Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews

 

Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Black Welding Helmet Review

Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Welding Helmet

Designed with optimal fit and comfort in mind, the Lincoln Electric 3350 welding helmet provides enhanced optical clarity because it features a large viewing area and permits users to move their heads freely.

Who Is It For?

This welding helmet is an excellent choice for those who intend to use their welding helmet regularly, as it can stand up to a lot of abuse. As such, it is a suitable choice for both the serious DIY enthusiast and for professional use.

Main Features and Characteristics

  • The largest Viking view port on the market
  • Shade settings of 6 – 13
  • An optical clarity rating of 1/1/1/1
  • Replaceable lithium battery
  • Improved levels of comfort and pivoting headgear
  • 4 sensors
  • Weight of 21 ounces/ 595 grams
Pros

Adjustable auto-darkening sensitivity - The auto-darkening with adjustable sensitivity and wide shade selection function of the Lincoln Electric means that you can work in any lighting environment without getting flashed while working.

Perfect vision clarity - The Lincoln Electric rates highly in all four optical categories, with a perfect 1/1/1/1 clarity for optical class, angle dependence of luminous transmittance class, differences in luminous transmittance, and dispersal of light class, so you’ll get crystal-clear vision at all times.

Large viewing area – Thanks to the large viewing area of the Lincoln Electric, you can weld in tighter spots than ever before. The viewing screen size of the welding helmet is 3.74in x 3.34in (95mm x 85mm) to provide an excellent field of vision.

 

Cons

The helmet is rather heavy and it may become slightly uncomfortable after an entire day of use. The glossy coating of the helmet scratches easily, especially when you are working in a tight spot.

What’s in the Box?

The Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 comes with a string bag, instruction manual, welding bandana, 5 lens shields and helmet stickers for personalization.

This item is available for sale on Amazon.

Jackson Safety W70 BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Review

Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The Jackson Safety W70 BH3 provides a high rated optical quality that offers users the clearest possible views from all angles. This is a welding helmet that is sure to last for the years to come thanks to its sturdy construction.

Who Is It For?

The Jackson Safety BH3 W70 welding helmet is a suitable choice for those who are looking for a helmet that can withstand professional use while being highly adjustable to fit just about any head shape. This helmet is a good choice if you want a comfortable and high-quality helmet that passes the test of time.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Auto Darkening: Yes
  • Shade Range: DIN 9 – 13
  • Viewing Field: Width 3.8″ x Height 2.7″
  • Optical Rating: 1/1/1/1
  • Weight: 19.84 oz (562g)
  • Reaction Time: .00015 seconds
  • Power Source: Solar powered
  • Sensors: 2
  • Warranty: 5 years
Pros

 

Excellent viewing field with high optical rating – this helmet uses Balder technology for superior angles of view, so the user gets unmatched visibility and clarity.

Lightweight – a lightweight helmet is the perfect choice for those who spend hours on end welding. Surprisingly light at just 20 oz., the Jackson Safety BH3 W70 welding helmet is comfortable enough for all day wear.

Highly adjustable – this helmet is easy to adjust to fit your head and ensuring you can tackle just about any job with a minimum of discomfort.

Cons

The helmet is not a suitable choice for torch use or grinding. There is no test button to test if the helmet works as it should.

Compatibility with Accessories

The helmet is compatible with a variety of hard hats and magnification filters available for separate purchase.

This item is available for sale on Amazon.

3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 with Extra-Large Size Review

3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 review

Produced by 3M Speedglass, a very well-known brand in the world of welding, the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 has numerous features that justify the rather high price. With a viewing area of 12.11 square inches and the ability to darken in 0.1 milliseconds, the helmet is also lightweight and comfortable.

Who Is It For?

