Top 10 – Best Welding Helmets

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There are many factors to consider and plenty of options on the market, so I will try to keep it short and help you in your research. Welding can be quite dangerous and as a process involving ultra-high temperatures and exposure to ultraviolet and infrared rays, you need to invest in some protective gear so as to be safe at work.

When it comes to safety gear for welding, an effective and properly fitting helmet is a great investment in order to protect your eyesight and skin. Exposure to flash burns can burn the retinas of your eyes and cause temporary of permanent visual impairment. With the right helmet you will reduce the risk of injuries, while also increase your work rate and quality of work. I would like to highlight the best options on the market today that worth having a closer look while researching, but make sure you check our buyer’s guide for more information on factors you need to consider. So let’s dive in:

Last update on 2021-01-19 at 10:34 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our recommended welding helmets:

Lincoln Electric 3350 Series – Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Lincoln Electric Viking 3350

Viewing Area: 3.74″ x 3.34″
Arc Sensors: 4
Weight: 21 oz (595g)
Optical Class: 1/1/1/1
Shade Range: 5-13
Lens Reaction Time: 1/25,000

Last update on 2021-01-21 at 05:18 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Lincoln Electric is a reputable brand that is well known for their high-quality safety gear. The 3350 welding helmet is not an exception. The helmet offers a crystal clear view port that is large enough so as to reduce neck strain thanks to its 3.74″ x 3.34″ viewing area. Thanks to the true color technology you will be able to work on your welding with no compromises and achieve great results with minimal eye fatigue. This is overall a great investment for any welder that needs great visibility, and the 3350 Series thanks to a score of 1/1/1/1 for optical clarity is your best bet. Great for all sorts of welding (Tig, Mig, etc.) and cutting, this is a great value for money option that offers great performance without breaking the bank.

The Auto-darkening feature can be easily adjusted from the dedicated knobs, and the 4 arc sensors will allow for quick switching at every flash with a speed or 1/25000 of a second. I would consider this the best variable shade lens welding helmet you can pick at this price range, so if the 3350 fits within your budget you can’t go wrong with investing into one. The lens shade range between 5 and 13, while the grind mode will allow for great precision and versatility without having to remove the helmet. The helmet is powered by a replaceable lithium battery and solar energy, making this a comfortable and lightweight option.

Antra AH6-260-0000 – Best Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet For a Limited Budget

Antra AH6-260-0000

Viewing Area: 3.86″x 1.73″
Arc Sensors: 4
Weight: 15 oz. (435g)
Optical Class: 1/1/1/2
Shade Range: 4/5-9/9-13
Lens Reaction Time: 1/25,000

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Antra is a brand that is well known for their affordable options regarding safety equipment. This Antra welding helmet is an excellent choice for beginners or enthusiasts that have a limited budget yet they want to keep honing their skills without breaking the bank. In fact, this is one of the most affordable options in our list so if you are not sure whether you want to invest more or not, this is a great starting point for your research. This mask is also a great upgrade for anyone who wish to switch from fixed to variable shade helmet.

This is a lightweight mask that is suitable for any type of welding thanks to the variable shade levels that range from 5 to 13. It has a rating of 1/1/1/2 optical clarity which is great news if you consider its low price. While it is a durable helmet and can withstand some beating, unfortunately this is not an ideal option for industrial use as you can find some great alternatives for heavy duty use if you invest a little more. Overall a great budget friendly option that can get you started with minimal investment.

3M Speedglas 9100 – The Fastest Lens Switching Welding Helmet

3M Speedglas 9100

Viewing Area: 4.2″ x 2.8″
Arc Sensors: 3
Weight: 21oz (595g)
Optical Class: 1/1/1/2
Shade Range: 5, 8-13
Lens Reaction Time: 1/10,000

Last update on 2021-01-21 at 05:18 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The 3M speedglas 9100 welding helmet is quite a popular option on the market and thanks to its attractive pricing it is a great investment for professional use. It offers a viewing area of 1.8″ x 3.7″ and while many would prefer a larger one this is not a deal-breaker thanks to the side windows. This is a helmet that runs on lithium batteries, two CR2030, so if you are looking for a solar powered options you should consider another alternative from our list. On the other hand, the long battery life of this 3V batteries might make you reconsider it especially if you tend to work on interiors.

