Best Welding Helmets for 2022 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide [Top Auto-darkening Welding Hoods & Their Money Alternatives]

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As an experienced and professional welder or a hobbyist, you should understand the risks of the job. 

You also need to understand the value and the necessity of the welding helmet that you own and use. 

To do your job safely and effectively, protecting your eyes in the best way possible is not a waste of money! Be sure that no one needs a welder with bad eyesight! 

best welding helmets feature image

In this article we have put together, we will try to determine what is the best welding helmet on the market today. We have made a list of top auto-darkening welding helmets and their budget alternatives that are also suitable for the job.

These helmets offer the best value in their respective categories. They have been on the market and subjected to regular real-world use long enough that we have obtained plenty of reviews and practical data on the functionality, durability, and overall value of these helmets.

We also made an extensive buyer’s guide that explains all the features of modern welding helmets and what you should pay attention to when picking up one for your job.  There is also an infographic on maintaining, storing, and cleaning your welding mask when you are not using it.

With that said, please dig in.

Quick Comparison of Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

ImageNameSpecialsNumber of SensorsShade RangeLight Mode ShadingFeaturesTIG Amp RatingCheck Price
yeswelder m800h
YesWelder M800HDiscount Code: 10% WELDPROS4-sensor arrayDIN 5-13DIN 4True Color, Large view area, weld-cut-grind button-Check Current Price
Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening...
Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening…34-12 2.0Crystal Lens Technology, Delay and Twilight Function, Autopilotless than 3 ampsCheck Current Price
Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VIKING 3350...
Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VIKING 33504 Sensors DIN 9 – 13DIN 4Biggest viewport size, Most Popularless than 4 ampsCheck Current Price
3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100,...
3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 91003 SensorsDIN 9-13 DIN 4Lots of adjustments, Side view-ports(1 amps – 20 amps)Check Current Price
Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black...
Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black4 SensorsWeld:8 –13 Cut:5 – 8 DIN 4Cutting Mode, X modeless than 5 ampsCheck Current Price
ESAB 0700000800 Sentinel A50 Welding...
ESAB 0700000800 Sentinel A504 SensorsDIN 5-8/9-134LCD Touchscreen Panel, Low Pow. Tig modeless than 2 ampsCheck Current Price

All welding helmets reviewed here to meet the standards of ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 (also referred to as ANSI Z87+), which ensures that viewing lenses and helmets have met the expectations of independent testing, showing that they can withstand high-velocity impact

Best Welding Helmet Reviews

With all that said finally, here are our picks for the best welding helmet. (all of these eight hoods are great, but the list’s order comes from my personal opinion and experience)

  • Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Welding Helmet [Best Overall]
  • YesWelder M800HP [Best Welding Helmet for the “money”]
  • Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet [Best on the Market]
  • Digital Elite – Miller Welding Helmet [x-ray mode]
  • 3M Speedglass 9100xxi Welding Helmet
  • Esab Sentinel A50 Welding Helmet
  • Optrel Panoramaxx Welding Helmet
  • Optrel VegaView 2.5 Welding Helmet
  • The first helmet is the best “money choice” I could find.
  • The other 7 listed welding helmets are top of the line. They are all tested and meet national safety standards.
  • They are all comfortable and are made to fit different head sizes perfectly.
  • Their Auto-darkening lens filter switching speed (from light to dark) is less than 1/25,000 sec, which is the standard and is considered perfectly safe.
  • All are made for welding professionals and have Tig amp rating beneath 5 amps.
  • The magnifying lens can be mounted up on all welding helmets

1. Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Best Welding Helmet Overall

For our money, the best welding helmet overall that you’re going to find on the market right now is the Lincoln Electric 3350. It gives you crystal clear vision through the 3.94 X 3.86 view-port. Because of its highly sensitive sensors, “Viking” can be used for low amperage Tig welding.

At present, it is the least expensive of Amazon’s Top 5 Value Welding Helmets. It has the best reputation in its category and offers the most bang for your buck.

With the Lincoln Electric 3350 you get, 4C lens technology for superior, true color visibility and minimal eye strain.

It offers a 1/1/1/1 optical lens clarity rating through the unusually large viewing lens and can be used for cutting and all types of welding. This hood is from 2012, and, honestly, certain newer helmets may be superior in some ways, but they have not seen the same amount of use and abuse that these models have endured.

Lincoln Electric Viking 3050 model has been on the welding market for over 7 years and has great customer reviews. Large view-port, true color tech, good fit, and great sensor quality and reaction time make it the top welding helmet for the money, and you will not make a mistake getting one.

Read our full review here.

Lincoln Electric K3034-4 VIKING 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with 4C Lens Technology, Black
  • · PREMIUM OPTICS – The 3350 Series features the exclusive 4C lens technology which creates a crystal clear, true color view of the arc and puddle. This enhances your control and increases weld...
  • ·  EXTRA LARGE LENS - The 12.5 square inch auto darkening lens provides a large field of view to offer enhanced application versatility, increases productivity and also has added safety benefits.
  • · SUPERIOR COMFORT - The one-of-a-kind X6 Headgear contours to the operator’s head to evenly distribute weight across six key contact points. This improves balance, eliminates pressure points and...
  • ·  INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY - Innovative low-profile external grind button allows you to quickly switch between weld and grind modes without having to remove the helmet or your gloves.

