Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets - Guide and Review

When working in the metal shop, you need the right gear to do the job. To that end, you need to make sure that your safety equipment is up to speed on everything you do.

The most important piece of your work uniform is your helmet. This device protects you from the brilliant light of your welder, and it can not only keep your eyes safe from going blind but also to protect against sparks as well.

Back in the old days, welding helmets had a particular shade level that you used for various jobs. These days, however, the best welding helmets adjust the shade automatically.

Auto darkening helmets are much more practical and efficient for today’s workforce. No longer will you have to remove your helmet to see clearly when you’re not welding. With these devices, you can work much faster and get more done in the same amount of time.

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Reviews

1. Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Editor Rating:

When talking about workplace safety, no brand is quite as synonymous with high-quality equipment as Jackson Safety.

I have used Jackson products in the past, and I have to say that they are some of my favorite pieces of work gear I’ve used.  

The W40 Insight Welding Helmet is a true testament to the attention to detail that imbues all Jackson Safety products

One of the best things that I love about the W40 is the wide viewing area. In fact, when I’ve worked with single shade helmets, I am always lamenting the fact that they have so much more room to see than most auto-darkening models.

Thankfully, the W40 bridges the gap with a 3.93” by 2.36” view screen. I can see more of what I’m doing and get the job done much faster.

As far as adjusting your shade levels, the W40 has you covered. Not only does the unit switch from light to dark insanely fast (a fraction of a second), but you can preset your shade numbers to match your preferences. This means that you don’t have to keep fiddling with the knobs as you go.

Overall, this auto darkening helmet is one of the gold standards in the industry.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Variable shade adjustment between #9-#13
  • Resting shade of #4
  • Easy to use controls
  • Perfect for MIG, TIG and Plasma welding
  • Four sensors for better performance
  • Wide viewing area• Cost effective

Cons

  • In rare cases, the helmet may flash
  • Helmet can feel a little tight on some people
  • Can be hard to adjust settings with gloves on

2. Wakrays Professional Arc Tig Mig Auto-Darkening Welding Solar Helmet

Wakrays Professional Arc Tig Mig Auto-Darkening Welding Solar Helmet

Editor Rating:

Next, we have the Wakrays Professional Auto Darkening Solar Helmet.

When comparing this to some of the other models on this list, you may be wondering if this particular unit can be as high quality, given the low price tag.

Thankfully, the phrase “you get what you pay for” doesn’t really apply here, and you can get a top quality helmet for much less than you would with other brands.

I haven’t personally used Wakrays, but I have heard plenty of good things about them and this helmet.

For starters, the auto darkening feature on this device is top notch. While it doesn’t come with as many sensors as the Jackson Safety (two compared to four), they work remarkably well and can switch from light to dark in a fraction of a second. In fact, you can’t even tell the difference between the two.

The one thing that I will remark on, however, is that the view window is a bit thinner, so you can’t see quite as much. However, that’s a personal preference, and you may feel differently.

Finally, this helmet is as durable as can be. The material is both shockproof and flame retardant, meaning that if you were to drop it by accident, you don’t have to worry about the integrity of the shell or damaging the components of the control panel.

Now I cannot say that it will withstand all forms of abuse, but as long as you aren’t throwing it around, it should last you quite a while.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  •  Easy to use controls
  •  Super fast auto darkening
  •  Variable shade adjustment
  • Resting shade of #4
  •  Wide viewing area
  •  Shock resistant
  •  Flame resistant
  •  Ideal for most welding jobs
  •  Sixteen levels of UV protection
  •  Built to last at least ten years

Cons

  • With only two sensors, this helmet has a slightly higher likelihood of flashing
  • Feels a bit flimsy at first
  •  Controls can be a little hard to use with gloves on

3. Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Editor Rating:

When talking about welding equipment, another brand that instantly comes to mind is Instapark. While I still hold Jackson Safety in a bit higher regard, I have used plenty of Instapark models in my day to know that this is a company that you can trust.

The GX-350S is one of the best helmets offered by the brand, and when you use it, you can see why.

The first thing to mention about this helmet is that it is part of the GX series. While this particular model is not the top level of the GX series, it still is more than worthwhile.

