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Welding can expose you to severe workplace hazards that can do severe damage to your vision and skin. Working with different metals can cause serious damage without the right protective equipment.
After researching our picks, and reevaluating customer experiences, we have decided that the ESAB Sentinel A50 is the best welding helmet for most welders.
It fits a wide range of welders and is appropriate for most welding activities. The ESAB Sentinel A50 provides extensive clarity while doing the job and features greater comfort for long-term wear that you might find compared to other competitors.
Table of Contents
Here are the best welding helmets of 2021:
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ESAB Sentinel A50
The ESAB Sentinel A50 offers great features that make the helmet very simple to use. Compared to other welding helmets that appear to be rather low quality and flimsy, this shell is quite impressive without being too heavy. The shell is designed using high-impact resistant nylon, giving you an added ounce of protection.
It features the Halo Headgear Design for optimal comfort and balance. It’s low profile, and there is a five-point adjustable headgear for a customized fit. Its focus on making comfortable headgear is not overshadowed.
The viewing area is a unique ergonomic design that features more of a curvature. The design alone makes this a very popular welding helmet.
The overall style of the ESAB SENTINEL A50 Welding Helmet is something to take note of as well. It is designed with every user in mind, as it comes in a sleek matte black color with a highly protective lens. You will not have to worry about distracting or obtrusive colors and graphics.
If you prefer different models, ESAB offers several helmet options and models available for welding helmets. The ESAB Sentinel A50 is also featuring a limited edition “United We Weld” model if you are looking for a bold helmet design.
Read full ESAB Sentinel A50 review
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Best For Clarity
Lincoln Electric Viking 3350
The Lincoln has made products for years and is still great. The most recent edition made improvements to ensure a secure helmet fit. It does come out to be a little more expensive than the ESAB A50, but if you are looking for more of a traditional helmet, it is worth it.
The Lincoln Viking 3350 welding helmet has better optical clarity as the ESAB A50 and has a more traditional viewing area. It offers everything we recommend in a good welding helmet, a great warranty, Auto Darkening Filters (ADF), and hard hat capabilities.
This is also a solar-powered welding helmet with rechargeable and replaceable solar batteries. This way, the batteries can charge themselves if you have a welding job in the sunlight.
Read full Lincoln Viking 3350 Review
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Best viewing size And Safety
Miller Digital Elite Series
When you first pick up this Miller welding helmet, it is hard to miss the large viewing area. The Miller Digital Infinity series features the largest viewing area in the industry coming in at 13.4sq in. This has now become a standard of welding safety and to reduce if not eliminate tunnel vision.
The lens features clear light technology, which is focused on keeping your welding helmet down and maximizing safety. The lens stays in a lighter state when you are not welding so that you can see your progress and adjust if needed. A unique feature, that most helmets do not have.
The Miller Digital Infinity does come in multiple design options, which is a bonus. You can choose some of the premade designs, or of course, you can go old school and stick decals to your helmet. Whichever you prefer, Miller opens those options to you
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Best Shade Ranges
Jackson Translight 555
This is one of the newer Jackson Welding Helmet models and is a good one. This welding helmet is a very impressive and features fast switch speed, high optical ratings, and is lightweight. It has great adjustable options as well and a unique design.
The respirator adaptor allows you to safely work in different welding environments. This ensures safety at a high level as well as flexibility with all welding activities.
Some other unique features of the helmet include a 370 Series Easy Grip. It is a grip adjuster in the back of the helmet that helps the user adjust the fit to the helmet seamlessly.
There is also a carbon arc welding mode which extends the usability of the welding helmet itself. The external shade adjuster allows you to tune the shade of your lens by increments of .2 for visual accuracy.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Lincoln FGS Series Helmet
This is one of the best Lincoln Welding Helmet Designs that are out there and features a multipurpose option. You can flip the auto-darkening cover-up and you’ll have a clear shield underneath so that you can still work safely. It is a little heavier than most, but very comfortable inside.
