How To Choose The Right Welding Helmet
Dec 14, 2023
After purchasing the welding machine, the first piece of welding equipment you should purchase is a welding helmet. While all PPE is necessary for safety while welding, a welding helmet protects one of your most valuable assets - your eyes. Welding without proper - or any - eye protection causes inflammation of the cornea, which is the transparent outer layer at the front of the eye - essentially the window of the eye.
In this article, we make it easy for you. We'll guide you through choosing a helmet that's safe, fits well, and suits the type of welding you do. We'll cover different features like lens type, comfort, and safety standards. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced welder, you'll find tips to help you make the best choice. Let's get started on finding the helmet that's just right for you!
How to Choose a Welding Helmet?
Choosing the right welding helmet is crucial to protect your eyes from these symptoms. The different types of welding helmets on the market can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to the trade. Here are some key features to look for when choosing a welding helmet:
- Auto-Darkening Lens: An auto-darkening lens is a must-have feature in a welding helmet. It automatically darkens the lens when the welding arc is struck, providing instant protection for your eyes. This feature eliminates the need to constantly lift and lower the helmet, which can be time-consuming and tiring. Visit our collection of best-selling ArcCaptain Auto Darkening Helmets.
Grinding Mode: Some welding helmets come with a grinding mode feature that allows you to switch the lens to a lighter shade suitable for grinding. This feature eliminates the need to switch between your welding helmet and a separate grinding shield.
Lens Shade: The lens shade is the level of darkness of the lens. The shade number you need depends on the type of welding you're doing. For example, MIG welding typically requires a shade number of 10-13, while TIG welding requires a shade number of 8-13. Stick welding usually requires a shade number of 9-13.
Comfort: Comfort is an essential factor to consider when choosing a welding helmet. A comfortable helmet will reduce fatigue and ensure that you can work for extended periods without discomfort.
Durability: Look for a welding helmet that is durable and can withstand the rigors of the job. A good welding helmet should be made from high-quality materials that can withstand heat, impact, and other hazards.
Choosing the right welding helmet is crucial to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of welding. By considering the key features mentioned above, you can find a welding helmet that meets your specific needs and provides the necessary protection for your eyes.
Different Types of Welding Helmets
Solar Powered Welding Helmets
Solar powered welding helmets are a great option for those who mainly weld outside. These helmets use a battery to get started, then solar power to keep them going. However, you need to remember that the helmet will need recharging after every weld. Therefore, you need to leave it outside to soak up the rays. Otherwise, you'll face an empty battery when you next come to weld. Many solar-powered welding helmets also include auto-darkening features.
An auto-darkening welding helmet adjusts to the light, automatically darkening when the arc is struck and becoming lighter when it ends. There are two types of auto-darkening welding helmets: fixed shade and variable shade.
A fixed shade auto-darkening welding helmet automatically darkens to a fixed shade, usually shade #10. These helmets are usually cheaper than variable shade helmets and are well worth considering if you work with the same material using the same welding process.
Variable shade auto-darkening welding helmets give you the option to select the darkness of the shade, making them more versatile for use in different welding processes and indoor/outdoor environments. If you'll be grinding too, be sure to check the welding helmet has a grinding function to prevent the sparks from triggering the auto-darkening tint.
Shades for Various Welding Applications
If you'll be working on a variety of materials and using different welding processes, a variable auto-darkening welding helmet gives you the flexibility to adjust the shade to your needs, protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light.
The German industrial standard is used to classify light filtering levels: DIN. The DIN number indicates how much light filtration the lens offers. The higher the number, the darker the shade will be. For example, a DIN shade 3 lets 14% of light through, while DIN shade 4 only allows 5%. It's essential to consider the darkness of your environment before choosing the right DIN as you need to be comfortable enough to see your work area properly.
Auto-darkening welding helmets usually have a passive DIN of 3 or 4, enough light to set up your work without the need to remove your hood. When the arc is struck, a variable auto-darkening welding helmet will darken to a DIN shade selected by you. Most helmets have a dark DIN range between 9 and 13 to protect your eyes from the arc.
If you can ever see spots in your vision after a weld, choose a darker shade next time. It's essential to protect your eyes while welding as long-term damage can cause vision loss. The ideal setting is just light enough to see what you need to see but dark enough to prevent eye fatigue.
