Best Welding Helmet - Guide & Reviews
When it comes to welding, nothing is more important than having the right helmet. Being able to see what you’re doing while also being protected from blinding lights and sparks is crucial to ensuring your health and safety on the job.
I’ve been welding and grinding for years, and I’ve had plenty of experience with various helmets, and I want to share my expertise with you today. Whether you’re a novice welder or a veteran like me, you can find what you’re looking for here.
I’ve compiled a list of some of the best helmets you can find anywhere, as well as created a handy guide to help you discover the perfect helmet for your work site.
Choosing the Best Welding Helmet
Back in the old days, choosing a helmet was a much simpler process. Most welders had a unit with a single shade that they used for all jobs. These days, however, modern technology has made the average welding helmet much more sophisticated, meaning that you need to pay a little more attention to what features are offered. That being said, here are five things to consider when picking out your helmet.
Standard vs. Auto Darkening
When I first started out my welding career, I used a hand-me-down from my dad. His was an old school, standard shade helmet. It worked fine for most of my jobs, but once I got a taste of automatic, I knew that I could never go back.
An auto darkening helmet is a device that senses when you are working and adjusts the shade level accordingly. That way, you can see what you’re doing when not welding, and you can set everything to your personal preference. Here are some pros and cons of each type.
- Never have to worry about flashing
- Larger screen
- Can’t see when not working
- Not ideal for all jobs
- Customize your settings
- Work non-stop without having to flip up
- Perfect for a wider range of jobs
- Sensors may not always work correctly
- Higher risk of flashing
Overall, the trend is definitely moving towards automatic helmets, but they are by no means perfect. That being said, I have compiled a list of mostly automatic helmets, as most modern work sites require them.
View Screen Size
Personally, I feel like one of the more crucial aspects of a welding helmet is the viewing area. If you can’t see what you’re doing, then what’s the point? I prefer to have a helmet with a wider view screen so I can see more of everything, but unfortunately most automatic helmets have a narrow window with which to work.
Part of the reason is that a smaller surface area requires less power for the sensors, so you are going to get less screen space than you would with a standard shade model.
Nonetheless, certain helmets have wider viewing areas than others, so find one that fits your eyesight the best and go with that.
As I mentioned above, part of the reason people like automatic helmets is that they can be adjusted to work on a wider variety of job sites than a standard model. Thus, when choosing your helmet, make sure that it is rated for the kind of work you’ll be doing. For the most part, all helmets are designed for Stick, MIG, and TIG welding, but not all of them are suitable for laser or plasma welding, not to mention grinding. Depending on your work, make sure to get a unit that can handle all of it.
Design and Color
At one of my first job sites, they issued everyone a helmet when you got hired. Since they were all standard, everyone got an all-black design. To help us keep track of them, they had to spray paint big numbers on the side so we didn’t get them mixed up.
Thankfully, with my current job we can use our own helmets, meaning that I can pick out a design and color scheme that matches my style. Depending on the brand you get, you may be able to choose from a variety of different helmets, which also means that you can stand out from everyone else, and you don’t have to worry about anyone accidentally taking it (although intentionally is another story).
Finally, the last thing you should look at for your helmet is whether or not it is compatible with a hard hat or a cheater lens. Depending on the work you do, a hard hat may be necessary, which means your helmet has to accommodate the larger size. Most welding helmets can be customized to fit a hard hat, but not all of them.
Similarly, cheater lenses may be necessary for your work (or if you prefer to work with a magnifier like me), which means that you need a helmet that can hold an extra lens. Many of the higher end models can do this, but if you get a cheaper version, you may not be able to.
Recommended Welding Helmets
- Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- Great For Arc, Mig, Tig, Plasma Applications with Grinding Feature
- Large Viewing Size 3.86"X1.78" with 4 Premium Sensors
- Cheater Lens / Magnifying Lens Compatible Design
- Step-less Delay and Sensitivity Knob Adjustable
- Shade Variable 4/5-9/9-13 Covering Most Common Welding
- AUDEW Solar Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- Auto-Darkening welding Helmets are designed to protect the eyes and faces
- Suitable for high welding operation temperature
- Viewing area: 3.62 x 1.66 in (92 x 42 mm)
- Fully Automatic Power On/Off.
