Comparing The Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

In this extensive guide, we’ll rate and review the best welding helmets for sale. The guide separates helmets by price point and feature set to help you find the best auto darkening welding helmet for your needs.

  NameViewing AreaWeightRating 
Top Pick
Lincoln Electric Viking 33503.74″ x 3.34″20 oz. (567g)4.8/5Check Price
Best Quality
Jackson Safety BH33.8″ x 2.7″19.84 oz. (562g)4.6/5Check Price
Best Value
Antra AH73.78″ x 3.5″15 oz. (435g)4.2/5Check Price
Mid-Range
Jackson Safety W40 Insight
3.93″ x 2.36″20 oz (566g)4.6/5Check Price
Professional
3M Speedglas 9100XX4.2″ x 2.8″15.87 oz. (450g)4.5/5Check Price

To make it to this list, a helmet really has to blow oulocr socks off, and that’s pretty rare. These helmets were tested by our reviewers under grueling conditions and blew us away consistently. In addition to passing our own quality tests, we’ve selected only the best welding helmets based on consumer reviews, reviews by welding experts, our personal reviews, and feedback from you, the Welding Helmet Pros community.

The information in this document is constantly revised as welding helmets are updated or become obsolete, as well as when improvements in welding helmet technologies hit the market. We’re constantly on the lookout for the newest, best and highest quality welding helmets, so you can rest assured that the information you’re reading is up to date and relevant.

Ultimately, I put this list together to help beginner and professional welders find a welding helmet that will meet their particular budgets and welding needs. I’ve also made sure that every helmet meets the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard, so no matter which helmet you end up purchasing, you can be sure it will protect you effectively from anything your welding environment can throw at you.

Best Welding Helmets ($200-$300)

This price range allows you to purchase a helmet that really hits the sweet spot between value and quality. Almost every product you can get at this range is solid, able to deal with any type of welding in pretty much any situation, so you don’t need to worry so much about whether what you’re buying can handle your requirements. Instead, you can just focus on the individual differences between each helmet, and make sure that what you’re picking up is exactly perfect for you and your needs.

Welding Helmet Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)

  • 4.8/5 Rating
  • 3.74″ x 3.34″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 20 oz. (567g)

Recommendation

A huge viewing area and fantastically comfortable design makes this my choice for the long, hard days. The lens is second to none, with a perfect clarity rating, and a suite of easily tweaked controls and a great set of options round out this fantastic little helmet. For the professional looking for the best helmet, there isn’t a better choice.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.74″ x 3.34″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
All
Batteries
Solar, lithium assist
Weight
20 oz. (567g)
Filter shade
6-13
Grinding mode
Yes

Lincoln Electric Viking 3350

One of the top brands in the welding industry, Lincoln Electric really hit the ball out of the park with their Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 helmet series.

The thing we noticed right away when putting on the helmet was the excellent optical clarity. There was absolutely no distortion, no smudging, and everything was crystal clear – just what you’d expect from a 1/1/1/1 rated lens. The 4C Lens technology that comes with the newer Viking helmets has pretty much taken the already excellent optical clarity the Viking helmets are known for and taken it to another level.

Another thing we noticed was that the helmet was quite comfortable right away, and with a few slight adjustments, it felt like we’d been wearing it for years. The four arc sensors are cleverly placed so that the helmet darkens properly no matter in what position you’re welding, and even after many attempts at tricking the ADF, we finally gave up without having been flashed even once.

This helmet is good for beginners, hobby welders and professionals alike.

The only complaint we had is the shiny black exterior of the hood, which scratches easily, especially if you’re welding in tight spots. Luckily the helmet comes in a couple of different styles, some of which are actually really cool. Overall we gave this helmet a solid 4.8/5 stars, and in our opinion it is the absolute best welding helmet on the market today.

  • 4.6/5 Rating
  • 3.8″ x 2.7″
  • 2 arc sensors
  • 19.84 oz. (562g)

Recommendation

Built with Balder technology, the Jackson Safety BH3 has fantastic visual performance. No matter the angle, the shade you’re using or the lighting situation, you’ll always see clearly. With all the standards built in, it’s a helmet made to last, and to perform.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.8″ x 2.7″
Arc Sensors
2
Welding Types
All
Batteries
Solar powered
Weight
19.84 oz (562g)
Filter shade
9-13
Grinding mode
No

Jackson Safety BH3

Another helmet that impressed us with its crystal clear optical clarity is the Jackson Safety BH3. It uses a proprietary method known as ‘Balder Technology’ to achieve a 1/1/1/1 (the highest possible) optical rating, putting it head a shoulders above most helmets in its price range.

The helmet is very comfortable and comes with many headgear adjustments to ensure it’s comfortable for all head shapes. Another great feature is the hood’s curved front plate which helps reduce heat buildup and fume deflection.

The main downside to this helmet is the lack of a grinding mode, which means the helmet is not suitable for all situations. Nevertheless, we did manage to grind with the sensitivity turned down to the lowest setting, but if you really need a good grinding helmet, you might want to pass on this one.