The 3M speedglas 9100 features variable shade that ranges from 8 to 13 making while the side windows have a shade 5 filter. Its auto-darkening performance is phenomenal, with arc detection down to 1amp for TIG welding, and a super fast reaction time that will help you avoid eye fatigue. Overall, a high quality, lightweight and comfortable option that thanks to its fast reaction time I would consider it the best option for sensitive eyes. If it fits your budget, this is a great investment you won’t regret.

Antra AH6-660-6217 – Best Solar Powered Welder Helmet Under $60

Antra AH6-660-6217

Viewing Area: 3.78″ X 2.50″
Arc Sensors: 4
Weight: 18 oz (515g)
Optical Class: 1/1/1/2
Shade Range: 5-9/9-13
Lens Reaction Time: 1/25,000

Last update on 2021-01-21 at 05:18 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I wanted to included this helmet from Antra as I find it to be among the best options you will find on the lowered priced options. It is a versatile solution for anyone with a limited budget looking after a good helmet. It features variable shade that ranges from 5 to 13 which is suitable for most cutting and welding applications while also featuring a large viewing area of 3.78″ x 2.50″. While this is not the larger viewing area you can find, it is a great start if you are a beginner or want to upgrade from fixed shade lens. Moreover, you can the option to attach a magnifying lens, a cheater lens, down the road if you need to work on projects in greater detail. Overall a budget friendly options, ideal for beginner welders and DIY enthusiasts that don’t plan on spending many consecutive hours welding.

Miller 281000 Digital Elite – Best Budget Welding Helmet For Professional

Miller 281000 Digital Elite

Viewing Area: 3.85″ x 2.38″
Arc Sensors: 4
Weight: 18 oz (510g)
Optical Class: 1/1/1/2
Shade Range: 5-8, 8-13

Lens Reaction Time: 1/20,000

Last update on 2021-01-21 at 05:18 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Miller Digital Elite is quite a popular choice among welders and its attractive pricing makes this a great investment if it fits your budget. The helmet features four modes, grind, torch, cut and weld, that make this a versatile option for a workshop. The shades ranging from 5 to 13 depending on the mode your choose to work with and the large viewing area makes it a breeze to use. The viewing area is 3.85″ x 2.38″ and features 4 arc sensors. The helmet has an optical class of 1/1/1/2 and the ClearLight technology help for improved color contrast and clarity. I would recommend having a closer look at this model as this is a great value for money option. It is lightweight and durable and can save you a little money as it costs almost half of its main competitors.

Optrel VegaView 2.5 – Best Versatile Welder Helmet

Optrel VegaView 2.5

Viewing Area: 4″ x 2″
Arc Sensors: 3
Weight: 17 oz ( 482g)
Optical Class: 1/1/1/2
Shade Range: 2.5 / 8–12

Lens Reaction Time: 1/10,000

Last update on 2021-01-21 at 05:18 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Vegaview 2.5 from Optrel is a unique auto darkening helmet that features a bright viewing area when used in grind mode. This will allow you to place your torch with great precision since you will be working in a bright environment until you start welding. The variable shade ranges from 8-12 and the true-color viewing area will allow you to improve your work rate thanks to the great visibility it offers. The helmet offers a window of 2×4″ and you will also be able to attach cheater lens if needed in the future. Overall a great product that can be found at a relatively low price, bundled up with a lot of innovative technology that makes this a great candidate to consider while researching. 

Esab Sentinel A50 – The Most Stylish Welding Helmet

ESAB Sentinel A50

Viewing Area: 3.93″ x 2.36″
Arc Sensors: 4
Weight: 22.5oz (640g)
Optical Class: 1/1/1/2
Shade Range: 5-13
Lens Reaction Time: 1/25,000

Last update on 2021-01-21 at 05:18 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This helmet from Esab is the most stylish helmet on the market thanks to its unique look that reminds of the “HALO” videogames. This helmet has a rating of 1/1/1/2 for optical clarity and auto darkening feature ranging from 5 to 13 covering most applications. Its unique feature is the colored LED touchscreen that also let you store your preferred settings in its memory so as to quickly recall them on different jobs. You can set up up to 8 memory settings that you can activate when needed, even though it mind be tough at first while wearing gloves and need to get familiar with it. 

