If you are a serious welder, it is very important that you understand the significance of having the best safety gear. Of course, you also have to consider your safety in everything that you do. There are a lot of health risks involved when it comes to welding. One of the most important safety gears that you are supposed to have would be a helmet to protect your head. Choosing an amazing helmet is great, because it not only protects your eyes but also your face from stray sparks, and also your respiration. There are helmets which come with breathing filters which cleans the air you are inhaling. It is possible that poisonous fumes will be produced during the welding process. The dangerous ones are those which have small particles because this allows them to easily pass between the blood and brain barrier and cause some irreversible damage. Also, in choosing a helmet, make sure that you are comfortable with it, and that you are the one who really chose it. You are going to be wearing it for extended periods of time.
The problem now is that there’s currently a lot of brands that claim to be the best when it comes to helmets, and if it’s your first time to buy one, it would only be natural that you will get confused and be indecisive about which one to get. In an effort to cut off your time of endless browsing through hundreds of choices, I’ve gathered the mostly recommended helmets that would be suited for MIG welding.
Most experienced welders advice newbies to not get a low quality helmet just because it’s cheap, because the helmet is probably the most important investment that you will purchase. As I said above, it is able to give off a lot of benefits. You will need one that is actually capable of protecting you, and not just for show. In the end, a sturdy helmet will pay itself off and if you think about it, buying a new helmet every month or so will be more expensive and wasteful.
So what do you need to know before you go on and buying a helmet for yourself? Here is what you need to know.
- There are two types of helmet. First we have the PASSIVE helmet. You could probably get how it works from the name itself, but it is a helmet with a fixed shade. You will need to flip the lens down over your eyes if you are going to use it. People who prefer this helmet are said to enjoy the feeling of security. The lens will always protect your eyes as long as you flip it down, meanwhile the second type is what we call theAUTO-DARKENING helmet. Yes, AUTO as in automatic. This helmet has sensors – sometimes two to four sensors – which senses the light waves from your torch and automatically darkens the helmet due to it. The good thing about the second type is that it is hassle-free. All you have to do is secure your head inside it, then it will work. Your neck won’t have to feel achy all the time due to constant snapping to get the lens down.
- THE SHADE. If you mostly weld materials such as steel or something with the same thickness as steel, then I suggest that you go for a helmet with a shade of 10. You could choose to go with a passive helmet, but there are also less expensive automatic helmet which are designed with a fixed shade.
However, if you are welding materials such as mild steel, stainless steels, and aluminum, so you will be doing MIG and TIG welding. It is advisable that you switch to a adjustable lens. Since you are welding different types of materials, the intensity of the brightness won’t be the same as well. I think you will be needing the shades 9, 12, or 13.
- REACTION TIME. If you are going to go for an automatic helmet, you will need to take note of it’s reaction time. In simpler terms, how fast the helmet can adjust the shade of the lens as soon as it senses a different wave of brightness than normal. You do not want a helmet that is super delayed, even a two second exposure of your eyes to that intense brightness is not good. The quicker, the better. Entry-level lenses often have 1/3,600 of a second switching speed, while intermediate and professional have 1/16,000 of a second or even faster. Expect a helmet with a faster reaction time to be much more expensive though.
- BATTERY LIFE. If you are going to purchase the automatic helmet, then you will need to be aware of how long it can last. And you have to keep note of it so that you won’t accidentally wear it while it’s empty. There are some helmets which are battery operated but also has solar power so it can still work even if no longer has any charge left. You have to charge it again though, as soon as you notice, or when you finish your work. It is important that your helmet protects your eyes. That is it’s primary purpose.
- HELMET WEIGHT. You will be using this thing over your neck for hours, maybe even for a whole day so you have to be comfortable with it. If you are comfortable with it, it can even result to high quality outcomes. Is the helmet too heavy for you? Then that may not be the one you should get. Remember, you will be using it for hours, and soon enough, your neck will start to strain and you’ll be too tired to carry the helmet around. Find a light weight one.
- NATIONAL SAFETY STANDARDS. Just like everything in this world, helmets too have standards that they have to pass. This is done to ensure that the products are of great quality and are actually worth the buyer’s hard-earned money. Lookfor ANS1 Z87.1 – 2003. This is the most recent safety standard for helmets. If a helmet has passed, it means that it was able to survive high velocity impacts from flying objects. It is also able to provide a one hundred percent ultraviolet and infrared filtering regardless of the shade setting.
Be sure to check if the helmet you are eyeing is able to pass through this list with flying colors. It doesn’t matter what brand you choose as long as it is able to serve you properly without any problems.
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