An excellent welder can transform an average piece of metal into a work of art or a highly functional element for any project. Nonetheless, there are certain risks and problems associated with welding, which make it necessary to get the right gear for the job. These risks include injury from hot spatter, burns caused by concentrated fine dust particles catching fire, damage to the ears due to heightened noise levels or flying debris, inhalation of dangerous fumes that cause chronic lung problems and injury to the cornea due to intermittent bursts of bright light.
This review features five of the best auto darkening welding helmets on the market, and they are guaranteed to help prevent these issues from occurring. That way, it is possible to enjoy your welding fully without worry. In addition to the auto darkening feature, these helmets are all CSA (Compliance, Safety and Accountability) compliant and have an excellent fit to prevent damage to eyes and ears from flying debris. They also have large viewing areas, which minimises the strain that is place on the eyes.
When making your selection for the best welding helmet, ensure that you select one from the following list.
- Top 5 Best Auto Darkening Helmet Reviews
- # 1. Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Black Welding Helmet – K3034-2
- Our Top Pick
- #2. Antra AH6-260-001X Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- #3. Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable ADF Welding Helmet
- #4. Wel-Bilt Variable-Shade Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- #5. Instapark ADF Series GX 350-S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- Our recommendation
- 10 Tips for Caring for your Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- Equipment to Use with Your Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Top 5 Best Auto Darkening Helmet Reviews
# 1. Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Black Welding Helmet – K3034-2
This was the first auto darkening welding helmet that I tried, and I must admit that I was impressed from the get go. The outer appearance in classic black, made me feel as though I was getting ready to do some serious work, while still maintaining my personal style. Once I placed this helmet on my head, I was surprised at its comfort and fit which I discovered is as a result of the Superior Suspension system. Even better, I was able to use the knob on the side to tighten the helmet for a perfect fit. I felt reassured that my entire head was fully protected.
Looking through the viewing area was a pleasure for two reasons, the first being distinct clarity, and the second the ample size of the viewing area. For me, this meant that even when I had to work from a strange angle, I would still have an excellent view of what I need to do.
Our Top Pick
- Excellent quality and fantastic value
- Solar-powered battery for extended use
- Amazing clarity that reduces strain on the eyes and makes work easier
- The auto-darkening feature is adjustable
- Three-year warranty is a testament of the excellent quality
- A ventilation system that ensures no fumes or gases are inhaled
- This helmet is a little heavier than others in the market.
- Requires some maintenance, especially for cleaning sensors
- In case of spatter, you must replace the lenses
This helmet is excellent for any welder seeking their first auto-darkening welding helmet. It is simple to use and provides protection from a range of possible dangers. Furthermore, it is high quality, meaning that you can count on excellent performance for years. It has features that have been built in to minimise overall cost, without compromising on safety and efficiency. If you are developing your welding skills, go out and purchase this helmet. You are also bound to appreciate the helmet bag and bandana that your helmet will come with. With a promise of style and efficiency, you won’t regret your purchase.
#2. Antra AH6-260-001X Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
There are certain features that drew my attention to this helmet. The first was the large viewer, followed by the magnifying lens. In addition, it offers protection from UV and IR radiation. Considering these features, its fantastic look and affordable price, I opted to try it out.
I am glad I did, as this helmet delivers. Ideally, it will perform best in for DIY jobs in the home, rather than in an industrial setting. It has a total; of four premium arc sensors, which made it ideal for Arc, TIG, MIG and Plasma applications. I also appreciated the sensitivity adjustment knob and the very quick shade variables that changed as required within microseconds. The grinding setting adds to all the essential features that an auto darkening helmet should have.
If you are seeking a bargain, this is an excellent option as the helmet is light in weight at only 435 grams, has excellent features. For someone who is trying to learn about welding and what it takes, the automatic features on this helmet are ideal, especially as auto darkening makes it easier to see and results in good welds.
- Quick assembly of the helmets headgear
- It is magnifying lens and cheater lens compatible
- There is a large viewing area which makes it easy to use
- The helmet is lightweight, making it ideal for use over extended periods
- Not enough warning that batteries are dying, so you may have to deal with an uncomfortable flash which can burn your eyes.
This is an affordable helmet for anyone who is on a tight budget, but needs a helmet that will fulfil its purpose. It has the basic features that you can expect from an auto darkening helmet, as well as the advantage of a large viewing area. It has a 12-month warranty, though you do need to ensure it is fully charged and keep an eye on the battery. It does have the advantage of coming with five replacement lenses, which helps you extend the life of the helmet. For a starter helmet that will not break the bank, this is an excellent choice.
#3. Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable ADF Welding Helmet
This is a helmet that has been rated as a classic, and therefore, I chose to try it. It has a classic look that is plain black, indicating that it is for the serious and professional welder. I also noted that it was CSA compliant and has met the ANSIZ87, 1-2010 standards.
