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Thread: What helmet should I buy and why?

  1. #1
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    What helmet should I buy and why?

    Picking up my first welder this week.

    I'm thinking auto-darkening, as I learned on stick with an old school helmet and think I want auto.

    Are auto darkening safe or not? Some or all of them safe? Can a cheap one damage my eyes? Can an expensive one damage my eyes?

    Any recommendations for a decent safe one without breaking the bank?

    Maybe better off just going old school always dark flip down?

  2. #2
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    I'm still loving my ESAB A40 Savage. Only time I get flashed is when I forget to switch out of grinding mode (operator error).

    Link to another thread: Need Advice on Mid-Level AD Helmets - Up to about $200 (weldingweb.com)
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  3. #3
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    Check with local supplier and see if you can test drive one. Many suppliers have helmets that can be used.
    At least see how you like the head gear. They will fit and feel different.
    I still have my Miller auto darking that's over 12 years old.
    The Miller ClearLight will be my next one.


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  4. #4
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    I use A/D in my shop. Invaluable for repetitive fast work, without lifting hood. Add grind mode and you can use your helmet as a face shield. Some can be heavy. I prefer standard lenses, that i can buy anywhere. In the field I use a passive lens

  5. #5
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    My favorite helmet is an oldie but a goodie. Bell Moto 4 then fox pilot
    Lincoln, ESAB, Thermal Dynamics, Victor, Miller, Dewalt, Makita, Kalamzoo. Hand tools, power tools, welding and cutting tools.

  6. #6
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    My favorite helmet is an oldie but a goodie. Bell Moto 4 then fox pilot


    I'm partial to a Shoei RF full face myself.

  7. #7
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    My favorite helmet is an oldie but a goodie. Bell Moto 4 then fox pilot
    Nothing beats my lazer monaco carbon with the transitions shield, it's super light and quiet for a modular. I do like my CL-X7 HJC or whatever it's called for dirt biking, excellent value, nice helmet. I have lots of bike helmets. Not very beneficial for welding though, even with the transitions shield.

  8. #8
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    You did not mention your budget. I purchased one from lows. It has a large viewing and 4 sensors. I used it this weekend. Cost back then was $125. Have a look at Harbor Freight. Several good comments about the new helmets. I started out with there $49.95 and it still works good. However I have the one I purchased from Lowes with the larger viewing area better.

  9. #9
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenskip1 View Post
    You did not mention your budget. I purchased one from lows. It has a large viewing and 4 sensors. I used it this weekend. Cost back then was $125. Have a look at Harbor Freight. Several good comments about the new helmets. I started out with there $49.95 and it still works good. However I have the one I purchased from Lowes with the larger viewing area better.
    Thanks Ken. I didn't include a budget because I didn't want to rule out any good recommendations. I just want something that is good and safe for my eyes. After some research I like the idea of 4 sensors and large viewing area. Still looking around, but I'll check Lowes too.

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  11. #10
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    When you ask a question like this, all you're gonna get is everybody telling what it is that They have (you know, We all made the right decision ). I'm an Optrel guy but I want to say that, for anybody who's just starting out, it Don't Skimp! Buy the best helmet you can afford because the clearer you can see the puddle, the faster you'll learn to control it and That's the secret to all welding.

    The good new A/D helmets are like seeing High Definition as opposed to Standard (and sometimes less) Definition. I think those who've been welding for a long time don't appreciate the difference because they already know how to weld and think to themselves "my pipeliner has always worked just fine for Me!"

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  13. #11
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    The Lincoln 3350 Viking 4c is one of the top of the line hoods available. The ESAB a50 is suppose to be pretty good but I don’t like the idea of shaped replaceable lenses that can only be purchased from ESAB retail sales. There are many decent hoods on the market. I don’t think you need to worry too much about damaging your eyes with @ cheap hood. After a day of welding your eyes will tell you if the hood is working or not and if you should be making the hood settings a bit darker. This is where a good quality autodarken hood comes into play. Visual clarity and true color spectrums play a big part in being able to dial in the level of shade that offers optimum eye protection while still being able to see what you are doing before during and after lighting up that ark. The Stryker from USA weld is another decent cost effective option to consider.
    Lincoln, ESAB, Thermal Dynamics, Victor, Miller, Dewalt, Makita, Kalamzoo. Hand tools, power tools, welding and cutting tools.

