Why Trust Us
After about half a decade of our relentless hard work and dedication, Drillly has finally become a household name of trust around the states. From its inception, our team strives to achieve what many consider unachievable-- the trust of the people-- and the entire credit goes to our team of exceptionally talented welding and power tool experts in both metal and woodworking fields.
The point of using a power tool is to achieve accuracy in crafting whatever wood or metal projects you are working on. That's why when choosing a particular tool or related gear for our audience, we prioritize the purpose in the first place. Another major point is the ergonomics or the ease of use, mainly the design and features that elevate the working experience.
Our impartial and authentic product reviews and blogs tend to be highly informative. This is because we don't just rely on market research alone, as a matter of fact, we handpick each of our reviewing units and test them one by one. Our mission is to reach the maximum number of welders and woodworkers across the country and expose them to the finest gems of the market so that they don't get confused in a market dizzyingly littered with so many options.
Our Sorting & Selection Process
The Drillly team went the extra mile to pick the ultimate welding helmets for you. Our endeavor encompassed a series of steps namely market research, specs analysis, feature analysis, comparison, field-test, and re-evaluation of the entire process.
Initially, we spent over 35 hours online in a bid to find out the most advanced and safest welding helmet models from the most reliable manufacturers, which also had the highest number of positive consumer reports and reviews. That way we could track down 25 top-rated models that outnumbered other models in quality, feature, and popularity.
A group of community-based volunteers helped us manage the initially listed models for our next testing session that continued for the next couple of weeks. We tested each of the listed models in different welding realities that involved different welding materials. The build quality, viewing area, glass quality, design, ergonomics, graphics, comfort, weight, smoke management, adjustability, and durability of the models were closely monitored and analyzed. Based on these factors we championed 10 highest performers with the safest features and the most stylish design and graphics.
The quest didn't end there. Our team also reached out to other welding experts, helmet designers, and engineers to have elaborate discussions on the final models. Having gathered all the information and newly gained understanding of our final recommendations, we proceeded to write full reviews on them which you'll find in the following section.
Our Top 10 Best Helmets for Welding
So, what is the best welding helmet? Who makes the best models? Here's the moment of truth, there's no single model that's perfect for every situation. That's exactly why we've come up with a collection of them for you to choose from. Make sure you go through each of the reviews thoroughly.
Other Notable Brands & Models
We came across hundreds of reputable brands and their popular product lines from all across the world as we continued our research. However, not all of them could make it to our list as we had scope for not more than 10. But still, let's use up this space mentioning a list of great names that must not be missed if you are up for further market research.
ArcOne, Weldcote, Wendy's, Matco, Radnor, Sellstrom, KT Industries, Forney, Outlaw, Spargo, Aver, KOOLWOOM, Nuzamas, TMR, Geelife, DESOON, Sumig, FOOWOO, Prolinerte, Black Stallion, DEWALT, Servore, Vulcan, Yeswelder, Monster&Master, HZXVOGEN, COOCHEER, Metal Man, TOOLIOM, Pyramex Safety, Prolineproine, JSungo, Rockwood, Shark, KUNHEWUHUA, K-T Industries, iMeshbean, TOPDC, Holulo, Weldcote Metals, Eastwood, Thermadyne, Hitbox, Metal Man Gear, Velnax, BRUFER, Steel Vision, VCT, PPI, Meda, Audew, Tillman, 3M Personal Protective Equipment, Tool Guy Republic TGR, Shop Iron, and Hobart.
A list of other good brands widely known for their popular models:
Save Phace (known for Venom), Huntsman (known for vulcanized fiber), Miller Electric (known for Digital Performance, Digital Elite, T94, PAPR with T94i-R™, and Digital Infinity), 3M Personal Protective Equipment (known for 9100xxi), and Optrel (known for Panoramaxx).
Other mentionable tested models:
Why Do You Need Welding Helmets?
Welding helmets are the most essential equipment for a welder to protect their face and neck from sparks, flames, and radiation. You should wear this type of headgear if you are performing welding or watching someone else doing it. Unless you take any safety precautions, the bright light of welding could burn your cornea, or in the worst-case scenario, could cause permanent blindness.
You should necessarily have the best welding helmet to stay on the safe side. Working with welding machinery could expose you to harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the electrical arc and other hazards like electric shocks, burning flames, flying sparks, toxic gases, and loud noise.
Not only will a welding helmet protect you from heavy sparks and help your eyes adjust with the change in brightness in a dark place, but its integrated earmuffs will also safeguard your hearing in the loud working condition.
