If you’re a professional welder, you surely know about the protection equipment that you must use.
But even professional welders suffer from arc flash sometimes. This is a condition caused by long exposure to intense light and heat radiation.
Arc flash manifests itself as pain in the eyes, as if you had sand in your eye sockets.
Have you ever experienced it? Not a nice feeling, right? Whether you are a professional or a sporadic welder, you must learn how to protect your eyes.
In this article, you’ll find all the necessary information to purchase the right welding helmet. We have reviewed the most functional helmets and chose the best one.
Our reviews include different types of welding helmets in the market. We evaluated important features such as lens type, weight and comfort. Don’t expose yourself to the risk of choosing the wrong welding helmet. Instead, read the following reviews.
How to Choose the Best Helmet for the Type of Welding?
There are several types of welding techniques (MIG, TIG, etc.). It is beyond the scope of this guide to describe each one. However, you need to know what type of welding you will be doing.
Most welding helmets function for different types of welding. But you can find some helmets that are better suited for some special type of welding.
In the review, we have identified the best helmet for each type of welding. If you are a professional welder that specializes in a particular technique, then you should consider the reviewed helmet.
The 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 is the best welding helmet for industrial and professional use. It protects your eyes in the presence of an arc. Moreover, it is quite comfortable and ergonomic. You can wear it without any issue for a long time. The automation of the filter and multiple functionalities boost your productivity.
Welding Helmets Comparison Chart
|3M Speedglas 9100 06-0100-30iSW|
Shades: 5, 8-13
Sizes: 11”×11”×10” (27,9 × 27,9 × 25,4 cm)
Weight: 1 lb (0,45 kg)
|Optrel Crystal 2.0 1006.900|
Shades: 2, 4-12
Sizes: 11.02”×10.79”×9.25” (30 × 27,4 × 23,5 cm)
Weight: 1,72 lb (0,78 kg)
|Miller Electric 280045|
Shades: 3, 5-13
Sizes: 12”×12”×10” (30,4 × 30,4 × 24,4 cm)
Weight: 2.99 lb (1,35 kg)
|Lincoln Electric K3034-4 Viking 3350|
Sizes: 12.6”×10.6”×10.4” (32 × 27 × 26,4 cm
Weight: 3 lb (1,36 kg)
|Jackson Safety 46131|
Sizes: 3.93”×2.36” (10 × 6 cm) (front panel)
Weight: 2 lb (0,9 kg)
|Fibre-Metal Pipeliner 280-110-WH|
Sizes: 14”×10”×9” (35,5 × 25,4 × 22,8 cm)
Weight: 1,25 lb (0,56 kg)
Sizes: 14,2”×12,6”×9,5” (36 ×32 ×24 cm)
Weight: 2,03 lb (0,92 kg)
7 Best Welding Helmets (as of April, 2021)
1. 3M Speedglas 9100 06-0100-30iSW Welding Helmet – Best Lightweight Welding Helmet for Stick
The 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 is a high-end welding helmet. It offers one of the largest viewing areas in the market. But that’s not all.
The eye protection is very effective, with several functions for auto-darkening using different shade levels. It is also very functional. For example, it is equipped with exhaust vents that keep the lens clear and your face cool.
However, the price of this helmet is relatively high. Hence, purchasing it is justified only if you are a professional welder.
This is a professional welding helmet. It measures 11”×11”×10” (27,9 × 27,9 × 25,4 cm) and weighs 1 lb (0,45 kg). It offers a high level of protection from hazardous debris and radiation. In addition, the helmet is quite comfortable and ergonomic.
For better weight distribution, the helmet has two adjustable crown straps. The helmet is comfortable to wear thanks to a palled front headband. This distributes pressure more uniformly.
As mentioned, the helmet has vents that allow the air inside the helmet to go out. This will create a very pleasant fresh sensation inside the helmet.
Moreover, your view will be clean at all times with no fog. The helmet fits different head sizes in the range 6.25 -8 (50 to 64 cm).
For supreme eye protection, this helmet is equipped with Auto Darkening Filter 9100XXi. The shade can be adjusted from level 5 to 13. This adjustment can be easily made by pressing a button.
Similarly, the helmet turns off automatically after some time of inactivity. This economizes energy.
The front panel measures 2.8”×4.2” (7,8 × 10,6 cm), plus two side windows with level 5 shades. Hence, the total viewing area is 12.11 sq. in (30,7 sq. cm). This allows you to have a better view of your work in progress when you’re welding.
The visibility it provides is outstanding. With this helmet, you will have one of the best viewing experiences during your work.
A sensor detects the presence of an arc in just 0.1 milliseconds to activate the shade. When the arc ceases, the filter returns to shade level 3 in approximately 40-250 milliseconds.
Hence, you can inspect the work almost immediately. The auto-darkening feature increases your productivity, since you don’t have to remove the helmet constantly.
This helmet uses two Cr2030 3V Lithium batteries to power the auto darkening-filter. The batteries can be replaced very easily. On average, they last 2,000 hours.
Strength and Material
This helmet is rated for industrial and professional use. It meets the ANSI Z87.1.2010 impact standard. Therefore, it is safe to use in most welding environments.
- Front panel with a large viewing area
- Exhaust vents that keep your face fresh
- Side windows with level 5 shade
- The helmet is very light.
- Premium price.
2. Optrel Crystal 2.0 1006.900 Welding Helmet – Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto Darkening 1006.900 is a welding helmet that offers superior color and clarity for the welder. The filter automatically detects any arc. Then, it adjusts the shade accordingly.
If you prefer, you can use it in manual mode as well. This helmet is equipped with external controls, which make it quite ergonomic. To keep your face cool, the helmet is painted with heat-reflecting paint.
This is a professional helmet measuring 11.02”×10.79”×9.25” (30 × 27,4 × 23,5 cm). It weighs 1.72 lb (0,78 kg).
The Crystal 2.0 allows for high comfort and balance thanks to its patented adjustment technology. This reduces neck fatigue. You can adjust the helmet to your head through a headband.
After completing the welding, the shade comes back to the light level. This is done gradually to prevent eye strain. If you prefer, you can select your preferred shade manually through external controls.
For better performance, the Crystal 2.0 makes use of True Color technology. This way, the welder can have a more realistic view of the work.
The view through the lens is in true colors in both light and dark states. You can switch easily from weld to grind mode. You can also control the delay and sensitivity of the lens.
To operate the electronics, the Crystal 2.0 needs 2 CR2 Lithium-Ion batteries. These are included when you purchase the helmet. Replacing them is not a major issue.
Strength and Material
The Crystal 2.0 is made of high-duty plastic in silver color.
- True Color Technology allows a realistic color perception
- The helmet allows controlling delay and sensitivity with a knob
- Heat reflecting paint to keep your face fresh.
- The price is high
3. Miller Electric 280045 Welding Helmet – Best Miller Welding Helmet for MIG
The Miller 280045 sports the largest viewing area that you find in the industry (13.4 sq. in./34 sq. cm). Together with the so-called ClearLight Lens Technology, the viewing experience for the welder is outstanding.
The helmet is most suitable for professional welders. It also offers protection during other industrial activities such as grinding.
This helmet measures 12”×12”×10” (30,4 × 30,4 × 24,4 cm) with a total weight of 2.99 lb (1,35 kg). In comparison to other helmets in the market, the Miller 280045 is rather heavy. However, the manufacturer, Miller Electric, has redesigned the headgear.
The result is better adjustment and support. Hence, even though the helmet is heavy, your neck may not suffer from a lot of fatigue while wearing it for a long time. The helmet comes with a bag and lens covers.
The Miller 280045 provides an exceptional viewing experience for the welder. As mentioned, the viewing area is the largest that you can find in the industry.
The lens is equipped with automatic arc detection. The advanced technology in this helmet offers different timing functions.
What’s more, the helmet offers 4 different operation modes:
- Weld (shades 8-13);
- Cut (shades 5-8);
- Grind (shade 3);
The electronics require a C battery of the Lithium-Ion type. This is included with the helmet. Replacing it is very easy.
Strength and Material
The helmet is made of heavy-duty plastic for industrial use. It offers effective protection from radiation and debris.
- Very versatile with 4 operating modes and arc timing
- ClearLens Light Technology allows for a realistic color view
- Very large viewing area (13.4 sq. in./34 sq.cm).
- The helmet is heavy in comparison to other options.
4. Lincoln Electric K3034-4 Viking 3350 – Best Lincoln Welding Helmet for TIG
Lincoln Electric has made some of the best welding helmets for years. The Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VIKING 3350 meets the expectations of most professional welders.
With a viewing area of 12.5 sq. in. (31,7 sq. cm), you are guaranteed to see properly what you are welding. The lens offers different shade levels for welding. It automatically chooses the most suitable shade between 5-13 levels.
This is a professional helmet that measures 12.6”×10.6”×10.4” (32 × 27 × 26,4 cm) and weighs 3 lb (1,36 kg). As seen, the helmet is heavy. Nevertheless, the helmet offers good comfort thanks to X6 Headgear.
When you purchase the Lincoln 3350, you get a bag, outside and inside cover lenses, and a bandana.
The Lincoln 3350 is equipped with an auto-darkening lens system. This includes the so-called 4C technology, which enables clear vision in true colors through the lens. You can quickly switch from grind to weld mode.
The system offers a shade range of 5-13 for the weld mode. The front panel has a size of 3.74”×3.34” (9,5 × 8,5 cm) for a total viewing area of 12.5 sq. in (31,7 sq. cm).
The lens system has 4 arc sensors that control the auto-shading feature. The proper shade is put in place in just 0.04 milliseconds.
The electronics are powered by a CR 2450 battery (Lithium Ion type) plus a solar cell. The battery is included with a new purchase.
Strength and Material
The helmet is made of heavy-duty black plastic. It complies with the following standards:
- ANSI Z87.1;
- CSA Z94.3;
- A versatile helmet with 3 operation modes (Weld, Cut, Grind)
- The fast switching speed of just 0.04 milliseconds
- Solar cell included, which increases battery life.
- This is a heavy helmet.
5. Jackson Safety 46131 – Best Jackson Welding Helmet
This Jackson Safety Ultra-Lightweight Insight Welding Helmet is an affordable alternative for both professionals and hobbyists. This helmet has an auto-darkening filter with very intuitive controls.
The shade level can vary from 9 to 13. The helmet is lighter than other, more expensive alternatives in the market. Hence, it is comfortable to wear.
The weight of this helmet shell is just 6 oz (0,17 kg). The weight with all the accessories is 2 lb (0,9 kg). While this is not the lightest in the industry, it is lighter than other alternatives.
The helmet comes with the Jackson Safety 370 headgear. This gear allows for maximum comfort. You can adjust the distance from eyes to lens as well as size.
This helmet has a front panel of 3.93”×2.36” (10 × 6 cm). This size is enough to provide a good view of your welding work.
The lens has variable shades from 9 to 13 for the weld mode. Depending on the task that you perform, the sensitivity and delay can be adjusted.
The electronics that control the shifting of shades operate with 2 Lithium-Ion batteries. They are included when you purchase this helmet. They have an average life of 823 hours.
Strength and Material
Jackson claims that the helmet is CSA compliant and meets the ANSI Z87.1+ standards.
However, closer inspection reveals that the material is flimsy and flexible. The shell is made of black nylon. This is a weak point that cast doubt on the durability of this helmet.
- Good price for professionals and hobbyists alike
- Good eye protection for grind and weld modes
- Easy-to-use digital controls.
- The plastic of the shell is rather flimsy
- Durability is questionable.
6. Fibre-Metal Pipeliner 280-110-WH – Best Fiber-Metal Welding Helmet
This Fibre-Metal Pipeliner Fiberglass Welding Helmet is manufactured by Honeywell Safety Products, USA. As its name indicates, it is special for pipeline welders. Hence, it features a compact design to facilitate access to tight areas.
This helmet is equipped with a 10 shade lens to protect your eyes in most welding conditions. The shell is made of very durable material.
