Top 10 Best Welding Helmets: Buying Guide + Reviews

Whether you’re a professional welder or simply someone who owns a welding machine at home, you should look for the best welding helmet on the market to keep you fully protected.

Welding helmets are meant to keep your face, neck, and eyes protected from the extreme heat and the flying sparks that come from the welding machine.

When looking for the best welding helmet, look for a model that’s well capable of giving you protection against the hazards that come with using a welding machine.

As a professional welder with over 20 years of experience, I’ll be helping you to buy the best welding helmets.

Why Should You Get a Quality Welding Helmet?

Whenever you use a welding machine in joining or sculpturing metals, it’ll release a UV light as well as infrared rays.

If they get into contact with your face, eyes, or other parts of your body, you could end up with burns. A welding helmet will prevent this from happening. In addition, the welding helmet is also effective at reducing the risk of getting your cornea inflamed, a condition known as arc eye.

A few years ago, you were only limited to a few choices when it came to welding helmets.

Now that the technology has greatly evolved, you’ll find welding helmets of different kinds and with different features. These helmets won’t only keep your eyes protected but also your face and neck.

When you wear the helmet, the risk of getting hit by flying sparks and other harmful objects during the welding process will be greatly reduced.

What About Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets?

A welding helmet that comes with the auto-darkening feature is the best helmet to invest in. It’s an upgraded version of the passive welding helmet.

Although you’ll find several different kinds of auto-darkening welding helmets on the market, they have the same purpose and that’s to keep you fully protected while you’re using your welding machine.

An auto-darkening helmet comes in three basic parts:

LC Cells

LC cells or the Liquid Crystal Cells are found in between the polarization filters of the helmet. These cells help turn the light up.

Upon stimulating the electricity, you’ll be able to control the light’s direction. The helmet must be switched on to activate this feature.

Infrared Filter

One of the most important parts of the auto-darkening helmet is the Infrared or Ultraviolet filter. This is what keeps you protected from harmful UV/IR rays.

This feature usually consists of 6 layers of aluminum oxide. Even if the helmet is not on, the UV/IR filter can still provide protection.

The lens of the auto-darkening helmet is made from several layers of metal that are capable of absorbing up to 95% of UV/IR radiation. These layers of metals are about 0.7 mm thick.

Polarization Filter

The polarization filter is another safety feature that the helmet comes with.

Equipped with LC cells, the polarization filters keep the eyes protected from the visible light. It offers maximum protection to the eyes because of the way the filters are arranged.

The two filters are arranged at an angle that will offer the darkest setting for the helmet’s lens. If any of these lenses is moved, it’ll let in more light or possibly darken it up, depending on which direction it’s moved.

Things to Look for When Shopping for the Best Welding Helmets

You’ll find several different options when shopping for the best welding helmets.

Some of these helmets have a somewhat similar appearance, but they differ in specs and features. They also have different prices, depending on the brand and model.

Below are some of the most important factors to consider when looking for the best welding helmets.

Viewing Area

The helmet’s viewing area is something you should consider as well. Some have a wider viewing area, that’s around 4″ x 3″ and more.

Those with smaller viewing areas are around 3.5″ x 1.75″. It all comes down to your own personal preferences and the type of project you’ll be working on. If you’ll be using it in a restricted space, then you should opt for a helmet that has the largest viewing area.

This is because it can be difficult to adjust your body to be able to see clearly what you’re welding.

Optical Class

All the lenses of the auto-darkening helmets have undergone testing for quality control and has an optical class rating.

This refers to the clarity of the vision through the glass. Auto-darkening lenses come in 4 different clarity categories and are rated in numbers. These helmets have an optical rating of 1/1/1.

This category of a helmet doesn’t differ much with the 1/2/1/2 but a professional and experienced welder should be able to notice the difference easily.

Arc Sensors

When buying an auto-darkening helmet, you need to also think about the number of arc sensors.

