Jasons Welding Helmet Genius

welding ISN'T A JOKE

I have spent a lot of time buying and selling welding products, so I thought I bring my expertise online! The first ones I decided to tackle match my name, Welder, so I will go through the latest Welding Helmet reviews, I will begin with Auto Darkening Welding Helmets, as they are the best in my opinion!

What are Welding Helmets?

If you don’t know – then you need to read at least the basics. Here they are.

A welding helmet is pretty much what the name describes, its a piece of headgear that you use while welding to protect your face during a live weld.

Basically you need to protect your eyes, your face and your neck while welding, because you could get flash burns, UV light, charring sparks, infrared light, and even the extreme heat.

Many amateur welders brave small welding tasks without their helmets, not realizing that the sparks and heat aren’t the only dangers, getting exposed to the UV radiation and infrared light can burn your cornea, retina and cause blindness. Don’t forget radiation burns to the face and neck. The best welding helmet will protect you continuously from all dangers of welding.

Regardless of your proficiency, your welding helmet is your most important tool, second is your gloves. A perfect welding mask will keep you safe from all the dangers of welding, so please invest in a decent.

Why only the Best Welding Helmet?

Welding is not a joke! If you really want to make sure you don’t get injured, then you need very good welding helmet. If not the best, then at least the best helmet you can afford.

You need a welding helmet to:

Protect your eyes

Ever heard of “eye arc”? Welding creates a range of radiations which are emitted during the process. These radiations, if you are exposed to them, damage your eye in one of two ways:

  • Radiation damage leading to inflamed corneas
  • Radiation burns which would affect retinas

Protect your skin and Body

If you weld then you know that the welding arc can reach over 10,000 Fahrenheit. Imagine that arc hitting your exposed skin! However it isn’t the arc that you are getting real protection from, its actually the spatter while welding.

Your helmet protects your face and skin from potential spatter burns. A cheap welding helmet may get damaged easily under high spatter, so inspect it regularly.

Top Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Under $100

antra Wide Shade - best sellerI understand that not everyone has a high budget, and the price does matter. If you are looking for a cheap welding helmet, then I present to you my top 5.

The best of the best with over 600 reviews and a 4.4 out of 5 rating, is the Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet.

As a cheap welding hood, it works well for:

  • TIG,
  • MIG
  • MMA,
  • Plasma Applications with Grinding Feature

Other Benefits of the Antra AH6

  • It has a decent sized viewing lens: 3.86″X1.73″
  • Equipped with 4 really good Sensors
  • Comes with a Step-less Delay feature
  • Can be adjusted for sensitivity manually.
  • Comes with 6 replacement lenses

The BIG Selling points of the Antra AH6:

It is half the budget of $100 which makes it the number one choice  and number 1 seller in the cheap range of auto darkening welding helmets.

Best Price Here

Other Recommended ADW helmets under $100

251292 Classic
Miller 251292 Classic thumb Antra AH7-860-0000thumb ArcPro 20702 Auto-Darkening Instapark ADF Series thumb
Current Rating
4.7 4.3 4.5 4.9
View Field 3.75" x 1.375" 3.78" x 3.50" 3.86” x 1.61” 3.86" x2.44
Reaction time
(in seconds)
0.0001 0.00003 0.0001 0.00004
Helmet Weight
(in Grammes)
454 907 499 771
Customer Reviews See Reviews See Reviews See Reviews

See Reviews

5 Quick Tips For Buying The Right Auto Darkening Helmet

Remember these tips and tricks if you want to get the best value for your money in order to stay safe in your welding workplace:

Balance the Price with Quality.

This generally means you should not pick a helmet just because of the price, and at the same time, don’t overspend for a helmet. Look at the features and quality instead. Make sure that the price is just right for its features. For instance, professional and entry level helmets have a big difference in price. Most amateur or entry level helmets only cost about $100 or less, while professional ones can cost you a fortune, so try to pick which one you really want.

Know the Nature of your Welding Work.

Do you work on small-scale projects or a big, sky scraper workplace? Don’t buy just any other auto darkening welding helmet – go for one that will be the best fit for your needs. In addition, know what the auto darkening helmet will be used on. For instance, if you are only a home welder, amateur or hobbyist welder, do not go for an expensive professional helmet if you don’t need all of the features because it can take its toll on your budget! If you only intend to weld occassionaly, save money by only opting for cheaper but still efficient welding helmets.

Get Ideas from Reviews.

You should try to shop and browse online for the best quality welding helmets if you want the ability to buy at your leisure – in shops the ranges tend to be limited and you dont normally have user reviews to enable you too make the right decision.. Just make sure you are shopping from legitimate websites and reliable sources. Don’t get reviews from manufacturers, rather, get reviews from external or shopping websites like Amazon. It may also be a good thing to go to an offline store, hardware, warehouse or authorized dealer if you want to test out the helmet yourself before buying. On this site I will be collating as many welding helmet reviews as possible. So feel free to look around.

Don’t Exceed your Budget.

