With the many hazards of welding, it’s crucial to wear all the safety gear you need throughout the entire process. The bare minimum would be proper gloves and a welding hood or helmet to protect your eyes from the harmful lights. Wearing protective gear like the welding helmet will not only protect your eyes and your whole face from infrared, ultraviolet (UV), and sparks, it will also help you become more productive and comfortable as you weld.
You have to set criteria when purchasing the best welding helmet for beginners. Perhaps, you are a new welder, and you have to be guided in selecting the perfect helmet for you. Read further to know what is suitable for you.
The Basic Anatomy of a Welding Helmet
The Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) categorized welding helmets as Class 3 eye protection that protects eyes and the face from impact and radiation. There are two types of helmets: stationary and left-front or flip-up plate helmets.
Before we get into the differences between the two types of welding helmets, let us first discuss what they have in common. Most welding helmets are composed of the following:
- They both have a non-flammable face shield that is incorporated into the welder’s head.
- They both have an adjustable strap.
- There is a rectangular window for the welder’s eyes.
- The rectangular window has a lens covered with a protective screen.
- The lens is coated and darkened, shielding the eyes from harmful lights.
A non-flammable face shield protects your face from burning because of the sparks. At the same time, the primary goal of the lens is to keep your eyes from harmful light emissions like ultraviolet and infrared.
The stationary plate helmet has a single filter lens plate, and this one is perfect for those wearing eyeglasses. On the other hand, the lift-front helmet has three lenses or plates. Typically, it has a filter plate that is made of plastic or glass in the flip-up cover. There is a clear thin plastic or glass cover lens to keep it clean and an impact-resistant lens mounted in the welder’s helmet.
The radiation barrier is the ultimate feature of a welding helmet. Arc welding emits invisible UV, visible light intensity, and infrared radiation. Sun is a natural source of UV rays, and overexposure can cause eye and skin damage. However, UV rays from arc welding are more harmful because the eyes are closer to the arc, and ozone in the atmosphere does not absorb these UV rays.
Over time and because of the innovation in technology, welding helmets have significantly evolved. Today, you can buy welding helmets with sensors that automatically adjust the shade number of the lens to a safe degree of intensity. Some shades have a special gold coating that gives additional protection to deflect radiation.
Factors You Need to Consider in Selecting the Best Welding Helmet for Beginners
For a beginner, it is vital to have the perfect welding helmet that will keep you comfortable. There are variables you need to think of when choosing a welding hood.
The lighter your welding helmet, the lesser strain. Using a heavy helmet is uncomfortable, and the greater the strain you would feel in your neck over time. You can choose helmets with plastic shells. Also, keep in mind that a welding hood with multiple pivot-style bands secures the protector to the head and can displace the helmet’s weight.
As a beginner, it is best to start with manual welding helmets like the standard welding helmet, which is also called a passive welding helmet. It has a static filter that is commonly a #10 shade. Using this type of helmet requires you to flip it up and down. You also need to lift this helmet if you like to check the output of your welding procedure. Doing extra activities like flipping or lifting affects your productivity.
You can also try a variable shade welding helmet. It is more expensive than the standard welding helmet because it is easier to use, and it has auto-darkening filters (ADF) aided by an electronic filter lens. This ADF is a liquid crystal display (LCD) with light sensors positioned near the lens to recognize the welding arc easier. When the lens is deactivated, the filter sets to a #3 to 4 shade that the typical sunglasses have.
When you start welding, sensors will begin to darken to #9 to 13, depending on your work level. This helmet stays in place, and you don’t have to lift it just to check your work.
Switch of Speed and Power Options
This item is applicable only for auto-darkening welding helmets. The reaction time should be as fast as 0.1 to 1.0 seconds. It is also best if the welding helmet can keep up with your welding hours. An entry-level switching speed can lead to eye strain after several hours—it is best to opt for an intermediate or professional switching speed level helmet.
An auto-darkening welding helmet can be solar or battery-operated. Welding helmets with solar panels require direct exposure to sunlight for how many hours before being used. For battery-operated welding helmets, you can select welding helmets that use AAA batteries because they are economical. If you want extended battery life, opt for Lithium batteries.
ANSI 2003 Approved
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Society of Safety Engineers’ approval are vital to your choice. Unfortunately, many low-quality helmets are sold in the market, and you have to be careful.
