PDA

View Full Version : Welding Helmet Recomendations



Rustybolt
08-03-2012, 10:11 AM
Since nobody seems to be alive on the welding forum I'll try here.

My Optrel Satellite went TU and a new filter is 373.00. Soooooooo I'm lookin' fer a new one. Helmet that is.
What's your favorite helmet and why?

Go!

flylo
08-03-2012, 10:55 AM
My next one will be the one that you open with your chin. Works wey well. I can't think of the name right now.

loose nut
08-03-2012, 10:55 AM
There are lots out there, most are not as good as the Optrel (personnel opinion, I use an optrel also) but the most important thing you should consider is whether you would trust you eyes to a cheap Chinese shield like the HF one's or spend some more on a better one.

Rustybolt
08-03-2012, 11:16 AM
No. I think I'll stay with the higher end stuff.

Forrest Addy
08-03-2012, 11:20 AM
Mine is a Speed- um - something or other. Spend the money on an auto-dark. They are adjustable from 7 to 13 or so. You look out of clear glass, approach the work with the stinger, strike the arc and the glass goes instantly dark. Not even the perception of a flash.

They aren't perfect. Mine doesn't work in direct sun and it will flicker under blinky flourecents. But open shade or indoors under good light and it can't be beat.

BigMike782
08-03-2012, 11:36 AM
I like my Huntsman 1100IVXL and my Miller non-digital Elite.My main dislike to the Optrel is finding cover plates.

Forrest,Speedglas.
If it has it,adjust the sensitivity and it will not flicker.

MrSleepy
08-03-2012, 11:37 AM
I still have a working Optrel Solarmatic..and I recently purchased a Sif Lite (link (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SIF-LITE-ADF-AUTO-DARKENING-WELDING-HELMET-MASK-SAFETY-/280720347045)) which complies with all the latest EU regs,and is as good if not better than the solarmatic ...at a tenth of the price.

Rob

J Tiers
08-03-2012, 11:37 AM
OK, the HF can be called "cheap chinese junk" to which you are afraid to trust your eyes..... Suit yourself, that doesn't hurt ME at all.

I had a Jackson (IIRC) and later a different lens (after the Jackson crapped out and flashed me very nicely) in class. I have subsequently used an HF, and found that my ability to see the puddle was about 4x better with the HF than with the jackson, and a bit better than the replacement. The HF has a green-tint basic lens that seems to be good for visibility, and the auto-dark works well and does not fuzz up the view like teh Jackson POS.

BY the way.....

WHERE do you think basically ALL helmets have their lenses made? I bet if you check, you will find that most of the mid priced and all of teh cheaper ones come from CHINA...

Might include the one that was so good that it crapped out on you..... and most others in teh up to several hundred bucks range. Even any MIA ones, if you can find one, probably get the glass in china.... nobody in the US knows how to make it anymore.

rollin45
08-03-2012, 11:41 AM
I used a "Prostar" for years, which is Praxairs autodark hood, I used it on the job (industrial/commercial construction) and it held up well as its fairly rugged and the head gear seemed to hold up to constant use. For at home use, I have been using the Miller Elite autodark. I like the Miller as its light and the the settings/adjustments seem to work well and be accurate. I don'tknow how it would stand up to the inevitable wear and tear of daily construction, but since retiring, I'm not sure how well I would stand up to that anymore either.

vpt
08-03-2012, 12:09 PM
This is the helmet I bought while in school like a million years ago. It has been my only helmet ever. I use it for stick, MIG, and TIG. I have no idea what shade lens is in it anymore. It has been as reliable as water is wet.

See it there, hanging in its spot all ready to go, no dead batteries.

http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/4933/shopstuff013.jpg

+ or - Zero
08-03-2012, 12:27 PM
There are quite a few you tube reviews of helmets out there.

The high end ones do have some really nice features --if these features are worth the money to you buy the one that is feature complete in your opine.

But, don't be worrying much about failure of the auto dark --cheap or expensive.

Auto dark is a misnomer, they should be called auto light, because they all fail into full dark mode.

Try it for your self, pull the battery, turn it off, whatever --the screen will be full dark. The device fails into safe mode, not the other way around.

Do you really think the lawyers that rule the world would allow the potential liability of something that had a failure mode that exposed your eyes to a flash or worse?

Dr Stan
08-03-2012, 12:36 PM
Mine is a Speed- um - something or other. Spend the money on an auto-dark. They are adjustable from 7 to 13 or so. You look out of clear glass, approach the work with the stinger, strike the arc and the glass goes instantly dark. Not even the perception of a flash.