The FGS series is easy to use. Welders and reviewers alike have raved about the usability of the helmet and the ease to switch between the open and the closed positions. Of course, one of the main worries is the sustainability of being able to withstand wear, and that has not been an issue. The helmet is very durable and comfort is second to none.
This helmet does come with an operator control function. Although it is an auto darkening welding helmet, having the manual options is always a good feature in any welding helmet. The functions that can be adjusted are the shade, delay, and sensitivity settings.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Antra Welding Helmet
The Antra AH6 Welding helmet is a great option if you are looking to save some money. The helmet features a passive filter, four premium redundant arc sensors, and interference suppression technology It does support an Auto-Darkening Filter feature which is great value considering the price point
The viewing screen, measuring around 3.86 x 1.73 inches, is coupled with four redundant arc sensors. As far as clarity and visibility are concerned, it features a 1/2/1/2 optical clarity, an average rate compared to similar models.
It is a lightweight welding helmet made from polyamide nylon to efficiently operate in the temperature range from 14F to 131F degrees. Furthermore, this welding helmet can facilitate all types of welding, including TIG, or MG with such a wide range of shade selection.
Read full Antra Wide Shade Review
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Best Welding Helmets 2021
Who Is This Guide For?
This guide can be helpful for new welders who are just learning how to weld. If you are just getting into welding or learning how to weld, follow a few of these simple tips with our guide so that you know how to properly wear and use a welding helmet.
This can also be useful for those who are experienced but might have outdated features on your welding helmet. It is important to understand the features and benefits of how your helmet works so that you are ensuring the optimal level of safety with welding.
Choosing the right welding helmet can be the difference between healthy and damaged eyes over time. You’ll need to know exactly what to look for to keep yourself safe and comfortable while on the job. Below are the most important features that the best helmets for welding will have.
5 Important Welding Helmet Features
1. Welding Helmet Type
There are several types of welding helmets on the market, including:
Auto-darkening: With auto-darkening helmets, they will immediately detect the arc as soon as the sensors spot it. The helmet will then adjust itself accordingly to the desired darkness to protect your eyes.
Passive: Passive helmets are the most popular type, as they offer superior longevity and are quite solidly built. They’ll usually have a standard shade either 10 or 12 whether the arc is active or not. All you will have to do is put the helmet on, and it is ready to use.
Solar and Battery Powered: You’ll also notice that welding helmets are typically categorized as solar or battery powered. Depending on where you’re working, you might prefer one of the other. Welders who are mostly inside will benefit most from battery powered whereas outdoor workers will prefer solar-powered.
Every welding helmet comes with an array of shades. These are designed to protect your eyes from varying levels of brightness. If you opt for an auto-darkening welding helmet, it will be able to adjust itself to the correct shade to protect your eyes.
In most cases, there are two different types of lenses you’ll find in a welding helmet: fixed and variable.
Fixed Shade Lenses: Similar to passive welding helmets, fixed shade lenses are designed for a welder that will only be working with a single brightness. As they don’t give you the ability to change the shade or auto darken, you have to be quite careful with the brightness of your arc.
Variable Shade Lenses: Variable shade lenses are mostly seen in auto-darkening helmets. When the sensors detect light, the helmet will automatically adjust the lens to accommodate the brightness, typically in 1/25000 seconds.
3. Viewing Size
There are plenty of welders that prefer to find helmets with the largest viewing size possible. This gives you the ability to see your project from every angle without having to contort your head into different positions. In most cases, welding helmets will have a field of view between two by two inches or three by four inches.
Some of the more impressive welding helmets will have a viewing size at or above four by four inches. However, the larger your viewing size, the more reliable your helmet should be. Otherwise, you have more of a chance of damaging your eyes if the shades malfunction.
4. Sensitivity Control
Sensitivity control is a feature that you will mostly find in auto-darkening welding helmets. Everyone’s eyes react differently, and you might find that it takes a little longer for you to notice a bright light in front of you. With the help of sensitivity controls, you can manage the sensors on your helmet.
Sensitivity controls are ideal for managing how quickly the auto-darkening feature of your helmet is engaged. If you’re working with very bright lights, you’ll want a high sensitivity, as this will engage the darkening feature faster. Whereas if you aren’t welding at the moment, you can manually lower the sensitivity.
