auto darkening welding helmet
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  1. #1
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    auto darkening welding helmet

    Okay so I am on the market for an good auto darkening helmet. I was looking to get the view on the major brands from people who use them everyday. Price isn't a big deal I convinced the wife you can't put a price on my eyes. feel free to post pictures and/or vent about brands you used that weren't the greatest. thanks guys
    2-Lincoln idealarc 250/250, lincoln 225 ac/dc welder, lincweld ac 180c, hobart handler 210, hobart stickmate lx 235/160, Hypertherm Powermax30

    local 26 I.B.E.W Electrician

  2. #2
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Being a retired welder and now occasional hobby welder I bought a Speedglas 100, the next to cheapest one they sell for $130. It's the best welding hood I've had for yrs. I doubt it's tough enough for day in day out work but I'm sure their more expensive ones would work well.
    Mike
    Ol' Stonebreaker
    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

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  3. #3
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Tons of info on here when you use the search. Aside from that. I have a Speedglas 9100X and 9100XX and no way you can go wrong with either. Both are great hoods in all aspects. I also own a Miller digital elite that has about 20 hours on it and if someone wanted to sell me another new one for $100 i would pass. Flimsy hood, uncomfortable and cheap head gear, and impossible to set the control buttons with even light mig gloves on while on your head. i'm sure i will get blasted by the hardcore Miller guys that have payed hard earned cash for their DE's and feel they have to defend their choice because they spent the cash on one. just my opinion.
    225NT bobcat
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  4. #4
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by mla2ofus View Post
    Being a retired welder and now occasional hobby welder I bought a Speedglas 100, the next to cheapest one they sell for $130. It's the best welding hood I've had for yrs. I doubt it's tough enough for day in day out work but I'm sure their more expensive ones would work well.
    Mike
    the local high school buys the speedglas 100's for the students to use and they hold up real well in the hands of the teens that don't respect anything so in your hands it should last you a life time. after all you worked to pay for it.
    225NT bobcat
    AEAD200LE
    Scott 125
    mm175, mm252 w 30A, PT225
    mm211, TA 181i
    Hyper Therm 380, cut master 52
    9100X & XX, Digital Elite
    6 Victor sets
    smith little torch, meco midget
    kalamazoo band saw
    steel max saw
    evoulution circular saw

  5. #5
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Well, since you asked...

    I bought the Hobart XVS series AD hood at Tractor Supply a little over a year ago. Wasn't sure at that time how far I'd go with this welding thing but I thought I was getting a good piece of equipment. I think it was around $130.00 at the time. Anyway, I then decided to get into a welding college program and everything with the hood was fine until I got to horizontal position stick welding. I couldn't see anything (except the arc and a little of the puddle). Tried a lot of different things, adjusting the shade level, cheater lenses, light on the work piece and even a leather cover for the back of my head to block incoming light. Nothing really did the trick. I tried a manual (non-auto) hood and the problem was solved in a big way. The clarity and detail were unbelievable compared to the Hobart.

    The thing is, there is a huge difference in detail between these AD modules and some are MUCH better than others. I would recommend a try before you buy method. I know this is kind of difficult but see if you can find some different models and weld with them. You might want to try some out of position welding too just to be sure. I use a Jackson brand manual hood but I've heard a lot of great things about their NexGen line of AD modules and hoods from pros that use them every day.

    You'll probably have to part with some decent money but its a worthy investment. You can't weld if you can't see and your vision is no area to save a buck in.

    Just my $.02

    Eric

  6. #6
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I did look in the forums i wanted a really heads to heads view on the helmets. Thanks for the input on the helmets guys i would love to hear from the miller users and Lincoln users. again i am looking for the best I can get,and one that well last me a good long time
    2-Lincoln idealarc 250/250, lincoln 225 ac/dc welder, lincweld ac 180c, hobart handler 210, hobart stickmate lx 235/160, Hypertherm Powermax30

    local 26 I.B.E.W Electrician

  7. #7
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I use the Speedlas 9100X. Been using a Speedglas of one kind or another for years.

  8. #8
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I've had a Jackson Nex-Gen for over seven years. Bought a Jackson Halo-X hood for it about four years ago and the new 370 headgear about a year ago. Cold, heat, fly ash and banging around in tight spots in boilers and heat exchangers. Its done it all with NO problems and has a very clear view. When it comes time for a new one, it'll be another Jackson!
    "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government." Teddy Roosevelt

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  9. #9
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I have both a Miller Performance series & Titanium series (basically a heavy duty version of the Elite). I really love both of them, I find them very comfortable with the urethane helmet pad that comes with, & easy to see out of, good clarity too. The Performance series helmet got me all the way through school, no problem. Only downside is they take special cover plates, but they're not TOO expensive. The lens has a light green tint to it.

