Most of the time, the price indicates the quality of the product. Welding helmets are not exempted from the rule. The more functionalities the welding helmet has, the more expensive it gets. Another factor is the brand name—the more prominent the brand, the higher the price. You don't want to spend a huge amount of money on a single piece of gear, right?
The good news is that there are still several high-quality welding hoods available in the market, but it’s up to you to decide the best one according to your needs and many other factors. In this article, we will be closing in on these factors to help you get started on welding right away.
Needless to say, welding is a risky occupation, and you don’t want those risks anywhere near you as you do your welds. Therefore, if you choose welding as a career or you are studying to become a professional in this industry, it is mandatory to use protective gear such as gloves, safety shoes, and of course, the welding helmet. You may also hear people calling these helmets “welding hoods.”
Welding is a tough process that emits dangerous levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and other harmful chemicals. These can damage the eyes and your respiratory system. The welding helmet can protect you from harmful welding emissions.
A welding helmet is generally made of hard plastic infused with non-flammable materials, and it has a protective screen known as the lens. The lens, regardless of its shade, provides total protection against UV lights. The lens' shades are available in different levels and begin with eight, as the standard level, up to fourteen—the former the least dark and the latter the darkest. Level ten is being sold mostly.
There are three types of welding helmets: old, intermediate, and modern. All of these three are perfect for basic welding processes. However, complex welding requires helmets that have auto-darkening features. The best auto darkening welding helmets have polarizing filters that engage the very moment the arc is struck. With the auto-darkener, a professional welder can clearly see while welding because the lens automatically changes its shade and provides the right UV protection.
There are various types of welding processes you need to be familiar with.
When you check for a welding helmet, you will surely read about the different classifications of welding processes the helmet supports in its description. You must keep in mind that, unfortunately, not all welding helmets can be used for complex types that also emit the most UV rays and other harmful materials. The different classifications of welding helmets are:
When choosing a good welding helmet, you don't compromise quality in favor of a super cheap unit. Otherwise, you'll find yourself at high risk of accidents and minor to major injuries. But that is not to say the budget-friendly ones are not all that good. We've compiled a list for you to check out further into the article. But, before that, here are things that you need to keep in mind.
You should know the size of your head first before you buy a welding helmet. Lucky you because most online sellers already provide the size of their welding helmets. That said, you should do your assignment and get to know the precise size of your head. It is not comfortable working with a helmet that doesn't fit you, and while we're at it, it may even defeat the purpose of safety. You can also find welding hoods with increased points of adjustments, but in all instances, it pays to know your dimensions first.
It is also important to know the type of welding process that you always do—this will dictate the type of lens that you need:single fixed shade or variable shade lens. A standard welding hood lens is usually set to #10, which is enough to protect you from UV and IR rays. In addition, it is convenient to have a helmet that you can flip down with a quick nod so you can keep your position while you are working.
If you’re not after doing complicated welds, you don’t need an easy-flip welding helmet. There are also variable shade welding helmets that boast an auto-darkening feature which is very convenient because the shade adapts to the level of light emission during the process.
The switching speed is how fast the lens reacts and changes from its natural shade to #3 or #4 shade level once welding starts. The switching speed is expressed in ratings that begin with a standard 1/3,600 up to 1/25,000. If your work requirement is welding for long hours, an entry-level switching speed will cause your eyes some damage. Therefore, you should opt for an intermediate or professional switch speed level when considering a welding hood.
It is common for variable shade welding helmets to offer long battery life. Some welding hoods feature solar assist panels and non-replaceable lithium batteries. Other helmets have replaceable batteries assisted by solar panels. Lithium batteries are known for their extended battery life, but they are more expensive and not widely available, unlike AAA batteries. To maximize the use of your helmet, do not forget to place it under the sun to charge the solar panels.
You can save more if you purchase a welding helmet powered by AAA batteries with solar-assist panels.
A lighter welding helmet is better because it reduces neck fatigue and minimizes neck strain. In addition, there are welding helmets that have auto-darkening features and are very light. You definitely need a light helmet if you are welding for long periods. This also proves very helpful to welders with no permanent workstations—if you're the type, you'll need lightweight safety gear to match your portable welding equipment.
Providing quality output is very important for a welder, and in order to do that, you have to see and check the quality of your work every now and then. The standard viewing size of a welding helmet ranges from 6 square inches to 9 square inches. However, the larger the viewing size, the more expensive the helmet can get.
A helmet that has a large viewing size is extremely important for overhead welding because it gives you great control and better efficiency.
As a welder, you can actually buy two or more welding helmets, especially when you do different types of welding processes. For sure, if welding is your thing, you have the impulse to collect welding helmets and utilize them for the right process. Having a lightweight welding hood with an auto-darkening feature is enough to make the process more convenient, but it also boils down to how you take care of it.
To extend the lifespan of your welding helmet before you even drain the expected battery hours (in case the welding helmet's battery is irreplaceable), it is essential to clean and disinfect your welding helmet regularly. Let's find out how to properly care for your welding helmet.
Aside from protecting your head, face, and eyes with a welding hood, you have to think about safeguarding the rest of your body.
The value of a product tells so many things about its features and longevity. The more you spend, the more fancy features you get with your welding hood. However, scouting products online changed the consumers' perception. For example, when you buy products on Amazon today, you are more concerned with the reviews, right? Favorable product reviews allow 72% of consumers to purchase the product.
Here’s our list of best welding helmets that are affordable and will never let you down in your welds.
We have also reviewed some of these products individually on our website for a closer look.
And there you have it! You now have the perfect budget-friendly welding helmets that will surely make you productive. Please take note that all the welding hoods on our list are ANSI 2003 Approved. Do not forget to check the welding helmet or its packaging if it is marked with ANSI Z87.1 - 2003 or ANSI Z87+ because it means that it falls under the latest ANSI approval. Buying a helmet that is “ANSI Approved” only and without the code of 2003 means that it is outdated and might compromise your safety.
Expensive welding helmets can give you ultra comfort and more fancy features. However, as a welder, you have to learn how to adapt to different working conditions and varieties of welding materials. So why do you have to buy expensive welding helmets if you can have the same features as affordable ones available in the market? Save more by buying the cheapest but high-quality welding hoods in the market today.
Also, do not forget to regularly clean and disinfect your welding helmet. Total care maximizes the lifespan of your welding hood and gives you comfort and protection. Finally, don't hesitate to read up more about the welding helmets that made our list and choose the best one that suits your welding needs! Reviews are up on our website.