Chris is a teacher of Literature at a school in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He is also our favorite irreplaceable freelance writer who can turn such a boring topic into something that people read with interest and pleasure.
Thomas is a professional welder who gained his certification several decades ago and learned all the nuances of this job since then. When not at work, Thomas loves fishing in a lake near his summer house.
Last updated: July 11, 2022
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Welding is one of the best skills for do-it-your-selfers to master. It can, however, be one of the most dangerous as well. This is especially true if you don’t have the best welding helmet to keep you safe while the sparks are flying.
When making this listing, we took a ton of different aspects of welding helmets into account. First of all, we made sure to look at the different applications that each helmet could be used for so that you can find the right model for your needs. Next, we looked at the viewing area and optical class, as these features will greatly influence how well the helmet will work. Finally, we checked into the switching time and different materials for each helmet as well.
More features: solar-powered, lightweight, extra-comfortable, auto-darkening lens, automatic power on/off
This is a welding helmet that is designed for versatility. It can be used for several different welding applications, including TIG and MIG. The viewing area is 6.78 square inches and has a switching time of 1/25000 of a second. The lens darkens automatically, while the helmet is lightweight and comfortable.
Of all the different models of welding helmets that we looked over for this review, this offering from Chicago Electric is by far our favorite. For starters, it is extremely versatile, as it can be used for a variety of welding applications. Its automatic tinting works very well, thanks to its quick switch speed. It is also nice and lightweight, and comfortable. When added all together, it is very easy to see why this was by far our favorite helmet we reviewed.
One of the best things about this helmet is just how lightweight it is. This is especially impressive when you factor in all of the different functions that are built into it. For instance, even though this helmet is much lighter than the Hobart 770890 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet, it is also that much lighter. This makes it an excellent option if you are going to be wearing your helmet for a good long time each and every day.
Application: MIG/Flux welding, stick welding, TIG, not for laser welding
Switching time: 1/25,000
More features: auto-darkening lens, professional quality, reducing eye strain, variable shade control
This welding helmet is made to be versatile, although it cannot be used for laser welding. It boasts a large 10.1 square inch viewing area that has a 1/25000 second switching time. The optical class is also highly effective, as it received a 1/1/1/2 rating overall.
If you are someone that is looking for a premium welding helmet, then we highly recommend this model. The Vulcan Arcsafe is both comfortable and features a very large viewing area. It is, plain and simple, built for the professional welder. The auto-darkening lens works very quickly and comes with a simple to use variable shade controller. The optical classification of 1/1/1/2 speaks to the high quality of this helmet, making it a great option for anyone who wants their equipment to work well and last for a long time.
We really liked this helmet for a variety of reasons. However, the thing that stood out the most was the variable shade controller. While other models like the Geelife Solar-powered Welding Helmet offer up the ability to adjust the shading of the welding helmet, none of them offer the wide range of variability that this helmet provides. This wide range of shading options will allow you to find just the right spot so that you are comfortable welding each and every time.
Application: MIG/flux wire feed welding, stick welding, air carbon cutting
Switching time: 1/20,000
More features: lightweight design, solar-powered, auto-darkening, two independent arc sensors
This model from Chicago Electric Welding has a moderately sized viewing area of 6 square inches overall. It is extremely lightweight and automatically darkens. Its switching time is slightly slower than the market standard, clocking in at 1/20,000 of a second. It is also solar-powered and features two independent arc sensors.
If you are someone that is a welding hobbyist or are just getting started in the world of welding, this model is an excellent option. Though it is priced to provide as much value as possible, it still has some wonderful qualities. Its two independent arc sensors help to switch the lens quickly and effectively, while the lightweight design makes this helmet a lot more comfortable than its competition.
What really stands out about this helmet is everything that you get for a very fair price. Though there are other models like the VULCAN ARCSAFE Welding Helmet that offer up a ton of features, they are usually going to cost you a bit more. This helmet, on the other hand, offers plenty of options while still being extremely friendly to your wallet. This helps to make this model such an amazing value that is sure to work well in your workshop.
Application: DC TIG, AC TIG, MIG/MAG, MMA/Stick welding
Switching time: 1/25000
More features: auto-darkening, adjustable shade range, comfort wear
This welding helmet is highly versatile, as it can be used for many different styles of welding. It features a very comfortable head strap and has an adjustable shade range. The viewing area is on the small side but features very good optical clarity. This helmet also has a switching time of 1/25,000 a second.
With this model of welding helmet, versatility is truly the name of the game. It can be used for a whole host of welding applications. It can be used for DC TIG, AC TIG, MIG/MAG, and MMA/Stick welding. Plain and simple, if it needs to be welded, this helmet will keep you safe while you do it. This model also features an adjustable shade range and quick switching time, which only adds to the overall versatility of the unit.