They aren't perfect. Mine doesn't work in direct sun and it will flicker under blinky flourecents. But open shade or indoors under good light and it can't be beat.

Speedglas is the name you're looking for and that is the brand I have, just don't know the model #. I was lucky and found on one Craig's List for less than 50% of the new price. It is by far the best helmet I've ever had. They were bought out by 3M at some point, but I think the helmets are still made in one of the Scandinavian countries. I have glaucoma & cataracts so I probably should not be welding at all, but this helmet gives me fantastic protection. More info is available here: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/PPESafetySolutions/PPESafety/Personal_Protective_Equipment/Welding/?WT.mc_id=www.3M.com/welding

vpt
08-03-2012, 01:04 PM
There are quite a few you tube reviews of helmets out there.

The high end ones do have some really nice features --if these features are worth the money to you buy the one that is feature complete in your opine.

But, don't be worrying much about failure of the auto dark --cheap or expensive.

Auto dark is a misnomer, they should be called auto light, because they all fail into full dark mode.

Try it for your self, pull the battery, turn it off, whatever --the screen will be full dark. The device fails into safe mode, not the other way around.

Do you really think the lawyers that rule the world would allow the potential liability of something that had a failure mode that exposed your eyes to a flash or worse?


Over the years I have read over and over again like a broken record of people flashing themselves with auto flash helmets because of some failure or simply blocking the sensor.

danlb
08-03-2012, 01:35 PM
There are many ways to get flashed. The interesting thing is that the harmful rays are blocked by the glass itself, not by the tint. Even when you are flashed you are not hurting your eyes.

I have used the HF model and a Miller digital elite. I like the ergonomics of the Miller model better. It fits well, it's light weight and I only get flashed when I do something dumb like leaving it in 'grinding' mode. I seem to see better with the Miller, but that might just be that I've learned to use bright light when I weld so that the arc is not the only source of light.

Dan

Mcgyver
08-03-2012, 01:42 PM
auto darkening is nice

next one will be speedglass with an airfilter, too much crap inhaled during welding. Big dollars but I've only got two lungs

Current one was a no name, bought from the welding store, seems better made than the really low end stuff.

My only complaint was, at the time, unless you spent for the speedglass, the were all covered in ridiculous paint jobs, flame, skulls etc. I feel like an idiot wearing it. More or less works well; I often wish things were clearer but not sure how much that's the fault of the mask

radkins
08-03-2012, 01:53 PM
Over the years I have read over and over again like a broken record of people flashing themselves with auto flash helmets because of some failure or simply blocking the sensor.


For over 25 years now and millions of these things in use and that old myth is still around!


Sure people still flash themselves just as they did with the old conventional lens but all too often they want to blame the auto-dark when it's really their own carelessness that caused the burn, just as with the old style. "Urban legends" abound about how some poor worker was burned or even blinded because he was forced to use an auto-dark helmet that was too slow or the sensors were getting blocked too often. This is simply not true and if it were the worker's comp and product liability lawyers would have put the manufacturers of business years ago! Stopping the harmful rays is a function of the lens material and the rays are absorbed by the first layers before they even reach the layer that goes dark so the protection is the same light or dark, it's a complete myth that the user gets a momentary "flash" during the time it takes for the lens to go dark or if the sensor gets blocked. Stopping these rays is simple and this was never a problem for the manufacturer, it does not require any highly specialized or expensive materials so even the cheap helmets have no reason to be dangerous, besides they have to meet government standards anyway.

flylo
08-03-2012, 01:54 PM
Check this one out http://www.accustrike.com/accu.htm Go to the order page & see the mig shield & they offer magnifier lenses for there helmets,and the lense is larger. Watch the video, that gut is moving.

danlb
08-03-2012, 02:38 PM
I forgot to mention that the Miller Elite has a bigger viewport than normal, so I can use my bifocals with it. Yes, my safety glasses are bifocal and yes, I do wear them under the hood.

Dan

+ or - Zero
08-03-2012, 02:57 PM
Check this one out http://www.accustrike.com/accu.htm Go to the order page & see the mig shield & they offer magnifier lenses for there helmets,and the lense is larger. Watch the video, that gut is moving.