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Premium and very clear lenses
  • Extra Large viewing size
  • Very fast switching time
  • Sunlight differentiation
  • External grind button
  • Hard hat compatible
  • Room for respiratory protection
  • 3 years warranty
  • Probably the most popular welding helmet in the US


  • Internal sensitivity, shade selection, and delay controls


  • True color View crystal clear view of the arc and puddle to enhance your control and increase weld quality while reducing eye strain with 3350 series 4C lens, which has a 1/1/1/1 optical clarity rating
  • Large Viewing Size  3.74″ x 3.34″ viewing range with 4C Premium Sensors offers a great viewing range for any welder
  • Switch time – bright to dark 1/25,000 sec at normal room temperature conditions
  • TIG amperage rating:  less than four amps.
  • Shade Level 5-13 – can be used for finer things and different welding applications
  • Sunlight Differentiation – This helmet can tell the difference between weld arc and sunlight, so it doesn’t switch shades automatic
  • Analog controls – Analog controls located inside the helmet allow you to change your welding settings while still wearing your gloves
  • External Grind Button – to help you switch quickly and easily between the weld and grind mode using external controls
  • X6 Comfortable Headgear  –establish 6 contact points that distribute weight, eliminate pressure and provide a personalized fit for maximum comfort
  • Package features: package includes 5 outside replacement lenses, 2 inside cover lenses, a helmet bag, and a sticker sheet to customize your helmet

2. YesWelder M800HP Welding Helmet Best For The Money Option

image of yeswelder m800hp

This helmet from YesWelder is easily the best welding helmet under 100$ because it offers the true color view and the 1/1/1/2 Optical Clarity rating.

The true color view is not something you can find at this price range and it is reserved for more expensive hoods.

It allows you to see more clearly and you don’t have to deal with the green color which is a characteristic that will reduce your eye strain. This is the biggest plus to this helmet.

The headgear is comfortable and does the job very well. The only downside is that it is of a bit lower quality so you may need to change the headgear in the future.

The helmet has 4 arc sensors and it meets the safety and technical standard of EN379 and ANSI Z87.1.

Another plus of this helmet is a huge viewing screen of 3.93 x 3.66 inches which when combined with the true color view and quality arc sensors easily makes it a top choice under 100$.

More in detail on this welding hood here.

Get 10% Off With Coupon: “10% WELDPROS”

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • True color feature.
  • Very large viewing size.
  • Great for hobbyists.
  • Easily adjusted and used.
  • Solar battery charge.
  • Cheater lens compatible.
  • Replacement lenses, spare battery and helmet bag.
  • 30 days return policy.


  • Headgear don’t appear to be very substantial.
  • Not for professional welders.
  • Problem with shade gradience can occur.


  • True Color viewsee clearly what happens during the weld process with 1/1/1/2 optical clarity lenses
  • Super Large Viewing Size  3.93″X 3.66″ viewing range with 4 Premium Sensors offers a great viewing range.
  • Shade Level: Weld 9-13, Cut 5-9 – higher shade range will offer welder the variety of shading adjustments for various applications
  • Internal Buttons and Features – inside the helmet, you can find a test button, to check if your auto darkening is working, low battery indicator and a support for cheater lenses
  • Large controls  –  over-sized external controls that work okay with light leather gloves allowing you quick and easy outside adjustments without having to pull off your hood
  • Sensitivity adjustment allows the operator to change the lens switching sensitivity from high to low
  • Grind mode – switch quickly and easily between the weld, cut, and grind mode using external controls.

3. Best on the Market: Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet

I will try to make this as unbiased as possible, but honestly, this is the best welding helmet I have laid my hands on in a long time. It is fairly expensive, but you will get more than what you paid for. With this revolutionary Crystal Lens technology that brings real true colors, you will be able to see the weld pull as it really is – clearly and in full detail.

Then, when you finish welding, there is a feature that gradually lightens the lens from dark to light mode, so you will not get an eye strain.

Afterward, in the light state, when you need to grind or change knobs on a welding machine, you will have a 2.0 shade level, and it will look like you don’t have a helmet on at all, which is a really nice feature.

It’s a professional welding helmet that can be used for all welding processes from Micro Plasma Arc Welding to Flux core welding with a high voltage used by everyone from aerospace welders to welders in manufacturing.

Crystal lens technology's true color filter

Then there is a heat resistant paint, state-of-the-art sensors and outside controls that can be used easily with gloves on as well as a respirator that you, unfortunately, need to buy separately.

Full review here.

Optrel Crystal 2.0 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet 1006.900
  • Crystal lens technology with shade 2. 0 light state - see clearly what happens before, during and after the welding process.
  • Autopilot - Detection of the arc brightness and fully automated shade level adjustment from 4 to 12. Adjusts automatically to the changing light conditions of the current welding process.
  • Twilight feature - gradually lightens lens When switching from dark (welding) to light state to ease eye fatigue.
  • Sensitivity adjustment - allows operator to change lens switching sensitivity for varying ambient light conditions or outdoor welding in sunlight.

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Probably best on the market right now
  • Great clarity
  • Super lightweight
  • 0 DIN light state
  • Autopilot
  • Decreases eye fatigue
  • Room for respiratory protection
  • Perfect for TIG welding


  • Expensive
  • Only 3 sensors


  • Crystal Lens Technology 2.0 – see clearly what happens during preparation as well as during and after the welding process.
  • Autopilot  Detection of the arc brightness, fully automated. Adjusts automatically to the changing light conditions of the current welding process.
  • Switch time – light to dark: 0.100 ms at room temperature at 55 ° C 070 ms at 55 ° C dark light: 0.1 s to 2.0 s (with dimming function)
  • Front Cover Lens – Up to 137 ° C / 279 ° F
  • Shade Level 4-12 – Optrel Crystal 2.0 can be used for all professional welding applications that require low amperage welding.
  • Twilight feature – gradually lightens lens when switching from dark to light state to ease eye fatigue.
  • Sensitivity adjustment  allows the operator to change the lens switching sensitivity for varying ambient light conditions or outdoor welding in sunlight.
  • Grind mode – switch quickly and easily between the weld mode and shade 2. 0 Grind mode using external controls.
  • Outside Adjustment – There is no need to remove the welding helmet to change shade or grind.
  • True color view high – contrast view of the welding pool during the welding process with great clarity.
  • Lightweight – 460 g / 18,7 oz.

4. Speedglass 9100 Welding Helmet

One of the most versatile welding helmets on the market right now, the 3M Speedglass gives you an additional hardhat component for protection from falling objects. It also features a model with an auto-dark visor and a quality built-in welding respirator (for Air versions). Speedglas helmet offers various viewport sizes and peripheral viewports that can be opened and closed at the user’s discretion.

