Selection of the right auto-darkening welding helmet can be a complicated process with several models available on the market in different price brackets and sporting varying features.
Welding helmets need to be chosen based on the type of welding application. The requirements of the welding job can be matched to specific features in the helmet, helping the user to make the right selection. Additionally, knowing the type of application will also help in determining how many amps the auto-darkening helmet needs to handle during a typical welding operation.
It is important for the buyer to understand the benefits offered by the various features and not make a decision purely on price. High quality auto-darkening welding helmets are critical in any welding operation to provide the maximum protection for the welder’s eyes.
Even occasional welders can damage their eyes using the wrong auto-darkening welding helmet.
Important features required in auto-darkening welding helmets
Most quality lenses will feature a switching speed around 1/15000th to 1/20000th of a second enabling the lens to switch to dark without any noticeable flash to the human eye.
Most auto darkening helmets will feature at least two sensors. Products fitted with three or four sensors are less likely to be troubled by any obstruction to the sensors, and therefore much less likely to change back to the light state in the middle of welding.
Built-in sensitivity functions in the welding helmet allow for the sensors to be tuned in to ambient light conditions enabling the operator to eliminate external light sources that may impact the ability of the sensors to detect a welding arc. This means that the lens will darken when needed, and not before.
A Delay Control feature is essential in an auto-darkening welding helmet. It allows the operator to control the switching time between light and dark. In some welding applications, there can be a significant afterglow resulting in eye discomfort. In these situations, the delay control allows adequate time for the weld metal to cool, avoiding any eye discomfort.
Comfort can be a major issue with auto-darkening welding helmets. During selection, one should look for a lightweight polyamide nylon shell and a fully adjustable harness, along with plenty of cushioning for support.
The helmet design should have significant space between the external cover lens and the filter, plus offer flexibility in the harness. This minimises the likelihood of any damage to the filter lens, which can account for as much as 90% of the total cost of the unit.
Auto-darkening welding helmets rely heavily on electronics for correct functioning. Two years’ warranty period is standard for quality products.