Suitable for professional use, the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 is an ideal choice for those who are looking for a welding helmet that can offer them maximum protection to the eyes and face during welding. Some of the industries for which the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 is a suitable choice include automotive, construction, military, fabrication, metal work, and more.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Multiple welding filters with superior optical performance for enhanced comfort
  • Ultraviolet and infra-red protection in all states
  • Arc detection down to 1 amp TIG
  • Ergonomically designed head suspension
  • Exhaled air is channeled out via side exhaust vents
  • Side Windows: Shade 5 filters that increase your field of vision
  • Increased coverage for the ear and the head
Pros

Large viewing area: with dimensions of 2.8 by 4.2 inches, the helmet is ideal for those who want to have less strain in their eyes while still getting a wider view of things.

Long battery life: the approximate battery life of the helmet is 2,000 hours, which comes in handy for those who use it for industrial purposes or for those work day and night.

Comfortable fit: the comfortable headband and adjustable straps of the helmet allows you to get a custom experience for enhanced comfort. Moreover, because it is highly adjustable, the helmet can be worn by multiple individuals.

Cons

The 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 is not a suitable purchase for beginners. The lenses are rather expensive to replace if they break down.

What’s in the Box?

The Speedglass 9100 welding helmet comes complete with a helmet storage bag, Speedglass welding beanie, and a 9100X auto darkening lens.

This item is available for sale on Amazon.

Miller Electric Auto Darkening Welding Helmet 

Miller Electric Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

This all-purpose welding helmet is the ideal choice for those who are looking for a comfortable helmet with lots of features. Comfortable enough even when worn for hours on end, the helmet supports multiple operative modes for enhanced versatility.

Who Is It For?

The Miller Electric auto darkening welding helmet is suitable for both beginners and professionals and comes equipped with multiple features to make your job easier. Because it features four operating modes that include Cut, Grind, X-Mode, and Weld, the helmet works well for most types of welding jobs.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Four Arc Sensors: 1/ 20,000 sec. lens speed
  • Viewing Area: 9.22 sq in. 3.85 x 2.38 sq. in (97 x 60 mm)
  • Sensitivity and Delay Control: .10 – 1.0 sec
  • TIG Rating: 5 amps and below
  • Lithium batteries (2) – with solar assist; up to 3,000 hours
  • Meets ANSI Z87.-2003 (High Impact) standard
  • Weight: 18 oz (482g)
  • Filter Shades: 3, 5-8, 8-13
  • 3 Year Warranty
Pros

Multiple operating modes: the four operating modes of the Miller Electric welding helmet cover a wide range of possible uses to suit just about any welder’s needs. The helmet is also fit with four fast arc sensors that auto-darken exactly at the right time so you don’t get flashed.

Enhanced digital controls: the helmet boasts improved digital controls that allow users to switch between operating modes or adjust sensitivity settings without having to take their gloves off.

Wide viewing area: with a wide view of 9.22 sq. in., the helmet allows users to remain aware of their surroundings at all times, as their view is not limited.

Cons

The hood of the helmet may sometimes come down unexpectedly, especially when the users tries to reposition themselves.

What’s in the Box?

Included in the box with the helmet are two inside cover lenses and five outside cover lenses in a bag.

This item is available for sale on Amazon.

 

Best Cheap Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Under $100

 

Antra AH6-660-6217 Solar Power 

Antra AH6-660-6217 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

 

This helmet is an ideal choice for beginner welders. Even though it is affordable, the Antra AH6-660-6217 helmet has a helpful auto darkening feature and it does a good job at blocking UV rays. The helmet is also easy to manipulate and features a quick switching time that is always a plus for beginner welders because they may be new to UV ray exposure.

Who Is It For?

The Antra AH6-660-6217 is a good choice is for those who are beginner welders and wanted to tackle DIY or automotive projects that do not require extensive hours of welding. It is not suitable for professional or industrial use.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Auto darkening: Yes
  • Shade range: DIN 4/5-9/ 9-13
  • Viewing field: Width 3.78″ x Height: 2.50″
  • Weight: 15.34 oz (435g)
  • Reaction time: .00004 seconds
  • Power source: Solar
  • Sensors: 4
  • Warranty: 2 years
Pros

Quick switching time - this helmet goes from light to dark quickly at just 0.00004 seconds so it can protect your eyes effectively from radiation or other dangers.