Three sensors in the lens provide a rapid reaction time and reliable auto-darkening capability.

The lens goes from clear to working dark in .1 milliseconds. TIG amp rating is up to 1 amps, which means that you will be able to weld or thin sheet metals like exhaust vents, aluminum and all sorts of professional micro-welding. The lens returns to full-clear with adjustable delay settings after the weld stops, allowing your eyes to adjust and metal to cool.

Full review here.

3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100, 06-0100-30iSW, with Auto-Darkening Filter 9100XXi 3 Arc Sensors...
  • IMPROVED OPTICS — 9100XXi Auto Darkening Filter enables more realistic colors to be visible for welders. See your welds and welding pool with more precision, contrast and natural-looking colors
  • FAST AND EASY ACCESS — External welding helmet controls enable grinding and memory modes using 9100XXi silver front panel without removing your gloves
  • TWO MEMORY MODES — Allows a welder to set individual auto darkening filter settings for darkness shade, light-to-dark switching sensitivity and dark-to-light delay with the push button access
  • AUTO-ON TECHNOLOGY — Allows you to grab their welding helmet and get to work quickly by turning to the last setting used

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Various view-port sizes
  • Peripheral viewports
  • TIG amp rating is up to 1 amps
  • Heat shield
  • True color filter
  • Durable
  • Adjustable delay settings


  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Version on the image is without Solar


  • The viewport area is pretty large 2.8 x 4.2 in. (72×107 mm). The same size is on my helmet and I’m perfectly satisfied.
  • A true-color filter is decent but it lags behind Optrel’s and Lincoln’s expensive helmets. It’s got too much green for my taste. Especially now, when with Optrel panoramaxx you can literally “see all the colors” throughout ADF.
  • Mask is made of durable polycarbonate. The material has great heat-resistant properties. It highly impacts resistance and resistant to a degree of scratching.
  • Fun fact: The silver part at the front of the mask is not just for aesthetics. It’s a heat shield that deflects heat away from the user’s face.
  • Helmet Weight: 3.61 pounds (1.6 kg ). Borderline is somewhere around 4.4 pounds, 3.6 pounds is not that heavy for the welding hood, but there are much lighter welding masks out-here.
  • The large grind mode button is on the right side. And you can use grind mode easily with gloves on.
  • Side windows are a special feature that Speedglass pioneered. They are very useful in certain situations and increase your peripheral viewing field of view while maintaining full eye safety. When you don’t need them there are special cover plate for lenses that can be easily mounted.

5. Esab Sentinel A50 Welding Helmet

image of ESAB Sentinel

If you’re looking to add a little bit of style to your equipment, the Esab Sentinel A50 auto-darkening welding helmet is a solid choice. It offers a superior comfort level and comes with a touch screen liquid crystal display that allows the user to control its functioning. 

Sentinel A50 auto-darkening welding helmet also comes with a color touchscreen control panel that has eight separate memory settings plus an externally activated Grind Button. The hard hat adapter option is available for use with ESAB hard hat. Power Supply is shared on solar-powered cell plus replaceable battery  (2 x CR2450 lithium). Alerts indicators will light up when the battery power is low.

Top-notch welders deserve top-notch welding equipment. Sentinel A50 is an excellent choice since this brand makes some of the best welding helmets. You get great ergonomics and comfort, and intuitive control can be used for cutting and any type of welding, crystal-clear visibility, and a broad spectrum of options.

If you want more from this hood you can read a bit more extended review here.

ESAB 0700000800 Sentinel A50 Welding Helmet, Black Low-Profile Design, High Impact Resistance Nylon,...
  • Revolutionary Shell Design - High Impact Resistance Nylon.
  • Halo Headgear - Ergonomic, Infinitely-Adjustable 5 Point Head Gear Provides Extreme Comfort And Balance. Low-Profile Design, Central Pivot Point Allows For Maximum Head Clearance While Helmet Is In...
  • Low-profile design, central pivot pot allows for maximum head clearance while helmet is the up position
  • Color Touch Screen Control Panel With 8 Separate Memory Settings And Externally Activated Shade 4 Grind Button.

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Comfortable
  • Light
  • Touch screen with memorizing input
  • Available hard hat
  • The grind mode button is outside
  • TIG mode less than 2 amps


  • Expensive viewport protection glass


  • View-port: The viewing area measures about 3.93 x 2.36 in. (100 x 60 mm) and has 1/1/1/2 –5-13 ADF.
  • Hyper-visible LCD Control Panel: Easy to use a display that resembles a smartphone screen. (Easy to use when you don’t have gloves on) The display is full color and has some cool features like memorizing your input shade.
  • Replacement Cover lances: An extra perk to the Sentinel helmet is that the reflective, amber-colored front cover lens is easily replaceable. It can be done in less than ten seconds- even without removing the helmet.
  • Comfort: helmet also features a highly ergonomic five-point suspension insert with five points of adjustment for superior comfort and optimal balance and fit. The low profile design offers a central, crucial point that gives the user maximum headroom when the helmet is in its upright position.
  • TIG amperage rating: less than two amps. Suitable for welding work on tin sheets and tubes.
  • The large grind mode button: Placed on the right side above the view-port and fairly large indicator on the display inside will help you not forget that the grind mode is on.
  • Helmet Weight: 1.4 lbs. (640 g). Much lighter helmet then Speedglas for example.

6. Digital Elite – Miller Electric Welding Helmet

This welding helmet features a nylon construction shell. It also features four arc sensors and patented “X” mode which counteracts most light interference. It’s perfect for welding outdoors during the daytime or under complex lighting conditions. This welding helmet comes with two lithium-ion replaceable batteries and fully adjustable ratchet based fitments.

The viewing area is just over nine square inches in total. The auto-dark feature is one of the fastest on the market and offers excellent protection.