  • 3.9/5 Rating
  • 3.85″ x 2.38″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 18 oz (482g)

Recommendation

Coming in at third place for our mid-to-high range welding helmets, the Digital Elite by Miller Electric is an all-purpose helmet that’s made to last. While the welding clarity is not as good as other options in this price range, if you’re looking for a helmet that’s feature-rich, comfortable and will making working long hours with it on a pleasure, you might want to check this helmet out.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.85″ x 2.38″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
All
Batteries
2 Lithium, solar assist
Weight
18 oz (482g)
Filter shade
3, 5-8, 8-13
Grinding mode
Yes

Miller Electric Digital Elite

Head-and-shoulders above the previous model Miller Digital Performance, this helmet’s been redesigned with the wearer’s comfort and ease-of-use in mind.

The digital controls have been made more intuitive, and the buttons have been enlarged to make adjusting mode and settings dead easy. The headgear has been made highly adjustable so even those with odd-sized skulls should have no problem getting comfortable. The all-important viewing window has been enlarged to 9.22 sq. in. and a fourth arc sensor has been added to ensure you won’t get flashed by the welding arc.

Best of all, the helmet supports four operative modes: weld, cut, grind, and x-mode. You can be sure that with this helmet in your arsenal, you won’t need another one for any welding-related tasks.

The only slight downside to this helmet, in my opinion, is that for the price-range, the welding clarity is not as crystal clear as some other models.

So if you’re looking for an excellent all-purpose welding helmet that’s comfortable and feature-rich, the Miller Electric Digital Elite should definitely be on your radar.

  • 3.7/5 Rating
  • 3.66″ x 1.73″
  • 2 arc sensors
  • 15.5 oz (440g)

Recommendation

For the price, the 3M Speedglas is a solid helmet with a good set of features. Whilst it might have quite a narrow field of view and only two sensors, the general level of quality and fantastic auto-darkening systems, plus a plethora of other options, more than make up for that. It also has a fast enough sensor to deal with the majority of TIG processes, so if you do a lot of TIG work, this is a great choice.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.66″ x 1.73″
Arc Sensors
2
Welding Types
Stick, MIG, TIG
Batteries
2 Lithium
Weight
15.5 oz (440g)
Filter shade
3, 8-12
Grinding mode
Yes

3M Speedglas 100V

3M Speedglas deliver another high-quality helmet. Robust enough for general work, yet comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time, for its price, it’s packed with high-quality tech and a solid options list.

First off, the helmet has enough shade settings to deal with all types of stick and MIG welding, as well as the vast majority of TIG. There is also a light setting, which is ideal for grinding work and general wear. Though it obviously isn’t recommended, the light mode should also be dark enough to protect your eyes from flash burn if the worst happens and you forget to switch back.

The auto darkening system on this helmet is also great. It’s got three sensitivity settings, so you can tailor it to the work you need to do, and its shade switching time is incredible, a ridiculously low 0.1milliseconds, which blows most helmets in this price range away. Most helmets in this range run between 0.3 and 0.6 ms, which isn’t fast enough for a lot of TIG work, so if you know you’ll be doing a lot of TIG, this is a great purchase.

To top it off, it’s also got great battery life. The helmet was left in the dark for a week, and it only took an hour of solar power to get it up and running from completely dead.

In terms of downsides, the helmet has a small viewing area. I didn’t find this to be a problem because it’s not restrictive for looking at your worksite, but you don’t get anywhere close to the viewing area you’d get on the Miller or the Lincoln helmets above.

The helmet also only has two arc sensors. It’s not really a problem, and easily workable if you tend to weld in conventional areas, but every other helmet we’re reviewing at this price has 4 sensors as standard, which is obviously better and more reliable.

  • 3.3/5 Rating
  • 3.82″ x 2.44″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 20 oz (566g)

Recommendation

Metal Man are a relatively new company, but their welding helmets still come with all the features and specifications you’d expect. However, their relative inexperience compared to the big boys comes through when it comes to reliability. This helmet is fantastic – when it works. I had a couple of problems with it, and when I investigated further, it seems I wasn’t the only one.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.82″ x 2.44″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
Stick, MIG, TIG
Batteries
2 lithium, solar assist
Weight
20 oz (566g)
Filter shade
9-13
Grinding mode
Yes

3M Speedglas 100V

First, the good. The helmet has the full suite of features you’d expect for a helmet of this price. It’s four arc sensors are well placed, and have a great response time. It has enough shades for standard work, as well as a grind mode, which is obviously good to have.

The delay and sensor sensitivity are both fully adjustable, and the helmet has an auto on-off feature, which saves power and obviously helps if you forget to switch it back on. Battery life is good, and the solar assist makes sure you shouldn’t run out of power at inconvenient times.