- Power: Lithium batteries+Solar
- Urparcel Welding Helmet - Flames / Skull - Auto-Darkening
- Lithium Battery Powered with Soloar Backup
- Up to 5000 Working Hours
- Welding or Grinding Selection
- View Window: 3-3/4" x 1-3/4"
- Adjustable Sensitivity Outside Helmet
- TR Industrial 88024 Shade 11, ANSI Z87.1 MIG/TIG Flip-Up Welding Helmet
- Shade filter glass and the helmet itself can be flipped up for convenience
- Extra large viewing area reduces blind spots at 4.5" x 5.25"
- Headband is adjustable both from the rear and top of the head for comfort and security
- CE approved, conforms to Z87.1, and comes with a 1-year warranty
- Item Weight 1.5 pounds
- Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- Solar-powered welding helmet with auto-darkening filter
- Improved optics for 1/2/1/3 denomination
- Large 3.5"X1.375" viewing area with variable shade adjustment
- Suitable applications include Stick
- Item Weight 1.7 pounds
- AUDEW Adjustable Auto Darkening Solar Welding Helmet
- Viewing area: 3.62 x 1.66 in (92 x 42 mm),Fully Automatic Power On/Off.
- 1/25,000s Switching Time From Light To Tinted
- Dark State: Variable Shades, 9 - 13,Auto Darkening Function (ADF) Self-Check.
- 1 Bonus Extra Replacement Lenses Included
- Item Weight 0.2 ounces
- OEMTOOLS 24357 Automatic Darkening Welding Helmet
- Two Independent Arc Sensors
- Battery Powered with Solar Assist for Long Battery Life
- Features Auto-Off Circuitry After 15-20 Minutes
- Includes Replacement Cover Lenses
- Viewing area (3.54" x 1.37")
- Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- This quality lens gives you a variable shade
- Choose from grind and weld modes
- Jackson Safety W40 INSIGHT Variable Auto Darkening
- Gives you the compliance you're looking for
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Antra AH7-860-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- Great For Arc, Mig, Tig, Plasma Applications with Grinding Feature
- Large Viewing Size 3.78X3.50" with 4 Premium Sensors
- Cheater Lens / Magnifying Lens Compatible Design
- Step-less Delay and Sensitivity Knob Adjustable
- Shade Variable 5-9/9-13 Covering Most Common Welding / Cutting Processes
1. Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
As one of the best manufacturers of welding helmets on the market today, I have to say that I have tremendous respect for all Antra products.
This brand has a flair for attention to detail and most of the products they make are top-quality. The level of detail is prevalent on all Antra helmets, so it’s fitting that we’re kicking off the list with the AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Helmet.
As I mentioned above, I always prefer to have an automatic helmet than a standard model, and the AH6 is something of a gold standard for this helmet type.
When talking about auto-darkening features, what’s really important is the number of sensors. The bare minimum you can get away with is two (one on either side), but the AH6 has you covered by providing four. That way flashing is less of a concern overall, and you can get the most precise shade adjustment possible.
What I also like about the AH6 is that it comes in an array of colors and designs. When working on a big job, helmets can easily get misplaced or used by multiple people, so it’s always nice when you can pick out a design that not only matches your personality but also helps your helmet stand out from the crowd.
Some notable features of this helmet include a wide 3.86” x 1.78” viewing area, a manual shade adjustment knob on the outside, cheater lens compatibility, and a lightweight frame that weighs less than one pound. Overall, this is an ideal helmet for any welder.
2. AUDEW Solar Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
If you want more bang for your buck, then our next helmet, the AUDEW Auto is for you.
While this is not quite at the level of the Antra AH6, I have to say that I am still impressed by the performance of this model. As a bonus, I even like the skull design that comes with it.
I would prefer if AUDEW had other styles to choose from, but that’s ultimately a small complaint given the quality of this unit.
As I mentioned, when talking about auto-darkening helmets, you have to pay attention to the number of sensors. While this particular model only has two, they do work remarkably well. Personally, I’m always paranoid about flashing, but this helmet seems to do the job as well as anything with four sensors, so you don’t have to worry.