This helmet promises a range of automatic features that are highly adjustable to ensure that you can work in a range of environments with ease. The features that I felt stood out included the variable shade between 9-13, and the digital controls that were easy to master. The adjustments to different levels of light are quick and easy, which helped ensure that I never interrupted a job until I was done. The wide viewing area from the ADF lens made it a joy to use for all my welding jobs, and I did not have to tilt my head into uncomfortable positions when I was working at an awkward angle.
- This helmet is very adjustable ensuring an amazing fit that holds for hours.
- The helmet offers excellent clarity that is perfect for working close to the face.
- It is light-weight making it easier to wear for longer periods.
- Has different modes for grinding and welding.
- Wide viewing window makes it ideal to use in tight and awkward spaces.
- Delivers exceptional value for the money.
- The material used to make this helmet is quite soft, which takes away from its durability.
This helmet is an excellent mid-range option, as it provides a little more than a basic helmet. It is an excellent choice for a welder who has some experience, but is working on building up their skillbefore becoming a pro. It is quite possible that once you get used to this helmet, you will not want to upgrade in the future. Jackson are renowned for their high quality helmets, and as a welder, you must have one of their helmets in your collection. Purchase this helmet if you want to be pleasantly surprised to find that there is a helmet that can exceed your expectations.
#4. Wel-Bilt Variable-Shade Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The simple red, black and white design drew me to this helmet as it is striking every time you look at it. I was pleased to find that the features it had made my impulsive decision worth it. It is solar powered, which means that I was saved from the worry of constantly replacing batteries. In addition, every time I get to work outdoors, I benefit and so does my helmet.
It is also easy to adjust, as there is a shade 9-13 adjustment knob on the outside of the helmet. This means that I do not need to take off the helmet when I am trying to customise it to suit my needs for the money. Furthermore, the reaction time is a quick 1/25000 seconds, which offers excellent protection to my eyes.
I tested this helmet in different scenarios, increasing the challenge and pushing it to the limits. I even tried keeping it on for an especially long and demanding day of welding, and it help up without any issues. This is an ideal helmet for welders who are working on home projects, as well as those in an industrial environment.
- The helmet includes a replacement lens.
- Tough helmet that will do well in both industrial and home based settings
- Excellent features at a price that delivers value
- The fit is excellent for smaller heads, though it becomes a little snug with a larger head
- Takes some time for the tint to deactivate after welding
This helmet delivers value for money, as you get much more than you expect when you purchase it. The auto darkening feature works flawlessly when welding, although after you weld it may take some time to readjust. Therefore, if you are looking to do fast welding projects, you may choose something else. However, if you want a helmet that is hardy, which you can count on even when facing the toughest welding situations, then this Wel-Bilt Variable Shade Auto Darkening helmet will not let you down. It is an excellent investment for anyone developing their welding skills, as it will carry you from being a beginner, all the way until you become a pro.
#5. Instapark ADF Series GX 350-S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
As a patriot, I could resist the powerful eagle and colours of the American flag that form the external design of this helmet. It is solar powered with an excellent filter that is able to switch from light to dark in just 1/15000 seconds. This features came to life the moment I struck my first arc, and it worked well due to the dual arc sensors.
To get the fit that I wanted, I found that the padded interior and ratcheting headband did what was necessary. It fit well and was comfortable for the duration of the weld. I was completely protected from UV and IR rays because of the lens filter which had a wide viewing area of 3.5 * 1.375 inches.
This welding helmet is ideal for someone with experience in welding, as the auto darkening feature cannot be manually adjusted for sensitivity. Therefore, at times I found that my in-built experience helped prevent mishandling flashes, or the helmet going too dark.
- It works as expected for TIG, MIG and Plasma cutting.
- Solar powered which saves on cost of replacing batteries
- Fantastic design
- Comes with a storage bag for lens protection
- The adjustable lens makes it ideal for varying welding uses
- The mask does not have a sensitivity control which affects the ability to manually adjust the darkening feature when necessary.
- The fit may not be comfortable for larger heads.
I continue to love the design of this helmet for its patriotism. If you prefer another design, there are two more called the bluish devil and smoking hot which are also fantastically done. For a welder who prefers a classic look, there is the conservative black which is free from any design, but ensure that the helmet looks professional. The automatic features that work well make this an excellent investment for a welding mask. If it worth adding to your collection and you can trust its quality as it conforms with ANSI Z87.1, GS, Din-Gepruft, AS/NZS and CSA Z94.3 standards.
Of these top best welding helmet, my favourite was the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Black Welding Helmet. I loved everything about this helmet, from the classic look to the amazing fir that was supported with an excellent suspension system. I was extremely comfortable with the three-year warranty, as every other welding helmet that I tried had a warranty that covered only 12 months. The product was excellent so I had limited communication with the manufacturers support, though when I did contact them with a general inquiry, I received a rapid and accurate response.
All of the helmets within this review have proven to be an excellent addition to my growing collection. My suggestion is to go over my reviews one more time, and immediately purchase the helmet that speaks to you the most. If you are anything like me, you will buy the lot, as they all have something special to offer to helping you achieve the perfect weld.
