There are a lot of things to consider when buying a welding helmet that will protect your face and eyes from getting burnt. So before you consider your purchase you’ll want to think about how it keeps you safe and comfortable.
After welding with over a dozen different welding helmets over the years I’ve found the Lincoln Electric 3350 SeriesWelding Helmet to be the perfect balance for the price, comfort, looks, and most importantly safety. I’ve been happy with this helmet and have even bought this helmet for a few of my workers.
The most important takeaway from this article that I can share is not to buy the cheapest welding helmet. After testing, several of them over the years and trying to save a few bucks I’ve found the cheaper helmets are just not built to hold up and not very comfortable if worn for long periods of time.
What About Non-Auto Dark Helmets
However, if you’re looking for a non-auto dark welding helmet solution then I recommend the Jackson Safty W10 HLX Passive Welding Helmet.
This helmet is a cheaper alternative to an auto dark helmet and is the type of welding helmet I started out using. Overall this helmet is a great option and you’ll never have to worry about batteries going dead and burning your eyes. Click here to buy it now.
What to Look For in a Welding Helmet
Obviously you’ll want a helmet that is safe and will protect your face and eyes from getting bunt but here are a few other factors to consider as well.
Replacement Lenses – One thing I feel like a lot of people don’t think about until after the fact is how much replacement lenses will cost. Almost every helmet has a different size but what I like about the 3350 Series from Lincoln Electric is that they all use Viking lenses and they are inexpensive and you get 5 inside and 5 outside lenses in every replacement pack.
Comfort – Comfort is also something a lot of people don’t consider when looking at a welding helmet. If you plan on welding for 8 and 10 hours a day you’ll want a wider adjustable headband.
Quality of Parts – One thing I’ve found with cheaper helmets is that they will have cheaper internal parts. For example, is some helmets I’ve found that they use cheap plastic clips to hold the lenses in and can break easily if you’re not careful with them.
Lenses Size – If you plan on welding for any amount of time you’ll want a bigger lens size so you can see more of what’s going on around you. Smaller sizes can work but you’ll be surprised at how much more you can see
Graphics – Of all the things on this list, this is probably the least important. A few of my workers want a cool looking helmet but in the end, it’s still a welding helmet and nobody cares, just don’t make it hot pink.
Protection – One issue I find with a lot of helmets is that they tend to be short. With the 3350 series, it’s a longer helmet and will prevent your neck from getting burnt. In fact, I’ve had several employees duct tape a small piece of cloth on the bottom of their helmet to prevent neck burns
Material Types – You also want to consider the type of material the helmet is made out of. Some helmets are made out of tougher plastic but if dropped it could crack the helmet. Better helmets will use a slightly softer material that will allow for some give and prevent cracking.
Total Weight – Weight is another factor to consider. If you’re welding for long periods of time a heavy helmet may cause neck soreness, cramps, or even headaches.
Price – Finally, you can buy cheaper helmets but they will likely have cheaper parts, be uncomfortable, smaller lens size, and not offer as much protection. For me know that I won’t burn my eyes, face, or neck is worth the little bit of extra money.
Top Welding Helmet Brands to Consider
So now that you know what to look for here are several brands of welding helmets to consider.
Lincoln Electric – I find the Lincoln 3350 series helmet to be the helmet that I recommend since it’s got a big visible lens, comfortable headband, and a longer helmet overall to protect your neck from getting burnt.
Jackson Safety – This is probably my second favorite brand. I’ve bought several helmets from Jackson and they are pretty good for the most part because they have big lenses and are fairly sturdy but the clips on the inside can feel a bit cheap and easy to break.
Antra – Is a cheaper helmet and what I don’t like most about them is the smaller viewing lenses which I find harder to see what I’m working on.
Miller Electric – Miller also has a decent helmet but you’re going to pay for what you get as they are more expensive. I’ve found with these helmets that the bigger the lens size the more you are going to pay.
ESAB – Of all the brands out there I’ve ESAB to be the most expensive. Not only are the helmets expensive but the lenses are expensive as well. Don’t get me wrong they are really nice helmets and they are probably the best looking helmets but they are the most expensive.
DEKOPRO – This is a cheaper brand of helmets some with small lenses and even some with bigger lenses but they aren’t the most comfortable. I’ve also found the shade power to fluctuate which makes me a little leary even mentioning this brand.
Audew – This is probably the cheapest of all the brands mentioned here. They may be inexpensive but what you don’t pay for in cost you’ll pay for in comfort and lens
3M Speedglass – The 3M helmets are high-quality helmets but I’ve found them to have two major disadvantages being that they have a small lens size and second that they have some odd-shaped lens, unlike most helmets which have a traditional square or rectangular lens which will cost more. Overall these helmets cost more
Hobart – Finally, with Hobart helmets, they have the same problem most other brands have and that is they have a smaller lens size restricting how much you can see while welding.
Safety Standards for Welding Helmets
One of the biggest concerns with welding helmets is the safety factor. If a helmet can’t protect your eyes, face, and neck it could be dangerous to use.
If you are using a welding helmet in a workplace environment the helmet will need to be ANSI Z87.-2003 compliant. This a standard set in place by the American National Standards Institute.
- High Impact – Testing the lenses and the frame to see how much force they can take.
- Exposure – Can they hold up to welding and radiation to protect your face.
- Durability – Testing to see how they do with flammability and corrosion.
Side Note: The Lincoln Electric 3350 Series meets the ANSI Z87.1-2003 compliant standards, and is also compliant with the newer 2010 standards as well.
You can find out if your helmet is certified ANSI Z87.1-2003 certified by looking at the info that comes with your welding helmet when you buy it or just by looking at the product specs on the manufacturer’s website.
Recent Improvements in Welding Helmets
Smart Chip Sensor Controls – With most welding helmets you’ll have 1 or 2 sensors but the newest option is a 4 sensor helmet that covers you in more directions to avoid weld burn.
Interface Suppression Technology – With interface suppression, it stops your helmet from the false trigger, sunlight, or even fluorescent light causing it to switch.
Variable Shade Settings – With variable shade settings you’ll be able to set your lens shade to a darker setting for more intense welding or lower it for grinding.
Grinding Shade Settings – The great thing about having this setting is that you’ll be able to weld and grind without ever having to flip your helmet up.
Auto Dark – Obviously one of the biggest advancements in the auto dark features which
4C Lens Technology – One of the new technologies is the 4C lenses by Viking which is used by Lincoln Electric helmets. The 4C’s stand for…
- Clarity – Optical Clarity which improves your visibility.
- Color – Shows the real colors and less of the lime green.
- Carat – They are a lightweight lens.
- Cut – They give an even shade from any angle.