View Full Version : welding helmets question

Alistair Hosie
02-26-2003, 07:22 PM
Hey guys I am getting better at the old welding lark with the new mig welder I bought last year but have been thinking about one of those helmets that darken automatically are they any good and which ones should I look out for I see there is a big difference in prices are the cheaper ones to be avoided.Regards Alistair

02-26-2003, 09:21 PM
I bought one of those cheap ones for the following reasons.

1. I weld less than twice a month
2. Infinitely better than the regular type (read, good bang for the buck)
3. Even the cheaps ones meet ANSI standard
4. Contary to what people think, the eyes are protected not by the auto darkening feature but by the UV protective glass.
5. Running out of battery is not issue since I use it so infrequently. Those lithium batteries have very long shelf life.

Larger lense would have been good but for the price I'm really happy.


02-26-2003, 09:35 PM
If you get one, get one that is adjustable. The low cost helmets seem to work very well except that they are less dark at the perifery of the lens. This isn't a problem unless you weld with your head turned. I just bought a helmet from HF on sale for $69. Works great, except as mentioned above. On my old fixed #10, it was hard to see the line when miging (too bright). This new helmet will go from #9 to #13. It sure makes the welds start easyer too. You don't have to set, hold, flip and weld then flip again. You can also very the time the shade turns off in case your stiching. The two options are "fast" and "slow". Use fast for regular welding and slow for stitching. I just got mine and used it once so far, but I like it.

02-26-2003, 09:50 PM
After seeing Rotate's post, I might mention that mine is solar powered (uses weld light) and has two 3V Lithium batteries for backup. Or so states the manual. It says the batteries will last more than six years. It (manual) also says the batteries are "built-in", so I don't know it that means non-replacable or replacable--I haven't looked. FWIW.

02-26-2003, 10:12 PM
I have one of the better self darkening ones, and I weld once or twice a month. I also have a fixed density type of one also. I use the fixed darkness one for delicate work, special jobs (hard to define, because I have several diferent darkness lenses, and a couple bifocal lense sets.
I gas weld, I MIG weld, GMAW weld and once in a while TIG weld. I wear what is approriate for that metal.
When I am doing things like welding up the snow blade on plow, I use the auto darkening one. most general uses the auto darkening one is very good for the occasional user.


02-27-2003, 12:01 AM
I had one and got rid of it,it had two problems it recharged its batteries by placing it over a incandesent bulb for a few hours, the other was for long periods of welding it did not offer enough protection proof of this was dry eyes after welding for about two hours.If you are only doing short jobs the newer battery only style is the way to go,but if you are to weld for extended periods you might want a traditional glass lens in about shade 10 or 12.As stated before different types of welding require different protection things like aluminum welding will require a little more than others.One advantage I did witness is if you accidently flash yourself its not as bad as a traditional lens although it will happen more frequently until you remember not to block the little semsor that triggers the lens.

02-27-2003, 01:25 AM
WS- Those are the reasons I hadn't purchased one before. These newer units don't require "recharging". They are activated by high performance solor cells. The batteries are only for backup. The "little sensor" you speak of is 1 x 3 1/2 and hard to cover up unless you weld with your hand over the front. These units will activate (darken) on pretty low-level light changes. I think that's how the new ones work. If you have it in a darkened room and turn on a light, it will activate. I guess that's where the back-up batteries come in to play.
These helmets are NOT for Laser processes or Oxyacetylene and the manual states that. It also states it has UV and IR (up to 15 DIN) protection at all times. I don't know what more you could ask for. That's like SPF 30+ in suntan lotion.

Ian B
02-27-2003, 03:12 AM
Great thread, guys,

Like Alistair, I've been mulling over getting one, but haven't been able to shake off the feeling that they're for wimps - now I'll reconsider.

On Wierdscience's point about prolonged welding - have any of the "pros" switched over to these, or are their foreheads permanently grafted to the flip-type helmet headbands?

For the occasional blobs of slag that I lay down with a stick welder, these look like a good solution..


02-27-2003, 03:43 AM
two desired features adjustable, & large lens.

or you can get a standard old style, & put a halogen shop light close to your work aimed right @ your work area, makes it so bright you can see with the hood down thru teh lens.

02-27-2003, 04:42 AM
MINE i LOVE HOBART the hood.. It has a strength adjustment on the side, no batteries *solar and a big lens.. I love it , it was 159 at the welding store.. about a year ago.. on the lil things I tig or the larger things I mig, I start in the right spot. Once it did flash me with my mig thou.. Funny thing.. I was welding on a friends wrecker,, the light bar darkened it. it darkened every time the light would flash. And it has this nifty eagle on it.. ha ha..

Alistair Hosie
02-27-2003, 12:52 PM
These are definitely not for wimps, but I just was not sure about the effectiveness of the cheaper ones. I shall check out on ebay. I see quite a lot in the German ebay site I have bought few things from Germany and had no problems so will let you know how I get on if I can't find one in the UK ebay Alistair

George Hodge
02-27-2003, 09:32 PM
My neighbor was about to give welding up entirely,till he tried my helmet.I have cheater lenses in mine,so I don't have to get so close to the welds. Best thing I,ve used in a long time !Get one!

