For anyone wishing to conduct some welding, whether in a professional situation or at home, it is essential that you protect your eyes and face from the ultraviolet rays that are emitted. This is especially important when arc welding, as the strong effects of the welding torch can cause lasting damage to unprotected eyes. A welding helmet should be worn at all times during the welding process, without exception.
It is worth conducting thorough research to find the best welding helmet for your particular situation, and this can be done by reading welding helmet reviews as well as product information.
2 Basic Forms of Welding Helmets
There are two basic forms of welding helmet, which are the passive welding helmet and the auto darkening welding helmet. Each has their benefits and it is ultimately down to individual preference and budget that determines which option is best for you.
Passive Welding Helmet
- These are the standard helmets that have been in existence since their invention in 1937.
- The passive welding helmet has a full face cover with a viewing window for the welder to see through. This window is made from a tinted material that protects the welder’s eyes from the UV rays, but is too dark for them to be able to see through when not actually welding.
- The face of the helmet lifts up to enable the welder to see when they are not actually welding, and then when they are ready to begin welding, they flip the helmet down over their face.
Pros and Cons: The main advantage of this type of welding helmet is that it is relatively inexpensive. One of the disadvantages is the need to constantly flick the helmet up and down each time welding starts and stops. This can cause neck ache after long periods and is not very efficient.
Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- These welding helmets have special liquid crystal displays (LCD’s) that are able to change the opacity of the viewing window with remarkable speed.
- With this, the welder can see through the viewing window when they are not welding and do not have to lift the helmet up and down all of the time.
- As soon as welding begins, the LCD sensors detect the change in light intensity and darkens the screen to protect the eyes.
Pros and Cons: The main disadvantage of the auto darkening welding helmet is the price. Although it is a superior helmet in many ways, it does not necessarily mean that it will be the right choice for you. For a casual welder who is only going to be using the helmet for odd jobs, it may not be worth spending the extra money on the auto darkening helmet. For a professional welder, it is without doubt the best option, as it provides the highest level of protection for the user. It also prevents the need for repetitive lifting of the helmet between welds, which can cause neck strain after a whole day of welding and slows down the welding process.