A welding helmet is your partner in comfort and safety. Although rewarding, welding brings with it several dangers that could quickly get you out of the game for good. Injuries like retinal burning, visual fatigue, skin injuries, toxic fumes inhalation, etc., are around every corner, and it is up to the operator to protect himself accordingly. One of the most common injuries is 'Welding flash", otherwise known as arc eye or flash burn caused by the intense ultraviolet rays (UV) and infrared rays (IR) emitted from the welding arc. Eastwood welding helmets were designed to protect welders from these harmful rays—its complex filter lens only allows specific wavelengths of light to enter.
Compared to its competition, Eastwood welding helmets offer excellent value to the market due to the wide array of premium features available at a mere fraction of the price. Eastwood offers something for everybody. Their helmets present a perfect opportunity for both hobbyists and professionals, whether it’s their TrueColor Technology or Panoramic viewing area.
All their models feature the distinct auto-darkening filter, which automatically increases or decreases the shade setting of your lens depending on the brightness of the arc. This is made possible by built-in arc sensors strategically placed in different parts of the helmet.
Their helmets also come equipped with TrueColor Technology, where welders can see every part of their output without any distortion in the colors and hues. This feature has become a must-have for every welder. After just one experience looking through a TrueColor lens, there's no going back.
Eastwood welding helmets are all made with impact-resistant nylon material that drastically increases the accessory’s durability and longevity. The five-angle headgear ensures that the user can adjust the helmet's orientation for the best view through the viewport. The adjustable headband also chimes in for a flexible fit around anybody's head circumference. At the same time, the sweatband designed to wrap around the forehead ensures your eyes will be sweat-free when the going gets hot.
A heavy helmet will pose a burden over time to both your neck and shoulders, leaving you with pains and aches days after leaving the workstation. Naturally, you want to look for a helmet that’s light enough to feel comfortable in so you can work longer hours.
Best practice suggests fitting on helmets before proceeding to purchase. Thankfully, many companies like Eastwood have resorted to using lightweight materials like nylon which is more impact resistant and easier to clean.
Comfort is primarily determined by the helmet's adjustability, flexibility, and weight. No amount of technology can replace well-designed comfort features. The Eastwood models all offer 5-way adjustable headgear for ergonomic wear plus a sweatband for the right fit and optimum comfort while welding.
A helmet with excellent optical clarity will have the least distortion, blurriness and will have the most uniform shade and consistency in shade angle. This feature will determine how much of the welding arc the operator can clearly make out. The perfect clarity is a 1/1/1/1. All the Eastwood models go as high as 1/1/1/2.
Switching speed refers to how fast your auto-dimming feature will activate when a welding arc is struck. This feature is highly essential, helping to decrease visual fatigue and damage.
Setting the wrong shade number for a process like MIG, TIG, or Stick will not only be comfortable, it can be dangerous. While many entry-level helmets offer a meager 1/3600 of a second switching speed, the lowest switching speed Eastwood has to offer doesn't go below 1/10000 of a second.
TrueColor is a groundbreaking technology in the field of welding that has allowed welders to make real-time adjustments to their work, removing the need to flip their helmets to constantly readjust their positioning. With TrueColor, the welder can clearly see the welding puddle and arc, an advantage that welders before could only imagine.
Helmets of the past offered only a fixed-shade setting, usually a shade number 10. This limitation was a significant disadvantage, especially if the welder is looking to perform various welding processes like MIG, TIG, Stick, or grinding. With the arrival of auto-darkening features, helmets are now automatically set to the most comfortable shade for a particular process, improving welding experience and decreasing visual fatigue.
All helmets with auto-darkening features have built-in arc sensors on the helmet. When the sensors detect or sense the arc's brightness, they immediately transmit a signal to the power source to emit a charge through the filter lens, which contains embedded liquid crystals. In response to the power source's charge, the liquid crystals rearrange themselves into a specific position that alters the way light passes through the helmet.
Modern helmets are equipped with convenient external and internal controls to manipulate to achieve the desired shade setting, mode, sensitivity, or delay.
The different Eastwood models offer various options in adjusting the different settings, from the Rockwood economy helmet's two-step adjustment to the Panoramic's 180-degree broad scope of adjustment, making sure that a user's discretion and comfort needs are met. All the models are also capable of grind mode, explicitly designed to remove the need to keep switching from helmet to protective eyeglass to see the excess weld.
ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3 are the two governing protocols for eye protection in the USA and Canada, respectively. It's wise to check if your helmet is certified by either of those to assure your unit has undergone rigorous testing and quality control.
One nifty feature of the Eastwood helmets is their extended throat guard. This protection comes in very handy when your weld is producing lots of burning hot slags, spatter, and sparks.
This feature is vital for novice welders, as choosing the right helmet can be a trial and error process. You want to get the best value helmet that can offer all the bells and whistles without burning through your pockets.
Listed below is a comprehensive Eastwood welding helmet review discussing the pros and cons of each model:
The Eastwood 180-degree view welding helmet gives better visibility and maximum face-eye protection against harmful arc radiation. The side filter lens view also adds safety and convenience to operators, especially when welding in tight spots where maximum head clearance is needed.
The shade settings are easily adjustable from shades 3 to 12, allowing for MIG welding up to 300 amps and tig welding up to 175 amps. The 15 sq. in. frontal view is the largest of all the models and should be considered by welders looking for the broadest visibility. As with all the models, the TrueColor technology gives you an enhanced realistic view of the welding arc color compared to the traditional lime green of the past.
