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Thread: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

  1. #1
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    Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    Howdy Friends - Asking for some advice on AD helmets.

    I'm just a weekend welder - mostly do mig in my home shop, and mostly light fabrication work. I've been using a $50 Antra hood I got several years ago off Amazon, and it has served me OK for what I gave for it. Problem is, I just don't see as well as I used to, and the last year or so I've really begun to struggle seeing what and where I'm welding. I bought a cheater lens that helps some, but it mostly just makes the image I'm seeing bigger - not clearer. I feel certain a helmet with better optics would help...so I'm in the market for the best helmet I can buy for about $200 or less. As you might guess, my main objective is improved optics/clarity. Other features - durability, head gear quality and comfort, modes, battery life, etc - are important also, but take a back seat to optics.

    I've been comparison shopping, and here is a list of a few that fit my budget, but I don't know if any are better than the rest. Do any of these stand out as better than (or worse than) others in this price range? Does anyone have another helmet that they think is better than what I'm already looking at? My budget is pretty firm at around $200 - I just can't justify spending much more. If I spent 8-10 hours a day under the helmet, it'd be different...but I spend more like 8-10 hours a week.

    Jackson Insight 46131
    Lincoln Viking 1840
    Miller Digital Performance 282000
    Esab Savage A40
    Hobart Inventor 770890
    Speedglass 9002NC (at $236, this one is a bit more than I really want to spend, but I'd consider if it's clearly better than anything else I'm looking at)


    I'd really appreciate the thoughts of anyone knowledgeable about any helmets in my price range.

    Thanks!
    Red
    Last edited by SeenRed; 05-21-2021 at 04:03 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    hf vulcan works very well with similar optics as the other big boy brands. but the lincoln has good reviews.

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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    I have the Arcone, and LOVE it. Have a Miller Digital Elite and hate the head gear, the arcone has better visibility for me too... but that is a user issue vs quality issue.
    I haven't built anything I can't throw away. Perfection is the journey.

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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    I'm similar situation as you-older eyes, not a pro, etc. I've been needlessly suffering from a HF to a Yesweld helmet. Yesterday my ESAB A40 Savage arrived and today I got to try it out. Is the word "gamechanger" too strong?

    $84 total, shipped from Baker's Gas. I can see all the colors naturally, no green tint. The AD kicks in perfectly, is easy to adjust, and doesn't trip needlessly. The headgear is the most comfortable I've ever tried and with a 2.0 cheater I can clearly the puddle and surrounding area. I know I'm an amateur, but anyone here would be very VERY hard pressed to show me a better helmet for the price - even up to the $200 mark.

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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    Appreciate ya'lls input. I'm leaning toward the Lincoln Viking. A guy whose YT channel I've been following for a while - Allen's Welding - did recommendation video on the Viking. Although I've also strongly considered that Esab A40 as well.

    Thanks again for the comments!
    Red
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200


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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    Quote Originally Posted by Shootr View Post
    I'm similar situation as you-older eyes, not a pro, etc. I've been needlessly suffering from a HF to a Yesweld helmet. Yesterday my ESAB A40 Savage arrived and today I got to try it out. Is the word "gamechanger" too strong?

    $84 total, shipped from Baker's Gas. I can see all the colors naturally, no green tint. The AD kicks in perfectly, is easy to adjust, and doesn't trip needlessly. The headgear is the most comfortable I've ever tried and with a 2.0 cheater I can clearly the puddle and surrounding area. I know I'm an amateur, but anyone here would be very VERY hard pressed to show me a better helmet for the price - even up to the $200 mark.

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    A 2.0 cheater is pretty strong and could cause eye strain and fatigue. The Esab A40 looks to be a good helmet. The Speedglass is basically a popular older style helmet with a new better clarity lens. See how easy it is to get replacement cover plates. Don't want to have order them in and wait.
    Last edited by Welder Dave; 05-24-2021 at 06:13 PM.

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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    I have a Miller digital elite. Works better then the cheepo I used to run. It has curved edges on the glass and not sure if generic cover lenses are available. I lot of guys at work sware by the Jackson fixed (passive)helmet. Light enough for all day ware.


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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    I'd get the Esab Savage.
    Murphy's Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    A 2.0 cheater is pretty strong and could cause eye strain and fatigue. The Esab A40 looks to be a good helmet. The Speedglass is basically a popular older style helmet with a new better clarity lens. See how easy it is to get replacement cover plates. Don't want to have order them in and wait.
    I find the 2.0 puts my head about 24" from the target and I see the big picture finally. I have a bad habit of crowding the mig gun.

