Welding is a dangerous job, but the risks can be multiplied when you work with poor quality head gear. Welding helmets not only need to provide the user with adequate eye protection and visibility, but also an ergonomic design that provides comfort during long working hours. Different designs of welding helmets prioritize certain features and accessories which can make it hard to choose.
Products such as the Black 3350 Series Welding Helmet by Lincoln Electric are a good example of welding gear that can be relied upon time and time again. This one in particular makes use of 4C technology to give its user clearer views as well as a pivoting fit that adjusts the helmet as you move to help your helmet work with you instead of against you.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at several welding helmets you can purchase from the basic to the hi-tech kinds before picking our overall winner. Remember that the ideal welding helmet should prioritize protection, visibility and a comfortable fit. Here’s hoping you can find the ideal option for you out of the following products:
- Welding Helmet, Black, VIKING 3350 Series
- ESAB 0700000800 SENTINEL A50 Welding Helmet
- Antra Welding Helmet AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 with Grinding 6+1 Extra lens covers Stable for TIG MIG MMA Plasma
- 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100 06-0100-10SW, with ADF 9100V, 1 EA/Case
- Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet with ClearLight Lens
- Optrel VegaView 2.5 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet 1006.600
- Solar Powered Welding Helmet Auto Darkening Professional Hood with Wide Lens Adjustable Shade Range 4/9-13 for Mig Tig Arc Weld Grinding Welder Mask
- Instapark ADF Series GX990T Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with 4 Optical Sensors, 3.94″ X 3.86″ Viewing Area and Adjustable Shade Range
- Tanox Auto Darkening Solar Powered Welding Helmet ADF-206S: Shade Lens, Tig Mig MMA, Adjustable Range 4/9-13, Grinding 0000, Plus 16 Inch Kevlar Fire Retardant Welding Gloves
- Antra Welding Helmet Auto Darkening AH7-860-0000 Huge Viewing Size 3.86X3.5″ Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 Great for TIG MIG/MAG MMA Plasma, Grinding, Solar-Lithium Dual Power, 6+1 Extra Lens Covers
- Fibre-Metal Pipeliner Fiberglass Welding Helmet with Rubber Headband (110PWE), White
- ACKLIFE Welding Helmet, Large Viewing Area(3.94″x2.87″), Top Optical Clarity (1/1/1/1), Wide Shade Range DIN 3/3-8/9-13, Solar Power Auto Darkening, 4 Arc Sensor for TIG MIG MMA Plasma – PAH03D
- Antra Welding Helmet Auto Darkening AH7-360-0000, Dual Power Solar+ Battery, Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 with Grinding, 6+1 Extra Lens Covers, Stable for TIG MIG MMA Plasma
- Neiko 53932A Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet | TIG, MIG, MMA, MAG/CO2 | Solar and Battery Powered | Red Skeleton Design
14 Best Welding Helmets Reviews
The generous viewing area and incredible lens clarity of the Viking 3350 helmet by Lincoln Electric is every welder’s dream, hobbyist and commercial welders alike. Safe and productive welding hinges on being able to see clearly, but rarely do welding helmets provide a more than ample field of vision to work with too. The generous 3.74 by 3.34 inch viewport coupled with its pivoting design makes this a joy to use for long hours since the helmet really feels like an extension of you, moving as you move.
The innovative feature of 4C lens technology allows users to observe their welding work with an incredible level of clarity whilst maintaining the best protection for your eyes. Though this sits at the more expensive end of the price range, the Viking 3350 helmet easily represents the best value for money in its category of solar powered modern models of welding helmet, and its super durable shell ensures its one you’ll be holding on for many years.
- Large viewport
- Amazing 4C lens tech clarity
- Comfortable, pivot fit
- Tough, durable shell
- Comes with carry bag
- Lightweight design
- Quite expensive
Right out the gate, we need to praise Esab for making a high tech welding helmet feel and look so unlike a traditional welding helmet. In comparison to the heft of similar helmets on the market, the Sentinel A50 model weighs just 1.4 lbs to significantly reduce user neck strain. And the halo style of the headgear is sure to appeal to many non conventional welder enthusiasts, as it offers much of the same protection with a more ergonomic design that feels more helmet than mask.