It’s comfortable, with a five point strap harness that, when it works, gives a firm hold, keeping the helmet in place no matter how much I moved. However, Therein lies a problem. Within a few days of use, one of the clasps on the harness started to weaken, and only got worse until I had trouble keeping it on my head.

I looked online and found out that whilst the features are all there, the build quality isn’t. Customers have also had problems with the sensors failing, with the screws that hold the head piece closed breaking in transit or usage, and the lens having indeterminate issues. Whilst a lot of people didn’t have issues, that doesn’t change the fact that a good number did. If I was buying a helmet, I don’t know if I’d want to take that risk…..

Unfortunately, with so many other, better options for the same price, it’s hard to recommend the Metal Man Industrial, especially when you could just as easily pick up the Miller or Lincoln.

Best Welding Helmet Under $200 ($100-$200)

Just because you aren’t spending a lot doesn’t mean you can’t buy quality. With every year and the advent of new technology, the price of welding helmets is going down and down. These helmets are all under $200 and come with great features any welder would appreciate.

Of course, you still need to make sure you know what you’re buying. Some of the helmets below are a little more limited than what you’d get with something a little more expensive, whether that’s lacking a grinding mode, or just having a smaller and lower clarity lens. In our range there are helmets suited for professional welders, as well as the casual hobbyist, so let’s dive right in.

Welding Helmet Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)

  • 4.6/5 Rating
  • 3.93″ x 2.36″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 20 oz (566g)

Recommendation

Should you buy this helmet? Yes.

In our opinion, there is no better welding helmet for the price. Jackson are known for making tough, dependable equipment, and that’s what you’re getting here. Everything about it is quality, and for the price, you get so much.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.93″ x 2.36″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
MIG, TIG, Stick
Batteries
2
Weight
20 oz (566g)
Filter shade
9-13
Grinding mode
Yes

Jackson Safety W40 Insight

With a massive viewing area, four arc sensors and great screen clarity, this helmet has visual performance almost matching a more expensive helmet. The auto-darkening filter has really good performance, with its sensors easily picking up arcs from any conceivable welding position. It’s also got a grind mode, which is shade 4, which is obviously good to have.

The helmet has manual controls, including sensitivity and delay adjustments, which are simple to understand and use, and one thing I really liked was that the controls were easy to use even when gloved up.

In terms of problems, everything is minor. Compared to more expensive helmets I’ve used, it felt a little flimsier, but it’s fully safety certified and definitely tough enough to protect what’s needed. It’s also quite small, and I found it sat really close to my face when I was wearing it. This wasn’t a problem for me, but I can imagine long term use or using if you were using it in cramped environments it could get uncomfortably warm.

  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • 3.78″ x 1.81″
  • 2 arc sensors
  • 19.2 oz (544g)

Recommendation

It’s no surprise our second best $100 helmet is also Jackson. Compared to the W40 Insight above, the SmarTiger is more of a tradesman’s helmet. It’s a little more expensive and doesn’t have some of the options of the Insight, but in return, you’re getting a much tougher helmet which will protect your head a whole lot better, so it’s much better suited to cramped or chaotic workshops and factories.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.78″ x 1.81″
Arc Sensors
2
Welding Types
MIG, TIG, Arc
Batteries
No battery, solar powered
Weight
19.2 oz (544g)
Grinding mode
No
Filter shade
9-13

Jackson Safety SmarTiger

Designed for long term wear, the Jackson SmarTiger helmet is the cheapest in their range that has their patented Balder technology, which gives the best visual clarity possible. Made of hard wearing impact resistant black plastic, the SmarTiger covers more of the face and head than most of the other helmets for this price, and Jackson are so secure in how tough it is they give you a ridiculously good 5-year warranty.

The ADF on this helmet has an auto-on function, not something you normally see on helmets at this level, so it’ll protect you even if (when?) you forget to turn it on. Settings are fully adjustable, as you’d expect, and easy to work.

The helmet itself is tough, and the curved front plate reduces heat build up and fogging compared to flat faced helmets.

It’s not all good, though. The helmet doesn’t have a grind mode, and you can’t use it for oxyacetylene welding.

Apart from that, though, it offers fantastic performance. Despite that, choosing between this and the other Jackson helmet is easy. If you need something that gives the best protection possible, is hard wearing, and especially comfortable to wear for long periods, get this helmet. If you want a bigger viewing area and a few more mod cons, but don’t see yourself needing the protection, get the Insight.

  • 4/5 Rating
  • 3.81″ x 1.85″
  • 3 arc sensors
  • 20.3 oz (575g)

Recommendation

I know from personal experience that Hobart make good helmets, and the Impact didn’t disappoint me either. It’s exactly what you’d expect from this price range. A good quality, damage resistant helmet with solid, dependable performance, but no flashy features. If you grab one, you know you’re getting a reliable workhorse that’ll get the job done. If that’s what you want.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.81″ x 1.85″
Arc Sensors
3
Welding Types
MIG, TIG, Stick
Batteries
1 lithium ion
Weight
20.3 oz (575g)
Grinding mode
Yes
Filter shade
8-13

Hobart Impact

A reasonably generous viewing area and three well placed sensors meant I didn’t have any problems using the Hobart Impact. The ADF is fast (1/25000 of a second) and the helmet itself is robust and well built, plus the eye protection rating is equal to anything else in its class.