You need to check the welding helmet or its packaging if it is marked with ANSI Z87.1 - 2003 or ANSI Z87+ because it means that the hood falls under the latest ANSI approval. Do not buy a helmet that is “ANSI Approved” only and without the code of 2003. It is outdated for sure and might cost your safety.
One more pointer, lighter and auto-darkening welding helmets are quite expensive. The more sophisticated the features are, the more money you need to acquire that welding hood. Always use the necessary helmet for the complexity of welding you will do.
It is more practical to utilize the standard welding helmet if you perform a simple welding job. Plus, you will prolong the life of the expensive helmet you own. Therefore, you have to own a stationary welding helmet and an auto-darkening one.
The Best Welding Helmets
Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce sites where you can buy quality welding helmets in different varieties. Therefore, you will never run short of choices. Also, Amazon is the best store where we can easily filter the most sought-after welding helmets that you would want to have.
Primeweld compiled five of the best welding helmets in 2020. Their list included Lincoln Electric K3034-4 Viking 3350, Hobart Impact Welding Helmet, 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet, ESAB Sentinel A50 Welding Helmet, and Miller Digital Elite Welding Helmet.
Let us see if the best welding helmet last year is still the best welding helmet this year. Based on the reviews and ratings of buyers on Amazon, here is the list of welding helmets you would want to take in your possession.
YESWELDER LYG-L500A Welding Helmet
A good welding helmet for beginners, this is one of the best budget welding helmets currently listed on Amazon. It has a wide viewing size of 3.64 by 1.67 inches with two premium sensors for fast auto-darkening transition. It boasts a better clarity with an optical clarity grade of 1/1/1/2. The True Color technology is infused with this helmet allowing the welder to have a better view.
In addition, the pivot-style headgear gives the highest comfort. Aside from the solar cell, it is also powered by Lithium-ion batteries. All in all, this welding helmet weighs 1.9 pounds.
YESWELDER LYG-M800H Welding Helmet
Another variant from YESWELDER, this welding helmet is also great for plasma, MIG, TIG, and MMA applications. It has a larger viewing dimension of 3.93 by 3.66 inches with four premium sensors. The optical clarity grade is 1/1/1/2 for a better view.
This welding helmet is heavier with a 2.2 pounds weight, powered by solar cells and Lithium batteries, and offers a good shade range of 3 to 13.
Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VIKING 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Quite expensive than the first two, with its 4C lens technology, this welding helmet creates a crystal clear and True Color view of the arc as well as the puddle. Such technology enhances your control and product quality while minimizing eye strain. It has an optical clarity grade of 1/1/1/1 that avoids blurriness and distortion. Two CR5 batteries are required, and it weighs 3 pounds.
The 3350 Series has an extra-large lens with a 12.5 square inch auto-darkening lens for a wider view. It also features an X6 headgear attached to the operator’s head that distributes weight evenly to the key contact points. An innovative low-profile button is attached, allowing you to change between the weld and grind modes quickly.
This welding helmet is probably the best auto-darkening welding helmet on this list.
DEKOPRO MZ224 Welding Helmet
The MZ224 welding helmet comes with a user manual to maximize its capabilities. You can use it with total ease because of the adjustable headband. This welding helmet is perfect for plasma, arc gouging, MMA, MAG/CO2, and MIG welding. Its cartridge dimension is 4.33 by 3.54 inches and is powered by solar cells and a Lithium battery with an expected lifespan of 5,000 hours.
The multiple adjustment features and combinations guarantee a better fit for your personal preferences and comfortability. With a 7-square-inch viewing area, you can clearly see every corner of the welding process. Transitioning from light to dark takes as fast as .00004 seconds.
Tooliom M800D Welding Helmet
A welding helmet known for its versatility, the M800D has a lens that enables you to select from shade 9-13 during weld mode, shade 5-9 for cut mode, and shade 4 on grind mode. It also has delay and sensitivity adjustment and is equipped with a 12.9 square inch viewing dimension. There are four arc sensors attached.
Its True Color technology minimizes the lime colour tint, allowing you to see better welding vision.
YESWELDER EH-091XL Welding Helmet
Another welding helmet from a trusted brand favoured by most Amazon buyers, this one is great for TIG, MIG, MMA, and plasma applications with grinding features. Its viewing size is 4 by 3.7 inches, with four premium sensors attached. The optical clarity grade is 1/1/1/1 for a clearer view. In addition, it also makes use of True Color view technology.
The EH-091XL model is made from polyamide (PA) and weighs 2.12 pounds. It has solar cells and one Lithium-ion battery.
