- Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews
- Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Comparison Table
- Types of Welding Helmets
- Choose The Best Welding Helmet in 8 Steps
- 6 Tips for Caring for Your Best Welding Helmet
- Bottom Line
Last updated on March 25th, 2019 at 11:30 pm
Welding safety is a critical factor to consider because arc welding equipment are notorious for producing high-intensity light, debris, ultraviolet and infrared rays. You already know the immense benefits of having the best welding helmet. It is an important accessory that protects the face, eyes, and neck while delivering other features that may enhance your welding capabilities. With our best auto darkening welding helmet guides and comparison tables we will take a deep look into the best features and models of welding helmets. We are here to make the process easy for you by giving you our top 6 unbiased welding helmet reviews from an expert welder experience.
- Antra AH6-260-0000
- Auto-Darkening: Battery + Solar
- Shades: 4, 5-13
- Viewing Size: 3.86"×1.73"
- Reaction Time: 0.04 milliseconds
- Sensors: 4
- Weight: 435 g.
- Warranty: 1-Year
- Price: $
- Lincoln Electric Viking 3350
- Auto-Darkening: Battery + Solar
- Shades: 3.5, 5-13
- Viewing Size: 3.74"×3.34"
- Reaction Time: 0.04 milliseconds
- Sensors: 4
- Weight: 595 g.
- Warranty: 3-Year
- Price: $$
- Miller Electric Black Digital Elite
- Auto-Darkening: Battery + Solar
- Shades: 3, 5-13
- Viewing Size: 3.81"×2.62"
- Reaction Time: 0.05 milliseconds
- Sensors: 4
- Weight: 510 g.
- Warranty: 3-Year
- Price: $$$
- 3M Speedglas 9100
- Auto-Darkening: Battery Only
- Shades: 3, 5, 8-13
- Viewing Size: 4.2"×2.8"
- Reaction Time: 0.1 milliseconds
- Sensors: 3
- Weight: 570 g.
- Warranty: 2-Year
- Price: $$$
- Jackson Safety WH70 BH3
- Auto-Darkening: Solar Only
- Shades: 4, 9-13
- Viewing Size: 3.81"×2.62"
- Reaction Time: 0.15 milliseconds
- Sensors: 2
- Weight: 565 g.
- Warranty: 5-Year
- Price: $$$$
- DEKOPRO Deep Sea
- Auto-Darkening: Battery + Solar
- Shades: 4, 9-13
- Viewing Size: 3.85"×3.15"
- Reaction Time: 0.04 milliseconds
- Sensors: 2
- Weight: 454 g.
- Warranty: Contact Seller
- Price: $
Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews
1. Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
This is one of the best rated auto darkening welding helmets as it is packed with features and comes in a beautiful, ergonomic design that is perfectly suited for a welder.
The Antra AH6-260-0000 solar powered welding helmet is what you need to prevent inflaming of the eyes, retina burns, and red eyes among other physical harms in the workshop.
Solar powered welding helmets are lighter than their competitors; this is particularly useful for professional welders who spend long hours wearing the gear. Besides being comfortable, it is also cheaper to maintain.
Considering that it runs mostly on solar power, you do not need to spend any money on batteries. It requires minimal monitoring because it has an auto-off function that saves battery life.
- A good viewing size 3.86 x 1.73 inches with 4 sensors.
- Step-less delay and an adjustable sensitivity knob.
- With 1/25,000 of a second light to dark reaction time.
- Magnifying lens/cheater lens compatible design.
- Shade variable DIN 4, 5 to 9, and 9 to 13 shades covering most arc welding and plasma cutting processes.
The downside is that the helmet’s solar charging time is really slow. This fact makes the device more prone to delays since it needs to accumulate enough charge to start functioning. Also, if kept for long periods without use, the batteries may leak water to the filter; and replacing a filter is equivalent to buying a new helmet rendering it useless.
Overall, the solar charged Antra AH6-260-0000 is suitable for areas that get sufficient sunlight. Without sunshine, it can be challenging to work with this product for a whole day and you will need to rely on the batteries. Since the pros outweigh the cons, it’s safe to say this is the best welding helmet for the money.