It’s comfortable to wear, too. Hobart recently redesigned all of their headgear, and that’s included with this set.

It’s easy to use and set, though the controls are analog dials rather than anything digital.

There weren’t really any problems with it. I found that sometimes, the sensors can actually be too sensitive. Occasionally, working in well-lit areas would cause the ADF to spike, darkening my helmet when I didn’t even have a lit torch, let alone an arc. But that’s really nothing.

Overall, the Hobart is still a good helmet, and it only loses out on the top spots because of its slightly smaller viewing area and occasional sensor snarl.

  • 3.5/5 Rating
  • 3.82″ x 2.36″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 19.9 oz (564g)

Recommendation

Overall, it’s hard to recommend the Hobart Pro Variable. It’s the most expensive helmet in this price range, but for the difference in price you don’t see that much of a difference in performance. It’s still a great helmet, but in the back of my mind, I was always thinking that for just a little bit more money you could get something so much better.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.82″ x 2.36″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
MIG, Stick, some TIG
Batteries
1 lithium (replaceable)
Weight
19.9 oz (564g)
Grinding mode
Yes
Filter shade
8-13

Hobart Pro Variable

4 sensors and an even faster ADF filter make the performance of this helmet pretty good. It’s reliable, it’s hard wearing, and it’s tough enough to take a beating.

It’s also pretty damn comfortable to wear, with the same easily adjustable ratcheting headgear you get with the Impact above.

The viewing area is big, and it has a great shade range, as well as built-in grind mode and an auto-on feature.

Overall, it’s a great helmet. Except for the price. It’s almost $200. For just a few dollars more the overall quality of your helmet will jump again, and you’ll end up with something so much better, so it’s just hard to say yes to.

  • 3.2/5 Rating
  • 3.62″ x 1.42″
  • 2 arc sensors
  • 22 oz (623g)

Recommendation

Whilst it certainly looks pretty cool, if you’re into the whole skull thing, the Save Phace Gen Y just didn’t deliver. Compared to every other helmet in its class, the whole thing just feels cheap, and doesnt come with a lot of the standards you’d expect. It is cheaper than the rest, but not enough to justify what you get.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.62″ x 1.42″
Arc Sensors
2
Welding Types
MIG, TIG
Batteries
None, solar only
Weight
22 oz (623g)
Grinding mode
No
Filter shade
9-13

Save Phace Gen Y

When I held the Save Phace Gen Y helmet, the first thing I noticed was how flimsy and light it felt. I’m used to decent helmets built out of high impact plastic, and honestly, this helmet just felt cheap and weak to me.

The viewing area is quite small, plus it has no sensitivity controls, and for me at least it seemed way too sensitive. Glance at a lightbulb and suddenly your lens is black. There also wasn’t a grind mode, which is disappointing.

The comfort is also pretty lacking. It’s obvious the harness is cheaply made. Once I got it set right it held on okay, but fiddling around with it was a pain in the ass.

Yeah, it’s a cheap helmet, but for 20 bucks more you could grab yourself a helmet by Hobart or Jackson and guarantee quality, and if I knew that, I can’t see why I would ever choose this one.

Best Cheap Welding Helmets (Under $100)

Welding helmets are getting cheaper. It’s completely possible to buy a decent helmet with an auto-darkening feature for under $100 and not have to worry about what you’re getting. Whilst you might not get all the bells and whistles, if you make the right choice you’ll still get a great, dependable helmet for the price.

Welding Helmet Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)

  • 4.2/5 Rating
  • 3.78″ x 3.50″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 15 oz. (435g)

Recommendation

It’s not often that I come across a helmet that strikes all the right chords in terms of functionality, quality, comfort and price. The Antra AH7-660 is one such helmet; which is why it comes in first place in our welding helmets under $100 category.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.78″ x 3.50″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
TIG, MIG, MMA, Plasma Cutting
Batteries
Solar, 2 lithium (replaceable)
Weight
15 oz. (435g)
Filter shade
5-9/9-13
Grinding mode
Yes

Antra AH7

It’s easy to see why I’m rather excited about this helmet – with 4 arc sensors, it’s in a whole other league compared to other helmets in the same price range. The large viewing window, the wide range of darkness shades, the heightened UV/IR protection, the light weight and the variety of styles to choose from combine to create a helmet that is very good value for money.

Surprisingly, the Antra also has a rather large viewing size (3.86″x2.50″), sports 4 arc sensors (most of the cheaper helmets only have 2) and has a grinding mode with a shade 4 lens. That’s a lot of functionality wrapped into an affordable package. The helmet itself comes in a variety of fantastic designs (the plain black is a little cheaper, but only slightly), and supports MIG, MAG, TIG, SMAW and Plasma Arc welding. This helmet surprised the hell out of me, and I’ve found that it can not only be used by beginner and hobby welders, but by professionals and daily welders as well.

