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Gone are the days of fixed lens helmets because the auto-darkening helmets are the new ruler in the market. Auto-darkening helmets offer a lot more comfort and safety compared to the old-school passive shield lens.
When it comes about welding, nothing is more vital than safety. The headgear is the single most important gear that every welder should own. It not only protects the eyes from the sparks but it also keeps the face, neck safe from the heat, debris, and harmful UV/IR radiations.
Welding possesses severe risks of affecting the eyes and other areas of the body if proper precautionary measures aren’t taken. It might even blind you by the constant exposure of the bright flashes and radiation. However, a good auto-darkening helmet will minimize all these risks and help you weld is a secured environment.
Having a great welding helmet paves the road of being a good welder. No matter how experienced you are, a lousy helmet will make you deliver sloppy performance.
There are numerous auto-darkening helmets these days in the market. We have handpicked the best helmets from those for welders with different requirements and different budget range. In this review, we have included the best welding helmets available in the market that will make your welding experience enjoyable and risk-free. Let’s start the review.
Our List Of 5 Best Welding Helmet
1. DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding Helmet
2. DEKOPRO Hood with Adjustable Wide Shade Range
3. Tanox Solar Powered Welding Helmet ADF-206S
4. Jackson Safety 46131 Insight Variable Welding Helmet
5. Esab SENTINEL A50 Welding Helmet
Let’s Have A Quick Comparison
What Is An Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet?
These welding helmets have a lens that can transform its color depending on the lighting condition outside. The lens change from light to dark within just a fraction of a second. They have sensors installed in them which help them to detect the changes and make the transition.
Previously, welders had to use helmets made of one fixed color which needed to be constantly flipped up and down while working and this process eventually slowed them up. When auto-darkening helmets entered the market a few decades ago, it revolutionized the entire process.
These helmets are not only safer but they also enable you to work a lot quickly and swiftly. These helmets also keep you safe from those harsh UV and infra-red radiations that are emitted during welding.
Advantages Of Auto-Darkening Helmets
Auto-darkening helmets are an advanced creation that has smoothened up the welding process with its ease of use. These helmets are a lot more versatile and offer more features compared to the fixed lens ones.
Auto-darkening helmets have variable lens shades that transform the color when the outside environmental condition changes. They are equipped with arc sensors that can detect the changes and immediately covert the lens from light to dark.
These helmets also offer better efficiency as they don’t require you to constantly flip the hood up and down. You can work a lot faster with an auto-darkening helmet compared to a passive shield one.
Most compelling evidence is that they provide a lot more safety and protection to the welder as they come with protective coatings and filter to keep the eyes and skin protected. For instance, most auto-darkening helmets are equipped with filters that can deflect radiations like UV and infra-red.
5 Top Rated Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews
DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding Helmet
The Dekopro Solar powered helmet is a prime example of you don’t need to spend a hefty amount in order to get a good auto-darkening helmet. Surprisingly, it comes at an affordable price tag with multiple premium features.
It comes in two fantastic shade variation of blue and vibrant orange. The glossy finish gives it a premium look that will surely make your welding time more enjoyable. It weighs 2.5 pounds which is a bit on the heavier side. However, the inside of the helmet is very comfortable so you’ll hardly feel even after long wear hours.
This bad boy features a giant viewing window measuring at 3.9 inches × 3.2 inches. It provides the welder with a very clear frontal and peripheral view of the weld. It has a DIN4 filter light level that keeps the welder’s eyes protected from the harsh UV and infra-red radiations. It features a super quick switching speed that ranges between 0.1s to 1.0s.
It’s suitable for both hobbyist and professional welders. It can perform industrial grade tasks such as welding and grinding. It’s a perfect fit to perform tasks like MIG, TIG, plasma cutting, arc gouging etc.
It is equipped with adjustable delay and sensitivity sensors that can change the time required for the lens to go from light to dark. This feature is extremely handy in a situation where you need to work under very high or very low amperage.
Dekopro has equipped this helmet with solar charging panels along with digital power. It runs on replaceable lithium batteries with a lifetime of whopping 5000 hours. Even when the batteries run down, no worries because the solar power got you covered.
- An auto-darkening lens with multiple shade range.
- Adjustable sensitivity and delay sensor.
- Long battery life with solar charging panel.
DEKOPRO Hood with Adjustable Wide Shade Range
This is the most budget-friendly welding helmet we have in our list and it’s another sophisticated creation by Dekopro. It has a basic matte black finish which looks quite premium and considering the price point, it’s an absolute steal.
The Dekopro helmet is suitable for both professional grade and household uses. It can perform all sort welding tasks with this headgear and the lightweight structure of the helmet helps the welder to work in tight spaces as well.