“Miller” has recently redesigned this helmet to incorporate additional adjustability settings as well as enhanced support. A durable shock-absorbing gasket protects the lens from impact variable damage. The digital controls are more user-friendly with larger buttons and additional settings. The four operating modes available are Cut, Grind mode, Weld and “X” mode.

Full review here.

Miller 281000 Digital Elite Black Welding Helmet with ClearLight Lens
  • Item Details Miller Digital Elite, Black - Industry-leading helmet provides high-performance

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Patented “X” mode
  • Cut mode
  • Lightweight
  • Aluminum Heat Shield
  • 4 Sensors
  • Inexpensive
  • Great for outdoors


  • All controles are on the inside
  • The suspension is not top of the line


  • Viewport: 9.22 in. Average viewing window size nothing special about it.
  • ClearLight™ Lens Technology: ClearLight allows more colors of the visible light spectrum to come through the lens for natural, accurate tones. It stands with Speedglas on a quality level.
  • X-Mode: Electromagnetically senses the weld to eliminate sunlight interference and continuously detects the arc even if sensors are blocked (good for outdoor job site)
  • Durable Shock-Absorbing Gasket: Protects lens from drop impact.
  • Aluminum Heat Shield: Protects the lens in high amperage welding projects.
  • Weight: 1.13 lbs Lightweight.

X- Mode is a unique trait of this welding helmet and Miller patented technology (that’s why no one else can use it). Namely, when you strike an ark, 3 types of radiation are emitted. UV (as a bright light), Infrared (as heat) and Electromagnetic radiation. On all other welding helmets, sensors are triggered by IR radiation hence the flashing with a low amp, grinding problems, sun and etc.

This Millers hood’s sensors are triggered by a lower spectrum of electromagnetic radiation”X-rays”. This means there will be no flashes, never. The ADF will go dark literally moments before the arc is struck. ADF won’t light up when grinding, the sun will not be a problem and it will continuously detect the arc even if sensors are blocked.

7. Optrel VegaView 2.5 Welding Helmet

At just two and a half pounds, this is one of the lightest helmets on the market, an invaluable feature when you have to wear your helmet for long stretches of time. It is made for overhead welding and comes with a state-of-the-art arc sensors array. It features an external grind mode and adjustments for both shade and sensitivity. Arc brightness detection is fully automated for the user’s safety.

Optrel’s new VegaView gives you clear visibility with shade 2.5, improving visibility by better than 400%. The Parking-Buddy belt clip is also a nice thing. When you need to remove the mask from your head, you can clip it to your belt for situations like climbing leaders or taking a lunch break.

Its Infinite Shade Level Adjustment comes with external controls that let welders manually adjust the shade range from 8 to 12 to suit the needs of the welding application.

You can do all of this without having to remove the helmet. The Opening Delay function lets the user adjust the amount of time it takes to make the switch from dark to light. This makes transitioning easier on the eyes. Optrel’s patented Sensor Slide prevents the ADF from reacting to the arcs of nearby welders.

Respiratory protection is available with the e3000 powered air-purifying respirator. This multi-purpose auto-darkening welding helmet is suitable for overhead welding and grinding.

Read more about it here.

Optrel VegaView 2.5 Welding Helmet 1006.600
  • The automatic welding helmet with world record ADF.
  • Shade level range 8 to 12
  • Grind mode with perfect view
  • Shade level 2. 5 in Light state

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Very light (two and a half pounds)
  • Variable angle dependence, movable sensors
  • 2.5 shadow level in light mode
  • UV/IR filter with “real color”
  • The central control unit is outside


  • Expensive


  • Viewport: 3.93 x 2.36 in Average size viewing window combined with comfortable head shape band put’s your eyes directly in front of the viewport so that you see clearly.
  • ADF: UV/IR filter offers a top real color experience. Much better then Speedglass and slightly better than Viking Lincoln 3350. This helmet holds the world record with light state shading of 2.5 improving the visibility and optical clarity of welders’ environment by 400%!
  • Material: Made of nylon cone name PA6.6. Extremely light and bendable, resistant to heat, braking, and scratching.
  • Outside Adjustment: A central control unit directly connected to the ADF, is placed on the left side of the helmet. Shade, sensitivity, delay, range and grinding button. All accessible from the outside.
  • Sensor Slide: by using the patented Optrel sensor slide the sensor angle can be reduced from 120° to 60°. Preventing a reaction of the ADF to welding processes in the environment.
  • Light weight: Only 1.06 pound or 482 g. probably the lightest one out there and the lightest one from these in the buying guide – best welding helmet when it comes to weight.

8. Optrel Panoramaxx Welding Helmet

This Optel hood comes with advanced VegaView LCD technology and a rechargeable lithium battery that can be charged using a USB cable. The Panoramaxx provides the wearer a six times more field of vision than any other helmet. Its panorama view combined with the light state of 2.5 DIN brightness level, plus the highly detailed color rendering gives the user a level of full visual clarity that few other helmets can match.

The automated welding mask has a massive field of vision.

The nose cutouts are perfectly placed above the user’s nose for optimal positioning of the ADF nearer the welder’s eyes. It’s also very low maintenance and easy to wear. The Panoramaxx features the patented Optrel auto-pilot function. This is made possible by an advanced sensor that measures the brightness of the arc flashes. The sensor automatically adjusts to the correct darkness value.

Its advanced design means that not only does it adjust to a finer array of tint levels but it also does it faster and more accurately than most electric auto darkening hoods.

Optrel Panoramaxx Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Black #1010.000
  • ISOFIT Headgear
  • AUTOPILOT - Detection of the arc brightness and fully automated shade level adjustment from 5 to 12. Adjusts automatically to the changing light conditions of the current welding method.
  • TRUE COLOR - A specially developed UV/IR filter allows the realistic color perception typical of Optrel, bringing color to the welder’s world. TRUE COLOR passes more colors of the spectrum through...
  • LIGHT STATE 2.5 - The much brighter view of your working environment in light state increases both safety and efficiency in the workplace.