If you’re looking for value for money, you should definitely consider the Antra AH7. It contains all the bells and whistles of the more expensive helmets without compromising on comfort or lens quality.

  • 3.6/5 Rating
  • 3.75″ x 1.38″
  • 2 arc sensors
  • 16 oz. (453g)

Recommendation

If you need a cheap, dependable welding helmet, you could do much worse than grabbing a Miller. This is their entry level auto darkening helmet, and whilst it doesnt have any fancy features, the Miller standard lens is a step above what you’d expect for what you pay, and everything else about it is well built.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.75″ x 1.38″
Arc Sensors
2
Welding Types
TIG, MIG, Stick
Batteries
2 AAA, solar assist
Weight
16 oz. (453g)
Filter shade
8-12
Grinding mode
No

Miller Classic Series

If you need a cheap, dependable welding helmet, you could do much worse than grabbing a Miller. This is their entry level auto darkening helmet, and whilst it doesn’t have any fancy features, the Miller standard lens is a step above what you’d expect for what you pay, and everything else about it is well built.

Review

Compared to most helmets at this price, it feels solid. It should – because it’s made of high impact plastic. I was confident it would protect me, which is more than I can say for a lot of others. Bear in mind this helmet isn’t rated for overhead welding though, so if that’s a need you see yourself having, you’ll need something else.

I was also impressed by how clear the view through it was. Loads of helmets at this price give you a standard, cheap, crappy lens. But this comes with a Miller lens, which gives fantastic clarity. It was always easy to see my weld, no matter the conditions I was in. It’s also really comfortable, with the same standard of adjustment you’d see on a more expensive Miller helmet.

Overall, this is a really impressive helmet for the price. However, given the choice, I’d still grab an Antra. They both have the same sort of performance, but this helmet has a smaller viewing area and only two sensors. It’s not that big of a difference, but it’s there.

  • 3.2/5 Rating
  • 3.62″ x 1.66″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 19.2 oz (544g)

Recommendation

This helmet is really good, when it works. Four sensors and a huge viewing area on such a small helmet is a great bargain. But, like everything, you get what you pay for, and sometimes here what you are promised just isnt delivered.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.62″ x 1.66″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
MIT, TIG, Arc
Batteries
2 lithium, solar assist
Weight
19.2 oz (544g)
Filter shade
9-13
Grinding mode
Yes

AUDEW Solar

First, the good. The helmet is comfortable, not too heavy, and solidly built. The viewing area is really large, especially for such a budget piece, so it’s really easy to see what you’re working on. It’s also got a grind mode, and an amazing four sensors, which you normally don’t see until you pay two or three times this much for a helmet. However, there might be a bad reason for that, which we’ll get to later.

The controls are great. There’s two little dials, one on each side, that control shade and sensitivity. It’s easy to hit in gloves, and there was never any issues with finding either of them.

In terms of downsides, you can’t buy any specifically sized replacement lenses for it. Apparently, Miller makes lenses that are an approximate fix, but it normally takes a little grinding to get it fitting.

Apparently, several users have also had problems with the sensors not picking up arcs, and the auto darkening filter either not kicking in fast enough so they get flashed, or not activating at all! Considering the price of the helmet, it’s obvious that the manufacturers are using cheaper sensors, which seem to fail often. On the upside, the helmet is covered by warranty and the makers seem happy to honor that, but you’ve got to ask yourself whether you want to go through the hassle of replacing a helmet rather than just getting one that works the first time.

  • 3/5 Rating
  • 3.5″ x 1.37″
  • 2 arc sensors
  • 16 oz (453g)

Recommendation

The easiest way to describe this helmet is that it’s a completely standard welding helmet with an auto darkening filter system glued onto it. Whilst it does the job you need it to do, the world has moved on, and compared to the competition it’s just not very impressive.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.5″ x 1.37″
Arc Sensors
2
Welding Types
MIG, TIG, Stick
Batteries
Solar, battery assist
Weight
16 oz (453g)
Filter shade
9-13
Grinding mode
No

Instapark GX-350S

The first thing that struck me about this helmet was how small the viewing area was. With lenses and viewing areas getting bigger and bigger, it seems tiny, especially compared to the Antra, which is over twice the size!

The auto-darkening system works well enough, but it’s relatively slow to react. I didn’t experience any flashes and have no reason to believe it still won’t protect you, but it’s there. There’s also no sensitivity adjustment, so if you’re used to fiddling with your gear to get the perfect performance for you, you’ll have to train yourself not to.

For such a simple helmet, it was also pretty uncomfortable and slipped off of my head a lot. I checked online, and apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Multiple people reported the same problem, which didn’t fill me with confidence.