The Esab A50 is considerably costlier than some of its competitors but this is where the hi tech features come into play. Adjustments to the shade and auto darkening settings can be controlled via a color touch screen panel within the hood (which also includes 8 memory settings!). Highly recommended if it’s within your budget as a welder.
- LCD touchscreen controls
- Wide shade range
- Comfortable design
- Very lightweight
- External grind button
- Pricey compared to most models
This Classic Series helmet by Antra is a great quality buy for the price. The AH6 260-0000 model comes with 4 arc sensors for optimum eye protection, a wide range of shade settings and is made from pretty sturdy stuff too – constructed form high quality polyamide nylon to protect the helmet against all manner of cracks, bends and bumps.
The decently sized viewport and versatility certainly belie its low price (the Antra classic series can be sued for grinding, cutting and welding) and thoughtful features like the option to replace the existing lens with others depending on your needs such as a magnifying lens is not something you’d expect for this budget price tag. It’s far from the best welding helmet on offer, but it’s ideal for beginner use of you’re training novice welders, and makes a welcome upgrade to many overly basic starter helmets around.
- Good starter helmet
- Budget price
- 4 sensors
- Sturdy polyamide material
- External grind button
- Option to fit with a magnifying lens
- Not recommended for professional, long-term use
3M are very innovative when it comes to their product design, and their Speedglas welding helmet is no different on this score. The 9100 series is built with a unique ‘Side Windows’ feature to allow welders to increase their peripheral vision by over 100 percent! No longer do you need to be limited by the fixed tunnel vision of the standard helmet viewport – this adjustment provides welders with a whole new outlook on the job, not to mention reducing your neck strain by encouraging limited head movement.
As well as making neck and posture health a priority for its users, the 3M Speedglas helmet has also taken user eye protection very seriously. Once the auto darkening filter senses an arc strike/flash it activates its dark filter almost instantly (in 0.1 milliseconds to be exact!) so you can confidently and comfortably arc weld with no risk of ever developing flash burn.
- Side windows expand field of vision
- Speedy lens filter reaction time
- Great lens clarity
- Comfortable, lightweight fit
- Can accommodate magnifying lenses
- Quite pricey
Having a clear working view obviously matters to most welders, but if you are very particular about how clear you like your view to be, then the true to life Clearlight lens technology of this Miller Digital Elite helmet will be the ideal choice for you. The Clearlight technology replaces the typical green tint seen in many welder viewports with natural color for increased visibility – this is particularly helpful for welders working in low light conditions who could benefit from a little extra clarity on the job.
Other good points about the Miller Digital Elite is that the helmet has quite a lightweight and comfortable fit (but you should bear in mind that the hood doesn’t always remain upright, which could be problematic every time you remove it to inspect your work). It may have been easier to forgive this flaw if the Miller Elite helmet wasn’t quite so expensive compared to similar models.
- Very lightweight design
- Impressive clarity
- Clearlight lens technology
- Comfortable fit
- 3 year warranty
- Hood has tendency to slip down
- Higher price range
The Optrel VegaView helmet is made for overhead welding and grinding and is thankfully very lightweight at 2 ½ lbs to keep neck strain and stress to a minimum. Its freeing lightweight design is thanks to its tough yet flexible nylon PA6.6 construction, which makes the helmet heat, scratch and bend resistant – the perfect safety companion to have on your side for overhead welding projects.
As for the specific safety features, this Optrel helmet has movable sensors that can be set between 120 to 60 degree angles using Optrel’s patented sensor slide mechanism. This level of sensor precision means that arc flashes from nearby welders will be detected to keep your eyes protected at every opportunity! All controls – from shade variations to delay and sensitivity settings – are all accessible on external knobs for easier access. All in all this is a costly but quality piece of welding gear if you specialize in overhead welding.
- Very lightweight design
- Movable sensors
- Light yet durable Nylon material
- External central controls
- Variable angle
- Higher price range
This budget price solar powered helmet by DEKOPRO is initially quite the attention-grabber. First off, the shell has the striking look and bold color scheme of a motorbike helmet and it’s hard to ignore the overly generous dimensions of the viewport, measuring 3.85 by 3.15 inches (12.13 sq inches in all). This is a significantly larger viewing area than many more expensive helmets on the market, making it ideal for beginner and trainee welders as they build their confidence up to conventional viewports.