These sensors are responsible for detecting flashes as you work and will darken the helmet in a fraction of a second in order to keep your eyes protected.

Generally, the cheaper ones are equipped with fewer sensors while the more advanced models have 3 to 4.

Two arc sensors should be enough. However, this increases the risk of not being able to catch the flash whenever you’re welding out of position.

Four sensors would be ideal as they lower the possibility of the helmet failing to catch a flash that could arise.

Weight

Remember that you’ll be wearing your welding helmet for a long period of time so you need to choose a model that’s comfortable for you to wear.

Heavy helmets could add more strain on your neck and are truly uncomfortable, if not painful. Even if the helmet doesn’t seem to be heavy when you put it on the first time, it could eventually sore your neck.

Comfort should be given utmost importance when buying a welding helmet. When it comes to this, the lightweight and padded helmet might be a better choice.

They won’t sore your neck even if you wear them for a long period. Just make sure you choose something that will securely fit around your head.

A helmet that won’t fit tightly on your head will keep on moving around as you work and this could distract you.

Power Source

Welding helmets have different power sources. Some work with lithium batteries, while others with solar power. There are also those that use both.

Generally, helmets that are powered by both lithium and solar are the best option since this extends the battery life of the welding helmet. Furthermore, if one of the power sources runs out, you can use the other.

If you opt for a battery-powered welding helmet, find out if it’s replaceable or not.

Welding helmets that rely on replaceable batteries are great options since all you need to do is attach the batteries and you can immediately start using them. But you must make sure to carry a set of replacement batteries with you.

On the other hand, solar-powered helmets are more cost-effective since there’s no longer a need for you to keep on replacing the batteries. This feature is what you’ll usually get if you choose a helmet with auto-off features.

Lens Shade

You’ll have a wide range of options when it comes to the lens shade of your auto-darkening welding helmet. Also, the more shades your helmet has, the more flexible you can be when it comes to its applications.

If you need to constantly modify the settings and processes of your helmet, then you’ll be able to benefit from getting a helmet that comes with a wide range of shade options. The 9-13 shade is considered normal.

However, if you’ll be working at low amperage where it’s more difficult to see the arc, the 6-13 shade should be good enough.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity control is another vital factor to consider when buying a welding helmet.

Fortunately, most of the auto-darkening welding helmets in the market can be set to minimum brightness that will trigger the darkening.

This feature comes in handy when you’re welding at low amperage and you need to increase sensitivity.

It’s also an essential feature if you’ll be working along with other welders and you’re expecting lots of arcs.

Lens Reaction Time

The reaction time is how fast the lens goes from light to dark once the arc is activated.

Lenses move extremely fast. These professional-grade lenses are rated at 1/20,000 per second. If you weld often, it’s crucial to choose a lens with fast reaction time.

If you’re starting arcs constantly, the increasing arc exposure could cause eye fatigue so you may want it to change to dark as fast as possible.

Safety

To ensure that the helmet you use will keep you safe and protected, choose a model that’s manufactured according to the ANSI Standards.

This type is guaranteed to provide adequate and full protection to the welder. It’s because the helmet has undergone rigorous testing in order to pass the national safety standards required for keeping the user protected from UV rays, infrared, temperature, sparks, impact, etc.

Currently, the safety standard set for welding helmets is ANSI Z87.1 – 2003, which is what the helmet should have if you want to make sure it’s safe for you to use.

Customization

You’ll now find different styles of welding helmets in the market.

They’re available in different designs and colors and you can choose something depending on your personality or personal preferences. Before, welders were only limited to black, gray, and plain colors.

But now, there are helmets that come with attractive graphic prints and colorful designs. Other brands also offer personalization options on the helmets they sell!

Price

The cost of the helmet varies greatly but it usually ranges from $40 to as much as $800! If you’ve got a budget set for the helmet, then this should be your basis in determining what helmet to buy.

Of course, the more expensive models have the best features and are more suitable for professional use.

