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5 Best Welding Helmets for Beginners
Whether you’re a hobbyist welder or you’re looking to make a living out of the craft, finding the best welding helmets for beginners can be a tedious task. You don’t know the good from the bad, and you may not even know what type of welding helmet to look for in the first place.
Well, I’ve got some good news; you’ve come to the right place! We’ve done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of the best welding helmets for beginners like yourself.
Some of the factors we consider when judging our welding helmets include a large viewing area, versatility, performance, overall comfort, and durability.
Also, because this is a list of the best welding helmets for beginners in particular, we’ve considered that beginner welders are typically on a tight budget. As a result, we’ve tried to keep these helmets within the budget! However, the more you spend, the more likely you are to end up with a helmet with the best features and one that provides the best overall experience. Therefore, we have also included a few helmets that are on the pricier side.
It’s important to remember that your helmet has a huge impact on your overall welding experience. Therefore, if you’re trying to figure out where to spend the most money in your welding journey, you may want to consider spending it on your welding helmet.
Now, lets get to the good part! Here is a list of the best welding helmets for beginners!
1. Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding helmet
If you’re looking for an amazing mask and you’re on a budget, the Antra Auto-darkening helmet is going to be the best bang for your buck. It has eight shade levels, solar-powered, auto-darkening lens, and it is extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
In terms of versatility, this welding helmet is great for beginners in the sense that it has variable shade levels from 5-13. Therefore, you’ll be able to work in any light condition. It also has a viewing area of 3.86” x 1.73” which is equivalent to 6.68 square inches – not too shabby for a helmet in this price range.
The only downside regarding this helmet is the durability. You’re not likely to get more than a few years of life out of this helmet before it starts have technical issues and screen flashes. However, if you’re on a budget and you’re just testing the waters with welding, this may be the best welding helmet for beginners!
- Auto-darkening lens
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Won’t break the bank
- Won’t last more than a couple years
- Some-what limited viewing area
2. Lincoln 3350 Welding Helmet
So, now that we’ve went over the best bang-for-your-buck welding helmet for beginners, let’s go over the premium choice. And yes, by premium, I mean expensive! However, like I mentioned earlier, expensive usually means a much better-quality welding helmet. And believe me, the Lincoln 3350 won’t disappoint.
First of all, Lincoln is one the most reliable brands in the welding industry. Their products are used by professionals around the world and their products are known to be high-quality, well-made, and long-lasting. The Lincoln 3350 Welding Helmet is all of these things, and more!
So, let’s go over some of its features. It has an extended light shade from 5 to 13 offering ample flexibility when it comes plasma cutting, low-amp welding, etc. It has extremely comfortable X6 headgear which is designed to reduce pressure on the head and provide all-day comfort. But, best of all, it provides an incredible viewing area of 12.5 square inches. This is really where this welding helmet shines. However, the durability, versatility, all-day comfort, and overall quality of this helmet make it one of the best welding helmets for beginners and professionals alike.
- Flexible in the projects you can take-on
- Incredible viewing area of 12.5 square inches
- X6 headgear for reduced pressure and maximum comfort
- Lincoln is one of the biggest names in the industry
3. Jackson 46131 Welding Helmet
So, we’ve talked about one really expensive welding helmet and one on the cheaper side. So, now let’s talk about one in the middle price range.
The Jackson 46131 offers variable shades from 9 to 13. It has a viewing area of 3.93” x 2.36” which would equate to 9.3 square inches of viewing space. This may be less than the Lincoln that we just talked about, but it is impressive, nonetheless. It also has sensitivity and delay adjustments to work in accordance to your task. If it concerns you, this helmet meets ANSI Z87.1+ standards and is CSA compliant. Furthermore, this helmet is extremely lightweight, and the comfort of this helmet is what really makes it shine.
Similar to Lincoln, Jackson has a long history of producing quality welding items across the globe. Their products are known to be extremely reliable and the Jackson 46131 Welding Hood is no different. The best welding helmets for beginners will be flexible in use, have a good viewing area, and produced by a reliable company. The Jackson 46131 meets all these requirements with ease!
- Extremely lightweight
- Impressive viewing area of 9.3 square inches
- Made by a reliable company that’s over a century old
- Somewhat expensive, but a good deal, nonetheless
4. Jackson 46157 Welding Helmet
Next on our list is one of the best welding helmets in its class and as you have probably already noticed, it’s another helmet from Jackson. Although it is on the pricier side, I think this welding helmet is well worth the money and great for beginners.
It comes with a high-quality helmet shell that is curved in a way to reduce heat and fog as well as improve fume deflection. Paired with the Jackson 370 Headgear, this adjustable helmet is great for optimal performance and comfort. The slider on the headgear adjusts in various ways to make it extremely versatile in what the welder is trying to accomplish. You can adjust the distance from the eye to the lens, adjust the overall size of the helmet, and raise or lower the helmet with the use of the crown strap.
Additionally the Jackson 46157 has balder technology making it the highest possible rating for optical quality. With the help of this advanced technology, this Jackson helmet has earned a perfect score across the board; a 1/1/1/1 rating. This represents light scattering, angular dependence, homogeneity, and optical quality. As a beginner, these terms may sound confusing but basically, they represent the ability to see at many different angles and quick adjustment and refocus time. Overall, I think this is one of the best welding helmets for beginners and although it’s a little pricey, you won’t regret your purchase.
- Balder technology giving this helmet a perfect rating (1/1/1/1)
- High-quality shell for safety and fume deflection
- Adjustable headgear for different welders
A little pricey for beginner welders
5. Hobart 770890 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
So, next up we have the Hobart 770890 Welding Helmet. I like this helmet for a number of reasons and one of those reasons is the incredible price. At almost a fraction of the price of some of the other helmets we discussed, I think this helmet has a lot to offer.