2. Lincoln Electric Viking Series 3350 Welding Helmet
The helmet from the Lincoln Electric company makes a stylish addition to a welder’s range of equipment. It has a cutting-edge 4C lens technology that provides great optical clarity and cleaner view.
Powered by solar or batteries, this auto darkening welding helmet comes with a sensitive ADF to prevent any flashing and allowing you to work in environments that have light.
The welding helmet has four auto darkening cartridges namely; optical class, variations in luminous transmittance, angle dependence of luminous transmittance, and diffusion of light for great optical clarity.
The Viking 3350 welding helmet from Lincoln Electric offers a large viewing screen and also comes equipped with sensitive headgear sensors. Suitable for home welders and hobby welders.
- A large viewing field area of 3.74 x 3.34 inches with 4 arc sensors.
- Switches from light to dark in 1/25,000 of a second.
- Has several shades with a light state of DIN 3.5 and variable shades from 5 to 13 suitable for all welding, cutting, and grinding processes.
- Magnifying/cheater lens capable.
The downside for this helmet is that it’s a bit heavy due to the large viewing screen and the batteries. If you are planning to work for long hours, this may not be the welding helmet for you. It also has a bright, glossy finish that can get easily scratched so it needs extra precaution when handling it.
The Viking 3350 series helmet is a great welding helmet for hobby and home welders. It is great welding accessory for those who wish to have great viewing area as the big screen and 4C lens technology provides optimal clarity.
3. Miller Electric Helmet Black Digital Elite Auto Darkening Welding
This light weight welding helmet makes it to the list of the best rated welding helmets due to its ergonomic design and versatility. It has a large viewing screen of 9 square inches enabling you to see your working area clearly for easy operation and better welds.
The full automatic on and off helmet eliminates the problems of having to manually lift the helmet to view work as it comes with a number of variable shades that are suitable for different work environments. It also comes with 5 outside and 2 inside cover lenses.
An addition to the series dubbed the Digital Elite, this great headgear is made of nylon construction. It is light thus comfortable to wear for extended period of time. This battery-powered welding helmet comes with 7 cover lenses and a helmet bag to protect the lens.
- A 3.81 x 2.62 inches viewing area with 4 sensors.
- Fast reaction time from light to dark in 1/20,000 second.
- It has several shades from 3, 5 to 8, and 8 to 13 suitable for welding, cutting, and grinding with a special x-mode.
The power button in this model may be the only downside. It is hard and requires hard pressing to function which can be frustrating if you are trying to operate with the gloves on. None the less, it’s light-weight and comfortable to wear for a long duration.
Overall, the black Digital Elite welding helmet is a great piece that will make welding an absolute delight. You can overlook the small fault as it is handy, efficient and offers sufficient protection. From Miller Electric, a brand that has years of experience in the field.
4. 3M Speedglas 9100 Welding Helmet
This welding helmet is equipped with sensitivity adjustment that allows you to use it with all the welding processes without a worry. The head gear is light and extremely comfortable, ideal for welding for long hours.
The 3M Speedglas 9100 has a large viewing area measuring 12.11 square inches for great visibility leading to easy operation and great welds.
You will love the ergonomically designed head suspension that makes it extremely comfortable and light. This helmet has a long battery life of about 2,000 hours so you do not have to keep charging. It has two lithium-ion batteries that are easily replaceable and accessible for longer service.
The top-quality welding helmet also features a high optical clarity that allows you to work with ease. You are guaranteed adequate protection with quick ADF 9100xxi transitions as soon as an arc is detected.
- A large viewing size of 4.2 x 2.8 inches with 3 sensors.
- ADF advances from light to dark shade in 1/10,000 of a second.
- Has adjustable delay and variable shade ranges of 3, 5, and from 8 to 13, suitable for all welding processes, grinding, and torch modes.
- Further, any shade can be locked in.
The only drawback of this helmet, unlike advertised,the side windows of shade 5 are not very useful as they are way on the side, apart from the viewing field. Though there are no side windows for a better view, the optical quality of this helmet gives a welder an exact perspective of the work area.
Not to mention, the padded headgear gives sufficient protection. And the ergonomically designed head suspension offers great comfort with two adjustable straps for increased weight and
5. Jackson Safety WH70 BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The Jackson Safety WH3 is one of the best helmets for welding that comes with Balder technology that gives a smooth auto darkening experience.
