LAST UPDATED: June 9, 2020
The Best Welding Helmets (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Consider these welding helmets to protect yourself against burns, radiation, extreme heat, and other safety hazards
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PUBLISHED ON June 9, 2020
If you’re a welder, you know just how critical your helmet is. It’s a vital accessory that you need to protect yourself while you work, which means you need a piece of quality headgear. While welding is important and somewhat exciting work, it also exposes you to many different hazards. Retina burns, arc eye, and highly concentrated UV or infrared burn exposure can lead to serious hazards and terrible consequences. But that’s exactly what a good, quality welding helmet can prevent.
Whether you’re new to welding or an experienced pro, a welding helmet is exactly what you need to protect against flash burn, ultraviolet or infrared light, extreme heat, and dangerous sparks. With the right materials, construction, and protective features, your welding helmet will keep you safe and sound. If you’re looking for the best headgear for welding, check out these top options.
Protective features keep you safe while allowing you to do your work easily and with a clear line of sight. Wide viewing window is superior to that of other helmets.
3.93 by 3.23 inches of sight with side view. True Color Technology helps improve visibility and reduces eye strain.
Issue with arc flashes while TIG welding. Can cause issues with eyes and ruin weld. Does not occur when stick or MIG welding.
Runs on solar power, with a solar cell and two replaceable CR2032 batteries, and a clear battery indicator. Lightweight, affordable, and comfortable option.
Features an automatically darkening lens, and includes a convenient external grinding switch. Includes four premium redundant arc sensors with highly responsive detecting and controlling units.
After extensive use, lens is inconsistent. It will sometimes not darken at all or shut off while welding. Turning the dial to the "Grind" function and turning it back to whatever darkness level you were using may resolve this.
Reliable safety and protection with a cool exterior design. Standard 3.62-by-1.65-inch clear visor viewing space.
Features an auto-darkening filter and adjustable viewpoint with sensitivity adjustments. Runs off both battery and solar panel technology to last up to 5,000 hours.
Auto-darkening filter is somewhat inconsistent. Solar power takes a long time to fully charge the battery.
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Benefits of Welding Helmets
- Eye safety: Welding helmets are the only line of defense against several potential causes of eye damage in the welding process. They protect against conditions that can develop like retinal burning, cataracts, and permanent eye issues.
- Head protection: A proper welding helmet keeps your entire face and head protected from sparks, excess heat, and flying particles that can cause serious injury. With a high-quality helmet, you won't even notice these potential hazards.
- Radiation protection: The primary protection of a welding helmet is against infrared radiation, which can cause retinal burning and cataracts. A proper helmet also protects against UV radiation from welding arcs, which can cause welder’s flash and even permanent eye damage.
Types of Welding Helmets
Passive welding helmets are the most common type. They’re usually more basic, but well built from high-quality, heavy-duty material. These helmets can protect your face and head from flying objects, UV radiation, and extreme heat emitted from welding. Passive welding helmets are typically the most affordable of all types, making them an ideal option for anyone on a budget or anyone who prefers basic equipment.
Fixed-shade helmets typically come with a conventional shade level of 10. Unlike other models, this type of welding helmet does not adjust to various arc brightness. The fixed-shade helmet is ideal for welding work on one type of project with one type of material. Those who are inexperienced welders or enjoy DIY projects typically use a fixed-shade helmet, where there is no need to adjust the lens.
Variable-shade welding helmets include a feature that enables the lens to adapt to all sorts of lights and brightness emitted by the arc during welding. It’s the preferred type of helmet for advanced welders or for those who work on various types of projects involving different materials. The variable-shade helmet adjusts the darkness that the lens provides, which increases visibility and prevents you from making a mistake that results in a welding defect.
Founded in 2006, YesWelder expanded to become a direct to consumer business in 2018. This company supplies welding equipment and parts for everyone from hobbyists to professionals. In addition to helmets, YesWelder sells welders, welding guns, and welding accessories.
Antra is a reputable manufacturing company, known for its high-end technical equipment and accessories. In addition to high-quality helmets, Antra produces welding accessories, flame-resistant gear, projection screens, and HDTV accessories.
Headquartered in China, DEKO is a reputable tool and appliance brand with customers around the globe. It’s known for producing high-end tools for both regular consumers and professionals. In addition to welding helmets, DEKO Tools is known for welding machines, power tools, hand tools, lawn and gardening tools, and more.
Welding Helmets Pricing
- Under $40: Welding helmets in this price range provide excellent value. Despite their budget-friendly price, these helmets are typically high quality and ideal for regular consumers and professionals.
- $40-$70: This is the most common price range for welding helmets. Products in this range offer excellent protection, comfort, and convenience.
- Over $70: This is the most high-end price range for welding helmets. Those in this range typically have the highest quality, include maximum safety features, and are used by professional welders.
Battery-powered welding helmets use either rechargeable or replaceable batteries that are typically made from lithium. When purchasing a battery-powered helmet, make sure the battery is high quality and long lasting. It’s also a good idea to have a replacement battery as a backup while working on any important projects.
