Welding Helmets and Spares

Choosing the right welding helmet is critical not only for adequate protection of the welder from many harmful rays from the welding process, but ultimately the comfort of the welder especially when welding for long periods of time.

What to look for in a Welding Helmet/Welding Mask

The first thing to take note of when purchasing a welding helmet is what type of lens it uses. There are two main variants:

Standard Glass Lenses

These are very common, inexpensive and are a usual "beginners kit" item. These helmets provide basic protection and low pricing.

You are required to flip the helmet up/down to start/stop using the helmet, which can be an inconvenience for use, as well as fatiguing for the neck if used for lengthy time periods, such as a standard working day. It can lead to wasted time as manually pushing up and down the helmet is inefficient compared to auto darkening lenses, which don't require the same level of interaction.

Auto Darkening Lenses

Auto Darkening lenses are known to be the best, if more expensive option for Welding Masks. Auto Darkening Welding Helmets are as the name suggests- the lens will automatically change the tint as soon as the arc is struck and the bright light hits the sensors near the lens. This happens in milliseconds so there isn't any damage to the eye.

When the Helmet is not in use, lens will be at a shade roughly similar to sunglasses, so easily usable when not welding. This of course removes the need to flip the helmet up/down and means that the weld can be set up and other tasks accomplished while the helmet is down.

Auto Darkening Lenses come with either Fixed or Variable Shade lenses. Fixed shade lenses are usually best for one kind of use (Welding Process, Metal being welded etc.) as the shade doesn't vary. Variable Shade lenses are good for varying tasks that create different degrees of brightness in the arc. The user can adjust the shade level to the application on the fly. Variable Shade Lenses also help cater for those with particularly high or low bright light tolerance.

Switching Speed (Also known as Lens Reaction Time) is important too. Basic lenses often are rated at 1/3,600 of a second switching speed- superior ones and those for the professional can switch at far faster speeds- 1/16,000 or more.

A faster switching lens is more comfortable and leads to less stress & fatigue for the users' eyes. This will help at the end of the day, when the task is over- otherwise the welders' eyes can feel dry and sore.

It's generally best to look for a high quality helmet that has a response darkening time of 4/10ths of a millisecond or more. Less than a millisecond is not perceivable by the human eye and will provide the most comfort, but of course will be more costly.

More features to look for:

A lightweight helmet is always preferable, especially for long periods of use. High Quality Welding Helmets usually utilise low weight materials that are usually stronger also.

A helmet featuring a sensor bar is also very useful. With this feature, it will limit the field of response so the helmet won't be triggered by anyone welding next to the user, this feature isn't necessarily needed if the user is in a single welding bay or is doing it on his own. However, for large workshops, it is recommended.

A clear spatter shield over the optics will provide the best optical clarity so you can see what you are welding and will protect the helmet from damage. In addition, a helmet that is fully adjustable is usually a good idea- this means that the user can adjust how close the helmet is to the face- which is very useful for someone with glasses but isn't required.

Auto-darkening helmets often have the ability to adjust how much brightness will trigger the lens to darken in response. Sensitivity Control is useful when welding at low amperages — especially with a process such as TIG, when the arc isn't as bright as it is with other welding processes- think about your needs as a user and whether you require this.

Last, but not least, look for a reputable (Not off-brand or knock off) manufacturer that offers a warranty and replacement parts- AES offer reliable and well-known brands, Such as Miller, ESAB, 3M Speedglas, and are fully equipped to services these brands- you can see live stock levels right here on the site for important spare parts, lenses, and so on.

All welding helmets can be caused damage- cracks can compromise the protection from ultraviolet and infrared rays- this is usually greatly relieved with a quality manufacturer.

The range of welding helmets available from AES are extensive, if you need help and technical advice on the best welding helmet for you, why not call us now on 0800 975 9710. We can advise you on what helmets feature the above, the best value for money, and can utilise 20+ years of direct, hands on experience in the trade.

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Company number: 07988136 Registered Office: Olympic House Collett, Southmead Park, Didcot, Oxon, England, OX11 7WB

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