One of the best things about working in the world of manufacturing, especially if you work in a machine shop, is that you are never sure exactly what you will be doing. As such, it is a good option to have a welding helmet that is extremely versatile like this one. It would work much better for you than a more straightforward design like the CHICAGO ELECTRIC WELDING Fixed Shade Welding Helmet, which cannot be adjusted.
More features: two arc sensors, fast response time, comfortable to wear
This welding helmet has a relatively small viewing port. It does, however, feature two arc sensors and is very comfortable to wear. This model is also quite versatile, as it can be used for a variety of welding applications. It also features an extremely fast switching time that generally clocks in at less than 3/10,000 of a second.
While the industry standard for switching time is usually 1/25,000 of a second, this helmet from Monster & Master really takes it to the next level. Not only does this helmet improve the transition speed, but it does so quite significantly. This model has a switching time of less than 3/10,000 a second, making it one of the faster switchers on the market, which would work well for anyone that does a lot of quick welds during their day.
If you are someone that moves from weld to weld quickly, then you don’t want to waste a ton of time waiting for your helmet to switch between shaded or unshaded. We found this model to be amazingly receptive to switching, as its transition time was the fastest that we found. This makes it a much better option than CHICAGO ELECTRIC WELDING Standard Welding Helmet, which has a slower transition period for its shading feature.
More features: passive shade, padded interior, lightweight
This model from Chicago Electric Welding has a very large viewing area, making it a good choice for anyone welding in odd spots. The helmet is also quite lightweight and very comfortable, thanks to the extra padding along with the interior of the helmet. It is also quite versatile, as it can be used for a variety of welding applications.
This model is a great option if you are just looking for a helmet that will remain dark for the entirety of your welding project. This helps to simplify the welding process, as the passive shade will keep your eyes protected from damage while allowing you to focus on the task at hand rather than what your helmet is up to. This helmet also features a very large viewing area and lightweight design that makes it an excellent choice for quick jobs.
We really like the straightforward design of this helmet. It makes it that much easier to get right to work since you don’t need to deal with a lot of different features and can instead just focus on the task at hand. As good as the VULCAN ARCSAFE Welding Helmet is, it might be a bit too much for certain types of welding work. If you just want to get to the job at hand and do not need to work round the clock, this is an excellent helmet.
This helmet is great for a wide array of welding applications, including TIG, MIG, MMA, and plasma welding. The battery life has been increased so that you will not need to change the batteries very often. The viewport is one of the largest on the market, and the optical class is highly ranked as well, as it received a 1/1/1/2 rating overall.
One of the worst things about working with some welding helmets is that they can make you feel somewhat claustrophobic. This model, thankfully, helps to combat this sort of issue. It has a very large viewing area that allows for a person’s natural peripheral vision to be utilized, even when the helmet is on. It also has great visual clarity as well.
When looking through this helmet, the first thing that we picked up on was just how much easier it is to see through its larger-than-average viewing area. Smaller viewports, like those on the Monster & Master Welding Helmet, might be good for precision work but are very difficult if you need your peripheral vision. This helmet helps to correct this issue significantly.
More features: adjustable wear, comes with welding gloves
This helmet is extremely easy to adjust and comes with welding gloves. Not only that, but it comes with different brushes as well, making it a good beginners kit. The helmet is lightweight, which is ideal for anyone that is not used to wearing a welding helmet for long periods of time.
While welding is an extremely useful skill, it is not the easiest of trades to break into. There is a lot of know-how that goes into becoming a master welder, and it all starts with getting the right equipment. If you are just getting into welding, then this is a great set to purchase. The helmet works very well, but the true star of the show is the fact that it comes with other parts of a successful welder’s toolkit. With the helmet, you will get a hammer, brush, and gloves, which will allow you to begin your welding journey much more prepared.
In comparison to all of the other models on our list, this is the only one that comes with other tools that you need to start welding. Obviously, if you are an established welder with years of experience, you will most likely already have the tools provided by this set. If, however, you are a beginner, then we know that this set will help you on your way to becoming a master of the craft.
Application: MMA, MIG, MAG/CO2, TIG, and plasma welding
Switching time: 0.00004
More features: auto-darkening, the adjustable shade range
This helmet has a fast-switching time of .00004 seconds, which puts it on par with the industry standard. It can be used in a wide array of welding applications and features an adjustable shade range. The viewing area is nice and big and has an excellent optical classification of 1/1/1/1.
