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Nuck Chorris 02-17-2013 03:19 PM

which type of welding helmet is best?
Is auto-darkening best? What brands are good?

prostcelica 02-17-2013 04:31 PM

IMO Miller is the best way to go. They make a really good helmet and they have the best warranty. It is a 2 year warranty and if you have an issue you will have your replacement lens with in a few days. If your just an at home guy there entry level model (pro hobby) will get the job done.

timothale 02-17-2013 06:44 PM

welding helmets
I have 3 $ 50 cheapies. I keep thinking I might do more welding and get a really good one. I don't like the battery powered one because I forget to turn it on. , sometimes when repairing Farm and construction equipment the auto dark doesn't work right because It doesn't see the start up arc. one of them I have to stick on a piece of duct tape because the dial turns as I move around. and I still have a couple old style with different shades.

crownver 02-17-2013 07:47 PM

Auto darkening is the way to go. Makes it way easier to keep track of what you're doing. Your profile doesn't give your age, but if you wear graduated bi-focals like me, you'll find it impossible to see well without a cheater lens. You can't look down like you do when you read.

MARTINSR 02-17-2013 10:21 PM

I use a chin operated helmet that I love and have one here at home and work, just never got use to the autodarks.

welding helmets auto darkening Auto Dark alternative Hands free


blwn31 02-17-2013 11:15 PM

I dig my Miller. Should of done it 10 years ago.


timothale 02-18-2013 07:05 AM

cheater lens
The magnifing "cheater lens" doesn't fit into any of my auto dark helmets. I had to duct tape it into one I use for more accurate work. I was into the welding supplier the other day and he now stocks a plastic adaptor that holds the lens. but for $ 7.00 I said I would have to bring in a helmet and make sure it would fit.
some one needs to make a "FAT head" welding helmet. large enough so I can wear a thick insulated cap when I am out welding when it's well below , ZERO *
PS, I use my hair dryer type heat gun to warm up the helmet, so it won't fog up for a few minutes, just hold it back far enough to not melt any plast parts

ogre 02-18-2013 09:13 AM


Originally Posted by timothale (Post 1647622)
some one needs to make a "FAT head" welding helmet. large enough so I can wear a thick insulated cap when I am out welding when it's well below , ZERO *

''big boned'' is what my mother used to say :D
same here, i just crank it open all the way and stuff it on my head.
just once i'd like to wear a hat to keep sparks off my hair and out of my ears

tech69 02-18-2013 09:39 AM

I have a solar powered auto darkening helmet by Nitro. Couldn't have asked for anything more. Been going strong for 7 years and haven't replaced anything on it yet. Straps getting a little worn but can see another 5 years out of this.

Old Fool 02-18-2013 04:56 PM

My Hobart "the hood" is auto darkening and accepts a standard cheater lens.

The new Lincoln auto darkening hood accept cheaters.

Lincoln 3350

All Miller auto darken hoods accept cheater lens.

IF you are working outside the new Miller Digital Elite has a special mode that responds to electromagnetic arc and not the sun. I like the large lens in this helmet :thumbup:

I like the Miller Digital Elite for its shade adjustment down to 5 as well as grind mode @ 3.5 which is about like a decent pair of sunglassed. Wish it was priced the same as then Lincoln 3350 :(

sedanbob 02-18-2013 05:27 PM

When I went shopping for a racing helmet, someone told me "You got a $50 head, buy a $50 helmet" - I guess the same is true for a welding helmet and your eyes. Spend a little more and get a good one. (Me? I got a $50 head!)

10Tonhammer 02-21-2013 10:19 AM

I'll rate my personal experience as a union welder/pipfitter. 1bad 10 perfect
Fibermetal pipeliners 4 its small veiwing area and aqward shape but its cheap fairly light
Hunstman 5 shape takes a getting used to- big viewing area, cheap, ratchets are solid(stays up)
Jackson std 4.5x5 3 heavy crappy headgear- cheap
Jackson nexgen/or boss 7 auto dark lenses are great big viewing area uses standard covers and are nearly indestructable. I dropped 30 ft off a scaffold hood exploded but the lense still worked and no cracks.
Hobart hood 5 controls on outside terrible design. Lens is good can make covers by cutting std 4.5x5
Speedglas 9100xx 8 the best hood I've ever used /owned clarity is great not as green as with cheaper auto darks hood is extremly comfortable for long days it light. The only bad thing is lenses are special and its stupid expensive I got a smoking deal on a warranty of a different hood and could pass.