First of all, it has an excellent viewing area at 9.3 square-inches. Sure, it’s not as impressive as the Lincoln 3350 at 12.5 square inches, but for a beginner, 9.3 square inches will serve you well. Additionally, this welding helmet has a special feature to prevent darkening. To avoid darkening, it it equipped with a “grind mode” for visible grinding.
Finally, this welding helmet has four independent arc sensors that provide status and the position of the weld that you’re supposed to make on the workpiece. Pretty nifty if you ask me. Overall, this is a high quality and extremely durable helmet. Couple that with the amazing price, I think this is one of the best welding helmets for beginners.
- Independent arc sensors
- Large viewing area (9.3 square inches)
- Incredible value
Buyer’s Guide – How to Find the Best Welding Helmet for Beginners
Looking at all these helmets, you may be a little confused. For instance, you may be wondering why some welding helmets are very expensive while others are dirt cheap. Let’s dive into some of the differences between these welding helmets and how to find the best welding helmet for beginners!
One of the biggest factors to consider when you go to purchase your first welding helmet is the viewing area. Trust me, looking out of a 4 square inch viewing area is not going to be a pleasant experience.
Having a large viewing area means you will be able to see exactly what you’re doing. As a result, you will be a better welder and overall, the welding experience will be much more enjoyable.
I recommend searching for a welding helmet that has a viewing area of at least 9 square inches. I believe this is optimal for a beginner and will lead to a great experience. Keep in mind, a larger viewing area won’t hurt, but as you’d probably expect, the bigger the viewing area, the more money you’re going to end up spending.
One of the worst experiences you can have is finding the perfect welding helmet and then realizing it doesn’t feel good on your head. You can avoid this by ensuring you purchase a welding helmet with adjustable straps. It’s best to find a helmet that is adjustable in various ways to perfectly conform to your welding style and overall comfort. Of course, be sure to check the reviews and make sure no one is complaining of an uncomfortable experience!
Next, you want something that’s going to last. Welding helmets go through a lot of exposure to heat, fumes, and everything you can imagine. Therefore, you want something that’s going to handle those powerful forces. Generally, this isn’t something you should stress over. Most welding helmets are made to last. However, when are on your search for the best welding helmet for beginners, make sure to check the reviews and confirm that it is durable. You don’t want to purchase a helmet that is unsafe or won’t last more than a few months.
Check the Reviews
This brings me to my next point – always check the reviews. You may find a seemingly perfect welding helmet for what you need. However, when you go to check what people are saying about it – you may change your mind. I know, this is kind-of obvious, but you’d be surprised by the amount of people that fall for the marketing tactics of a company without checking the reviews before making their purchase.
So, a lot of beginner welders may be confused by the topic of shade range. It’s not overly complicated, so let me explain. Basically, the shade is what protects your eyes from exposure to the intense light produced by your welds. So, it’s best to look for a shade that is somewhere in the range of 9 to 13. The higher the number, the less light will be passed through your shade.
Next up we have price. Obviously, you know what you’re willing to spend. As you’ve probably already discovered, some welding helmets are expensive while some are on the cheaper side. The best welding helmet for beginners is not always the cheapest. Sometimes, it’s worth spending a little more to get something that will help make the welding experience more enjoyable. Like I mentioned earlier, you helmet is going to be one of your most important pieces of equipment in your welding journey. Therefore, it may be worth spending a little extra to get the perfect welding helmet for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
⇒ Should I get a solar powered or battery powered welding helmet?
Whether you get a solar powered or battery powered welding helmet is up to you. However, it’s important to remember that most high-end welding helmets are going to be solar powered. Therefore, if you are going to get a battery powered welding helmet, make sure it has good reviews because it may be cheap or low quality.
⇒ Since I am a beginner, should I go with an inexpensive welding helmet to get me started or an expensive welding helmet that will last forever?
This is really a matter of preference. If you’re tight on cash or you don’t know if you’re actually interested in welding yet, go with a lesser expensive welding helmet. However, if you’re a professional or you’re confident in your passion for welding, you definitely won’t regret purchasing a higher quality welding helmet that costs a bit more.
⇒ What shade level should I look for?
Shade level is a very important specification to look at because it’s the determining factor in the amount of light that will pass through your shade. For a beginner, you should look for something in the range of 9 to 13.
⇒ What does auto darkening mean and how do auto darkening welding helmets work?
Auto darkening welding helmets eliminate the need to have to flip the lens of your welding helmet. Basically, auto darkening welding helmets do this automatically and it’s one less thing welder’s have to worry about. This is a standard feature of most modern welding helmets.
To learn more about the science behind the auto darkening feature in many welding helmets, check out this article on How Do 3M Auto-Darkening Filters for Welding Helmets Work?
⇒ What are the best welding helmet brands?
Lincoln and Miller are two of the most popular companies for welding equipment. However, there are plenty of other smaller brands that have products that work just as well. The best welding helmet for beginners don’t have to be from a popular brand.
⇒ What is the difference between fixed shade and variable shade welding helmets?
As the name suggests, fixed shade welding helmets have a single fixed shade. This is normally starts at a #10 lens and goes up from there. The fixed shade option is good for people who perform similar tasks when welding. Variable shade welding helmets darken to a variety of different shades. This will depend on the materials and type of work being performed. Therefore, if you’re more flexible with the welding process you use, go ahead and grab a variable shade welding helmet.
Trust me, I know; welding can oftentimes be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. You probably don’t know one welding helmet from the next. However, with the help of this guide, I hope you feel a little more confident in your purchase. Remember, the best welding helmet for beginners will have a large viewing area, a high shade range, and have plenty of excellent reviews to back up its durability and effectiveness.
I hope I was able to help! As always – stay safe and keep working hard!