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • VegaView technology (6 times larger field of vision than standard welding helmets)
  • True color view
  • Autopilot
  • 5-sensor array
  • Rechargeable lithium battery
  • Light state of 2.5 DIN


  • Expensive
  • Expensive protection glass

One of the most technologically advanced masks on the market with a great field of view. Great for “overhead welding”


  • Viewport Panorama: they have a unique approach here. The viewport is close to your eyes and in the shape of sunglasses. This translates into a 6 times larger vision field than standard quality welding helmets, beats even the Lincoln Viking 2250 with its 3.94 X 3.86 port.
  • ADF: Again top-notch UV/IR filter allows the realistic True color view.
  • Autopilot: Adjust automatically to the changing light conditions of the current welding method.
  • Autopilot can be further adjusted with an individual calibration option of ± 2 * If preferred, the Autopilot can be deactivated for manual shade range selection.
  • Multi-Sensor Detection: The completely redesigned controls of the 5-sensor array ensure the perfect regulation of the ADF. Depending on the headband setting, 2.3x to a 6.3x vision field of a 3.93 x 2.36 in standard industry ADF.
  • Power technology: Solar cell, lithium-polymer battery, rechargeable by USB-cable with the life of 300 to 500 charging cycles.
  • Material: Made of nylon cone name PA6.6. Extremely light and bendable, resistant to welding heat, braking, and scratching.
  • Light weight: 1.16 pound (530 gram)

Quick Comparison of Budget Welding Helmets

ImageNameSpecialsSensorsShade SettingsViewing AreaFeaturesCheck Price
Antra Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 Auto...
Antra AH6-260-00004 Sensors DIN 9 – 136.68 sq inHigh quality build, Most PopularCheck Current Price
Instapark ADF Series GX990T Solar...
Instapark ADF Series GX990T4 SensorsDIN 5-1315.21 sq inVery Large viewing area, External controlsCheck Current Price
Tanox Auto Darkening Solar Powered...
Tanox Auto Darkening Solar Powered4 SensorsDIN 9 – 136.68 sq inPadded with a hard head adapter Check Current Price
Jackson Safety Welding Helmet, 46131 -...
Jackson Safety 461314 SensorsDIN 9 – 139.27 sq inDigital display, Flexible ShellCheck Current Price

Reviews for The Best Budget Welding Helmets

For novice welders, hobbyists, or those who only do light welding tasks, there is a wide range of excellent affordable helmets that will give you full protection without breaking the bank. These helmets are capable of being used safely and effectively in many professional settings.

Below are the best auto-darkening welding helmets reviews in the lower price range:

  • Antra AH6 260 0000
  • DELKOPRO Welding Helmet
  • Instapark Series mask GX99OT
  • Tanox ADF-2O65
  • Jackson Safety 46131
  • Tacklife PAH04D

They are not considered competitive with their excellent professional-grade counterparts, but they are an excellent choice for welders just starting out and casual welders. They are also a good choice for high school and college metal shops.

9. Antra AH6 260 0000

image of Antra AH6-260 Welding Helmet

The Antra AH6-260 Classic Series welding helmet (or helmet ah6 ) is equipped with the smart chip-controlled four arc sensors auto-darkening lens. This helmet weighs just under a pound which is great and lightweight making it versatile enough to be used for a range of applications such as grinding, cutting, and welding (MIG TIG).

It is an ideal upgrade from the mask with quality fixed shade glass for just a fraction of the cost of more elaborate helmets and it is one of the best welding helmets in the price range which makes it a great choice. It lets you adjust the delay time and sensitivity of the arc sensors.

It is also magnifying lens compatible and comes with a useful hard hat adapter. There’s also a battery indicator and tester as well as a power-off delay. The filter remains active for ten minutes in dark environments before it goes to sleep. It comes with a one-year warranty and different color options. It comes with an additional lens when lens changes are needed. It’s one of the best auto-darkening helmets for training novice welders as it can run for long periods of time, letting several learners use it consecutively in their practice sessions.

Antra Wide Shade Range 4/5-9/9-13 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet AH6-260-0000 Engineered for TIG...
  • 【Safety & Protection】 Passive Filter with Permanent shade 13 to UV/IR, combined with double-layered auto dimming LCD shutter, providing sufficient and accurate shade range within 4/5-9/9-13 to...
  • 【Comfort & Convenience】 Very light total weight, reduces head and neck stress; Fully automatic auto darkening lens, eliminating flipping up and down the hood; Convenient External Gridning switch...
  • 【Performance】 4 Premium redundant arc sensors, with highly responsive detecting and controlling units providing super-fast switching time and accurate auto shading, minimizing harmful radiant...
  • 【Reliability】 Interference Suppression Technologies, minimizing false triggering: less sensitive to sun lights, workshop lights while very responsive to welding arc, even the hardest to detect DC...

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Grinding mode button is outside
  • Lightweight
  • Literally, everyone buys this helmet at the start
  • 4 sensors
  • One year warranty
  • Can be fitted with magnification filters (magnifying lenses)


  • Not recommended for serious projects
  • Won’t last long


  • Viewport: viewing size dimensions: 3.86″ x 1.73″ , Area: 6.68 square inches
  • Lens shade range level: DIN 9 – 13 with DIN 4 at light mode shading that lets you see clearly.
  • Grinding button: External button for grind mode
  • Weight: 1lb (lightweight)
  • What is Unique about it: It is one of the most popular and top choice budget options. This helmet has a very good build quality being made of polyamide nylon, it supports the magnifying lens for better lens clarity, it is lightweight,  has replaceable lithium batteries and it is the best hood for this price point.
  • Four sensors

10. Tacklife PAH04D

Advanced configuration is the key feature of the Tacklife PAH04D. It comes with 4 arc sensors with good reaction time and 1/1/1/1 top optical clarity to ensure a clear and secure welding process. It has UV/IR protection up to DIN sixteen at all times, protecting the user’s vision from UV light. The DIN 3 delivers better light transmission.

