10 Best Welding Helmets of 2024 – Auto Darkening & TIG/MIG
Welding helmets are vital accessories and probably one of the most essential personal protective equipment items that you can have today. Affectionately referred to as “hoods,” welding helmets offer an overwhelming number of features as well as safety. Welding helmets protect the eyes and skin from hot sparks that are emitted and protect vision from ultraviolet and infrared light that is created while working.
Because welding helmets are so important, they are prevalent in the workplace. They have recently become an expression of individuality, with several colors and graphics adorning the hoods. They can be worn for several hours a day, so comfort is paramount.
To help you decide which brand is ideal, we’ve compiled a list of the best welding helmets with reviews and a buyer’s guide.
A Quick Look at the Winners of 2024
|Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
|Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
|Lincoln 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
|Optrel VegaView 2.5 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
|Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Filter Welding Helmet
The 10 Best Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets
1. Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet – Best Overall
We’re starting our list with the Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet, a great addition to any welder’s toolbox. This welding helmet looks out of this world. The ESAB is ergonomic and adjustable. The five-point headgear promotes comfort and balance, so it is easy on the neck and shoulders. It offers a color touchscreen control panel and eight separate memory settings.
The viewing area is spacious, with great visibility. The shell is high-impact resistance nylon, making for a durable helmet and promoting longevity. The curved lens is the only issue we had with the Esab. If you are not looking at what you are welding, the peripheral vision is a bit off with a glare. Otherwise, the Esab can get you through any job, and we think it’s the best overall welding helmet.
2. Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet – Best Value
The Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet ranks solidly as our number two choice, and we think it’s the best welding helmet for the money. The Antra provides safety by way of a passive filter with permanent shade. It provides full face and neck coverage and meets ANSI Z87.1 standards, which are the industry standards for welding helmets. Comfort is crucial with welding helmets, and the Antra is very lightweight to reduce head and neck stress.
The auto-darkening lens eliminates flipping the hood up and down, which is very convenient. There is an external switch to switch from welding to grinding easily. The arc sensors are responsive at detecting different light and use auto shading to minimize radiant bypass, which dramatically reduces eye stress.
The Antra is the epitome of versatility and personal safety. It can handle multiple processes of Plasma cutting, abrasive wheel cutting and grinding, and metal fabrication applications. The cheater lens provides perfect magnification. This helmet is perfect for the hobbyist, student, and professional.
3. Lincoln 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet – Premium Choice
We have arrived at our number three pick, the Lincoln 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet. This welding helmet has a solar cell lens shade and auto-darkening to avoid interrupting work time and higher productivity. The solar switching speed is 1/25,000. The welding helmet also has ADF control knobs for Arc Sensors.
The lens has excellent visibility, allows you to see your work clearly, and comfortably fits your head. The controls to dial into the puddle are just right. The one problem that needs to be addressed is the harness; it is overly complicated. Otherwise, Lincoln’s 3350 helmet is perfect for any 10-hour shift.
4. Optrel VegaView 2.5 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
The Optrel VegaView 2.5 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet boasts a world-record automatic darkening filter (ADF). The shade level range is 8 to 12, with a perfect view in grinding mode. The Optrel VegaView has up to four times more view in the light state, making for high visibility. This helmet is incredibly lightweight, so neck and head muscles are not strained.
This helmet is excellent for plasma cutting and any other project put before it. On the negative side, there’s no mount for a cheater lens, and the knobs are not very durable.
5. Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Filter Welding Helmet
The Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Filter Welding Helmet is among the most durable helmets on the market. It has an auto-darkening filter lens that provides optical clarity with a diffusion of light. The variable shades are from 9 to 13 in order to shield radiant energy during welds. The shade has sensitivity and delay adjustments, which lets you do a variety of tasks.
The visibility is genuinely second to none. You can purchase a separate package for magnification filters compatible with hard hats. There is a 3-headgear adjustment for that perfect fit, and the Jackson Safety BH3 meets ANSI Z87.1 standards for safety. This helmet promotes production, safety, and comfort of use. The Jackson helmet is lightweight and would be suitable for any job. However, we think the price point is simply too high.