The design, unlike your traditional welding helmets, comprises of a stunning yellow and black color combination that is very attractive. Angular dependence with a curved front that offers better reflections and reduced heat build-up. Designed for better fume deflection.
The solar-powered welding helmet has an auto darkening lens, which Jackson Safety brags is the best lens with EN379 ratings for an optically clear view, a variation of luminous transmittance, and diffusion of light.
Its hood is light and very comfortable to wear for long periods. In addition, the helmet’s blue display ensures the user has a hood that’s easy on the eye and neck.
- Great optical clarity with a 3.78 x 2.69 inches viewing field size with 2 arc sensors.
- Switches from light to dark in 1/15,000 of a second.
- A shade DIN 4 with shade range from 9 to 13, suitable for MIG, TIG, and stick arc welding.
- A magnifying lens capable.
- Ergonomically designed for enhanced comfort and protection with three headgear adjustments.
The downside of this welding helmet is that it’s not suitable for all arc processes such as grinding. That said, we still think that this is a good find and will serve you well if you want to weld at home or for fun. It’s also very durable even for welders who tend to be a little rough.
While some brands of welding helmets come with short warranties, the Jackson WH70 BH3 comes with an exclusive five-year warranty which guarantees headgear service and durability.
6. DEKO PRO Deep Sea Welding Helmet
Ideal for all kinds of welding, the Deep Sea welding helmet is made with an attractive design that not only looks great but is functional as well.
This welding head gear features optimal protection for the eyes that ensures quick switching from light to dark after sensing a welding arc. And has a shade 16 that still protects the welder in case of a power blackout.
The helmet has a manual adjustment to suit different situations and needs with its high sensitivity and adaptable delay settings. It boasts a clean view of 7 square inches that is crystal clear for enhanced visibility. In addition, the angular view to allow the welder to see at different angles.
Fitted with an intelligent and practical auto darkening filter that is able to quickly protect the welder from rays and light. It also comes with a solar panel and a long battery life of up to 5,000 hours.
- Features a large viewing size of 3.85 x 3.15 inches with 2 arc sensors.
- Switches from light to dark in 1/25,000 seconds.
- Supports shade range of DIN 4, and variable shades 9 to 13, suitable for TIG, MMA, MIG, MAG/CO2, and plasma processes.
The only downside to this otherwise top rated welding helmet is its durability, it seems to be in question as it may break easily. It needs proper care and maintenance to prevent accidents that might lead to damage.
Overall, it’s a light weight welding helmet that is easy and fatigue-free for enhanced comfort. It is the best budget welding helmet suitable for facility safety, maintenance, repair, and operations, overhaul with a good price tag.
Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Comparison Table
|Feature/Product||Antra AH6-260-0000||Lincoln Electric Viking 3350||Miller Electric Black Digital Elite||3M Speedglas 9100||Jackson Safety WH70 BH3||DEKOPRO Deep Sea|
|Light State||DIN 4||DIN 3.5||DIN 3||DIN 3||DIN 4||DIN 4|
|Dark State||DIN 5-9 / 9-13||DIN 5-13||DIN 5-8 / 8-13||DIN 5 / 8-13||DIN 9-13||DIN 9-13|
|UV/IR Protection||DIN 13||DIN 13||DIN 13||DIN 13||DIN 13||DIN 16|
|Light to Dark||0.00004 seconds||0.00004 seconds||0.00005 seconds||0.0001 seconds||0.00015 seconds||0.00004 seconds|
|Dark to Light||0.1-1.0 seconds||0.1-1.0 seconds||0.1-1.0 seconds||40-250 milliseconds||0.1-1.0 seconds||0.1-1.0 seconds|
|TIG Amperage Rating||>2 amps||>2 amps||>5 amps||>1 amps||3 amps||5 amps|
|Standards||EN379 / ANSI Z87.1 / CSA Z94.3||EN379 / ANSI Z87.1-2010 / CSA Z94.3||ANSI Z87.1 / CSA Z94.3||ANSI Z87.1-2010||EN379 / ANSI Z87.1-2010||EN379 / ANSI Z87.1|
Types of Welding Helmets
Whether you are a welding enthusiast or this is your day job, then you must be familiar with welding helmets. This is a type of headgear worn to protect the face, eyes and neck from any light, sparks, rays, and heat that are emitted by the welder when in use. There is no doubt that welding cannot take place without this protective gear. It is the most common welding accessory due to its importance.
