet industry standards.
The ADF lens allows you to work in different settings and during varying welding processes. The Jackson Safety Auto Darkening Welding Helmet has four auto-dimming sensors that enable you to work safely even in environments too bright for the naked eye.
With the auto-dimming sensors, you can work continuously without any bother. It is comfortable and easy to use. The digital controls, digital display, and controls ensure that using this helmet is a breeze.
It has different weld and grind modes integrated to make it easy to use and versatile. Overall, protection and performance are impressive. Professional welders and serious DIYers can use it. Click here to see the best price.
- Grind and weld modes
- Compatible with HLX100 and HSL 100 shells
- Four independent auto dimming sensors
- 3.93″ x 2.36″ viewing area
4. Antra Dual Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet – Best Viewing Area
The Antra Dual Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is a lightweight and practical helmet for newbies and expert welders alike.
With a weight of 455 g, it is lightweight enough to be used for extended periods. Unlike with other helmets, you are not left with a strained neck after a day of use.
It is very comfortable to wear and comes with practical features that make your experience better. For instance, it comes with a strapping headband that serves as padding and keeps sweat out of your eyes.
Just like the other Antra helmet on this list, it is made of Polyimide Nylon material. This material is strong and provides the helmet’s strength and durability. Even if you drop this from a high work area, it retains its shape and function.
The Antra Dual Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is suitable for a variety of welding applications. It comfortably handles light from MIG, TIG, Plasma, SMAW, and other welding processes.
It has a large build that covers the entire head. This ensures your safety. It covers not just the face but extends protection down to the base of the neck. To assist you during welding, it features automated power controls.
So you do not have to struggle with controls to get the safe lens shade. The shade specifications ensure that the transition from low amperage tasks to intensive tasks is very smooth.
The Antra Dual Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet comes with an automatic ON /OFF switch. The lens switching mechanism is fast and rapidly darkens to keep your eyes safe.
A USP of the helmet is the wide view. This wide view allows the user to see the project without squinting or adjusting the helmet. The four sensors on the helmet detect light conditions and adapt the helmets’ lens accordingly.
The Antra Dual Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet has solar batteries that kick into action if you run out of power. The batteries are rechargeable and replaceable.
With the plethora of features it offers, the price makes this helmet an absolute steal. It provides a wide range of functionalities at a reasonable price. Click here to see the best price.
- Large viewing size: 3.78 x 3.50″
- Solar power battery
- Auto-darkening AntFi X60-8 technology
5. Solar Powered Professional Welding Helmet Auto Darkening – Cheap Welding Helmet
This helmet is the cheapest helmet on this list, but it still delivers decent protection and comes with excellent features.
The fit and finish are decent. It is a cheap helmet, so you shouldn’t expect top-grade materials. Nevertheless, the plastic material it is made of is sturdy enough to perform satisfactorily.
The design isn’t elaborate but straightforward and minimalist. It comes with a leather bib for enhanced protection. It is a lightweight helmet and is generally well-balanced.
It comes disassembled, and you have to follow the instruction manual to set everything up. Depending on your skills, this can be super-easy or cumbersome.
It offers decent eye protection while welding. The auto-darkening feature on the helmet isn’t the most sensitive or responsive we have tested, but it still works suitably well.
The manufacturer claims it switches from light to dark in 0.00004 seconds. During testing, it was responsive enough to make us believe this value. The helmet’s lens is a shade 16, which offers decent protection against UV and IR radiation.
You can manually adjust the sensitivity and delay settings on the helmet to meet your welding requirements. The 3.85″ x 3.15″ viewing area is pleasantly large enough and offers an unobstructed view of the work at hand. You can see different angles while welding.
You do not have to be a professional welder to use this helmet. Click here to see the best price.
- 3.85″ x 3.15″ viewing area
- 550mAH batteries
- 1/1/1/2 optical clarity
- Auto-darkening filter
How to Choose the Best Welding Helmet
Although welding can be an enjoyable activity, precautions have to be taken to ensure that it is safe. The welding process produces plenty of light that can be damaging when viewed with the naked eye. So you have to protect your eyes with either welding goggles or helmets.
Auto-darkening welding helmets help to protect your vision. To help you choose the best welding helmets, we have made this buyer’s guide. It contains information about the types of welding masks and factors to consider when selecting the best welding helmet.
Type of shade
The type of shade affects the choice of the welding helmet. There are two main types: fixed and variable shade.
A helmet with a fixed shade doesn’t have the auto-darkening ability of a variable shade. It retains the dark shade no matter the light conditions. So, if the helmet has a fixed shade, you have to lift it often to check the progress and quality of the weld.
Furthermore, since they do not allow you to see as well, you have to put the torch in the welding position before you can don the helmet.
The advantage it possesses is that it is cheaper than other helmets.
Variable shade helmets are preferred by newbies and professionals alike. They adjust their darkness via the auto-darkening feature. Thus, they offer excellent visibility. You do not have to lift the helmet to check the progress or quality of the weld.
