Top 10 Best Pancake Welding Hoods | Full Guide


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Best Pancake Welding Hoods | Top 10 List & Buyers Guide

Pancake welding hood? Is it a snack you can eat while you weld? Hmm..

Hold it right there. You probably heard someone mention a pancake welding hood and you began to wonder, what in the living heck is that? Perhaps that’s why you stumbled across this article. Or, maybe you already know what a pancake welding hood is, but you’re simply trying to find the best welding helmet for your welding needs.   Regardless, we’re going to over all these topics today. In this article, we break down in detail the definition, uses, and comparison of the best pancake welding hoods on Amazon. What a great deal you’ve got here!

These pancake hoods have stood the test of time and have come out victorious. However, before I launch you into the world of pancake welding helmets, one needs to know exactly what these seemingly delicious welding hoods are, right? 

But, for those of you that hate reading more than your mom’s hourly Facebook status updates, here’s our top 5 picks: 


Product Preview Model R/L Hand OUR RATING Price

Sarge's Pancake Black Welding Hood Helmet


Sarge's Pancake Black Welding Hood




Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood Helmet - Right Hand


Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood




Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood Helmet - Left Handed


Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood




Sarge's Pancake Black Welding Hood Helmet Left Handed Regular Pipeline OSHA Approved


Sarge's Pancake Welding Helmet




Original Pancake Welding Hood Right Hand


The Original Pancake Welding Hood




What is a Pancake Welding Hood?

That, apparently, is the next question on your mind. A pancake welding hood is a type of protective headgear or covering for the face used while welding. They are similar to your regular welding helmets, but with an interesting little twist that we’ll get to later on. Most of the time, these helmets are named according to their shapes.

The nickname ‘pancake’ comes from the typically flat outer front surface of this helmet that basically has the round and flat shape of a pancake. Welding hoods tend to cover the entire face of the welder and are made extremely thin to reduce their weight for convenience purposes. It is also composed of a balsa box and the pancake outer covering. 

Additionally, most pancake welding helmets come with a side cover. The side covering depends on your active arm, that is, if you are right-handed or left-handed. They also have straps, usually adjustable that go round the head.

example of pancake welding hood
Source: YouTube, Creator: Let's Fabricate

Why Do You Need a Pancake Welding Hood?

You might be wondering what the heck is so special about these pancake hoods that you have to use them. What if you don’t even like pancakes?

You may not fancy pancakes but pancake helmets are a must-have especially if you work on pipelines or weld outdoors. Now, let me reveal the secret about these special types of welding helmets that welders don’t seem to get enough of.

Remember the balsa box I mentioned? That’s one of the secrets but I’ll get back to that in a moment. Pancake welding hoods are extremely lightweight compared to other welding hoods available on the market. Hence, that’s why it is perfect for welders that have to work for long hours. You don’t want to feel like you have the whole world on your head while you work, do you? They usually weigh between few ounces and a pound, maybe slightly more. Honestly, you won’t feel like you have something on your head. When it comes to comfort, pancake welding helmets are simply unmatched in the protective head gear industry.

Another cool thing about pancake hoods is they are customizable. In fact, that’s the primary feature of the balsa box. Many pancake hoods are hand-made so it’s easy for you to modify to suit your face and nose. The pancake part and side cover shield the face from sparks while welding.

What is a Balsa Box?

Finally, the highly spoken-of component! Now that you have successfully gotten to this point, let me re-introduce the balsa box. The balsa box is the most desirable feature of the pancake hood. It is what sets the pancake welding hood apart from every other type of helmet in the market. The balsa box is a wooden structure made of balsa wood, I guess that’s obvious enough from the name. It helps to shield the eyes from light reflections that may interfere with your welding by completely sealing out any light coming in from any angle.

The balsa wood is very soft and can be altered to fit your face perfectly with sandpaper. Yeah, it’s that soft. It also helps to hold the welding lens. Many of the best pancake welding hoods have balsa boxes that allow you to wear your eyeglasses beneath. They completely shield your eyes from sun rays reflection or reflection from any other light source and that’s what makes it ideal for outdoor welding and pipeline welding.


What Does the Pancake Helmet Do?

 The ability of the balsa box to seal out all light that reflects off the shading lens helps to provide the best vision for the welder to go about his business. It is also really famous among pipeline workers who are usually welding directly under the rays of the sun. The bright lights reflecting off the lens can obscure vision when using a normal welding helmet.

There are lots of reasons that pipeline welders should use a pancake welding hood. The most important reason being the fact that they are flexible and they can be used for both indoor and outdoor welding with the exact same level of productiveness and efficiency.