Welding Helmet - Buying Guide
Welding helmets (vastly misspelt as 'helets') are essential protective gear and you got to have some basic ideas about them before planning to get one. Let's get to know
1. Size of Viewing Area
The size of the viewing area is a major purchasing consideration. There is no right size and the preference varies from user to user. The amount of out-of-position welding could also have a role to play here.
Generally, the view sizes could range from 6” to 9” depending on whether you are using it for your home-based project or for commercial purposes. The auto-darkening models measure 97x 62 mm (3.82 x 2.44 inches) or larger.
2. Lens or Visor Type
Auto-darkening lenses get dark instantly when you start the torch and vice versa. They possess a liquid-crystal display similar to a TV screen and can be used either with batteries or a solar system, or both can be combined.
Fixed-shade glasses are used in passive lenses that are coated with UV as well as IF protection. While torching, passive lenses usually ensure better visibility. The best part is that they are cheaper and can be easily replaced. They also don’t require batteries or sensitivity controls.
3. Lens Shading
Some welding helmets come with variable shades - some shades are transparent while some are darker. The brighter the electric arc, the darker you need your lenses to be. The shades usually vary from 6-13 but you may have to use the number 5 if you are welding with low amps.
With the fixed shade number, you have limited options and you will be able to use it in specific conditions only. You’ll need a higher number if you are welding with higher amperage and lower in case of a lower amperage.
This can be the cheapest and the best option for welding helmets. They require a little amount of power to operate. But if you’re going to use your helmet for a long period of time, you better consider battery power.
Most welding helmets are powered with rechargeable internal batteries. This option helps avoid dangerous wire around while you’re welding.
5. User-Replaceable Batteries vs. Non-User Replaceable Batteries
Some welding helmets feature user-replaceable lithium-ion batteries while others feature non-user-replaceable batteries. The former has the potential for a longer service life when compared to the latter that generally lasts around five to seven years.
6. Lens Clarity
The clarity of the lens is another major factor to consider besides the viewing window size in order to see well what you are working on. Lenses are given a rating of 1-3 in four tested areas where 1/1/1/1 is a perfect score in terms of clarity.
7. Size, Fit, Color & Graphics
In terms of color, you get a whole bunch of choices from unique airbrushed graphics, stickers and classical color schemes. Most dominant colors are blue, metallic silver, brass, gold, black, grey, pink and red.
Welding helmets come in both large and small sizes and light and heavyweights. You should make sure your chosen helmet fits your head.
Another aspect of the size is that it's an inseperable part of the design. There are plenty of designs and shapes out there. The classic sugar scoop (minion shaped) and pancake designes have been replaced by modern crazy super hero and super villain (Predator) characters, for example: Star Wars character (more commonly- Darth Vader) helmets and other unique designs including camo and rebel flag. Also, the flip front or snap on models have an appeal to pragmatic users.
8. Material & Durability
Welding helmets made with materials like tinted glass, carbon fiber, resin, fiber metal, tinted plastic or a variable-density filter are more durable.
9. Reliability & Comfort
No matter how comfortable your helmet is, if it doesn’t keep your eyes and skin safe then it will be of no use.
10. Grind Mode
Sometimes you would use your helmet as a mask for face protection only and not block the light. This is the reason some masks come with the grind mode feature.
11. Cheater Lens
A cheater lens is a small magnifying lens that helps enlarge what you are looking at. Few such headgears actually come with this feature.
12. Numbers of Sensors
Some auto-darkening models may feature sensors that help detect flashes and darken the helmet instantly. The presence of four sensors decreases the risk of catching flashes. So, it’s better not to have less than four sensors.
13. Safety Standards
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has outlined some safety guidelines to ensure welders are protected. Check to see if your preferred helmet conforms to the current safety standard set by the ANSI Z87.1 – 2003.
14. Overhead welding
For overhead welding, your vision needs to be really clear and you should be able to move fast. Get a lightweight hard hat helmet for this purpose.
You have the opportunity to customize your welding helmet’s color or add unique visuals that show you’re not new to welding. Custom models are always exciting and unique and there's always the freedom to
16. Lens Reaction Time
This is the speed at which the lens changes from light to dark after the initiation of arc. The high-end models usually take the minimum amount of time possible.
17. Respirator Systems
It is best for you to buy a helmet with a dust shield inside. This is necessary because you will have to stick your head inside the small space in the helmet and move while welding. Also, make sure you have access to a lot of fresh air when the helmet is on.
You can expect a 3-year warranty from your choice if you get a high-quality one. This is the average period that most of today’s helmets come with.
There are many models ranging from $30 to $500. Your budget will determine the quality you will get. Whatever your budget is, we recommend you to save some for buying othere safety accessories like supplied air respirator, gloves and glare cover.
Care & Maintenance Tips
You need to take good care of your welding helmet because it’s the most important safety equipment for a welder. Your welding helmet protects your eyes, face, and respiratory system after all. So, you can’t be careless about its maintenance because your own safety counts here.
- Maintain a regular schedule to clean your welding mask. You can use a number of materials for this purpose, such as lens cleaner wipes, multipurpose cleaning brushes, gentle air cleaners, soft cotton towels, baby wipes, and clear gear disinfectant sprays.
- Never clean your filters using compressed air. This may create holes in the filter that will harm its filtering capacity. Change the pre-filter regularly though this can be a bit expensive.
- Always carry your helmet in a helmet bag. This is necessary to protect the lenses from scratches. The purple coating on your lenses blocks UV/IR, so it’s necessary to make sure the lenses are not scratched or damaged.
- The cover lenses of your helmet go through the most ‘tortures’ and that’s why you need to change them as soon as they get damaged to maintain your clear vision. You should also inspect frequently whether your helmet has any crack or damage in order to ensure complete protection.
Welding Safety Tips
Welding exposes you to many risk factors that could cause physical harms. So, it’s really important that you take some safety precautions during your operation. Keep these factors in mind and you’ll be safe and sound.
- Read the manual containing safety information
- Make sure the helmet fits you right and you are always comfortable
- Use auto-darkening helmets since they provide you with the best eye protection
- Wear a helmet with UV protection or you can wear UV protective safety glasses under your helmet
- Button up your shirt and make sure your skin is not exposed to IR and UV rays
- Wear flame-resistant clothing
- Use respirator or exhaust hood to ensure clean breathing
Wrapping It up
We provided you with a comprehensive and detailed guide about choosing the right type of welding helmet that suits your needs the most. We chose the best welding helmets to assist you in finding the ideal model to make your welding job easier. After reading our reviews, you know which factors should be considered before purchasing a welding helmet and which are the top-rated welding helmets on the market.
Our first pick YESWELDER EH-101H should be a standout choice with its modest price and top features. For those in need of an advanced model, Lincoln 3350 Series is a great option. Equipped with one of the largest viewing windows and high shade variability, you won’t regret purchasing this headgear.
We hope you have already decided on the best choice for you. Remember about your budget and specific needs. Happy shopping!
1. How dark should my welding helmet be?
Ans: It depends on the type of welding you’re doing. The more amperage you use the darker shade you’ll require to ensure that your eyes don’t get burned. We recommend you to use a shade between 8-10 for lower amperage and 10-14 for higher amperage.
2. What welding shade is darker?
Ans: The higher the shade number, the darker the lens is. Shade 14 is the darkest shade available till date but this shade is not available in most welding helmets. Typically, your auto-darkening welding helmet will go up to shade 13.
3. What shade of welding lens should you use for MIG welding?
Ans: The recommended shade for MIG welding is between shade 10 to 13. The shade number increases with the increase of amperage and vice versa.
4. What is the ideal lens size on a welding helmet?
Ans: For basic welding jobs, the standard dimension of 3.5-1.75 inches is sufficient. You should consider a larger lens for heavier welding jobs as you will require a larger view to work in different positions. In that case, the width should be more than 3.5 inches and the height should be more than 2.5 inches.
5. What is an auto-darkening welding helmet?
Ans: Auto-darkening welding helmets have special lenses made of liquid crystals. It uses light sensors that automatically switch from light to dark in around 1/25000 second, depending on the number and quality of sensors used. The settings option allows you to adjust the sensitivity, shade and delay setting.
6. Do welders go blind over time?
Ans: Yes there is a risk because of working long hours and using cheap welding helmets that give poor eye protection. UV rays keep passing through those defective lenses exposing the welders to arc radiation.
7. What is the TIG Amperage Rating?
Ans: The TIG amperage rating is an indicator of the minimum amperage necessary for the helmet to function properly. The lower rating means the lenses are more sensitive. For TIG welding, the minimum TIG amperage rating should be 10 amps.
8. How long do welding helmets last?
Ans: It depends on how often you use it and how well it is taken care of. The irreplaceable batteries usually last around 7 years and replaceable ones around 3 years. But in some cheap helmets the batteries may malfunction only after a few months. The best choice for you should be a helmet that supports both solar power and replaceable batteries.
9. How bad is welding for your eyes?
Ans: If your eyes are not sufficiently protected during welding, it can be extremely dangerous for your eyes. The radiation emitted during welding and all the extreme heat can harm your cornea and eventually lead to permanent blindness.