    I ordered a set of inside & outside cover plates. Also a bottle of Macguires plastic polish to see if it gets out the eventual scratches. Having the luxury of being a hobbyist, it currently rests in the safety of the house when not being used.
    Last edited by Shootr; 05-25-2021 at 11:16 AM.
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    I use a 2.0 after having cataract surgery for reading and welding.
    Lincoln, ESAB, Thermal Dynamics, Victor, Miller, Dewalt, Makita, Kalamzoo. Hand tools, power tools, welding and cutting tools.

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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    For some a 2.0 is OK but if your eyes are pretty good to begin with might be a little too much. Not worth trying to polish cover plates. The biggest problem I have with cover plates is they get kind of a film on them that distorts your vision and is hard to see through. For a standard helmet I like the CR39 cover plates a lot better than the standard polycarbonate.

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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    So I ended up going right to the top of my budget and bought a Viking 2450 for $227. Did my first welding with it yesterday, and can definitely see a big difference...I’m seeing the puddle again.

    Thanks again for everyone’ insights.

    Red
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    Quote Originally Posted by SeenRed View Post
    So I ended up going right to the top of my budget and bought a Viking 2450 for $227. Did my first welding with it yesterday, and can definitely see a big difference...I’m seeing the puddle again.

    Thanks again for everyone’ insights.

    Red
    Let us know how you like the hood after some time using it.

    Personally I would have opted to pay about $40 to $50 more for the Lincoln 3350 4c hood with a larger viewing area as well as the addition of an external grind button. My 3350 4c does not have the external grind mode button or the new sun detection differentiation built in so you can weld outside with out the sun causing the hood to darken on and off when not wanted. Boy technology keeps getting better and better. I’m almost tempted to sell my 3350 4c hood to buy one of these newer hoods.

    Several places have it listed at $255 with free shipping so add 10% at most for tax puts it at about $280 total. If you shop around with patience you might be able to get the hood for a better deal. Here is the hood I’m talking about. https://bakersgas.com/products/linco...29024039829557



    Last edited by N2 Welding; 06-06-2021 at 01:05 PM.
    Lincoln, ESAB, Thermal Dynamics, Victor, Miller, Dewalt, Makita, Kalamzoo. Hand tools, power tools, welding and cutting tools.

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  19. #15
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    Personally I would have opted to pay about $40 to $50 more for the Lincoln 3350 4c hood with a larger viewing area as well as the addition of an external grind button. My 3350 4c does not have the external grind mode button or the new sun detection differentiation built in so you can weld outside with out the sun causing the hood to darken on and off when not wanted. Boy technology keeps getting better and better. I’m almost tempted to sell my 3350 4c hood to buy one of these newer hoods.
    ]
    This 2450 DOES have the 4C technology, the external grind button, and the sunlight differentiation technology. The only difference between it and the 3350 is the larger viewing area in the 3350.

    Red
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  21. #16
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    I went with the Esab A40 based on feedback here. Around $125 from Amazon. So far i've only done high current TIG aluminum with it but am very pleased. Natural colours and clarity are very good, making it easier to see what's going on in the puddle. it's very lightweight and the head gear is comfortable. i think for TIG it's a game changer, given that both hands are always full and you can't always nod the helmet down.

  22. #17
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    After using many "less expensive" AD helmets I bought a 3350 many years ago. Very good helmet, I should have bought it before the others but I thought the price was a bit high. I love the helmet! Only problem I've had was letting the helmet sit for long periods of time without use caused the battery to go dead (hobby welder). Now I take the battery out when I know it's going to sit for months (plus I have spare batteries on hand). You'll like the clarity of your helmet, I prefer the large view (old eyes). I also installed a cheater lens in the helmet plus use reading glasses so I can see what I'm doing!

  23. #18
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    here is a very nice helmet I bought about 2 years ago at $170. My old eyes were having problems with tig welding now I can do just fine.
    the head gear is great very well made.
    https://www.eastwood.com/panoramic-v...ng-helmet.html
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    I’ve spent a few hours under this Viking 2450, and I’m very happy with it. In terms of clarity, there’s no comparison with the cheaper hoods I’ve used. Amazing how much better welds I can make by seeing the puddle clearly.

    Red
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    Re: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200

    These are the best welding helmet for me. The sensors in the helmet will automatically increase or lower the shade of the lens depending on the welding process.
    Take a look here: https://www.hampdon.com.au/safety/welding/helmets/
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