YESWELDER LYG-Q800D Welding Helmet
Also great for TIG, MIG, MMA, and plasma applications with grinding features, this beginner-friendly helmet is made from high-quality polypropylene (PP) material. Its optical clarity is 1/1/1/2 and has True Color technology. Four arc sensors are attached, and shade starts from 4 to a max of 13.
It is easy to wear, bearing only 2.2 pounds in weight. In addition, it boasts a 180-degree panoramic view. For the batteries, it has one Lithium-ion battery and solar cells.
DEKOPRO MZ350 Welding Helmet
The MZ350 is known for its unique design. The power turns on and off automatically and has an adjustable ratcheting headband with a quality foam strap for comfort. It is made of polyamide nylon construction accented by a textured surface.
You can also enjoy enhanced colour recognition and visibility. It is very sensitive and has delay settings for adaptability in different welding processes. The light level rate of the filter is DIN4 and can switch as fast as 0.1 to 1.0 seconds.
This welding helmet has solar panel technology and a CR2032 Lithium battery for longer use of up to 5,000 hours. It is also ideal for plasma welding processes, ARC, SMAW, MIG, GTAW, SAW, PAC, and PAW, among many others.
Tooliom EF9242A Flaming Skull Welding Helmet
The EF9242A model is an eye-catcher because it is printed with a red flame pattern on the surface. In addition, this welding helmet has settings for delay and sensitivity. The light shade of the filter is DIN4, and switching from dark to bright is as fast as 0.1 to 1.0 seconds.
Magnifying or cheater lenses can be incorporated with this helmet for greater convenience for welders with visual difficulties. The welding helmet has True Color technology as well.
Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto-darkening Welding Helmet
Completing our top ten is the Antra AH6-260-0000 model, which has a passive filter with a permanent shade of 13. It is also combined with a double-layered auto-darkening LCD shutter, providing enough shade accuracy range within 4/5-9/9-13 to visible lights. Your head is completely protected because of the full face and neck coverage protector.
With a weight of 1.03 pounds, this helmet is the lightest welding helmet on this list. The auto-darkening feature is fully automatic, which eliminates the flipping of the hood. It has an external grinding switch for an easy transition. The four high-quality sensors are very responsive.
This welding helmet is absolutely one of the best protection from AC TIG, MIG/MAG, DC TIG, MMA/Stick, abrasive wheel cutting/grinding, and plasma cutting.
There you have it—our top ten! All these welding helmets are ANSI Z87+ approved. They are known and recommended because of their top-of-the-line quality and features. Visit Amazon and read some of the reviews about these fascinating welding helmets!
Our list will never be complete without mentioning a few welding helmets that could have made it to our top ten. Adding these notable additions gives you more choices!
Geelife Blue Eagle Welding Helmet
The eagle signifies that you can be an unstoppable welder who has a vision of excellent quality to your production. This helmet got notable reviews and features. It has a light valve that you can turn from light to dark. The darkness level can be switched between shades #9 and 13.
The UV-IR filter consists of reflective coated glass, a multi-layer light valve, and a polarizer. Furthermore, it has wider coverage than a standard welding helmet. Batteries include solar cells and Lithium Polymer.
Lincoln Electric K3419-1 Helmet
This one is black and is made of polycarbonate with a total weight of 1.5 pounds. It has an adjustable ratchet headband to customize the fitting to your head, and it is very absorbent. An oversize sweatband is attached to improve the comfortability of the welding helmet.
It is good for stick, pulsed TIG, pulsed MIG, flux-cored, and gouging weldings.
Tekware MOTO90 Welding Helmet
The MOTO90 model is an auto-darkening welding hood with a unique shell design. It is flexible and a perfect partner for any form of welding and plasma cutting. This helmet has an anti-fogging technology and an optical grade of 1/1/1/2.
It has four premium sensors and a viewing area of 3.94 by 3.27 inches. Moreover, this one has hemispherical enclosure protection and easy outside control for a fast and easier adjustment for various welding applications.
Now that you have the list to guide you when buying a welding helmet for beginners, remember that there may be various welding helmets available at your favourite store, but only one or two suit your welding requirements.
It's crucial to know the welding process you want to do and the requirements it entails. Then, match it with the appropriate helmet. Also, do not forget to choose welding helmets that are marked with ANSI Z87+. As in every job, your safety always comes first. So do not hesitate to get your own welding helmet and protect yourself from the harmful effects of welding. Maximum safety is key to achieving the best welds.