A welding helmet is a necessity for protection from burns and damage to the eyes. Many brands and models are available so if you’re not familiar with them, choosing the best option could be a challenge. Not all welding helmets are equal in quality, function and performance so it is important to know specifically what to look for in a welding helmet. Here are some facts and tips that will help you in making the best choice the first time you purchase.
Meeting safety standards
One of the most important things to look for in a welding helmet is that it meets ANSI Z87.1 or ANSI Z87 + standards. This rating certifies that the helmet and lens has met the minimum requirements for safety and has been independently tested and passed with 100 percent certainty. This is your assurance that the helmet can withstand the impact of flying objects at high velocity and will protect your eyes and skin with filtering of infrared and ultraviolet at any shade setting.
Choosing the right lens type
The two types of lenses for welding helmets include auto darkening and passive. The passive lens helmet is made with dark tint glass with UV and IR coating. These lenses have a set shade value that can be purchased in a range from #3 to #13 with #10 being the most common. The downside of using passive lens helmets is that the viewig portion of the helmet must be lifted when positioning the electrode or gun. Most helmets are easily flipped downward into protection mode with a flip of the neck or fast forward motion of the head. These are generally the less expensive type, but it can affect the quality of the weld if the welder is not accustomed to using them. An additional con is that using this type helmet over time can lead to excessive neck muscle strain which can become extreme over time and through repeated use.
Auto darkening lens helmets
The auto darkening lens helmet provides a remedy for the issues that can be caused by a passive lens. The lens is light enough to see what you are doing until the sensors detect an arc. This causes an immediate darkening of the lens to protect eyes from damage of flash. This type provides greater convenience and can enhance the quality of welding while protecting the neck from injury and lessening the number of times that the helmet must be re-positioned.
Consider the level of welding to be done
When deciding on which welding helmet to choose, the type of work to be done can help determine which will work out the best. Fixed shade helmets are best for welding jobs that have little variation in the thickness and similarities of the materials that you’ll be working with. In addition, if there is a limited amperage range this could be a good choice.
Auto darkening helmets are the most useful when there is potential for variation in the brightness of the arc. This is also recommended if you will be using a variety of different welding processes with variation in welding amperage. If you will be welding in tight spaces, there may not be enough room to flip the helmet up and down, so this is also a consideration to be made when choosing the helmet type that you will be using.
When looking for the best welding helmet it pays to go prepared. Some of them may look similar, but performance is what really counts. This doesn’t mean that the most expensive helmet is the best for your purposes, but in general, you get what you pay. The least expensive option mayThe most important aspect is to make certain that your choice meets all minimum safety standards. Next, it should be suitable for the types of welding jobs that you’ll be performing. By keeping these things in mind, you’ll be better able to sift through the variety of welding helmets that are out there, and find the right one that will best meet your needs the first time.