10 Tips for Caring for your Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Your welding helmet is an investment, as it is an important piece of equipment that you count on to protect your eyes, face and ears from injury while you weld. Therefore, you should take utmost care of it, to ensure that it delivers what is expected, and also, to lengthen its overall shelf life. There are a number of ways that your helmet can get damaged, including having scratches, wear and tear from consistent use, and not being well maintained. In addition to physical injury from burns or damage to the eyes from flashes, there is also the possibility of long term problems such as chronic lung problems and cancer. Here are ten essential tips to help care for your best welding helmet that you can keep in mind.
Inspect your Helmet
Whenever you are ready to use your helmet, carry out an inspection to ensure that it is in perfect working order. During this inspection, you will be looking for any dents, cracks or bruises that the helmet may have. It is important to check the lens very carefully, as on cracks on the lens could result in damage to the eye. You will also notice that there is a purple coating that covers your lenses, and the purpose of this coating is to protect your eyes and face from increased exposure to dangerous UV/IR rays. When you inspect your helmet, check to see if this coating has any scratches or other damage. If it does, change it.
For optimum results, you should ensure that the lens of your helmet is free from scratches. In addition, you do not want to ruin an excellent external paint job by having scuff marks on your helmet. An excellent way to store your helmet when it is not in use, or if you have to move it from one place to another, is a helmet bag. This way, your helmet is protected from scratches, as well as from bumps that could affect its overall shape.
The place that your position your helmet bag is also important. It should be somewhere that it will not fall from, and the area should be cool and dry, as well as free from excessive dust. If there are children who may be around your storage space, ensure that your welding helmet is out of reach.
The lens is one part of the welding helmet that has significant wear and tear following continued use. To preserve your helmets longevity, and to protect your eyes, make sure that you always have a few lenses available for quick replacement when necessary. This will prevent you from straining the automatic features on your helmet.
Should any other parts of your helmet show wear and tear, replace them immediately. Ignoring repairs can result in significant injury, the worst affecting your eyesight, and hearing, or prolonged exposure to cancer causing UV rays.
The Right Cleaning Products
Every helmet you purchase will have cleaning products that have been recommended by the manufacturer, and these are the ones that you should use. You may find that you damage your helmet if you insist on using the wrong supplies, leading to additional costs for replacements.
Once you have completed using your welding helmet, you should wipe it down before you store it. This will get rid of any chemicals or dust particles that are on the helmet, especially around the lens.
The way that you use and store your helmet is important, especially within the warranty time period. If you do not care for your helmet properly, or misuse it in any way, you will find that the warranty becomes void and you cannot get it replaced when necessary. When your helmet is well taken care of, you should be able to change it without issue should something go wrong.
Equipment to Use with Your Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Your welding helmet is just one part of a range of equipment that you use when you want to achieve a perfect weld. For added protection, you will be using a host of items. These will include:
Heat Resistant Jacket
This provides protection for the upper part of the body including the arms. It is designed to ensure that there is no exposed skin other than the hands, and it offers protection from fire and heat.
Heat Resistant Trousers
These provide protection from heat and fire to the legs. They have no cuffs at the ankles where they stop as these can collect sparks. Furthermore, if there are any pockets on these trousers, they will either have flaps over them or be taped closed. They do not protect the feet.
The material used to make the jacket and trousers should be tightly woven and heavyweight. The preferred materials are 100% cotton or wool, as these offer excellent protection from UV radiation, as well as open flames. They can easily be given flame retardant treatments for added protection. Clothing made from synthetic materials or blends is at risk of catching fire or melting, which will result in terrible burns.
Remember that underneath your heat resistant jacket and trousers, you should wear a light layer of clothing. This will prevent you from sweating excessively when you are working on your welds.
These can help to protect the ears from excessive noise which may cause damage to the ear drum.
Gloves and Boots
These are meant to protect the hands and feet respectively. The gloves should be insulated and the boots should have rubber soles. The gloves should be made from leather, and be long enough to offer protection to the wrists as well. Within the soles of the shoes there should also be some steel. The shoes should also be high tops, so that they can be fully laced which will prevent sparks from going into them. Together, the shoes and gloves will protect the body from electric shocks, as well as fires and burns. The boots should be made from strong, high quality leather, and for added protection, should include toe protection.
You can wear this underneath your welding helmet to increase a comfortable fit, as well as to protect your scalp from any possible UV radiation exposure.
Most auto darkening welding helmets have ventilation systems that are designed to keep out dangerous fumes and oxides from the lungs. However, if you wish for added protection, you can wear a respirator underneath your welding helmet.
It is recommended that you wear safety glasses with your welding helmet to protect your eyes. There is the possibility that you may need to raise your welding helmet in the course of your work. Doing so exposes your eyes to any particles that may be flying or floating in the air. With safety glasses, you are assured of additional safety and protection.
This is my full review for top 5 best auto darkening welding helmets on the market.
Thank for your reading !