Wide viewing area - the 3.86" x 1.78" viewing field range of this helmet gives you a good perspective and allows you to look at things while being aware of the surroundings in order to prevent potential accidents.

Available in 16 shades - the helmet is available in a wide variety of shades that makes it adaptable to just about any welding situation.

Cons

Sensor and all the darkening problems - some users have reported that the Antra AH6-660-6217 sets to auto darkening when it should not do it.

Solar powered - this helmet requires constant charging when not in use, which may not be good for long time use, but perfectly okay if you intend to use the helmet as a hobbyist.

 

Miller Electric Welding Helmet

Miller Electric Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Review

This classic auto darkening welding helmet is suitable for beginner DIYers and works well for unhindered work areas. The main advantage of this helmet is the fact that it is inexpensive and dependable. Some of its main benefits include the light weight, variable shade, and delay adjustment.

Who Is It For?

The Miller Electric welding helmet is inexpensive but highly sensitive, which makes it an ideal choice for beginner welders, who do not need to use it for hours on end. Because of its rather high-end features, the helmet also works well for professional workers provided they do not use it in an industrial way.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Welding Helmet Material: Nylon           
  • Sensitivity and Delay Control 0.10 to 1.0 sec.
  • Battery Type: AAA
  • Auto-On/Auto-Off Power Control          
  • Electromagnetic Sensor: No        
  • Number of Arc Sensors: 2
  • Switching Speed: 1/10, 000 sec.
  • Viewing Area: 3.74" x 1.38"
  • Lens Shade: 8 to 12
Pros

Viewing area - this helmet has a 5.15 sq. in – 3.75 x 1.375 inch (95 x 34 mm) area, which means it provides the user with extra comfort when it comes to out of position welding jobs.

Delay control - the helmet has controls that you can use in order to adjust the length of time it takes for the helmet to protect your eyes. This is particularly useful when the weld duration is short and you plan on moving quickly. The user-friendly delay control feature of this Miller Electric welding helmet makes it suitable for different kinds of welding processes.

Auto-On/Auto-Off function - this function helps in extending the battery life of the helmet and activates the lens at the exact right time so it can help you avoid flashes.

Cons

The helmet does not have a grind or cut mode and it is solar powered, which means that you cannot operate it at night time if the batteries are not charged.

Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Helmet

Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet review

One of the most popular of the darkening welding helmets on the market, the Antra AH6-260-0000 is highly durable providing the user with the ideal protection for working under hot conditions. This versatile helmet is a suitable choice for TIG, MIG, Arc and plasma applications.

Who Is It For?

Suitable for both beginners or hobbyist welders, this helmet has a lot of functions that make it flexible and affordable at the same time. Providing near-perfect vision for multiple types of welding, this helmet also comes with a good-sized viewing screen that measures 1.7” x 3.86”.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 12 inches
  • Weight: 435 grams
  • Operation – Fully automatic power
  • Material – High impact polyamide nylon for durability
  • Viewing area – 3.86″ X 1.78″
  • Source of Power – Replaceable lithium battery with solar energy backup
  • Compliance with ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3
  • Magnifying lens compatible
Pros

Magnifying lens compatibility: feature that is not present on most helmets in this price range is magnifying lens compatibility which means that the helmet is a suitable choice for jobs that require attention to every detail. The compatible magnifying lens size for this helmet is 2" x 4".

Auto-darkening filter with 13 shades: this feature ensures that your eyes are protected at all times from the welding glare. Moreover, you do not have the keep taking the helmet off every time you take a break.

Fast switching speeds: this helmet quickly switches from light shades to dark when it detects the welding arc. The switching speed of the helmet is 0.00004 seconds, which means that your eyes remain protected for the entire duration of the welding process.