6. 3M Speedglas 9100 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
The 3M Speedglas 9100 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet offers professional-grade eye and skin protection while providing excellent visibility. The darkening filter is so clear that you can recognize colors more easily—the color is far less green. The lighter view leads to increased control in the puddle. This increases productivity, lessens eye strain, and provides more significant precision welding. The front panel can switch between welding and grinding modes by touch.
You don’t need to remove the helmet to change settings, so you don’t interrupt your workflow. The 3M Speedglas has a feature that will automatically turn the welding filter to your most recent settings. The welding helmet is also power-efficient since it shuts down after a period of inactivity, but sometimes it does this too soon, and you may be caught in the dark with your helmet on mid-work.
The viewing area is large, with minimal obstruction. Arc detention sensors in the lens activate the auto-darkening feature. Another great feature is the exhaust vents that are boosted to reduce fogging on the lens. One impressive feature is that the lithium batteries last 2,000 hours, however, they are costly and difficult to replace. Lastly, it’s difficult to adjust the fit, and it’s also very pricey.
7. Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet
The Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet can handle any job in front of it. The lens technology provides for a higher visible light spectrum, making it easier to see when welding detailed work. There are four arc sensors, and the X-Mode also prevents natural light from darkening the lens before you start welding. The headgear is adjustable, which allows for a comfortable fit. Controls are digital, quickly allowing you to adjust the shade and power button.
However, there is a slew of problems with this product. First, the back knob to adjust the helmet is finicky. Secondly, adjustments do not stay where they are put. There are issues of random flashes, and changing the lenses proves trying. Last but not least, the customer service is not stellar.
8. DEKOPRO Welding Helmet Solar Powered Auto Darkening Helmet
The DEKOPRO Welding Helmet Solar Powered Auto Darkening Helmet screams personality. DEKOPRO features an auto-darkening filter switch 1/25,000. The unique thing about this welder helmet is that in case of electric failure, the helmet protects against ultraviolet and infrared light.
The DEKOPRO meets ANSI Z87.1 standards, so you aren’t putting safety at risk, and it’s adjustable to fit any size head, which is vital for comfort. Powered with solar power technology, this helmet is useful in a variety of work environments. The lens is spacious and offers angular dependence, allowing you to see in any direction with greater perception. The lightweight design allows for maximum comfort, and the graphics add a lot of personality.
However, it isn’t all glitz and glam with this product. We found some significant issues with it; chief among them was the fact that the lens can fog up, making it impossible to see your project in front of you. On top of that, the fit wasn’t great, and the headband needs more cushioning — especially if you’re going to use it for several hours. All in all, we might trade this one in for one of our top three picks.
9. Tanox Auto Darkening Solar Powered Welding Helmet
In our number nine spot, we have the Tanox Auto Darkening Solar Powered Welding Helmet. The fact that this welding helmet comes with gloves is a nice touch. It is perfect for the amateur or veteran welder, and the Tanox features a large viewing area and a solar shade lens. This is probably the lightest weight helmet you will ever own. Safety is a top priority to Tanox as their welding helmet fits ANSI Z87.1 guidelines. The helmet is padded with a hard head adapter for comfort fit and no strain on the head or neck.
The power on/off is automatic for grinding, and the sensors are world-class in adjusting dark to light. You also get more than the welder gloves; the Tanox comes with an extra set of lens covers. However, it wasn’t all roses. The gloves didn’t fit many customers well, and the lenses are hard to switch out, making the bonus slightly less exciting.
However, the gloves are fire retardant with Kevlar stitching, making them pliable and comfortable. The Tanox is suitable for any project from the automotive field to the transportation industry. The low battery light is a plus. Be warned, there is some assembly required before you can use this one.
