Auto Darkening Guide
Auto Darkening Welding Helmets are the best welding helmets to protect a welder’s eyes from flash damage in welding applications. Auto Darkening welding helmet filters offer the same level of protection as a standard welding helmet filter. Auto-darkening filters detect the flash of the arc and darken so fast the eye cannot detect it.
Remember welder’s flash is the cause of 6% of construction-related injuries and buying a good auto darkening welding helmet will go a long way to prevent needless injuries. Remember an auto-darkening filter still protects your eyes from UV and IR light even when it is not darkened.
What should you look for in an auto-darkening welding helmet?
First, verify that the helmet meets the ANSI Z87.1 standard. This standard guarantees that the helmet will provide the proper protection against the arc flash. You can choose a lens shade that will suit your comfort level and needs. Ensure that you wear the helmet properly in the down position when you weld.
Welding helmets can change shade by solar powered or battery operated means. What are the differences between these two methods? Solar powered shades change when a change in light intensity is detected. They are designed to automatically darken from the arc. Battery operated shades must be turned on by the welder to operate like the solar powered shades.
Helmet specifications can be analyzed before making a purchase. You can research specifications including the viewing area, UV/IR protection, switching speed, power supply, operating temperature, weight, price, and much more. More detailed information regarding each specification can be found on many manufacturers’ websites.
Find a helmet that feels comfortable atop your head for extended periods of time. You might want to invest in a helmet that has a sensor bar if you work in close proximity of other welders. The sensor bar will help to alleviate any false alarm darkening of your helmet due to neighboring welders.
Where can I find an auto darkening welding helmet?
Auto-darkening welding helmets are sold through many stores, online retailers, and even on Internet auction websites such as Amazon.com. Prices can range from under $100 to over $200. Helmets are produced by different manufacturers and contain a wide range of features.
There are plenty of Internet resources available to search for your perfect welding helmet. You can find welding helmets that align with your welding duties. An array of options is at your fingertips.
These are some common definitions and terms to enable you make up your mind on which features you want in an auto-darkening welding helmet:
The Delay Adjustment:
This feature allows users to adjust the amount of time before the lens transitions back to light state.
Allows users to fine-tune unit depending on arc intensity or ambient light; allows low amp.
Solar Battery Life Extender:
Extends welding hours; solar cell increases economical operation-decreases battery replacement cost and downtime.
This feature allows the helmet to detect welds less than 5 amps
Three modes of operation grind (clear state), weld (shade 8.5-12.5) and oxyfuel gas cutting (shade 5); one hood for every welding process.
HTLS Light state:
Shade 3.75 clear state, the clearest PI filter available; allows good color and visibility for hood down set up in low ambient light settings.
Independent Redundant Sensors:
if one sensor is blocked or damaged, the unit’s performance will not be damaged; enables welder to work in tight areas.
Manually shut down the unit when not in use, or automatic shut-off after 20 minutes non-use; maximizes battery life.
Tests the ambient air temperature three times per minute and automatically adjusts to ensure excellent shading during welding.
Unique coating designed to shield and protect electronics against extreme electromagnetic interference.
10| Miller 268618 CAT
As part of the Digital Elite Series, this helmet is poised to provide a lot of good things to any operator. There are multiple modes built into this helmet, allowing users to have a high level of digital versatility to support their welding work. With the Miller Electric CAT Edition Welding Helmet, youll also be given the opportunity to support one of your favorite brands as you work around the house or take care of your professional responsibilities.
The strength of the Digital Elite Series by Miller Electric is the X-Mode. This digital mode works to prevent sunlight interference when working outdoors, reducing the amount of back light that comes through the lens while working. It also supports hidden welds, cavity welds, and working in enclosed areas that might obstruct the arc sensors in some way.
The X-Mode is supported by a welding mode, which offers operators a shade variation of 8-13, depending on the amount of radiant energy that is being produced. There is also a wider range of cutting shades included with this helmet, giving you variation options from 5-7 instead of only providing Shade #5 like most other helmets at this price point. You also receive a Shade #3 for grinding.
9| Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350
If you’re looking for an affordable welding helmet that incorporates 4C technology and outstanding graphics on the outer shell, then finding something that is budget-friendly can be rather difficult. Intricate details often mean very high prices. The Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Mojo Welding Helmet is one of the exceptions to that rule. With a retail for less than $300 in some locations, you’ll receive the look and the features that you need to create a professional outcome.
This welding helmet is solar powered, but also comes with a battery assist. The lithium battery is replaceable on this model, allowing you to work with your welding pool with a view that is clear and crisp. The ADF 1/1/1/1 lens is backed by a 3-year warranty, though cracking of the external glass does void that warranty.
The graphics are fantastic with this helmet. The outer shell is fairly durable as well, so you won’t feel like you need to treat your new Lincoln Electric helmet like it was made from egg shells to preserve your investment. This is one of the few helmets that will go where you go and take on whatever environment happens to be there.
8| Lincoln Electric K3064-1
If you’re looking for an affordable helmet with offers automatic shading, it can be a struggle to find something of a good quality product. Either the helmet is ridiculously heavy, the viewing window is small, or you get both negatives while being told it’s a “great” helmet. The Lincoln Electric K3064-1 Variable Shade Welding Helmet really is a great helmet, with features that are actually useful for the modern operator.
It all starts with the lightweight design. This particular helmet weights just 1.5 pounds. Featuring a blue flame exterior design, the ADF has a variable shade range of 9-13 that will correctly adjust to the appropriate darkness based on the radiant energy that is being produced by your preferred welding discipline. The lens switching speed is just 40 microseconds, supported by 2 arc sensors and a viewing field size of 3.82 x 1.73 inches. It is also compatible with magnification filters if you prefer.
Unlike some of the ADF helmets that are powered by a lithium or cadmium battery, the K3064-1 utilizes solar power to operate the auto-darkening feature. You’re also able to adjust the lens on the outside of the helmet, allowing you to achieve the perfect shading effect so that your project becomes visible in virtually any light.
7| Miller 281000 Digital Elite
With 9 square inches of viewing area, operators will have plenty of optical space to complete their work. The redesigned headgear that is included will provide a comfortable wearing experience that can be 8-12 hours long, thanks to the 1.13-pound weight. That’s just the beginning of what the Miller Electric Digital Elite ADF Welding Helmet is able to provide.
Created from a nylon construction and powered by the included lithium batteries, this helmet offers 2 inside and 5 outside cover lenses in addition to the helmet bag. There is a magnifying lens holder for those who need it, as well as intuitive controls that allow you to push buttons instead of turn knobs so you can tailor your helmet to your current welding project.
And let’s not forget the fact that this helmet will let you show off your patriotic pride in a unique and affordable way. In many ways, this is an industrial-grade welding helmet, but without the high price tag. You can see that in the general specifications of this particular helmet. The viewing field on this Miller Electric welding helmet is one of the best that you’ll find in this pricing category. It is also backed by the company’s True Blue Warranty.
If you’re looking to step up from an entry-level helmet, then there are plenty of features available in our industry to consider. Should you pursue ADF technologies, look for lightweight options, or a large viewing area? Thanks to the Hobart 770756 Impact Variable Auto-Dark Helmet, you don’t have to look at helmets that only solve one-third of that equation. You can purchase an affordable helmet that has everything right now.
Here are the features that you’ll find come with the Hobart 770756:
* It features a lens switching reaction time of 1/25,000 of a second, which is one of the best in the industry at this price point.
* There is a full variable shade offered with the automatic switching, giving you protection in Shades #8-13.
* Operators are also given a grinding mode which operates in Shade #3. You’re given the option of shutting off the shading feature for grinding if you prefer.
* The total viewing area measures 7.05 square inches.
* The outer shell is composed of a durable and lightweight polyamide.
Even though this helmet is often priced at $120 or less, there are still 3 arc sensors included with the design of the product instead of the standard 2 sensors. This gives operators a more accurate shading experience when working in enclosed areas.
5| Save Phace 3011704 Warpig
There’s a lot to love at first glance with this wonderful welding helmet. For starters, it has one of the largest viewing areas, at over 40 square inches, then any other helmet at this price. Yet the Save Phace Warpig 40-Vizl4 Series welding helmet has a lot more to offer operators.