Tips for Maintaining a Welding Helmet

Before you decide to buy a welding helmet, you must first learn how you can take good care of it, especially if you’re buying the higher-end range that’s usually too expensive to replace.

Here are some tips to help you out:

Store It in a Safe Place

Always store the helmet in a safe place after every use. Avoid placing it in areas where it could fall off easily, accumulate dust, or become wet.

Furthermore, make sure you keep it away from children’s reach.

Clean the Welding Helmet After Using It

Cleaning the welding helmet requires wiping it down after every use. This helps to ensure that it’ll stay in good shape despite regular use.

The helmet will be constantly exposed to chemicals and dust as you work on it the entire day so it’s best to wipe it off after you finish using it. Clean the lenses well, both inside out.

Use Quality Cleaning Products

Avoid using cleaners made of harsh chemicals when cleaning your helmet. Don’t use abrasive cloths that could scratch the surface of the helmet, especially its lenses.

Refer to the manufacturer’s guide when determining the type of cleaning materials and cleansers that you can safely use on your helmet.

Use a Storage Bag When Transporting It

When transporting your helmet, place it in a bag that will protect it from scratches. Otherwise, it could get scratched and damaged as a result of constant movement.

There are storage bags designed specifically for welding helmets that can keep your helmet protected while in transit. But these bags could cost a lot and if you’re on a budget, you can just settle with any regular bag.

Just make sure it’s capable of protecting the lens of the helmet.

Check Its Condition Often

Check your helmet regularly to make sure it’s in excellent condition. If possible, try to schedule a checkup once a week.

Find out if there’s anything that no longer functions the way it should and if there are parts that need replacement. Inspecting your helmet regularly will put you a step ahead of possible injury or damage.

Check the Lenses

The lens is the most significant part in a helmet.

Therefore, inspect it regularly to make sure it’s in good condition and safe for you to use. If you believe it needs replacement, then go ahead and do so.

Remember that if the coating of the lens is removed, harmful light could get into your eyes and make you susceptible to eye injuries.

Replace Broken Parts

Replace the parts regularly to ensure that the helmet is able to provide you with optimal protection.

Refer to the manual for instructions on when you should replace the parts. This is to ensure efficient performance and functionality, especially for the filters and lenses.

Read the User’s Manual

To make sure you’re taking the right steps to maintain your helmet, take time to read the user’s manual that comes with the helmet.

The manufacturer will usually include the proper steps required to take care of your helmet.

Read the instructions for cleaning the helmet carefully and make sure you follow them.

Replace the Sweatbands

Sweatbands are among those parts in a welding helmet that must be replaced on a regular basis, especially if you choose to weld outdoors in hot weather.

Make Sure You Have Spare Lenses

Since the lens is the most sensitive part of the helmet, it’s important to have spare lenses on hand. That way, you won’t have to go to the store each time you need a replacement lens.

Having spare lenses at hand helps to make sure that it’s well maintained and that your eyes will be fully protected every time you work on your welding machine.

Best Welding Helmets in 2019

Now that you have learned new information regarding welding helmets, it’s time to take a look at our list of the best welding helmets in 2019.

These helmets have received a lot of praise and good feedback from other users.

Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

First on our list is the SENTINEL A50 Auto Darkening Helmet from Esab, which resembles a mask.

Although it can’t provide enough protection for your face compared to the hooded design, this one allows you to easily move around your head and opens up your viewing area. Weighing only 1.4 lbs, the Esab Sentinel Welding Helmet is comfortable to wear.

The A50 Helmet has a stylish design, which resembles that of the Space Bounty Hunter, a character from popular video games. It’s definitely not your traditional welding helmet.

Although it’s more on the expensive side, buying this helmet is worth it. It’s made from durable nylon material with a sleek and stylish design.

This welding helmet is equipped with a halo headgear. When wearing it, simply fasten it to your head using the comfortable plastic straps. The helmet won’t feel loose and won’t fall off while you work on your project.

