Best Welding Helmets of 2020

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Categories Welding
Save your eyesight and wear a welding helmet.

Whether you are working on machinery, cars, or doing repairs in the workshop, you will need to do some welding sooner or later. And for that, you want the best protection you can get. Say hello to welding helmets.

The best welding helmets protect you from bright light, UV and infrared light, as well as molten sparks, making the job easier to complete.


Why Is It Important for Welders To Wear the Right Helmet?

Welders are susceptible to a condition called arc eye, which is a painful affliction where the cornea becomes inflamed. Another reason is to prevent retina burns, which can lead to loss of sight. This is caused by brilliant white light that flash burns onto the retina.

Unprotected exposure to high levels of ultraviolet light created by the welding process, as well as infrared rays are also extremely damaging to your eyes. The helmet protects the face and skin from sparks of molten metal, as well as poisonous fumes that the welding process creates.

What Shade of Helmet Is Safe for Welding?

Welding helmets have protective, darkened glass to filter out infrared and UV light. The darker the glass, the greater the protection. While having higher protection is preferable, as the lens gets darker in shade, it affects the welder’s ability to see clearly.

It increases the welder’s temptation to lift the lid of the helmet to get a better view of the arc, negating the protection the mask provides. There are over 2,000 eye injuries every day in the workplace across America, which is why the American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices endeavors to protect the human face and eyes from dangerous environments through standards of legislation (1).

This standard includes welding helmets.

How Do I Choose a Welding Helmet?

The two most essential elements are coverage and filtering.

Covering

Does the mask cover the vital parts of your head? Neck, ears, face, scalp; these are all susceptible to IR and UV damage if unprotected. Also, sparks and molten metal can cause scarring and burns to delicate parts of the face and neck if left uncovered.

Filter Glass

The filter glass level varies. Look for a level 10 if you can, as this offers you the protection you need. Most welder’s helmets span a shade range of between 3 and 5 to 13. Just remember that the darker the glass shade, the harder it is to see. You wouldn’t want the shading so dark that you have to remove the helmet to get a better view.

Auto-Darkening Glass

Most helmets have an auto-darkening feature, much like photochromic lenses on glasses, that transition from clear to dark depending on the light levels. These then adjust, in thousands of a second, to the type of welding you are doing, keeping your vision protected but giving you a clear line of sight.

Weight of the Helmet

Sometimes you could be working in a helmet for several hours, so it has to be comfortable and not weigh you down. The last thing you need is a stiff neck or worse because your welding helmet is too heavy.

Comfort Is Key

Just like the weight, if the helmet is uncomfortable because it lacks padding, you will reduce the amount of time you spend inside the helmet, restricting your work rate. If you are a professional welder, time is money, and often you will be working to a timeframe.

A Helmet With a View

What’s the view like from inside the helmet? Do you see clearly, and do you have a good peripheral vision? When working on a construction site, being aware of what is going on around you is crucial to help prevent accidents.

Also, the clarity of the lense is crucial if you want to ensure the best view of your workpiece. Lenses are tested in 4 areas, with a grading of 1 to 3 in each category. A score of 1/1/1/1 is the perfect result, ensuring that you have the best quality lens available.

Does the Helmet Meet Minimum Standards?

The ANSI Z87.1 standard ensures that all face and eye protection devices meet a minimum standard. Check to see if the helmet you are about to buy has the correct certification. Without it, you could be exposing yourself to undue risk and danger. Beware of cheap imitations that claim to be what they are not.


The Best Welding Helmets of 2020

Knowing which welding helmet is the best for the task ahead is a minefield of choices. Which shade of glass do you have? Do you go for an auto-adjusting shade or not? The selection is endless. Luckily, we’ve scoured the internet to bring you the 10 best welding helmets.

1. Lincoln Electric K3034-4 Viking

Best Welding Helmet for Sensitive Eyes

Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VIKING 3350 Welding Helmet, Black
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This helmet uses 4C lens technology to bring you crystal clear vision of the arc and puddle. It increases your control while reducing eye strain, which is ideal if you suffer from sensitive eyes.

