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|Tacklife PAH04D Auto-Darkening|
|Leopard LEO-WH86 Auto|
|ESAB Warrior Tech|
|Expert Weld Lightning XWH-7|
Welding is something that we take for granted. If you look around you, there are likely to be many items in your home and around it outdoors that have been welded to some extent. Your car, for example, will likely have welding within it. Any metal garden furniture, fences or railings, gates and other constructions will also have been welded. It’s an essential method of joining two metal items together – but you know that, because you’re reading a review of the best welding helmets!
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We’re not going to tell you what you already know, as that would be unnecessary, but we will say that the helmets we have reviewed here cover all the different types available, at different budgets, and are suitable for a variety of different welding applications. Just so you have an idea of the different types, here’s a bit about what the various types of welding helmets do, and why you need one.
The Top 10 Welding Helmets
1: Tacklife PAH04D Auto-Darkening
Our first selection is from Tacklife, a brand that offers a wide variety of excellent products in the welding arena, as well as many other products in similar lines. This is, as you would expect from an established brand, a quality item through and through, and it meets with many satisfactory customer testimonies. It’s a powered model – so is auto-darkening – and it is well-made and popular, and has many neat features that make it a very popular choice.
This one is powered by solar cells, so is very versatile, and it offers the full shade range. For future reference, that’s 4/4 to 13. It features 4 independent cell sensors for darkening very quickly indeed, at a rate as quickly as 1/25000th of a second, and is designed with a comfortable headband. This one comes with a handy carry case, 6 lenses and an instruction booklet, and weighs a shade less than 1kg. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s a quality item from a top brand.
2: Leopard LEO-WH86 Auto
It should be remembered always that a welding mask is a safety item, therefore you want the best you can buy, and the one that is going to shade your eyes from the light, and your face from the heat as best it can. This model from Leopard is another of the automatic shade versions, and it is a typical design with full face coverage, and has a screen that reacts in the required very fast time. This one operates via two sensors and turns light to very dark in 0.5milliseconds. That’s very fast indeed.
This model operates via solar cell batteries, and also comes with an indicator so you can tell you when you need more charge, and it is designed with a comfortable headband and fittings so that you can wear it for long periods. It weighs 1.4kg – that’s a little more than the one above but not by a considerable amount – and you get five spare lenses, plus it comes with a storage bag and an operating manual. All in all, a decent enough welding helmet if a little heavy, at a very competitive price.
3: ESAB Warrior Tech
The design of welding helmets, both automatic and traditional, is generally pretty similar, and this model from ESAB is no exception. It’s a full face design that the maker’s say is suitable for MIG, TIG and MMA welding – that’s pretty much everything covered – and it’s a quality item made to a high standard of finish. This one comes with adaptable reaction times so you can set how quickly it darkens, and is easy to set up and use, and comes very highly recommended by users.
We take consumer reviews very seriously when it comes to items that are designed for protection, and this one has found a great number of people who reckon it does the business. It provides shade levels 9 to 13, which is pretty much as dark as it gets, and is designed for the professional welder. With comfortable fittings and weighing at a shade more than 900g it is very light, so we recommend you check this one out if you are looking for a professional-level helmet, but beware it is quite expensive in comparison.
4: Expert Weld Lightning XWH-7
We’re getting into familiar territory now where the items we pick offer pretty much the same as the others. This one is from Expert Weld and is surprisingly similar to number 2 on the list. It offers all the same attributes and even looks the same. It does have adjustable sensitivity, and it’s a neat design of the automatic shading type. This one operates via two sensors and turns light to very dark in 1/30000th of a second.
This model operates via a single solar cell battery, and also comes with an indicator so you can tell you when you need more charge, and it is designed with a comfortable headband and fittings so that you can wear it for long periods. It weighs just 1kg, which is very light, and you get spare lenses, plus it comes with a storage bag and an operating manual. All in all, a decent enough welding helmet at a very competitive price.
5: Silverline 862520
The above four are examples of the automatic darkening type, using solar cells to power LCD face visors that go dark when the flame ignites. This model we had to include as it represents the traditional style of welding mask, in that it has a permanent dark screen. Despite the limitations of these older-type masks, some welders still prefer them for certain reasons. One is that there is much less to go wrong, the other that it is simply what they are used to.
If you are looking for this type of welding helmet there is nothing wrong with this one; it’s simple, well made and comes with a very dark green IR screen. It has a comfortable headband and is easy to put on and off. The lens can be flipped up without the need to move the whole helmet, while the helmet itself weighs around 500g, that’s half of one of the above and another reason some people prefer this style. Also, it’s very cheap, so if you’re happy with this sort, go for it.
6: Toogoo Welding Helmet
Back to familiar territory with this one, which is another of the auto-darkening models. This one is powered by solar cells as usual, and is to the standard design. It has the usual adjustable shade reaction time, and has many satisfied customers testifying to its ability, and also to its value for money. Indeed, when we come to cost, we find it hard to believe this one can be bought for such an impressive cost, so check it out further.
This one is powered by solar cells, so is very versatile, and it offers the full shade range. That means darkness from 9 to 13. It features independent cell sensors for darkening very quickly indeed, at a rate as quickly as 1/25000th of a second, and is designed with a comfortable headband. There is no carry case and you don’t get spare lenses, but it really is a very good price for what is a decent quality active welding helmet. And it’s very light at a little over 400g!