How to Test an Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
It is important to test your auto-darkening welding helmet before use to ensure that it is working properly. While the self-test button checks that the battery and ADF are working, it does not check for an auto-darkening response. To check this, Welditu suggests using an ordinary television remote control to emit an IR signal that will trigger the helmet's sensors. This trick not only checks the auto-darkening response but also tests how well the sensors pick up signals from side-to-side, or above and below your mask.
The number of sensors controlling the auto-darkening function can vary between helmets. Hobbyist helmets typically have 2 sensors, while professional helmets may have up to 4 sensors. The sensitivity and switching speed of the sensors are also important factors to consider when testing your helmet. The light sensors should be able to detect the welding arc and react quickly to darken the lens. The reaction time should be fast enough to protect your eyes from harmful UV and IR radiation.
Overall, testing your auto-darkening welding helmet is a crucial step to ensure your safety while welding.
True Colour Technology & Optical Clarity
True Colour Technology is a modern development that enhances the clarity of the weld area. It provides a clearer view of the arc, puddle, and workpiece, which helps to improve productivity and accuracy while reducing mistakes. Optical clarity, on the other hand, is a measure of how clear and sharp the vision is through the lens in both light and dark states.
When welding, it can be difficult to differentiate between red and orange, which can compromise welds and cause eye strain. True Colour technology provides an enhanced view of the colors of the weld, allowing welders to see the finer details and produce better quality welds without straining the eyes.
True Colour technology also assists with training, as it allows the operator to see weld defects and potentially prevent any mistakes from occurring. Some welding helmets come with auto-darkening filters, electronic filter lenses, liquid crystal displays, and digital controls. They may also have memory functions, grinding modes, and use lithium or AAA batteries.
Overall, the combination of True Colour technology and optical clarity is crucial for producing high-quality welds and reducing eye strain.
Welding Helmet Viewing Area
Welding helmets come in two different styles: a single viewing pane at the front or panoramic view with additional side windows. The size of the viewing area affects the weight of the helmet. A larger viewing area means a heavier helmet.
When choosing a welding helmet, consider the angles you need to see. If you're a hobbyist or working in the shop, a single viewing pane at the front will suffice. However, if you're doing fabrication or out-of-position work, a panoramic viewing area gives you greater visibility of the workpiece. For most welders, a large viewing area is preferable as it gives you a wider view of the arc, puddle, and workpiece.
The viewing area size is an important factor to consider when selecting a welding helmet. A smaller viewing area provides more focus, which could be beneficial for TIG welders. It is important to note that the viewing area size can affect the overall comfort of the helmet.
For instance, the ARCCAPTAIN Large View Auto Darkening Welding Helmet 3.94"X3.66" True Color has a large viewing area, which is ideal for most welders. However, it is heavier due to the larger viewing area. Therefore, it is important to consider the weight of the helmet when selecting a welding helmet with a larger viewing area.
Overall, the size of the viewing area is an important factor to consider when selecting a welding helmet. It is crucial to choose a helmet that provides the necessary visibility while also being comfortable to wear for extended periods.
Welding Helmet Panoramic View
Welding helmets with a panoramic view offer a wider field of vision with small viewing windows at the side of the helmet. This feature provides an all-round view of the workpiece, making it easier to work at different angles. The greater visibility of the workpiece helps you foresee and prevent problems.
The Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet with Side View 8.46"X2.75" 8.46"X2.75" Super Large is an example of a panoramic view welding helmet. However, be aware that the side windows of panoramic welding helmets may not be auto-darkening. Always check the features of the helmet before purchasing.
It provides a panoramic view with a wider field of vision, making it easier to work at different angles.
Panoramic view welding helmets are ideal for welding anywhere 'out of the shop' where you'll be working at different angles. The wider field of vision gives you greater visibility of the workpiece and helps you foresee and prevent problems.
Comfort & Fit
When it comes to welding helmets, comfort and fit are crucial factors to consider. A poorly fitting helmet can cause discomfort, distractions, and even safety hazards. Your welding helmet should fit snugly and securely, without any irritating pressure points or slipping.
Weight is another important consideration. Heavy helmets can cause strain on the neck and head, especially if you are welding for extended periods. Modern welding helmets are typically made from lightweight, durable materials, but it's still worth checking the weight before purchasing.