Welding helmets are simply worn over the head to cover the entire face. You will note that most of the modern day helmets have a filter, also known as a lens shade that allows the welder to see when at work. The little window in the helmet can be made of tinted plastic, glass or a variable density filter that is made from polarized lenses. Welding helmets can be categorized into different categories based on a few factors such as; the type of lens and power source. They generally fall into two major categories: the auto darkening helmet or the standard/passive welding helmet. There are other considerations that differentiate helmets as we shall dig deep to find out.
Passive Welding Helmet vs Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
These are two types of helmets available and each has its benefits and disadvantages. The auto darkening welding helmet is quite advantageous as ANSI standards demand that it offers minimal protection even if electronics fail. It is sure to give you 100% protection from dangerous rays. The passive helmet, on the other hand, is placed in position with a snap or nod on the neck. They can be troublesome for beginners yielding poor weld or cause fatigue due to the manual flipping of the helmet up and down to see the welding process.
Passive/Standard Welding Helmet
The standard or passive welding helmet is a type of helmet that works manually. It is easy to put on and operate. A simple snap or nod of the neck will have the helmet on just before sticking an arc. Once you are done working, you can lift the helmet manually. The standard welding helmet uses UV and IR coated dark-tinted glass usually shade #10 that gives protection from rays, sparks, and debris emitted by the welding process.
The passive welding helmet is the less expensive option. Though it can be hectic for welders as one has to put the helmet on, work, lift it up to see the work then wear it again. They have to repeat this process as they check their welding work. This not only makes using the passive helmet tedious but also cumbersome leading to messy welds. Not to mention, it can strain the neck from the continuous snapping of the helmet into position.
Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The auto darkening welding helmet, on the other hand, is a fully automated helmet that switches to the required shade when an arc light is detected. They are quite easy to use and make the welding process much easier, as one does not have to keep putting the helmet on and off before sticking each arc. The auto darkening welding helmet usually has shades #3 to #4 when inactive which makes it easy to see through. When it senses excessive light, the lens darkens, in a fraction of a second to shade #8 to #13.
The auto darkening welding helmet is easier and more practical to use. Other than the fact that you do not need to manually lift the helmet every so often to inspect work, the auto darkening helmet can be adjusted to the shade one prefers. It allows a welder to concentrate on the work at hand and execute a more accurate weld. A welder will also appreciate that the eyes and face are protected in all cases.
A welding helmet is a great accessory that protects the welder from harm during the welding process. You will be glad to note that besides the protective function, they are designed to enhance the welding experience by providing greater visibility and extra features that improve your welding skills. Having so many brands in the market, there are many things to consider before settling on one. Learn the different types of helmets to get the best welding helmet on the market most suited for you. Check our cool welding helmet models comparison chart.
Choose The Best Welding Helmet in 8 Steps
The importance of a welding helmet cannot be understated considering the risks associated with the welding process. A good helmet is supposed to protect you from sparks, rays, light and debris that may be emitted during the process of welding. While all welding helmets are designed to offer protection, some are obviously better than others. When it is the time to purchase one, choose a high-quality product that will not only deliver great service but also give you maximum comfort and last longer. This article aims at helping you choose wisely. Here are some of the things you should put into consideration when choosing a welding helmet.
When buying a welding helmet, make sure it is certified with the United States standards, that is ANSI Z87.1-2003 or higher (ANSI Z87+), for Canada it is CSA Z94.3. Welding helmets made in compliance with these standards offers full protection. They protect the head from high velocity impacts. The eyes from harmful rays regardless of the shade setting. In addition, the shade switching speed is accurate in high and low temperatures. Most auto darkening welding helmets are made according to these standards.
Solar-Powered vs Battery-Powered
Auto darkening welding helmets require a power source for the operation which is usually solar, batteries, or a combination of the two. The battery-powered welding helmet comes with replaceable batteries, while a solar-powered welding helmet charges its power from the sun.
