8 Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets In 2016

By | December 4, 2016

Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

Whether you are a professional welder or a hobbyist, you will agree that the importance of proper headgear cannot be overemphasized. With the right headgear you will be able to protect your neck, face, and eyes from sparks, heat, flash burn, infrared light, and ultraviolet light emitted during welding.

Welding poses a great risk of developing arc eye, which a condition is resulting from inflammation of the cornea; retina burns that can potentially cause blindness; as well as skin damage evidenced by patches that look like sunburns. A helmet will go a long way to save you the horror of these distressing conditions. Arc welding produces infrared and ultraviolet rays that are highly concentrated, reason why you need an auto darkening welding helmet.

It is of utmost importance to have prior knowledge about the helmet you are purchasing lest you make a blind purchase. You may either go for the standard or auto darkening lenses depending on your needs. Whereas the standard lenses have a shade that is fixed and you will need to keep lowering and raising the helmet, the auto-darkening lenses have about 3 – 4 different shades when inactive.

These lenses automatically sense the arc and darken accordingly so that you don’t have to go through the trouble of raising or lowering your helmet as is the norm with the standard lens. The auto-darkening helmet comes with variable shade and fixed shade.

Our review today focuses on some of the best auto darkening helmets and why they are popular.

1. Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

If you are keen on versatility and quick response to the arc, then the AH6-260-0000 welding helmet by Antra makes a good option. It is designed for plasma applications.

Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Features

  • 4 premium sensors
  • 3.86 inch x 1.73 inch viewing size
  • On and off fully automated
  • Compatible with magnifying lens/ cheater lens
  • UV/IR protection
  • Battery testing and indicator
  • Knob for sensitivity and delay adjustment
  • 4/ 5-9/ 9-13 shade variable
  • Ideal for plasma applications, Tig, Mig and Arc
  • 10 minute power off delay
  • 0.1 – 1 sec from dark to light
  • 0.00004 seconds reaction time
  • 14°F – 131°F operating temperature
  • ANSI Z87.1 / EN379 CE / CSA Z94.3 (Standards)

Review

The Antra AH6-260 is a helmet that responds extremely fast to the electric arc given by plasma applications, MMA, MIC, and TIG. It is a light weight helmet that is versatile and ideal for use when welding, cutting and grinding.

The large 3.86 inch x 1.73 inch viewing size means that you can see a wide area without having to turn. This helmet can be used in very hot temperatures ranging between 14°F and 131°F and has split 0.00004 seconds reaction time.

In addition, it works well with magnifying lens for precision and integrates UV/IR protection so you are safe while at work.

2. Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Adjustable Shade Range #9 – #13

Any welder will appreciate the wide adjustable shade range that the Instapark ADF Series GX-350S auto darkening welding helmet has to offer. Along with quality optional clarity for ½ and 1/3 denomination, quality workmanship is a guarantee.

Instapark GX-350S Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Instapark GX-350S Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Features

  • Solar powered
  • 1/15,000 sec reaction time
  • Excellent optical clarity for 1/2/1/3 denomination
  • Large viewing size 3.5 inch x 1.375 inch
  • Shade adjustment starting at 9 – 13. Resting shade at 4.
  • Excellent for Arc, MIG and TIG
  • GS, DIN-Geprüft, CE, ANSI Z87.1, CSA Z94.3, AS/NZS (Standards)
  • 2 arc sensors
  • Automatic sensitivity control
  • Power – Solar cell
  • Auto Dark to light in 1.0 to 0.45 seconds

Review

This helmet comes with a solar cell. It has 2 arc sensors which activate the filter that enables a really fast 1.0 to 0.45 seconds auto-darkening process. You don’t need to keep flipping your helmet up and then down as it comes with a 9 to 13 shade adjustment range and a resting shade at 4. You also have a large 3.5 inch x 1.375 inch viewing capacity and an excellent optical clarity for 1/2/1/3 denomination to enhance precision.

Since you don’t have as many stops and starts because it comes with automatic sensitivity control, you can be sure that your productivity will be improved. The variable shades allow you to work with MIC, TIC and Arc. With torch placement now being more accurate, you will reduce reworks and grinding which are often time wasting.

3. Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, HaloX, Black (40713), 1 Unit

If you are looking for a versatile unit for your welding and grinding, with auto dimming sensors, the Jackson Safety W40 Insight will make a good option.

Jackson Safety W40 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Jackson Safety W40 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Features

  • Variable shade starting at 9 to 13
  • Large viewing area 3.93 inches x 2.36 inches
  • 4 sensors for auto dimming
  • Adjustments for both delay and sensitivity
  • Has both weld and grind modes.
  • Ideal for Arc, TIG and MIG
  • HSL 100 and HLX 100 shell compatibility
  • ANSI Z87.1+2010, CSA (Standards)
  • Filter is auto darkening
  • Weight 2lbs
  • Dimensions 15” x 15” x 15”

Review

This lightweight filter is a just what you need for your health and safety. With quality auto darkening filters and 4 auto dimming sensors, it makes an ideal for varying work environments. What’s more, it is compatible with HSL 100 and HLX 100 shells and is quite ideal for Arc, TIG, and MIG tasks giving you the versatility you would look for in an auto darkening helmet.

Easy adjustment feature you will appreciate as far as lighting and sensitivity are concerned. The helmet comes with controls that are very easy to use and a 3.93 inches x 2.36 inches wide viewing area which empowers you to work with precision. The ANSI Z87.1+2010 and CSA certifications further assure you that this helmet meets the required industry standards.

4. Welding Helmet, Shade 3 and 8-12, Black

This handy helmet by Miller Electric is one to keep your eyes on for its great performance. With remarkable features like a super fast lens speed, 20A TIG rating, and 2 arc sensors, you can be sure you will love your welding experience.

Miller Electric Welding Helmet

Miller Electric Welding Helmet

Features

  • Compatible with magnifying lens
  • Lens speed is 1/10,000 seconds
  • Delay and sensitivity control at 0.1 to 1 sec
  • On and Off is automatic
  • 20A TIG rating
  • Solar and Battery powered (AAA)
  • Shades 3/ 8-12
  • Viewing area 5 -1/5 square inch
  • Controls are analogue
  • 2000hr battery life
  • ANSI Z87.1+2010, CSA (standards)
  • 2 ARC sensors

Review

This helmet comes with a lens shade of 3 at rest and an operation range of between 8 and 12. With a great 1/10,000 seconds lens speed, it will definitely give you a run for your bucks.

It is auto darkening which makes it ideal for welding work. With a large viewing area which every welder will appreciate, and 2 arc sensors that allow for auto dimming, there is no better way of protecting yourself than with the Miller Electric Welding Helmet.

The controls on this helmet are analogue yet it is still a great helmet to purchase given that it is solid and is ideal for welders working with ARC, TIG and MIG. It will work well for both hobbyists and professionals.

5. Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Black Welding Helmet with 4C Lens Technology – K3034-3

The Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 lightweight is ideal when you have to move around while carrying other loads.

Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Welding Helmet

Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Welding Helmet

Review

  • Weighs 3.4 lbs
  • Large viewing area
  • Auto darkening lenses
  • Adjustable delay and sensitivity
  • Protects face, neck and head
  • Ideal for Stick, MIG and TIG
  • Battery operated

Review

This hood has many great features. It is lightweight at 3.4 lbs and so you don’t have to worry about working while carrying a heavy load on your shoulders. The viewing area is also large enough allowing you a clear view of your workings. The auto darkening lenses make it perfect for the work ahead because there’s no more lifting and lowering it as you work.

Depending on the work you are doing, you can adjust the lens’ darkening feature. Make use of the timer to delay darkening when work is not going on. The lenses are easy to find and replace as needed. It works really well with Stick, TIG and MIC and you can be sure that your entire face, head and neck will be covered for utmost protection.

6. Antra AH6-660-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with AntFi X60-6 Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 with Grinding Feature Extra lens covers Good for Arc Tig Mig Plasma

The AH6-660-0000 unit by Antra is as versatile as you can imagine. Apart from its grinding feature, it is suitable for five other different applications.