Cons

The viewing area of this helmet may be a bit limiting, especially if you are used to other helmets with more generous fields of vision.

 

Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Helmet 

 

Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The Instapark ADF Series GX-350S is a professional welding tool that reacts quickly to high amounts of light to protect your eyes effectively. The helmet is suitable for arc, metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Moreover, it has a unique design that makes it an instant favorite for beginner and enthusiast welders alike.

Who Is It For?

This is a suitable welding helmet for individuals who are looking for a convertible item that can provide them with most of the features you can find in a more expensive product.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Enhanced optics to minimize eye fatigue
  • Shade adjustments of #9 -#13 and a resting shade of #4
  • Large 3.5" x 1.375" viewing area
  • Suitable applications include Stick, MIG, and TIG
  • Weight: 770 grams
  • Dimensions: 32.4 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm
Pros

Improved safety: because it conforms to safety standards, this helmet is one of the safest ones around in the event of a faulty filter or electrical failure. Moreover, it is very durable, which means it can take a drop or other kind of mishandling without important damage.

Viewing size: because the viewing size of this helmet is neither too large nor too narrow, you can use it for just about any type of welding jobs. The helmet offers great perspective and good viewing angles no matter how low or high you decide to wear it.

Enhanced optics: the optics of the Instapark ADF Series GX-350S are improved for 1/2/1/3 denomination in order to be able to deliver optimal clarity and reduce eye fatigue.

Cons

The smaller viewing area may not be a suitable option for some types of welding jobs.

 

Forney 55701 Premier Series Black Matte Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Review

 

Forney 55701 Premier Series Black Matte Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Featuring a large viewing area, sensitivity adjustment, and a grind mode, the Forney 55701 Premier Series offers excellent quality at an affordable tag price. Unlike other welding helmets in its class, this one allows the user to switch between grinding and welding mode.

Who Is It For?

The Forney 55701 Premier Series welding helmet is a suitable choice for hobbyist and beginner welders. Because of its user-friendly design, this welding helmet is an affordable item that caters for a wide range of basic needs.

Main Features and Characteristics
  • Lightweight at less than 1 lb
  • Two optical arc sensors protect against the dangers of arc flash
  • 5.97 sq. in. (3.62” x 1.65”) viewing area
  • UV/IR coating to reduce scratching and discoloration of the lens
  • DIN 9 to 13 shade selection
  • 1/16,000 per second switching speed
  • Optical clarity rating of 1/1/1/2
Pros

Large viewing area: The helmet has a large viewing area so you can get a wide visual of the entire welding procedure. The viewing area measures 5.97 sq. in. (3.62” x 1.65”).

Sensitivity adjustment: equipped with a shade selector knob, the helmet allows users to adjust the sensitivity to their preferred level with just a single move.

Grinding mode: this function allows users to toggle between grinding and welding, so you don’t have to switch back and forth from a regular helmet to a pair of grinding goggles.

Cons:

The lens of the helmet is not scratch-resistant.


Welding Helmet Buying Guide

A welding helmet is one of the most essential pieces of equipment whether you are a beginner or professional welder. It is actually something that you can't weld without - the role of the helmet is to provide you with complete protection from the emissions of radiation, flying material, splatter, and more. For this reason, it is important to consider multiple features and functions before purchasing a welding helmet.

Choosing the best helmet for your welding needs might be confusing if you are not familiar with the latest national safety standards and auto darkening glass technology. This buying guide will help you sort through all the important features that you need to take into account when shopping for a welding helmet.

Auto-Darkening vs. Standard Glass Lens

One of the basic questions to ask when buying a welding helmet is the type of lens that is most suitable for your needs. The main choice is between standard or passive glass lens welding helmets which are still popular today even though they have been invented decades ago.

Passive Helmets Pros and Cons

The main advantage of using a passive welding helmet is its affordability -  these helmets are generally offered at quite low prices since they are made from inexpensive molded plastics and use infrared coded dark tinted glass.