Solar-powered welding helmets are perhaps the most economical option available on the market. These environmentally friendly helmets automatically switch the lens off when not in use. One downside of the solar-powered feature is that the helmets are not ready to use when delivered. You must always remember to place the helmet in the sun at least a day before any planned work.
Auto-darkening welding helmets detect the light that’s emitted and will adjust the lens accordingly. It’s an important feature to prevent constant manual adjusting of the lens, which can be a distraction and significantly reduce productivity time. The one downside of auto-darkening helmets is that they’re often the most expensive and not cost effective for most people.
- Switching Speed: Lens switching speed, also known as lens reaction time, measures how fast a lens will switch from its natural state to a shade 3 or 4 when welding begins. It’s measured in ratings between 1/3,600 of a second and 1/25,000 of a second. If you’ll be welding for an extended period of time, a low switching speed may cause eye fatigue.
- Weight: A lightweight welding helmet helps to prevent neck strain and reduce fatigue if you use your helmet for an extended period of time. If you’re a professional welder or will be using your helmet on a daily basis, consider a lightweight helmet that’s also extremely protective. If you’re using your helmet for home projects, the weight is not as important of a factor to consider as protection.
- Warranty: Most high-end products from reputable manufacturers will include some type of warranty with purchase. Look for at least a six-month or one-year limited warranty that covers any defects. If for some reason you’re unsatisfied with your purchase, most companies will offer a replacement or refund up to a certain amount of time from the shipment delivery date.
Best Welding Helmets Reviews & Recommendations 2021
The YesWelder Large Viewing True Color Solar-Powered, Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet is an all-around excellent choice for a welding helmet. Packed with protective features and helpful components, this helmet will keep you protected while allowing you to do your work easily and with a clear line of sight.
It offers a wide viewing window that’s superior to other helmets, giving you 3.93 by 3.23 inches of sight with side views. The lens over the viewing window delivers better clarity thanks to True Color Technology, which not only helps wearers see better but also improves visibility and reduces eye strain. You have a full range of vision, which will give you better control. It’s a great helmet to use for TIG, MIG, MMA, and plasma applications with grinding features. It’s comfortable with oversized comfort cushioning that lets you adjust how you’d like to wear it.
The YesWelder helmet can sometimes have issues with arc flashes while TIG welding. This can cause problems with your eyes and possibly ruin your weld. The issue has not been known to occur when stick or MIG welding.
If you want great value for your money, consider the Antra Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet. It delivers reliable safety and protection at an affordable price. And this helmet doesn’t skimp on comfort, convenience, or performance. It runs on solar power with a solar cell and two replaceable CR2032 batteries, and you can trust its power life thanks to a clear battery indicator.
The welding helmet is lightweight and won’t put stress on your head or neck. It features an automatically darkening lens, which spares you from having to flip the hood up or down, and includes a convenient external grinding switch. Your full face and back will be protected from danger, and four premium redundant arc sensors with highly responsive detecting and controlling units help you minimize eye stress. It’s a great choice for hobbyists and professionals alike.
After extensive use, the lens of the Antra welding helmet may become inconsistent. It will sometimes not darken at all or shut off while welding. As a temporary fix for this issue, turn the dial to the "Grind" function and turn it back to whatever darkness level you are using.
Many welding helmets look alike, but you won’t blend in with the DEKOPRO Solar-Powered, Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet. This product delivers reliable safety and protection underneath a cool exterior design: the outside of the helmet features a brightly colored flaming skull—ideal for anyone who’s tired of wearing a basic helmet.
Underneath that unique, can’t-miss shell, you’ll find all kinds of great features. It includes an auto-darkening filter, which ensures you can adapt to any working environment and see clearly. You’ll enjoy a standard 3.62 x 1.65-inch clear visor viewing space to see at different angles. And you can even adjust your viewpoint with sensitivity adjustments that work with ambient lighting. The helmet runs off both battery and solar panel technology to last up to 5,000 hours. It’s a comfortable helmet too, weighing just one pound and enabling you to work for long periods easily.
The auto-darkening filter of the DEKOPRO welding helmet is somewhat inconsistent. Another issue with this product is that its solar power function takes a long time to fully charge the battery for extended use.
The Honeywell Fiberglass Welding Helmet with Ratchet Headgear is an excellent adjustable helmet. Built with tough and rugged SuperGlas Plus material, which is unique to Honeywell, this helmet is impact-resistant, impervious to moisture, and it won’t crack or chip with regular use.
The surface of this helmet is self-extinguishing, so it deflects sparks and helps keep you protected. Although it’s tough, this helmet is also lightweight and comfortable—you can even wear it while accessing small spaces with limited clearance. It can go where a standard welding helmet cannot. As you work, you’ll have a 2 x 4-inch, Shade 10 lens to see clearly from. That lens filters out 100 percent of both ultraviolet and infrared light to keep your eyes protected. And because this welding helmet features ratcheting headgear, you can easily set and adjust it for a perfect fit.
