If you are a welder, you should have the best welding helmet in order to protect your eyes from damage. Besides, wearing this helmet as you are welding will improve your welding ability because it increases comfort and safety. This will result in higher quality welds. Unfortunately, if you have not bought a helmet before, it may not be easy for you to select a good one. Here are some points that you should take into consideration before buying one.
Choosing a suitable lens
The first thing that you should know before buying is that its lens is available in two types, the standard glass lens and the auto darkening lens. The former has a viewing lens that is made of dark tinted glass. It is cheaper than the auto darkening filter. The latter is a modernized type that works electronically. It is created with a similar technology used in creating a digital alarm clock for its display of numbers. Each option has its pros and cons. If you are on budget, you may consider buying the standard glass filter but if you have a large budget, the auto darkening type should be a nice option as it comes with improved features.
Solar power or battery life
Another thing that you should know before you buy an auto darkening helmet is that there are two sources of power for it, solar power and battery. It is more economical to buy a type that is solar-powered. However, the problem with this type of helmet is that you have to charge it under direct sunlight before using it. This will become a problem to any person that will like to weld immediately. Battery powered types on the other hand may be somewhat more expensive to use as you have to replace the battery occasionally. But the advantage is you can use it anytime you like. There is no need to waste time charging it. There are some that come with rechargeable lithium battery and some that are powered with AAA battery. The former delivers longer battery runtime while the latter offers more flexibility.
However, there are welding helmets that are powered with solar and replaceable battery. They combine the feature of solar and battery and thus should be a better investment.
Weight of the helmet
Auto darkening welding masks are available in different weights. You should always consider the weight of the welding helmet before you buy. You should go for a lighter helmet because it provides more comfort and reduces fatigue and strain on the neck. If you are working throughout the day, you may find it difficult wearing a heavy helmet.
Choose a type with National Safety Standards
Another factor that you should consider when you are shopping for a welding hood is the standard under which it is produced. ANSI Z87.1-2003 is the most recent safety standard. It requires the manufacturers to validate the specifications they advertised such as darkness shade settings, switching speeds through independent laboratory tests. The tests are not just rigorous but they require a helmet and its lens to offer maximum protection against ultraviolet and infrared filtering and flying objects. They also require helmet to satisfy advertised darkness shades as well as switching speeds in extreme temperatures. According to the standard the lens of auto darkening welding helmets should operate at both high and low temperature in order to ensure consistent protection. Note that these requirements of the standard are not met by all welding helmets in the market. So, always look for those that meet it.