One of the biggest problems with some of the more advanced welding helmets is that they can be somewhat difficult to adjust. Since they have a ton of bells and whistles to figure out, they can be a bit overwhelming for a new user. That is, thankfully, not the case with this model from Geelife. It is super simple to adjust in all ways, no matter if you are seeking to alter the shading or the fit.
We really like the way that this helmet is set up. The different features are very easy to adjust, which is a big contrast to the YESWELDER Welding Helmet. This model does not have a very steep learning curve, which makes it that much easier to get up and run once you unpack it in your shop.
This auto-darkening helmet is nice and comfortable, and highly versatile. It can be used for both welding and grinding. Of course, the added protection for grinding does serve to make this helmet on the heavier side as well. The viewing area is not overly large but not terribly small either, as it measures 9.3 square inches overall.
This model is extremely dependable when it comes to arc detection. This helmet has four different arc sensors, which makes it very receptive to any welding action, even if it is in an unusual position. This helmet can also be used for grinding as well, which makes it the perfect all-in-one helmet for anyone that does the welding in their shop as well as the finishing.
The thing that we found that really helps to set this model apart from its competition is its overall versatility. Though it is an exceptional welding helmet, it is just as good for grinding too. This powerful combination makes it a good choice for a small shop or a hobbyist since you can get two excellent helmets for one overall price.
Why is it special?
Large viewing area
Wide array of applications
It can be used for grinding
What are the flaws?
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through all of the ins and outs of finding the best welding helmet for your needs. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you need any further information.
What to Look for in a Welding Helmet?
These helmets also protect their user from suffering any type of burn as well. Splashes of molten metal are nothing to mess around with, and these helmets will keep you from getting any sparks on your skin. Welding can also cause sunburn-like condition if you are not wearing the proper safety gear, so you need to be sure to have the proper helmet for the task at hand.
As is the case with most helmets used during fabrication or building processes, a welding helmet’s main purpose is to keep the user as safe as possible. After all, welding can be extremely dangerous if you are not as careful as possible. Without a welding helmet, you could easily damage your eyes. These helmets feature a tinted style of glass that is designed to protect a person’s eyes from the extreme brightness of the welding process. Without using the proper welding helmet, you could suffer from retinal burns or arc eye. Both of these painful conditions could lead to eventual blindness. These helmets are essential safety gear, much like welding gloves.
There are a lot of different features to take into account when you are looking for the right welding helmet. Finding the right helmet is much like finding the right welding rods. You need to know what to look for. In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know so that you can find the perfect helmet for your preferred welding method, no matter if it is TIG, MIG, or stick welding.
Since all of the different welding helmets in our listing are made for the manufacturing world, they are made to be as durable as possible. They are each crafted from high-quality plastic, which has been shaped to absorb any shocks or drops that might occur in a factory setting.
These plastics are also quite lightweight, which is very important if you are going to be welding for an extended period of time.
After all, nothing will make your day seem longer than a sore neck while you are trying to work. If you are going to be welding for hours on end, you would probably want to go with a thinner, more lightweight model, like the CHICAGO ELECTRIC WELDING Welding Helmet, which is on the lighter side.
The optical class or any welding helmet is going to tell you how clear the image is going to appear when you are looking through the lens. These lenses are rated by the European Standards Commission to determine how clear they are when you are using them. They are then rated on a scale from 1 to 3, with 3 being the most distorted and 1 being perfectly clear.
If you are looking to make accurate welds, then it is in your best interest to find a helmet with a good rating. Otherwise, it will feel like you are trying to weld underwater.
Of all the helmets that we looked over; the Geelife Solar-Powered Welding Helmet offers up the most overall clarity. This model would be perfect for anyone to use but would especially be a good buy for anyone that is looking to make the most accurate welds possible.
While all of the helmets on our list offer up enough darkening power to keep your eyes safe, they all do it to different degrees. Some of the models on our list will only slightly tint your view while still keeping it light enough to see more of your surroundings. Others, however, will make it dark enough that you will only be able to see your weld.
How dark you desire it is completely up to your personal preference.
Of course, since many of the helmets that we looked into are self-tinting, you can also choose from how dark or light you would like the helmet to be. The CHICAGO ELECTRIC WELDING Welding Helmet, for instance, offers up an array of tinting options, which will allow you to choose the one that works best for your needs. Many helmets by Miller, which deserve a separate article, also boast of auto-darkening feature, so make sure you also look through our selection of the best Miller welding helmets out there.
Before buying a helmet, you need to make sure that it will work for the style of welding that you are going to be using it for. This is especially important if you are someone that uses a lot of different techniques, as you will then need to find a helmet like the TOOLIOM Solar-Powered Welding Helmet that can be used in a variety of styles.
Within the world of manufacturing, there are a variety of types of welding.
