Are you looking to do some welding projects around the home or in your shop? If so, you are going to need a quality welding helmet to help protect your eyes from the light, heat and sparks that are created during the welding process.
But with so many welding helmets out there today, how do you know which one is right for you? This question—and more—will be answered in the following guide.
We have reviewed several of the most popular and best-selling welding helmets currently available for home projects, including the advantages and drawbacks associated with each helmet. We have also included a Welding Helmet Buying Guide, in which we will highlight the various factors and characteristics you should definitely look for when shopping for your next welding helmet.
Last update on 2019-05-16 at 12:33 / Affiliate disclaimer / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API
Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet
In addition to offering superb protection for a wide variety of home welding projects, the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet can also be customized and/or personalized by choosing from over 10 colors, all of which have a glossy, good-looking finish. Perfect for do-it-yourself enthusiasts to professional welders, the helmet boasts an auto-darkening lens that helps it automatically adapt to different materials, welding styles and lighting conditions. Boasting awesome visibility, the Viking 3350 has an optical clarity rating of 1/1/1/1. Even better, with shade settings ranging from 6 to 13 and a grind setting, the helmet is extremely versatile—the perfect welding helmet for any job around the house.
Many experienced welders applaud the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet for its wealth of great features, not the least of which is its large viewing window. Measuring a whopping 3.74 inches by 3.34 inches, the window creates an excellent field of vision for any type of project. The size and clarity of the viewing window are especially crucial when working in difficult positions—positions in which vision might otherwise be impaired or obstructed. However, a notable disadvantage to this large window is that it creates a front-heavy helmet that can get uncomfortable during longer jobs.
- Great looking helmet. Available in 10 glossy colors and with stickers included, users can personalize the good-looking Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet any way they wish.
- Large viewing window. The large viewing window on the helmet makes for a great field of vision, especially during difficult, hard to reach jobs.
- Wide shade selection. The Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet has a shade variability of 6-13, making it ideal for a wide variety of different jobs.
- Easily scratched. Due to the glossy finish on this helmet, it can easily be scratched during normal wear.
- Heavy. Due to the larger-than-average front viewing window on the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet, it tends to be very front-heavy, which can get uncomfortable after prolonged use.
Miller 251292 Classic Welding Helmet
For a helmet that looks just as good as it performs it’s hard to beat the Miller 251292 Classic Welding Helmet. This sleek and elegant helmet boasts a fairly simple design, with no over-the-top graphics or extra features that often go unused. And when performance is necessary, you can always count on this Miller helmet. Featuring an auto-darkening lens, the helmet has a simple to use analog control function that is powered by Triple-A batteries. This control will give you an average run time of about 2,000 hours, which is standard for helmets of this kind; and in addition to the reliable battery power there is also a solar option. With a variable lens shade of 8 to 12 the helmet is very versatile and the perfect choice for a wide variety of welding tasks, save for heavy-duty welding projects that may require a darker shade.
If comfort is important to you, the Miller 251292 Classic Welding Helmet definitely has you covered. Made from tough nylon material and weighing just 2.1 pounds, you may just forget you are wearing this helmet before the sparks start flying and you reap the benefits from all of its protective functions. A helmet that offers a nice compromise between the most budget-friendly and premium options, this is the perfect helmet for the beginner do-it-yourself enthusiast.
- Solid Build. The tough nylon construction and the durable materials used to make the outside of the Miller 251292 Classic Welding Helmet give it a solid, long lasting construction.
- Great Auto-Darkening Feature. The auto-darkening feature on the Miller welding helmet works fantastically.
- Lightweight. Weighing just 2.1 pounds, the Miller 251292 Classic Welding Helmet has a lightweight design that makes it very comfortable to wear.
- Not suitable for heavy-duty welding. A fairly basic helmet, with variable shades from 9 to 12, the Miller 251292 Classic Welding Helmet is not exactly suited for heavy duty welding.
- Problems with tension adjustment. Some reviewers have complained about problems with the helmet’s tension adjustment features.
Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet
Made from a manufacturer whose name is well-known in the welding arena, the Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet features incredible craftsmanship and offers stellar performance. With plenty of variability in terms of the shade setting, the helmet is designed almost exclusively for arc welding and plasma cutting; and the myriad of great features that are included make it incredibly easy to use.