With a standard welding helmet, you get basic protection at a budget price, but even though they are inexpensive, they come with a range of disadvantages. when you wear a standard glass lens welding helmet, you will find it that it is more difficult to keep your torch in a correct position, especially if you are beginner.

For example, if you are welding in a restricted space such as on a trailer or car, you will find out that you don't have enough room to flip your helmet up and down. This means that you may get a lot of neck discomfort after an entire day of welding.

Auto-Darkening Helmets Pros and Cons

On the other hand, all the darkening welding helmets provide you with a more advanced level of protection, being quite different from the passive ones. The way they work is simple: the helmets have viewing lenses of shape three or four when they are inactive, which allow the welder to see through it. The Saint-Saens darken to shade 8 to 13 in a fraction of a second after they sense any arc start, which is triggered by a sheet received by the sensors.

The main advantage of using an auto-darkening welding helmet is the fact that you do not need to flip the helmet yourself, because it allows you to see through the viewing lens. This means you can carry out welding work without causing any discomfort to your neck.

Auto-darkening helmets require careful handling, because they can be damaged if not properly used. Moreover, these helmets are more expensive because they use advanced technologies and materials, and they also use battery power in order to be active.

Fixed vs. Variable Shade

A fixed shade lens is all you need if most of your welding involves a single type of material that has the same thickness and uses the same welding process, such as steel. Most standard glass lens helmets are fixed shade. However, if you want to weld different material, such as stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum, which have various thicknesses and require different welding processes, you may need a variable shade helmet.

Fixed shade helmets are cheaper but require you to put the torch in the welding position before putting on the helmet, and you will also need to remove the helm at each time you want to check the quality of your weld. On the other hand, variable shade helmets are more expensive and feature all the darkening features for an enhanced level of comfort. You also don't need to buy separate helmets for various applications you may be working with, as you can just adjust the lens of the helmet to suit your current job.

Type of Batteries

Some helmets come with non-replaceable batteries, whereas others have replaceable batteries. Replaceable batteries are often made of lithium, which means your helmet weight will be considerably reduced because these batteries are very lightweight. the main advantage of using a helmet with replaceable batteries is that you can change them any time without interfering with your work. However, these helmets are sometimes more expensive than models with non-replaceable batteries.

Welding helmets with non-replaceable batteries are generally heavier because the batteries are made up of lead. When your battery drains out, you need to replace the helmet. You can recharge the battery in direct sunlight prior to 1st use, as well as in the situation you store the helmet for an extended period of time. This can be an inconvenience if you want to weld right away.

Lens Reaction Time

One of the most important features when choosing a welding helmet is the switching speed, also referred to by many manufacturers as lens reaction time. You will see that the switching speed is a number that tells you how fast the lens changes from its natural light to a darkened shade required for welding.

Most lenses start from shade number 3 or 4 and go to up to 13. The quicker your eyes are shaded from the high-intensity light generated by welding, the better. If your welding helmet has a slow reaction time, this may result in eye discomfort that might feel like a dry scratchy sensation which is often referred to as arc flash.

Most entry level welding helmets have lenses rated at 1/16,000 of a second or faster. This type of lens may cause your eyes to feel fatigued by the end of the day, so it is always a good idea purchase a welding helmet with faster switching speeds.

Helmet Weight

A very important feature for those who spend hours welding is the weight of the helmet. If you opt for a lighter helmet, you minimize the strain put on your neck, increasing the level of comfort. There is a significant difference between a welding helmet that weighs 1 pound versus one that weighs 2 pounds, even though it may not feel like such a big deal when you have them in your hand. Greater weight may not cause discomfort in the first half hour of welding, but when you work on an all-day project, it may actually become an excessive weight that puts strain on your neck.

To make sure the helmet is comfortable, it is always a good idea to try it on before making a purchase. You also need to make sure that the helmet is easy to adjust up, down, front and back. Moreover, check whether the welding helmet can be easily tightened around your head and that it stays in place securely when you bend.

