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Home > Learn & Resources > Choosing a welding helmet

Checklist

Budget - Generally the more you spend, the better quality the helmet. How much welding you do and the features will determine the cost
Sidewindows - Do you want peripheral vision or will that distract from the job at hand?
Durability - is it robust enough to withstand high impact? What happens if its dropped?
Grinding Capability - Some helmets incorporate a clear grinding visor underneath the mask. More expensive, but a real time saver and prevents having to have two head tops
Spectacle Wear - Some helmets offer an adjustable rack on the headband to allow more room for spectacles. In some cases, manufacturers offer magnification lenses which are easy to fit to elimate the need for wearing glasses
Weight - The lighter the better
Consumables - Are the inner and outer protection plates readily available and easy to fit?

Checklist

Amount of Protection - Are you MIG or TIG welding? You may want a larger head top for added protection in high amperage applications
Automatic Park - - When you lift the helmet back, will it stay in the upright position?
Viewing Area - A lot of manufacturers offer different sizes. The bigger the better!
Battery Life - The higher quality auto darkening helmet filters are powered by replaceable batteries. The majority of the solar powered models have batteries that cant be removed
Multi Functioning - Thinking about TIG welding or plasma cutting? It may be worth buying a helmet with a more appropriate filter lens. Shade 5-8 is ideal for plasma cutting whilst low amp TIG welding may require more sensitive settings for the arc sensors
Build Quality - Will the helmet last?
Headgear - Is it comfortable and more importantly can you re-adjust it when its on your head?

Passive vs Auto Darkening Lenses

Traditional welding helmets have passive lenses – that is they have a fixed shade value. They are worn in the up position to prepare the welding material and then moved downwards immediately before work begins. While they are cost effective, repeatedly lifting and lowering the helmet is inefficient and if the helmet isn't lowered in time there is danger of arc flashes.

An auto-darkening lens does what the name suggests. In its inactive state it has a low shade which is relatively easy to see through. When sensors on the helmet sense an arc start, the lens darkens in a fraction of a second. The helmet stays in position before, during, and after the weld which has the potential to improve weld quality and ease the neck strain associated with snapping the helmet into place

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Air Fed Welding Helmets

With HSE now classifying all welding fume as a carcinogen, the emphasis on protecting operators with RPE has increased. The pointers above hold true for the head top, but what about the PAPR (powered air purying respirator). You should consider the weight of the PAPR unit and its ability to provide constant air flow, battery life in hours per day and recharge time, price of the filters and the protection level of the unit supplied

Air fed helmets thumb
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