There’s an LCD screen on the inside part of the helmet that allows you to adjust its clarity. And while the visor appears wide, the lens itself is only 3.9 by 2.3 inches. This might be an issue for hooded helmets but it allows you to tilt your head easily in order to have a clearer view of any objects inside the room.

In addition, this helmet comes with spare lenses that you can easily replace in case they get damaged.

Pros

  • Allows you to move your head easily
  • Attractive and stylish design
  • Can fit any head size
  • Includes a control panel that you can operate from inside the helmet
  • Made from breathable and comfortable nylon material
  • The lens can be adjusted in the dark

Cons

  • A bit expensive

RHINO LARGE VIEW + GRIND Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

This welding helmet from Rhino features a sleek and cool design. Made from hard nylon material, the helmet is durable and long-lasting.

Plus, you get to choose from a wide range of color options, such as red, black, and carbon fiber. Weighing 1.2 lbs, the helmet isn’t too difficult to put on and feels comfortable even for long-term use.

This Rhino Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is among the most affordable options in this list. Yet, it won’t disappoint.

The manufacturer claims that this helmet has the widest viewable lens in the market, which measures at 4 by 2.6 inches. At this size, you’ll be able to see clearly without feeling claustrophobic when using it.

It requires two lithium batteries to run. What’s great about this helmet is that it’ll notify you when the batteries are already running low and need to be replaced. The head strap allows you to comfortably fasten the helmet on your head.

Pros

  • Can comfortably fit any head size
  • Doesn’t cost a lot
  • Lens can be adjusted in the dark
  • Long battery life
  • Very wide lens

Cons

  • It could easily get loose

Instapark ADF Series GX990T Welding Helmet

This welding helmet from Instapark is equipped with lenses that are tall and wide, which measure 3.9 x 3.8 inches.

With this size, it’s easy to see a lot of things around so you’ll be able to comfortably work on your project. With impeccable quality and a rating of 1/1/1/2, this helmet can certainly give you the best value for your money.

The Instapark helmet is available in two designs – American Eagle and Blue Flames. For those who would prefer a simple design with a solid color, this may not be the best option for you.

Yet, this helmet is durable. It’s made from composite material and has a weight of 1.5 lbs. It has dials on its side, which you can use to adjust brightness sensitivity.

It’s also equipped with an adjustable head strap that allows you to wear it comfortably on your head.

Pros

  • Wide and tall lens
  • Comes with an affordable price
  • Lens can be adjusted in the dark
  • Clear lenses

Cons

  • Not solid color

Hobart 770756 Impact Variable Auto-Dark Helmet

This Auto Dark Helmet from Hobart features a sleek and nice design. It’s made from polyamide material that’s known for being durable and long-lasting.

Weighing 2.3 lbs, this helmet is a bit heavy. Furthermore, the lens is a bit on the smaller side, measuring 3.8 inches x 1.7 inches wide.

At this size, you may need to move your head a lot in order to clearly see the various objects that you’ll be working on.

Featuring three arc sensors, this welding helmet can automatically adjust in darkness. The sensitivity levels are easily adjustable. It’s also equipped with a head strap that allows you to put on the helmet easily.

The head strap is fitted with a gel pad so it feels even more comfortable to wear. You’ll get one lithium battery with this helmet and that’s all that’s required to use it.

Pros

  • The head strap has a gel pad which is comfortable to wear
  • Adjustable lens in the dark
  • Suitable for any head size
  • Attractive shape and design

Cons

  • The battery doesn’t last very long
  • Lens isn’t too wide

Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet

This welding helmet from Lincoln Electric has a beautiful black finish weighing just over 3 lbs. Featuring a patented 4 C Lens technology, which refers to Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity, the lens of this helmet has an optical rating of 1/1/1/1

This allows you to be able to see clearly through. Its wide lens measures 3.7 x 3.3 inches. This solar-powered helmet is powered using rechargeable batteries.