One downside of the Honeywell helmet is its headband. The elastic band headgear is not built to last and has proven to crack and break over time. If you purchase this model, you may need to replace parts of the headgear.
If you want more visibility from your helmet, consider the Tacklife Welding Helmet. This product features a larger field of view compared to other helmets, which gives you better clarity and control over your work. The viewing area measures 3.94 x 2.87 inches, and it includes a three-layered, auto-dimming LCD shutter for great eye protection. You’ll be protected from the top of your head down over your entire neck, and you won’t need to worry about head or neck fatigue.
This helmet includes good ventilation and a specially designed headband meant to reduce the weight on your head and neck for increased comfort. Other beneficial features—including four premium arc sensors, super-fast switching time from light to dark, and accurate auto shading—will help you on any job.
While the Tacklife welding helmet provides a large viewing area, this may not be the best product if you’ll be using it for an extended period of time. The auto-dimming feature doesn’t always work properly, and you could end up irritating your eyes if working on a long project.
The Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 Series is an extremely functional and well-designed helmet. This product has an auto-darkening lens, which has a shade range between 5 and 13. It also features a wide viewing area so that you never have to worry about line of vision while working.
The welding helmet uses 4C lens technology for visual clarity including a total of four arc sensors. It has an excellent switching speed of 1/25,000 seconds. This model also features a high-quality grinding mode. The Lincoln Electric welding helmet is a very durable product from a reputable manufacturer. At its price point, it provides great value for such a high-quality, trusted product.
One downside of the Lincoln Electric welding helmet is that the hood is rather small compared to other products on the market. This may make it difficult at times to prevent the helmet from hitting you in the face while the hood is pulled down.
The ESAB Sentinel A50 Welding Helmet is an extremely functional and fashionable product. This welding helmet has a reflective cover lens and a unique shell design. It’s designed after the popular Microsoft Xbox video game series, "Halo."
The ergonomic, infinitely adjustable, five-point headgear provides extreme comfort and balance. This helmet's low-profile design and central pivot point allow for maximum head clearance while the helmet is in the up position. It has a shade range between 5 and 13. There’s a color touchscreen control panel with eight separate memory settings. The ESAB welding helmet has a wide viewing area of 3.93 x 2.36 inches. Perhaps best of all, this product features a durable solar cell for charging as well as two high-quality CR2450 lithium batteries.
One downside of the ESAB welding helmet is the quality of the front lens. If you get too close to your weld while working, the front lens could become slightly warped. Replacement lenses are expensive and not available from ESAB.
The Tooliom True Color Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet is another high-quality protective helmet. This product is equipped with a large viewing area, measuring 3.94 by 3.27 inches. It’s one of the most versatile welding helmets on the market, allowing you to choose welding mode shades between 9 and 13, cut mode shades between 5 and 9, and grind mode shade 4.
This welding helmet ships complete with one replaceable battery, two replacement outer lenses, one replacement inner lens, and a user manual. It has an excellent switching time of 1/10,000 seconds. True Color technology reduces the lime-green tint, providing a clearer welding vision to see your work properly. The lightweight welding helmet features multiple adjustment joints, allowing for an excellent fit and maximum comfort while working.
One downside of the Tooliom welding helmet is that the cushioning and head strap are lacking compared to other products on the market. This creates some discomfort while in use and may cause your hood to occasionally fall down while welding.
- If your welding work involves only one type of material of the same thickness, you may only need a standard fixed-shade welding helmet.
- If your job includes a variety of techniques and materials, a variable-shade lens is best for your protection.
- Make sure your welding helmet meets the latest safety standards. Just because it says "ANSI Approved” doesn't guarantee it has passed. Look for the helmet to read “ANSI Z87.1 – 2021” or “Z87+.”
- If you’ll be welding for extended periods, a low-level switching speed may cause eye fatigue. Consider a higher-level switching speed if you’ll be welding for several hours at a time.
- If you purchase a solar-powered helmet, always remember to charge your welding helmet at least a day before use. You may also want to consider a backup battery.
Q: Are auto-darkening welding helmets good?
A: Yes, auto-darkening helmets are safe and highly effective. This type of helmet does not have to be taken on and off, so it helps reduce the risk of errors and injuries.
Q: Why do welders drink milk?
A: Welders drink milk because they’re exposed to zinc fumes produced by welding galvanized steel. The calcium in the milk supposedly helps prevent the body's absorption of the zinc.
Q: How dark should my welding helmet be?
A: It’s recommended that you use between a shade 10 and a shade 13 welding lens to prevent flash burn on your eyes. The higher the number, the darker the shade of your lens will be.
Q: How bad is welding for your eyes?
A: Welding causes infrared radiation, which can result in retinal burning and cataracts. A proper helmet protects against UV radiation from welding arcs, which can cause welder’s flash and even permanent eye damage.
For a high-quality welding helmet, consider the YesWelder Large Viewing True Color Solar-Powered, Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet, which features a wide viewing window, or the Antra Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet, which features an automatically darkening lens. Drop us a comment and let us know what your favorite welding helmet is and what you love about it.