Furthermore, they are usually useful for a variety of welding processes. They are far more convenient to use than fixed shade helmets. As a result of the extra features they have, Variable shade helmets are more expensive than fixed shade helmets.
Type of Lenses
Lens type is similar to the shade of the helmet. There are two main types of lenses: auto-darkening lenses and passive darkening lenses.
These lenses automatically adjust their darkness in response to the light conditions. As soon welding begins, they immediately get darker, and once the welding ends, they become clearer. They are similar to photochromic glasses that adjust based on the level of light entering the lenses.
These lenses are very comfortable and convenient for beginners and experts alike. With these lenses, you can work for a long time without removing or flipping the helmet open.
Passive darkening lenses
These are the antithesis of auto-darkening lenses. They do not change their shade or color during welding. They have UV and IR coatings for protection. To see your progress, you have to flip open or remove the helmet.
They are cheaper than auto-darkening lenses.
Knobs and Controls
The placement of the control knobs can determine the ease of using a helmet. Manufacturers can either make the knobs internal or external, which each placement having advantages.
External knobs are easily adjustable. Since they are placed outside the helmet, you can simply reach for them and adjust whatever requires adjustments. However, exterior knobs make the helmet bigger and less portable. It might be challenging to reach if you work in confined spaces, and you might even accidentally bump the knobs on something.
Internal knobs are, as the name implies, placed inside the helmet. Therefore, unlike external knobs, you do not face the risk of accidentally adjusting controls. However, it comes with drawbacks. For example, before you make any adjustments, you have to remove the helmet. This can be frustrating throughout the job.
Welding helmets come at different prices. There are cheap helmets that cost less than $100, while some run into thousands of dollars. Thus, you have to consider your budget before making a purchase.
The market is awash with cheap welding helmets that are enticing. However, it isn’t wise to go for the cheapest available. It would be best if you didn’t opt for the cheapest available because, in most instances, the cheaper a welding helmet is, the worse the quality and protection it offers.
Although you want to save money, you shouldn’t buy something you will later discard due to the poor quality. Conversely, it might not be the smart choice to buy the most expensive welding helmets available.
If your project isn’t a heavy-duty project, an expensive helmet might not be required. Therefore, seek to strike a balance between price, purpose, and quality.
Helmets come in different styles and different fits. Some are adjustable, while others come in a one-size-fits-all fit. While the fixed fit helmets are usually cheaper, they are not as comfortable as adjustable fit welding helmets unless you somehow find your perfect size.
Adjustable fit helmets come with straps or other mechanisms that you can use to make the helmet perfectly fit your head. Welding helmets also might have padding.
Cheap helmets might lack adequate padding, but the best welding helmets often come with padding either on the sides, top, or chin of the helmet. The padding makes the helmet more comfortable to wear and fit better.
Helmets often come with sources of power. Batteries are used to power welding helmets. There are different types of batteries you will find in helmets. These are replaceable batteries and non-replaceable batteries, and solar batteries.
These batteries are made of lithium and can be changed. If the helmet runs out of power, you can replace the battery. As they are made of lithium, they weigh less than other types of helmets.
These batteries are usually made of lead. If the helmet runs out of power, you can recharge the batteries. They last for a long time. Helmets with this type of battery are more expensive than those with replaceable batteries. Furthermore, because they are made of lead, they are heavier than helmets with lithium batteries.
These batteries are a new addition to welding helmets. They are recharged via the sun’s rays. They have an auto-off feature that shuts down the helmet once it isn’t in use. Solar-powered helmets are lightweight and convenient to use.
The best and safest welding helmets have received the stamp of approval from bodies that determine the quality of such products. When buying a welding helmet, choose one that has the approval of the American National Standards Institute and the Society of Safety Engineers.
If it doesn’t have the stamp of approval, it means it hasn’t gone through tests that determine the protection it claims to offer. A helmet that does meet these standards is no helmet for you!
The heavier a helmet is, the less comfortable it feels. If the project takes time to complete, you need to acquire a lightweight helmet that will feel comfortable during and after use.
A good helmet will reduce neck sprains and similar injuries. A lightweight helmet grants you more mobility as you can turn your head around with ease.
Why are welding helmets important?
Welding helmets are vital because they protect your eyes from damage caused by looking into a welding torch or light. They also protect the face from sparks.
What is an Auto-Darkening welding helmet?
An auto-darkening helmet has a lens that darkens in response to the light entering it. Most of these helmets have the option of adjusting the sensitivity, delay settings, and shade.
Can welding helmets be used for grinding?
Most welding helmets can be used when grinding. However, this will depend on the type of helmet you buy, so always check with the helmet manufacturer to confirm its approved uses.
Safety during welding is of paramount importance. There are many types and brands of welding helmets you can buy. Choosing the right one that will deliver a safe and comfortable experience can be challenging. Ensure your welding is safe and enjoyable by wearing a welding helmet. Let this review and guide help you choose the best welding helmets!