Like most welding helmets, the AUDEW uses both solar power and batteries to keep everything running. One aspect that I wish they would change is the fact that you can’t swap out the batteries when they die. Thankfully, however, they do last for a long time, and given the price point of the helmet itself, that’s another minor inconvenience.
Other notable features of this helmet include a 3.62” x 1.66” view screen, welding and grinding selection modes, and an external shade adjustment knob. The helmet also turns on and off automatically to help preserve the battery.
3. Urparcel Welding Helmet - Flames / Skull - Auto-Darkening
Much like the AUDEW helmet above, our next item is made for the thrifty welder who wants both high performance and a small price tag.
For many things, the phrase “you get what you pay for” is an accurate statement, but thankfully the Urparcel Welding Helmet is so good that you don’t have to worry about performance issues just because it’s cheaper than the competition.
The first thing I should mention about this helmet is that it is rated to work for up to 5000 hours.
While this is not as long as some more high-end models, it is enough to make this one of the most valuable helmets for the price. That, coupled with the remarkable auto darkening feature, means that this helmet is ideal for most welders.
When discussing the auto darkening aspect of the helmet, it’s important to note that this is a two sensor model. Again, I haven’t experienced any flashing with this unit, nor have I heard anything from people who have used it, but I am still a bit paranoid overall. Thankfully, the sensors work great, and there is a manual knob on the outside to adjust the shade level so you can tweak it how you want while you work.
Finally, this helmet comes with a solar powered battery, has welding or grinding work modes, a 3.75” x 1.75” viewing area, and a badass skull and flame design on the outside. You can get this unit in all black, but where’s the fun in that?
4. TR Industrial 88024 Shade 11, ANSI Z87.1 MIG/TIG Flip-Up Welding Helmet
Thus far, we’ve only looked at automatic helmets. For the most part, modern work sites like to use auto darkening helmets because they speed up production and allow for more precise work conditions.
However, there is still a place for standard shade helmets, which is why our next model is the TR Industrial 88024 Flip-Up Welding Helmet.
For the most part, this helmet works well with TIG and MIG welding, but the tradeoff is that you have to flip it up to see anything while you’re not working.
One of the best things that I like about standard shade helmets (which I miss on automatic models) is the gigantic viewing area. Comparatively speaking, wearing this unit is like wearing a set of safety goggles, whereas with auto darkening versions you have a narrow slit out of which to see.
The view screen on this unit is a whopping 4.5” by 5.25”, which is enormous compared to most of the other helmets on this list. What I also like about the view screen is that it can flip up as well, meaning that you can work a little faster and it’s remarkably easy to swap out when the time comes.
Otherwise, there’s not much else to say about the TR Industrial helmet, other than that the standard shade is #11, which is ideal for most jobs, and that it meets all federal safety requirements. The headband is also quite comfortable, and the entire thing is very lightweight. Finally, it comes with a one-year limited warranty.
5. Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
As far as welding products go, Instapark is another high-quality brand that I have had nothing but great experiences with.
What’s really cool about this particular model is that it has been optimized for better vision and performance so that you can do your best work.
One of the biggest issues with welding helmets is how well you can see, but the GX-350S is one of the best regarding clarity and optics.
What’s even more amazing about this helmet is that it has such great performance even though it only has two sensors. That is yet another testament to Instapark’s commitment to excellence in that they can create a high-quality auto darkening helmet without needing four sensors like some other models.
The optics on this helmet are top notch, measuring 1/1/1/2, which is almost as good as it gets. Additionally, the large 3.5” x 1.375” viewing area means that you can see everything brilliantly all the time.
Additional features of this helmet include settings for both grinding and welding, a knob on the outside to manually adjust the shade, and an automatic on/off function. Also, this particular model runs on solar power only, so be sure to get a full charge before you start working. Thankfully, though, if the battery does die on you, the helmet automatically switches to shade #16 to prevent flashing.
6. AUDEW Adjustable Auto Darkening Solar Welding Helmet
Next on our list is the AUDEW Adjustable Auto Darkening Helmet. When comparing this with the other AUDEW model, there are a lot of similarities.
However, the biggest difference is the design. While the other helmet has a more traditional shape to it, this unit is a bit more modern, with sleek curves and more protection overall.
In short, this is something of an upgrade to the previous model.
As far as the auto darkening feature goes, this helmet performs admirably. Like most units in its class, this helmet can go from light to dark remarkably fast, measuring just 1/12,000th of a second. Even with just two sensors, you still get high-quality performance. The viewing area on this model measures 3.62” x 1.66”, which is the standard for all AUDEW products.
This helmet also has other features, such as a wicked black flame design, a manual shade adjustment knob, a super comfortable headband, and even replacement lenses. The battery is also replaceable and runs on solar power. Finally, this helmet also includes a one-year limited warranty.
7. OEMTOOLS 24357 Automatic Darkening Welding Helmet
Our next helmet is something of a cross model. While you could use the OEMTOOLS 24537 on a professional work site, it’s more designed for hobbyists and amateurs rather than hardcore welders.
If you’re just starting in your welding career and still learning the ropes, I would recommend getting this model as a starter.
The price point is relatively low, and it has all the necessary features you need, so it’s a perfect addition for any new or casual welders.
As far as specifications go, the 24537 is as standard as they come. The helmet comes with two independent sensors, which go from light to dark blazingly fast. Like all the other helmets on this list, it has a resting shade of #4, and the variable shade adjustment is between #9 and #13. The view screen on this model measures 3.5” x 1.37”, and it also comes with a replacement lens for the cover.
The 24537 has some other handy features, including an external knob for more precise shade adjustment, a solar powered battery that is reportedly rated to last up to 2000 hours, and an automatic on/off function to help further preserve battery life. Finally, this model does include a one-year warranty.
8. Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
For your convenience, I’ve saved arguably the best two helmets for last.
First up is the Jackson Safety W40 Insight Welding Helmet, which is definitely one of my top choices overall. I currently use a Jackson Safety helmet at work, so you could say that I’m a little biased.
Regardless of my leanings, however, I have to say that this brand has a proud history of making top-quality gear and the W40 is no exception.
As you may notice, the price point on this particular helmet is a bit higher than most of the others on this list, but the quality is much greater as well. First of all, this helmet has four independent sensors, so you don’t have to worry about flashing. The view screen on this helmet is also bigger than most, measuring 3.93” x 2.63”. I love the fact that I can see more of what I’m doing so that I don’t lose productivity on the job.
Other notable features of this helmet include compatibility with most hard hats, digital controls that are incredibly easy to use (even with gloves), and settings for grinding and welding. You can even customize the shade adjustment and delay to meet your needs, making this one of the most valuable helmets out there. Overall, this is an excellent model for almost all types of welding, including MIG, TIG, Stick, and Plasma.
9. Antra AH7-860-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Finally, we come to the Antra AH7-860-0000 Auto Darkening Helmet. Much like the AH6 model, this helmet has everything you’re looking for.
When comparing this to the Jackson Safety Insight, both helmets have a lot of similar features, which is why they are both my top picks.
First off, this helmet has four independent sensors, which means that flashing is less of a concern, and you can go from light to dark amazingly fast.
The view screen on this model measures a whopping 3.78” x 3.5”, which is one of the largest I’ve ever seen on an automatic helmet. What I also like about the AH7 is that it’s compatible with cheater lenses, not to mention that the headband adjusts to fit most hard hats as well.
Other features of this helmet include easy to use digital controls, a step-less delay system, customizable shade settings, and a solar powered rechargeable battery. The batteries are also easily replaceable and built to last up to 5000 hours before needing to be changed.
When trying to pick out the best welding helmet, it can be difficult to choose. Overall, however, my top picks would be anything with four sensors and the ability to work with a cheater lens. That being said, I would highly recommend the Jackson Safety Helmet, both Antra Models, or the Instapark ADF helmet.
That’s not to say that the others are less quality or will not work correctly, but given my years of experience, I know what I like. If you’re just starting out, however, you may find that certain features are more important than others, depending on your work and personal preferences.
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