7: Lexpon Welding Helmet
Whatever the general trend, it would appear that these powered helmets are the way to go, and there are many good reasons for that. In a lot of ways they are safer, as they allow the user to set up in clear vision, before going dark in an instant when the arc lights. This one from Lexpon is entirely typical of the breed. It’s solar powered – by the way, this doesn’t mean you need a sunny place to weld as it uses the UV light – and is very capable indeed.
This one has a replaceable lithium battery as an alternative power source, which is a neat touch, and it offers the full range of shading in an instant. It’s designed to be comfortable to wear with adjustable fitments, and weighs just 762g so is one of the lighter models here, and it’s well made and durable, too. It also comes with a rather neat, flashy design that makes it stand out from others, so if you want something that looks good as well as doing the job, it could be the one.
8: Sodial Auto Welding Helmet
This another of the solar powered automatic models and, like most, it’s pretty good. It’s a full face design that the maker’s say is suitable for MIG, TIG and MMA welding – that’s pretty much everything covered – and it’s a quality item made to a high standard of finish. This one comes with adaptable reaction times so you can set how quickly it darkens, and is easy to set up and use, and comes very highly recommended by users.
We take consumer reviews very seriously when it comes to items that are designed for protection, and this one has found a great number of people who reckon it does the business. It provides shade levels 9 to 13, which is pretty much as dark as it gets, and is designed for all levels of experience. With comfortable fittings and weighing at a shade more than 500g it is very light, so we recommend you check this one out if you are looking for decent helmet at a very good price, but bear in mind there are no extra lenses as you will get with some of these.
9: DEKO Solar Pro Welding Mask
Often, when a product claims to be ‘professional standard’ we take that as meaning they’ve made quite a nice item and added a bit to the price. This welding helmet, from DEKO, really does go that bit further than most, so entirely justifies the label. It’s a full-face auto darkening model with the usual attributes, but comes with an extra-wide visor for better viewing. It darkens in 1/25000th of a second, and while an automatic model, has a little extra to add.
This one can also be finely tuned manually, so you get the perfect vision for every job, which will suit those who are into more intricate welding projects. It’s nicely made and comes with everything you need to get going – although there are no spare lenses – and it weighs when in use less than 500g so is very light indeed. If you want a professional item you have to pay for it and this one is considerably more expensive than all bar one on the list, but you might want to check it out if you are a regular welder.
10: Antra AH-6-260-000
Our final example is this one from Antra. Once again, it’s an auto-darkening model that provides all the protection you need with a range of 9-13, and it works via solar cells for added benefit. It has the usual adjustable shade reaction time, and has many satisfied customers testifying to its ability, and also to its value for money. Indeed, when we come to cost, this one is very good value as it comes with extra visor covers.
It features independent cell sensors for darkening very quickly indeed, at a rate as quickly as 1/25000th of a second, and is designed with a comfortable headband. There is no carry case and you don’t get spare lenses, but it really is a very good price for what is a decent quality active welding helmet. And it’s very light at a little over 450g. It’s good, it’s cheap, and we reckon it does the job, so it’s worth checking out.
That’s our list of 10 welding helmets, so which one is the best for you? Before we attempt to give you a verdict, here’s a look at things you need to consider.
Important Features to Consider
Normally we would provide you with a list of features that you need to look for in a welding helmet, as there may be differences between certain models. With these welding helmets, all bar one are very, very similar in everything including the reaction time, the way they are powered, the weight and the construction, and even the cost, so really, the only aspect you need to be concerned about is that of whether you want one of the automatic ones – which gives you a choice of nine – or the only traditional mask here. Which is for you? Let’s see if we can wrap it up!
How It Works
You know how a welding helmet works if you’re already looking for one, so briefly, those on our list are split between two types: the traditional manually operated welding helmet, and those that are powered. The standard, manual helmet – which you are likely already familiar with – features a visor screen that is permanently dark, to prevent damage to the eyes and face from the welding arc.
The powered version, which you will find can be either solar or battery powered – or sometimes both, features a screen that is made from LCD crystals and other materials. This is designed to darken when an electric current is passed through it. This enables you to wear a helmet through which you can see clearly when setting up the welding equipment, but the second you switch on the arc, it will darken to your prescribed level. This happens in an instant – you won’t even see the light it’s that quick – and hence is a very versatile piece of equipment.
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Many people prefer the powered helmets as they allow a greater level of movement and are better for use in more awkward spaces – the standard helmet will need to be lifted up to check the work, whereas with the powered example the screen will clear when you turn off the arc – and are also generally lighter and more comfortable to wear. However, some people still prefer the traditional mask, so it is a personal choice.
Let’s have a look at our selection of the top 10 welding masks available right now, and see if there’s one here that suits your requirements and budget.
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Let’s Wrap It Up!
Our conclusion is split into three – traditional welding masks, those for the DIY welder, and those for professionals.
If you want a non-powered mask it’s simple, you need number 5, from Silverline. As the type it is, it is perfectly good, does the job, is cheap, and this type is becoming harder to find.
If you are a DIY welder and want to trade up from the above type to a powered one, we strongly recommend you check out the first on our list; it’s from a known brand – Tacklife – and it comes with a decent accessories package including six lenses, has a very decent specification, and is sensibly priced so very good value.
If you are set on a professional standard model, you have a choice of two – the ESAB at number 3, and the DEKO at number 9. Both are very good and provide you with excellent capability, but we will say that we’re not sure the quite colossal extra price is worth it when the Tacklife model, and a few others, will do the same job.
It’s up to you, so whichever you choose, happy welding!