Metal inert gas welding is a type of welding work that many professionals do on the job, but welders usually refer to this as MIG work. It creates enormous sparks that come off the metal and fly at your face and body, which is why you need to wear the right protective gear on the job. While some employers will supply you with the equipment that you need, others will ask that you buy and bring your gear.
Looking at MIG welding helmet reviews is the easiest way to find out some of the top products available. To create our list, we decided to include those at different price points to meet the needs of those just starting out and those with more experience. You’ll even find budget options that are great for those currently in school.
Our top choice is the Speedglas from 3M, which comes with a lens that lets you select the darkness level that you want to use from shades like five, eight and all the way up to 13. You can even choose a light lens in the three shade range to see more clearly.
Don’t just take our word for it though: compare this welding helmet to all the others on our list to find the right one for you.
How to Choose the Right Model?
What Type of Power Does it Use?
Though you may not think about the power source that different models use, you really should because it lets you know how often you can wear that welding helmet. Solar models feature a rechargeable power source inside that gains power from the sun. The downside to these models is that you’ll need to charge that power source frequently, and you may not get much use out of it when wearing one in darker conditions.
Other models like the 3M Speedglas come with one or more lithium-ion batteries inside. These cells will power down when you don’t use the welding helmet to save on their charges. You can get years of use out of one before the batteries need to be replaced, and you can wear these helmets regardless of the sunlight available.
What Type of Lens Does it Have?
A fixed lens is one that never changes and works with just one shade rating, which is usually around a 10. These are the cheapest models on the market but lack the protection that most need. Our list includes models with a shade range of between five and 13 that let you go from one job to the next faster.
MIG welding requires that you use a higher number shade in the 10 to 13 range. Using a lower tone can cause damage to your eyes. A more moderate shade is suitable for doing TIG and stick welding.
What is the Lens Reaction Time?
The lens reaction time of a welding helmet refers to how quickly it reacts and how fast it goes from light to dark and back again. Basic models will have a reaction time of around 1/5,000 of a second or even lower, which means that you may need to keep the welding helmet down until it finishes adjusting itself. A higher rating of 1/20,000 or even 1/25,000 of a second is better for most jobs because these masks react faster.
7 Top Rated Picks on the Market
One of the most important features to look for in a model s the number of sensors located on the inside because this tells you how quickly it will react and how much protection you will get on the spot.
We like the Speedglas from 3M because it has three sensors inside that react in 0.1 milliseconds to darken the lens to keep your eyes safe quickly.
It also has a larger interior window as well as more massive windows on the side that let you see a larger area of your work area while wearing it.
Two lithium-ion batteries come with this product and will last for up to 2,000 hours of use, which makes it suitable for use in darker places where solar helmets won’t work.
The darkening filter works in different shade settings to protect your eyes while also giving you a clear view of your work. You can use a shaded setting of up to 13 and a lighter and lower setting when you need more light.
3M also designed this one to fit your head more comfortably.
It features two adjustable straps on the crown and a padded headband on the front. The ratchets inside make it easy to change the fit too.
If you have your heart set on a welding helmet that uses auto-darkening technology, you might like this BH3 model from Jackson Safety. Designed to keep you safe on any job site, the exterior of this one uses a bright shade of yellow around the viewing window to ensure that anyone working near or around you can see exactly where you are.
The auto darkening technology allows it to respond so quickly that you’ll never need to take your hands off your equipment to make changes to the darkness.
The variable shade range on this one starts at nine and goes all the way up to a 13 shade, which lets you use it in a variety of applications.
A built-in delay setting offers some extra protection because this feature keeps the shade from instantly changing when more light becomes available and potentially damaging your eyes. It is also compatible with hard hats and other accessories too.
Capable of reducing the heat that builds up inside as you weld, the BH3 increases your comfort and lets you spend more time working on jobs.
The front plate has a slight curve too, which reduces keeps the window from fogging up and reduces glare.
As you read a MIG brand review, you might want to see what others thought of the viewing window, and reviews of this Antra model point out that it has a larger window than most others do.
Measuring 3.78-inches by 3.5-inches, the manufacturer refers to this as a large window because it’s significantly more extensive than most have. That window works with the four sensors inside to ensure that you see everything in front of you and that you get the protection you need at the same time.
Many shoppers will also like the delay on this one because it doesn’t use the same steps that others do and instead reacts in a fraction of a second to help you move from one job or area to the next without missing a beat.
