If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to go through all the reviews and buying advice compiled by our researchers but you do want to find the best welding helmet money can buy, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know. We have gathered lots of information on various products by checking out what is said about them in actual owner feedback and in the best Welding helmet reviews. Out of all the products we have looked at, the Jackson Safety W40 Insight is the best because of its innovative Auto Darkening Filter that ensures problem-free adaptation to any working environment by lens shade control plus adjustments for sensitivity levels from external lighting sources. This means less glare when working and to protect your eyes! The four independent auto dimming sensors along with the grind and weld modes provide customized protection during various applications, while ensuring compliance to both CSA and ANSI standards. If the Jackson Safety W40 Insight is unavailable, we recommend the second best option, the Miller 251292 Classic Series.
How to Buy a New Welding Helmet
A welder needs protection against eye damage, and this is what the best Welding helmets of 2017 are designed for. The welding helmet not only increases comfort but also enhances the quality of your welds with better vision clarity and safety. Welding helmets do not come in a one-size-fits-all configuration. To know which model suits you, take note of the following elements in a welding helmet.
Lens type you prefer
You can select from either a standard or passive glass lens or an auto darkening lens. Passive lens welding helmets, now made of molded plastics instead of thick leather, deliver basic protection and come with budget prices. They utilize Infrared- and ultraviolet-coated dark tinted glass bearing a fixed shade value, typically #10. When the torch, gun or electrode is positioned, the passive helmet is worn in the up position. Prior to striking an arc, the operator flips the helmet into position with a quick snap or nod of the head. The helmet is pivoted up and away from the face when done, to enable viewing of the workpiece or to fix its position for the next weld.
An auto-darkening lens overcomes the deficiencies of a passive helmet in terms of hassle-free positioning during use. Aside from providing absolute protection against UV and infrared rays, they offer a range of shades from #8 for low-amp to #13 for high-amp applications. Premium quality helmets even come with a grinding shield. In the inactive mode, the auto-darkening lens carries the #3 or #4 shade, making it effortless to see through. The lens darkens when the helmet sensors detect an arc, darkening from shade #8 to #13 in a fraction of a second. The auto-darkening helmet can be kept on before, during and after welding, so you can set up the welding joint with the hood already in position, eliminating the need to snap or nod the head. This decreases the likelihood of a shaky start and the accompanying neck strain, and also improves weld quality.
If your welding job involves just a single type of material of the same thickness, such as steel, and you basically use the same welding process at the same amperage, a fixed shade #10 lens should do just fine. The least expensive auto-darkening helmets and standard glass lens helmets carry a fixed shade. For those who work on various materials including aluminum, stainless steel and mild steel, at varying thicknesses and using different welding processes, the welding amperage can range between 40 and 200 amps, so there will also be varying degrees of arc brightness. With an adjustable or variable shade lens, you get a better view of the weld puddle.
You can find the adjustments internally or externally on the side of the helmet. You can get the best view of the puddle thanks to the ability of the lens to adjust from #9 to #13 based on the application. The #13 shade is rarely used, mostly by those with extremely sensitive eyes or when welding at very high amperage.
Versatility and ease of use
The welding helmet should be able to quickly shade your eyes from the light’s high intensity while welding. With an overly slow reaction time, you may get eye discomfort starting with a scratchy, dry sensation commonly referred to as arc flash. Entry-level lenses switch at a speed of 1/3600 of a second, while professional or intermediate ones are rated at 1/16000 of a second or even faster. The rating is sometimes expressed as a decimal by some manufacturers. Your target is a faster rating primarily for comfort.
Another useful feature is delay control, which allows you to set the length of time the lens stays dark after the welding arc is deactivated. Repositioning to do the next weld will be easier with just a short delay, especially when tack welding on a large project. When welding at extremely high amperages, a longer delay time is better since you won’t be left staring at the weld zone when the arc extinguishes.
Top Rated Welding Helmets in 2017
There are plenty of welding helmets on the market, so making just a single choice would be a huge challenge for even the seasoned welder. The buying guide above is precisely designed to help you make a more informed buying decision. We have also showcased the best products below for an even easier buying journey.
Jackson Safety W40 Insight
Offering a variable shade ranging between 9 and 13, the Jackson Safety W40 Insight is also equipped with a wide viewing area for comfort and reliable functionality. The WH40 Series Auto Darkening Filter (ADF) allows effortless adaptation to a range of working environments thanks to shade control on the lens, plus sensitivity adjustments according to ambient lighting sources. The four independent dimming sensors are supplemented with easy-to-use digital controls for efficiency and precision.
Engineered for serious hobbyists and industrial businesses, the welding helmet offers great value, as you get a superior performance lens that can be used for various applications minus the heavy price tag. This CSA-compliant helmet is outfitted with digital controls that are easy to use, along with grind and weld modes for arc, TIG and MIG welding. Safety and comfort are guaranteed while giving you the freedom to focus on the task instead of worrying about the equipment you are working with.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($139)
Miller 251292 Classic Series
Equipped with a wide viewing area of 5.15 square inches, the Miller 251292 Classic Series offers safety and comfort while welding. It lets you get a good view of your work with variable shades from #8 to #12 plus light state at #3. The unit is outfitted with two arc sensors with a fast 1/10000 of a second speed, efficiently protecting eyes from damage. The Sensitivity and Delay Control can also be adjusted between slow and fast so that you can maintain the quality of your welds at a consistent rate.
With a TIG rating of 20 amps, the welding helmet comes with an Auto On and Auto Off power control for hassle-free functionality. It also comes with a CSA Hard Hat Adapter accessory that you can opt to use at option to outfit the helmet with an air filter. Lightweight at just 454 grams, this helmet comes with a rechargeable solar cell for power, along with a magnifying lens holder for help in viewing the workpiece.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($92)
The Antra AH7-860-6218 is a solar-powered helmet equipped with an Auto-darkening lens to ensure safety and comfort to the welder. The jumbo viewing size enables problem-free visibility plus a variable shade from 4 or 5 to 9 or from 9 to 13, for light to intensely bright welding intensities. This welding helmet has earned both ANSI and CSA certification as your assurances of total quality and efficient functionality. The grinding feature of the lens cover makes it suitable for arc, TIG and MIG welding as well as plasma. The helmet is compatible with a magnifying lens and comes with step-less delay and sensitivity adjustment knob to ensure customization.
Ideal for professional use, this welding helmet remains shielded against UV and IR radiation up to shade 16. The four premium sensors provide immediate and reliable eye protection with fast activation. The headband is specially designed for comfort, providing a snug fit via the push-and-twist knob and the washable sweat band.
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