Even if you really want a good helmet with all the features but you can’t afford it, try to aim for the cheaper priced ones that have good reviews. Not every welder has the right budget, but every welder has the right to protect himself / herself from dangerous fumes and extensive ultraviolet light that can damage their eyes. So instead of going for a helmet that has tons of features, always take into consideration the safety features first before the other added features.

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets By Review

If you cant be bothered to wait, below are the top auto darkening helmets reviewed and sorted by rating. Click on each to see it.

  Brand and Model Shade Range Weight Ratings Reviews
Hobart-770753 Hobart-770753 #8 to #13 2.4 pounds 4.7 Read All Reviews
Miller-251292 Miller 251292 #8 to #12 2.1 pounds 4.6 Read All Reviews
Jackson-Safety-W70-BH3 Jackson Safety W70 BH3 #9 to #13 2.1 pounds 4.6 Read All Reviews
Lincoln-Electric-Viking-3350-K3034 Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 #6 to #13 1.31 pounds 4.6 Read All Reviews
3M-Speedglass-9100 3M Speedglas 9100 #8 to #13 1.4 pounds 4.5 Read All Reviews

The Top 5 Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Reviewed

Hobart 770753 Pro Welding Helmet

Hobart-770753The Hobart 770753 is rated as one of the best for those who take the quality of their work seriously. As welding helmets go, this is one of the highest rated and reviewed helmet we have come across externally. One of the Main Benefits of the Hobart 770753 Pro series is increased visibility aided by the large view frame, as well as the range of shade, from an 8 to a 13, making is a versatile auto darkening welding helmet.

See All Reviews

The Miller 251292 Classic Helmet

Miller-251292Sometimes you just need more control. The Miller 251292 auto welding helmet lets you adjust the space between your face and the mask (for those who need a bit more distance than others) as well as manipulate the delay between welding shade changes, allowing you to work with a delay for darkening and lightening of the lenses that allows you to be comfortable.

See All Reviews

The Jackson Safety W70 BH3 Helmet

Jackson-Safety-W70-BH3Jackson insists that the  W70 BH3 is one of the highest EN 379 ratings holder, which basically is their way of saying that the welding helmet is said to have serious flexibility without compromising protection. Its one of the few auto welding helmets of its class that are compatible with both, hard hats and magnifiers.

See All Reviews

The Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Helmet

Lincoln-Electric-Viking-3350-K3034If visibility is your biggest concern, the the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 K3034-2 auto darkening hood is what you should aim for. It is supposed to have the largest view frame and is built to make sure you are as comfortable as possible when you weld.

See All Reviews

The 3M Speedglas 9100 Welding Helmet

3M-Speedglass-9100There are times when you need to hold your shade, and not allow the auto darkening function to force you to lighten or darken the shades. Th e3M Speedglass 9100 allows you to do just that, and has 5 different shade settings to do so. Its great for most welding projects, and is rated as being quite comfortable.

See All Reviews

The Two main Types of Welding Helmets

A lot of beginners may be aware of welding hoods, or “passive lens helmets”.  Pros would be quite aware of auto darkening welding helmets.

Passive Welding Helmets

Most passive welding helmets come with a fixed shade viewing lens. An average passive welding helmet has the normal protection you would expect, coated lenses to protect from both UV and infrared radiation.

Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

The biggest difference with ADW helmets compared to passive lens helmets is the use of the ADF (Auto-Darkening Filter). This specially made mini screen made of liquid-crystal runs between a  3-4 shade but change and adapt automatically with the intensity of the light.

Comparing Auto Darkening Versus Standard Glass Lens Helmets

You really need to understand why I suggest buying an auto darkening kit rather than a standard lens. A standard glass helmet tends to be a tinted glass, which although it does offer some protection from UltraViolet and InfraRed activity, the comfort levels are still much lower.

The nodding on and nodding off effect that you have to carry out when starting or completing a weld can quickly get uncomfortable, especially if you have tricky welds that need constant adjusting and inspection.

This is one of the main reasons why when comparing welding helmets, you need to factor in the core benefits of auto-darkening filters. They pretty much readjust, or allow you to readjust the shade and darkness of the lens while welding, in between welds and taking away the requirement to keep nodding on and off unlike traditional welding helmets.

Characteristics of a Great Welding Helmet

A good helmet is one that has a larger set of characteristics than your standard fixed shade lens, which do offer protection, but a dark lens continuously isn’t ideal for welding in different lights, or for work inspection. Buy cheap, but don’t compromise on safety or comfort, especially if you weld often. The cheapest best rated welding helmet is the Antra auto darkening helmet.

An auto darkening lens in the more modern welding helmets can easily pay off your investment with the benefits of not only comfort, but the ability to do better work.

The lenses change the intensity of the screen, which means you don’t necessarily need to take off the helmet in order to inspect your seam or weld when not welding.

Not only does this make it easy to weld continuously, but can save you some precious time.

Additionally, auto dimming helmets would also enable you to switch from one welding project to another, as you don’t need to swap your helmet to one of a different shade if you switch from a heavy weld to a light for example.Of course, stay within budget, but also consider ALL the factors, buy a welding helmet that your pocket would allow, but dont try and save a few dollars by buying a cheaper one if you can afford the right one.

