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Welding Helmet Buying Guide [2020]

As there are often many choices to consider before buying your next welding helmet, it’s important to understand why there are differences and how they’ll affect you under the hood. Everyone is different and you will buy according to your unique desires, but the following guide will help you find what you’re looking for.

Lens View

It’s essential for every welder to have the best vision through their hood. Things to consider in helmet lenses are the lens width, the lens height, and how clearly you can see through them.

Helmet lenses are generally measured in dimensions that look like this: 3.7 x 2.3 in. This means the lens is 3.7 inches wide around your face, and 2.3 inches tall. The wider it is, the more you can see left and right without moving your head. The taller it is, the more you can see up and down without moving your head.

The area you can see is important, but the clarity you can see with matters more. Most helmets shield the weld well and provide the necessary UV protection to guard your eyes, but if they don’t display your weld clearly, you won’t be able to produce the best work, see more about this. Compare these aspects of the helmets you’re considering buying.

Lens Shading

Welding helmets come with all sorts of shading options. Some are fixed with no variance. Those that can change come in varying ranges to suit many different conditions.

Some have a grinding mode feature that’s almost transparent, having only a light shade to it, and some have cutting shades that are slightly darker but cannot be welded with. The welding shades range from number 5 to number 13, getting darker as the number increases. The brighter the arc is, the darker you will want your lens.

If you’re TIG welding with low amps, you’ll want a helmet with a range as low as 5 to enable low amperage shading. Some helmets only have a range for higher amperage between 9 and 13, which won’t shade low amperage welding properly.

Auto-Darkening Delay

The delay of your auto-darkening is the time it takes for the shading to darken once your arc is lit. The range is between 0.35 to 0.1 seconds, with the shortest delay time being the most desirable. Both suffice, but the faster the response is, the more protection your eyes receive.


The comfort of your helmet is also crucial, especially if you weld for any length of time more than the occasional hour here or there. The way a hood feels is critical and differs from helmet to helmet based on the weight, the headgear design, and how well balanced it is.

The helmet should grip comfortably onto your head by the locking mechanism on the headgear while sitting naturally without excessive pressure. The hood should also flip up and down smoothly. It should be able to stay in the required positions with the pivoting device between the headgear and the hood working correctly.

The headgear tends to have the most variance from helmet to helmet and will make a world of difference in your experience using it.


There are numerous different features on welding helmets, but usually only the more expensive ones include them. They’ll improve your welding experience uniquely. Some helmets have anti-fog features for good visuals even while you sweat. Others have touchscreens, multiple auto-darkening sensors, windows, ventilation systems, computer memory devices, and more.

You can also get helmets with the option to buy separate attachments like respirators, hearing protection, and hard hat features that can be fitted or removed as desired.

Most of these features are really handy and can make your welding experience much more enjoyable. It depends on your preferences and type of welding. Some people consider them unnecessary extras and prefer a less feature-rich helmet to keep the weight down for comfort’s sake.

Knowing what you want before you buy will help in filtering the different options.


While most helmets have a large margin between the headgear adjustments to suit most head sizes, the hood’s outer shell can differ in size significantly. The larger the helmet is, the harder it will be to get into tight spaces, and the more off-balance it will feel. However, a small hood won’t have room to fit a respirator into if you use one.

Your helmet’s size will depend on your specific work requirements, but you can be sure the options are there for you.


Be mindful of your helmet’s warranty. Many hoods have two- or three-year warranties, and you often need to register your new helmet through a form or website to ensure it’s actually covered. A warranty will generally be a good indication of the quality of the hood, but don’t just rely on the warranty length. Reviews will give you the best insight.

The warranty should be aligned with the helmet’s price, so don’t go forking out lots of cash for something with a year or less of warranty.


Helmets come in different shapes, designs, and colors. Some have graphics on them, and others, like the Esab SENTINEL A50, are designed after people’s favorite characters or games.

A helmet’s look won’t affect its performance. Often a plain hood is ideal, so you can add your own look to it, like the helmets found at 20 Impressive Welding Helmet Makeovers. Regardless of what you’re after, this is something to consider when searching for your helmet.


Thanks for checking out our reviews of these helmets. There are so many online to choose from, and it can be a confusing and tiresome task sorting through them all.

While the Antra AH6-260-0000 is an economical option, giving you some real bang for your buck, the top two helmets on the market are definitely the Lincoln Electric 3350 Series and the Esab SENTINEL A50.

The Esab SENTINEL A50’s sleek shell and comfortable headgear, with high-tech computer-aided visual features that can withstand a beating, makes the welding experience almost game-like.

It’s indeed the best option apart from the Lincoln Electric 3350 series, our top recommendation. The Lincoln has great optics, satisfying headgear in quality and snugness, and a tenaciously tough shell. These traits and more make it our choice as the best auto-darkening helmet.

We appreciate you stopping by. Feel free to send your own reviews and comments below.

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