Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet – Reviews & Buyers Guide

Last updated on August 4th, 2020 at 02:30 pm

It is hard to imagine welding without protective gear. Welding helmets are among the few protective gears that hold paramount importance. Being in the profession of welding often leads to excessive anxiety about losing sight. However, if you are using the best auto-darkening welding helmet, you would have a little to worry about the hazardous consequences of getting exposed to IR/UV rays.

As the technology has revolutionized every field, it has left its traces on the way a welding helmet works. Modern-day welders don’t rely on a passive helmet; rather, the professionals most widely recommend an auto-darkening helmet. The use of a passive helmet can be a little wary, as you would always have to put the shades on before striking an arc. Moreover, it doesn’t provide security against accidental arcs. You always have to take off the helmet to see your work.

Conversely, in the best auto-darkening welding helmet will automatically go dark right after an arc. It turns back to light shade when there are no flashes. So, an auto-darkening welding helmet not only provides excellent safety, but a user has a little to do manually.

An auto-darkening helmet is far better than an ordinary welding helmet. But do you know what are the essential features of an auto-darkening welding helmet? Go through the entire article to find comprehensive information about choosing a reliable welding helmet.

Our Top Picks

ESAB Sentinel A50

best overall auto darkening welding helmet

  • Highly Adjustable

  • Halo Design

  • Perfect Optical Clarity

 

YESWELDER LYG-M800D

best auto darkening welding helmet

  • Budget-friendly

  • Perfect Optical Clarity

  • One-year Warranty

 

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

best auto darkening welding helmet

Buyers reserve every right to know about the nitty-gritty of the product they are planning to purchase. And no one would ever want to invest money in any substandard product only to regret later.

So, to save you from a regret trip, we have streamlined some of the best auto-darkening welding helmets. Information provided in this article can be easily relied upon as it includes valuable suggestions from the experts of the field. To conclude our list, we have also sought the opinion of professionals and hobbyists who have tested the product.

Here, you will find products ranging from very expensive to very budget-friendly ones. So, you can gauge the pros and cons of choosing what suits you the best.

List of the Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

ModelRatingPrice
ESAB Sentinel A50⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Instapark ADF GX-500S⭐⭐⭐⭐
YESWELDER LYG-M800D⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
3M Speedglas 9100⭐⭐⭐⭐
Antra AH7-360-0000⭐⭐⭐⭐
Eastwood L6700⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
DEKOPRO MZ-680⭐⭐⭐⭐
TACKLIFE PAH04D⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tanox DF-206S⭐⭐⭐⭐
Optrel Crystal 2.0⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

1: ESAB Sentinel A50 Auto-darkening Welding Helmet

Esab sentinel A50 welding helmetEsab Sentinel A50 is a phenomenal auto-darkening welding hood. It’s ultimately light-weight as it only weighs 1.4 pounds. It has four arc sensors, and sensitivity is very high, which allow ADF to turn dark real-quick.

The helmet has an external grind mode that enables you to switch from welding to grinding without removing the mask. The shell of the mask is manufactured with high-quality nylon that has made it highly resistant. So, you wouldn’t have to worry about the cracks on shell. Besides, the helmet is compatible with the hard hat adapter.

Cover lenses of the helmet are easily replaceable. You can even replace them within seconds without removing the mask from the head. It has solved the problem of scratches on the cover lens.

 Halo Design: 

It has a magnificent halo design, which is highly adjustable. 5 point gears allow high adjustability to fit the head of welders comfortably. The helmet is designed to work inside vehicles and machinery. Due to all the good reasons, it has been regarded as ergonomic. It’s known to improve the quality and productivity of your work.

 Touchscreen control panel: 

Inside of the mask has a touchscreen display and control panel. This feature makes it easy for welders to adjust the settings like shade variability and sensitivity. However, welders may find it challenging to use the touchscreen when they have the gloves worn.

 Variable Shade Range: 

Mask has a shade variability of 5-13. It makes the headgear great to work in nearly any kind of light. Highly variable shades allow welders to work both outdoor and indoor without any trouble.