You’ll enjoy a longer battery life with this helmet so try to give it exposure to the sun when you’re not using it.

The Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 is available in 14 different designs. You can opt for the classic block look or go for the more unique designs, such as checkered flags and camouflage.

Unfortunately, the plastic material used for this helmet isn’t that breathable. You could end up sweating profusely when using the helmet for a long time, especially in rooms that can get hot. While plastic is a truly durable material, it may not be the most comfortable option.

Another downside is that the plastic material has the tendency to develop scratches easily.

Pros

  • Available in a wide range of different designs
  • Durable
  • Comes with high-quality lenses
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • A bit uncomfortable to wear
  • Could easily develop scratches

Jackson Safety 46131 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The Jackson Safety helmet is made from nylon material, making it more breathable than the models that are made of plastic.

Furthermore, it’s also resistant to scratches, which makes it a great choice for everyday use. Users love the sleek and timeless appeal of this welding helmet. Despite its great features, this helmet is easy on the pocket too.

The Jackson Safety Helmet is not that heavy. But, the lens is a bit short, with a measurement of 3.9 x 2.3 inches. When wearing this helmet, you won’t have any issues moving your head from left to right.

However, looking up and down might be a bit challenging. Furthermore, the brightness of the lens can be adjusted easily using the digital control panel inside the helmet.

Lithium batteries power the helmet and are easily replaceable. Furthermore, the helmet has an indicator that will inform you if the battery is low. This product doesn’t come with any batteries included so you should purchase them separately.

This helmet is beautifully designed and is suitable for professional welders and engineers who would prefer wearing a stylish helmet as they work on-site.

Pros

  • Equipped with a control panel that can be adjusted from inside the helmet
  • Lens can be adjusted in darkness
  • Made from comfortable and breathable nylon material
  • Lightweight
  • Appealing and sleek

Cons

  • The lens isn’t that wide

Antra AH6-660-6217 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The Antra AH6 Solar Powered Auto Darkening Helmet is made from carbon fiber and it’s available in numerous design options – carbon fiber, black, skulls, mechanized skill, American Eagle, and Flaming Tiger.

The designs are cool and stylish and the material used is high impact nylon. Weighing only 1 lb, this helmet is easy to put on and won’t hurt your neck even when worn for a long time.

The Antra AH6 Welding Helmet is among the most affordable helmets on this list. It’s solar-powered, so it requires exposure to the sun in order to charge the battery.

The helmet is compatible with cheater lenses, which you can add to the existing lenses in order to magnify the objects you’re welding.

Thanks to cheater lenses, you’ll be able to see better when wearing this helmet.

Although the helmet doesn’t come with a control panel of its own, the brightness of its lens will adjust automatically. In fact, it has a large range of brightness levels and comes with four sensors.

Unfortunately, this helmet isn’t really designed for professional use so it may not appeal to professional welders and engineers. Furthermore, some customers complained that its screws have the tendency to get loose after only a few uses so keep that in mind as well.

Although this helmet could use some improvements, it still comes with great features that make it a great helmet to buy for home use.

If you need a welding helmet that you can occasionally use for DIY projects at home, then this one might be a great choice.

However, if you’re a professional welder, you might be better off choosing the other welding helmets on this list.

Pros

  • Available in many different designs
  • Doesn’t cost a lot
  • Made from breathable and comfortable nylon material
  • The lens can be adjusted in darkness
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Quality is questionable
  • Not suitable for professional use

DecoPro Solar Powered Welding Helmet

This Solar Powered Welding Helmet from DecoPro is a great helmet for both professional and home use. It comes in a black two-tone and electric blue color – both stylish.

Despite being among the best-looking welding helmets in the market, it doesn’t cost a lot. It’s a great choice for those who’re looking for an inexpensive and stylish welding helmet to buy.