In addition to this, pancake welding hoods can be used with an auto darkening lens, usually for indoor weldings, or you can also make use of a different type of lens depending on the requirements of your project.

Lastly, the pancake welding hood can be very easily found and purchased at really affordable prices. They are considered to be one of the cheapest kinds of welding hoods in comparison to the other types of helmets. Pretty convenient that such a high-quality welding hood is available for such a reasonable price, huh?

These are some of the many reasons why the pancake welding hood is preferred by different types of welders around the world.

What Are Pancake Welding Hoods Made Of?

Depending on the brand, pancake welding hoods are made of different materials, but pine is usually an industry standard. The balsa box, however, is made only of balsa wood of which id generally imported from Ecuador. The balsa wood is very soft and lightweight and its softness usually helps welders to reshape it accordingly.

Furthermore, it usually comes with a wide adjustable band that helps to keep the balsa box secured to the head. Thereby, making it more comfortable to use. The outer parts are also sometimes created from Phenolic.

What is the Main Advantage of a Pancake Welding Hood?

Firstly, pancake welding hoods are the lightest welding helmets you can find! This is why they are very well used for pipeline welding. This weight comes from the fact that they are mainly made of balsa (which is one of the lightest type of wood you can find) and pine which is also light with great quality. 

The main advantage is that it fits the head and eyes easily but might need a little bit of shaping with sandpaper to get the perfect dimensions. It also prevents all types of light reflections and the outer shield can be used to protect the exposed areas of the eyes. Furthermore, the pancake welding helmet helps to reduce fatigue and welding work a whole lot easier for its user. This is a plus for people that work for long periods of time or under the sun.

Top 10 Best Pancake Welding Hoods

Taking in all the factors mentioned above, we’ve created the ultimate list of pancake welding helmets on the market, which you can conveniently find on Amazon. Rest assured, this list of the best pancake welding hoods isn’t biased towards any particular brand or product. We’re here to lay out the facts to help you make an educated purchase on your next welding helmet!

1. Sarge's Pancake Black Welding Hood Helmet Right-Handed Regular Pipeline OSHA Approved (Right Hand, Black)

Did I mention pancake hoods come with a side cover that could be right or left handed? For right-handed welders, you are to go for pancake helmets with a left side cover and vice versa. This particular pancake welding helmet is for our right-handed gentlemen.

The Sarge’s pancake welding hood has a light weight of 12.5 ounces. You’ll feel like you’re not even wearing a helmet with this one! Furthermore, the face shield has dimensions of 10.5 inches and the side shield measures 5.8 inches by 8 inches. The package comes with an adjustable handmade 1.5 inches elastic headband. Plus, you’ll get a piece of 100cm sandpaper included in the package in case you’d like to adjust your balsa box. It accommodates standard lens and cheater – it also supports auto darkening lens.

Once you try this pancake hood, you won’t ever think about going back to a standard helmet again. Sarge’s Pancake Black Welding Hood is made of Phenolic Formica and the balsa box is manufactured from light-weight balsa wood. In our opinion, this is one the best priced welding helmets on the market when you consider its quality, durability, and comfort.


  • It’s very light weight at only 12.5 ounces.
  • The balsa box can be modified easily.
  • The hood fits any type of eye glasses with little modification to the balsa box.
  • Comes with a strap and sandpaper for modifications.


  • The strap occasionally comes off its screw mount.

2. Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood Helmet with Strap - Right Handed

Wendy’s is a common name in this pancake hood industry and it is quite popular with pipeline welders. Wendy, not the lady, has a wide range of pancake welding hoods to suite different purposes. From a variety of colors to the right and left-handed helmets, Wendy seems to have it all.

The Wendy’s black right-handed pancake welding hood is priced fairly reasonably for all that is included. Like any other pancake hood, it comes with a lightweight balsa wood eyepiece. The pancake face shield and the side shield are made of plastic material. Plus, the balsa box perfectly supports the standard lens and cheater. It also accommodates the Miller fixed shade electronic lens. An auto-darkening lens can be used with it but some customers have reported that some sections of the pancake helmet block the sensor and keeps it from darkening.

The lens holder has a pocket depth of 5/8 inch. Each helmet comes with an adjustable elastic headband and free piece of sandpaper for those tweaks and adjustments!


  • It accommodates standard lens and cheater.
  • The sandpaper that comes with it can be used to adjust the balsa box.


  • Some of the pancake helmets were damaged upon delivery.
  • The pancake part covered the sensors of the auto-darkening lens so it was kept from darkening.

3. Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood Helmet with Strap – Left-Handed

Wondering what the difference is? The only difference is that this particular hood helmet is made for left-handed welders. As you already know, every single of these welding hoods are manufactured for the different people with different dominant hands. So the left-handed peeps in the house are not left out as Wendy also made one for them too. 

Although lower on our list, it has the exact same quality and details as the right handed hood helmet. The only difference is that it is made with careful precision and convenience for the left-handed welders in need of an excellent welding hood.


  • It accommodates standard lens and cheater.
  • The sandpaper that comes with it can be used to adjust the balsa box perfectly.


  • Some of the pancake helmets were damaged upon delivery.
  • The pancake part covered the sensors of the auto-darkening lens so it was kept from darkening.

4. Sarge’s Pancake Black Welding Hood Helmet – Left-Handed

This pancake welding hood also comes in the color black. It has the exact same characteristics with the Sarge’s right-handed Welding hood helmet. The only difference is that the price is a few bucks lower than that of the right handed hood helmet. Yea, us right handed people are feeling a little triggered right now! Oh and by the way, it also comes with an adjustable strap of course. 

If you’re a lefty on a budget, this is one of the best pancake welding hoods you’ll find on the market!


  • There is no difference in its specifications when compared with the right handed helmet.
  • It is a little cheaper compared to the right-handed helmet.


  • The strap is made of low-quality material.

5. The Original Pancake Welding Hood Helmet with Strap - Right Handed

Next on our list of the best pancake welding hoods is the Original Pancake Welding Hood. The others aren’t fake, Original is just the name of the company that produces this particular hood. Original is an old brand name that has existed for almost 30 years and they have made a name for themselves in the welding industry.

Anyway, let’s get back to the point. This is a handcrafted welding hood made from Phenolic, pine and of course, balsa woods. This particular one is right-handed. Unlike other brands of pancake hoods, this one is a one-piece hood with a Phenolic face plate and folded ear guard design. The contoured balsa box ready for custom-fitting and easily modifiable.

Included is 1 adjustable elastic headband, 1 lens cover, and 1 piece of sandpaper for custom-fitting. It also accepts cheater lenses. Per industry standards, this pancake welding helmet is both ANSI and OSHA accepted.


  • It has a unique folded ear design that acts as the side shield.
  • Very lightweight, it feels like you’re wearing nothing!
  • It meets the standard requirements of both ANSI and OSHA.
  • Affordable


  • It has got an unfinished-look, if this is important to you.
  • The balsa box barely fits the Miller lens unless it is modified.

6. Original Pancake Welding Hood Left Hand

It seems that Original didn’t leave our left- handed gents out of the game as it also has a welding hood specifically made for them too. This pancake welding helmet has a straight sided balsa box and it is also OSHA accepted. The hood covers the right side of the face. Other than being for lefty’s, this one is basically the exact same as our previous pick.


  • It costs a little less than the right-handed Original Pancake Welding Hood. So you get to be left-handed and save a few bucks? Sucks to be right handed in these streets!
  • Very lightweight.
  • It meets the standard requirements of both ANSI and OSHA.
  • Affordable!


  • The balsa box needs modification to fit the miller lens.

7. WENDY'S Pancake Welding Hood Shield Z Model ANSI, Left Hand

Apparently, Wendy is not just well known for its name in this hood helmet industry, it has also earned its stance in the industry because it has different models of pancake wood helmets for the convenience of its different users. The Wendy’s Pancake Welding Hood Shield Z Model for left hander welders is also really good. It does not have a lot of differences from the original Wendy’s pancake Hood shield except for the fact that this one was made to create a better experience for the welders. It is much smaller with a Lens Pocket Depth of 3/8 inch and a Lens Capability of 2 x 4 inch. Plus, best of all, it’s a nice electric blue color which will definitely attract some attention from the ladies. Wink wink.


  • It is tested and complies with OSHA and ANSI standards.
  • It was made to create a better user experience for welders.
  • Lightweight.
  • Very cool color.


  • Front is prone to some scratching.

8. WENDY'S Pancake Welding Hood/Shield Right Hand White Chita

Like I said earlier, Wendy doesn’t play with variety. The company has different varieties for different tastes and needs .This White Chita welding hood comes in a circular shape with a Chita lenses box and is made from white phenolic material. You already know that when we are talking about the color white, we are talking about a stylish and exquisite look which is exactly the type of energy I am getting from this white Chita pancake welding hood. It has a 5/8 lenses depth and it holds regular and solar auto lenses. Furthermore, it has a 2-inch elastic strap and a light killer end plug. 


  • It has a stylish and sleek look.
  • It comes with an elastic strap.
  • Very lightweight.


