There are lots of welding helmet available on the internet nowadays. There’s so many choices that it’s kind of hard to choose which one is really the best among them. I think it will still go back to what a specific person wants or is comfortable in. Each of us has different preferences, but there are times where we like something to find that it isn’t really suitable for us. No matter how much we want it. So how will you really find the one for you?
Here is a short guideline to help you find the best helmet for you! Although, it has been known in the welding market that the more expensive a helmet is, the more comfortable it is. But do you really have to spend a lot just to acquire that comfort you require? If you think about it, using something that you are comfortable in will increase the work quality that you are giving which could also equal to a high quality of the welding products you are doing. And you are sure to be safe. You could save up for a helmet if you currently don’t have the funds yet. If the time comes that you can buy a quality helmet for yourself, here are some things that you should consider when purchasing.
AUTO DARKENING AND AUTO SHADE
This is important because this will be the part of the helmet that will protect your eyes, sometimes even face. Not just from the bright light but also from sparks that can injure your eyes or face. You should ask yourself: WHICH TYPE OF LENS IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
The first lens is the STANDARD or what it is mostly known as PASSIVE. They have been around for almost 50 years and people are still continuing to use them. These are the cheaper once with a budget of only 20 to 30 US dollars, you can buy a passive lens. What are these? These are tinted special glass usually with shade number 10, and they can already protect the wearer against ultraviolet rays and infrared rays. This is thanks to a special coating that this type of lens has. How do you use this? I’d like to call this the manual lens. It is attached to the helmet, but you have to do a quick nod or snap of your neck in order to bring down the lens over your eyes. You have to do this before you start welding or else there will be nothing to protect your eyes. When you are done, you can simply push the lens upward so you can see your finished product.
Just like everything else, these have their own disadvantages:
- For beginners who are still not used to a shade, you may a hard time positioning the gun or torch correctly before you begin welding. This doesn’t apply to everyone though.
- If you are welding beneath a car or in places with restricted movements, it may be harder to flip down the lens.
- Repeated movement of the neck may cause strain and discomfort after a long work day.
- If you are doing a tack welding, lifting and lowering a helmet is inefficient.
A way to solve this would be to go for the second kind of lens which is the AUTO DARKENING or sometimes also called AUTO SHADE. From the word itself, it’s automatic. It will go dark when it needs to. These helmets are made with a special electronic filer lens and often have adjustable features that make the job easier. The lens, you see, have a special LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) that is similar to a digital clock. There are several light sensors near the lens in order to detect a welding arc. When the lens is not activated, it usually has a number 3 or 4 shade, which almost has the same shade as a sunglasses. When you aren’t working, there’s no more need for you to remove your helmet if you don’t want to, because you will still be able to see things around you clearly.
Once you begin welding, the sensors will know and automatically darken the lens to a shade suited to the work you are currently doing. The shifting of the shade is so fast. You don’t have to worry.
This type of lens also has UV and Infrared coatings to protect you. You will no longer have to snap your neck to begin. The helmet stays in your head before,during, and after.
FIXED OR VARIABLE SHADE
The next thing that you should consider is this. If most of what you are welding consists of steel or something similar to steel (same thickness, same welding process, same amperage), then what you will most likely need is a fixed shade of number 10.
As I said above, the passive or standard lens has a fixed shade of number 10. There also some auto darkening lens – the least expensive ones – which have a fixed shade.
However, most people welding different materials, so you may need a lens that adjusts to the different brightness of the arc. To properly protect your eyes, you should get a welding helmet that adjusts the shade to the brightness. You can find these adjustments inside the helmet or sometimes, outside. Most adjust from number 9 to number 12 and 13.
SWITCHING OR REACTION TIME
Of course, when buying a helmet, you shouldn’t forget to consider this. This is very important and this usually applies to auto darkening helmets. If the reaction time of your lens is slow, you may injure your eyes right from the start. The ability of the lens to react to brightness is very important. Light is very fast so the lens should be super fast as well in order to properly protect the eyes. It is also known in the welding market that a more expensive lens has a much faster reaction time.
So why would you buy something expensive? Well, it’s more comfortable and you are sure that it has the ability to protect your eyes as soon as needed.
WEIGHT OF THE HELMET
I think this is self explanatory. If you cannot handle the heaviness of the helmet, then your neck will be straining at the end of the day. Choose the helmet with a lighter weight.
Of course there’s a lot more that you should consider when choosing what helmet to buy, but these four are important. Hope you make the right choice!