Other pleasant surprises of this solar powered model is the impressively long battery life of up to 5000 hours – making it ideal for various working environments and long work sessions. It also comes with a variable shade range and 4 sensors with super fast reaction times to arc flashes for optimal eye protection. The relatively low price and impressive features make it a great teaching tool for beginner welders, but the disappointing warranty period could make this a risky purchase.
- Great beginner option
- Super fast reaction time for greater protection
- Extra large viewport
- Lightweight design
- Long battery life
- Only 30 days warranty
- Moderately priced for ‘budget’ helmet
If you’re looking to upgrade your traditional non-electric welding helmet at a cost that won’t break the bank, then this Instapark ADF series helmet could be the ticket. The GX990T model has many of the high tech features you’d expect from a modern welding helmet, including a generously sized viewport for increased visibility and varying shade adjustments that can be controlled externally so you never need to remove your helmet while working.
We also appreciate the inclusion of 4 optical sensors for greater safety whilst arc welding and the fact that this helmet’s primary power source is via a built in solar cell (with a replaceable CR2450 battery). The Instapark’s fairly basic user interface makes it great for a beginner’s helmet, and the graphic design certainly adds some personality to it. But be warned that some customers have complained that the headband feels cheap, so this may not work out well as your long term welding helmet.
- Very large viewport
- All controls are external
- Great beginner helmet
- Headband is of poor quality
- Overpriced for beginner-grade helmet
Considering the impressive features and bonus item of high quality welding gloves with your purchase, this Tanox solar powered helmet is incredible value for money.
For a fraction of the cost of similar welding helmets on the market, Tanox have delivered on many of the main safety and protection features every welder needs. 4 quick reacting arc sensors detect an arc flash in 1/25000 of a second to protect your eyes during any project. The high class Optical rating also keep your eyes safe against UV and IR radiation even in the event of an electrical failure and the varied shade range allows you to have the visual set up you need for each task.
As for the bonus pair of fire-retardant gloves, these are made from double-layered leather with a Kevlar stitching thread, making them supple and flexible enough to wear comfortably for long welding sessions. The come with long sleeves too to keep your clothing and arms protected. This could be a worthwhile purchase for the gloves alone, but it should be noted that customers have complained about a weak headband and some issues with the darkening filter.
- Affordable budget option
- Lightweight design
- Comes with high quality welding gloves
- Fast reacting arc sensors
- Varied adjustable shade range
- Headband is weak
10. Antra Welding Helmet Auto Darkening AH7-860-0000 Huge Viewing Size 3.86X3.5″ Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 Great for TIG MIG/MAG MMA Plasma, Grinding, Solar-Lithium Dual Power, 6+1 Extra Lens Covers
This Antra AH7 860-0000 series is a great all-rounder helmet and is well suited to most welding and grinding applications. The separate ‘grind mode’ feature is particularly helpful for users who work repeatedly with multiple grinding processes as it provides greater safety and protection during plasma cutting and more abrasive forms of welding and cutting tasks.
Like many modern welding helmets, this Antra model is solar powered, but uniquely, this helmet will actually create and store up solar power each time an arc flash is detected! This handy feature coupled with ample viewport size and a varied shade range makes this one of the more versatile helmets in its price range. One downside, however, is that customers have noted the flimsy feel of the headband. If you do run into this issue, the Antra AH7 860-0000 model is compatible with a fibre metal connector should you want to add a hard hat for extra protection and stability while working.
- Large viewport
- Creates solar power from arc flashes
- Variable shade range
- Internal and external control knobs
- Headband feels a tad flimsy
If you’re in need of a no-fuss classic design to your welding mask, then this old school style of helmet by Honeywell might tick the boxes for you. The mask is constructed from rugged ‘SuperGlas Plus’ fibreglass and what it lacks in fancy hi tech features, it makes up for in a compact design that’s ideal for working in tight spaces and an ultra durable shell that will keep you protected across many welding projects.
