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I have an el cheapo Harbor Freight auto-darkening helmet that I've used for quite a few years. It works ok. I wanted a better one and bought a Miller helmet. I hate it. I constantly get bright,.blinding flashes with it. I've actually gone back to the HF helmet. Is there a decent helmet out there for the occasional user like me that can be had for a reasonable price. Also, FWIW, I have a tough time seeing anything I'm welding even with the shade turned to 9.
 

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I have an el cheapo Harbor Freight auto-darkening helmet that I've used for quite a few years. It works ok. I wanted a better one and bought a Miller helmet. I hate it. I constantly get bright,.blinding flashes with it. I've actually gone back to the HF helmet. Is there a decent helmet out there for the occasional user like me that can be had for a reasonable price. Also, FWIW, I have a tough time seeing anything I'm welding even with the shade turned to 9.
If you still can, return the faulty new helmet.
As far as not being able to see, I have the same problem and always have. Only way I can see what I'm welding is with a bright light shining on it. I prefer it behind or parallel to my eyes. Then maybe you can darken up the helmet also.
 

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I have one from HTP America.

The thing is 8 to 10 years old. Around 400lbs of wire ran and it is still goes strong.

Comfortable, lightweight, and it works. I am not walking around with the hood down all the time. But, If I want to move around a frame welding gussets I can move from one to the other without flipping the hood up each time.

This is the one I have been using;

Others they sell as well as parts for them;
 

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I have had two miller welding helmets (gave one away and still have the other one) and do not like them at all. $250.00 each. I use cheaters and they do not fit in the helmet well and keep slipping out. I have to grind the cheater frames to make them fit in the clips which are not very sturdy. Also the front comes loose. Never buy another one.

What concerns me with cheap helmets is the reaction time for the arc to darken. Miller claims 1/20,000 of a second but others are 1/10,000 of a second. As long as yours eyes do not get burnt I guess it does not matter.
 

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i've used the harbor fright helmet for years. never flashed by it or failed to work in 12 years. if i haven't used it for a while i'll take it out to look at the sun, if it doesn't auto-dark i leave it out for the day to charge, works every time. this would be a problem with any helmet you use. i'd go with another harbor fright helmet in a heartbeat
 
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