The Best Welding Helmets from My Point of View

If you enjoy welding as a hobby or side job, or if you’re considering becoming a welder, you probably know that you’ll need a good helmet.  At first glance, finding a welding helmet might sound easy enough.  In reality, there are so many different models available and so many things to consider that you might end up feeling overwhelmed.  Understanding all of the different components that go into a good welding helmet will help you feel more at ease making the decision that’s best for you.


The primary function of any welding helmet is to protect your eyes from the light and sparks that welding generates.  Some masks come with an eye shield that is a fixed darkness, though most masks accommodate, and might even come with, multiple lenses that are reasonably easy to swap.  If your welding is limited to the same type of job over and over, you might be okay with this type of lens.  If you do many types of welding resulting in a wide range of brightness levels, you would probably be better off choosing a helmet that has an auto-darkening lens.  These lenses will darken or lighten based on the work being done, helping to keep the level of eye protection steady.  

There are other features to consider when choosing a lens type, like how well the lens adapts to ambient light and how much clarity it offers.  Some models are definitely designed for indoor applications and can make it difficult to do any work in bright sunlight.  A lens’s clarity dictates how well you can see your field.  A lens with less clarity might mean a lot more stops and starts as you remove and replace your helmet to inspect your work.  Lenses also come in different sizes, so be sure to look for one that offers the best field of vision for your intended jobs.  If your work includes frequent stops for grinding, there are models that offer a grinding mode, which will allow you switch the lens from dark to light without removing the helmet.

Most helmets allow you to manually adjust some settings, including sensitivity, darkness level, and delay time.  Controls mounted on the outside of the helmet are easier to adjust on the go than models with these controls inside the helmet.  You can also choose from models with knob-type controls or digital controls and readouts.

When it comes to protecting more than just your eyes, you’ll find that some helmets offer more overall face and head coverage than others, so you’ll need to be aware of how much extra protection you need or want.  If your job also includes wearing a hard hat, make sure any model you choose will readily accommodate or comes with an adaptor for your hard hat.  

A helmet’s weight and the distribution of that weight are also critical factors.  Two pounds might not sound like much, but wearing a heavier helmet for long periods of time or even for shorter periods of time with great frequency can result in neck strain.  Look for the lightest weight models that distribute the weight evenly enough to make the helmet feel even lighter than it is.  Look for models with plenty of padding inside and adjustable straps to help ensure a snug fit.

There are a couple of other convenience features you might consider.  Some helmets are designed to lock in the flipped-up/standby mode, making it easier to either give your work a closer inspection or just take a breather.  Other models don’t lock or don’t flip up.  This can add extra time to your project.  Having a helmet with an auto-shutoff feature is a great way to make sure your next project doesn’t start with a dead battery because you forgot to power down after the last job.

With prices ranging from around $50 to over $500, you’re sure to find the right fit based on your needs and usage.

A visit to best welding helmets for beginners gives you a comparison, including pros and cons, of several top models for beginners and pros alike.

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