5. Weight and Adjustability
Above all else, the welding helmet you choose should be easily adjustable and very lightweight. As it’s a piece of equipment that you will be wearing on your head, you don’t want to experience neck and upper back fatigue after hours of welding. Some of the better welding helmets will weigh between one and two pounds.
It’s highly recommended that you try on helmets to determine what your preferred weight is. You will also want to consider the average length of your projects, as a heavier helmet can be quite uncomfortable after 30 minutes of wear.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve opted for a battery-powered welding helmet, you’ll need to know how to change them regularly. Ideally, you’ll want to use the instructions, as every helmet is designed differently. Otherwise, you can follow these simple steps:
First, you’ll want to find the battery compartment; typically, this is located near or around the lens. You can then remove the batteries and replace them with new ones.
If you have a solar-powered helmet with batteries, the project will be a little more in-depth. You will need to find the top of the lens casing and use a Dremel to cut a square approximately the size of a stamp. You can then use nippers to break the battery tabs loose without applying too much pressure.
Once the batteries have been removed, you will then need to install new ones where the old ones were but remember that red is positive and black is negative. You can then use hot glue to put the square you cut out back into place.
Most auto-darkening welding helmets will come with a built-in button or switch that you can use to test the darkening feature. This is the easiest and best way to test the lens before you use it for any project. It’s highly recommended you test the lens before every job.
If you notice that the testing feature isn’t working, try holding the button down harder or for a more extended period. If it is still not working, the batteries may be dead, or you might need a helmet.
Auto-darkening welding helmets are highly advanced and make getting prepared for a job simpler. On the front of the lens, there are typically four or more sensors. These sensors are designed to notice bright lights and will trigger the lens to darken to the appropriate shade automatically.
You can also use a sensitivity control knob on the side of your welding helmet to assist the sensors with varying levels of light. This all depends on your personal preferences and how your eyes react to arcs.
Overall, auto-darkening welding helmets are very safe when used appropriately. It is incredibly crucial that you test the shading feature before wearing the helmet for any project. However, as with any other type of technology, the lens can fail over time.
This is why you must opt for a high-quality helmet that is useful for short and long welds. This lessens your chance of being exposed to arcs intermittently as a result of the auto-darkening feature failing. You will also want to make sure your helmet is fully charged before using it.
As long as you focus on the features above in our guide, you’ll be able to find a good welding helmet for your needs. Always remember that even though a product might be more expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best.
- Sentinel A50 Fact Sheet PDF. ESAB, https://mam.esab.com/assets/1/BDBA5CC688D14EBE822C00D265DF8E7D/doc/8A03D8F0A1E34707AA2D4B872270963E/12526-en_US-FactSheet_Main-01.pdf.
- Lincoln Viking 3350 Product Brochure PDF, https://www.lincolnelectric.com/assets/global/Products/K3101-2/e14502.pdf
- Sentinel A50 Product Brochure PDF, https://www.esabna.com/shared/documents/litdownloads/ppe_1018.pdf
- Nguyen, Oanh. “How to Choose a Welding Helmet.” Tulsa Welding School, 24 Jan. 2019, www.tws.edu/blog/how-to/how-to-choose-a-welding-helmet/
- Nguyen, Oanh. “Head and Eye Protection Tips for Welders.” Tulsa Welding School, 24 Jan. 2019, www.tws.edu/blog/welding/head-and-eye-protection-tips-for-welders/
- OSHA eye protection fact sheet PDF, https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHAfactsheet-eyeprotection-during-welding.pdf
- Young, Pierre. “How to Change the Battery in a Welding Helmet.” Welding Headquarters, 9 Mar. 2021, www.weldingheadquarters.com/how-to-change-the-battery-in-a-welding-helmet/
- Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet Cleaning Guidelines, https://assets.lincolnelectric.com/assets/US/EN/literature/mc2073.pdf
- “Tips for Choosing a Welding Helmet.” Grainger KnowHow,
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