Instapark has improved optics on all GX helmets, and the 350S is designed for an optical rating of 1/2/1/3, which is almost perfect. That, coupled with the wide viewing area means you can see better with this helmet than with most. I would prefer it if it were a little thicker, but overall the clarity is top notch.

Much like the Wakrays helmet, the GX-350S is both durable and cost-effective. Part of the reason the price is so low is that it is straight solar powered, meaning that it’s not ideal for covered or dark working environments.

While I haven’t experienced flashing with an Instapark helmet, I would recommend that you recharge the solar cells regularly to avoid that from happening. I’m a bit on the paranoid side, however, so take my advice with some salt.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Variable shade adjustment
  • Solar powered
  • Easy to use
  • Wide viewing area
  •  Improved optical clarity
  • Ideal for most welding applications
  •  Lightweight design
  • Comes with extra lenses
  • Super fast darkening feature
  •  Automatic on/off

Cons

  • Can feel a little flimsy for some folks
  • In rare instances, flashing may occur
  • Helmet is not quite as durable as other models on this list

4. Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Editor Rating:

Moving right along, we come to the Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet. When comparing helmets on this list, the AH6 comes in a close second to the Jackson Safety, both regarding quality and performance.

While the Instapark and Wakrays models are ideal for people who want a cost-effective option, the AH6 is best for anyone who wants something of an upgrade.

That isn’t to say the others are bad, just that this is slightly better.Part of the reason the AH6 is higher quality is that it comes with four sensors.

While two are fine for most applications, high-end welders need four sensors to get the best results. What I really like about this helmet, however, is that it’s compatible with a cheater lens.

As I’ve gotten older, my eyes are not what they used to be, and a magnifier is crucial to ensuring that I maintain the same level of quality in my welds. The fact that I can use that lens with this helmet is ideal.

Finally, what separates the AH6 from the competition is the level of personalization you can get. With most welding helmets, you can choose from a limited number of solid colors.

With this, however, you can pick from a variety of designs and styles to match your personality. Also, I find that all black helmets tend to get mixed up on the job site, so getting a custom look means that you can find your helmet much easier.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  •  Many designs to choose from
  • Easy to use controls
  •  Four sensors
  • Rapid shade adjustment
  • Resting shade of #4
  • Cheater lens compatible
  • Wide viewing area
  •  Ideal for most welding applications

Cons

  • In extremely rare cases, flashing may occur
  • Can be hard to operate with gloves
  • Control panel may have a learning curve with some people
  •  Helmet can feel a bit heavy and cumbersome

5. AUDEW Solar Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

AUDEW Solar Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Editor Rating:

Finally, we come to the AUDEW Auto Darkening Helmet. As far as welding helmets are concerned, this model has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

While this particular unit doesn’t have anything truly remarkable, the price and the list of features is more than enough to earn it a spot on both my list and yours.

Two sensors on either side help this helmet switch from light to dark in 1/30000th of a second. While this is not quite as fast as some other models, the human eye can’t tell the difference. The viewing area on this helmet is standard, measuring 3.66” x 1.86”. I would prefer a bit more width, but overall it shows you everything you need to see.

What I like about this helmet is that it’s both solar and battery powered. That means you can increase your battery life when working in a sunny environment and you don’t have to worry about flashing or the helmet turning off if you work in the dark.

Speaking of turning off, the helmet automatically turns on and off, meaning that the battery is saved even further.

Overall, this is a fantastic helmet for the price, and I even like the badass skull design on the outside.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Rapid shade adjustment
  • Wide viewing area
  • Optimized clarity
  • Automatic on/off
  • Solar and battery powered
  • Ideal for most welding jobs

Cons

  •  In rare cases, flashing may occur
  • Cannot replace batteries when they die
  • Only one design to choose from

Final Verdict

When trying to find the right helmet, I am more of a fan of higher quality than lowest price. If you’re in the market for something cost-effective, I would highly recommend either the Instapark or AUDEW models.

However, if you want the best performance possible, the AH6 and the Jackson Safety Helmets are my top picks. Overall, each model is highly rated for both safety and reliability.

Salvador J. Celaya
 

Salvador J. Celaya is the Editor of Bestweldinggear.com. As a welding enthusiast he loves to share what he knows about welding helmets and other gear in this field. In personal life he is the father of two cute kids and a loving husband. He loves foods and nothing is more important for him than being with family and friends in his spare time.

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