A helmet is an essential piece of safety gear when welding. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. However, not everyone has to use the same welding helmet. There are different kinds and types of welding helmets out there that come in varying qualities.
In this article, we are going to be reviewing the best welding helmets out there on the market today.
In addition to doing reviews of a bunch of really high-quality welding helmets, we are also going to be looking at how you can differentiate between a good welding helmet, a mediocre one, and a bad one in our follow-up buying guide.
If you want a quick recommendation, we suggest going for the ESAB Sentinel A50.
A Spotlight On Some of The Best Welding Helmets in 2020:
For the first review on our best welding helmets list, we are not going to be taking a look at one of the less common types of welding helmets in the form of an auto darkening helmet model. More specifically, we are going to be reviewing the Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet. This is a well-made helmet option that we feel is a great way to start off the list (because of how high-quality it is).
One of the key questions to ask whenever you are looking at a welding helmet is “how much protection will this offer me?” In the case of the Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, the answer is quite a lot.
This welding helmet contains a filter that is rated up to shade 13 for both UV and IR protection. The covering provides comprehensive protection for the face and neck against sparks and radiants. A conveniently placed dial on the side lets you change the scale of the protection at will.
Despite providing such comprehensive protection and despite looking very imposing, the Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is not the heavy welding helmet that you would assume just by looking at it. It is actually surprisingly lightweight, which is useful for longer welding sessions since it helps to prevent neck soreness and fatigue.
Despite all the great features that we have talked about so far in relation to the Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, it is actually a relatively affordable helmet. While we wouldn’t call it “cheap,” when compared to helmets of a similar quality and of a similar style (auto darkening), it is pretty easy on the wallet.
Our only real issue with this otherwise great welding helmet is the fact that it is somewhat limited in what it can be used for. To be more specific, the user manual for the Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet specifically warns you against using this welding helmet for welding objects overhead. So, that is a limitation with the helmet to be aware of.
For the next review, we are going to do a complete 180 and look at a more conventional and traditional option in the form of a passive welding helmet.
As you will see later on in our buying guide, passive welding helmets are easily the most common and most recognizable type of helmet, so it makes sense that we are going to be reviewing quite a few of these kinds of helmets as part of this review list.
The first passive welding helmet that we are going to be taking a look at is the Honeywell Fiberglass Welding Helmet with Ratchet Headgear. This is a pretty standard, but ultimately well-made welding helmet.
One of the key aspects of this particular welding helmet is how well-made it is. While there is a small issue with the durability of the helmet that we will mention later on, the overall quality of the helmet is quite high.
It is made from a unique material that Honeywell refers to as SuperGlas Plus. This material is resistant to cracking, moisture, and chipping. This means that you should be able to use this mask for quite a while and it will retain its structural integrity and its ability to provide protection.
In terms of eye protection, you know that the Honeywell Fiberglass Welding Helmet with Ratchet Headgear is reliable, given that it is being featured on our best welding helmets list. However, you may be curious as to how reliable it is.
Well, it is in line with the eye protection offered by just about every other high-end welding mask that you have ever used. This means that it provides shade 10 eye protection and that it can be trusted to filter out UV and IR light, which provides further protection for your retinas.
The attached ratchet mechanism helps to keep the mask light and comfortable. So, long welding sessions shouldn’t leave you with a sore neck.
Our one complaint with the Honeywell Fiberglass Welding Helmet with Ratchet Headgear is a fairly minor one, but one that we still want to mention anyway, which is the fact that the paint does seem to chip quite easily.
For the next review on this list of the best welding helmets, we want to take a look at what is, in our view, one of the best welding helmets on the market today. That is the ESAB Sentinel A50 Welding Helmet.
This helmet is undoubtedly a pricey option. But those who are willing to invest in it are going to be getting a welding helmet that is the one that we would recommend to anyone reading this review list. Don’t get us wrong, we think that many of the other options reviewed so far have been good, but the Sentinel A50 is a cut above the rest.
What makes the ESAB Sentinel A50 Welding Helmet so good?
Well, there are a lot of different features that we could point to, but probably the two best features to mention are the helmet’s comprehensive protection and how comfortable it is.
This helmet offers extremely good protection against basically everything that you could possibly encounter while welding. This includes sparks, radiants, every type of light, etc. It is very comprehensive. Secondly, the helmet, despite looking very bulky, is actually quite comfortable to wear. We have placed a big emphasis on comfort on this list and the Sentinel A50 delivers.
If you are an infrequent welder or someone who only welds occasionally as a hobby, then many of the pricier welding helmets that have appeared on our best welding helmets list so far may not be to your liking as they are a bit expensive for someone who isn’t welding all that often.
So, we figured that we for sure were going to include at least one affordable entry on this list. Obviously, finding a good welding helmet that is also affordable so a lot easier said than done, as the tool that keeps you from going blind isn’t exactly the area where you want to compromise when it comes to quality. However, we found that the SHKY Welding Helmet is a good option that manages to blend quality with affordability.