As its name suggests, this is a welding mask best suited to pipe welders since the smooth, tough mask exterior material was designed to deflect sparks and absorb shocks – even in the harshest welding environments, the heat-resistant shell will extinguish sparks the second they hit the mask to protect the user and prevent fires. The headband is also adjustable for added comfort and the small but satisfactory shade 10 lens offers clear visibility whilst filtering out UV and IR radiation. Since you are paying for a basic budget helmet, the paint job and lens clip function leaves a lot to be desired.
- Constructed from tough fibreglass
- Simple, compact design
- Highly impact-resistant
- Adjustable headband
- Paint finish is a bit cheap looking
- Removing the lens can be tricky
In many ways this solar powered helmet by TACKLIFE is built to professional standards. Hobby and commercial welders alike will appreciate just how comfortable this helmet is to wear for starters – the ergonomic cushioned headband allows you to make multiple adjustments so you can have a fully customizable fit while working for long hours. Many welding helmets in this class overlook the importance of a good fitting headband, so TACKLIFE already earn top marks for long-term comfort.
The large viewing area and high optical clarity also provides sharp visibility while your work without causing eye strain. Unfortunately, some customers have remarked on being let down by the auto darkening feature (either activating incorrectly or producing too much of a delayed reaction). This is a particular shame since auto darkening filter is the main draw of most modern welding helmets – without it, you can’t guarantee full eye protection during arc flashes.
- Sturdy yet lightweight build
- Large viewport size
- Eco friendly lithium battery
- 4 premium sensors
- Comes with bag for easy storage
- Large viewport
- May run into issues with darkening filter
Antra can always be relied upon to make affordable and innovative welding helmets for those on a tight budget, and we’re happy to say the AH& 360-0000 series follows suit here (sort of). Starting with the positive points – this is made from very lightweight polyamide nylon material that provides full neck coverage and limits the strain during long welding sessions. The wide viewing area further reduces the strain on your head and neck area and the arc sensors kick in fast to keep your eyes protected.
There’s no mistaking the great deal of features you’re getting for a fraction of the price of similar auto darkening helmets, but the fact that customers have pointed out how unreliable the auto darkening filter can sometimes be leaves us wary about user safety. Since this Antra model is not suited to commercial welding processes, we’d recommend this as a beginner tutoring helmet at best.
- Super fast reaction time to arc flashes
- Full protection against UV/IR rays
- Dual solar and battery power
- Lightweight comfortable design
- Easy to adjust settings
- Great value price
- Darkening feature can be unreliable
- Not suited to heavy, commercial use
One of the most affordable welding helmet designs on the list and indeed on the market is this quirky auto darkening helmet by Neiko. Straight away, there’s no doubting this is a welding helmet with some personality, so if you like to express yourself as a welder, then this is the one to do it! As well as having the most stand-out appearance of the bunch, this striking helmet has many other features going for it too.
For starters it has a dual solar and battery power source so it’s ideal for indoor and outdoor working environments. We also appreciate the widescreen viewport and clear optics for a helmet of this budget price and its fast lens darkening filter that activates in 1/25000th of a second to shield your eyes from UV and IR radiation. There are only two sensors compared with the usual 4 you might find on other helmet models, so it can’t detect every arc flash around you, but this offers suitable protection, comfort and performance nonetheless.
- Fun skull design shell
- Fast darkening reaction time
- Great UV/IR protection
- Wide viewport and clear optics
- Uses battery and solar power
- Adjustment knob is easy to hit accidentally
Things to Consider Before Buy
While heavier weight items can sometimes indicate quality, you want a relatively lightweight welding helmet over a clunky, weighty design for obvious reasons. Look for adjustable fits and harnesses that can lessen the strain of the helmets on your neck and the option of additional neck covers.
The best welding helmet material needs to be durable enough to withstand the job whilst offering the best in face neck and eye protection. Helmets made of plastic alloys like Polycarbonate and Nylon 66 (polyamide) are a good choice as they are both highly heat and impact-resistant. Nylon 66 is highly resistant to gamma and x-ray radiation, whilst Polycarbonate can withstand plastic deformation without showing signs of cracking or bending. Both very reliable helmet materials to work with.
The preferred viewer size or ‘viewport’ on your helmet will depend on your skill and proficiency using welding helmets. Beginners will feel more at ease with large viewing ports since they can easily follow the arc and will not need to move their head as much. Smaller viewports however are best with experienced welders and smaller viewport usually means a more lightweight, ergonomic mask design – therefore, less neck pain!