Thanks to ratcheting headgear, you can adjust it to ensure a secure fit. It is comfortable and well-balanced. The helmet’s size is 14”×10”×9” (35,5 × 25,4 × 22,8 cm) with a total weight of 1.25 lb (0,56 kg).
This helmet is equipped with a 2”×4” (5 × 10 cm) lens. The 10 shade filter ensures clear vision while guaranteeing maximum eye protection. It filters out all harmful UV and IR radiation.
It doesn’t apply.
Strength and Material
This helmet is made of a material named SuperGlas Plus. The helmet is white and resistant to moisture and impact.
Hence, you can be sure your helmet won’t get cracks that may compromise safety. The surface of the helmet deflects sparks effectively, providing additional protection.
- Compact and light design
- Excellent moisture, impact, and spark protection
- Affordable price.
- Fit is not perfect and needs constant readjustment.
7. Hobart 770286 – Best Hobart 2×4 Welding Helmet
The Hobart 770286 Flip Front is a simple yet functional welding helmet. It protects your face and eyes from debris and harmful radiation. This makes a wonderful backup welding helmet for the professional welder.
This is a standard welding helmet with a flip front. You can adjust the fit for comfortable use. It weighs 2.03 lb (0,92 kg).
This helmet has a 2”×4.25” (5 × 10,8 cm) viewing area. It comes with a 10 shade lens that protects your eyes for different welding tasks.
It doesn’t apply.
Strength and Material
This helmet is ANSI approved and safe for most industrial environments.
- The price is quite affordable
- Very simple use without any complication
- Ideal for apprentices and helpers.
- Durability is an issue
- Not for professional use with a heavy workload.
Now you are well informed about the best welding helmets on the market. You surely have read these reviews because you are interested in purchasing a welding helmet for your work.
Which one should you buy? Which are the characteristics that you must take into account?
Don’t worry. This buyer’s guide will provide you with all the necessary information to make the best buying decision.
Size and Weight
These are important features to consider, especially if you are a professional welder. While most helmets are more or less of similar size, they differ greatly in weight. More expensive helmets usually are made of light and resistant materials.
Lightweight is critical to prevent neck fatigue during long welding sessions. Hence, whenever your budget allows, choose a light helmet that is resistant to impact.
For some special applications like pipeline welding, size matters. Helmets for this type of welding have a compact design to allow access to tight areas. Hence, you should take into account the environment in which you’ll be welding to choose the right helmet size.
Convenience and Padding
This feature is much more important for professional welders. If you are going to wear a welding helmet for several hours, you want it to be as comfortable as possible.
The welding helmet must have some padding to create a soft touch with your head. Weight distribution and balance are important to avoid discomfort. Moreover, you should choose a welding helmet that allows you to adjust it to get a perfect fit.
These requirements are not critical for hobbyists, which weld sporadically. Hence, depending on whether you are a professional welder or a hobbyist, you can opt for a comfortable helmet. Welding helmets with padding and different adjustment options are generally more expensive.
Types of Lenses
This is a critical feature. The lens is the part of a welding helmet that protects your eyes from intense light and radiation. As you read in the reviews, high-end welding helmets are equipped with auto-darkening filters.
They are the best alternative for protection. But should you get one? Let’s discuss it in detail.
Should You Get a Welding Helmet with Auto-Darkening?
As you’ve seen in the reviews, auto-darkening is a feature that most high-end welding helmets have. It is quite convenient. The auto-darkening system has some sensors that detect the presence of intense light and radiation.
The auto-darkening feature boosts your productivity since you don’t have to remove the helmet each time you need to inspect your work. However, the disadvantage of such systems is their high cost.
Welding helmets with auto-darkening are more suitable for professional welders. They require constant protection for several hours of welding. For hobbyists that need to weld sporadically, investing in such a high-end welding helmet is not necessary.
Ample Selection of Shades
Another important aspect to consider is the shade variability. The more shades your welding helmet has, the better. Different tasks require different levels of darkness.
Yes, you want your eyes to be protected. But you also want to see what you are doing, don’t you?
