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Old 05-11-2008, 05:18 PM
oldred oldred is offline
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Dusty, I was thinking the same thing but I didn't say anything because I am not sure where most of the brand name lens are made now but I doubt they are made here in the US, most of them anyway. I do know that I have used both the cheap and the name brand helmets and I really can't see much difference in them except for the headgear and shells. There certainly are features on the expensive name outfits that are not on the cheapos but in the case of the (older ones anyway) Hobart helmet the ONLY thing the extra $150 got for the Hobart vs the HF was a better shell/headgear! Most of the fellows in my shop used the cheap helmets and they did spend some time working on the headgear which did not seem to hold up very well but this was in a 10 hour a day shop and they saw more use the first week than most home use helmets will in their lifetime. The lens however did not seem to be a problem and the usual thing to do was to adapt a Jackson, or some other quality type, headgear to the cheapo outfit but for home use the cheap gear will probably be ok. From a safety standpoint it will be up to the buyer to decide for himself but the track record for these things seems to be ok and that really is no surprise because of the way they work a failure to switch shade is more of a comfort issue than a safety issue. As for me I have used the cheap helmets and I would not be afraid to use one, at least that one in question from HF, but I prefer the Jackson for full time work because of the quality and other features. For home use I probably would not spend the $400 I paid for the Jackson and doubt many of the other guys here would want to spend that much either for a weekend use helmet. I did see one cheap helmet that I would not use and some time back someone asked about one of those, these are sometimes found on E-bay and the traveling tool shows that show up from time to time but if you look at one the problems are obvious. Not only is the headgear a joke but the lens does not seal properly so even if it is made of safe material the leakage around the lens housing makes it unsafe to use. Just use common sense when shopping for one of these things and stay away from anything that is obviously shoddy. If you plan to make a living with your welding helmet then I would suggest spending the extra cash on a good one but for weekend home use the HF outfit works just fine at a fraction of the cost. The HF helmet has been around a long time now and it seems to have a good following and if there was a safety issue it would have come to light by now.
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