 Power Source: 

The helmet works on two power sources i.e., solar energy and lithium batteries. It has two replaceable lithium-ion batteries. Yet the option of solar charging remains intact.

Pros
  • Highly Adjustable
  • Halo Design
  • The shade range is 5-13
  • Perfect Optical Clarity 1/1/1/2
Cons
  • Viewing area is smaller than other alternatives
  • May be high in price

2: Instapark ADF Series GX-500S Welding Helmet

best auto darkening welding helmet

Instapark has introduced the basic auto-darkening welding helmet with all essential features a trainer would need. It has a large viewing window of 3.63″ X1.65″. Along with welding mode, the mask has grind mode to switch between grinding and welding.

The optical clarity of this helmet is 1/2/1/3, which is rated as optimum by experts. Though this level of optical clarity can save your eyes from fatigue, yet, it’s not suitable for sensitive work-pieces as a welder would find it difficult to see the puddle vividly.

Last but not the least, this helmet is very stylish and is incredibly low-weighted. It’s available in blue color and weighs only 1.4 pounds. Thus it has made into the list of very light helmets.

 Auto-darkening: 

It’s an auto-darkening welding helmet with a swift reaction time of the lens. Its lens would go dark in 1/25000 sec after you will strike an arc to protect your eyes from the flash burn. The auto-darkening lens of the mask is equipped with two arc sensors.

 Solar-powered: 

As far as batteries are concerned, the mask is solar-powered, so you can easily recharge the battery. Other than this, it also has two replaceable lithium batteries. So, with Instapark GX-500S power source wouldn’t be an issue.

 Variable Shade range: 

It has shade variability of 9-13, making it suitable for indoor welding. As it’s shade range is not diverse, and you can’t turn to lower shades so that it may become challenging to weld outdoor.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Two arc sensors
  • Light-weight
  • Solar-powered
Cons
  • Users find it a little uncomfortable to wear
  • The auto-darkening lens may not respond in every kind of light

3: YESWELDER LYG-M800D Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

YESWELDER LYG-M800D

If you are looking for a reliable helmet, that won’t be a strain on your pocket? LYG-M800D is both budget-friendly and reliable. It has an auto-darkening lens with four premium sensors.

The viewing area of the helmet is 3.93 X 3.27, which makes it average in size. Mask has a lithium battery. Though the battery has an average life of 3000 hours, it can’t be replaced. However, the battery is solar-powered, so you can charge it using solar energy.

Besides, there’s a magnifying lens holder inside the lens. So, it is compatible with the cheater lens. This helmet doesn’t have a magnifying lens in the package, as it only has a standard lens. Yet, you can buy and install a magnifying lens to increase productivity. Moreover, the mask is not compatible with a hard hat.

 Optical Clarity: 

It has superior optical clarity of 1/1/1/2. Better optical clarity enables the welder to see clearly through the lens. It also has the true-color view, which allows the realistic color perception during welding.

 Comfortable and light-weight: 

This mask is super comfortable, and you will not feel any strain after using it for long welding tasks. The weight of the helmet is relatively light i.e., 2.25 pounds. The helmet is also adjustable, which adds to its comfort.

 Suitable for different welding types: 

It’s great to use for diverse welding processes. Welders can use it for MIG, MMA, TIG, and plasma application of welding. Moreover, it can also be used for oxygen and acetylene welding or cutting. But you will have to adjust the sensitivity to the maximum level.

Pros
  • Perfect Optical clarity 1/1/1/2
  • Comfortable
  • Reliable
  • One-year warranty
Cons
  • Average viewing area
  • Doesn’t have grind mode

4: 3M Speedglas Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

best auto darkening welding helmetIt’s a versatile welding helmet with a lot of exciting features. Mask has an extra-large auto-darkening lens with 12.11 square inches of the viewing area. Thus, the wide view it offers is cardinal in improving work quality.

It also has three arc sensors; they too have super-fast reaction time. As soon as you strike an arc, these sensors will turn the lens dark within milliseconds. There’re three sensors in the lens which enable auto-darkening in 0.1 milliseconds. When you finish welding, the mask will automatically turn back to the shade 3.