First off, the SHKY Welding Helmet offers a pretty large viewing area, so you can easily see when the helmet isn’t in use. This makes accurate welding and knowing where to place your welding tool a lot simpler.
Furthermore, the SHKY Welding Helmet works for every type of welding and it offers a high level of protection. On its own, this would just make it like many of the other options on our best welding helmets review list.
However, the level of protection offered by the SHKY Welding Helmet does become more impressive and more notable when you consider that this is easily the most affordable welding helmet that we have looked at so far.
It also comes equipped with some nice bonus features that help to make the helmet a bit easier and more comfortable to use. A prime example of this is a sponge on the back of the helmet that makes it more comfortable on the back of your head. Another good example is a little knob on the side of the helmet that lets you adjust the positioning of the protective visor.
Finally, in terms of cost, the SHKY Welding Helmet is easily the most affordable welding helmet that we have reviewed so far on our review list. So, if you want to save some money, this is the option for you.
For the final review on our best welding helmets list, we are going to be doing a review of the Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet. This is yet another high-quality auto darkening welding helmet that is very similar in terms of quality and features to many of the other auto darkening helmets that we have reviewed so far.
As with most high-end auto darkening welding helmets that have appeared on this list, the Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet offers fairly comprehensive protection. In terms of a specific shade, the Miller offers protection ranging from 8 shade to 13 shade.
Something unique about the Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet that has been missing from a few other auto darkening helmets is the presence of what is called “X mode.” This mode prevents a common issue that plagued auto darkening helmets, which is sunlight interference.
A lot of helmets can’t be used outdoors because sunlight messes with the light sensors. Thankfully, that isn’t a problem with the Miller thanks to the aforementioned X mode.
Something else that we really like about the Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet is the presence of both a digital control scheme and a digital LED display. The digital control scheme is great, and the display makes keeping track of your current settings very easy. Overall, it is a great feature that we are glad to see included on the helmet.
Our major complaint with the Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet is that it isn’t exactly the most comfortable option to wear, which is definitely something that you are going to want to consider if you plan on using it for long welding sessions.
Welding Helmet Buying Guide
As we mentioned back in the introduction to this article, there was going to be a buying guide to follow-up the reviews. In the first part of our article, you saw our reviews of the best welding helmets on the market right now.
In the second part of this article, we are going to explain more about how we came to those conclusions and decided on which welding helmets to feature on our review list. We hope that this buying guide will be useful for amateur and veteran welders alike.
Types of Welding Helmets
The first thing that we want to cover as part of this buying guide is the differences between the various types of welding helmets. As you saw from our best welding helmets review list, there are two main kinds of welding helmets out there.
There are passive welding helmets and auto darkening welding helmets. What are the pros and cons of each, and what kind is the best for you? We are going to look at that in this part of our buying guide.
Passive Welding Helmets
This kind of welding helmet is easily the most common type of helmet out there. If you were to picture in your mind what a welding helmet looks like, it would almost certainly be a passive welding helmet.
Their popularity is due to a number of factors. They tend to be fairly inexpensive, which is always a positive. Likewise, they are extremely simple to use. They work just like any other mask you have ever used.
The disadvantages of passive welding helmets really become apparent when you start to do a lot of welding at once. Most people can’t really see out of the helmet and they certainly can’t aim the torch when using it. So, every time you need to reposition the torch, you need to raise your helmet and then put it back down again. Many find this to be cumbersome and uncomfortable.
Auto Darkening Helmets
The other, far less common type of welding helmet is the auto darkening helmet. As you can probably tell from the name, auto darkening helmets remain clear until they detect the light given off by the welding arc.
This allows you to aim and position the tool without having to physically remove the helmet. This may lead to a question of why you would ever not go for an auto darkening helmet in the first place.
Well, the light detection on auto darkening helmets can be funky sometimes. For example, on many helmets, you can’t actually weld out in the daytime because the sunlight activated the darkening mode.
One of the most important things to consider when buying a welding helmet is the viewing size of the helmet. As you might be able to guess based on the name alone, viewing size refers to how much you can actually see out of the helmet.
Most welding helmets will vary in size from around 6 square feet to around 9 square feet. There is no right choice in this regard, and you should pick the one that suits you the best.
Different masks have different shade levels. While most of you probably know this already, we are going to clarify that shade level refers to the amount of protection offered against the light.
Shade 10 is generally the lowest that you want to go to. However, as you saw from our best welding helmets review list, many welding helmets come with shade limits as high as 13. So, depending on the type of welding that you do, it might be worth investing in a helmet with a higher shade protection.
If you still have some questions, or if you would like to leave some feedback on our best welding helmets list, feel free to leave us a comment down below.
Like this guide? Then you’d definitely love our other guides on the best drill presses.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best product reviews delivered to your inbox daily.