The first and foremost condition of the welding helmet is that it must fulfill the industry-wide safety standard.
It may vary from one country to another. This standard in North America is ANSI Z87.1 whereas in Canada and United State it is CAN/CSA Z94.3.
Both of these standards protect flame, leakage and impact resistance. Therefore it is wise to measure the regulatory and industry standard of a helmet before you desire to buy it.
You must choose it by considering the type of welding you like to do. The amperage rating may generate various stages of light emission. Sometimes rates demand various levels of shade.
Read the reviews of the helmet sensitivity settings. Top level auto-darkening helmets have settings which toggle between ranges. It gives shade range from 6 to 9 or 9 to 13.
This scale gives greater comfort for the welders. It also optimizes the shade for more protection for any cutting, welding or grinding application.
This kind of flexibility is very helpful for the welders who make constant changes between applications and welding process.
It is very helpful for who like to change amperage, welding machine voltage, wire feed speed settings.
Suppose welding on thick materials with high amperage needs higher shade levels.
Low amperage TIG or MIG welding is done well with low shade levels. It confirms enough visibility of the welding arc puddle.
Tradition vs. technology
There are lots of auto-darkening helmets on the market at present. But people like to use some conventional helmets having a fixed shade and a conventional shade.
The shade remains to darken all the times. Though these helmets give inexpensive and rugged safety protection, there are some disadvantages of it.
Welding helmet bearing a fixed shade may raise discomfort and difficulties in various levels after a long period. A user normally has to lift this helmet all the times when he wants to join or weld.
Adjust its position and prepare for welding. When the time strikes the arc appears, you need to flip the helmet back down again.
These repeated actions remove fatigue and necks strain for doing long time work.
Moreover, it is very hard and tuff to move the helmet up and down in a restricted place.
Less experienced welders find it difficult to keep the TIG torch, the MIG gun. They fail to stick electrode to the right position to start welding in the joint if the helmet is lowered to the position.
Improper welding brings weld defects and poor weld starting. This situation normally reduces productivity, lower quality and an extensive need for rework.
Use advanced auto darkening helmet for your typical welding applications and process. It has variable controls which adjust the shade from a straight state to a dark 1 and back.
The helmet saves you from the injurious light emissions all times. Therefore it is better to offer thanks to the rapid changing LCD system for auto-darkening cartridges.
There are many advantages of an auto darkening helmet. Welders can see well while the helmet remains in down position.
Therefore he can set up to weld a joint by keeping the hood in position. This helmet helps you to do the work for a long time. There is no need for readjustment, frequent stops, repositioning, and restarts.
You can power an auto darkening helmet in different ways. Some use lithium batteries though some use a combination of solar power with the assistance of a battery.
The choice is up to the desired of the intended person. Helmets which come with user-replaceable batteries last for a long time.
But the helmets which have non-user-replace batteries last only for 5 to 7 years. It is the suggestion for the welders to keep replacement batteries on hand if he uses replaceable batteries.
If the helmet comes with on and off switch for internal or external control, the users would turn off the helmet after every use to extend battery life.
Safety Features For Welding Helmets
Ups and downs
If a user uses a heavy helmet for a long time for extended welding it can increase fatigue. Lightweight, newer helmets make welding easier, safer and comfortable.
There are some helmets with full coverage shell which have weight from 18 to 21 ounces.
On the other hand, some lightweight helmets with smaller views can weight from 15 to 31 ounces.
Use a helmet that it completely fit. The headgear adjusts well forward, backward, up and down. There are many headgear assemblies.
These have no fore/ aft adjustment to ensure enough space between the wearer’s head and the helmet.
This situation is very common for the people who have the large head and important facial features.
It can easily tighten around your head. The rate of fall and degree of tilt permit to poorer in a prohibited way.
Some helmets come with no damping functions which can be jarring for the wearers. It falls on a position.
Permit the users to add resistance that maintains falling rates. It controls where the helmet stops and lowers to the welding position.
Notice and check the helmet fits well on your head and remains in a place if you remove upward position. See is it well balanced in both the up and down position?
The weight of the helmet must not pull the head forward. A helmet which has poor balance may add to neck strain and usual fatigue with the passage of working shift.
Comfort over time
Many welders use helmets for few hours at a stretch in a sweaty, hot atmosphere. Helmet must be comfortable not for the first time of wearing but for the whole day.
A weighty helmet may be uncomfortable or slide around the head for perspiration. It can be the annoyance in a 6-8 hour shift.
The solution is a shell made plastic which has the slim wall but they are sturdy to endure the molten metal and sparks. It may jump off the welding arc.
The headgear within the shell may be engineered to distribute the weight of the helmet very evenly as early as possible.
If a manufacturer designs a single helmet, all concentration is given on that single band. Different bands displace the load that helps the helmet to be comfortable and lighter.
There is a pivot-style headgear with the helmet in the latest technology. It wraps around the skull in a safe way which ensures comfort at the same time.
Moreover, there is adequate padding for all touch points such as the back of the neck and brow.
The personal touch
Helmets are most visible and to do the job wearers use it all time. It is a great vehicle for the welders to represent his personality to shine through a job site or on the floor of the shop. There are some other things more than utility and safety.
You will get welding helmets in various colors, not only basic Model T black. This is not all here.
Many models give personalization kits along with decals. Other models come with a lot of pre-imprinted graphic themes added with tattoo patterns, flags, skulls, hot rods, comic book, angel wings and superheroes.
Choosing a welding helmet is a difficult task. You need to see the safety features, budget and personal style of it.
Though your budget is limited, you shouldn’t worry about it. There are many affordable options which don’t sacrifice comfort or safety. It is true among the high profile helmet manufacturers.
If you a helmet for a long time, you need to ask the distributor or manufacturers about the availability of the parts like headgear, cartridges, lenses, and sweatbands.
When you don’t get them ready, you may look for elsewhere. You need to buy some when you get the spare parts of the helmet.
The best helmet requires parts replacement eventually. It is better to keep some in your hand instead of waiting for delivery.
At the time of preferring a proper welding helmet, there are lots of things to consider. The good news is that you will get lots of options to select from.
Don’t think more about budget or circumstance. You should rather think more about comfort, safety and productivity to do your job.
Welding Safety, Equipment, Tips & Techniques : Welding Helmet Safety Tips & Techniques
William Demello is a professional biker and racer with over 10 years of experience. He believes in safety first, that’s why he analyzes the helmet before other relevant elements. With this long experience, now he has decided to share his experience with others. Know more at the about page.