    Have a Jackson Halo-x hood too, use both the NexGen autodarkening filter & a passive gold lens. The NexGen lens is great, has a nice amber tint in the light state, and switches to light green with an arc present. Never been flashed by it yet, except the first two times I forgot to turn it on! I don't care for the helmet shell as much though, lets in too much light from in the throat area in my opinion. But it's super lightweight, and takes standard cover lenses. And with the passive lens, the clarity is unmatched by any of my autodarkening lenses.

    I also have an Optrel E680 helmet, with the "true color" filter. Really love this helmet, a lot. The lens has what feels like a light blue-ish tint to it. I've only ever TIG welded with it though, since cover lenses are quite expensive, and I like to keep it pretty I guess LOL.

    I've never tried a Speedglas, but I've only heard good things about them. The SL looks like a sweet helmet on a budget

    In my opinion, the optrel is the best auto-darkening helmet I own, definitely my favorite. But I thiink the Miller Performance series is the best value per dollar, of the ones I've tried
    Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.

  10. #10
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    i think my next hood will be the optrel just because i like diversity. that is the reason i bought Miller DE. surprisingly when the lincoln rep came out to my farm to give me a few hours of coaching on my pt225 when i bought it he brought a miller performance hood with him. i ask him why he wasn't using a miller and he told me he didn't like any of there hoods lol. since he hadn't used the speedglas 9100x i let him use it and he was very impressed with it. i tried the performance hood and while i was watching him it kept flashing because the 2 sensors didn't seem to cover a broad enough area unless i was looking straight at the weld with not even the slightest obstruction. but then i wasn't the one in the seat directing over the arc. the only passive hood i have is a huntsman 411p fiber with a shade 5 tm2000 lens in it for o/a aluminum welding.
    Last edited by jbmprods; 08-29-2011 at 01:30 AM.
    225NT bobcat
    AEAD200LE
    Scott 125
    mm175, mm252 w 30A, PT225
    mm211, TA 181i
    Hyper Therm 380, cut master 52
    9100X & XX, Digital Elite
    6 Victor sets
    smith little torch, meco midget
    kalamazoo band saw
    steel max saw
    evoulution circular saw

  11. #11
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I've noticed that too, admittedly my Performance series helmet seems to flash more than I'd like when I'm "indirectly spectating". Doesn't flash me when I'm the one welding though
    Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.

  12. #12
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Good call - you cant put a price on good welding helmets!

  13. #13
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I have a speedglass helmet, basically its a good solid basic helmet. It works for what its designed to do. That said I don't really like it and am going to buy a new helmet. Faults are it has a rather small window which I find particularly annoying when looking down, my eyes are getting old and I see very good close up but at about 16-18 inches things start loosing focus ( I have worn corrective lens for disance vision since I was a child ). The small window just makes it harder. My second grip is it doesn't have grind mode, so if your wearing it while grinding it blinks ( on ) black. That said it wasn't designed to do grind mode and a more expensive helmet by speedglass would, so I cant really cite that as a fault.

    My next helmet is going to be a Jackson, I have looked and tried on several helmets and I like the big window on the Jackson's, I have tried on probably 2 dozen helmets and for me the Jackson fit my needs the best. Another helmet I liked was one of the Miller helmets, it was definately a second choice though and it was only a few dollars cheaper.

    Whatever helmet you end up with make sure where you buy it stocks replacement lenses its a pain if they aren't available, I never make a special trip for them, its just a OH yeah when I am filling bottles or picking up something at the welding supply, and I don't need them often usually after I have been under something doing out of position vertical stuff, but when the lens need changing they need changing, not 10 days out mail order.

  14. #14
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I have welded almost all my life and I still cant see an advantage in having an auto darkening hood. I have had to use one once in a while, when I forgot my hood and hated them. Your lens never goes bad in a manual hood unless you spatter them up yourself. They cost almost nothing. Are welders to lazy to nod when they want to weld? They seem like a big investment.I would rather have 2 boxes of rod. YES.

  15. #15
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by Welderskelter View Post
    I have welded almost all my life and I still cant see an advantage in having an auto darkening hood. I have had to use one once in a while, when I forgot my hood and hated them. Your lens never goes bad in a manual hood unless you spatter them up yourself. They cost almost nothing. Are welders to lazy to nod when they want to weld? They seem like a big investment.I would rather have 2 boxes of rod. YES.
    the neck don't nod like it used to and the rod doesn't last as long as my AD hoods.
    225NT bobcat
    AEAD200LE
    Scott 125
    mm175, mm252 w 30A, PT225
    mm211, TA 181i
    Hyper Therm 380, cut master 52
    9100X & XX, Digital Elite
    6 Victor sets
    smith little torch, meco midget
    kalamazoo band saw
    steel max saw
    evoulution circular saw

  16. #16
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    An auto darkening hood also speeds production up tremendously, if that's the setting it's used in... I can't imagine how much longer it would take to build a 30 minute part where I work with a fixed lens. Hours at least
    Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.

