- Here is a Quick Comparison of the hoods:
- Best for money
- How to make a custom welding hood:
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a unique cool and custom welding helmet?
Most helmets on the market have that strict cold design which is understandable considering the welders work. Hoods are usually plain black or some other industrially looking colour and since you are reading this article my guess is that you don’t like that.
There are those of us who have an artistic mind and we love to express ourselves through our gear and what better way to do that than with a cool looking helmet.
In this article, I will guide you through the selection of the most interesting cool & custom welding helmets but other than their looks these helmets are also packing some awesome features as well. What’s the point of having a beautiful helmet if it’s not going to get the job done right?
- Best hoods for the money … (4 minutes read)
- Inexpensive option … (1-minute read)
- Most popular hood for custom paint jobs ... (1-minute read)
- How to paint your hood … (3 minutes read)
The auto-darkening welding helmets of ten years ago cannot compare with the ones today in 2019. The technology advanced exponentially and prices have gone down.
Many of these new hoods have introduced new technologies never seen before, such as advanced materials, top of the line lenses and state of the art respiratory systems. Even cheap models that are around $100 are infinitely much better than those of before.
Here is a Quick Comparison of the hoods:
Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best for money
1. Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Steampunk Welding Hood
This nifty Steampunk modification is one of the top 10 helmets today. Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 has the finest optical clarity available in a welding helmet today and the largest viewing area in its class (3.74 in x 3.34 in (95 mm x 85 mm)).
It can also be used with magnifying “CHEATER” capable lens. Shading level is from 5 to 13. Very low shading level is used for welding with very low amperage and for Oxy-fuel welding and Plasma cutting. It has four sensors and works on the combination of solar cells and replaceable battery.
The advanced headgear is fabricated for improved comfort and a superior fit. The 4C Lens Technology improves visibility and diminishes eye strain with a wide-screen. In the Lincoln Electric VIKING There is ample room for a respirator which you should wear if welding fumes are blowing your way. The face visor can operate at -10°C – +55°C (14°F – 131°F)
- 4C Lens Technology.
- The extra-large view.
- The grinding button is inside.
2. ArcOne 5000V-1171 Python Welding Hood
Here is the welding hood with the monstrous smile and decent characteristics. This badass welding minion is fully solar-powered so there is no need for batteries.
It has a decent viewing port of 7.25 square inches and five different auto-darkening welding filters with the highest level of UV/IR protection up to 16. The helmet features a light state of 4, and a dark state of 9 – 13.
It has two sensors beneath the solar panel. This helmet has a greater gap between the inner and outer lenses which helps prevent the transmission of heat. This way, you will not fry your lenses if you weld too close to the arc.
It’s round shape so the smoke and vapours have difficulty getting inside. There is enough room for a respirator. It has an advanced headgear, weighs 2 pounds so it’s pretty comfortable.
The face shield should not be used on sub zero temperatures and can be used on up to 55°C 131°F
- No need for batteries.
- Cool looks.
- Light and comfortable.
- Moderate price.
3. Instapark ADF Series GX990T Auto Darkening Welding Mask with four Optical Sensors, 3.94″ X 3.86″
This is probably one of the most cost-effective masks you can buy online. The blue devilish looks are mature and stately in a welding environment. This is one of those facial guards that is below $100 and has features of those that are three times as expensive.
The large view dimensions are 3.94 x 3.86, much like with Lincoln welding helmets. It has four sensors, an advantage when it comes to TIG welding and low amperages. The shade adjustment from #5 -#13 again is good for low amperages.
You can switch time from light to dark in 1/30,000 second. It’s also a mix of solar-powered with three replaceable batteries. The nice thing is that all adjustments (grinding button, sensitivity adjustment and shading control) are on the outside so you don’t need to remove a helmet to access these features.
It has room for a respirator and is moderately lightweight. One thing that people complain about concerning this headgear is that it’s not comfortable and it breaks easily. As it’s not that durable, if you buy it you’ll have to be careful with and think about replacement parts for it.
- Big display.
- 4 sensors.
- Controls on the outside.
- Easily breakable headgear.
4. Jackson Safety Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Hood (46101), HLX, 370
One more hood that that has almost all the features of the expensive ones for nearly half the price. It’s got great American stars and stripes graphics, a simple but cool decorative motif.
This quality lens gives you variable shade (9-13) and wide view dimensions (3.93″ x 2.36″). It has four independent auto dimming sensors and easy-to-use digital controls. I like the craftsmanship on the combination of solar cells and batteries.
They’re the standard coin-like batteries that are used in many auto-darkening helmets. It’s made of quality Nylon 66; a very durable, bendable and light material. There is a room for a small respirator inside.
The headgear is a simple configuration but it’s great and comfortable and stays in place. What I don’t like about it is all the buttons are inside. That makes it hard to replace the front cover for the lenses. You have to remove the whole darkening unit through the back to put in the front lens. Otherwise, it’s a great welding helmet.
- Good display.
- 4 sensors.
- Made of quality material.
- All the adjustments and buttons are inside.
- The complicated process for replacing the front cover lenses.
1. DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welder Mask Blue Eagle Design
This is the least expensive welding hood out there with decent characteristics. It has a striking American eagle paint job if you want to show people how big of a patriot you are, or you just like eagles.
It goes from light to dark in 1/25000 sec, has UV and IF protection when not in dark mode to protect your eyes. It meets ANSIZ87.1-2010 and EN3794/9-13 standards with 3.62’’ x 1.65’’ clear visor viewing area and two sensors.
