Welding may seem like an easy process but there’s a lot more to it than simply joining two metals together with heat. For one, welding includes a lot of risks that can harm the eye permanently. As such, it’s important to take all the precautionary measures to continue safe welding.
This is where welding helmets come in. Commonly known as a welding hood, it is a very important and essential piece of protective-wear. As a must-have item for welders, an adequate ‘hood’ should be able to provide the bare minimum of proper facial and neck coverage against extreme heat and UV exposure.
Best Budget Welding Helmet Reviews
Factoring in on visual, comfort and protective features, here’s a list of 6 best budget welding helmets currently available. Give it a look!
1. Antra ADF Welding Helmet – Best Overall Welding Helmet
The auto-darkening helmet from Antra is an easy win for those looking for a comfortable helmet with efficient performance output. It has the passive filter set of shade 13 along with a double layer automatic dimming LCD shutter. This provides an accurate shade range of 4/5-9/9-13 (visible lights).
In terms of coverage, it provides both face and neck protection against every bit of spatter and spark exposure. Keeping comfort in mind, it has a very light and even weight to reduce neck and head strain. For added convenience, the auto-darkening feature eliminates the need for constant flipping.
To provide an easy switch between grinding and welding, you get a convenient external switch. This is supported by 4 redundant arc sensors. The sensors have responsive detection and its controlling units provide fast switch time with accurate auto-shading. It also features an interface suppression technology.
This minimizes false triggers around sunlight and workshop lights while responding quickly to welding arcs. Overall, the helmet can play well with processes like abrasive wheel cutting or grinding, plasma cutting, and more, making it versatile enough for various household uses.
- Supports adjustable sensitivity
- Lightweight with adjustable lower limit
- Great darkening range
- Not ideal for overhead welding
- A bit flimsy
See This Welding Helmet in Action!
2. Lincoln Electric 3350 Welding Helmet – The Runner Up
The 3350 series welding hood from Lincoln Electric comes with an all-black design and simple interactive controls. It is extremely easy to use and addresses the needs of every welder. Its auto-darkening feature shows impressive clarity, color variation, and allows better puddle visibility.
One of the biggest assets is the wide-view field that allows improved peripheral vision along with a lens shade of 5 to 13. It is powered by 4C (TM) lens technology for optical clarity. The solar switching speed is equally impressive with a speed of 1/25,000 per sec.
Dialing back on its welding and grinding capabilities, the grind setting on the hood is light enough so that you can use it and work around your surrounding without constantly lifting the hood while the weld is insanely clear and easily supports both TIG and MIG welding.
Once you put on this helmet, you’ll find it to be comfortable thanks to its lightweight and adjustable head straps. In case of accidental drops, there’s no need to worry. The helmet is made from durable nylon and polycarbonate, meaning your hood will likely flex without any damage.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Clear and wide view
- Adjustable simple controls
- Inconvenient dial change
- Average solar panel
3. YESWELDER Weld Hood Helmet – Best Cheap Welding Helmet
This solar-powered hood comes with not one but two premium auto-darkening sensors with an incredibly fast response of 3/10000 per sec. And supported by a magnifying lens, it protects against UV/IR rays up to level 16. You also get sensitivity level adjustment and a 0.1 to 0.8 sec of delay time.
Furthermore, you get an enhanced and better clarity with the true color view technology. This preserves 1-1-1-2 optical clarity that notably increases visibility while reducing your eye strain through lime green color minimization present in the view screen.
The entire hood design is made for comfort and ease. It has the pivot design headgear that is extremely lightweight and offers superior comfort. It is easy to use and works great, especially for users who are new to the welding game.
Also, the headgear is embedded with cushion for adjustability and extra support to ensure your head fits well and is rested. Overall, this powerful equipment is supported by an equally powerful lithium battery along with a solar cell panel.
- Ideal for beginners
- Features true color lens
- No grinding/cutting mode
- Lens fog up easily
4. DEKOPRO Solar Welding Helmet
This is a solar-powered welding hood from the brand Dekopro. It comes in a glossy blue finish and sports the auto-darkening filter. It effortlessly switches between light and dark with a speed of 1/25000 sec. With a shade 16 rating, it offers strong eye protection against harmful IR and UV exposure during welding.
Further, the filter has a light level of DIN 4 for improved visibility and color recognition. To make sure you get adaptable usage out of it, the hood features delay along with sensitivity settings for various surroundings.
The viewing area (3.85×3.15) provides impressive clarity and vision. Various other components like light diffusion, angular dependence, and variant luminous transmittance enable you to get clearer visuals at different angles.
Lastly, the helmet is suited for all types of working environments, ranging from automotive to repair and operation. And it is balanced with adjustable and lightweight headgear to ensure comfort during longer work duration.
- Lightweight and well-built
- Large view window
- Value for money
- Not ideal for daily use
- Moderate auto-dark mode
5. Jackson Safety Lightweight Welding Helmet
Built with safety and reliability in mind, the Jackson Safety welding hood consists of four inbuilt independent sensors and an ultra-lightweight structure for easy movement. The sensors are backed with lithium batteries to reduce possible blockages while welding.
This auto-darkening helmet hooks you up with a viewing area of 3.94×2.36. This offers an un-obstructive view for various welding processes and you don’t have to lift the hood. It also comes with 9 to 13 variable shades that are supported by digital controls.
