Whether you're just starting out or have been welding for years, you know that metal fabrication is a tough but rewarding trade. Welders are the backbone of the construction and manufacturing industries, and their skills are in high demand.
However, welding can be a tricky process, and even experienced welders can run into problems from time to time. That's why you should be prepared in case welding problems arise. Having the right safety gear, including an auto-dimming welding helmet, is important!
Auto-dimming welding helmets are an important part of the welding process. They protect your eyes and face from the bright light created by the weld, and they can help you see better while you're welding. There are various kinds of auto-dimming welding hoods on the market, so it can be tough to know which one is right for you.
Here is a detailed guide to buying the best auto-darkening welding helmet!
Characteristics of the Best Auto-Dimming Welding Helmet
It’s crucial to ensure that your auto-darkening welding helmet is ANSI approved with the mark ANSI Z87.1 – 2003. Besides that, here are the other things you need to check to get the best welding helmet!
A welding helmet is mainly used to protect your head, including your eyes and face, from sparks, flash burn, heat, and UV light. Thus, it should have a full-coverage shell to safeguard you from all directions.
The welding helmet must also be lightweight, comfortable to use, and fit you perfectly. This ensures you won’t experience any discomfort or encounter any troubles while welding.
High-performing auto-darkening lens
Your welding helmet (auto-darkening with light) should have an adequate number of advanced sensors to detect any lighting changes in your surroundings readily. Its arc sensors should also distinguish whether the light it detects is from the welding arc or not. Additionally, it should increase or decrease the shade level of its automatic darkening filter (ADF) as necessary.
Furthermore, the helmet should have switching speed options and light sensitivity settings so that you can customize the delay time to suit your preference. With this setting, you will also be able to avoid getting eye strain or other safety problems caused by the arc light.
Large viewing area
The welding helmet’s viewing area should enable you to see the entirety of the weld and its surrounding area. This way, you can make accurate details on your welds. Additionally, it will reduce the likelihood of welding mistakes. Therefore, you should choose an auto-darkening welding helmet with a large viewing area to improve your welding experience.
Convenient power source
Automatic welding helmets have a variety of power sources available and picking the one that suits you best will be an advantage. There are battery-powered welding helmets, and you need to replace their batteries regularly. You can choose from lithium or AAA batteries. There are also solar-powered helmets, and you need to charge them properly.
You need to consider charging or replacing their batteries so that you won’t have to deal with any inconvenience while doing your work.
How to Test Your Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
It’s important to know if your welding helmet auto-darkening kit is working properly, especially because it should automatically adjust to different intensities of light. Testing out your welding helmet is crucial before starting your work operations because if your helmet is not working effectively, it can cause intense damage to your eyesight.
Here are some effective ways you can test your auto-darkening welding helmet!
Full exposure to sunlight
The best way to gauge your helmet lens’s light sensitivity is by fully exposing it to sunlight. The sunlight will trigger your helmet’s auto-dimming feature once its arc sensors detect it. So during full exposure to sunlight, you must check your helmet’s light sensitivity settings.
Remember that a low sensitivity level requires more intense light exposure to trigger the auto-dimming feature. Meanwhile, a high sensitivity level requires mild light exposure to trigger the auto-dimming feature.
Exposure to fluorescent light
Another way to test your welding helmet’s auto-darkening filter is through exposure to bright fluorescent lights. Your helmet’s photosensors will trigger its auto-dimming feature once it detects any intense overhead lighting. You can test its delay settings by moving your hands in front of the lens or turning the light off. This way, you can find out how fast your helmet’s lens brightens.
Testing your welding helmet’s lenses with a cigarette lighter is another effective way you can try. It is bright enough to replicate a welder flame, so the light sensors will readily detect it and trigger your helmet’s auto-dimming feature.
Flicking the lighter's flame on and off or moving the light around is a good way to see how your helmet lens responds. It’s a quick way to find out if your welding helmet’s auto-dimming feature is working properly.
IR remote control test
Your welding helmet has UV and IR protection layers, so you can use a remote control with an IR signal to test its auto-dimming functions. When you press any buttons of the IR remote control, your helmet’s sensor will trigger the auto-dimming feature to block UV and IR light.
It may be necessary to make adjustments to your helmet’s light sensitivity level because some remote control’s IR signals are pulsed or not strong enough for detection.
What Helmet Features Must You Test
Ensuring your welding helmet has optical clarity is vital because you need to see your tools and materials clearly as a welder. You can check your lens’s clarity best by striking an arc. This method will confirm if you can see your weld, weld pool, and surrounding area well.
Light sensitivity and delay switch
Your auto-darkening welding helmet has different lens shade levels, and the lens change is controlled by its arc sensors. Thus, it’s important to check if your helmet has the right setting options for them. This sensitivity control is a critical part of your helmet because it determines the functionality of the auto-darkening feature.
You should test your helmet’s auto-darkening filter (ADF) because this feature ensures that too intense light cannot pass through the helmet’s lens. Its variable shades will keep your eyes safe from damage.
Your helmet’s grind mode buttons should also be tested to ensure that they are functioning efficiently. Grind mode allows you to use the dimming feature manually. However, the lens’s automatic dimming feature cannot work in this mode, so its switches or buttons should work properly for your convenience.
Another crucial thing you should check is if your auto-darkening welding helmet has the ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 approval. With it, you can be sure that your helmet is impact-resistant, heat-resistant, has an infrared filter, and has complete UV and IR protection.
When using a welding helmet, auto-darkening features give you a great advantage. Its dual defense functionality keeps your head, face, and eyes safe from debris, heat, and intense light. Additionally, it protects you from ultraviolet and infrared radiation so that you can smoothly go over the welding process without having any health and safety troubles.
So if you’re trying to find a way to save time and maximize your efforts while welding, what are you waiting for? Get an auto-darkening welding helmet now!