Solar powered helmets last longer and save you money as you do not have to keep purchasing batteries. Battery-powered helmets, on the other hand, are convenient as they can be used right away. Battery-powered helmets offer more convenience as one can just replace the batteries with another when it runs out. While solar-powered helmets may not work or get charged if there is no sun.
There are two types of batteries; lithium-ion and AAA. Li-ion batteries are longer-lasting and better than AAA. Also, there are replaceable and non-replaceable batteries for helmets.
The best auto darkening welding helmets use a combination of solar and batteries so that the helmet runs on batteries but if they run out, the solar kicks in. There is no interruption and it is efficient.
Fixed Shade Lens vs Variable Shade Lens
Helmets can come with an auto darkening filter (ADF) either fixed or variable lenses. The best fixed shade welding helmet lenses usually darken to one single pre-determined shade once an arc starts. Often this is a number #10 shade. The variable shade lenses can be adjusted to varying shades depending on the welding process and the materials in question usually from #9 to #13.
A fixed welding helmet is all right if you use the same welding process for the same materials. There is not much exposure and changes thus ideal for this situation. The variable shade welding helmet allows the user to choose exactly what shade to darken when using different techniques such as MIG, TIG, or stick. Which changes the arc’s brightness and welding amperage, when using different materials and thicknesses.
Lens Reaction Time
The lens reaction time is a crucial thing to consider as it shows how many milliseconds the helmet takes to switch into protective mode. You want a quick response darkening time to prevent any damage or fatigue to the eyes that could occur after being exposed for some seconds. The right lens reaction time should be about 4/10ths of a second; time that is not perceivable by the human eye thus completely safe. It is advisable to buy a helmet that has a high reaction time such as 1/3,600 for home use and 1/20,000 for the industrial grade.
This is an important feature if you want to clearly see what you are doing when working. The bigger the viewing size, the better your vision. You do not want to strain with uncomfortable angles because you cannot see. A typical view size of auto darkening welding helmets range from 6 square inch for light duty applications to 9 square inch for industrial use. Get a helmet with a good enough viewing size for great visibility. Not to mention, lens clarity is also very important. The best lens clarity for welding helmets is 1/1/1/1 optical class. Additionally, optical lens clarity of 1/1/1/2 is also very clean.
You want a helmet that has arc sensors to give you a good level of coverage. For home welding, the helmet should have at least two sensors while an industrial grade welding helmet would require up to four.
This applies to adjustable sensitivity control and adjustable delay control. They enable the welder to set the brightness of the lens and set how long the lens stays dark after the welding arc cease. You want a fully-adjustable helmet that can be configured to one’s personal preference for maximum comfort and enhanced safety. Also a curved clear spatter shield gives better optical clarity so that one can see what they are welding clearly.
Needless to say that a light welding helmet will rest well on your shoulders giving you maximum comfort. A light welding helmet will also not cause shoulder strain or neck fatigue after hours of work. It should also have a well-padded headband for enhanced comfort.
A welding helmet is a crucial tool for the welder’s safety. Prudence, therefore, dictates that one takes enough time to check out the many options available in the market to make an informed decision. There is no need to consider all these factors only to end up purchasing a helmet that has no replacement parts or warranty. Get the best auto darkening welding helmet in the market from a reliable manufacturer for a good warranty and spare parts.
6 Tips for Caring for Your Best Welding Helmet
The helmet is designed to protect your face, neck and lungs when working, but what protects your helmet? The welding environment can be hazardous and stressful leaving the helmet exposed to tough conditions and constant exposure to a welding fume. These factors can have a significant impact on the service life of your helmet thus the need to provide proper care for a longer lifespan. So what is it that one should do to protect the helmet from external elements? Here are tips and tricks to ensure you get the best from your welding helmet, keeping your best welding hood in great condition for the longest time.
Needless to say that a helmet’s maintenance schedule includes proper cleaning once in a while. Cleaning eliminates dirt, dust, and other particles that may have settled on the helmet. These particles can cause scratches and clog parts in the helmet leading to poor service. Make it a habit to clean your helmet after every use and also learn to give it one thorough cleaning after several uses. This way you prolong the welding helmet’s life while ensuring it stays in tip-top condition.