For a hobbyist, it’s not a bad pickup, but for any other kind of work, it just doesnt cut it.

Best Professional Welding Helmets ($300+)

If you’re looking for the absolute best helmet in terms of technology, safety and comfort, then these are the helmets for you.

At this price, you’ll be getting the best possible lenses, which give you fantastic clarity for the clearest view of your working area, robust helmets with fantastic build quality that give you the highest protection rating possible, and the latest technology to make your day as simple and comfortable as it can be. The helmets below are all ideal for professionals who need a helmet built to last, that they can use every day.

Welding Helmet Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)

  • 4.5/5 Rating
  • 4.2″ x 2.8″
  • 3 arc sensors
  • 21oz (595g)

Recommendation

I’ve heard that this is described as the Rolls Royce of helmets, and I have to say, it’s a fair description. Everything about it is slick. It gives professional grade protection for the entire face as well as the eyes, and literally everything is customizable to your exact liking. It’s simply a slick piece of kit. Easy to use. Gorgeous. Comfortable. And built like a tank.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
4.2″ x 2.8″
Arc Sensors
3
Welding Types
All
Batteries
2 lithium (replaceable)
Weight
21oz (595g)
Filter shade
5,8,9-13
Grinding mode
Yes

3M Speedglas 9100XX

With an absolutely massive viewing area as well as a huge range of shades, the Speedglas 9100XX has an exceptional view range and stunning clarity. One thing I love about this helmet is the side windows built in so you’ve got a massive peripheral vision. I’ve not seen this on any other helmet and until you’ve tried it, you have no idea the difference it makes.

It’s absurdly comfortable. 3M’s head suspension system sits perfectly, giving a great hold without too much pressure on any one spot, so no more pressure headaches or raw rubbed spots. When I was wearing it, it got to the point I forgot I was wearing it. I found myself reflexively reaching up to wipe sweat off of my face, something I haven’t done for years. A couple of people have described it as heavy, but considering it’s a full piece and it’s only half a pound heavier than some facemasks, I don’t see that as a fair complaint.

It’s got grind and torch modes as well as weld, and gives great performance in all of them. It’s fully adjustable, in every mode, and easy to use even in gloves.

The only downside. It is bloody expensive. But it’s worth every penny.

  • 4.4/5 Rating
  • 3.25″ x 4″
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 21.6 oz (612g)

Recommendation

With its best in class optics, giving unparalleled vision clarity, as well as wealth of options and simple, easy to use design, (actually designed by welders) the Safety Truesight II is an exceptional mask that any welder should be proud to own.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
3.25″ x 4″
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
All
Batteries
2 AAA
Weight
21.6 oz (612g)
Filter shade
5-8, 9-13
Grinding mode
Yes

Jackson Safety Truesight II

No other helmet has visual clarity like this one. With Jackson’s Balder technology built in, as well as the upgraded Truesight II auto-darkening filter, you’re never going to get as close or as detailed a look at your welds as you will with this helmet.

Not only is the clarity exceptional, the viewing area is also massive, bigger than every other helmet on this list. It’s also got grind and torch modes, and the digital keypad controls, designed specifically to be easy to use in gloves, make setting up and getting exactly what you need simpler than ever.

Comfortable and hardwearing, the choice between this and the 3M Speedglas 9100XX really comes down to whether you just want a mask or a full helmet. Both are excellent choices, and I really can’t recommend both highly enough.

  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • 2″ x 4″
  • 2 arc sensors
  • 17.2 oz (490g)

Recommendation

An exceptional helmet that gives solid performance with excellent visual acuity and true to life colors. It’s built for performance, suitable for damn near any job you might face, and overall a high quality piece of kit.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
2″ x 4″
Arc Sensors
2
Welding Types
All
Batteries
Solar cells and batteries
Weight
17.2 oz (490g)
Filter shade
4, 5-13
Grinding mode
Yes

Optrel E680

Like pretty much everything at this level, the Optrel E680 has fantastic performance across the board. Compared to the others we’ve reviewed, it’s got a smaller viewing area, but still gives great clarity, and has the best color performance of them all, perfect for difficult welds and keeping a closer eye on your weld puddle.

It’s well designed. The controls for everything are on the outside, so you never have to take the helmet off to change settings, and they’re simple to use in gloves.

It’s suited for pretty much every type of welding, has a lot of available shades, and has a grind mode built in, which to be fair is to be expected at this level.

The only real downside. It’s almost a hundred dollars more expensive than both the 3M and the Jackson above, and it doesn’t do anything really better. It’s an exceptional helmet, but then, they all are. Either way, if you do decide to pick one of these up, you won’t ever be disappointed with your choice.