The lens also has an optical rating of 1/1/1/1, which gives this lens industry-leading clarity. The 12.5-inch square viewing window has an auto-darkening range of 5-13, covering all types of welding techniques.

The power comes from solar cells and a CR2450 battery to prolong the running life for as long as possible. It also benefits from 4 arc sensors and a 3-way control for delay, sensitivity and shade.

This is a professional-grade helmet with a low profile. It is comfortable to wear, thanks to the 6 contours that mold to the operator’s head, along with perfect weight balance.

PROS:
  • Highest grade optical rating.
  • Larger than average lens.
  • Solar power.
  • Auto-darkening range from 5 to 13
  • Perfect weight balance.
CONS:
  • Not a cheap option.
  • Build quality issues.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)3
Dimensions (inches)12.6 x 10.6 x 10.4
Optical rating1/1/1/1
Size of lens (inches)3.74 x 3.34
Auto-darkening5 to 13
Hard hat compatibleYes
Price$$$
Warranty3-year

2. TOOLIOM Auto-Darkening True Color Welding Helmet

Best Budget Welding Helmet

TOOLIOM True Color Welding Helmet Auto Darkening Welding Mask Shade Range 9-13 Solar Powered Weld Hood with Grinding Feature for TIG MIG MMA
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For a budget option, this scores pretty highly for customer satisfaction. But how well does it compare for features and performance? It uses TOOLIOM’s True Color technology to provide a clear view by reducing the lime-green tint.

The viewing area of the lens is larger than the Lincoln, at 4.33 by 3.54 inches, and you do get solar cells, coupled with a 3V lithium-ion battery for extended life and continuous auto-shade adjustment.

The shade range is also a little less, at 9 to 13, so it might restrict what type of welding you can undertake. For the budget model, we suppose there are always limitations because the price dictates the quality. However, it is still a useful welding mask that might otherwise have won the best beginner accolade.

PROS:
  • Unbelievable price.
  • Auto-shade range of 9 to 13.
  • True color lens technology.
  • Optical class of 1/1/1/2.
  • Auto-on/off.
CONS:
  • Limited darkening range.
  • Restricted to what you can weld.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)2
Dimensions (inches)12 x 9.8 x 8
Optical rating1/1/1/2
Size of lens (inches)4.33 x 3.54
Auto-darkening9 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$
WarrantyNot stated

3. Antra AH6-260-000 Auto-Darkening Helmet

Best Welding Helmet for TIG Welding

Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 Engineered for TIG MIG/MAG MMA Plasma Grinding, Solar-Lithium Dual Power, 6+1 Extra Lens Covers
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We chose this as our best choice for the TIG welding helmet, but it is a multi-functional mask capable of MAG, DC, AC and MIG welding, so it is a true all-rounder. It has an accurate shade range of 4 to 13, although it has a passive permanent shade for UV and IR of 13. Still, this doesn’t affect the view through the screen.

It has 4 premium redundant arc sensors, making it effective at detecting and responding to changes in light. This reduces retinal damage and minimizes harmful radiant bypass to avoid eye stress.

It has an easy-to-operate interface, enabling you to switch from weld to grind with ease, and it has a delay status to protect your eyes from dark status to bright light.

PROS:
  • Shade range from 4 to 13.
  • Delay setting to switch from dark to light.
  • Easy to operate controls.
  • Hard hat and cheater lens compatible.
  • Passive protective filter.
CONS:
  • Temperamental shade adjustments.
  • Build quality issues.
  • Feels cheaply made.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)1.2
Dimensions (inches)9 x 9 x 12
Optical rating1/1/1/2
Size of lens (inches)3.86 x 1.73
Auto-darkening4 to 13
Hard hat compatibleYes
Price$
Warranty1-year

4. Jackson Safety Ultra-Lightweight Welding Helmet

Best Lightweight Welding Helmet

Jackson Safety Ultra-Lightweight Insight Variable Auto Darkening Filter Welding Helmet, Nylon, Halo X, Black, Universal Size, 46131
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This Jackson helmet has a shade range of 9 to 13, so it’s not as universal as some on the list, but it does have 4 sensors to detect changes in the light and give you a clear view no matter what the conditions.

