We all know that welding helmets are an essential piece of equipment – after all, you do not mess around when it comes to protecting your eyes from the harsh glare of arcs and the UV and infra-red waves that come with them.
There are a lot of practical options out there but a huge problem is that many of them are also plain boring. What if you are a fun person, or simply want something that helps to project your individuality? Maybe you are just sick of your mask getting mixed up with someone else’s.
Whatever your reason for considering a customized welding helmet, there is no denying that the designs out there are really cool and that they will do a lot to enhance your image at work.
Some folks are worried that by buying a custom welding hood, you’re compromising on safety, but that’s not the case. These hoods compare just as well to some of the best welding hoods on the market in terms of safety and build quality.
Such welding hoods offer the same high level of protection and features as their plainer counterparts. Prices are high enough if you are looking for high quality helmets offered by major manufacturers. They issue limited numbers of such masks and update designs regularly.
The alternative is to create your own helmet using paint or stickers or to look for a qualified painter. The problem with the former option is that you may end up making a mess or even damaging it. The second option is a good one but could prove prohibitively expensive.
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Miller Performance ’64 Pinstripe 256160
Pros: This is a more stylish option with pinstripes along the sides. It is light-weight, comfortable, comes with a three year warranty and a grind setting. The enlarged viewing lens allows for a better field of vision. The helmet also features a quick release clip to allow you to shed it quickly. You have space to install a respirator if you want to.
Cons: This is the highest priced item of all reviewed today. However, you can expect to get what you are paying for as the quality is great. Some may not like the large and prominent Miller logo and name on the front. The bag could also be redesigned – you have to dump the helmet out of it. A simple drawstring bag would be a better bet.
ArcOne 5000V-1171 Shade Master Fighting Tiger
Pros: The filters are dust and water resistant and are guaranteed to work for a two year period. The inside of the helmet is roomy and with the lockable headgear, there is no need to worry about it getting too close for comfort. If you’d like to install a respirator, there is space to do so. It offers great protection against UV radiation – up to level 16. It is also light-weight and comfortable.
Cons: This helmet comes with a solar battery without the option of a backup battery. If you forget to charge the panel or the solar battery gives out, the helmet is pretty much useless. That said, the solar battery will probably last several years.
Lincoln K3190-1 Bloodshot Eyeball Design
This one features a very stylized version of an eye and many intricate patterns throughout the design. It makes for quite an eye-catching design and this helmet is sure to turn a few heads. The Lincoln logo is on the piece but blends in well with the design, rather than taking over completely.
Pros: It compares well in terms of price and boasts a light-weight shell made of tough polycarbonate. It has a large viewing area allowing for a good field of vision. The auto-darkening sensor reacts in fractions of a second and moves between shade levels 9-13. An inbuilt, larger sweatband allows for more comfort and the headgear can be adjusted to fit comfortably.
Cons: This is not suitable to be used with TIG welding projects as the sensors are not sensitive enough to react to such low amperage arcs. There is no grinding mode.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Customized Welding Helmet
When choosing a painted helmet, you still want to do due diligence and get the best protection that you can afford. In the welding industry, sacrificing safety for looking good is just plain dangerous. So, consider the same things that you would if you were looking for a plain hood – size, shape, weight, number of sensors, etc. Fortunately, you can have a good looking mask that works well.
Here are some things to consider before looking for a custom painted helmet:
- Design – Start off with figuring out what kind of design and colors you would like. Are there any elements you would like incorporated? If possible, have actual pictures of design elements and colors on hand when choosing so there can be no chance of misinterpretation.
- How skilled the painter is or authority of manufacturer. If you order from the painter do not be afraid to ask for examples of previous work to ensure that the painter understands exactly what you are looking for. If possible, have them do a mock-up on paper for final approval before they actually start on the helmet. If you choose a manufactured customized welding mask, take into consideration brand authority.
- The finish of the helmet – You want the image protected by the appropriate varnish or it will chip and flake easily.
- Care of the helmet – A custom hood is going to show scuffs and scratches a lot more easily so it is a good idea to look after it properly. Find out how best to clean and store the helmet when it is not in use.