Anyone who spends their days welding for a living will be well aware of the damage the intense flashing lights can do to your eyes. Lack of adequate protection can lead to eye strain, a decrease in vision, or even eyesight degradation. There are a tonne of welding helmets on the market that can protect you against such horrible consequences – just check out the wide range of welding supplies available at a specialist such as WIA. The important thing is to find and identify the right helmet for you.
One thing most welders look for in their welding supplies is how hefty they are to carry around. If you’re going to spending hours on your feet, you don’t want to be weighed down too much. Nowhere is this more apparent than in your helmet. Helmets that are too heavy or too bulky increase discomfort and neck strain during longer jobs. When it comes to welding helmets, the lighter the better.
Like anything else, you need to be able to see what you’re doing. Making sure that you can see out of your helment is essential, not just for the quality of your work, but for your own safety as well. Most view sizes are between 6 and 9 square inches, and it really comes down to personal preference with regards to which size will be right for you.
Variable or Fixed Shade
If you’re only going to be welding one specific type of material and using the same welding process and amperage every time, then it’s generally recommended that you go for a #10 fixed shade lens. However, most professional welders find themselves using different materials and are better off going for a variable shade lens that can be adjusted at the inner and outer part of the helmet. Having said that, be careful about adjusting the shade lens. It will vary depending on your amperage and the general sensitivity of your eyes.
Auto Darkening Lens
The viewing lens, or filter, is a series of tinted glass pieces that have been treated with ultraviolet and infrared coatings. Shade numbers determine how effective the lens is at filtering light. The standard issue auto-darkening lens has a shade number of three or four, which means that it’s relatively easy to see through, kind of like a regular pair of sunglasses. This will allow the welder to clearly see their welding torch or gun and the material they intend to join. A passive darkening lens ordinarily has #10 shades as a standard and is a popular choice due to its affordability. That said, passive lenses can be difficult to use for jobs like tack welding, leading to poor weld starts and neck fatigue.
Adjustable Delay and Sensitivity Controls
These are extremely important features to have. Delay controls allow the welder to manually set the length of the lens in the dark. If you’re working with higher amperages, then a longer delay will be extremely helpful. The same is true of lower amperage welding, particularly when it comes to TIG processes. Do your research beforehand. Find out which brands offer the best selection. Battery life will also be a consideration.
Safety should always be paramount for welders of any stripe. It’s about knowing what you’re getting – do your research, go out and try a few on if you have to. What are your favourite helmet brands? Anything you’d consider that isn’t listed here? Share your thoughts in the comments below!