Best of all, it has exhaust vents. They keep the lens clear that in turn improve the visibility of puddle. As air is expelled through exhaust vents, you wouldn’t feel to suffocate in this headgear. Thus, it’s suitable for welding tasks that are very long.

You will find side windows in this headgear. These windows take your welding experience to new heights as you will be able to see not only your workpiece but also the surroundings. And it’s needless to mention that clear visibility has a big hand for enhancing work quality.

Pros
  • Extra-large auto-darkening lens
  • Three arc Sensors
  • Exhaust Vents
  • Side Window
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Not equipped with solar power

5: Antra AH7-360-0000

Antra welding helmetAntra AH7 is one of our economic picks. This helmet has an auto-darkening lens with four premium arc sensors. It’s considered a wide view helmet as it has the viewing area of the mask is 3.86 x 2.07 inches.

It has a variable shade range. Grinding feature is available on shade four while you will find welding mode on shade 5-9/9-13. So, it’s not only appropriate for diverse types of welding, but you can also use it for grinding.

Want to know the perk of using this mask? It’s equipped with Interference suppression technology. This feature adds to its reliability because it makes the helmet less sensitive to sunlight and other lights in the workshop. Conversely, it increases the sensitivity toward welding arc

This helmet only weighs 1 pound. So, you will find it extremely light-weight and comfortable. It’s designed to minimize strain in the neck and head. It’s not only solar-powered but also has two lithium batteries. Package includes seven extra cover lenses, 6 of which are exterior, and one is interior.

Pros
  • Four arc sensors
  • Interference suppression technology
  • Large-viewing area
  • 1-year warranty
Cons
  • Limited shade range
  • Users complain of durability

6: Eastwood L6700 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Eastwood Large View Auto Darkening Welding HelmetThis welding hood has all the key features that you would need to weld with accuracy. Despite this, it’s one of the best auto-darkening welding helmets that offer high quality at low cost. Its auto-darkening lens has four arc sensors. The size of the viewing window is 3.9in. X 2.64 that gives a large viewing area.

Eastwood has featured the true color technology in this hood. This enables the welder to have a realistic perception of colors. Thus, welders can see clearly. The optical clarity of the helmet is 1/1/1/2, which is too favorable to increase the quality of your work. It offers a variable shade range of 4-13. High shade variability allows you to work in an environment with almost any kind of light.

It also has a comfortable headband that can be adjusted in 5 ways. The helmet is compatible with a magnifying lens. Therefore, you can update it to have a magnified puddle view and better-increased precision of welding piece. It’s powered by two replaceable lithium batteries.

Pros
  • Four arc sensors
  • True color technology
  • High shade variability
Cons
  • Not solar powered

7: DEKOPRO MZ-680 Welding Helmet

DEKOPRO MZ-680Dekoporo has introduced an auto-darkening helmet with a sleek design that comes in red color. Its auto-darkening filter turns to dark shade in less than a fraction of a second. Even if theirs is an electric failure, this hood will protect the welder from UV/IR radiations due to shade 16. So, with Dekoporo welding helmet safety of your eyes will no longer be a problem. It is known as tig welding helmet too.

It has high optical clarity of 1/1/1/2 and a viewing area of 3.85″ x 3.15″. This helmet is light in weight as it weighs 1 pound only. Other than this, only one lithium battery is needed to operate it. Its battery is also solar rechargeable. Its default settings turn it automatically off in 30 seconds if there is no light to activate ADF.

Pros
  • Ultimate eye protection
  • High optical clarity
  • Light-weight
Cons
  • Uncomfortable to wear
  • Issues in adjustability

8: Tacklife PAH04D Welding Helmet

Tacklife PAH04DAuto-darkening lens, perfect optical clarity, variable shade range, quick response time, and what not? Tacklife helmet not only has many exciting features but it also comes at the lowest possible price. It’s an auto-darkening welding headgear with four redundant arc sensors.