It’s compatible with the magnifying lens to enhance your vision and will work with cheater lenses too. Unlike other models that use just one color, this one has a fun design with a white pattern across the surface.
Designed for all types of welding, the Antra model has two variable shade ranges from five to nine and nine to 13.
It is also compatible with an adapter made by the manufacturer for wearing and using it with a hard hat.
Not everyone likes the basic look that some welding helmet models have, and if you’re looking for something unique and different, this Antra model will deliver.
Though it has a dull black surface, its design features some unique images and graphics in brighter colors like yellow, red and purple. You’ll see everything from diamonds and paint splatters to a skull and funky faces on this one.
A digital control takes the guesswork out of picking the right shade for the right job and allows you only to turn a knob to choose the tone that you need.
Suitable for MIG welding, it also works on jobs where you do grinding because the base hangs down low to protect your chin and neck from arcs and flying debris. This model comes with a large viewing window and an LED screen display too.
Compatible with both cheater and magnifying lenses, this model uses solar power rather than a battery. This eliminates the worry that you might run out of control in the middle of the job and allows you to get the power that you need while working in the sunlight.
It also features an automatic power setting and four premium sensors inside.
Anyone with a passion for welding and military or aircraft history will appreciate the Nesco 4656 because it mimics the look of planes the military used during battles in the past.
That design features a gray background that uses graphics to recreate the look of the rivets used on metal planes, but it also has an image of a bombshell sitting on a real bomb. Decked out in jeans and heels, this little lady adds a touch of sultriness to your job.
A solar-powered design lets this one create the power that you need from the time that you spend working outside in the sun, and it takes just a short amount of time for it to charge fully.
Compliant will all the safety standards put in place by significant organizations; it offers protection for your eyes and your face.
It has a variable shade range of nine to 13 too.
Around the inside of the top is a headband that keeps it firmly attached to your head, but this headband adjusts to fit your head and face.
The shell used on the exterior is lightweight enough that it won’t put pressure on your face. This shell is resistant to rusting and is flame retardant too.
The last two models that made our list are both solar powered options from Antra, but you’ll likely find that you prefer one of these alternatives to the other.
This model is affordable enough for anyone currently in school and anyone new to the profession, but it still comes with all the protective features that you need in a good helmet. Those features include four sensors that respond to arcs quickly and a viewing window that is both taller and wider than usual.
A variable shade range of five to nine is suitable for most MIG jobs, but you can also opt for a range between nine and 13 for making other applications like grinding and cutting.
The lens located on the front of the viewing window is compatible with other accessories like cheating lenses and magnifying lenses.
Designed to protect you against infrared radiation and different light sources, this Antra model goes from dark to light in just one second or less.
The solar battery inside lasts for years and is entirely replaceable to help you get more out of the helmet. It also works in a range of temperatures, and you can store it in temperatures up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t let the basic design of this solar-powered model fool you because Antra still provides you with all the features that you want like a knob for flipping up the helmet before dropping it back down to cover your face.
Capable of working in all applications, this helmet is one you can wear when doing MIG or plasma welding, but it also works for TIG and arc welding too.
The all-black design is excellent for those who don’t want something fancy and those who want to decorate it themselves.
A sensitivity knob adjusts the sensitivity of the helmet almost instantly to compensate for the arcs and flashes produced as you weld.
Choosing the right shade or application method is as easy as twisting a knob on the side. You can use a five to nine, six to 10, seven to 11, eight to 12 or nine to 13 range, but you can also select a grinding setting for both grinding and cutting.
With a reaction time of just 1/25,000 of a second, this one responds faster than you could on your own. It also reacts quickly as you go from dark to light and adjusts in one second or less.
Our Top Favourite is…
As we looked at models to add to our list of the best MIG welding helmets, it didn’t take long for us to realize that none of the other models we found can compare to the 3M Speedglas.
This one has windows on each side that expand your field of vision while still giving your eyes the protection that you need and built-in protection to keep debris off your face and body. It works well at blocking all types of arcs and flashes, including infrared radiation and UV light.
Two straps on the crown adjust to give you a more custom fit, but those straps also help distribute the weight of the helmet to keep it from weighing down your head.
You can change the fit each time you use it with ratchets on the inside. It also comes with a lens that lets you change the darkness based on the job you need to do.