  17. #17
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I bought a jackson Truesight recently to replace an older Miller. For some reason speedglas hoods hurt my neck. The weight seems to sit too far forward. I am in love with the truesight. The weight is good and the view area is incredible. I can switch to the grind function with gloves on with no issues.
    The headgear is comfortable.

    I work in a weld shop and do a lot of offroad stuff on the side so I really wanted a large view field. The hood has met all of my expectations.

  18. #18
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Primetime, the man is an electrician, I doubt very seriously he is going to go into manufacture welding unless he is one heck of a poor electrician. He evidently is welding for a hobby in which he does not have a need for speed. And as far as being slower with a manual hood I cant say I have ever took a back seat to anybody using a speedglass or any auto darkening hood. I have never missed a days work because of my eyes being burnt. Thats more than I can say about a lot of the guys learning how and which AD hood to use. Me and my old manual would still be up to the challenge any day.

  19. #19

    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by Welding_Swede View Post
    Well, since you asked...
    I bought the Hobart XVS series AD hood.....everything with the hood was fine until I got to horizontal position stick welding....I couldn't see anything....I tried a manual (non-auto) hood and the problem was solved in a big way....The clarity and detail were unbelievable compared to the Hobart....there is a huge difference in detail between these AD modules and some are MUCH better than others.
    Eric
    Does this mean that the angle of the lens to the arc flash makes a difference in clarity, or that some mfg's lens yield much better clarity than other, or simply that the Hobart XVS has a poor lens, or perhaps something else?

    Do the rest of you find this to be the case? The context if my Q is: I'd like an AD helmet in that price range but not if weld puddle visibility is reduced. If the Hobart XVS had been getting rave reviews I'd already be on my way to Sears to get one.

    Thanks for any info you can provide.

  20. #20
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Is this for hobby or work?
    If work get a fibermetal pipeliner with a miller auto lens.
    I have a speedglass 9100x also but hate having to replace the lens every so often.

  21. #21
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    auto darking with a good resporater, let you see better and protect your health.

  22. #22
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    I have a couple of AD's
    From best to worst, with my oversized melon and bad eyes -
    Jackson Truesight, just cant say enough good about it. Does everything I want and does it COMFORTABLY
    Miller DE - was a good hood, headgear was so/so till I added jackson 370. Lasted a while then started flashing me.
    Hobart The HOOD - keep this in my truck still for back up/spectators, not the clearest hood but has been through hell and still works, is about to receive a headgear transplant.
    Speedglass 9100 - just for spectators, seems like a nice hood but does not fit me at all. I took it in a trade sight unseen. Just does not fit.
    When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.

  23. #23
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Maybe its just me and my poor eyesight, but the standard helmets all go from shade 9-13. Well, I cant see crap at 9 and would really appreciate a 5-13 helmet. Jackson has JUST that. So my next one is a Jackson or equiv with a large window. I am getting tired of dragging a halogen light over to my welding table just to be able to actually see the welds.

  24. #24
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by Welderskelter View Post
    I have welded almost all my life and I still cant see an advantage in having an auto darkening hood. I have had to use one once in a while, when I forgot my hood and hated them. Your lens never goes bad in a manual hood unless you spatter them up yourself. They cost almost nothing. Are welders to lazy to nod when they want to weld? They seem like a big investment.I would rather have 2 boxes of rod. YES.
    Starting a new job in 3 weeks,might even get to do some pipe.I was told not to bring my auto darkening helmet management don't like them.So now I have been practicing with a cheap passive helmet.I still miss my Miller elite but its just not practical when you have to grind.Even though you can grind with the Miller its still a shade 3 and unless its outside its just too dark.

    Auto helmets are great if you are welding railings and gates where there is a lot of start stopping.Other wise I got to say they are a waste of money,although my Miller is without a doubt the most comfortable helmet I have ever used.

  25. #25
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    Re: auto darkening welding helmet

    You could always get a auto lens in a pipeliner and still "fit in" I use a miller 9* in my pipeliner for everything but with tig it tends to flash when I weld with my left hand. Not sure if I'm not sure if my torch angle is to far up and the sensors are not seeing the arc? I will be getting a athermal gold 9 for tig soon.

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