Wearing a welding helmet is necessary in order to stay safe when doing various welding projects. Not only will the helmet keep you safe, but it will help boost the quality of your work and your productivity as well. Of course, no ordinary helmet is able to provide these benefits, but rather a quality model that comes with all the features needed to ensure the best welding environment possible. If you’re looking for a welding helmet and you’re confused regarding what to look for, check out the following lines. Here, we will give you some useful guidelines to follow when purchasing such a product, guidelines that help you choose the safest helmet, one that will feel comfortable and that will boost your productivity.

Passive Lens Shortcomings – Why You Should Avoid This Type of Helmet

There are two types of helmet lenses to choose between, passive and auto-darkening. Although passive lens helmets come at a more affordable price, they are an option that you should avoid as they are considerably inferior to auto-darkening models. The passive lens uses ultraviolet and infrared coated glass that is dark tinted, and it must be worn in the up position until it’s flipped by a quick nod into position over the user’s face to provide protection when striking an arc. Snapping it into place every time when you’re welding will get tiring, you will lose a lot of time on lifting and lowering it, and it might not lock into position properly, meaning that you might do involuntary errors because of it.

Auto-Darkening Lens Options to Look For

Now that you’re aware of why you shouldn’t opt for a passive lens, let’s see what makes the auto-darkening lens so great. When the lens is in its inactive state, it delivers a #3 or #4 shade. Thus, you won’t need to lift the helmet to see what you’re doing when welding. When the arc starts, the sensors that the lens features automatically darken the shade to as much as #13, keeping you protected. This convenience in use makes a huge difference as you won’t only feel more comfortable, but you will be able to work faster and nothing will get in your way when welding, your projects automatically being of a better quality. Check out the following lines to find out what other option to look for when buying an auto-darkening lens welding helmet:

Variable Shade

The shade of the lens can be either fixed or variable. What we recommend you go with is a variable shade as it’s much more convenient and comfortable. Depending on the project you take up, the brightness of the arc will vary. The variable shade lens option allows you to adjust the shade from #9 to #13 in order to receive the perfect protection depending on the task at hand. Thus, comfort, safety, and productivity are boosted by this sole option.

Reaction Time

The reaction time of the lens shows how quickly it will change from its natural light state to the darkened shade. The quicker it switches between the two states the better as it’s less likely for the user’s eyes to be affected. Basic, cheap models offer a reaction time of 1/3600 of a second, while professional, high-end helmets offer a rating of up to 1/20000 of a second. If you start many arcs regularly, you should opt for a helmet with a quicker reaction time to not be dangerously exposed to the arc light.

Adjustable Controls

High-end welding helmets feature adjustable sensitivity controls and adjustable delay controls. It’s important for the helmet that you invest in to feature these options, and we will explain why immediately:

  • Sensitivity - With professional auto-darkening models, you are capable to decide what is the amount of brightness that will trigger the lens and make it darken. By being able to adjust the sensitivity control as you like, you are able to set it depending on the brightness of the arc at hand.
  • Delay - Due to the adjustable delay control, you able to decide for how long the lens should maintain its darkness after the arc stops. When you’re welding at high amperages, a long delay time comes in handy as you will better avoid entering your eyes into contact with the harmful rays. On the other hand, when you’re dealing with a large project, a short delay time will help reduce the amount of time that would normally get lost.


A helmet of this kind can feature from two to four sensors, depending on the type of use that it is designed for. Those with fewer sensors are best for beginners and hobbyists, while models that feature more sensors are better suited for professionals. But what’s best for you to do, regarding of your skill and how much time you spend welding, is to invest in a lens that features more sensors as they provide a better coverage.

Viewing Size

Generally, the viewing size ranges from 6 square inches to 9 square inches. The bigger view size shows that the helmet is directed toward use in industrial projects, while the smaller size is best suited for light projects. Choose the viewing size depending on what you prefer and consider as being most comfortable and convenient for you. Of course, take into consideration the type of use that you will subject it to as well.

How the Helmet’s Design Affects Comfort and Productivity

Another element that you shouldn’t neglect as it plays a much more important role than you could imagine is the design of the helmet. The design element that matters the most is the gear’s weight. The heavier the helmet is the worse as you will feel tired quickly after starting the project, and discomfort will be felt throughout the duration of the entire operation. What you should do is to look for a model that features pivoting headgear with dual straps at the top. This ingenious design helps spread the weight across your head when wearing it so that you will feel comfortable, you will be able to work continuously for long hours, and your productivity will increase considerably.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Alleson