Antra AH6-660-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Antra AH6-660-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Features

  • Has grinding feature and is ideal for TIG, MIG, plasma applications and ARC
  • 4 superior sensors
  • Viewing size is large at 3.78 inches by 2.50 inches
  • Compatible with magnifying lens/ cheater lens
  • Sensitivity and delay adjustment
  • Variable shade 4/5 – 9/ 9-13
  • Power is fully automatic
  • Adapter for hard hats
  • Battery testing and indicator
  • 10 minute power off delay
  • IR and UV protection with a DIN16 permanent shade
  • 0.00004 reaction time (1/25,000)
  • Dark to light in 0.1 to 1 sec
  • Solar cell battery
  • ANSI Z87.1 / EN379 CE / CSA Z94.3 (Standards)
  • Weighs 475 gms

Review

This helmet is a super lightweight and comes with 4 superior sensors for auto dimming. It also responds remarkably fast to electric arc produced by Stick, Plasma, MMA, MIG, and TIC. Its large 3.78 by 2.50 inches viewing area lets you see what you are doing and with ease. It is versatile and performs well in grinding, welding, and cutting tasks.

Another unique offering is that it has an integrated UV and IR protection along with DIN16 permanent shade. It variable shades range between 4/5 and 9/ 9-13 which any welder would consider wide.

Its four superior sensors are a great dimming feature and it has been designed for compatibility with both magnifying and cheater lenses. What’s more, it comes with an adapter for effective use with hard hats.

7. Antra AH7-860-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet AntFi X60-8 Jumbo Viewing Size 3.78″X3.5″ Variable Shade 4/5-9/9-13 with Grinding Feature Extra lens cover Good for Arc Tig Mig Plasma

This is another of Antra’s auto darkening welding helmets which performs amazingly well with its 0.00003 reaction time.

Antra AH7-860-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Antra AH7-860-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Features

  • 3.78” x 3.50” viewing size
  • 4 superior sensors
  • Sensitivity and delay adjustment
  • Variable shade 5-9/ 9-13
  • Ideal for grinding, plasma applications, MMA, MIG, and TIG
  • On and off is fully automated
  • IR and UV protection – DIN16 permanent shade
  • Compatible with hard hat
  • 10 minute power off delay
  • Battery testing and indicator
  • Reaction time is 1/30,000 seconds (0.00003)
  • Dark to light in 0.1 to 1 Sec
  • ANSI Z87.1 / EN379 CE / CSA Z94.3 (Standards)

Review

This helmet comes complete with a large 3.78” x 3.50” viewing area and automatic lens. The 4 superior sensors are super fast with a reaction time of 0.00003 seconds when it senses electric arc from Plasma applications, TIG, MMA and MIG.

This is a very versatile helmet ideal for several different applications including grinding, welding and cutting. If you have been using a standard lens helmet or goggles, this one will make a great upgrade for you.

8. OEMTOOLS 24357 Automatic Darkening Welding Helmet

Finally, the OEMTOOLS 24357 auto darkening helmet ends our review and has made it here for the right reasons. If you are looking for a simplistic design with ease of operation, you would want to consider this unit.

OEMTOOLS 24357 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

OEMTOOLS 24357 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Features

  • 2 independent sensors
  • Solar and battery powered
  • 15 to 20 minute delay auto off
  • Replacement lenses
  • 3.54 inch x 1.37 inch viewing area
  • Variable shades 9-13
  • Ideal for MIG, TIG and Stick

Review

This helmet is ideal for those who work with TIG, MIG and Stick welding because if comes with 9 – 13 variable shades. It has 2 independent sensors for auto darkening. Its battery is solar assisted and guarantees as long as two thousand hours.

You have the benefit of a 15 to 20mins auto-off delay and sensitivity controls depending on the work you are doing. With its large 3.54 inch x 1.37 viewing area you will be able to clearly see what you are doing and more comfortably. It is a lightweight and gives you the flexibility of adjusting just how close you want it to your face.

Conclusion

Simply look at the features and figure out what works for you. The auto-darkening feature is common to them all but there are differences in reaction time, automatic adjustments, and types of batteries used. Depending on the work you handle, the variable shades will be important.

You will also want to make sure that you consider the premium sensors on each one. Great sensors will dictate the reaction speed. Whether you are hobbyist or a professional, you will agree that the auto darkening welding helmet is necessary for that smooth flow of work and for utmost protection.

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