Auto Darkening Lenses vs Passive Darkening Lenses
Auto darkening lenses are considered the safest and most convenient type of lens in welding helmets, since they don’t require you to remove your helmet to check your work – as the name suggests, auto darkening lenses turn dark as soon as your torch is in operation and turn clear again when your torch is not in use.
Passive lenses meanwhile are simply made of colored glass and do not change color or shade, but they will offer similar protection and visibility in line with National Safety Standards. Bear in mind that auto darkening helmets tend to be pricier and heavier because of the added technological advantages, so decide what’s best for your budget.
Variable Shade vs Fixed Shade
The shade type you go for will depend on the light or ‘amp’ conditions you are working in – so the higher the amperage of torch light you are working with, the darker you will want your shade to be to protect your eyes against flash burn. Passive lenses usually have a fixed shade at a value of #10 (shade values between #10 and #13 are recommended for the best level of eye protection).
More expensive auto darkening lenses however can have variable levels of shade, ranging from #3 to #12 to allow you to clearly observe your work at a low shade level without removing your helmet, whilst providing higher levels of eye protection during high-amp conditions.
Arc welding carries the risk of welders developing a condition known as ‘arc eye’ as a result of constant arc flashes during welding work. Luckily many modern welding helmets on the market are equipped with arc sensors to protect users against the powerful UV light flashes producing when arc welding, so look for helmets with a higher arc sensor, as the higher the number, the better/quicker the helmet will be at detecting an arc.
Solar Powered Helmets vs Battery Powered Helmets
Depending on the environment in which you carry out welding work, you may benefit from using a helmet that is run on battery or solar power (some designs offer both!). If you work predominantly indoors, a traditional battery-powered helmet will be most appropriate, but if you have the budget for a slightly pricier solar-powered helmet and you work outdoors, then this may be a good option for you.
Some modern helmet designs have even begun to incorporate a solar-power feature which activates when you create arc flashes during your welding process.
External Knobs vs Internal Knobs
Both types of knobs have their advantages on welding helmets, so it depends which is best suited to your style of work. Interior knobs, for example, won’t get caught on anything as you work, but at the same time they will require you to make sure your adjustments are set correctly before placing your helmet on. It’s for this reason that external knobs make life a little simpler if you need to frequently adjust things like lens settings and can be the more popular choice.
Your helmet or mask can be left on for long periods of time during welding work, so having a high quality respirator is essential to your health and productivity. Helmets with built-in respirators can be a little pricier compared with traditional designs, but for welders who work in especially cramped conditions who may not be able to evade the fumes from their metalwork so easily, a built-in respirator can provide much-needed relief.
Lens Reaction Time
The faster a helmet’s reaction time in detecting a sudden flash or arc, the greater protection it will provide for your eyes. Auto darkening helmets are ideal for this, as they adjust their lens filter immediately.
Auto darkening welding helmets allow users to make adjustments based on the light sensitivity. The brighter your surrounding light source, the darker your helmet lens will get once it detects this, but a sensitivity control knob will let you control and determine which level of light activates this darkening feature. Some sensitivity controls are fairly basic whilst some models can let you make fine adjustments to light sensitivity and set delays so that your eyes can adjust to the changes.
Welding helmets can be powered by a lithium battery (sometimes rechargeable via a USB cable) or solar power or both. Some automatic models of welding helmet tend to have fixed internal batteries which cannot be replaced, and therefore rely on solar cells to preserve the life of their internal battery source. These types can be charged easily enough in sunlight before and after each use.
While it shares some similarities with other welding helmets in its category, we’ve singled out the Welding Helmet, Black, VIKING 3350 Series by Lincoln Electric as the cream of the crop. Above all, hobbyist and pro welders need clarity to do their job well and the 3350 Series helmet delivers crystal clear visuals thanks to its innovative 4C lens technology and spacious viewport.
Clear, un-tinted vision is nothing without eye protection, but the VIKING 3350 helmet delivers this in spades thanks to 4 highly sensitive sensors to offer top level protection and a lightweight pivoting helmet design to provide comfort after hours of use. With a fantastic customer service reputation and a storage bag thrown in, there’s little fault to find with this impressive welding helmet.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare