If you are looking for the answer to the question, how do I choose a welding helmet? This article is for you.
Helmets are one of the most crucial elements in worker safety in order to ensure that the user has complete protection in welding and grinding applications. A good thing for most users is that there are now a variety of options available on the market and each kind has their own wide ranging functions. However since a helmet can be all there is between life and death in certain situations, this decision on what to buy should be taken far more seriously.
It’s critical to recognize cutting-edge and utility with regards to the kind of surroundings you will be working in when deciding on a welding helmet. There are a lot of important features that one should look into and surprisingly enough they don’t have anything to do with comfort or price. While it is true that just because a product is expensive won’t make it the best option, it is also true for something as technical as a welding helmet to be of top notch quality.
Most helmets available today are composed of a nonflammable exterior which is a given due to the nature of the job and there is some sort of a basic strap that can be adjusted firmly on the head to ensure it doesn’t slide off or annoy the user. That’s the basic design of almost any product in the market today however there are other things you seriously need to consider as well such as the kind of lens which it is lined with.
Not to mention that the first thing that you should look up in any helmet you pick must be the fact whether or not it meets the criteria of the ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 standards, which ensure that helmets and lenses have passed through accurate and unbiased testing to show they offer complete ultraviolet and infrared filtering regardless of coloration setting, that they could survive the pressure of high velocity projectiles from flying objects, and of course must be products that can switch speeds and darkness shades in all kinds of conditions.
These are the more basic things; now let’s get into the real nitty gritties of this important guide to ensuring the safety of the user.
Types of lens
One of the most important functions of a welding helmet has to be the sort of lens that it comes with. There are two main types which include the first one called, the auto-darkening lenses which change shades to darker tones in order to protect the welder’s eyes and this happens with the aid of clever sensors in place. Gone are the days when welder’s helmets were just a static block of steel, now they are quite high tech and this auto darkening feature definitely proves this. The interesting thing is that the allure of auto darkening lens does not end there as when the welder wishes to look at their work, sensors inside the hood lighten the shade of the lens to increase the visibility thus allowing the welder to do both things at once without ever having to lift a finger. These smart sensors can sense when the welder strikes the arc and darken the lens to a better one depending on the process.
Within this category there is also the idea of either fixed or variable Shades. When a fixed colour auto darkening helmet senses an arc, it darkens to a fixed shade. On the other hand, a variable colour lens allows you to properly and comfortably defend your eyes at the same time as attaining the right kind of visibility so there can be accuracy in the work.
While there are far more benefits to an auto darkening lens, there is no doubt that they are also far more expensive and thus cannot be a feasible option for all users so that’s where the idea of passive lens comes in. Passive lenses are available to the user in just one colour. They are way more low-tech and require way more manual adjustment as compared to the first category. Right before hanging the arc, the welder will need to adjust his or her neck to turn the helmet into the right position to protect the face and eyes.
What else to search for while making your purchase?
While Passive lenses had been providing enough safety to welders for years, and they generally tend to cost less than auto darkening lenses, they are definitely not the most ergonomically designed option especially if the user has to keep working continuously for hours as there is a need to adjust passive based helmets into place constantly, thus they are way more likely to cause neck pain and other issues.
Alternatively an advantage to using auto darkening lenses is that welders don’t have to manually flip the helmet into place as soon as the arc is struck. This makes using such helmets way more user friendly, easier and since there isn’t a lot of manual fixing involved, the user gets to focus on their work thus increasing the quality of work that they produce. Perhaps the only real flaw with this model is that they are generally more expensive and thus need a lot of investment.
Number of sensors
The next thing we felt is an absolutely important feature especially if you have an auto darkening lens is the amount of sensors and options that the brand or design offers. This applies to all kinds of helmets from an entry level helmet to a professional grade helmet. More sensors equate to far more control over the product and also relate to a higher coverage. Most normal models have around 3 sensors which are great for hobbyists and casual welders but around 4 or 5 is the preferred amount for heavy duty professionals and welders. Tekware Ultra Large Viewing Helmet is one of the ebst in this category.
Weight is actually super important and directly correlates to your comfort. It is true that a lighter weight helmet will automatically reduce the amount of stress on the user’s neck which of course in turn will decrease the fatigue that any heavy professional welder will be accustomed to. While many products are quite heavy and therefore require a skilled hand to be used properly, once you find a helmet that is lighter you will feel the difference. Jackson Safety W10 HFX is our recommendation!
Adjustable Delay Controls
A postpone delay control is another extremely useful feature that not all welders helmets have. This feature basically enables the user to set a time frame as to how long the lens should stay dark after the welding arc stops. This is especially useful to all users when committing to a very detailed and delicate job where a quick delay enables them to get the job done quicker as you reposition for the job.
When a delay time is longer, this is especially helpful when welding at job sites where you have to deal with extremely high temperatures especially since this will offer protection against the harmful exposure to molten magma or even light streaks.
The most important aspect of this delay is how it correlates to the lens reaction time as this is what lets the user know the speed at which the lens will change from showing natural light as opposed to the a darker colour to block out harmful light.
We recommend the Jackson safety 46129 for the best delay control experience.
In conclusion, while there are quite a few tips and suggestions mentioned in this article, we hope it has been enough to help you choose the best product for yourself. Now ask yourself, how do I choose a welding helmet.