It features one of the fastest protective lens change systems that is on the market today. Powered off an included solar cell, switching time at 23C happens in just 0.08 milliseconds. It is fully automatic, but you do also have shade control. The ADF technology with this helmet provides variable shading from 9-13 with a lens that has been classified as 1/1/1/2. The light shade is definitely a #4.
The lenses are not interchangeable with this specific helmet, but it is one of the few options that does allow for 5-amp welding from Save Phace. It also offers a grinding function, a warning flash, and a low battery warning indicator so that you can service this helmet quickly and effectively.
This helmet is great for operators who may be concerned about receiving a total protection experience. The narrow design helps the helmet fit close around the face, but still providing a superior level of comfort. The headgear design offers numerous adjustment points so that virtually anyone can experience a fit that almost feels customized to their specific needs.
That design also helps operators get into tight spots. When incorporating the wider view that is also built into this design from Save Phace, you’re able to see your project in full without needing to shift or move based on what your current task happens to be. This makes it suitable for the student, the DIY specialist, or the professional.
4| Hobart 770754 Impact Agent Orange Variable
Are you tired of welding helmets that offer more gimmicks than meaningful features? Do you need an affordable helmet that gives you effective protection on a consistent basis? Then you’re going to want to take a look at the Hobart 770754 Impact Agent Orange Variable ADF Helmet.
Priced as more of an entry-level helmet, it is one of the few in its class that offers a completely variable lens shading experience. You can use it for grinding in its light state of Shade #3. It also offers users a variable shade of 8-13 based on the arc that it senses from your welding project. Combined with the 7 square inches of viewing space that operators receive and you’ll have a tool that will be effective and protective all day long.
The Hobart® Agent Orange™ Impact Series auto-darkening welding helmet is a welding hood for the serious metal fabricator at a “Do It Yourself” price. The variable shade lens is adjustable from shade 8-13 and is suitable for MIG, TIG and Stick welding. The Impact Series lens features both weld and grind modes. The Hobart® Impact Agent Orange™ welding hood also comes with three arc sensors, Hobart’s standard 2-Year lens warranty and generation II headgear for ultimate operator comfort.
For those welders who prefer more side vision as they work, the 3M helmet is definitely one to consider. An additional plasma mode is also good for hobbyists. Filter is on the smaller side, but many users praise the tighter fit.
This is aWell-ventilated helmet that reduces fogging. The Side glass panels improve the user’s range of vision. Includes a plasma mode.
The Speedglas welding helmet 9100 with sidewindows, filter shades 8-13, sensitivity adjustment allows use with all Stick, MIG and TIG processes, also has grinding and torch modes. New headgear makes this helmet extremely comfortable and versatile. Viewing area 6.05 sq in.
2| Jackson Safety BH3
The Jackson® BH3 auto darkening welding helmet with Balder® technology has simply the highest rated optical quality of any ADF welding hood in the world. The Balder welding lens is unrivaled in clarity and color recognition and provides unmatched views of the weld puddle from just about any angle. With variable shade 9-13 and torch cutting mode, the Jackson Balder WH70 auto dark filter never needs batteries and comes with the world’s only 5 year lens warranty.
Highly recommended by both hobby and professional welders, this Jackson helmet has a very comfortable and eyeglass-friendly mask. Automatically darkens with arc light, but still remains clear for welding work. Darkens by wavelength, not triggered by sunlight. Lens exceptionally clear, easy-to-see weld puddles. Lens design and blue shade reduces retinal burning.
The Instapark ADF Series GX990T Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with 4 Optical Sensors, 3.94″ X 3.86″ Viewing Area and Adjustable Shade Range #5 – #13 The major selling points for us is the high quality / low price factor . Powered by built-in solar cells and 1 replaceable CR2450 battery, the Instapark ADF GX990T series welding helmet is equipped with 4 arc sensors that activate the auto-darkening filter to switch from light to dark automatically in a split second when an arc is struck. The auto-darkening filter greatly reduces the need to flip the welding helmet up and down between torch placements, which helps to boost productivity by reducing the stop-and-start time needed with passive lens welding helmets.