It is lightweight, adjustable, it is solar-powered and it uses replaceable lithium batteries which is great. Of all the economy solar energy welding helmets, this one is the lightest – a popular feature for those who simply want to enjoy welding as a hobby, but it is still functional enough for serious use during different welding applications.

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Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Great helmet for this price tag
  • Decent and comfortable headband
  • Covers the face and neck effectively
  • Light mod on DIN 3
  • 4 sensors
  • All controls are outside


  • Small viewing window


  • Viewport: Wide lens dimensions: 3.86″ x 1.69″, Area: 6.52 sq in
  • Shade level: DIN 9 – 13 with DIN 3 at light mode shading
  • Grinding button: External grinding button and external delay control and sensitivity adjustments.
  • Weight: 1lb (lightweight)
  • What is Unique about it: The best helmet for this price tag that offers more light transmission with its DIN 3 light shading.

11. DELKOPRO Welding Helmet

This economical mask has a 1/1/1/2 rating and meets all of the safety standards and technical standards of EN379 and ANSI Z87.1. It is a solar-powered welding helmet model that comes with an auto-darkening, solar-powered mode feature, and decent switching speed. It is lightweight and features a smooth, curved exterior for better comfort. It is very versatile and can be easily adapted to fit your personal preferences and comfort settings.

This welding helmet provides a viewing area of seven square inches. It provides stunning five thousand hours of battery life, four sensors and an adjustable headband. In case of an electrical failure, it will protect your eyes against ultraviolet rays and IR radiation by the default shade of 4 DIN.

Solar Powered Welding Helmet Auto Darkening Professional Hood with Wide Lens Adjustable Shade Range...
  • OPTIMAL EYE PROTECTION: Auto-darkening filter switches from light to dark in 1/25000 sec. In case of electric failure, the welder remains protected against UV and IR radiation according to shade 16....
  • MANUAL ADJUSTMENT MEETING DIFFERENT DEMANDS: Equipped with sensitivity and delay settings adaptable for different environments and task duration; Enjoy enhanced visibility and color recognition....
  • CLEAN COMFORTABLE VIEW: Equipped with standard 3.85’’ x 3.15’’ clear visor viewing area; Diffusion of light, variation of luminous transmittance and angular dependence allowing the welder to...
  • INTELLIGENT, PRACTICAL AND COST-EFFECTIVE: The Auto Darkening Filter (ADF DX-980N) enables welders to adapt to various working environments by controlling the shade of the lens; Sensitivity...

Last update on 2022-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Large viewing area 3.85’’ x 3.15’
  • Light
  • Long battery life


  • Moderate price tag for a “cheap welding helmet”
  • 30 days warranty


  • Viewport: Dimensions: 3.85’’ x 3.15’’, Area: 12.13 sq in
  • Variable shade range: DIN 9 – 13 with DIN 4 at light mode shading
  • Grinding mode button: Internal grinding setting button
  • Weight: 1lb (lightweight)
  • What is Unique about it: Very large view area and a long battery life of 5000h

12. Instapark Series GX99OT

This is a very basic welding helmet model with a small user interface. It is powered by a built-in solar panel cell and a replaceable CR2450 battery as a power source. The ADF eliminates the need to flip the welding helmet up and down in between torch placements. This boosts productivity with the less stop-and-start time required with passive lens welding helmets.

This helmet might be another great candidate for professional use among our economy picks, depending on the type of welding.

The ADF GX990T welding helmet is ergonomically designed and made with patent-protected lightweight composite materials. It offers a custom fit via a ratcheting headband system and a fully padded interior for comfort.

It should give you a full view of your entire welding area with an excellent optical clarity rating and good UV/IR protection. This solar auto darkening mask also comes with a variable shade range that is adjustable from shade level five to shade level thirteen with a resting default shade of four.

Instapark ADF Series GX990T Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with 4 Optical Sensors,...
  • Solar-powered welding helmet with 4 arc sensors and auto-darkening filter and the largest 3.94” x 3.86” viewing area in its class
  • Revolutionary new design with convenient external controls and adjustments for dark state, sensitivity, and delay without taking off the helmet
  • Wide range of variable shade adjustment from #5 -#13 with a resting shade of #4 and lightning fast switching time from light to dark, 1/30,000 second
  • Made of lightweight, yet durable composite material with a ratcheting headband and padded interior to ensure enhanced protection, consistent performance and maximum comfort

Last update on 2022-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • An extra-large viewing area
  • All outside controls
  • Great while learning to weld


  • Over $70
  • Pour quality of the headband
  • Tends to break down after a month of use


  • Viewport: Dimensions: 3.94” x 3.86”, Area: 15.21 sq in
  • Shade range level: DIN 5 – 13 with DIN 4 at light mode shading
  • Grinding button: External button
  • Weight: 1.5lb
  • What is Unique about it: Exceptionally large view dimensions and the external controls

13. Tanox ADF-2O65

This economic welding helmet features four quality arc sensors, solar cells, and the long life of a power source battery. It also has a grinding of 4 plus auto-darkening self-check feature, low amperage TIG of more than 5A, and a low volume alarm.

It comes with great high-efficiency solar cells and a two-year lifespan lithium replaceable battery. The Tanox solar power Helmet meets all of the EN379 and ANSIZ87.1 safety to protect from eye fatigue and technical standards for both simple and complex jobs. Its reaction time is 1/25,000 of a second thanks to its arc sensors – earning it a 1/1/1/2 Optical rating. It can protect the welder from both UV rays and IR radiation in case of an electrical failure.

It also lets the welder see a range of different angles. This item comes with a bonus pair of free fire retardant gloves for greater value. The gloves are sixteen-inch double-layered leather with a Kevlar stitching thread. They come with long sleeves to keep your arms and clothing safe and protected. They are pliable and comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. It’s a high-quality bonus item that you just don’t get with any other reputable package on the market right now.