  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • 4.2″ x 2.1″
  • 3 arc sensors
  • 22 oz (623g)

Recommendation

The bigger brother to our top rated helmet in this range, the Speedglas 9100 FX is a fantastic helmet with all the features of the base 9100 XX model, but boasting a completely redesigned visor and shield which gives and even wider and clearer view of what you’re working on than ever.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
4.2″ x 2.1″
Arc Sensors
3
Welding Types
MIG, TIG, Stick
Batteries
2 lithium (replaceable)
Weight
22 oz (623g)
Filter shade
8-13
Grinding mode
Yes

3M Speedglas 9100 FX

In terms of vision, nothing beats the Speedglas 9100 FX. It’s got the same side windows as the 9100 XX to increase peripheral vision, fantastic quality Speedglas lenses for crystal clarity of your workspace, and a massive viewing area redesigned specifically for this helmet, to give you even better awareness and vision.

Its controls are simple to use and absolutely comprehensive. It’s got the same head suspension system, so it’s incredibly comfortable, despite the 2 and a half pound weight, and it’s just all around an excellent helmet, with all the exceptional sensors and great features you’d expect.

The only downside: it’s monstrously expensive. It should be, considering it’s literally our favorite helmet, but made better, except it doesn’t do all that much differently from the 9100 XX.

Honestly, you could just get the 9100 and never notice the difference. But if you’ve got money to spare, get this helmet and you’ll definitely fall in love with it.

  • 4/5 Rating
  • 9.22 sq. in
  • 4 arc sensors
  • 24 oz (680g)

Recommendation

Whilst it’s still a good helmet, the Miller Titanium doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the competition that I can really recommend it in good faith. It does everything really well, as you’d expect from a top of the line Miller lid, but everything it does, one of the others on this list does better. Nonetheless, it’s still a Miller helmet. It still gives great performance, and if you already have one, or decide you want one, it will still perform.

TECH SPECS

Viewing Area
9.22 sq. in
Arc Sensors
4
Welding Types
All
Batteries
2 lithium, solar assist
Weight
24 oz (680g)
Filter shade
3, 5-13
Grinding mode
Yes

Miller Titanium 9400i

A solid viewing area, great shade variety and suitability for every type of welding as well as torch cutting and grinding means that no matter what you’re facing down, the Miller Titanium 9400i will keep you safe and working with no problems.

It’s got a great set of controls, with a really smart feature that tracks active arc time, set in a really smart place. The controls are on the inside of the helmet, though, so you do have to take it off to make adjustments.

It’s heat shielded, and the specially created silver shell helps to reflect heat away from the helmet, keeping you cooler for longer. It’s also got a solid set of headgear, which I found pretty comfy.

The helmet is also basically invincible. I was on site with a friend who has one of these. Long story short, he put it somewhere ‘safe’ (we all know what that means) when he went to lunch. It ended up getting kicked 40ft down onto the pavement. It bounced. After we’d dusted it off, the only sign was a scrape on the plastic shell.

Again, this is a top class Miller helmet. It’s going to perform, no matter what you do. I just wish there was something that made it stand out against the rest of the competition.

Welding Helmet Brands Reviewed On WeldingHelmetPros.com

While there are a seemingly endless amount of welding helmet brands on offer, the truth is that only a handful meet the minimum ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 (or ANSI Z87+) standards, which ensure the helmets and lenses are being independently tested and passing quality standards such as high velocity impact (this happens more than you might think in welding environments), 100% UV (ultraviolet) and IF (infrared) radiation protection – no matter the shade setting used – and that the specifications advertised by the brands are constantly being tested.

We’ve done most of the homework for you, which is why you won’t find all helmet brands on this website, but rather only the ones that pass our own quality checks.

Welding Helmet Buyer’s Guide
Why Buy A Welding Helmet?

A good welding helmet is very important when doing any kind of welding. It protects the user from the radiation (UV, IF) emitted by welding arcs, and from heat and debris impact. A helmet with good optical clarity contributes to the quality of welds, as they allow the welder to see the weld puddle clearly.

Why Do You Recommend Specifically Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets?

With non auto-darkening helmets, you’re constantly forced to “head nod” to raise and lower the hood while welding, leading to neck discomfort, loss of focus, and lower quality welds. With an auto-darkening helmet you won’t need to remove the helmet at all – in fact, many of the top brands even offer adjustment controls on the external part of the helmet, or as a separate controller which can be adjusted without even removing your gloves. Now if that isn’t convenient, I don’t know what is!

Not only are these helmets worth the money – they look great too. In fact, some helmets look more like a work of art then a protective tool, and also come packaged with welding stickers to further personalize to your taste.

Auto-Darkening vs Standard Glass Lens

This is the first decision you need to make when buying a helmet. With standard glass, the viewing lens is usually a #10 shade piece of tinted glass with UV and IF protection coated on. With these helmets, welding is done by first nodding the helmet down over the face before striking the arc, and then nodding again to lift the helmet in order to inspect the weld puddle and reposition.

The disadvantage of this over auto-darkening helmets is that the quality of welding suffers, welding in tight spots becomes much more difficult, the helmet nodding causes neck discomfort, and the constant nodding and waiting for the eyes to adjust is inefficient.

