Choosing an Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
Whether looking for a first welding helmet or a replacement, options can range from hobby-level to helmets suitable for industrial grade, and so do the price points. So how do you choose a high-quality, yet accessible helmet that you can trust to protect your eyes for many years of welding to come?
The tried-and-true (and familiar) passive helmets can do the job but the only “cool factor” is that well-known head flip as the welder snaps the helmet in place after striking the arc. But the disadvantages are many:
- That head flip can make it difficult to start the weld in the right position, especially for a new welder or someone who only welds occasionally.
- Neck fatigue is a risk when frequently lifting and lowering the helmet.
- A series of short welds or tack welding can be challenging and time-consuming as the welder needs to repeatedly lift the helmet.
- Injury is a risk if the helmet fails to lock into place correctly.
- The helmet shade is one color (often #10).
Auto-darkening helmets offer many advantages over passive helmets and alleviate these pain points.
- With a common darkening range of #9-#13 on variable shade models, the range of darkening is wider than fixed shade and passive helmets and therefore so is the protection across a broader array of working conditions. In the inactive state, the shade is a much lighter tint so the welder can see to strike the arc and start the work without lifting the helmet.
- Neck fatigue and injury from lifting and lowering the helmet is eliminated.
- Tack and series welding are more efficient and it’s easier for the welder to start welds where they intend to.
- The helmet protects eyes better by sensing and quickly reacting to flashes and flare-ups.
- Welders have a variety of shades ready for optimal safety and comfort.
When selecting an auto-darkening helmet, be sure to choose a model with these features:
- Adjustable (and fast) darkening time (professional grade is as fast as 1/20,000+ of a second).
- Comfortable viewing area.
- Adjustable sensitivity, which can be particularly helpful to keep low amperage welding (such as TIG) still visible when not as bright as other methods.
- Adjustable delay (how long the shade stays dark) so that repositioning on tack welding is quick (short delay) or eyes are still protected while metal cools after high amperage welding (long delay).
- A comfortable weight to avoid fatigue and discomfort.
- Appropriate helmet material for your work environment (for such hazards as high heat, shock resistance, and more).
Our Weldmark welding helmets are an incredible value and offer professional-level auto-darkening protection. With incredibly fast 1/25,000 of a second darkening, #9-#13 shading, and adjustable sensitivity and delay, you can work safely and efficiently while making a statement with some pretty incredible graphics!
Choosing a welding helmet doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is a decision that should support your craftsmanship for years to come—and keep you safe and comfortable in the process.
- Andrew Blatner