02-28-2003, 03:57 AM
Wear your resporator when welding! concider if that thing will fit with your hood.

Bob Quale
03-01-2003, 07:42 PM
I have the Hobart with the ajustment on the side. Bought it from NH. It workes great and is fully solar. I had a more expensive one with a bigger window, I liked it less. The Hobart is light so if you use it alot it saves your neck. I use it for TIG welding.


03-01-2003, 07:48 PM
The one I bought specifically states in the instruction that it's not intended for TIG welding. Any idea why?


03-01-2003, 08:30 PM
Rotate... it is the frequency.. MY hobart helmet works great, but a tig has it's own mini transformer and frequency generator in the spark gap. The helmet is looking for a fixed frequency. (anyways this is my reasoning)
I love mine. I have used it tig, but not with the high freq box yet.

03-01-2003, 11:25 PM
I got one for Christmas, from TIP.


It's adjustable from 9 to 13, solar powered and I use it for TIG. It works great, but I noticed while doing some fine welding, about 10~20 amps, it would occasionly flash me. Took a little longer for it to trigger on the small arc. Never had any problems with higher amps. Still think it's great, just learned to take a long blink when starting the arc. It also supposedly has a filter to protect your eyes even if it doesn't darken.

Took me a while to get used to not having to flip the helmet up to see. Can't really see going back to a fixed helmet.

Had to edit post. When I pasted URL in for helmet it made the posts about 2 pages wide. Seach TIP site for Item #8061-ARC

[This message has been edited by JoelK (edited 03-01-2003).]

[This message has been edited by JoelK (edited 03-01-2003).]

03-02-2003, 01:14 AM
i olny use mine for lots of tack work like exspanded metal welding, but if im laying pounds of wire down i just use my large view helmet.

03-02-2003, 01:23 PM
Alistair - I purchased the speedglas 9000X (usuall disclaimers etc.) It has adjustable settings from 9 through 13 for SMAW, GMAW, and GTAW. It also has a sensitivity setting for GTAW if needed. The batteries are self recharging and it is great! Wearing glasses now I was always stricking an arc on the bifocal line - first inch was used to adjust my vision - not a recommended technique. Pricey thought but the wife agreed I was worth it when I fixed a hole in her exhaust without the usual explicatives.

03-02-2003, 06:55 PM
Those helmets are great for stick welding as well as all others. The one problem that I have had with mine is that when the sensor gets blocked by a piece of steel for example, the shade goes off and your in for a tanning session. I still reccommend buying one, but if your welding for long periods of time, I reccommend using the old fassion helmets.

03-03-2003, 02:09 PM
I also bought a cheap one for my wire-feed, and have trouble with it flashing. I now close my eyes every time I start welding, which kind of defeats the purpose of a self-darkening helmet! Don't know what the solution is.

03-03-2003, 03:37 PM
Sounds to me like a defective unit. I would return it and get a replacement.


03-03-2003, 06:41 PM
I have a Speedglas Utility Helmet. It has a smallish view and is not adjustable (i.e. only one dark setting). It works well, but sometimes the small view is a bit annoying, especially for out of position welding. I got it right after I started MIG welding, so I really never got the hang of the head nod with the fixed lens helmet. It is nice and light, which is also a plus.

My welds are so much better with the auto helmet, that I doubt I'll ever bother learning to use the fixed lens. I am sure that this will limit me some day, but I'll live with that for now.

03-06-2003, 03:13 AM
Speedglas has just brought out a new helmut that properly darkens with all TIG welders with as little as a 1Watt arc. This is worth looking into, but they are very expensive so call 911 before asking "how much" - we would not want to see you die from sticker shock.

03-08-2003, 09:46 PM
To all With a Mig. the arc is uesually not continous and with the inserts ie the cheap ones there is no release adjustment. if your arc is bouncing meaning that what you are welding is not perfectly clean, then it will flash you. so one must purchase a lens that has adjustable release time at least, so that it will be useable for mig use. I returned the cheap insert i purchased because of the mig (i am much better with the stick welder).

03-09-2003, 11:36 PM
Jeep, I just got (a few weeks ago) a "cheap" helmet at HF for $69 (+TTL) and finaly got a chance to put it through the tests.
1. Has adjustable lens from 9-13.
2. Has choice of fast or slow off time.
3. Does Not have to be charged.
4. Will darken with as little as the residual charge spark from my mig. (less than the spark from a flint lighter)
5. Responded every time to breaks in welding. (No flashes)
6. Had the helmet in use for 2 1/2 hours and loved every minute, i.e. No burning eyes. (Putting a "hard-top" on a 31 Tudor)

The only thing I did notice was a quick "flutter" of the filter when in sun-lit area (sun through a window directly on the weld area). I moved into the shade and all was good. Of course, if you're in brite sun or light, you don't need an auto helmet.

For indoors, I wouldn't use anything else. This was the best bang for the buck I've ever spent!