Welding Helmets Explained
Any professional welder would agree that it is not your welding machine, grinder, or chop saw that is the most crucial piece of equipment in your shop. It is, in fact, your welding helmet.
Because welding is a risky profession, a welder wears a welding helmet at all times to protect their head, face, and eyes from UV rays, infrared light, and heat. For any welder, it is like their shadow – an extension of themselves.
There are various types of welding helmets available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. There are also many factors to consider when deciding which type of helmet is right for you. Here are some of the most common types:
Passive welding helmet
This type of helmet is the simplest and the most affordable option available. It has a fixed shade lens that is typically a #10 shade. This helmet offers basic protection and is suitable for welding tasks that do not require precision or intricate work.
Pros: Passive welding helmets are affordable and straightforward to use. They are also durable and require minimal maintenance.
Cons: The fixed shade lens may not provide adequate protection for certain welding tasks, and it can be challenging to see through the helmet in low light environments.
Auto-darkening welding helmet
This type of helmet has a lens that automatically darkens when the welder strikes an arc, providing instant protection from harmful UV and IR rays. Auto-darkening helmets come in different shade ranges and are suitable for various welding tasks.
Pros: Auto-darkening helmets offer better visibility and are more convenient to use than passive helmets. They allow the welder to see clearly during setup and positioning and switch between tasks more quickly.
Cons: Auto-darkening helmets are more expensive than passive helmets, and they require batteries or a power source to operate. They are also heavier than passive helmets and can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods.
Respirator welding helmet
This type of helmet has a built-in respirator that protects the welder from hazardous fumes and particles that are released during welding. It is suitable for welding tasks that produce a high concentration of fumes and particles.
Pros: Respirator welding helmets provide excellent protection against harmful fumes and particles, and they eliminate the need for a separate respirator. They are also convenient to use and can be adjusted to fit the welder’s face.
Cons: Respirator welding helmets are more expensive than other types of welding helmets, and they can be heavy and uncomfortable to wear for long periods. They also require regular maintenance and replacement of the filter cartridges.
Powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) welding helmet
These helmets have a built-in PAPR system that provides filtered air to the welder. This allows the welder to work in environments with high levels of fumes and other hazardous particles. The main advantage of PAPR helmets is their superior protection, but they tend to be the most expensive and bulky option.
Pros: PAPR welding helmets provide welders with superior protection from fumes, dust, and other hazardous particles. The helmet has a built-in PAPR system that filters the air and provides fresh, clean air to the welder, reducing the risk of inhaling harmful substances. Additionally, PAPR welding helmets are designed to be more comfortable for the welder to wear for extended periods. The helmet is usually lighter and more balanced than other types of welding helmets, and the PAPR system reduces the need for the welder to wear a separate respirator.
Cons: PAPR welding helmets are generally more expensive than other types of welding helmets due to the additional features and equipment required for the PAPR system. Furthermore, they can be bulkier and heavier than other types of welding helmets, which can be uncomfortable for some welders, especially when working in tight spaces. PAPR systems can also be noisy, which may be distracting or uncomfortable for some welders.
Grinding & welding helmet
This type of helmet has a clear lens that is suitable for grinding and other non-welding tasks. It is a versatile option for welders who need to switch between welding and grinding tasks frequently.
Pros: Grinding welding helmets are versatile and convenient to use, and they offer excellent visibility during grinding tasks. They also protect the welder’s face from flying debris.
Cons: Grinding welding helmets are not suitable for welding tasks that require a darker shade lens, and they are typically more expensive than passive helmets.
Overall, the choice of welding helmet depends on the welder’s needs and the type of welding tasks they perform. It is essential to choose a helmet that provides adequate protection and comfort while also fitting within your budget.