Best Welding Helmets 2017 – Reviews
Are you looking for the best auto darkening welding helmet? These are quickly becoming a trend in the welding world, with some helmets even using solar energy to darken.
How To Choose The Best Welding Helmet
Firstly, you need to realize that every individual has a different preference towards the specifications such as weight, sensitivity, etc. Ultimately, you want the perfect balance between safety, comfort, and results.
- When deciding on what welding helmet is best for you, one absolutely crucial part is the amount of protection being provided to your face. You certainly need your full face covered no questions asked, and you need a helmet made out of material that is capable of shedding any molten fragment material.
- A well dimensioned viewing area through your welding mask is extremely important. Generally welders look for semi-long periods of time, so a small viewing port will be difficult to work with. A small viewing area may result in having to position your head or back in poor ways resulting in posture issues, unnecessary body strain, or flipping up the helmet frequently slowing down your speed of work.
- Location of helmet controls is also another important thing that gets often overlooked. Why’s this important? Well, let’s consider that if the controls are internal controls, you’re going to need to likely remove your helmet in order to make adjustments. This slows down your work and can become annoying quite quickly. External controls are nice, but they too have their flaws in that they can be damaged by airborne debris.
- Helmet weight – it’s quite simple, really. A light helmet will reduce head, neck, and body stress thus reducing fatigue allowing you to work more efficiently and at a longer duration. Stress on the body can cause frequent breaks, dehydration, muscle tightening, etc.
|Product Name||Customer Reviews||Editor Rating||Uses|
| ||4.7 /5 Stars||MIG, Stick, ARC, low amp TIG|
| ||4.6 / 5 Stars||MIG, Stick, ARC|
| ||4.6 /5 Stars||Stick, MIG, TIG, ARC|
| ||4.6 / 5 Stars||Stick, ARC, MIG, TIG|
| ||4.5 /5 Stars||Stick, MIG, TIG, ARC|
| ||4.4 / 5 Stars||MIG, MAG, TIG, SMAW and Plasma Arc|
Detailed Comparison And Buyer Guide
What Specifications Should My Welding Helmet Have?
The key goal of a welding helmet, no matter if it’s solar or battery powered is that it should provide protection from UV rays and infrared rays that you are exposed to while welding. This is extremely important to keep in mind along with the fact that they are also designed to protect you from burns and bodily harm.
With this details in mind, we’re going to get to covering what we believe are some of the more important things to consider. You want something that is safe, yet functional, and hey maybe even a cool design too!
A fast switching speed should be desired over a slow one. A fast switching welding helmet will provide you the least amount of exposure to the UV and infrared rays that result from your welding arc. It doesn’t matter what type of welding you are doing, you want a fast switching speed. What does switching time mean? It’s simply the time a helmet takes to transition from natural light to the darkened shade used when the torch is lit up. Professional helmet lenses can darken at the speed of 1 / 16,000 of a second, while entry level helmets typically have a switching speed of 1 / 3,600 of a second and up. As you get to a fast switching speed you generally see price go up along side it.
Heaviness of Helmet
Light helmet = less body stress = more efficient work. You want to reduce stress and reduce pressure. Aim for a goal of purchasing a auto darkening helmet with a weight of at the max 10 pounds. Most of our recommended helmets are below that, so you should be okay.
Viewing size refers to the helmet viewing area that you look through when conducting welding jobs. Typically you will find a welding helmet view size of 5 square inches up to 10 square inches. It is typically recommended for professional welders to get a larger view port, while hobbyist get a smaller simply to keep in mind budget. Your viewport will determine how easy it is for you to see while working, smaller viewing size helmets tend to be more difficult (I know, stating the obvious right?).
Common sense says, a helmet that fits better will be conducive to better work. It will also provide more protection, comfort, and coverage in case of emergency. If your fit is not ideal, you can purchase big’s that attach to the helmets to improve comfort and boost protection levels.
Quantity of Sensors
Absolutely invest in a helmet that has a good number of sensors. Why, you ask? The number of sensors is directly related to the speed and amount of protection you have in case of spark or flame. You want to aim for 4 sensors to have on your welder helmet, but two will work (although not preferred). To reduce potential exposure, if you are a welder that frequently works on your back or side, go with the 4 sensor. If you traditionally work in a normal position you are exposed to less risk and can thus explore going with 2 sensor helmets.
National Safety Standards
National safety standards exist for welders and there are certain codes your equipment should be equal with. Don’t be a cheapskate and purchase a piece of equipment that puts you at more long term health risk. ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 is the newest safety standard for welders. Follow it, know it, and respect it. It has set a mandate that auto-darkening lens manufacturers will need to confirm their claimed specs (transition speed, dark shade settings, etc) with lab tests that are available to the consumer.
Consumer Top Rated Picks
Antra AH6-260-0000: Most Affordable Welding Helmet
At the time of writing this review, the Antra AH6-260 is rated over 4.5 stars by our editor. It comes with auto shut off/on functionality that is fully automatic. A unique feature to this helmet is the fact that it comes with an adjustable darkness setting that you can tailor to your own needs.
Not only does the Antra AH6-260 work for welding, but it’s also versatile enough to withstand plasma cutting work. Measuring 9 x 8 x 12 with a weight of approximately 16 ounces (1 pound), it’s batteries included and capable of functioning with Plasma, Grinding, TIG, MIG, and ARC welding. Viewing specs of 3.86 x 1.78 inches and a variable shade inclusion of 4/5 – 9/9 – 13.
Rhino RH01: Largest Viewing Screen
Weighing in at roughly 1 lbs 2 ounces the Rhino RH01 works great for
SMAW,GMAW,PAC<FCAW,GTAW, and PAW welding. It features a switching speed of 1/25,000 of a second and is made of lightweight nylon shell. The RH01 is also known as the Rhino Large View + Grind Auto Darkening Helmet and features a massive 10 square inch viewing area. The headband has been known to loosen up at times, however it also comes with a rachet style headgear to aid in support. Replacement parts are extremely easy to find making this a popular addition to any welders equipment stock. Ah, one last thing – it’s also solar powered and features 2 arc sensors!
Jackson Safety W70 BH3: Highest Quality
The W70 BH3 is among the most expensive helmet you’ll find on our list today, but it stands out amongst the competition in terms of clarity and light diffusion. Essentially, you get what you pay for wit this particular product. Featuring an auto-on filter designed for auto darkening, it weighs in at roughly 2.1 lbs and provides superb protection for MIG, TIG, and ARC welding scenarios. A switching speed of 0.15 microseconds makes it extremely fast! Dimensions measure at 12 and a quarter inch x 9 and five eighths x 9 and three quarters inches with an EN379 rating of 1/1/1/1. That is fantastic, I am particularly fond of the viewing port on this helmet which helps aid in preparation ease and speed.