The auto-darkening lens on the Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet can switch modes in seconds—from very bright to very dim—and because it is powered by 4 powerful sensors you can always be sure to get just the right level of brightness or darkening. The lens shading varies from a low range of 4.5 to 9 to a high range of 9 to 13, making the helmet extra versatile and flexible and helping welders switch from job to job without any manual adjustments. The helmet comes complete with 6 replacement lenses, and with a budget-friendly price it is perfect for newbie welders and homeowners looking to tackle some light duty welding tasks around the home.
The Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet is compatible with a magnifying lens of 2 by 4 inches, which is ideal for those tough to see jobs, adding additional visibility when working on projects that require a more precise or intricate weld. Best of all, the solar power assist on this helmet keeps it continuously charged when working on outdoor projects, even when the batteries for the lens are running low.
- Budget friendly. The Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet is the most budget friendly helmet on our list of products.
- Magnifying lens compatible. Compatible with a 2 x 4 inch magnifying glass, the Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet is the perfect choice when precision and total accuracy is a must.
- Lightweight. Like the previous product, this helmet is incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear—one of the lightest helmets on the market.
- Small viewing window. The small viewing window on the Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet can sometimes obstruct the welder’s field of vision.
- Not very durable. Due to the lightweight, budget friendly construction of this helmet, its durability and longevity are questionable.
Welding Helmets: Buying Guide
When you set out to buy your next welding helmet, there are several things to consider and few features to look for. Below we have briefly outlined some of these considerations to help you select the perfect welding helmet for your needs and preferences.
Passive vs. Auto-Darkening Lenses
The difference between passive and auto-darkening welding helmets is simple. With a passive helmet, the darkness of the lens or viewing window never changes. When using a passive helmet, welders are forced to lift it up when positioning the material and the gun, and then they must flip them down right before they begin to weld to protect their eyes.
With auto-darkening lenses, it is unnecessary to flip the helmet up or down. These helmets allow welders to see clearly through the window when positioning the material, and then they darken automatically once the welding process begins. Auto-darkening helmets are equipped with light sensors that automatically darken the lens when the light of the welding torch is switched on.
So which type is right for you? Most welding helmets made today have auto-darkening lenses. These helmets are much more convenient and a great deal safer than their passive counterparts. While passive helmets may be a bit more budget-friendly, we recommend—for safety and convenience sake—that you spend the extra money for a helmet that automatically darkens once the torch is ignited.
Fixed or Variable Shade
Many helmets have a fixed shade called a number 10. With these helmets, the darkness of the viewing window never changes. Other helmets have variable shades, in which the helmet will have a lighter or darker shade depending on the type of welding being done and the material being used. If you plan to do just one kind of welding, using just aluminum or stainless steel, for example, a fixed shade helmet may be all you need. However, when working with hotter or lighter burning materials a variable shade helmet can help you protect your eyes more completely while also expanding your field of vision.
Some of the older-style welding helmets can be very heavy and cumbersome to wear. Fortunately, many of today’s helmets are made from lightweight composites that make them much more light and comfortable. When shopping, try to look for a helmet with a weight that does not exceed 3 pounds for the utmost in comfort.
The size of the viewing window on welding helmets can vary from one helmet to another. A larger viewing window will, naturally, ensure the best field of vision, particularly when welding difficult projects in difficult positions. Keep in mind, though, that a larger viewing window can often add to the overall weight of the helmet.
Lens Reaction Time
When examining the lens reaction time of different helmets, we recommend you first do some research, as this particular bit of information may not be included on the box. A safety feature, the lens reaction time determines how fast the lens will darken once the welding torch is ignited. Needless to say, a faster reaction time is definitely desired for the sake of your eye safety and protection, even though this might add a bit to the overall price tag.
Lens Shade Adjustability
While the auto-darkening feature on most welding helmets works very well, you may find you need to slightly adjust the lens shade for sensitivity. If you plan to do a lot of welding, try and look for a welding helmet with adjustable sensitivity controls that will help you set the lens shade perfectly.
While most auto-darkening helmets are powered by batteries, some come with an additional solar powered option called a solar assist—a feature that can help save the life of your batteries. Solar assist welding helmets can be charged by the UV light of the sun, which means when working outdoors you will be constantly charging your unit while saving the life of your batteries.