Interesting concept, but there would seem to be at least the possibility of a slight flaw... Try as I might to avoid it, I sometimes get a bit of hot metal on some part of me when welding (especially when overhead or in an awkward position)... this always leads to an involuntary curse on my part... imagine my annoyance at suddenly having the lens flip up... probably going to add insult to injury, at the very least. :eek:

But then I confess to not being real stoic when I'm burning... :rolleyes:

J Tiers
08-03-2012, 03:03 PM
Over the years I have read over and over again like a broken record of people flashing themselves with auto flash helmets because of some failure or simply blocking the sensor.

And the glass part is STILL the part that blocks the UV..... But, you can get a pretty good blast of light if the sensor is blocked.... like welding under an overhang, where YOU can see the arc area, but the sensor cannot. Frankly, if it is a "good one" you won't care for a couple minutes whether it was UV or not.....

A good helmet likely has sensors in more than one place............. But I found the HF to be quite adequate for what I have had to do at work..... I may be an engineer, but it became known that I took a class, so if there is welding to be done, and the mechanical guy isn't there, I get the call.

Luckily, when we built the big dyno for testing a 30" diameter low speed generator and associated controls and power electronics, he WAS there, and had designed the structure, so he got tapped to to do the welding. I was busy with final design and checking out of the high power boost electronics.

winchman
08-03-2012, 03:06 PM
Miller Big Window Elite here.

wierdscience
08-03-2012, 03:17 PM
Huntsman 411P
Huntsman 451P
Accu Strike flip lens.

The Huntsman is by far the best hood in terms of durability IMHO,one of mine is nearly 20 years old.I use Gold film and crystal green lenses in those.

The Accu-Strike also has a Gold lens,it's new to the stable,but so far it has out perfomed all three of the auto-dark lenses I have owned and costs less than just one of them.One big advantage is when the lens is up you get clear saftey glass to look through instead of a tinted lcd plate.I think I'm gonna buy another one and go the extra bucks for the blower,should help keeping cool.

Black Forest
08-03-2012, 03:45 PM
I have a SpeedGlas with the Adflo filter/blower. It is great for many reasons. The blower keeps the lens from fogging and also cool in the summer. The filter is on your back so any nasty fumes from welding are not getting into your helmet. The lens is bigger so it is easier to see around you. I personally don't like a clear glass lens that goes dark when you strike. My eyes don't get as tired using the tinted lens. They don't have to adjust so much so it is easier to see what you are doing. The down side is if you just have a quick weld to do it is a little more trouble to strap on the blower and then weld. If I have to weld in a poorly lit area I put the helmet on a minute or so before I start to weld so my eyes can adjust.

Also you can strap on your blower, put on your helmet and scare the **** out of little kids. Just walk up to them and say, " Luke I am your father".

loose nut
08-03-2012, 04:41 PM
OK, the HF can be called "cheap chinese junk" to which you are afraid to trust your eyes..... Suit yourself, that doesn't hurt ME at all.


WHERE do you think basically ALL helmets have their lenses made? I bet if you check, you will find that most of the mid priced and all of teh cheaper ones come from CHINA...


Optrels are Swiss made.

Not everything that comes out of China is crap but a lot of what HF sells is cheap Chinese crap, they don't keep the bargain basement prices down by building in quality. Feel free to risk your eyes with one of their helmets if you want, that doesn't hurt ME at all.

baldysm
08-03-2012, 05:39 PM
http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/auto-darkening-welding-helmets.html

Read towards the bottom of the page, thats where the Northern Tool helmet is discussed.

I just got this helmet yesterday. I don't get the welder wired up until Tuesday. (I can probably do the wiring myself, but with a welder, I'd prefer a pro do it.)

It is normally clear, even with batteries removed. The reviews of the helmet were pretty good, didn't see any bad ones.

rohart
08-03-2012, 05:51 PM
I've used cheap for a couple of years, and I've still got vision. The couple of times I got flashed it was my fault.

My main criteria for buying another helmet would be sensitivity and price. I do a fair amount of low amperage TIG work, and I find a 9-13 helmet doesn't let me see much when I'm at 20-30 amps or less. I've tried 500 watts of light on the bench, but that turns the auto-dark on, so I might as well use non-auto.

I really want to try a 5-13, but they cost an arm and a leg - 200 or more over here.

I've tried various dioptre glasses, so now my eyes are focussing clearly and fast on the puddle, but to get the auto-dark to activate on less than 20 amps I can see very little once it kicks in. I have to assume that a 5-13 will help in some way, but I haven't found an affordable helmet yet.