Sensors

Another important factor when choosing a welding helmet is the number of sensors. As a rule of thumb, the number of sensors ranges from two to four, with two being often present on entry-level welding helmets and four on industrial use welding helmets. When the number of sensors is higher, the coverage is better, especially when it comes to welding jobs that require a lot of out of position welds that may obstruct the sensors. If you intend to use the helmet for industrial purposes, it is always a good idea to purchase a helmet with four sensors.

National Safety Standards

When you shop for a welding helmet, it is important to make sure it meets the national safety standards with the most recent one being ANSI Z87.1 – 2003. In order to meet this standard, manufacturers need to validate their publicized specifications for particular helmets, such as changing speeds, the settings for darkness, as well as other specs via independent laboratory tests that can confirm their compliance.

In order to pass these harsh tests, the helmet and its lens need to endure high speed impact tests from flying objects, meet advertised switching speeds and darker shades in extreme temperatures, and provide 100% ultraviolet and infrared filtering irrespective of shade settings.

To meet the National safety standards, the auto darkening of the welding helmet needs to engage and perform at temperatures as low as 23°F and as high as 131°F in order to ensure steady protection and safety for the user.

Delay Controls and Adaptable Sensitivity

Most auto darkening helmets, regardless of their level, offer the ability to adjust the level of brightness that triggers the lens to darken. By choosing a welding helmet with adjustable sensitivity functions, you can adjust the level of brightness to meet your specific needs. This is especially useful when it comes to welding at low temperatures, when the arc is not as bright as in the case of other welding processes.

Another useful feature to consider for a welding helmet is a delay control, which enables you to see how long the lens remains dark after the arc stops. With a short delay, you can get the job done faster when you reposition for the next weld. However, a longer delay time is useful when you weld at a very high amperage because it prevents you from looking at the weld zone after the arc stops.

External vs. Internal Knobs

Some welding helmets have external knobs, whereas others have internal ones. There are advantages and disadvantages with each of the options. External knobs are placed on the outside of the helmet, allowing users to easily adjust them without having to remove their helmet. However, external harps may make it hard for users to work in a confined area such as a narrow part of a garage or under a car.

Helmets with internal knobs needs to be removed every time users need to adjust it. This is because the knob is placed on the inside of the helmet. The main advantage of using a helmet with an internal knob is that you don’t have to worry about touching it by mistake when you are welding in a narrow space, such as under a car.

Viewing Size

 

Not all welding helmets are created equal when it comes to viewing size, and this is one of the most important considerations when you shop for an auto darkening welding helmet. A typical view size on a welding helmet ranges from 6 square inches to 9 square inches, with the latter being a suitable choice for heavy-duty or industrial use. You must decide the view size for your helmet according to your personal comfort and preferences, but also keeping in mind the amount of out of position jobs you are likely to do.

Extra Tips for Buying a Welding Helmet

To resume, when you choose a welding helmet, make sure it feels comfortable and performs well at protecting you from ultraviolet and infrared radiation. Make sure that the helmet you choose:

  • Has no large gaps at the neck
  • Fits snugly on your head
  • Can be adjusted so you can have the line of sight through the center of the lens
  • Has a well-padded headband for enhanced comfort
  • Is sturdy enough to withstand fairly severe knocks
  • Has lenses that are easy to change
  • Swings into a working position with ease and does not push on your Adam’s apple to cause discomfort.

Whether welding is a hobby or part of your career, it is essential to use a high-quality welding helmet to protect you from infrared radiation. Exploring all available options before making a purchase is the best way to find the item that works well for your needs. While it may be tempting to purchase the most expensive welding helmet out there, this is often unnecessary, especially if you do not use it on a daily basis. To make an informed choice, have a look at the technical specifications and the fit of the helmet, and make sure the welding helmet you choose meets the current safety requirements.