It has standard shade adjustment for 9 to 13DIN. It is powered by solar cells and battery. It’s extremely lightweight (1 lb) and has room for a respirator.
Because it’s not made of the best materials, it’s not recommended to drop or throw it when you’re angry. Replacement parts are also very inexpensive. You shouldn’t use it on temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius.
- Cool design, inexpensive replaceable parts.
- Meet the standards.
- Good for beginners.
- Small view size.
- 2 sensors.
- I don’t recommend it for some serious work with big amperages.
Review of the Most Popular Welder’s Mask for Painting
Are you the type of welder that likes to take the matter in their own hands?
Well, I know few of such guys and I know that they would rather paint their own hood than buying one just because of the paint job.
The Antra AH6-260 Classic Series is a very popular mask for custom paint jobs and its no surprise considering its price range and features.
First of all the masks shape is great for painting and its sharp geometric features offer a wide variety of designs for creative people.
But what about actual welding features?
Antra AH6-260 is a budget option but it offers more than enough for most jobs. It is an auto tinting hood that has 4 sensors which react in a 1/25,000 of a second. The shading ranges from DIN 5 to DIN 13 with a light shade of DIN4. The view area is quite large with the dimensions of 3.86″X1.73″.
It is lightweight and the headgear is good so that even if you use it for the whole day your neck will not feel fatigued at the end of the day. The helmet also has an external knob to set the shade and the grind mode which makes any welder’s life easier.
The hood also supports the cheater lenses and the hard hat adapter which is sold separately. It uses solar energy and the replaceable batteries as the power source.
It also has a built in passive filter which provides IR/UV protection at all times with the shade level of 13.
- Cool design – Perfect for Custom paint jobs
- Meets the standards
- Good for beginners and more demanding users
- Fairly large view area
- Cheater lens support
- Made from high impact polyamide-nylon
- Outside knob
- Headgear could be better
- Instructions on assembly/disassembly are not easily understood
- The shell is not rated for industrial use so no heavy use is recommended
How to make a custom welding hood:
Now that we’ve covered all the best welding helmets out there, we’re ready to talk about how to customize your headgear. Follow these simple instructions to apply for your custom paint job and show the other welders who’s the boss.
Are You Ready?
1. Gather Your Materials
The first thing to keep in mind is the danger of heating up non-heat resistant paint. Exposing non-heat resistant paint to high heat can reactivate toxic fumes which are not healthy for you to breathe.
If you weld frequently, you need to use heat resistant paint. Acrylic paint should be okay if you weld only on occasion. However, heat resistant paint is still recommended.
Heat Resistant Paints:
- Rust-Oleum Heat Resistant Paint 750°C
- POR-15 High-Temperature Heat Resistant Paint
- VHT high heat coatings
Non-Heat resistant Acrylic Paints:
- Fire-resistant primer
- A wire brush or wire wheel
- 400 grit sandpaper or finer
Welders probably don’t need to be told to make sure there is proper ventilation, but safety counts- so make sure you do your priming and painting in a well-ventilated area.
2. Disassemble Your Helmet
It’s pretty common that people will tape off sections they don’t want to be painted in just about any painting job. But in this case, you can do the job more easily, and with less mess and expense if you just disassemble your helmet.
It might seem like more work, but in the end- you’ll be glad you took your helmet apart. Unless you’re a professional painter, chances are you will end up overpainting your lens or some other critical component. If that happens, your helmet will not look super sharp- and that’s the point- isn’t it?
More importantly, professional-grade helmets are not cheap. You want to treat your helmet right and maintain it’s full functionality. Right? Right. So, disassemble your helmet, and set the delicate (and expensive) components aside where they will be safe.
3. Clean & Prime Your Helmet
After you’ve got your helmet broken down and the delicate components set and secured to the side, it’s time to clean it.
If your helmet has seen a lot of action, you might need to start with the wire wheel or wire brush. If not, sandpaper should do the trick.
Once you’ve done that, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol until all of the extra grease and dirt are gone. This also assures that nothing biological that could grow, bubble, and cause your paint to flake is living on the surface. Then wipe it down with a dry paper towel.
Finally, give it a once over with the wire brush. This ensures the surface is coarse enough to hold on to the primer and paint. You can skip this step if your helmet already has some texture to it.
Then you can prime your helmet. Some people don’t think this step is necessary, but it will help protect your helmet and make the paint job last longer. You can skip it if you want, and go right on to painting.
If you do prime it, just let it dry first for at least 8 hours before painting.
4. Paint Your Helmet
Congratulations. You made it to the fun part. First apply a clear coat, preferably in a neutral colour, (white or grey). Give the neutral paint time to dry and then apply your chosen colour.
5. Let Your Custom Helmet Dry
Finally, set your newly customized helmet on a hat rack, helmet stand- or something that will do the same job. Ideally, set it up someplace where dust and debris will not fall on it. You could set up some light stands and throw a tarp over that if you can’t find a dust-free area.
Then, just give it a good 12 to 24 hours to dry and you’re ready to weld in style.
As the most vital piece of safety equipment, a welding helmet not only offers needed protection to the face and eyes but it gives wearers a chance to add a touch of personal style to their badass welding gear. Due to issues such as needing to constantly flip the helmet up and down and keeping the MIG gun, TIG torch or stick an electrode in the proper position, most welders are trying auto-darkening helmets.
Welding has in recent times gone mainstream with #weldernation and #weldingrigz plus Welder Nation on Facebook. There’s even a Facebook page for Welder Memes.