The welding helmet is a device, which is designed to protect the face, eyes, head, and neck of the welder. The main feature of the welding helmet is to protect the welder’s eyes against an intensely brilliant light of arc. There are numerous types of welding helmets available in the market. A right helmet can increase your productivity, weld quality, and comfort. Finding the right helmet has become a tough job for beginners. This article will help you understand all types of welding helmets with their pros & cons. Then you will be able to find the right helmet according to your needs.
Main types of welding helmets
Let’s discuss further detail of each type!
1. Auto-dark welding helmet
The auto-dark welding helmet has an auto-darkening filter with sensors to detect arc. This means when the sensor detects the brilliant lightening of the arc, the filter automatically darkens to protect your eyes. When the arc is not active, then the filter shade shifts to standard vision. Standard vision helps the user to inspect the welded joint. So, you do not need to remove the helmet to check the welding. It makes the welding process faster and more efficient.
The Auto-darkening filter provides UV & IR rays protection even when the dark shade is not active. Shade numbers refer to the ability of the lens to darken the vision. The auto-dark lens has 3 or 4 shade number for standard vision, and when the sensor detects an arc light, the lens darkens to shade number 8 to 13. A higher shade number is required when a welding job needs high-amperes.
There are further many types of auto-dark welding helmets available in the market. Now we are going to discuss each model based on the following points.
- Auto-dark helmet with True color technology
Although you can see what you are welding in the usual auto-darkening filter. But the color fades away, and you can only see the greenish view. But with the evolution of technology, it is now possible to see more color than just green. A true-color welding helmet offers you a clear vision. True color technology is just like looking through a window with clear glass.
This is possible because the lenses are arranged so that some light wavelengths are reflected while the rest passes through.
The only drawback is that helmets with true color technology are relatively more expensive than other auto-dark welding helmets.
- Number of arc sensor and their response
Some auto-dark welding helmets come with two arc sensors and others with four arc sensors. Helmets with two arc sensors are relatively cheap and affordable. But if you need to do a welding job in the high obstructive area, then a helmet with four arc sensors is the best choice. If a sensor will be blocked with obstruction, then others will be there for a response.
Good quality arc sensors have better control over the sensitivity and delay settings, but they are relatively expensive. (Sensitivity determines the amount of light required to the activate auto-dark filter of the helmet. And delay control allows you to adjust how long the lens remains dark after the welding arc stops) you can change the delay time from 0.5 to 2 sec. Lens reaction time, according to set sensitivity, must be equal to 0.00004sec.
- Manually control the auto-dark welding helmet
Some auto-dark welding helmets have outside adjustable knobs to adjust delay setting, sensitivity, and shade control according to the job requirements. Moreover, some helmets have a separate button for grinding mode.
The advantage of a manual control system is easy to adjust the setting with a gloved hand during welding.
The helmet with a manual setting is relatively cheap. But outside manual knobs can damage or get dirt contaminants with time. So, there is a need for proper care and cleaning of knob regularly.
- Digitally control the auto-dark welding helmet
With the evolution of technology, new coming welding helmets have digital control over sensitivity, delay setting, and shade control. A digital control system is easy to understand and work more accurately. Moreover, an alarm system to indicate battery charging is also integrated with it. The Digital system also comes with an auto-off function to save battery charging.
Helmets with a digital control system are relatively expensive, and you need to put-off helmet to adjust settings. You cannot adjust easily with a gloved hand. Moreover, it’s challenging to read digit on-screen in sunlight.
- Solar power auto-dark welding helmet
Some auto-dark welding helmets come with fixed batteries that cannot be replaced. These batteries need solar energy to charge. The main advantage of this type of battery is that you don’t need to worry about buying or replacing a new battery. Solar power helmets are affordable in price. They are useful for an outdoor welding project. A solar-powered welding helmet lasts for many hours when charged. You don’t have to charge them regularly.
Its drawback is that you must remember to place it in the sun to recharge the day before the project. Forgetting to do so would result in wasting time on the project. Moreover, you can’t replace the battery; you have to change the helmet if there is any problem related to the battery.