Tanox Auto Darkening Solar Powered Welding Helmet ADF-206S: Shade Lens, Tig Mig MMA, Adjustable...
  • TOP OF THE LINE WELDING HEADGEAR: The TANOX AUTO DARKENING SOLAR WELDING HELMET ADF-206S is what you need for professional or a DIY Welding, Arc, Tig, Mig, MMA, or plasma project; optical class rating...
  • COMPLETE EYE SAFETY: The TANOX AUTO DARKENING WELDING HELMET meets the EN379 and ANSIZ87.1 safety and technical standards for simple to complex welding jobs, able to switch from light to dark in...
  • FUNCTIONAL AND EASY TO USE: The TANOX SOLAR WELDING AUTO DARKENING HELMET is padded with a hard head adapter and comes with automatic on/off power for Grinding, Arc Gouging, MMA, MIG, MAG/CO2, TIG,...
  • 20$ BONUS inside: Every TANOX AUTO DARKENING WELDING HELMET includes Extra set of Lens Cover and a pair of top-quality Grade A 16-inch Welding Gloves that fit most hands; made of a thick double-layer...

Last update on 2022-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Cheap
  • Light
  • Comes with quality leather long slive gloves


  • Tends to break down after a month of use
  • Weak headband


  • Viewport: Dimensions: 3.86″ x 1.73″ , Area: 6.68 sq in
  • Shade range: DIN 9 – 13 with DIN 4 at light mode shading
  • Grinding button: Internal button for grinding
  • Weight: 1lb (lightweight)
  • What is Unique about it: Tanox ADF-2065 is padded with a hard head adapter

14. Jackson Safety 46131

The Jackson Safety W40 INSIGHT Variable Power Welding Helmet offers great high-performance WH40 Classic Series Auto Dark Filters. These smart filters let welders adapt to various working environments with the ability to control the variable shade range of the lens with additional adjustments for sensitivity from ambient light sources. It also features an expansive viewing area.

The Jackson Safety auto-darkening feature provides delay controls, sensitivity settings, as well a number of arc sensors, and user-friendly digital controls. This electric auto-darkening helmet is perfect for professionals, hobbyists, and novice welders for different welding processes. These affordable welding helmets come with fully functional auto-darkening protection. The Jackson Safety WH40 Insight Welding Lens gives you an ADF with digital and multi-function controls for practically any welding job.

It is a fully functional and practical choice that is also easy on your wallet.

Jackson Safety Welding Helmet, 46131 - Digital Variable Auto Darkening Filter, Lightweight...
  • UPDATED MODEL: This Jackson Safety Ultra-Lightweight Insight Welding Helmet is built with 4 sensors to reduce possible blockage. It’s been newly updated with industry-leading 1/1/1/1 optical clarity...
  • BEST VIEWING: This ADF helmet has a viewing area of 3.93" x 2.36" and offers optimal vison during all stages of the welding process, without having to lift its hood. It also has a lightweight HLX 100...
  • DIGITAL CONTROL: With variable shades from 9 to 13, this helmet has user-friendly digital controls for sensitivity and delay adjustments for different tasks and durations. This enables welders to...
  • MULTI-USE WELDING: This variable auto darkening face mask allows you to use it for MIG, TIG, STICK, and ARC welding processes. It also features our premium 370 Speed Dial easy grip/turn headgear...

Last update on 2022-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros & Cons Summarized


  • Cheap mask but a good brand
  • Decent viewing area
  • Can be used for more serius projects
  • Qualty headband
  • Comfortable


  • All controles are inside


  • Viewport: Dimensions: 3.93″ x 2.36″, Area: 9.27 sq in
  • Shade level: DIN 9 – 13 with DIN 4 at light mode shading
  • Grinding button: Internal grinding setting
  • Weight: 2lb
  • What is Unique about it: It has a digital display inside the helmet and the shell is made from flexible plastic

How to Choose The Best Auto-Darkening Helmet

Ps: for an article about other types of welding hoods like the passive welding helmets, visit this article

First things first, you do not need auto-darkening technology to get the job done, but the difference between manual and auto-dark is night and dayThe most important features to look for when choosing the best auto-darkening welding helmet are:

  • Look at the quality of its Auto-darkening filter. The time it takes to switch from light to dark mode (reaction time). Does it have an adjustable latency when switching back to light mode? You don’t want to look at the glowing metal while welding, your eyes will strain faster.
  • Viewport sizeThe larger viewing screen is best for beginners, you will not need to move your head that much, you will follow the arc easier. On the other side, some prefer a smaller viewing screen on auto-darkening welding helmets, but a more ergonomically designed mask. Moreover, a smaller port means a lighter mask, lighter mask means no neck pain.
  • The weight of the helmet. People often overlook this part, but trust me, it is very important. Neck pain is not a joke, take care of your body.
  • Look for comfortable headgear. A helmet that fits perfectly on your head, durable headgear mechanism, a soft cushion on your forehead, many headgear adjustments…
  • Warranty, availability of spare parts like replacement lens, availability of additional parts like cheater lenses, national safety standards of auto-darkening welding helmets, material that the mask shell is made of, etc…

What Shading level You Should Use

For more information on what shade helmets range you should usewhat amperage, and on what welding process, you have a standard table made by Lincoln {link here}.

Note that rules aren’t set in stone. If your eyes hurt you, you can tone your auto-darkening welding helmet up a notch or two. If your eyesight is not the best, dial it down a bit. On a manual welding helmet with no electric-powered auto-darkening welding filter, you will have a standard 11 DIN shade helmet which is default and suited for most people for welding needs.

A central control unit

However, you can buy a different shading glass for auto-darkening welding helmets. It is quite inexpensive and you can find it anywhere.
To ensure that the auto-dark lens will work reliably, make sure to do your research, look up welding helmet reviews – and remember that you get what you pay for.


Auto-darkening welding helmets mainly are in the variable shade range from 9 DIN to 13 DIN with exceptions like 8 to 13.