I think for home use autodark is the way to go. Get a battery powered not solar because after long periods of no use the solar will die and not work till its sat on sunlight for a few hours. The Jackson nexgen lense is probably my personal favorite for home use cheaters fit and uses std lenses it fits in hunstman hoods witch are better than Jackson. Miller's are a good bang for buck get the biggest viewing area don't worry about grind modes etc if it goes from 9-13 that's all you need. I have owne HF hoods before crap plan and simple. I'd by a good non auto before I'd use one of those again.

The only reason I don't say get a passive hood is the convenience and saftey of the auto dark in wierd positions say under a dash or laying on floor welding exhaust in places. Less likely to arc on something besides what you want to and less flash when your not ready.


10Tonhammer 02-21-2013 10:24 AM

Another thing to think about is making friends at a welding supply the have the hoods in house and usually give a year or so warranty themselves. I had one crap out and they gave me one of the shelf. I've owned a lot if hoods, though I won't own another that's not a speedglas I can't in good conscience tell you to buy one 540.00 is ridiculous. So find one with the 4.5 x5 standard lenses and get the biggest viewing area.

Silverback 02-21-2013 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by MARTINSR (Post 1647576)
I use a chin operated helmet that I love and have one here at home and work, just never got use to the autodarks.

welding helmets auto darkening Auto Dark alternative Hands free


You know, I bought one of those, mainly based on your suggestion, even bought the upgraded lens, and I have to say, I HATE it. The lenses are nice and clear (better than most autdarkening ones), especially the gold (I forgot what they're called) upgraded ones, the headgear fits well, the helmet is OK.... so what's the problem???

Well, the flip up bit only seems to adjust well for use in one position. If you always weld at the same bench, or in the same position then great, but since it somewhat relies on gravity to work the tension is only right when the helmet is at one angle. It's not uncommon for me to go from welding at a bench, to welding upside down putting a cage in, to welding under a car (which doesn't work at all if you don't have room, the flip up thing can take too much room a surprising amount of the time. I gave it an honest shot a few times, and it seemed like every time I got started by half way through the job I was futzing with it trying to get it adjusted better. Right now itís not even by my bench, it ended up getting moved out of the way behind the mill, I believe itís covered in a pile of swarf.

My first helmet, a cheap one that I bought at Home Depod on the way home when I bought my first welder, is my staple. It looks like this but itís black:
it has a nice large view area, itís light and fits well. Flips down easily with a head nod but is still stiff enough that you can walk around and do things with it up without it just falling on you at random. I have a really large head so when I got it adjusted so it fit well the adjuster hit part of the top of the helmet when flipped up so I cut a notch out of it, but I keep this one around in case I have problems with one of my others.
Most people are quite happy with the cheap autodarkening helmets from HF and others. I have one of the early HF helmets and Iím one of the few people that has issues with it (my brother and some of my friends that have borrowed it have all liked it, so I keep it around for them to use since most donít want to mess with my old school CH hemet). The problem that I have with it is that I can actually see the flash before it darkens. Most people canít, for some reason I can. I used it for a long time and just got used to blinking my eyes as I pulled the trigger on the gun so I wouldnít see the flash. The thing is durable and reliable, it always worked when I picked it up, but eventually I replaced it because of the flash thing. Only minor annoyances that I can say about it otherwise is that it has a smallish viewing area that is a bit low in the helmet (if youíre used to large ports or a more standard layout it takes a little getting used to the idea that you need to adjust it to sit a little higher), and the adjustment knob is on the outside so some complain you can accidently hit it and change it (I donít honestly remember it happening but Iím sure someone will complain about controls on the outside).

My favorite is my Miller Digital Elite Inferno helmet. Itís comfortable (I had to remove the pad that they add to the headgear to fit my head), adjustable, big view port, clear and beautiful view, and it looks good too. One really nice thing about it is that it is that it has sensors in all corners of the lens, so itís hard to block them and get flashed (this does happen with autodark helmets). Itís really a nice helmet. The biggest complaint that I have about it is one that I havenít heard from anyone else, mine tends to kill a set of batteries (and theyíre fairly expensive) in about a year, and you donít really get any warning when theyíre going to die (so I end up using my old CH one). Occasionally I find the controls to be a bit awkward to work in welding gloves. Itís expensive but you get what you pay for with this (and this is coming from someone that is cheap, and will rarely spend $$$ on the good stuff).

My suggestion- get yourself something cheap and reliable like the CH single shade or a cheap import and use it for a while and then decide if you really need something better.

Old Fool 02-21-2013 03:59 PM


Originally Posted by 10Tonhammer (Post 1648874)
I'll rate my personal experience as a union welder/pipfitter.

What Local?

I am a Union pipefitter, UA44.

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