It has a super compact size with a weight of only 1.73 pounds. The lightweight enables the welder to wear it for long working hours without facing any neck or back issues. The insides of the helmet are very comfortable with smooth inner surfaces and the adjustable belts help to secure it according to the head-shape of the welder.
Even though it comes at an extremely budget-friendly price tag, Dekopro has ensured quality and made safety their utmost priority. It has variable shades ranging from 9 to 13 with DIN4 filter that provides maximum safety to the eyes by keeping it safe from UV and IR rays.
The viewing visor on this helmet measures at six square inches. It enables the welder to have a clear view under different light conditions and even in tightly enclosed areas. The arc sensors are very responsive and they quickly change in the environment. The lens can transform from light to dark in just about 1/150000 of a second.
This helmet is powered by CR2032 lithium batteries that provide a run time of 5000 hours. On top of that, Dekopro has also incorporated solar power to provide non-stop service to the welder.
- Filters to protect the eyes and skin from UV/IR radiations.
- Long battery life of 5000 hours.
- Solar charging panel.
- Not very durable.
Tanox ADF-206S Solar Powered Welding Helmet
If you don’t want to spend a hefty sum of money on the helmet then the Tanox ADF-206 is your guy. Even though it’s priced at a very moderate range, it provides all the features that most high-end welding helmets offer.
The ADF-206S is a superb option to perform all sorts of welding tasks such as TIG, MIG, plasma cutting, MMA and many others. It has an optical class rating of 1/1/1/2 which makes it an absolute steal for the price.
To enumerate, it has a weight of 2.0 pounds and it provides utmost comfort to the welder throughout the wear time. There are paddings on the inside which keeps the head in a comfortable position and the adjustable belt helps it fit the welder’s head regardless of the head size.
It offers quite a large viewing area for the price. Moreover, the view visor on this helmet measures at 3.86 inches x 1.73 inches that offer a clear and distinct view to the welder. The shade ranges on this vary from 9 to the 13 and it quickly changes the lens color once the arc spark is detected.
The ADF-206S features four incredibly fast arc sensors that come with a switching speed of 1/25000 of a second. Along with, it also comes with adjustable sensitivity and delay settings which enable the welder to adjust the switching speed according to the task.
By all means, this helmet has taken safety to a great new level. Multiple safety standards such as ANSI and EN379 approved this. It offers incredible protection against UV and IR radiations. It includes a pair of 16” double-layered leather gloves which provides utmost safety to the hands.
Furthermore, an outstanding battery life is a plus point that runs for around 2 years. Thanks to the replaceable lithium batteries which are powered by and there’s also solar charging panel included for additional run time so that nothing stops the welder during work.
- Huge viewing area.
- Long battery life.
- Quick switching speed.
Jackson Safety 46131 Insight Variable Welding Helmet
Point often overlooked, Jackson is quite a popular name when it comes about welding helmets. Certainly, they have an incredible range of welding helmets and the Jackson Insight Variable is one of their finest creations. Along with phenomenal performance, this helmet has quite a sturdy looks as well.
It weighs around 2 pounds and the built quality is top of the line on this helmet. The makers made this with superior quality nylon that helps it to withstand extreme impacts and pressures. It has been approved by the ANSI safety standards which ensure that the helmet provides utmost durability and comfort to the welder.
The viewing window on the Jackson Insight measures at 3.93 inches x 2.36 inches. In particular, the lens provides a crisp view of the weld from every angle. Being an auto-darkening helmet it comes with variable shade ranges. The lens shade range varies from 9 to 13 and the lens color quickly changes when a spark is detected.
The arc sensors are super reactive on this helmet and they have a super fast switching speed which ensures maximum safety to the welder. It’s a professional grade welding helmet that’s suitable to perform multiple heavy-duty welding tasks such as TIG, MIG, plasma cutting etc. It’s also compatible with the HLX100 and HSL 100 shells that add to the versatility of this unit.
Jackson takes the safety of welder very seriously. The helmet not only protects the eyes but only keeps the face and neck safe from sparks, debris and harmful radiations that are emitted during welding.
It’s powered by replaced lithium batteries that provide quite a long run time. However, they have also installed a solar panel that provides power to run the helmet even when the batteries run out.
- Powered by both digital and solar power.
- Suitable for heavy-duty welding tasks.
- Fast lens switching speed.
- Slightly expensive.
Esab SENTINEL A50 Welding Helmet
If you make absolutely no compromise when it comes about safety then the Esab Sentinel A50 Helmet is for you. Henceforth, it’s an outstanding helmet that’s equipped with a superior quality lens that provides the ultimate safety to the welder. Well, we are not sure yet if it is the best welding helmet or not. It is you who decide.
