Detailed Comparison and Buying Guide
Whether you are a professional welder or a hobbyist, the Welding Helmet is the most vital piece of protective gear. The right welding mask will not only protect against molten metal particles, but it will also prevent you from getting welder’s eye; a degenerative condition caused by exposure to the U.V. and infra-red light that is given off by the arc.
A good helmet will offer a combination of comfort and protection and will allow you to get on with your work with minimal disruption. Cheap ones usually offer only a fixed shade lens that stays dark all the time which is fine while welding, but not so great when you need to examine your work.
That is where the auto darkening welding lens of modern welding mask really comes into its own. These lenses make use of LCD technology allowing them to be extremely sensitive to changing light conditions. The screen can lighten or darken in a fraction of a second, making it possible for you to weld the seam one minute and examine it the next without having to remove the helmet.
This auto dimming feature allows more flexibility as well. You can easily switch over from one project to the next, secure in the knowledge that auto darkening protection will have you covered. You need to consider the type of welding helmet you need and whether it has a high enough rating for the projects you are undertaking. This is a case where not just any old snap on welding mask will do.
It is highly recommended to choose the best welding helmet you can afford. You need to consider various options carefully before deciding which is the right helmet for your needs. The following reviews will assist you in finding the best one for you.
Top Welding Helmets
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Hobart 770753 Pro
This is ideal for professional welder. It has a large viewing area and offers shade settings between 8 and 13. The helmet is light-weight and comfortable on the head. The LCD technology allows you to move from light to dark and vice versa in a split second.
Pros: Light-weight, durable and easy to use. The wider viewing area allows for much better visibility and the variable shades allow a lot more flexibility when it comes to projects you can take on.
Cons: Some users report that the headband on the hood is somewhat difficult to adjust but this doesn’t seem to be a major sticking point with this helmets popularity. Its is however on the expensive side and more suited towards the professional welder rather than the budding hobbyist.
All in all, another great welding hood from a great brand which is light weight, durable, trendy and has a great clarity from the viewing area. Check out the detailed review below:
Miller 251292 Classic Series
Miller goes one step further than other manufacturers. Wearing this one you can adjust how close your face is to the inside of the mask. You can choose how sensitive you want the lens to be and also what delay there should be between the darkening and lightening of the lens.
Pros: You have a variety of shade settings and the lens darkens very quickly. The price makes it budget friendly.
Cons: The TIG rating is 20 and up, meaning that the auto-darkening will not respond for projects with a lower rating.
Jackson Safety W70 BH3
Jackson welding helmets are some of the best around.
The W70 has been touted as having one of the “best EN 379 ratings” on the market right now. A rating designed to highlight hoods that provide complete protection with maximum flexibility.
This is an adjustable welding helmet, compatible with hard hats and magnification filters.
Pros: The viewing port is larger than normal and this allows for great visibility. It is powered by a solar cell making it unnecessary to worry about replacing batteries. It comes with a 5 year warranty.
Cons: Not really what we would class as a “con” but this is an expensive helmet so will not be adequate for everyone’s budget, especially hobby welders. It also has no “Test” button so there is no way to tell if the sensors are working as well as they should if you have not used it in a while. There is also no grinding option.
All in all, we think this is a great hood and rate it very highly. Its made for durable materials from a brand that really knows their stuff. This hood offers maximum viewing and maximum protection and is by far one of the best autodarkening welding helmets on the market today.
Lincoln Electric Viking 3350
Billed as being for the “customer who refuses to compromise”, this helmet has the biggest viewing area in its class and is designed for optimal comfort. Whilst Lincoln welding helmets are not the cheapest around, they are arguably the best quality welding hoods money can buy.
Pros: The clarity and field of vision offered by the lens make it popular with users. It is ideal for a range of welding projects, even lower-rated TIG projects and is fairly comfortable.
Cons: It is on the heavier side, especially if wearing it for longer periods. Cost-wise, it is at the higher end of the scale.
3M Speedglas 9100
This helmet offers 5 shades and an ergonomically designed hood. You can lock in the shade of your choice, making this ideal for both welding and grinding. It is also fully adjustable making it suitable for all professional welding projects.
Speedglas welding helmets are recommended by many pros in the industry for their no fuss approach to making hoods.
Pros: This is a high quality option that responds quickly to changing light conditions and is suitable for a wide range of projects. Being able to lock in the shade is quite an advantage here.
Cons: The price is high enough. However, the quality and features are great.
This mask offers high variability in terms of shade settings, from 4.5-9 and 9-13. It has a large viewing lens and can be used for a wide range of projects.
Pros: It is light-weight. Most helmets do not offer the low range settings so this is a big advantage if you are doing a lot of different projects. You get 6 replacement lenses as well with your order. This is the lowest priced option of all reviewed.
Cons: This is a very light weight option and people have complained about the nuts that hold it up – they are plastic and come loose quite easily.
Tips on Choosing the Best Welding Helmet
You want the perfect balance between safety and comfort when it comes to choosing a helmet. For an in depth view on what you should look for when buying a Welding helmet, check out our guide…But here are some quick things to consider if you don’t have time:
- The overall amount of cover offered is important. You want your full face covered and need something that will be durable enough to shed any molten fragments.
- The viewing area is a very important aspect to consider, especially if you will be working for longer periods of time. If the viewing area is too small, you will constantly find yourself having to either crane your neck or flip the helmet up often. This can be fatiguing and frustrating.
- Consider the type of job you will be doing. Are the helmet’s sensors going to be sensitive enough? For example, when welding at lower amperage, you need more visibility and less shading.
- Also consider where the controls are placed – external controls do not require that you remove the helmet in order to make adjustments but are at risk of being damaged by flying debris.
- The weight of the helmet is extremely important if you will be doing a significant amount of work – you may need a more light-weight option to avoid fatigue.
We’ve had a few requests now to make some Plasma cutter reviews as well as other Welding apparel. Finally getting around to adding our first batch of reviews to the site and promise we will be updating the site more regularly from now on, so keep dropping by if you need further recommendations for welding equipment.
We were also in the process of brainstorming other equipment you might be interested in us reviewing. It could be anything that might be useful to a welder or even just handy items you can’t do without in your workshop. If you have any ideas, then contact us and let us know. Remember, be creative. One item I recently added to our workshop was an air purifier. Some of the toxic fumes and smoke that emanate from our garage got me thinking one day about just what we’re breathing in all day. So, I hopped over to a friends site called freshairguide that reviews the best air purifiers for smoke so that I could do some research. As we have quite a large workspace and there’s three of us – I knew we needed a fairly large unit, but it definitely paid dividends to do some good research first.