You can also use sensitivity along with delay adjustments that enable enhanced visual performance and color recognition during different tasks. Speaking of visuals, the hood can provide strong protection from radiant energy during both weld and grind modes thus proving it to be economical and safe.
Crafted with hard nylon material, the hood is durable but also comfortable enough to hold off against various working scenarios. Whether it’s for construction, DIY welding projects, or steel fabrication, it’s a great budget welding helmet.
- Ideal as a starter hood
- Efficient digital setting
- Great sensor and headgear
- Unstable head strap
- A bit small
6. ESAB Sentinal Welding Helmet
For those who enjoy every bit of visual clarity, this helmet is the ultimate pick for you. Featuring the true-color view, it has an incredibly clear view which is backed by the 100 x 60mm viewing area. But it doesn’t stop with clarity alone.
It also has the color touch control panel that offers up to 8 memory settings and a shade 4 button for grind mode on the front. Internally, there’s a slot for a magnifier as well. The auto-darkening feature works efficiently and welds with bluish color from under the hood.
It has a wrap-around lens that works well and cleans up pretty easily as well. This is carried off by the halo headgear that enables 5 adjustable points for extra comfort and balance – a slim profile with a central pivot point assist in tight spaces. With 7-8 sensitivity, it’ll be hard to get flashed.
Thanks to the ergonomic halo design, it offers a massive head adjustment to tailor your head comfortably. Additionally, you get a super-responsive touch screen, easy control, and useful pre-set function, all packed within a high impact resistant nylon shell.
- Excellent clarity
- Ergonomic headgear design
- A little heavy
- Anti-glove touch screen
Best Budget Welding Helmet Buying Guide
Here are some pointers to consider if you are looking for a great buy in the hood department.
The switching speed in a welding helmet is an essential factor to look into as it influences your eye fatigue as well. A switching speed will indicate the time for your lens to darken once it has sensed the arc. Now, the switching speed of a hood is where it gets interesting.
The faster your switching speed is, the less fatigue it’ll have on your eyeballs. Today, the majority of auto-darkening hoods provide switch shades of somewhere between 1/10,000 – 1/25,000 per second.
Size and comfort
While it may not seem like a big deal, the viewing size of a helmet is a crucial factor to consider given it directly affects your wielding performance. Opting for a larger viewing area can offer a better increased peripheral vision. Also, it is helpful during large weld assemblies.
Ergonomic comfort is another thing that closely ties with size. A welding helmet should be designed in a way that it doesn’t tire out your neck, meaning it has to be lightweight.
The ability to adjust brightness is very important in a welding helmet. And this factor has a lot to do with the safety of welders as well. The sensitivity controls are what helps you to make this adjustment whereby the helmet lens will darken on your command.
This is a neat feature, especially for professional welders. The sensor sensitivity is also reduced to aid in preventing triggers and darkening when other welders hit their arc. This is also useful when you are welding with low amperages, particularly TIG.
Welding Helmet FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on welding helmets.
How Do I Know What Shade My Welding Helmet Is?
This comes down to the type of welding hood you’re using. Is it a passive or an auto-darkening hood? You have to know this first before breaking down on the shade. If you have a passive helmet then it means you’re stuck with shade 10 during welding and 3/4 shade when inactive.
The auto-darkening (ADF) hood will have 9-13 shade when welding and 4-8 when grinding or cutting. This is because ADF switches the shade as soon as the helmet strikes the arc.
How Does an Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Work?
Auto-darkening helmets use what is known as ADF or auto-darkening filter. It is an LCD that displays an indication for better operations. When the helmets are not activated, they maintain a shade of 3/4 filter. This helps you see your surroundings clearly through the lenses without removing the helmet.
An auto-darkening helmet host several light sensors around the lens that helps identify which filter shade is needed when an arc is strike. This means the sensors automatically activate and switch the lens filter at the sight of an arc.
Can You Watch a Solar Eclipse Through a Welding Helmet?
Yes, you can utilize a welding hood to watch and gaze at the eclipse. But before you rush with excitement, you need to ensure whether the welding helmet fits the requirements needed for viewing the sun. The welding helmet must have the shade value of 12 and up, in fact, shade 13 is considered even safer.
If you have the auto-darkening helmet, it is recommended that you increase the sensitivity and bring down the delay. This will help you with a fast lens transition for shade 12 and higher. To sum up, make sure you are following the shade requirement and on a safety note, avoid looking at it for too long.
Find the Best Budget Welding Helmet that’s Right for You
Finding the right helmet may seem daunting. Sometimes you may be left wondering if it will work for you at all. So, to clear your doubts and get the most out of the purchase, make sure you’re getting a helmet that’s adjustable, lightweight with great peripheral vision, and comfortable enough for regular welding activities.
Today, welding helmets are considerably much more functional and offer a variety of choices from features to colors. This makes it easier for you to get the best budget welding helmets among a plethora of competitive sellers. Rest assured, you will get the right fit once you start looking.
Jake is a tool guy – think Tim Allen from Home Improvement but with a much drier sense of humor. He lives in the great state of Ohio and plays the guitar on his downtime. He also spends his time writing on all things tools and DIY-related as this is his passion.