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  15. #12
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    I bought this Jackson off of Amazon, exactly 3 years ago,, and it has always been perfect for me,,



    I paid $111, it is up to $128,, now,,

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    The only thing I did to it was add the leather chin/neck bib,,


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  17. #13
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    I really like my 3350. The only problem I've had was the battery going dead (I don't weld a lot). I solved that by removing it if I don't plan on welding for a while. The 4 sensors and clarity of the view would make me buy another. I've had other less expensive AD helmets but what I spent on the 3350 was worth the money (same with the other higher priced professional helmets). If there wasn't a 3350 available I'd buy a brand that was as close to it spec wise and not look back.

  18. #14
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by INXS2 View Post
    I really like my 3350. The only problem I've had was the battery going dead (I don't weld a lot). I solved that by removing it if I don't plan on welding for a while. The 4 sensors and clarity of the view would make me buy another. I've had other less expensive AD helmets but what I spent on the 3350 was worth the money (same with the other higher priced professional helmets). If there wasn't a 3350 available I'd buy a brand that was as close to it spec wise and not look back.
    I bought the cheaper Lincoln Viking 2450 on sale about ten years ago and it has been an awesome helmet.



    My "go to" lately has been this digital Weldcote. Incredible view, clarity and nice lightweight fit. I think they're well under $150usd.




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  20. #15
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    The only real perk of an Auto darkening hood over a fixed shade is that when you are starting a weld, your hand is not going to move when you are flicking your hood down.


    If you plan on welding a lot of plate or pipe or some stuff where you can just drag you rod around until you find where you want to start, $30 mig hood will do great.

    If you are doing a bunch of spot welds or some fancy Tig stuff. A nice auto darkening hood will make a big difference. Because you will be sure you are starting exactly where you want.


    The Lincoln Viking 3350/2450 hoods are excellent, both 4c. I believe the only real difference is true size of the viewing area, 2450 being a smaller window. I have a 2450 for doing body work/ sheet metal, and cheap mig hood for a beater.

  21. #16
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    I may get blasted for this but I really like my HF viking hat. It's a note for note copy of the Lincoln 3350 which all parts swap over.to and.from. I haven't tried all the big other options but I really can't tell when the mig is on or off...that's how clear it is.
    It was about.$140 otd

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  23. #17
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    Im goin to be honest and evryone here will call me an old fuddyduddy but a good fibremetal or jackson hood with a flipup lens will do just fine, I been using a fibremetal hood for about 50 some years. I have an autodark the kids got me to teach my gransons with but football, wrestling and baseball practice, huntin season and fishin got in the way and it never happened yet. Next I guess it will be girls. The kids told me it was for me to use too, and I dont care for it all. Ive used it once or twice and keep it in my rig if I really need it but that dont happen much at all. I wear the fibremetal attached to a hardhat all day long 10-12 hours a day and it dont bother me a bit. But thats me and evryone tells me Im an old caveman born 4000 years too late

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  25. #18
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    The biggest reason I dont like the autodark hoods is they go dark sometimes when I dont want em too, or sometimes I get in a tight spot like around a corner or somethin they wont go dark because the sensor dont see the arc

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  27. #19
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpacadd View Post
    Picking up my first welder this week.

    I'm thinking auto-darkening, as I learned on stick with an old school helmet and think I want auto.

    Are auto darkening safe or not? Some or all of them safe? Can a cheap one damage my eyes? Can an expensive one damage my eyes?

    Any recommendations for a decent safe one without breaking the bank?

    Maybe better off just going old school always dark flip down?
    All helmets are safe, from $ to $$$.

    The price difference is based on options and brand name.

    Your eyes are protected from the harmful UV rays by the clear poly lens that covers the AD lens. So even if you get flashed your are not letting in any of the UV rays.

    The shade of the lens is for comfort.

    Miller Helmets are imported from Korea. I would bet the other big brands are made in Korea as well as they make good optics.

    As you can see, no pun intended Lots of choices.
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  28. #20
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    Re: What helmet should I buy and why?

    I did a comparison of several hoods a couple of years ago. There is an old post here showing some different videos with color and clarity comparisons.

    I really like my Optrel Crystal 2.0, but the Lincoln Viking 3350 4C was a close second.
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