How To Buy Best Welding Helmet?
If you own a garage, it is imperative for you to do some repair work. It is a place where a moment of carelessness could mean severe eye damage for you. A perfect welding helmet can save you from the trouble.
“A Perfect Welding Helmet” means one which will be comfortable, easy to put on and can ensure the safety of your eyes in every possible way. Many would say that as you spend money, you will get good products.
But selecting the ideal product to buy is a tussle. In this article, I shall discuss few crucial points you need to remember before purchasing a welding helmet.
Which Type of Lens to Use?
Welding helmets can come with standard lens as well as Auto Darkening Lens. The standard lens helmets are usual in the market and most of the people use them. But these helmets present problems to the beginner level users.
Standard Helmets are not suited for moving up or down while tack welding. Plus flipping up or down may be a problem when people are welding in a narrow space. ADF or Auto Darkness Filters will solve the problem easily. This makes it easy for people to see things better with #3 or #4 shed.
You can judge the position of your welding gun better. These glasses have an LCD and function with solar power or battery. Plus, you won’t need to move your welding helmet up or down prior to the welding.
Whether to go for Fixed Sheds or Variables?
It depends. If all you have to do is to weld the same type of metal with the same density, you will need a #10 fixed shade. Standard lenses will help you as they always use fixed shades. If you weld different things and operate TIG or MIG guns, you might need variable shades for your helmet.
This also is true when you have variable amp readings like 200 or 400. To have a better look at the weld poodle, you will need variable lens. You can adjust the lens from inside or the outside of the helmet. Through adjustable lens, you can adjust from #9 to #13 shade.
Lens Reaction Time for Auto Darkening Lenses
You will probably notice I’ve been going on about numbers for quite some time. This is called the switching speed for the lenses. Keeping an eye on the switching speed is vital if you want to buy the ideal welding helmet for you. The reason is, the point of having a welding helmet is to shade your eyes from the light of the welding machine as quickly as possible.
Also, the faster reaction time or switching speed means you will have to compromise on the price. But the slower switching speed will mean that your eyes will be more tired. So, you’d want to buy helmets with faster switching speeds.
The Solar Power and Battery Combo
You will get two types of Auto helmets. Ones that use a battery you cannot replace along with the solar panel. These helmets need to be charged before you can actually use them for welding. This can be problematic if things require immediate welding.
Also, if the battery doesn’t work, the lens would malfunction and the helmet will be useless. Things would be a lot easier if you guys go with a helmet which uses replaceable batteries and a solar assist panels for immediate welding. Just start with AAA size batteries or lithium batteries for best output.
Lithium battery helmets will cost you lots when replacing batteries. It is better to use AAA as that will give you 2000 hours of MIG welding without worrying too much.
Buy a Helmet with Darkness Adjustment Feature and Controls to Delay
If you want a good quality helmet, you will need to look into these two things. The first one (Darkness Adjustment) refers to a point at which the Auto Darkness lenses provide you the feature to trigger the shading into action after brightness reaches a certain point.
The lenses will darken themselves to save your eyes from the damage. These sensitivity options come in handy when you are operating with a TIG gun where the light is low and harder focus is needed.
The delay function is useful as well. If you can control the delay option, use shorter delay when you need to quickly come back into position during the tack welding on a large assignment. The longer delay comes into play when you are using high amperage to weld things.
You can control the Sensitivity and the delay period with a switch with higher priced models of welding helmets. You will only get these features in either top or mid-grade helmets in the market.
Consider the Weight of the Welding Helmet
When it comes to comfort, always choose a light weight helmet over the heavy one. For shorter durations of welding, the weight isn’t a factor. But for long (possibly a day’s work) assignments, the extra weight will come down heavily on your necks.
Consider whether Your Chosen Helmet Meets the National Safety Rules or Not
There are some rules set for the safety of the welders which the manufacturers need to maintain. According to the ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 regulations, the manufactures need to testify the features they offer in separate lab tests for the safety of the welders. The helmet and the lenses need to survive the impact of any object.
Remember that each quality welding helmet lens will have to survive ultraviolet filtering along with infrared discarding. The sensitivity adjustment needs to pass the “Shade Adjustment” test as well. A quality lens must survive -23 degree Celsius temperature and 131 degree Celsius when it is on high.
Well, these guidelines should ensure you get a quality welding helmet. Although you need to remember that you won’t get many helmets that would comply with these guidelines. When it comes to ANSI Z87.1 – 2003, not all helmets comply with it. The previous testing standards before ANSI Z87.1 were that of 1989 when there were not tests of temperature.
There aren’t any laws preventing manufacturers from selling helmets complying with the old standards. So, make your choice wisely.