- Battery power auto-dark helmet
The battery-powered auto-dark helmet uses a lithium rechargeable and replaceable battery. You can purchase lithium batteries easily from the market. It comes as a one-time battery or rechargeable. A battery power helmet is more convenient than solar power because you can immediately use your helmet after replacing the battery. Having a spare set of batteries on a long project will be a smart move.
- Fix shade and variable shade auto-dark welding helmet
New coming auto-dark welding helmet has control to fix one shade or use multiple shades according to the job requirement. For a specific welding process with a fixed amp, a fixed shade is very effective.
If you fix the #10 shade, then the lens always switches to shade 10 when the sensor detects arc light. If you select a variable shade #8-13 option, your helmet can adjust to any welding process. The welder can use a variable shade option to work on any type of material. This mode protects welder eyes in any circumstances.
- Shell shape and design of auto-dark welding helmet
The auto-dark helmet shell is designed based on different requirements like narrow shape design, anti-fogging design, lightweight, roomy interior design, respirator adaptable design, safety hat adaptable design, extended throat protection design for overhead welding, design with larger view area, design with side view area, and many others. Consider your personal preference and work requirement before selecting shell design.
2. Passive welding helmet
A passive welding helmet has a permanent shade, usually a #10 lens, whether the arc is active or not.
This is the most basic type of welding helmet and has been used massively by welders over the years. Its structure material is excellent. So, it can stand against rough use for a long time. Moreover, its shell shape and material protects welder from flying objects, heat stress, and UV&IR radiation.
The most favorable advantages of this helmet are affordable prices with no extra burden of sensitivity adjustment and battery replacement. This helmet would be ideal for the welder, who works on a single welding process with the fixed amp. Also, it will be a good choice as a beginner welding helmet.
The main disadvantage of this helmet is, it involves frequent nodding of the shell up and down to inspect the welding.
There are further two types of passive welding helmets available in the market.
- Flip-able shade lens passive welding helmet
Some passive welding helmets come with a flip-able shade lens. The main advantage of the flip-able shade lid is that you can do frequent nodding of the lid to inspect welding without disturbing shell balance. Moreover, there is a clear protective lens in place when shade lid flip-up, allowing you to do grinding with standard vision. You can also attach leather bib with these helmets for throat and overhead protection.
The only disadvantage of these helmets is that the shade lid can easily catch dust and other contaminants. So, there is a need for proper cleaning and caring for shade lid.
- Fix shade lens passive welding helmet
Fix shade lens probably has a long life and do not get screeches too early. Helmet with a fixed shade lens has a broad view area.
But with fix lens, you have to flip-up whole shell of the helmet to inspect the welding. Frequent nodding-up & down of the shell cause neck strain. Moreover, you cannot use this helmet for grinding correctly.
3. Pancake welding hood
If you are a beginner, you may have never heard of a pancake welding hood. They get this name because of their shape like a pancake. The main feature that makes them necessary for outside welding is a balsa box. The balsa box is a small box made of wood that surrounds the eyes and acts as a holder for the lens. Balsa box acts as goggles and can seal out all light that might reflect the inside of the shading lens. It helps to provide the best glare-free vision. This is very helpful for outside welder, especially pipeline welder, when the sun position is directly behind the welder.
One side of the pancake hood has a shield to protect your face from welding sparks and UV rays. The protective shield should be on the right side of the face for the right-handed welder and left side for the left-handed welder.
4. Leather hood welding mask
Leather hood fully covers your face, neck, head, and even shoulder with leather. It is best suitable for outdoor welding and provides a glare-free vision. It comes with a flip-able shade lip, so you don’t need to remove the hood every time to inspect the welded joint. You can fit both a fixed shade filter and an auto-dark filter in the flip-able lid. It’s also suitable in extreme cold weather and high wind condition. Moreover, it saves your neck, head, and face from welding fumes, welding spark, and heat stress during overhead welding. It is made of fire and heat resistant material.
The main disadvantage of the leather hood is that it cannot save your head from an impact collision. If a flying object hit, it can damage your skin. The welder also feels uncomfortable with the leather hood in high temperatures and humid environments.