It has a viewing area of 3.86″ x1.69″. While the optical class of the helmet is top-notched, it has perfect optical clarity, which means that you can see very vividly even if you are wearing the helmet. It allows the adjustment of sensitivity and delays to meet your needs.

This mask has quite a diverse shade range, which makes it appropriate for a variety of welding applications. You can adjust shade settings from 3/4-8/9-13. Therefore, it will meet the demand of different welding environments and tasks. The helmet is powered by both solar energy and lithium batteries. Tacklife also offers a welding helmet bag and six extra cover lenses in the package.

Pros
  • Perfect optical clarity
  • Shade range of 3-13
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • May not last very long

9: Tanox DF-206S Welding Helmet

Tanox DF-206SWith Tanox auto-darkening welding helmet, you can adjust many settings like sensitivity and shades to fit the welding environment and welding type. Along with an auto-darkening lens, it has four premium arc sensors. These sensors are meant to give a quick response time. Thus, turning the lens dark in no time, if an arc is struck.

This headgear allows the shade adjustment of 4-9/9-13. Therefore, giving you a wide range to choose from, that obviously will depend on the nature of your task. It has an average viewing area of 3.86 by 1.73 inches. However, the optical clarity of the mask is appreciable i.e., 1/1/1/2.

The grind mode is available in this helmet, which allows you to switch between grinding and welding quickly. It has a lithium battery that would last for two years, as claimed by Tanox. Moreover, it’s also equipped with solar cells. And you know what’s the icing on the cake? It comes with a pair of top-quality welding gloves and a set of extra lenses.

Pros
  • Four arc sensors
  • The shade range is 4-13
  • Optical clarity is 1/1/1/2
Cons
  • Uncomfortable to wear

10: Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet

Optrel Crystal 2.0 Welding HelmetOptrel Crystal 2.0 is a state of the art auto-darkening helmet with many novel features. It has an autopilot mode that you won’t see in other alternatives. Due to this feature, mask detects the arc brightness and automatically adjusts the shade level that ranges from 4-12. Thanks to this feature, now you won’t have to change the shade level manually. Autopilot helps this mask to adjust to the varying light conditions in the environment automatically.

Crystal lens technology of this headgear allows you to have a vivid view of your environment when you have the helmet on. It also has the twilight feature that is one of its types. This feature allows the lens to lighten gradually when the arc is finished, and the lens goes from the dark state to the light state. Gradual lightening of the lens has its role in keeping your eyes from fatigue. In short, innovative features of this helmet makes it one of the best-auto-darkening welding helmet.

Apart from all great features as described above, this helmet has sensitivity adjustment settings and a grind mode. It needs to CR2 batteries to operate. Mask weighs only 1.72 pounds that makes it very light-weight.

Pros
  • Crystal lens technology
  • Autopilot mode
  • Comfortable and light-weight
Cons
  • Expensive

How to test an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet?

 The Sun Test: 

It’s one of the intelligent and easiest ways to test the quality of a helmet. The only thing you have to do is to wear the helmet like you do for welding and go in sunlight. Now, look towards the sun. Your helmet should immediately go dark like it does when you strike an arc. However, if it didn’t happen, it indicates poor sensitivity and reliability of the lens.

 Using a torch striker: 

Take a torch that is usually used to light an oxy-acetylene flame. Use torch striker to create some sparks. If your helmet is of good quality, it should immediately sense the sparks, and its lens should switch to the dark state.

 Remote control test: 

An auto-darkening welding helmet can be tested using a normal TV remote control or any other remote that gives IR light. First, put on the welding helmet and point the remote toward your head. Now, press the button of remote and look at the light source of the remote.

The helmet should go dark; as soon as you press the button, but if it didn’t happen, try changing sensitivity. If your helmet’s sensitivity is too low, try increasing it. However, if the lens still doesn’t darken, there can be a problem in your welding hood.

 Delay Controls: 

 This feature decides how long it takes a helmet to go back to a light state when arc stops. It can be wearisome to look at the workpiece right after a weld, especially when you are working on high amperage. In such cases, you can increase the delay time, which increases the time it takes for the auto-darkening lens to revert to light state.