I suppose that not much manual work is done commercially at those low amperages, so the demand hasn't been there to force prices down.

flylo
08-03-2012, 05:53 PM
Interesting concept, but there would seem to be at least the possibility of a slight flaw... Try as I might to avoid it, I sometimes get a bit of hot metal on some part of me when welding (especially when overhead or in an awkward position)... this always leads to an involuntary curse on my part... imagine my annoyance at suddenly having the lens flip up... probably going to add insult to injury, at the very least. :eek:

But then I confess to not being real stoic when I'm burning... :rolleyes:

But you can learn to swear with your mouth closed!

flylo
08-03-2012, 05:56 PM
Also you can strap on your blower, put on your helmet and scare the **** out of little kids. Just walk up to them and say, " Luke I am your father".

But you scare the kids without the mask on!

Falcon67
08-03-2012, 07:16 PM
Just bought this one, works good. I'm a pretty bad welder, so take that FWIW. Nice helmet for the price.
http://store.cyberweld.com/hohowehebl3d.html

Tamper84
08-03-2012, 07:33 PM
I'll chime in. I have used a Jackson Nex-gen for about 7 years every day. Dang good helmet, pricy but good. I think I spent 250 or 300 on it. I used to work out side all the time, heat and cold didn't bother it. It has sensitivity adjustment on it, along with a grinding mode, cutting mode and 7-13 shade ranges. Battery life is ok, I think I go thru about a pair a year. Big watch batteries.

I did check into those accu strike helmets before I bought my Nex-gen. The part I didn't like about them is their weird filter/cover plate size. As in you would either have to cut one down or buy just from them.

Chris

flylo
08-03-2012, 07:33 PM
Falcon, nice helmet. I have one covered in $100 bills. Keeps me on track. It's auto light & you can switch it for grinding but I tried the Auto Strike & likes the bigger lens & the cheater option & the made in USA part. I like the auto lights because I can change shades by turning a swith on the outside.

gcude
08-03-2012, 08:37 PM
"The Hood" is also the one I have. Works well for me. It's comfortable and has room for me to keep my reading glasses on while welding to see the puddle better.
http://store.cyberweld.com/hohowehebl3d.html

I bought mine at Tractor Supply, for a few more dollars than the source that Falcon found.

vpt
08-03-2012, 10:25 PM
I wonder now if the people that say getting flashed isn't bad are talking about MIG welding? Since I have picked up the MIG I notice it is much darker welding light than the TIG. Get yourself flashed by a TIG good and you will never want to have it happen again. Personally I HATE getting flashed and I would say if it happened twice with an auto helmet it would be in the trash and I would be back to my old one. I work in all kinds of weird positions welding inside and outside of cars. Times I use mirrors, do auto's work with mirrors?

I got to talk with a miller rep today that was very interested in my camera and lcd screen idea. He said he would pass it along. That would be something I would use!

J Tiers
08-03-2012, 10:38 PM
I wonder now if the people that say getting flashed isn't bad are talking about MIG welding? Since I have picked up the MIG I notice it is much darker welding light than the TIG. Get yourself flashed by a TIG good and you will never want to have it happen again.

So far, EVERY time I have gotten a blast of light outside of class it has been while TIG welding under something, blocking the sensor. I'm not sure if it was brighter than while stick welding at high current, but it was bright enough for me to be careful to not do that again..... But, the UV is still blocked by that chinese glass... same chinese glass that is probably in whatever helmet you use.... especially if you are in the US!

As for the Swiss made helmet...... the Swiss *may* have made their glass elsewhere, but even they quite possibly got it made in china... what's the difference so long as it is good?

just because a helmet is made somewhere, does not mean in this day of globalization, that some parts were not made elsewhere, quite possibly in china. So almost without regard to brand, you STILL may be "trusting your eyes to chinese glass".

Just get used to it.....

loose nut
08-03-2012, 11:52 PM
As for the Swiss made helmet...... the Swiss *may* have made their glass elsewhere, but even they quite possibly got it made in china... what's the difference so long as it is good?

you STILL may be "trusting your eyes to chinese glass".

Just get used to it.....

There web site says Swiss made so I will take it as all Swiss made. Maybe yes, maybe no, but even if it is made in China it is made to their standards not HF's standards, of which I have not seen many. The one thing I will not take a chance on is my eyes, can't get along with out them. So feel free to use what ever you want, I really don't care, it's your eyes not mine.

As for getting used to it, I don't have to so why would I. Have a nice day.

radkins
08-04-2012, 12:20 PM
Optrels are Swiss made

Feel free to risk your eyes with one of their helmets if you want, that doesn't hurt ME at all.