And as is obvious, I would always advise an auto darkening welding mask over any other.

To Summarize:

  • Hard wearing and lasts a reasonable time.
  • Flexibility in use, you ought to be able to use the same helmet for different welding jobs.
  • Comfort, if you are an expert welder and spend a lot of time welding, then the right helmet should be comfortable.
  • Try and dampen the effects of head nodding
  • Supports your neck, or doesn’t put too much strain on it.

Are Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets better than others?

The key reason why I recommend auto darkening helmets, is that they have a range of advantages that other non auto-darkening helmets don’t have.

  1. First things first, consider the “head nod”. Normal helmets cause this action which can cause a lot of discomfort over prolonged use. Neck pain is not something to be sneered at. Save Phace Fixed Shade Auto Darkening Welding helmet
  2. The second issue is keeping focussed – an auto darkening helmet allows you to focus which of course leads to a better quality of welding. The reason for this is you dont really have to take the helmet off during welds, and  you get a range of controls that help you get comfortable and work much more efficiently.
  3. Of course, for serious pro welders, the range of customizations are pretty much unlimited, and those who like to kit their helmets out with cool graphics can easily do so.

How Does the ADF Work?

If you haven’t got it by now, the ADF is simply an abbreviation that is used in the welding industry to refer to the Auto darkening Filter. Its a specialized display, typically LCD powered by either solar or lithium batteries (which can be recharged).

Sometimes, the better quality helmets would have both. Passive (ordinary glass helmets) usually are made up of a fixed filter set at #10. The ADF on AD helmets tend to stay on #3 / #4 which doesnt obstruct much vision. As soon as a welding arc is detected by the sensors, the ADF adjust to an appropriate level, sometimes up to a shade #13/.

The key here is to check individual reviews of arc and sensor effectiveness, as some sensors can be more sensitive than you may want, while other, advanced sensors are good enough to recognise and differentiate between ranges of light, from sun to bright lights and actual welding arcs.

The Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet  to Keep You Safe

recommeded lens shade by type of welder

Image Credit Hobarts

Obviously there are literally 100’s of options on the market when you try and buy a welding helmet, how do you decide whats the best one to pick? They may not be very expensive for most, but for the average welder like you and I, price and quality are the main things. However, there are different types of welders, and its worth comparing the best welding helmet for different types.

Expert Welders – Heavy Use Helmets

If you are an expert welder, your helmet is part of your essential kit. You weld, not just for fun, but for necessity, its your lively hood. Of course, if you had the choice, you would probably go for an auto darkening welding helmet, but at a push, an expert like you would work just as well as a basic shade helmet [the tool is good to have, but important to have a good one, I know].

Although you can work with a cheap helmet, you deserve and need a decent welding helmet, If I were you,  I would go for an auto darkening welding helmet, and one of a good brand and make.

And PLEASE stay off the knock offs.

Buy from a well known retailer, I prefer Amazon, of course, because you have your purchase protected.

Guide to Picking the Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

So far I have probably explained to your the benefits to owning the right helmet. Let me talk you through some things you should consider before parting with your cash:

Fixed Shade or Variable Shade?

If you are only welding a single type of material all day long, then you would probably do OK with a fixed shade helmet. A lot of old school pros such as pipe welders still buy fixed shade welding helmets.

A shade intensity of #10 is the max they run to, so make sure you don’t need something darker. If your weld requires a range or arcs, depth and job types, the only reasonable choice, unless limited by budget, ought to be an auto darkening helmet.

Welding Helmet Brands Reviewed

It’s not possible for a single man to try every helmet available. However as a person that used to buy and sell these, I do know what features to look for, what are important, which brands are better liked, and which darkening welding helmets are popular with different types of welders.

The key thing that I look for when putting together a review of a helmet is:

Standard Compliance: The American National Standards Institute has set a standard ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 which recommend that both the helmet, and the lenses get tested and quality rated independently of that they pass a series of tests. Where possible I look for brands that pass these, or say they do. Where no information is available, I will highlight that.

I have poured hours of work into my reviews, which you ought to be able to guess isn’t that easy when you throw the latest developments in auto darkening technology in welding helmets.

Main Welding Helmet Brands

Hobart Welding Products

Hobart welding products

This company has been in business since 1917, in a town called Troy in Ohio. Hobart specializes in welding products of all natures and qualities. We will include Hobarts in our reviews, for more information on the company click here.

Jackson Safety – Kimberly-Clark Professional

Jackson Safety Welding Products Logo

Although the company is Kimberly-Clark Professional Company, its welding products brand is known as Jackson Safety, and is another well respected brand in the welding niche.  I will cover their products too.

Optrel Welding Helmets

Optrel Heelmets LogoA Swiss company well known for their excellence in welding safety technology, Optrel often leads the way in the latest helmets , and the imminent launch of their vegaview range’s latest helmet is one to look out for. As a leading brand, it makes it in my list of product reviews.

3M Speedglas

3m speedglas logoMade up of two companies, Speedglas the originator of auto darkening welding helmet, and 3M, which stands for the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, which as the name suggests originates in Minnesota, and ended up buying the speedglas brand. Another good brand I have picked to review.

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