Of course, if you are working on your own, you will probably need to do a bit of grinding as well to create a more finished product. As such, you might want to look for a welding helmet like the Hobart 770890 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet that can also be used for grinding. That way, you get a great helmet for welding that can easily transition to use for grinding.
If you are in the market for a self-tinting helmet, then you need to keep in mind the switching time. This is the amount of time that it takes the helmet to automatically tint itself once you start welding. Obviously, the faster the time, the better, as it limits the amount of exposure that you are going to have to the extreme brightness of your welding. In general, the minimum switching time should start at 1/25,000ths of a second. Anything longer than that might cause damage to your eyes. If you are in the market for an extremely quick transitioning welding helmet, then the Monster&Master Welding Helmet is an awesome option. Its switching time is twice as fast as its competitors, as it can switch from clear to tinted in as little as 3/10,000s of a second.
The final consideration when looking for a welding helmet is how large the viewing area is. This is up to both personal preference and the type of work that you are looking to complete. Some folks need a bit of a larger viewing area so that they can see everything as they are working. In this case, we would recommend the VULCAN ARCSAFE Welding Helmet, which offers up to 10.1 square inches of viewing area. On the other hand, if you like to have a more focused viewport, the TOOLIOM Solar-Powered Welding Helmet is a good option, as it offers a much smaller viewing area so that you can focus on what you are working on without having to worry about any outside distractions.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you are looking for a new welding helmet is how it is going to fit on your head and face. You have to make sure that you keep it as secure as possible so that it doesn’t fall off of your head while you are working.
Welding helmets can be adjusted in two different ways so that they fit on your face. The first adjustment allows you to tighten or loosen the helmet so that it fits onto your head. The second adjustment will allow you to determine how far off of your face the helmet sits when it is pulled down to cover your face. This should be about ½ to 1 inch away from your face. This will help to keep you from fogging up the viewport while you are working and make sure that you can see properly while you weld. By using the proper spacing, you can also ensure that there is enough room for a respirator as well. See our selection of the best welding helmets with respirators, if you got interested.
Though it might not seem like it, these welding helmets are quite sophisticated pieces of equipment. As such, you need to make sure that you store them properly so that they can keep working for a good long time. The best way to store a welding helmet is inside of some form of container, whether that be a cabinet, box, or cloth bag. By keeping your helmet out of the workshop when they are not in use, you can help to make sure that they don’t get exposed to excessive amounts of dust or dirt that could interfere with their performance while you are welding.
Just like any other type of equipment, you will need to clean your welding helmet on occasion. This can generally be done with a damp cloth. You do not want to soak any of the components when you are wiping down your helmet, however, so be sure to use as little moisture as possible while still cleaning off any dust, dirt, or debris from the helmet that can be removed. This will help your helmet to keep looking and functioning well for years to come.
When you are looking for a good welding helmet, there is a lot to take into consideration. For starters, you need to know what type of welding they are good for, as well as their switching time. It also makes sense to pay close attention to how easy they are to adjust, as well as how much adjustability they offer up. Finally, you also need to think about how comfortable they will be and how large of a viewing area you need.
We feel that the CHICAGO ELECTRIC WELDING Welding Helmet is by far the best welding helmet on the market today. It is lightweight, highly versatile, and easy to use, making it an obvious choice for professionals and do-it-your-selfers.
The VULCAN ARCSAFE Welding Helmet is a great option for the welder who wants the best of the best. This helmet is comfortable, has a large viewing area, and is also highly adjustable, making for a premium welding helmet that is sure to make your life easier.
If you are someone who thinks that the best welding helmet will provide the most value, then the CHICAGO ELECTRIC WELDING Standard Welding Helmet is a good choice. This helmet is comfortable and easy to use, all while being a budget-conscious option.
The difference between 1/1/1/2 and 1/1/1/1 auto-darkening lens
If it ain't broke, why fix it? For a lot of welders it's normal to not see spatter and other things through their auto-darkening lens. You've got a good helmet - top brand, expensive - it's one of the best. But did you know some of the top rated helmets are actually not as good as they could be when it comes to visibility?
What are the 4 Types of Welding? - Iowa Valley Community College District
MIG welding is used in the auto industry for repairing vehicle exhausts and is also used in creating homes and buildings. It is one of the most common types of welding. This is a type of arc welding that uses a continuous wire called an electrode. You will also use a shielding gas that travels through the welding gun and protects against contamination.
Standard Welding Procedure Specifications (SWPS) : Resources : Standards : American Welding Society
The American Welding Society, acting under ANSI rules for consensus standards, publishes AWS Standard Welding Procedure Specifications (SWPSs) which are initiated by the Welding Procedures Committee of the Welding Research Council (WRC).