It has easy-to-use controls, as well as a viewing area of 3.93 x 2.36 inches. It offers an unobstructed view during all stages of the welding process. It also means you don’t have to lift the hood at any point, reducing the risk of injury and exposure to molten metal and fumes.

It also allows you to choose from grind to weld mode, which is invaluable when you are MIG, TIG and arc welding. This may not be the lightest helmet to make the list, but it is the best lightweight model, at just 2 pounds.

PROS:
  • Lightweight design.
  • 4 light-adjusting sensors.
  • Weld or grind capabilities.
  • Large viewing area.
CONS:
  • Not hard hat compatible.
  • Reduced shade range.
  • Reduced welding capabilities.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)2
Dimensions (inches)Not stated
Optical rating1/1/1/1
Size of lens (inches)3.93 x 2.36
Auto-darkening9 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$$$
Warranty2-year auto-darkening filter

5. TEKWARE Solar Powered Welding Helmet

Best Welding Helmet for Beginners

TEKWARE Welding Helmet Solar Power Auto Darkening Hood Welder Mask Breathable Grinding Helmets with Adjustable Shade Range
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This welding helmet comes with a viewing window of 3.66 x 1.69 inches, and it has a shade range of 9 to 13. The darkness level changes instantly thanks to a probe that detects changes in the light in 1/25,000th of a second.

It has battery power and solar power, as well as a sensitivity adjustment and delay setting, to help your eyes adjust when the light changes rapidly. It has 2 arc protectors, so not as many as some on the list, but it still offers enough protection for the novice welder.

This helmet has an operating temperature of between minus 10 degrees Celsius and plus 65 degrees Celsius (14 and 149 degrees Fahrenheit), so it can withstand extreme swings in conditions. It even has an optical grade of 1/1/1/1.

PROS:
  • Viewing window of 3.66 x 1.69 inches.
  • Shade range of 9 to 13.
  • Fatigue-free comfort headgear.
  • Optical grade of 1/1/1/1.
CONS:
  • Only 2 arc sensors.
  • Build quality issues.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)1.65
Dimensions (inches)12.2 x 9.2 x 7.6
Optical rating1/1/1/1
Size of lens (inches)3.66 x 1.69
Auto-darkening9 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$
Warranty1-year

6. TACKLIFE Professional Welding Helmet

Best Welding Helmet for Stick Welding

TACKLIFE Professional Welding Helmet Auto Darkening, 3.94'x2.87' Large Viewing Area Welding Mask With Top Optical Clarity 1/1/1/1, 1.15lb Light Welding Hood With 7 Replacement Accessories - PAH03D
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This welder’s mask has 4 arc sensors that detect rapid changes in light to protect against damage to the eyes. When it responds, the adjustment occurs in 1/25,000th of a second, so it is almost instant.

The viewing window measures 3.94 x 2.87 inches, and the helmet is constructed from lightweight material to reduce strain on the user’s head and neck. The only downside is that it does not protect your head in vulnerable situations.

This has a shade range of 3 to 13, so it is suited to all kinds of welding applications, including plasma cutting, abrasive wheel cutting and grinding.

It has an adjustable auto-darkening and delay timer, so you can set it to your personal preference, and the optical clarity is the best you can get, at 1/1/1/1.

PROS:
  • Optical clarity of 1/1/1/1.
  • 4 arc sensors.
  • Full shade range.
  • Made from lightweight PA material.
  • Comes with replacement parts.
CONS:
  • Not hard hat compatible.
  • Feels cheaply made.
  • Build quality issues.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)1.15
Dimensions (inches)11.81 x 7.87 x 9.45
Optical rating1/1/1/1
Size of lens (inches)3.94 x 2.87
Auto-darkening3 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$$
Warranty2-year

7. YESWELDER True Color Auto-Darkening Helmet

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

YESWELDER Large Viewing Screen 3.94'X3.66' True Color Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, 4 Arc Sensor Wide Shade 4~5/9-9/13 for TIG MIG Arc Weld Grinding Welder Mask LYG-M800H
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This YESWELDER helmet is a multi-purpose tool for MIG, TIG, arc, MMA and plasma applications. It even has a grind screen. The optical clarity is 1/1/12, and the viewing screen is one of the largest on offer at 3.94 x 3.66 inches.

