View Full Version : Auto darkening helmets
11-26-2006, 10:59 PM
I just started looking into prices and types because I'm considering asking for one for Xmas present. Anyone have any thoughts or knowledge on which brand to buy? I'm looking at either the Miller Elite or Hobart XLP. Somewhere around the $200 to $300 range. I had laser surgery done some years back and I figure that's cheap insurance for my eyes.
11-27-2006, 11:50 AM
Boy, I must have hit a sore spot or they don't sell too many high-end auto darkening helmets!
Maybe I should rephrase the question:
What kind of Welding Hood do you use???
11-27-2006, 11:56 AM
What kind of Welding Hood do you use???
1989 jackson "flip down" style..
#12 shade glass..
plastic covershield outside..
After 15 years I finally bought myself an auto dark. I was looking at several, but one of the things I knew I needed was more than two sensors. I'd been using one with two, and had managed to block both several times -- very frustrating. I had narrowed it to the Miller Elite and the Jackson NexGen. The person I talked to at the place I called that carried both said that the Jackson was a more industrial of the two. I don't know how accurate that is, but the Jackson Halo hood is very small and light and flexible. I've used this feature a few times already to stuff my head up into some tight spot to weld. The headgear, however, sucks. I paid less than $280 for the Halo with graphics and the NexGen lens.
11-27-2006, 11:53 PM
I use the hornell speedglass 9002x and love it. However, the jackson nexgen is an exellent all around helmet with it's multiple duty functions.
11-28-2006, 05:08 PM
I'll give my vote to the big window elite. There several threads covering this topic so search away.:)
11-28-2006, 05:48 PM
I use a P.O.S. Sears 2x4 lense, 30 year old, fiberglass hood. It probably cost like $4.00 back in the day. It's still one of the lightest hoods I've ever seen and having to wear one eight hours a day for the last twenty years, weight was the deciding factor for me. It was my dear old dead dads too and I'm real attached to it for that reason. I upgraded it a few times with paint jobs and American flag stickers. I also put a head band from a "North" hood in it, you know, the ones with the red triangular knobs. I like those head bands the best because the gears that you tighten down against your head with are cast in plastic in such a way that its not just a plastic gear but a plastic gear molded to a backing plate which makes it ten times less likely to strip enabling you to really crank down on that baby if you have to hang upside down to weld something.
As for auto darkening, they weigh more and I just don't trust them. There is a split second where your eyes have to be getting flashed even if it happens too fast for you to realize it. One day maybe they'll discover that a lot of damage has been done to people. I'd prefer it was to somebody else.
11-28-2006, 10:53 PM
I have a Millermatic XLi and have been very happy with it.:laugh:
12-02-2006, 01:29 PM
I've only ever used auto-dark hoods. I don't know the availability where you are but I love my Power Fist (don't roll your eyes!!!) I've tried several other brands with much higher price tags and they don't hold a candle. It can go light enough to MIG and dark enough to gouge at 500A. Worth every penny.
12-02-2006, 06:15 PM
I have a hornell speedglass 9002x, I don't use it much. I don't really like the headgear, it doesnt keep the hood flipped up very good. Also if I am stick welding overhead or vertical, the cover plates melt easily since they are so thin. Plus my work doesnt supply cover plates for that type of hood, so I have to buy them. IMHO it is a waste of $300. For some applications it works good, tack welding a bunch of parts, or if you are just learning.
I will stick to my cheapie Lincoln hood with a gold lens.
12-02-2006, 11:38 PM
I currently use a big window miller elite. Got it on sale for 275.00 with the American flag on it . Its very comfortable, head band doesn't loosen up. The only negative thing I can say is that on rare ocassions in tight spaces the sensors can get blocked and the window will "blink" off. A slight tilt of the head will take care of this. The good thing is that even when this happens your eyes still have some protection. I've never gotten "sand in the eyes" with this helmet.
I learned how to weld with a standard "nod" helmet. I guess I'm old fashioned. I think everyone should try to weld with the "old school" helmet before using an electronic helmet. Just like learing math before using a calculator. The day may come when the battery or helmut dies and you need to run that last bead to finish a job.....
12-03-2006, 09:03 AM
I finally got tired of being a putz with my $10 helmet so I bought a Hornell Speedglas 9002x. Best investment ever. I can actually see what I'm doing and can dedicate both hands to the job without fiddling with the helmet cover plate. Scan eBay for occassional deals (normally sells for about $275).
12-03-2006, 02:54 PM
As for auto darkening, ....There is a split second where your eyes have to be getting flashed even if it happens too fast for you to realize it. One day maybe they'll discover that a lot of damage has been done to people. I'd prefer it was to somebody else.
A common misconception with auto darkening is that there is a brief flash before the auto darkening helmet kicks in that could hurt your eyes. Keep in mind that all good quality auto darkening helmets have full UV and IR protection before the arc is ever struck and the shade is usually around a 3. The auto darken is only there to adjust the shade to the comfort of the user whether that is 9, 10, 11 etc. The reason for this is in case your battery fails (without backup) or if for some reason the auto darken doesn't happen (sensor clogged/low arc) you are fully protected from damaging your eyes.
So don't panic -- good quality auto darken won't hurt you!
hi, I just bought the ELITE stars and stripes and it is awesome. I think they have one of the best headgear assembly out there.
i did not like the jackson head band at all. I got it from Welders supply in wisconsin for 246.00 which is is about where they are priced on EBAY. I also bought my CST 280 from them too.
12-03-2006, 06:26 PM
Thanks guys for all of the response. I decided to ask for the Elite Miller Hot Rod model for Xmas, and that is cheap compared to what I bought the wife! I'm looking forward to trying it out and so now I have to decide on what the next project will be.
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