The larger the viewing area of a welding helmet, the better. Have you ever experienced the frustration of welding with a limited peripheral view? If so, then you’ll easily appreciate the benefit of large viewing areas.
Then again, you must decide whether investing in a welding helmet with a large viewing area is necessary for you. Professional welders will need it in most cases. Hobbyists, on the other hand, can compromise the viewing area for the sake of affordability.
The clarity of the lens refers to the ability of the lens to provide a view in true colors. Even when you are welding, seeing everything in true color provides a much better experience.
Expensive welding helmets use advanced optical technology to create lenses with supreme clarity. As expected, the price of such helmets is higher.
Power and Battery
For welding helmets with auto-darkening, a power supply is needed. There are two ways to supply the necessary power for the electronics: batteries and solar cells.
A helmet with a solar cell is a better option when you weld in open spaces. Sunshine is necessary; otherwise, the welding helmet won’t work.
Batteries ensure a constant power supply. They have to be replaced from time to time, though.
Some welding helmets combine batteries with a solar cell. This hybrid approach helps extend the battery lifetime.
Strength and Material
Besides light, a welding helmet must protect your face from debris and sparks. Hence, the material must be hard enough to block them.
Moreover, the welding helmet must be resistant to impact. If the helmet gets some cracks, for instance, your safety may be compromised.
To comply with the standard, a helmet has to be tested in an independent laboratory.
Why are Welding Helmets Important?
They protect your eyes from intense light and harmful UV and IR radiation. They also protect your face from sparks and debris.
Can Welding Helmets be Used for Grinding?
Yes. However, the shade for grinding must be level 3 to allow proper visibility. In this case, you need protection from sparks and debris. For welding, the most common shades go from 5 to 13.
Should I Wear Safety Glasses Under My Welding Helmet?
No, there is no need to do it. Your welding helmet offers the necessary protection for your eyes.
Safety glasses would be uncomfortable under a welding helmet. In some cases, they simply would not fit.
How Big Or Small Should The Lens Size On My Helmet Be?
The bigger, the better. The standard size in simple welding helmets is 2”×4.25” (5 × 10,8 cm). However, high-end welding helmets aim at offering the largest viewing area possible.
How to Change the Battery in a Welding Helmet?
This is generally a simple procedure. Most welding helmets that require batteries have a special compartment where the batteries are installed.
How To Clean Your Welding Helmet?
You can clean the shell of your welding helmet with a wet towel and soap. Make sure that the towel is humid, and that is not dripping water.
Hence, for the cleaning of the lens, you must follow a special procedure. Cleaning the lens of your welding helmet will not take more than a few minutes.
First of all, you must pay attention to the following points:
- The lenses of a welding helmet can get scratched very easily. Hence, it is better to handle the lenses from the side to avoid scratching them;
- Use a thin microfiber towel to clean your lenses. Make sure it is always clean;
- You must be especially careful with coated lenses. A scratch can remove the coating, thereby ruining the lens.
Now that you are aware of the precautions to take, you can clean the lens as follows:
- First, remove the lens. In most cases, this is possible, but you have to do it with care to avoid scratching the lens;
- Second, you need to remove the abrasive dust that has accumulated on the lens. However, don’t do it by just wiping the abrasive dust off the lens. Remember, the abrasive dust can easily scratch the lens if you wipe it. Hence, there are two ways to do it safely. The first one supposes running the lens under hot water. Before you submerged the lens in water, add some drops of detergent or liquid soap to the lens. When you see that the abrasive material is lifted off, you just need to flush the lens under abundant water. The second alternative is to blow the abrasive material with compressed air. This is the best way to do it if you have an auto-darkening helmet. Using water, in this case, is not a viable option since water could damage the electronics;
- Third, just dry the lens. You can use a dry microfiber for this purpose.
How Long Do Welding Helmets Last?
This depends on several factors like the frequency of use, the quality of the helmet, and the lifespan of the battery. Lifespan can go from several months to a few years.
How Bad Is Welding For Your Eyes?
Long-term exposure to UV radiation can produce cataracts in some people. The intense light of welding can also produce temporary blindness and conjunctivitis. With adequate protection, these risks can be reduced significantly.