The viewing area of 3.93″x2.36″ could have been a little larger but it’s not a deal breaker thanks to its incredible clarity. Overall a durable option backed by a long lasting warranty from a leading company in the welding industry. If you like its look, this is a great option when it comes to safety gear. A unique and stylish helmet that definitely worth a closer look while researching for your next purchase. 

Miller Electric Classic MP-10 – Best Passive Fixed Shade Welding Helmet

Miller Electric Classic MP-10
  • Lens Shade: 8 to 12
  • Plate height: 3-2/5", plate width: 4"
  • Viewing Area: 15-7/10 square inches
  • Headgear: Ratchet
  • Construction: Nylon

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I wanted to include this model from Miller Electric for anyone interested in a fixed shade welding helmet at a reasonable price. The Classic MP-10 is a great and durable option that is ideal if you are not interested in an auto darkening welding helmet. The welding filters are available for shades of 8 to 12, with shade 10 being a popular option that can cover most stick and wire feed welding applications. Overall a great helmet that can be found on a reasonable pricing point, from a reputable manufacturer. If you are looking for passive welding helmets this one definitely worth to check it out.

TGR Panoramic 180 – Best Panoramic Welding Helmet For A limited Budget

TGR Panoramic 180
  • 4 Independent ARC sensors with adjustable sensitivity and delay controls
  • Lens auto-darkens in 1/10,000th of a second, Optical class: 1.1.1.2
  • Grind: Protection against flying particles (EN175B)
  • Extra large viewing area and True Color Technology: Allows a color realistic perception
  • Certification: CE ANSI AS/NZS

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Well, the 3M speedglas model is a great option to consider, yet it can be a little pricey. If you are on a limited budget, the TGR 180 View is your best option for a panoramic welding helmet without breaking the bank. Not only you get a great extra large viewing area, you also experience a realistic color perception thanks to its true-color technology. The 4 arc sensors allow for auto-darkening from shade 4 to 12 with a very fast reaction time. The optical class of 1/1/1/2 means you get a crystal clear view with good contrast and clarity to make working on your project a great experience. The TGR panoramic is a great budget friendly option you should consider if you like working with helmets offering a large viewing area.

Factors to Consider When Choosing A Welding Helmet:

Variable Shade vs Fixed Shade
One of the first features you will see on welding helmets is whether they have variable shade or fixed share. This effects the ability of of the helmet to filter light as you will need to pick shade level depending on your welding process while keeping in mind your eye’s sensitivity. A fixed shade helmet might be found quite cheaper but in the end it is not a great investment for welders. It can be tiresome as in most cases you will end up removing the helmet to check the quality of your welding.

On the other hand, a variable shade helmet is a great investment, as you will not have to buy multiple helmets to cover a variety of application you tend to work with. The auto-darkening feature will allow you to work comfortably and also help you get greater results, since you will be able to place the torch without having to remove your helmet.

Auto Darkening Lens vs Passive Darkening Lens
We will find plenty of models for sale on market that feature passive darkening, and in most cases these will be your cheaper alternative. While they sound a great option, the case is that passive darkening lenses are not versatile solution for welders. They can be found cheap, yet they offer worst visibility of your torch and you will need to remove them every time you need to check your progress.

On the other hand, auto-darkening lenses are a great tool in your disposal since they feature LCD technology that allows them to get darker once you start the welding process. This technology will allow you great visibility for placing your torch and will be more convenient in the long run since you can check your progress without removing the helmet. If you are after a good welding helmet for your hobby or your work, picking a model with auto-darkening lenses is a better investment for your budget.

Numbers of Arc Sensors
If you decide to invest in an auto-darkening welding helmet, one of the major factors to take into consideration is the number of the arc sensors it features. These sensors are the ones responsible for detecting flashes and eventually darken the lenses in order to protect your eyes. As you might have guessed, the more sensors the helmet has, the larger the area they can cover in order to detect flashes.

