Auto darkening helmets are the best models for welders because the lenses on these models automatically adjust to protect the wearer’s eyes from arcs and flashes. The intensity of those arcs can cause significant damage to your eyes and even leave you blind. As no two helmets are exactly the same, you need to look at the features of each model to find one suitable for your job.
Our choice for the best auto darkening welding helmet is the Jackson Safety BH3 with Balder Technology. It has a lens with a high clarity rating and a plastic shell that protects all areas of your face.
Top Six on the Market
The best model that money can buy is the Jackson Safety BH3 with Balder Technology, which has a high 1/1/1/1 rating that lets you see the entire area in front of you as well as the areas around your sides with optical clarity.
Its variable shade, which ranges from nine to 13, works with the sensors inside to automatically change the amount of shade produced based on the arcs the sensors see. If you do different types of model like MIG and TIG, it will adjust the amount of shade available on each job that you do.
Inside the model are three buttons that correspond to the delay, shade and sensitivity settings, though you’ll also find knobs on the outside of the modelt that you can use to adjust those same settings. With a soft plastic strap that wraps across the back of it, you can even adjust the fit based on your head size.
Two of the top features of the model are the curved from plate and its plastic shell.
That plastic shell has a high impact rating and will absorb shocks and impacts to keep your head safe. Its curved plastic front reduces the risk of heat building up inside and also keeps fog from clouding up the lens.
This 3M Speedglas 9100 FX may be a little more your speed because it’s a tad smaller than the Jackson Safety and because it comes with a dual face mask.
Though you can use the mask with a lens to keep your eyes safe, you can also lift up that mask to reveal a second mask beneath that sits right against your face and has a clear lens in the center that you can use when setting up a project.
Its filter darkens the lens by one shade or more just 0.1 milliseconds after spotting an arc.
Designed to protect your skin and eyes from both infrared radiation and ultraviolet rays, it is suitable for wearing on grinding jobs. It has windows located on both sides of the model to increase your field of vision and to help you see workers and other obstacles nearby.
A headband on the front with extra padding and two straps near the crown evenly distribute the weight of the model and increase your comfort when wearing it.
With an ergonomic design and a ratchet system, it adjusts in different ways to better fit your head too. You can use the knobs on the model to adjust its pivot with bare hands or while wearing gloves.
The titanium finish of this Miller Electric has a clean and modern look that shows customers and clients you are responsible and that you are serious about the work that you do.
As a flip-up model, it comes with a clear face mask on the bottom that acts like a protective visor and allows you to see in all types of lighting conditions, but you can flip down the top part of the mask and use the model filter lens to keep arcs and flashes from damaging your eyes.
It has a lens shade of three, five to eight and from eight to 13 that you can use on different jobs.
With a viewing area that measures nine-square inches in size, it ensures that you get a solid view of your surroundings, even though it lacks the side windows found on some helmets.
Made from nylon and other high-quality materials, it weighs in at less than four pounds and won’t cause discomfort when worn for long hours. It features knobs on the sides that let you adjust the pivot of the model too.
Included with this Miller Electric are two lens covers for use on the interior and five exterior lens covers. You also get a carrying bag designed specifically for use with the model.
When there are funky models like this Miller Electric Digital Elite on the market, why settle for a boring model that just uses one or two colors?
Miller Electric designed this model for those who love gothic decorations and the motorcycle lifestyle. Though the model itself is black, it features a number of decorations over the front and across the top and sides that include a gruesome skull wearing a top hat, a spiderweb with a winged eyeball in the center and even a set of crossbones.
Once you get past the style of the model though, you’ll find that it comes with a nine-square inch viewing area and lithium ion batteries that you can change before getting to work or while in the middle of a job.
The included bag protects the outside from scratches and keeps the lens free from debris, but you will also get lens covers that you can use inside and out.
This nylon model has an adjustable strap inside for changing its fit and dials inside for changing the sensitivity and other settings.
It also comes with a magnifying lens holder and is compatible with the hard hats that you might wear when working on busy construction sites.
Many models that offer full protection for your body are so heavy that those models can keep you from moving as smoothly as you might like, but this ArcOne IDF81-1500 Black Vision Shell with IDF81 Intelligent Filter protects your ears, head and neck but is lightweight enough that it won’t slow you down.
It has a more classic design that has knobs on the side for lifting and lowering the model while wearing gloves. It comes with a curved headband inside that mimics the natural curve and angle of the human head to help you work more comfortably too.
This ArcOne model has two sensors inside that respond in a split-second after detecting an arc, and you can set the shade to a lighter number of three or use a variable darker shade that ranges between five and 14.
Its delay settings let you adjust the amount of time it takes for the model to respond, which will come in handy when working on welding jobs outside or in interior spaces with more light that the model might identify as an arc.
The model filter inside uses standard AA batteries for power, and it features eight memory settings that will retain your settings for future jobs.
The Optrel VegaView 2.5 is an auto darkening welding helmet that almost looks like a racing model because it has a matte black finish with bright white accents across the sides.
Optrel claims that it can increase your visibility by up to 400% because the viewing area on the front is larger than those used on other models in this price range and it has good clarity.
Its sensitivity control is perfect for use in shared areas because you can turn down the sensitivity and keep it from responding to arcs that other nearby welders produce as you work.
Optrel designed a Sensor Slide that adjusts the detection angle, which is the angle at which the model will detect arcs, and you can choose an angle of between 60-degrees and 120-degrees.
The model filter has a special coating on the front that increases clarity and allows you to see different colors and objects while the model is still on your head.
One reason this cheaper model is worthy of a spot on our list is because it has a curved front. This curve keeps debris produced by metals and other materials from hitting your head.
It also offers protection for your ears and neck too.
The Ultimate Winner is…
Though there are more expensive models on the market, the Jackson Safety BH3 (Check Price on Amazon.com) is the best one for the money. You can adjust the model based on the application or job that you need to do, and it will work with other accessories like the hard hats worn on construction sites. Its variable shade range has a minimum of nine and a maximum of 13, making it suitable for MIG and TIG welding as well as grinding.
The front plate on the model has a slight curve that reduces the build up of heat inside and prevents the inside of it from fogging up. Guaranteed to meet all current safety standards, it has a plastic shell that protects your face against splatters. It also has a high rating in terms of impacts.