I don't know about now because they have both improved over the years but not long ago the Harbor Freight, Hobart "the Hood" model and Miller all used the exact same Chameleon brand lens with the only real difference being the shell and headgear. Well that and the price, the Miller and Hobarts were about 200 bucks while the HF was only about 50 but the electrics were the same, all even had the "Chameleon" brand name in the fine print. Sure the shell and headgear is nothing to brag about on these things but stopping the dangerous rays is not rocket science and even with the Chinese (even the cheap ones) lens FAR outnumbering lens from other countries there does not seem to be a rash of lawsuits from workers comp or product liability. The fact is the HF helmets have a proven track record and quite a loyal following, I have one myself that I use about 95% of the time instead of my expensive Jackson because it's so much lighter. I do however use the Jackson for TIG welding because the HF lens does not work too well for that, lack of features such as sensitivity settings are the big differences between the cheap lens and the better ones while safety is not a problem. Building a safe lens is so simple and cheap that never was a concern with the manufacturers, heck in the beginning some welders just used a piece of clear glass that had been smoked over a torch! Not saying that's safe and they probably did themselves some serious harm but the fact they did it and able to do it day after day illustrates how easy it is to stop the dangerous rays. The dark phase of these auto-dark lens has nothing to do with stopping the UV/IR rays and only block light in the visible spectrum, I suppose if a person were to weld with a failed lens in the "light" mode for a long enough time or maybe if the sensors were blocked enough times then severe eye strain or even damage could result but who in their right mind would do such a thing? This type of damage would be similar to staring at a bright light for a length of time and would be entirely different than an arc burn, the bottom line is 25 years and millions in use have proven the safety of these things-even the cheap ones.

flylo
08-04-2012, 04:23 PM
Just found a brand new in the box Accu-Strike with fan for $75 & the seller agreed to cover shipping.

Rustybolt
08-05-2012, 09:56 AM
Thanks for all the helpful input. This is really agreat group we have here.
I went with the Miller Elite Titanium.

Ed.
08-09-2012, 09:02 PM
I didn't realise that you had already bought a helmet till after I posted this reply so I am leaving this post for other in case others may want some additional info. I think you will be happy with the one you got.

I upgraded my helmet to a Miller Digital Elite a few years ago, and it has been great. It has 4 sensors on it and a Xmode sensor, which basically is a electromagnetic detector, as soon as you strike an arc it detects the magnetic field being created and activates. No problems with sensors being blocked and flashed as a result. It's been dropped, caught on fire and banged around and still going strong. One thing I really disliked about it was that it switches itself off after about 10-15minutes of inactivity, so I have to remind myself to check that the lens is still active if I put the helmet down to do something else in between welds.That is just something that has now become a habit so no longer a problem but a manual off switch would have been nice.

Is it better than anything else around, can't say, as I keep my hemets till they no longer functional, only had 4 helmets in 40 years and the current one is the second one of the auto dark type, I would buy another if I destroyed it or needed another, mine cost me about $330 delivered to Australia with extra packs of filters and a couple of cheater lenses.

As for the cheaper helmets, can't say how good the current ones are, my third helmet was a cheap auto type one and was a piece of crap, but the technology has probably vastly improved since I first bought the cheaper auto type so the cheap ones may be OK now. My view was to pay a bit more and get one that is approved for industrial use and I know it should be fine, as my helmets usually last me for decades, (unless I destroy them and then it won't matter what the brand is) to me, it is a one off payment and I have got a good helmet for the next ten years or so.

As my eyes are a bit "dodgy" due to old age, I put cheater (magnifying lenses) lenses in the hood and also wear my glasses as well, there is also enough room under the helmet to wear a 3M pancake style filter mask if I am welding up Galv. metal or if the metal isn't thoughly clean and giving off a lot of fumes.

One thing I always do is to cut up a guantlet style leather glove and use the cuff part with some silicone adhesive to glue it to the bottom of the helmet as a skirt, it keeps sparks and UV from burning my neck and the UV from reflecting up off my shirt and into my helmet , it is the first thing I do when I get a new helmet! It may be ugly as hell but extrememly practical, if you saw my face you would understand why it completes the ensomble, blends in well! :D

But at the end of the day, buy what you can afford but bear in mind you only have one pair of eyes and buying cheap for the sake of a few bucks may be false economy, if however it is cheap and works well, then it doesn't become a problem. Just my 2 cents worth.