Generally, the Sentinel is incredibly durable as it’s made with high-quality resistance nylon. Its revolutionary shell design enables it to undergo all those rigorous welding activities without making a dent of the helmet.
However, the weight of this helmet is very lightweight. It has a weight of only 1.4 Pounds. For me, it is the best-weighted welding helmet ever. You will feel your neck after using the helmet a long time and feel no pain.
The viewing area on the Sentinel measures at 3.93 inches x 2.36 inches. The large viewing area helps the welder to get a clear look at the weld even at tight spots. It provides utmost clarity both frontal and peripheral which helps the welder a great deal while working.
Corresponding Esab has revolutionized the display on this helmet. It is equipped with an internal touchscreen display that allows you to change between shades, adjust the sensitivities and delay. The fun part is there are eight different memory settings. For example, TIG welding setups are a bit different than MIG. Now you can set different specification for each kind of work and save them on the device. Fascinating, right?
The Sentinel A50 also features an external grind mode button which comes in handy when you’re switching between processes. Given that, this mode will help you continue the work without having to remove the helmet.
When it comes about comfort, the Sentinel has nailed this section. Notably, it has a five-point halo harness with ratcheting adjustment at the back. Despite being heavy, it’ll provide utmost comfort to the welder.
- 8 different memory settings.
- External grind button with 3 grind shades.
- Internal touchscreen display.
- Made of high-quality impact nylon.
Buying Guide – Things To Consider Before Purchase Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
The market is filled with numerous welding helmets and it’s vital that you invest on the right kind. One unit will not satisfy everyone’s requirement so we have listed down the factors that are crucial to every welding helmet.
Weight is a very crucial factor when it comes about welding helmets. You’ll be wearing this thing for long hours so if it weighs heavy then you’ll start feeling fatigued and uncomfortable after a few hours. Sometimes the prolonged wear time can cause neck and back issues as well. So, make sure the welding helmet is lightweight before making the purchase.
The bigger the viewing helmet the bigger and crisper image you’ll be getting out of it. The view visor is a very crucial feature because if you can’t see the weld clearly then you’ll also not be able to work properly with it.
When you’re working in a compact or an enclosed area, make sure that the helmet provides a good peripheral view along with the frontal view because sometimes only the frontal view isn’t just enough.
All the welding helmets that we reviewed here come with an excellent viewing window with large screen size. However, often times the price and weight of the helmet tend to increase with the size of the screen.
Arc sensors are the ones that are responsible for changing the color of the lens from light to dark. Only auto-darkening helmets comprise of this feature as the passive shield helmets come with a fixed shade lens. Arc sensors reduce the risk of getting flashed by those bright arc sparks by changing the lens shade thus keeping your eyes protected.
Most auto-darkening helmets come with two to four arc sensors that detect the change in the external environment and transform the lens shade. Well, in this is case, the more arc sensors the better as it helps them to detect the changes quicker.
The placement of the manual control knob has different settings on different helmets. Some have the knobs on the outside and some have it inside. When the knob is outside, you can have easy access to without having to remove the helmet. There are many helmets with big knob size that helps you easily locate the position of the knobs and change the settings.
Whereas, knobs placed inside the helmet require you to take the helmet off in order to change the setting. This can sometimes be troublesome if you’re working in a tightly enclosed area.
Welding tasks emit various kinds of radiations. So, if you are going to perform only a certain kind of task with the helmet then make sure the helmet you opt for has the shade that is suitable for your desired task.
Well, auto-darkening helmets come with variable shade technology which lets you work under a number of circumstances. The shade range usually varies from 9 to 13. However, some premium welding helmets feature shade from 4 to 8 which comes really handy for grinding application.
The switching speed refers to how fast the lens can transform from light to dark shade. The quicker it shifts, the better. Most auto-darkening helmets have a switching speed between 0.00003 seconds to 0.00004 seconds. However, there are some premium quality welding helmets that can switch within a millisecond.
Quick switching speed is very crucial because if the lens doesn’t go dark on time then the bright flashes can get you partially blinded and if you get continuously flashed by the bright sparks then it may lead to permanent blindness.
The auto-darkening helmets run on power. They are equipped with replaceable lithium batteries that offer a long battery life ranging from 2000 hours to 5000 hours. However, most welding helmets nowadays also incorporate solar charging panel that provides additional run time and let the welder work even when the batteries run down.
Many auto-darkening welding helmets come with these unique features called adjustable sensitivity and adjustable delay settings. These sensitivity features denote how bright the arc needs to be for the lens to go dark.