In most cases you will find that cheaper models on the market are equipped with two sensors in order to keep the price low. While two might be enough in most occasions, going for a helmet with three or four sensors will decrease the risk of failing to catch flashes. If you find models with three or four sensors that fit within your budget, these are a better option to consider. Anyone with a lower budget or need to save some money, considering models with two sensors is a viable option.

Reaction Time
The lens reaction time is referring to the time required for the helmet to turn from light to dark once it has detected a flash. Obviously you are looking at models that can change fast enough, yet models with faster reaction time will make you feel more comfortable especially if you tend to start arcs frequently. Keep in mind that all of the models will be able to protect your eye sight, but the models with faster reaction time will result in less eye fatigue through the day.

Viewing Area
The size of the viewing area is another factor that you need to consider before investing in a new welding helmet. The smaller the viewing area, the more frustrating it will be for you to see clearly your working area. A large viewing area will allow you to work more comfortable, without feeling your peripheral vision block, and also improve the quality of your work.

Being able to see clearly details will increase your productivity and work rate. The larger viewing areas you can except from today’s models will be near 4×3” but since this comes down to personal preference, it is wise to try some models locally if you can.

Lens Clarity
Apart from viewing area, the lens clarity will also play a significant role for your job. All the lenses used in welding helmets are tested and rated for their quality in four areas given a rating where 1 stands for the best. While researching, it is wise to look for the optical class the lenses where given for your preferred welding helmets.

The rating for best clarity will be 1/1/1/1 and while the difference from lower ratings might not be significant for a hobbyist, when it comes to professional work the change in clarity is noticeable. Keep in mind that such a high score in clarity is usually achieved from premium priced models, so if you are after the best clarity you will have to invest a little more.

Size – Adjustable Fit
This is a huge factor to consider for anyone spending hours welding. There is nothing worst than a heavy helmet that will put strain on your neck through the day. If you work on all day projects it is vital to pick a lightweight and comfortable helmet as you can easily feel the excessive weight after a few minutes welding.

If you can, make sure you try the helmet before buying on. You need to make sure that it can be easily adjusted, front to back and up-down, in order to have a tight fit around your head while staying in place. Try to avoid cheaper helmets that are designed as one-size-fits-all. They might be great for someone starting out but a good helmet will have adjustable straps to adjust for a perfect fit. Make sure that the overall helmet’s size is in line with your job’s requirements. Some larger models will make it very difficult for you, if you need to reach tight spaces in order to weld.

Brand and Warranty
It is wise to pick a welding helmet from a reputable brand. If you are after a high-quality helmet from a trustworthy brand you should be looking for models from ESAB, Lincoln Electric, Jackson, Miller, 3M, Hobart and Optrel, to name a few. They are be pricey if you compare them to the cheaper alternatives, yet these are the best investment if you are after an auto-darkening helmet. If you find yourself just starting out, or with a limited budget you can search for budget friendly options, but I will like to highlight that your best bet would be to save some more. Picking a reliable and durable option right from the start will save you money in the long run if you have to upgrade in the future.

Reliability – Durability
As I’ve mentioned in this article before, these welding helmets are a great tool that can help you work safely and comfortably every single day. It is vital to pick a model that is built to last and buying from a reputable company assures you will find replacement parts if needed while also being covered by a long lasting warranty. In the end, this tool is here to protect your health and reduce the chances for injuries in your eyes, and hands. You should avoid cheaper alternatives as it can get pricey very soon and having to deal with equipment failing at critical moments can be frustrating. Make sure you ask fellow welders for opinion or a small review if you find they use a model you are interest in.

Power Source – Solar vs Battery
There are plenty of models in the market that can be powered by solar energy. This type of helmets are ideal if you work outdoors since you will have one less thing to worry about. You won’t have to carry replacement batteries and in fact solar powered helmets tend to be very lightweight.

On the other hand, battery powered models are suitable both for interior and exterior use since you will always be able to power them from replaceable batteries. This comes with the cost as these models can be pretty heavy and you will always have to carry extra batteries and try to conserve battery life when not in use. It comes down to personal preference, but keep in mind that manufacturers have came up with solutions that automatically turn off the power for solar models in order to preserve power that makes them a viable option nowadays.