It uses True Color technology to give you the best possible view coupled with a shade range of 5 to 13 and a changing light response time of 1/10,000th of a second. This is thanks, in part, to the 4 premium sensors.

The helmet is powered by solar cells and a lithium-ion CR2450 battery with an average battery life of 3,000 hours.

PROS:
  • Large viewing screen.
  • 1/1/1/2 optical clarity.
  • 4 premium sensors.
  • Multi-use helmet.
  • Lightweight.
  • Comes with accessories and spares.
CONS:
  • Slower response time than others in its class.
  • Issues with auto-darkening.
  • Build quality issues.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)2.05
Dimensions (inches)12.5 x 7.9 x 9.75
Optical rating1/1/1/2
Size of lens (inches)3.93 x 3.66
Auto-darkening5 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$$
Warranty1-year

8. DEKOPRO Auto-Darkening Hood Welding Helmet

Best Welding Helmet for MIG Welding

DEKOPRO Welding Helmet Solar Powered Auto Darkening Hood with Adjustable Shade Range 4/9-13 for Mig Tig Arc Welder Mask Shield Flaming Skull Design
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This helmet has an auto-darkening filter that switches in 1/25,000th of a second. Even in a power failure, the user remains UV, and IR protected. The optical grading is 1/2/1/2, so it isn’t quite the pinnacle of excellence compared to other similar models, but it still meets the ANSI Z87.1 standards for protection.

The light level of the filter is DIN4, and the time it takes to go from dark state to bright takes just 0.1 to 1-second. The viewing window measures 3.62 x 1.65 inches, and the helmet is lightweight, allowing for prolonged use.

The unit is powered by solar cells and a lithium CR2032 battery that provides a maximum life of up to 5,000 hours.

PROS:
  • 5,000 hours of runtime.
  • 3.62 x 1.65 viewing window.
  • 1/25,000th of a second light changes.
  • Shade range from 9 to 13.
CONS:
  • 1/2/1/2 optical grading.
  • Not hard hat compatible.
  • Auto-darkening is temperamental.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)1.65
Dimensions (inches)12.6 x 9.3 x 7.8
Optical rating1/2/1/2
Size of lens (inches)3.62 x 1.65
Auto-darkening9 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$
WarrantyNot stated but you can buy a 4-year warranty

9. DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding Helmet

Best Solar Powered Welding Helmet

Solar Powered Welding Helmet Auto Darkening Professional Hood with Wide Lens Adjustable Shade Range 4/9-13 for Mig Tig Arc Weld Grinding Welder Mask
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This DEKOPRO helmet scores better than the other one for the optical grading, with a 1/1/1/2 score. The auto-darkening filter switch changes from light to dark in 1/25,000th of a second, protecting your eyes from retina flashes and other bright lights.

It has a shade range of 9 to 13, and is both solar cell-powered, with lithium-ion CR2450 batteries for the optimum running time. The screen measures 3.9 by 3.2 inches, and the helmet is lightweight and comfortable to use for prolonged periods.

To cater to the individual user, it has a delay adjustment and a sensitivity adjuster, as well as enhanced visibility and color recognition.

PROS:
  • Fully adjustable.
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • 1/1/1/2 optical grading.
  • 9 to 13 shade range.
  • 3.9 x 3.2 viewing screen.
CONS:
  • Shade range restricts welding ability.
  • Auto-darkening fails.
  • Feels cheaply made.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)2.04
Dimensions (inches)12 x 9 x 8
Optical rating1/1/1/2
Size of lens (inches)3.9 x 3.2
Auto-darkening9 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$
WarrantyNot stated but you can buy a 4-year warranty

10. 3M Adflo Air Purifying Respirator Welding Helmet

Best Air Fed Welding Helmet

3M Adflo Powered Air Purifying Respirator HE System with 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet
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This is a professional-grade welding helmet that provides you with a continuous stream of filtered fresh air. The 3M filter purifies the air you breathe, meaning that you get better quality air than you would outside.