This feature is due to the filter lens's intricate design, which only allows wavelengths from 420 nm to 720 nm, the usual range for visible colors, to enter through the viewing area. The grind mode also removes the auto-dimming when you're grinding down excess stock from the weld itself, so you can clearly see where you're hitting and still have full-face protection. Since the Panoramic model can go as low as shade number 3, it offers the most optimal grind mode since the lighter shade provides a clearer view of the excess weld. Except for the Rockwood, all models are powered by two replaceable lithium CR2450 batteries.
One drawback to the Panoramic model is that it isn't compatible with a magnifying lens. Although it seems like a small detail, users with poor eyesight would find this very inconvenient as the magnifying lens brings the work view much closer. The Panoramic model's switching speed may leave something to be desired, although a 1/10,000 of a second switching speed still isn't too bad when you keep in mind that all 22 sq. in of filter lenses are being auto dimmed at that speed.
Price (From the Eastwood website): $169.99
The next in line to the Panoramic model, the Eastwood XL offers the next best viewing area with a large 14 sq. in. viewport, allowing you a full view of what's directly in front, preventing severe neck fatigue even when you're welding in a tight spot like under an automobile. The TrueColor lens, coupled with the extra-large viewing area, will indeed be a blessing for those with low or diminishing eyesight. The enhanced clarity and natural color will help the welder clearly make out the welding puddle and arc. This model also has a slot for a magnifying lens, improving the welder's vision immensely and making for a better welding output. The grind mode, found in all the models, helps the welder reshape tungsten, grind weld beads, and even plasma without the need to switch from helmet to protective glasses.
You can smoothly perform MIG welding with the Eastwood XL up to 500 amps and TIG weld up to 300 amps. This model is great for TIG welding because it can reach a shade level of 13, a step higher than Panoramic's maximum shade setting. Some hobbyists may find that the frontal view is already sufficient for their welding needs, considering that Panoramic view is only a luxury or convenience if you're already operating in open spaces that don't need maximum head clearance.
The unit is powered by lithium CR4250 batteries, easily replaceable, and available in the aftermarket. The batteries are estimated to last as long as three years with regular use.
Price(From Eastwood website): $136.99
The XL's younger sibling, the Eastwood Large View welding helmet, still offers an impressive viewing area compared to other helmets when you consider its price level. For that price point, you're still getting a realistic color perception and clarity from its embedded TrueColor technology, as well as four auto-dimming arc sensors that will impress even the most seasoned welder in terms of sensitivity and delay. In contrast to the Panoramic model, this unit is also compatible with a magnifying lens, enlarging the view for welders who might have poor or aging eyesight.
Like the XL model, the Large view is also highly suitable for TIG welding since it can go as high as shade number 13. The power is supplied by easily replaceable CR2450 batteries. It also comes with a low battery indicator to inform you when a replacement is needed.
Some users have reported that the TrueColor tends to glare when you weld on the highest shade number setting.
Price(From Eastwood website): $89.99
The perfect starter pack for any novice welder, the Rockwood Economy helmet will keep you safe, comfortable, and still get the job done. The helmet's varying shade runs from 5 to 13, making it a good pick for entry-level MIG welding. The sensitivity and delay controls are not as flexible as the other models since it's only a two-step. The lack of TrueColor technology means the viewing area is not as clear and natural as the other helmets. However, you're still getting auto-dimming features and a reaction time of a whopping 1/25000 of a second, making it one of the best helmets on the market for the price.
Some users may find the 1-year warranty service limiting, comparing it to the 2-year warranty the other models offer. Like the Panoramic model, the Rockwood is also incompatible with a magnifying lens. The battery is also non-replaceable, meaning you'd have to shell out money for a new one when the battery expires. The battery is pretty long-lasting, though, estimated to survive for as long as five years, enough to get some considerable welding experience under your belt.
Many features present in the higher models are dimmed down in this model, but if all you're looking for is basic protection and safety, this helmet is the right pick for you. Although, if you have 40 bucks more to spare, the Eastwood Large view isn't too far off.
Price(from Eastwood website): $46.99
While a relatively new player compared to long-established companies in the welding industry, Eastwood has so much to offer, bringing an array of quality and premium features for a price to beat. Their cheapest welding helmet already offers an auto-darkening filter, something you'll be hard-pressed to find in products similarly priced in the market.
Suppose you're looking to do some entry-level MIG welding. In that case, the Rockwood auto-darkening welding helmet will be just the right choice for you, providing all the necessary safety and protection at a lower price.
For welders who will be doing a lot of TIG welding, the Eastwood Large and Extra Large view helmets will be more suitable since the helmets are adjustable to shade level settings of up to shade number 13. Most hobbyists or DIY welders will find that the large view model offers the best value since you're already getting ten sq. in of viewing area, high switching speed, auto-darkening, and other bells and whistles for half the price of the Panoramic.
For top-of-the-line features, the Eastwood Panoramic View helmet offers the most incredible viewing area, with a 15 sq. frontal view and 26 sq. in. overall if you include the side filter lens. The Panoramic also offers the best grind mode features since it can go as low as shade number 3, giving off the lightest shade so welders can grind the excess weld clearly. The 180-degree view provides welders more freedom when operating in tight spots like automobiles or aeronautics, giving them a clearer view that ensures precision and high-quality welding work.