If you decide to avoid solar powered models, you need to take into consideration that some models will allow you to replace the batteries, while some others come with non-replaceable batteries. The non-replaceable batteries need to be recharged frequently and in the case of a battery drain you will eventually have to buy a new helmet down the road. Replaceable batteries are a great option to consider as you can easily charge a few backups while you continue working with your helmet.

National Safety Standards
Regardless of the the type of helmet you end up with, you have to make sure that it meets the national safety standards. Welding shields need to be approved by American National Standard Institute to ensure they are safe for the users through a series of tests. Make sure that the helmet you pick has passed these tests regarding protection from high speed impact, extreme temperatures and ultraviolet/infrared rays. The latest safety standard is ANSI Z87.1 – 2003, so make sure that your helmet comes with a guarantee from the manufacturer that it meets this standard.

Features
There are some features that can be found on welding helmets, that can be valuable to some welders, while others can live without them. Overall, such features try to make your work more comfortable and easier, so they are quite handy to have in your helmet. Such a feature is Grind Mode that can be found in plenty of helmet. This is usually a button activated feature that allow you see through the mask with removing it. It makes the helmet quite versatile to be used in various occasions on a workshop, so this is something you might have to include in your checklist.

Some helmets also come with extra padding on their inside which makes it make stable and comfortable to work with. Every model has different amount of padding, sometimes on top and sides, while others can be found around the chin area. It is wise to look for models with extra padding as it will make the overall welding experience more comfortable, especially if you need it for daily use.

You can find helmets that allow you to attach a cheater lens if needed. This can be quite handy since the cheater lens will provide you with magnification on your viewing window, allowing for an enlarged view of your project.

Last but not least, welding helmets will have either external or internal knobs. The internal knobs are handy if you work on tight spaces since you won’t accidentally touch them, yet you will need to remove your helmet if you need to adjust them. On the other hand, external knobs allow for easier adjustments without removing your helmet. It’s up to you to decide which knob placement will work better in your environment.

Best brands – who makes best helmets?

ESAB is a reputable manufacturer with more than 110 years expertise on welding machines and consumables. The company was founded in the early 1900s by engineer Oscar Kjellberg and since then it is a leader in the world of welding. The group offers products from arc welding equipment to welding automation and robotics. On their website you can also find a plethora of information on cutting systems, welding and safety through their knowledge center.

3M Speedglas is a brand of 3M that has provided outstanding products for welders that last four decades. They introduced the first commercially available auto-darkening filter back in the 1981 and writing history since then. They have acquired a dedicated following over the years, both hobbyists and professionals since their products offer great quality for an affordable price.

Jackson Safety is known for their long-lasting and comfortable safety solutions. They are quite popular for a wide array of safety gear including welding masks and hearing protection. The company was acquired by Surewex, a leading suppliers of professional equipment, along with Wilson Safety brand, back in 2019.

Optrel is widely known for their welding safety equipment and a world leading manufacturer on eye protection products. This Swiss company is widely acknowledged for its innovate and reliable products when it comes to safety.

Hobart Brothers was founded in 1917 and operated as a family owned business until 1996 when they were acquired by Illinois Tool Works. They are widely known for their tubular wires and stick electrodes. Back in the 1930, the company also started the Hobart welding school that was later named Hobart Institute Of Welding Technology.

Miller Electric started in 1929 as a one-man operation that lead to a leading welding supplies manufacturer. The company was acquired in 1993 from Illinois Tool Works when its founded died. With over 90 years of expertise, they have a plethora of solutions for welders, along with a great forum on their website with more that 60000 active members.

Lincoln Electric is an American manufacturer that was founded in 1895. Their distribution network and sales offices cover more than 160 countries while their manufacturing is taking place in 19 countries. A global manufacturer with a leading position on welding hoods and consumables, that also founded the Lincoln Welding School back in the 1917.

Michail
I'm Michail, the founder of TopTenCollections and author of the top ten lists. In my free time I enjoy board games with friends and playing escape rooms. I love conceptual photography and also have an online radio station. When I'm not compiling top ten lists I spend my time editing videos or playing video games.