 Sensitivity: 

Most helmets have adjustable settings of sensitivity. When you test a welding helmet, it shouldn’t be too sensitive to go dark upon ordinary light flashes in the environment. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be very less sensitive so that it doesn’t detect an arc even if there is one in the environment. Test your helmet for sensitivity and note if it can adequately respond to the light.

 Consider Reaction Speed: 

Accidental arcs and large welding sparks are not uncommon for professional welders. A lens with good reaction time can be your savior in these circumstances. Usually, the normal reaction speed is 1/2500 seconds, but if a helmet takes any longer than it to go dark. You probably can’t name it as the best auto-darkening welding helmet. However, you may have a hard time calculating this reaction speed, so consult the helmet’s specifications to find about it.

 

Advantages of an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Since the discovery of the auto-darkening filter in 1981, the use of auto-darkening welding helmets is rampant in the industry. It has gained popularity due to many reasons like ease of use and efficiency.

  • It increases eye-protection considerably when compared to other safety headgears like a passive helmet. Unlike goggles, you won’t have to take on and off the protective device repeatedly
  • The lens of the auto-darkening helmet darkens immediately upon the detection of an arc. It protects eyes even if a welder strikes an arc accidentally.
  • The auto-darkening helmet allows welders to see welding torch even if they are wearing the helmet. It helps in better control of the welding torch as welder doesn’t need to adjust the helmet repeatedly.
  • These helmets increase productivity. They are very efficient in the detection of arcs and responding to them.
  • Auto-darkening welding helmets are more adaptable as they allow adjustment of settings according to many environments and welding applications.
  • It’s the one-solution product for many industrial applications. You can use them for both welding and grinding (if there’s a grind mode in helmet).

How to Choose the Best Auto Darkening Helmet?

It’s not enough to find out that the helmet has an auto-darkening lens, and you are all set to buy it. There are a few things you need to pay heed before buying.

How To Choose The Best Auto-Darkening Helmet

Some commonly asked questions are explained below:

1: What should I look for in an auto-darkening welding helmet?

You should check how many arc sensors there in the helmet. Likewise, never forget to check the reaction time and sensitivity of the lens. An auto-darkening lens should not flicker when an arc is struck. You can use sun test to judge the quality of a helmet.

2: Are auto-darkening welding helmets safe?

Yes, auto-darkening helmets are safe. However, you need to use them with caution. Before welding, make sure that batteries are working and adjust the settings like shade number and sensitivity according to the nature of your job.

3: How do I know if my auto-darkening welding helmet is working?

The simplest way is to wear a helmet and find a place where you can see the sun. Now, glance towards the sun. If your lens darkens, it means that the auto-darkening feature is working. Otherwise, you may need to fix anything.

4: How dark should the shade of welding helmet be?

Usually. It’s safe to use any shade between shade 9 and 13. The lower shade will allow more light to pass through lens while higher numbers will filter the most, So, the lens is darker when you use higher shades. Moreover, if you are using high amperage, you will need a darker shade to protect your eyes.

 Final Verdict 

When it comes to choosing the best auto-darkening welding helmet, a myriad of possibilities can make the process of decision making a little chaotic. Yet, you should always begin your search with some criteria in mind. Like what features you value the most? Do you prefer saving money over buying a helmet with advanced specifications? Once you would have a rough idea of what to buy, our well-researched content will pave your way toward making a befitting purchase.

Safety is the main concern when someone thinks of buying the best welding helmet. So, never compromise on some basic features like sensitivity and reaction time. However, we do suggest to consider the optical clarity and shade range for a quality weld. Though the comfort and weight of the helmet are also important, you should never settle for any product that offers a little safety or is not very reliable.

Though we have provided all information, you would need to make a wise decision. But, it all depends on you how you make use of it? We hope that you will make an intelligent decision. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section, whether you have found this article helpful or not? And we would be pleased to hear if there’s a room for improvement.

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