The headgear plays a significant role in both comfort and protection. It should distribute the weight of the helmet evenly across your head to prevent muscle strain and headaches. It should also protect you from the heat and sparks emitted during welding. Adjustable headgear is ideal for achieving a comfortable and secure fit.
In addition to the helmet itself, you may also need to consider other personal protection equipment, such as safety glasses and respiratory protection. Overall, choosing a welding helmet that fits comfortably and provides adequate coverage and protection is essential for a safe and successful welding experience.
Key Points for Choosing a Welding Helmet
When it comes to choosing the right welding helmet, there are several key points to consider. The welding helmet you select should provide the necessary functions you need to make welding a comfortable and effective experience. This could include features such as auto-darkening or a wide lens. Additionally, it should make you productive by allowing you to see your weld properly, which reduces the likelihood of making mistakes.
Budget is another important consideration. While you want to ensure that you are getting a quality welding helmet, it should also be affordable. At ArcCaptain, we offer quality welding helmets at an affordable price, according to our customers.
It is also important to read reviews, especially if you are new to the industry. Experienced welders are often happy to share their experiences, and you can pick up great nuggets of information from them.
The type of welding you will be doing is also a critical factor. Whether you are a hobbyist doing occasional welds in your garage or a professional working in and out of the shop, your welding helmet needs to provide the necessary protection and functionality for your specific needs.
Safety standards are also important. Look for helmets that meet ANSI and other safety standards. This ensures that you are protected from hazards such as ultraviolet and radiation exposure, as well as molten metal and spatter.
Other factors to consider include personal preference, grinding and arc welding capabilities, and the helmet's specifications. Whether you are looking for an entry-level, intermediate, or professional-level helmet, there is a welding helmet out there to suit your personal choice.
You may be interested in the following articles:
- Different Types of Welding Jobs and Careers in 2024
- 5 Do-It-Yourself Welding Projects for Beginners
- What is a Butt Weld?
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors should be considered when selecting a welding helmet for safety and comfort?
When selecting a welding helmet, there are several factors to consider to ensure safety and comfort. First, consider the type of welding you will be doing and the level of protection required. Next, consider the helmet's lens shade, which should be selected based on the type of work you will be doing and the amperage of your welding machine. Additionally, consider the helmet's weight and balance, as a heavy helmet can cause fatigue during extended use. Finally, consider the helmet's style, whether auto-darkening or passive, and the overall comfort of the helmet.
How do I determine the appropriate lens shade for different types of welding?
The appropriate lens shade for welding depends on the type of work you will be doing and the amperage of your welding machine. A lighter shade is suitable for lower amperage welding, while a darker shade is required for higher amperage welding. As a general rule, a shade of 10 is suitable for most welding applications, but be sure to consult the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific welding machine.
What are the benefits of auto-darkening versus passive welding helmets?
Auto-darkening welding helmets offer several benefits over passive helmets. First, they allow for easier and faster transitions between light and dark states, which can improve productivity and reduce eye strain. Additionally, they offer better visibility and accuracy, as the lens automatically adjusts to the appropriate shade for the current welding application. However, passive helmets are typically less expensive and may be preferred by some welders.
Can you recommend features to look for in a welding helmet for professional use?
When selecting a welding helmet for professional use, look for a helmet that offers a high level of protection, with a suitable lens shade and a durable construction. Additionally, look for a helmet that is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, with a lightweight and well-balanced design. Finally, consider additional features such as adjustable settings, a grind mode, and a large viewing area.
What is the importance of weight and balance in a welding helmet?
Weight and balance are important factors to consider when selecting a welding helmet, as a heavy or poorly balanced helmet can cause fatigue during extended use. Look for a helmet that is lightweight and well-balanced, with a comfortable and adjustable headgear system. This will help to reduce fatigue and improve overall comfort during welding.
How does the choice of welding helmet impact overall welding quality and productivity?
The choice of welding helmet can have a significant impact on overall welding quality and productivity. A high-quality welding helmet with a suitable lens shade and comfortable design can improve visibility and accuracy, reduce eye strain and fatigue, and improve overall comfort during welding. Additionally, an auto-darkening helmet can improve productivity by allowing for faster and easier transitions between light and dark states.