10. Instapark ADF Series GX-500S Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The Instapark ADF Series GX-500S Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is full of personality and ideal for various jobs. This helmet is solar-powered with four arc sensors. The auto-darkening filter is ideal for a large viewing area. There is no interruption in work, and visibility remains at 100%.
The external controls for the dark state, sensitivity, and delay are touched without having to take off the helmet. A wide range of variable shade adjustments allows optimum visibility and a switch time of 1/30,000. The helmet is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and extremely durable. The padded interior adds protection and comfort with the ratcheting headband to ensure a perfect fit. The Instapark is excellent for arc welding, metal inert gas, tungsten inert gas, and much more.
The Instapark is best suited to people with small heads since it fits some customers too tightly. We also found the touch controls to be too sensitive, and the screen takes some time to power up. Lastly, sometimes the power dims. Overall, this wasn’t our favorite pick.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
When purchasing a welding helmet, there are several factors that you should consider. It is an investment, and you want to ensure that the features match the quality and price you are looking for. From the everyday user to the hobbyist, you want to be confident that you are making the right choice.
What to Consider When Buying a Welding Helmet
Safety immediately comes to mind when we consider the most important factor when shopping for a welding helmet. Yes, that is true, but that, combined with other factors, will make for a better helmet and a more straightforward decision. Price is always a consideration, but a few other aspects that you may want to consider are:
Auto Darkening Protection
This is an excellent feature in a helmet. The helmet will automatically adjust from natural or safe light to ultraviolet or infrared light. This is a convenient feature because you don’t have to keep lifting the helmet up and down while you are trying to work. Auto-darkening protection protects your eyes without interrupting workflow.
US welding helmets should be able to pass these strict safety requirements passed down by the government. Helmet and manufacturers of darkening lenses must demonstrate through laboratory testing that they can validate individual specifications such as switching speeds and dark shade settings. If the helmet does not pass ANSI Z87.1 safety standards, you should look elsewhere.
The switching speed refers to how fast a lens can switch from its natural state to shade 3 or 4 as soon as welding begins. If you don’t have adequate switching speed, it can lead to eye fatigue. If you find that a switching speed feature is not for you, you may want to move to an intermediate or professional-level switching speed.
Battery or Solar Power
Auto-darkening helmets have various power options, from non-replaceable batteries to solar assist panels. Some have replaceable batteries with solar, and some provide lithium batteries. With lithium, you need to consider that the batteries may be harder to get. Some helmets must be charged before use, which is another consideration. Probably the most readily available batteries are AAA.
The helmet’s weight significantly affects your comfort and pressure on the head and neck. If you need to wear a welding helmet all day at work, the last thing you need is one that is too heavy to tolerate. If you are a hobbyist, welding is supposed to be fun and may not be if your helmet is overly cumbersome and makes your neck and head sore.
A welding helmet is the most identifiable piece of safety equipment you own and the most visible. Welding helmets allow you to express yourself through different colors and graphics. As long as the helmet meets safety requirements and has all the features you want, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun with the design.
Customer Service & Warranty
Welding helmets are an investment. You want to establish a relationship with a company that backs up its product. You should look for a warranty, especially if you are using the welding helmet for work. You want something durable to promote longevity. Excellent customer service is of paramount importance when buying a piece of equipment that you will be using for your safety. A company that builds a relationship with you is definitely worth looking into.
Several helmets have excellent features, and some come with additional pieces and gloves. Buying a welding helmet is a significant investment, and it is encouraged to do the proper research to make sure it is everything you want. Many welders have two helmets in case something goes wrong with the first.
Whether for work or play, the Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet is our pick for the best helmet on the market. It has all the bells and whistles and provides excellent protection while welding.
If you want a more budget-friendly option, try the Antra AH6-260-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet. It has all the basic features you need in a welding helmet and passes safety requirements. It also allows for customization with color and graphics for an added flair.
- See Also: TIG welder buyer’s guide
- See Also: MIG welder buyer’s guide
- See Also: Plasma cutter buyer’s guide