Auto-darkening filters resolve all these issues. The filter automatically adjusts the shade of the lens as the arc is struck, removing the need to raise and lower the hood between welds. Welding becomes easier, safer, and even more fun once you take out the inefficiency of a standard glass lens.

The ADF (Auto-Darkening Filter) is a special LCD display, similar to that of a digital clock. It’s usually powered either by solar batteries, lithium rechargeable batteries, or a combination of the two. When not active, the standard lens shade is usually a #3 or #4 shade, making it easy to see through. Once activated, arc sensors (light sensors) on the helmet are used to detect changes of light in order to detect the weld arc and reduce the ADF filter shade appropriately (usually #9-#13).

Some arc sensors are more sensitive than others, and can even differentiate between sunlight, light-bulbs, and welding arcs – and reduce the lens shade only when needed.

The process described above leads to the main advantage of auto-darkening welding helmets, which is that the hood stays down at all stages of welding – before, during and after. Welding quality improves. Accuracy improves. No more head nodding. It’s that simple.

What Kind Of Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Should I Buy?

There are several things to take into account before buying a helmet. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:

Fixed vs Variable Shade

Auto-darkening helmets come with fixed or variable shade adjustable lenses. Fixed-shade lenses are suitable mainly if you’re welding a single type of material, such as steel (with the same thickness, as even the thickness of the steel changes the lenses shading needs), with the same process (TIG, MIG, Stick, etc). In this case a #10 shade is probably all you need.

Most likely you’ll need to weld in more than one type of material, thickness, or process – which is where the variable shade lens comes in. To properly protect your eyes from the different degrees of brightness resulting from the welding arc, you’ll need to be able to adjust the shade of the lens appropriately. This will also result in the best view of the weld puddle.

Lens Reaction Time (Delay)

This number describes the speed the helmet switches from light/dark and dark/light mode. The smaller the number, the quicker the lens will induce the shading process once the arc is struck, and the faster your eyes will be protected. This number is usually in the milliseconds, meaning almost instantaneous – but make sure to check it regardless. This number directly affects your comfort while welding, as a longer delay will cause a dry, uncomfortable feeling in the eyes, somewhat similar to being flashed.

Solar vs Rechargeable (usually Lithium) Batteries

Some helmets are completely solar-powered. They must be charged for a couple of hours in the sun after first use, as well as after long periods of non-use. Once the battery wears out, they cannot be used and must be charged.

A better option is a solar-assisted helmet with replaceable batteries which allow you to start welding immediately. While lithium batteries have the longest shelf life, some helmets use normal AAA batteries, which are easier to replace, and cheaper.

Adjustable Sensitivity and Delay Controls

Most expert or beginner helmets will allow adjustment to the light-sensitivity of the arc sensors, which control at which brightness the ADF will darken. This is especially useful for example with TIG welding, where the welding arc is less bright and might not trigger the sensor.

Delay controls are useful depending on the welding job you’re doing – for very bright arcs it would be more appropriate to have a longer delay to allow the eyes to adjust, while a tack welding job might require a short delay to quickly re-position for the next strike.

Depending on the quality of the helmet, these settings can either be adjusted with a simple toggle switch for cheaper brands, while the more professional welding masks will have a dial with infinite adjustment control.

Weight

The weight of the helmet will have a huge effect on your comfort. A lighter helmet will reduce strain on the neck and head, as well as fatigue after long welding sessions.

Number of Arc Sensors

The arc sensors control the darkening of the lens depending on the external light environment. Lower quality helmets will usually only have 1 or 2 sensors, while the top range helmets should have at least 3. The more sensors, the less chance your helmet will fail to darken.

Viewing Size

If you’re doing a lot of out-of-position welding, or you simply prefer a complete and unobstructed view at all times, make sure the viewing size of the helmet is as large as possible. Some helmets even include side windows, allowing a wider, unobstructed and more natural view of your surroundings.

External vs Internal Controls

Some helmets have their shade and delay controls inside the helmet, necessitating removal of the helmet to make adjustments. External controls are more convenient: usually they’re either on the external shell of the helmet or on a separate remote control. This allows you to make adjustments on-the-fly without removing your helmet, but sometimes come with additional wiring which might get damaged.

Helmet Fittings

Not all welding helmets are cheater lens and hard hat compatible. If you think you’ll need these features, make sure your helmet can easily accommodate them.

National Safety Standards

The most recent safety standard is the ANSI Z87.1 – 2003. These rigorous tests ensure the quality of the helmet, from validating advertised specs such as lens reaction times, lens shades, and a whole lot more. They also ensure optimum safety, impact protection, radiation protected, and make sure the helmet works in extreme temperature environments.

Beware: not all helmets meet the ANSI Z87.1 standard.

All in all, selecting the right helmet is pretty simple and straightforward. There are a few decisions to make, naturally, but armed with our welding helmet buying guide and the insider tips we’ll provide you throughout the site, you should be up and welding with your new helmet in absolutely no time at all.