The technology has changed and advancements in the manufacture of welding helmets may demand that you care for each helmet differently. Read the instructions provided by your manufacturer to properly care for your helmet. Also, you should protect sensitive parts while cleaning to avoid damaging them in the process of maintenance. With proper handling and cleaning, you can extend your welding helmet’s lifespan by a considerable amount of time.
You should inspect your welding helmet for cracks and any other kind of damage to ensure that it is providing the much-needed protection. The welding helmet works under tough conditions with sparks, rays, and debris constantly hitting the gear. It is necessary, therefore, to check the helmet routinely for any malformations, problems, or dents to catch any problems early before they worsen. A thorough inspection will reveal the problem areas that need fixing.
You can tell if the areas need replacement or repairs. Alternatively, you may decide to take your helmet to a professional if it is acting up. Proper inspection helps one note the problems areas and take care of them early enough. Check that your helmet has no dents, cracks, or faults on the body before and after use. Check the lens for any scratches or cracks, and if all the parts are in place. If the lens is faulty, then you might need to forfeit the helmet before it causes damage to your eyes. You should reserve some time for routine inspection as it will save you money and enhance your safety.
Routine checks will reveal if your welding helmet needs any repairs or replacement. Usually, you can nip small problems by catching them early enough. Procrastination, on the other hand, may lead to bigger problems that may be more costly than a new helmet, making you forfeit them or use a faulty helmet for a problem that could have been avoided. Using a faulty welding helmet is hazardous and it weakens an already damaged gear further.
When you realize that your helmet needs some repair, raise the money needed for repair instead of procrastinating. Repairs prevent further problems and protect you from serious injuries so you should not take this lightly. Instead, if a part needs to be repaired, you should do so immediately. Some of the problems can be fixed at home while some require the attention of a professional. Do not attempt any repairs that you are not competent in as you could damage your helmet further and render it useless.
Caring for your welding helmet can have a positive impact on performance and protection. Changing cover lenses, for example, helps maintain a crystal clear vision for better welds and less time redoing your work. There are some parts of your helmet that need replacement every so often. These parts include the batteries which do need changing after they have been exhausted, the front lens cover that usually comes in a pack for convenience, and the sweatbands that are very handy if you are working in the heat.
It goes without saying that proper storage will result in a longer lifespan for your welding helmet. This may seem like common knowledge but is a maintenance routine that is often overlooked. A helmet needs to be placed on a high surface where there is little traffic to avoid accidents that may lead to its damage. It should be placed on a clean surface, free from dirt and dust. Also, be careful to protect the lens when storing the helmet. A welding helmet without a lens is a mere shell. The lens is the most important part of the equipment and therefore demands proper care to prevent any harm befalling it. In a nutshell, care for your helmet by placing it on a suitable surface where there is minimal traffic and with the lens protected for durability.
A Helmet Bag
This is not a big deal for many people who prefer to throw the helmet into anything without any form of precaution. However, you should note that a proper bag protects the helmet from scratches and any other kind of harm including impact damage. You do not require an expensive or fancy bag. Just make sure that the bag is fitting and well-padded to cushion the lens from any scratches. The bag should be practical, sturdy, and large enough to carry the helmet.
A good welding helmet is an investment. You have spent a small fortune purchasing this protective gear and we would hate it if it would only work for so long before succumbing to a premature death. We want to make it easier for you to maintain and care for your welding helmet accordingly. This is why we have prepared this simple guide. Prudent practice dictates that you read the manufacturers care tips and follow them to the latter to prolong your welding helmet’s life while ensuring it gives you great service and protection. Follow these simple tips and enjoy the service and protection your helmet has to offer for a long time.
If you are going to spend your money on buying a welding helmet that has auto darkening feature then consider the best welding helmet brands. The best auto darkening welding helmet gives you the best protection from strong light and UV rays in milliseconds without any delay that may lead to getting a flash when working. The best welding helmet should also be light and comfortable to wear. We hope our top rated auto darkening welding helmet reviews have provided you great insight on what models to look for, including our full buying guide and all-inclusive comparison tables.