The right welding helmet Test and experiences part 1
This welding helmet test consists of two parts.
- Part 1 with a lot of knowledge about welding helmetsPart 2 with the concrete test reports and our recommendations for beginners, advanced and professionals.
Basically, for all users, whether professional, hobby welder, advanced or beginner, it is a matter of four points for the right face protection when welding.
- Protective functionOptimum view of the welding processWearing comfort/ functionsIgnition process
I will use these criteria for my tests and evaluations. For everyone there is the ideal welding helmet. It is important to determine what should be welded, with which welding method and which budget should be spent. Since the offer of welding helmets is simply gigantic, there is in this article some concrete information about welding helmet testing and welding helmet / welding hood in general. In the second part concrete models are then presented.
Basics of the welding helmet / eyes and face protection during welding
Basically, arc welding in itself is a very dangerous business. The user has to deal with the following dangers:
-radiation (ultraviolet and infrared radiation) -welding smoke -heat / heat -electrical hazard
Especially against the radiation a good welding helmet helps in the area of the face. The ultraviolet radiation that is produced during welding damages the skin and the eyes. Infrared radiation (heat radiation), which is produced, can not only cause burns on unprotected parts of the body, but can also cause extreme damage to the retina.
In plain English, the welder damages his skin and eyes without appropriate protective equipment. Burns of the skin often express themselves in the short term by redness and sunburn. The eyes itch and burn, but this can usually be relieved in the short term with drops. Much worse are the late consequences >> irreparable eye damage, skin cancer
Automatic welding helmet, welding helmet or welding shield
In addition to the protective function of the welding helmet, it is of course also about the optimal view of the welding process. It must also be possible to start or ignite the machine in the best possible way. In general, there are three versions of welding helmets. The welding shield is the simplest version of a head and face protection for a welder. It is often supplied with simple electrode and gas-shielded welding equipment. In general, however, the welding shield does not play a role nowadays and is simply no longer recommended.
The “normal” welding helmet is still very popular with many people and provides very good protection, depending on the model. Different welding processes (TIG, MAG, shielding gas or electrode) produce different bright arcs, the glasses must then be replaced. Or the welder accepts poor visibility or too bright light, which is not healthy for the eyes either. The biggest problem with a “normal” welding helmet is the ignition of the arc. When welding with electrodes, for example, the welder must first close the helmet and then ignite the arc at the correct position. What often looks easy for professionals, is a real challenge for beginners and slightly advanced welders. It becomes even more difficult when the component to be welded has to be positioned with one hand. In the other hand the electrode pliers or the TIG torch, then the third hand is missing to close the helmet. But I also looked in vain for modern versions with an extra large field of vision and ingenious wearing comfort in our welding helmet test.
The automatic helmet is the first choice for many today. There are also good reasons for this. For one, even the inexpensive ones are already quite acceptable today. On the other hand the helmets are getting better and better. Perfect field of vision, perfect darkening in a fraction of a second. The comfort is simply ingenious, especially for beginners.
Flashing is therefore a thing of the past.
The protective function
Basically, the protective function is or at least should be the most important feature of a welding helmet. Since I can give the all-clear all the hoods I have tested protect the head and face ideally. Only the neck is a weak point in many helmets. Here the welder should pay attention to it and improve it if necessary. With a subsequently attached leather collar for example or a high-necked welder jacket. In any case do not neglect or ignore. Also a special balaclava especially for welding is a great thing. It protects the rest of the head against reflections and is also an ingenious protection against grinding dust in the hair or neck.
I use this one from Weldas which is ingenious and that for about 12 € Just click on the picture for more info.
Correct protection level for each welding process
Choosing the right level of protection depends on the method used. But also on the current used. So the easiest rule is common sense. If it is too bright dark choose darker, the welder cannot see the process properly brighter. Normally, the levels 9 – 13, 9 is very light and 13 is very dark. Most welders choose level 10 or 11, but of course an automatic helmet is ingenious, the darkening can be adjusted within seconds and trying it out is no longer a problem. Another absolute advantage of automatic helmets.
Optimal view of the welding process
Besides the protective function, an elementary function of a welding helmet is that the welding process can be reasonably observed. Observed and thus also evaluated. Small field of view, bad positioning of the field of view are only some of the problems that the user cannot use. Especially cheap automatic helmets often have a small field of vision and this is often even equipped with a bad darkening. Extreme green or yellow darkening is extremely annoying during welding. And can spoil the fun of an automatic hood. Especially modern bonnets, for example 3M / speed glass or Optrel, provide ingenious results. But also some cheap ones deliver good results, as you can find out in our welding helmet test.
wearing comfort / functions
Especially when a hood is worn regularly, it must be comfortable and not too heavy. Manufacturers like Speedglas really don’t leave anything to chance. The temples, and thus the areas where pressure points or areas on the head arise, are designed according to the latest medical aspects. Of course this cannot be expected with the 40€ welding hood, but there are acceptable models available. There is nothing worse than a too heavy hood that presses like crazy.
Functions and usability are two elements where manufacturers such as Optrel and Speedglas also set standards. The blackout can really still be adjusted on every automatic hood. Many cheaper models go on strike when it comes to sensitivity adjustment. The user does not really need other adjustment possibilities such as delaying until it gets light again.
The adjustment options with innovative knobs, for example on the Speedglas 9100, are not only practical but also simply fun. In the welding helmet test, completely different variants were tested.
The perfect ignition process with the ideal welding hood. There is nothing like an automatic helmet. The welder attaches the TIG, MAG torch or electrode to the weld seam and the moment he ignites, the hood darkens in a fraction of a second. There is simply no better way. Even the beginner can hardly flash any more.
Flashing is also such a topic, no matter how good the protective equipment is, it can always happen!!!! So always have eye drops at the start.