Made from polypropylene plastic material, this helmet is resistant to chemicals and electricity.

Furthermore, the material is breathable and flexible so it’ll feel comfortable on your head even if you wear it for a long time. Another good thing about this helmet is that it’s durable.

Perhaps, the only downside is that the polypropylene material is flammable. This can be dangerous if you’ll be working with a blowtorch and your helmet accidentally catches fire.

The lens of this helmet measures 3.8 x 3.1 inches, which is large enough for you to be able to clearly see the objects that you’re working on.

There’s a control panel inside the helmet that can be controlled using buttons. This is where you can adjust the helmet’s brightness or leave it to brighten automatically.

This welding helmet is equipped with a plastic head strap, which would fit easily on any head size. What’s great about this helmet is that it’s powered by both lithium and solar power. There’s also a battery pack included for every purchase.

Customers love the unique 1980s inspired look. Unfortunately, this helmet model is made from a material that can’t withstand the hottest of all flames.

Pros

  • Can be powered by lithium batteries or solar power
  • Can fit any head size
  • Doesn’t cost a lot
  • The lens can be adjusted in darkness
  • There’s a control panel inside the helmet
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Made of flammable material

Metal Man ATEC8735SGC 9-13 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet

This Metal Man Auto Darkening Welding Helmet weighs 1.5 lbs so it’s not too heavy to wear in your head.

It looks good, but it doesn’t come in the classic black design, which most professional welders prefer. However, you can choose from the Black Tribal Design, Industrial Skull Design, and Silver Flames on Blue.

This welding helmet comes with auto-darkening feature and will adjust by itself depending on the light sources that surround it.

Wearing this helmet is easy, thanks to its head strap that can fit any head size. Furthermore, there’s a sweatband insert along with the headband, for extra comfort.

So, despite it being on the expensive side, it’s truly worth your hard-earned money.

Pros

  • Can be used with both lithium batteries and solar power
  • Includes a sweatband
  • Adjustable lens in the dark
  • Can be worn by any head size

Cons

  • Not available in classic black color

ArcPro 20704 Auto-Darkening Solar Powered Welding Helmet

The ArcPro 20704 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet is another great product to check out. It’s almost similar to the Antra helmet in terms of shape and design.

Weighing only 1.1 lbs, this helmet is comfortable on your neck. Furthermore, it doesn’t cost a lot of money so it’s suitable for all kinds of welders, including those that are on a limited budget.

It isn’t like the other welding helmets that are powered by two lithium batteries. It has three lithium batteries, which makes it last longer than the other helmets that are only powered by two batteries.

With a lens of 3.7 by 2.07 inches, this welding helmet has a wide screen that allows you to clearly see the objects you’re welding. In fact, some customers say that it’s like wearing a pair of binoculars when welding.

The ArcPro 20704 Welding Helmet comes with auto-darkening filters. You can easily use these filters to adjust light sensitivity.

Like most of the welding helmets on this list, this one comes with a head strap and anyone can comfortably wear it on his or her head for a long time. Besides, its lenses are replaceable.

However, due to their unique size, it may be hard to look for stores that carry them.

Unfortunately, the lenses have the tendency to get scratches due to the sparks that fly into your helmet as you work.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to have replacement lenses readily available.

Pros

  • Lens can be easily adjusted in darkness
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear even for a long time
  • It isn’t too expensive
  • Can fit any head size

Cons

  • Unique lens design and size make it difficult to replace
  • The lens isn’t too wide

Final Thoughts

Of all the welding helmets on this list, it’s the Instapark ADF Series GX990T Welding Helmet that I’d highly recommend for both professional and home use.

In fact, a lot of customers are pleased with the way the product works, which has earned it a great rating online. This welding helmet has four optical sensors, a wide viewing area, and adjustable shade.

Above all, it’s made from lightweight and durable composite materials, which means that it’ll last for a long time despite regular use.

What more could you ask for in the best welding helmet?