  • White is a color for people that can maintain it.
  • It is higher in price compared to other pancake welding hoods made by Wendy. I’m guessing that the style made it come with a few extra bucks!

9. Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood Helmet w/Strap - Right Handed - Black FLIP UP lens

We seriously have to give it to Wendy. They’ve got it all covered. The only company in these streets that has the same product with different specifications for its different customer base. The Wendy’s right-handed pancake welding helmet with strap and a back flip UP lens. 

This pancake hood comes in the color black, is lightweight, you can flip it up, and the balsa wood eyepiece comes with both face and side shield. It also accommodates standard lens and a miller fixed shade electronic lens. Each one of these particular products comes with an adjustable headband and a free piece of sandpaper for you to reshape the balsa box to your fitting. All in all, we’d say this is definitely one of the best pancake welding hoods out there.


  • It meets the standard requirements of ANSI.
  • Lightweight.
  • It comes with an adjustable elastic headband.
  • Free piece of sandpaper.


  • Can be difficult to insert lens.

10. Pancake Welding Hood

This particular welding hood has no known brand name as it is only known and referred to as ‘the pancake welding hood’. I guess the manufacturers somehow forgot to inscribe their brand name on their product or that is exactly the brand name. Apart from the fact that the manufacturers of this welding hood are unknown, there are a few things I love about this hood – starting from the fact that it comes in two colors which are black and light brown. It is also really light weight with Phenolic Formica shields for both the face and the sides. The face shield has a dimension of 10 x 5 inches and the shield is 5 x 8 inches.


  • It has both left and right handed models.
  • It is lightweight.
  • Meets ANSI standard requirements.
  • Comes in black or tan.


  • The manufacturer is not well known.

What to look for in your next pancake welding helmet

Searching around for the best pancake welding helmet doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Keep these factors in mind while you’re shopping :

  • Quality and attention to detail is very important.
  • The lightness and softness of the balsa wood.
  • Are you right-handed or left-handed?
  • How standard is the lens?
  • Does it have good product reviews?
  • Is it OSHA and ANSI approved?
  • It should be lightweight yet durable.
  • Lastly, the cheapest or the most expensive hoods are not usually the best pancake welding hoods out there. Take your time and find the perfect one for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

» What is a Balsa Box?

The Balsa Box is a little wooden box that rests between the shield of the helmet and your face. It is fitted to your face and provides better protection for your eyes, all-day comfort, and an overall better welding experience.


» Why do pipeline welders prefer pancake welding hoods over other welding hoods?

The reason pancake welding hoods are used by pipeline welders is because of the Balsa Box. The Balsa Box flawlessly fits your face like a pair of swimming goggles. As a result, no backlight will be entering your field of vision.

Backlight is basically the light that seeps through the sides of your welding helmet. The backlight can reflect on your lens and will either emit an annoying glare or a reflection of yourself on your lens. However, with the pancake welding hood, you don’t have to worry about this issue since the Balsa Box eliminates any outside light.

Additionally, pipeline welders prefer the pancake welding hood simply for the added protection. The fitted Balsa Box eliminates any sparks, light, or anything else that could enter your eye region in a regular welding hood.


» What the difference between a pancake welding hood and a standard pipeliner welding hood?

First of all, pancake welding hoods are lightweight. A standard flip hood or sugar scoop is going to be a lot heavier than your average pancake welding hood. In terms of weight, the best pancake welding hoods are around 10 oz while the average flip hood is around 17 oz. This will lead to a much more comfortable experience for those long days on the job.

Additionally, you have the Balsa Box that seamlessly fits your face. This adds greater protection and eliminates any backlight.

Another difference between the pancake welding hood and other welding hoods is the price. Even the best pancake welding hoods are only around $100. Also, if something breaks such as the strap, it’s easy and inexpensive to go online and buy a new one.


» How do you get the Balsa Box to fit your head?

You’ll use sandpaper to fit the Balsa Box to your head. It’s a pretty simple process and Wendy’s pancake welding hoods actually come with a piece of sandpaper. Balsa Wood is very malleable so you shouldn’t have any issues sanding it to your desired size. However, if you need help fitting your Balsa Box, you can watch this video on sanding a Pancake Welding Hood.


» Can you wear glasses under your pancake welding hood?

Yes, you can wear Tom Water Glasses or sunglasses under your pancake welding hood.


Obviously, owning a good pancake welding helmet is a must for any serious or professional welder. Hopefully, we we’re able to help you find the best pancake welding hood for your welding needs. Remember, the most important thing to consider is the balsa box, the quality of the material, the customizability, and whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. Consider these things when you’re shopping around and I’m sure you’ll be able to find the best pancake welding hood for your future welding projects!

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