When it’s not working, it’s 4 DIN. It can then be used for grinding. Some more expensive auto-darkening lens filters that go from 5 DIN to 14 DIN and can be used for finer things and different welding applications (you don’t need it if you don’t plan to go pro in this sport.)

Size Of The View-Port

Most of the inexpensive ones are of the small size viewport 3.62’’ x 1.65’’. They save money and lower production costs that way—the biggest viewport 3.94” x 3.86” like on the Viking Lincoln 3350 which is a maximum. Bigger is better, you won’t need to move your head when welding longer bits. They make jobs easier when you are in a tough welding position and generally it’s best when you can see more.

The ADF, or automatic darkening filter, consists of liquid crystal displays (LCDs), electronic components, solar cells/batteries, sensors and a UV/IR filter. This is the part of the helmet that automatically darkens when a welding arc is struck at fast switching speed

Some average size is 3.93” x 2.36” and gets all the jobs done. Opel’s and Miller’s main hoods are in this range. Every auto-darkening welding helmet we recommend comes with numerous sensors for electronic redundancy and safety.

The best helmets come with at least 3 sensors that provide robust protection for your eyes. Your eyes are mission-critical equipment. Don’t take chances with your vision by skimping on eye protection.

Material That The Mask is Made Of

Materials used in the making of a welding mask range from cardboard over the leather to plastic alloys like polycarbonates and etc. Simple and inexpensive cardboard face shields I honestly do not recommend since these days you can find low costs quality face guards anyway. Hoods made of leather are for specific jobs and hard to reach tiny places.

They do not offer the best protection. What you need is a face shield made of polycarbonate or nylon. This material is much better because it is light, has high shock absorbance and is heat resistant.

Material That The Mask is Made Of

Materials used in the making of a welding mask range from cardboard over the leather to plastic alloys like polycarbonates and etc. Simple and inexpensive cardboard face shields I honestly do not recommend since these days you can find low costs quality face guards anyway. Hoods made of leather are for specific jobs and hard to reach tiny places.

They do not offer the best protection. What you need is a face shield made of polycarbonate or nylon. This material is much better because it is light, has high shock absorbance and is heat resistant.


Polycarbonate is a unique, durable material with high impact-resistance. It’s heat-resistant and has flame-retardant properties that also act as a good electrical insulator. Polycarbonate can undergo large plastic deformations without cracking or breaking and is shock-absorbent as well.

The downside of this material is it has low scratch-resistance which you should consider if trying to paint it. Concerning your health, the material is considered safe to use and it’s backed by many international studies that disprove the early results about the material.

ABS plastic

ABS plastic is a ubiquitous thermoplastic polymer. Its glass transition temperature is roughly 105 °C (221 °F). ABS is amorphous, therefore has no discernable melting point. ABS is tougher than unadulterated polystyrene. The styrene provides the plastic a glossy, resilient surface. The material is durable at the lowest temperatures. Also, it is a good shock absorbent. ABS is most useful between −20 and 80 °C (−4 and 176 °F).

Cons: ABS is stable to decomposition under normal use though at higher temperatures (400 °C) ABS can decay into its components, i.e. butadiene (carcinogenic), acrylonitrile (likely carcinogenic), and styrene. Sometimes you can see under made of the material name.

Nylon 66 (PA66)

My Optel 690 face shield is made of this. Nylon 66 is a synthetic polymer called polyamide. It has high mechanical strength, stiffness, hardness, and toughness and good resistance to high energy radiation (gamma & x-ray). It has good electrical insulating properties and higher heat deflection temperature plus high chemical resistance to acids. I highly recommend it.

Respirator systems

I have seen my colleagues sticking their heads inside the space with welding fumes many times. It’s hazardous, especially if you weld stainless steel, aluminum, or any kind of coated steel. Truth is that built-in respirators with their own power supply are expensive for a welder.

However, it’s best if you buy a helmet with space for one inside, even the ordinary one. In the end, even a simple dust shield might help you because sometimes you will be stuck in cramped places with very little room to move where you can’t evade the fumes.

image of 3M Adflo Powered Air Purifying Respirator

How to Clean Your Welding Hood

infographic showing how to clean and maintain welding mask

Frequently Asked Questions [F.A.Q]

How long do welding helmets last?

The batteries on welding helmets last by default around 7 years and replaceable batteries around 3 years in theory. In real life, on cheap welding helmets the battery may start to blink and malfunction after a month or two. The best choice is to get a helmet with a solar and replaceable battery that will complement each other. Note: do not put a helmet with a solar battery exposed to the light when not welding, it will shorten its life span.

The batteries on welding helmets last by default around 7 years and replaceable batteries around 3 years in theory. In real life, on cheap welding helmets the battery may start to blink and malfunction after a month or two. The best choice is to get a helmet with a solar and replaceable battery that will complement each other. Note: do not put a helmet with a solar battery exposed to the light when not welding, it will shorten its life span.

What is a good cheap welding helmet?

The best cheap welding helmet for limited use is Antra AH6 but is not recommended for longer welding jobs. In my opinion, best for money welding helmet is Lincon Viking 3350.

Why do welders wear masks?

Short answer: So they can see what are they doing and not burn their eyes off and lose their eyesight. Welding arc radiation can cause many health problems from severe burns to skin cancer and permanent damage to the eyes.

How Bad Is Welding For Your Eyes?

Welding is extremely bad for your eyes if you are unprotected or insufficiently protected. Dangerous IF, UV radiation and extreme heat are all hazardous to humans and will cause serious health problems and permanent damage.

Do Welders Go Blind Over Time?

Some yes. Because they use poor face protection, cheap welding helmets that leak UV radiation through viewports and due to long working hours and unnecessary exposure to arc radiation. 


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Derek Mason

Hello, I'm Derek. I'm a web designer and a certificate pipe welder. I'm responsible for the technical part of this website and I also write welding blogs about topics that I am more familiar then Adam. Hope that you will like what we do here.

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