Also, because the air is always circulating, it keeps you cool under what could be heated conditions, leaving you refreshed to weld for longer without stopping. These types of welding helmets are for professionals who need added protection.

It has a quick-charge battery bank and a low charge indicator. The respirator element straps to your waist with a belt, and the air tube feeds up to the mask. The mask itself has a large viewing window, and thanks to the constant supply of air, it never fogs, giving you a clear line of sight.

The downside with these air fed helmets is the price. This 3M model will set you back a couple thousand dollars. When you compare that to the standard helmets, you can see why only the professionals would be interested in this model.

PROS:
  • Filtered fresh air.
  • No fogging around the visor.
  • Keep a clear line of sight.
  • Eliminate poisonous fumes.
  • Keeps you working for longer.
CONS:
  • Only for the professionals.
  • Very expensive.
  • Requires filters.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)1
Dimensions (inches)21.6 x 12.6 x 11.1
Optical rating1/1/1/1
Size of lens (inches)2.8 x 4.2
Auto-darkening5 to 13
Hard hat compatibleNo
Price$$$$
Warranty2-year

Welding Helmet Comparison Chart

ProductBestWeightDimensionsOptical ratingLens sizeAuto-darkeningHard hat compatible
Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VikingSensitive Eyes3 lbs12.6 x 10.6 x 10.4″1/1/1/13.74 x 3.34″5 to 13Yes
TOOLIOM Auto-Darkening Welding HelmetBudget Pick2 lbs12 x 9.8 x 8″1/1/1/24.33 x 3.54″9 to 13No
Antra AH6 Auto-Darkening HelmetTIG Welding1.2 lbs9 x 9 x 12″1/1/1/23.86 x 1.73″4 to 13Yes
Jackson Safety Ultra-Lightweight HelmetLightweight2 lbsN/A1/1/1/13.93 x 2.36″9 to 13No
TEKWARE Solar Powered Welding HelmetBeginners1.65 lbs12.2 x 9.2 x 7.6″1/1/1/13.66 x 1.69″9 to 13No
TACKLIFE Professional Welding HelmetStick Welding1 lbs11.81 x 7.87 x 9.45″1/1/1/13.94 x 2.87″3 to 13No
YESWELDER True Color HelmetAuto Darkening2.05 lbs12.5 x 7.9 x 9.75″1/1/1/23.93 x 3.66″5 to 13No
DEKOPRO Hood Welding HelmetMIG Welding2 lbs12.6 x 9.3 x 7.8″1/2/1/23.62 x 1.65″9 to 13No
DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding HelmetSolar Powered2.04 lbs12 x 9 x 8″1/1/1/23.9 x 3.2″9 to 13No
3M Adflo Air Purifying Respirator HelmetAir Fed1 lbs21.6 x 12.6 x 11.1″1/1/1/12.8 x 4.2″5 to 13No
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FAQs

How Long Do Welding Helmets Last?

Batteries on helmets typically last 7 years, and the replaceable ones, every 2 to 3 years.

The batteries fade depending on the usage the helmet gets. In some cases, you might start to see the batteries malfunction after 2 months, especially if the mask is subjected to heavy-duty use.

Why Do Welders Drink Milk?

The milk theory suggests that as welders work with galvanized steel, zinc fumes arise. The calcium in the milk helps to prevent the body from absorbing all that zinc. It does work to some degree, but it should not be a substitute for using the correct protective equipment. As a long term plan, it will lead to health issues as it is not a cure for prolonged exposure to zinc fumes.

Does Welding Ruin Your Eyes?

Yes and no. Yes, if you use incorrect or cheap protection that leaves you exposed to IR and UV rays it will cause blindness. Prolonged exposure can also result in skin cancer and other diseases related to high levels of UV.

If you use the best safety equipment and follow the guidelines diligently, while the risk is never zero, the chances of making it through life with your eyesight intact are extremely high.


The Last Word on Welding

Welding is dirty, dangerous and skilled work. If you have a welding project idea, make sure you get the right protection. Blindness and serious injuries are commonplace among those who take little or no precautions.

Getting the right welding helmet to protect you from the dangers is crucial before starting that project. You cannot put a price on your eyesight.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
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