This feature lets you manually adjust the sensitivity time so that you can work under different circumstances. The adjustable sensitivity is very helpful for times when you work under low amperage condition.
On the other hand, the adjustable delay refers to how long the lens needs to stay dark after the arc is finished. Sometimes the pre-programmed delay setting is not suitable for all the tasks so you can manually adjust the time settings according to your work. This feature is handy when you’re welding at a high amperage because most of the times it stays bright even after the arc has stopped.
Many times welders tend to look past the amount of comfort they get from the helmet. No matter how many cool features the helmet may have, if it’s not comfortable then you shouldn’t go for it. Trial the helmet before the purchase so try to figure out if it matches your comfort level or not.
The helmet is a gear that you’ll need to wear for long hours so if it’s uncomfortable then you’ll easily get fatigued and stressed.
Welding helmets are generally made in one universal size that fits most adults. However, they usually have adjustable straps and ratchets at the back to fit it according to the welder’s head size.
No matter how expensive the helmet is, if it’s not approved by government approved safety standards then don’t go for it. Make sure the helmet is made with high-quality material that can withstand the rigorous welding activities. Always opt for helmets that are ANSI Z87.1+ approved and make the best out your investment.
FAQ – Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
HOW IS AN AUTO-DARKENING HELMET DIFFERENT FROM A REGULAR ONE?
The regular welding helmets come with a fixed shade lens, usually shade #10. However, one shade is not suitable for all sorts of welding tasks. These helmets are more advanced and they come with this unique feature of variable shade ranges that can change according to the task.
ARE ALL AUTO-DARKENING HELMETS POWERED BY BATTERY?
Yes, all the helmets are battery powered. They run on replaceable lithium batteries and they have a very long battery life ranging from 2000 hours to 5000 hours. However, most advanced welding helmets also include solar charging panel that enables the helmet to work even when the batteries run down.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO REPLACE THE LENS OR OTHER PARTS OF THE WELDING HELMET?
Not all parts are replaceable on a welding helmet. However, some of the parts are easily found in local workshops and you can also ask for assistance from the manufacturer if any of the parts stop working.
DO THE HELMETS COME WITH ANY WARRANTY?
This type of helmet often come with a warranty and it’s notified by the manufacturer if the certain unit comes under warranty.
Some Basic Cleaning And Maintenance Tips
Even the most expensive and high-quality lens will degrade its quality if it’s not properly taken care of. To prolong the lifetime of the helmet you should take proper care of the helmet and give it a regular cleaning so that you get the best service out of it.
Generally, the helmet comes with a small guide that contains all the necessary information regarding the helmet. So, before you clean the helmet with anything, go through the instruction manual to make sure whether the helmet is reactive to any element or not.
We have included a quick cleaning guide that will help you keep the helmet good as new for years. Let’s take a look at the steps.
- Wipe the outer surface of the helmet after every use with a clean towel or tissue. This process will help you remove all the external dirt and debris from the upper surface of the helmet.
- For a more intensive cleaning process, get a cleaning brush with soft bristles and brush it gently around the helmet. Make sure you don’t brush too vigorously that might disturb the outer coating of the helmet. Afterward, use an air pressure duster to clean any remaining dust from it.
- The lens of a welding helmet bears immense importance to its performance because if you can’t see clearly then you’ll not be able to weld properly. The lens has to go under rigorous welding activities for long hours. They come in contact with the spark, radiations, debris, and many more substances.
- Get a good lens cleaner and wipe it gently around the lens to get rid of the dirt, germ, and debris. You can also use a disinfectant to give it an additional cleaning which will let you stay extra protected for germs and bacteria.
- Lastly, give the entire helmet a nice rub with a microfiber towel. You may also wet the towel a little but make sure there’s no moisture left.
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Wrap Up !
Welding is no child’s game as there’s high risk involved. Unless you take proper precautions, you might get burned or even lose your sight. An auto-darkening helmet provides the ultimate safety and also provides you a lot more comfort compared to a fixed shade helmet.
Always make sure that your helmet has passed the safety standards in order to provide you with the maximum level of protection. Since you’ll be wearing the helmet for long hours, be sure it’s comfortable and flexible to wear throughout the day.
One product can’t satisfy the need for all. So, something that works marvelously for a friend can prove to be utter garbage for you. Before making the purchase list down the features that you want the helmet to have so that you invest your money on the right unit.
Here, in this review, we have shortlisted the best of the best in the market. These helmets are absolute beasts that provide phenomenal performances for a wide array of welding applications. Now, we would like to know your opinion regarding our reviews. Tell us more.
Last update on 2023-09-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API