There are lots of factors that need to be considered while hunting for the best welding helmet. Surely, an expensive brand can get you a killer protective gear, but you might not need so many goodies. Some helmets are designed, constructed and crafted better than others, mainly because they are built by industry experts, and they know what a welder needs. Let’s first take a look at some of the attributes a welding helmet must have before moving to the best protective gear for your head and eyes.
Attributes of a Good Welding Helmet
The first and foremost duty of a welding helmet is its ability to protect your head and eyes from sudden sparks, fire, and accidental bumps. Make sure that your desired welding helmet follows ANSI and OSHA standards for safety.
Ergonomic Design and Fit
Next thing to consider is its fitting. You can find welding helmets that tick all safety standards, have all the necessary sensors and gadgets and still cost a fraction of what the top dogs will charge, why? Because they are poorly designed for small heads and putting them on each time will become a chore. Ideally, try the helmet on before buying to see the fitting, padding, and thickness along with the weight. You will be putting it on for 20-30 minutes straight, so you should be comfortable with its weight and construction. Look for one within 400-500 grams range, anything beyond will hamper your mobility while doing the job. Also, it must have a decent size lens for better visibility.
You will need to look at two things here. First, the type of material for protection; is it made of plastic or a glass? Primarily, go with the glass made helmets, though some very good plastic ones are also in the market. Secondly, the number of sensors and their speed. A good welding helmet can automatically darken the lens and protect your eyes upon sensing bright light/spark in 1/20,000 of a second. However, anything above 1/8000 of a second is a good reaction time. Furthermore, you should know that some helmets use 2 sensors while others rely on 4 arc sensors. Mostly, the greater the better, but it’s not always true. Two good, lightning fast sensors can beat 4 slow, mediocre ones anytime of the day.
The power supply of any helmet is not a very important aspect and only adds to the convenience. If you plan to work outdoors, you can opt for the one powered by solar panels; it will be more convenient as you won’t have to check and carry an extra pair of batteries. For indoor workmen, relying on batteries is a safer option, as low light conditions can hamper the performance of darkening sensors.
Now let’s move on to the best welding helmet for the money:
- Rhino RH01
With a lightning fast arc response time, at 1/25,000 of a second, a weight of 544 grams and above average viewing area, Rhino RH01 is and all round welding helmet. It boasts a nylon shell and a carbon fiber viewing window to add to its toughness, plus it has multiple certifications like CE, CSA, EN379, and ISO9001 among others.
- Jackson Safety W70 BH3
It is one of the most compact welding helmets you can buy. But don’t let its compact size fool you; it packs 4 speedy arc sensors, a large auto darkening glass lens with digital controls, and multiple work modes. The only down side is its weight; weighing 576 grams, it is slightly heavy and might bog some people down.
- Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Solar Helmet
Solar powered with compact nylon construction and a switching time of 0.04 milliseconds, Antra is easily the top contender for the best welding helmets currently available. However, its viewing area is not as great as the top two on our list. That’s why it has to settle for the third position on our list, otherwise, it packs equally impressive certifications to box with top dogs and is ideal for any DIY project.