By Ian Ainslie
There are many variations of welding helmets to choose from however the most popular among them is an auto darkening welding helmet. Once you have made the decision to purchase this type of helmet there are other things that also need to be taken into consideration. If you’re going to be using your helmet on a daily basis it will be a good idea to select one that has a variable shade. The reaction time will likely be an important factor for you as well.
Some of the brand names that you will come across while doing your comparison shopping are: Miller, Sperion and Hobart, as well as many other manufacturers that offer quality products. Price ranges can vary from under one hundred dollars to a couple of hundred dollars depending on the options that you choose.
Auto darkening welding helmets can be offered with either solar power or battery power. Each type of helmet will do the same job however most people feel that the solar powered design has a couple of slight advantages over the battery powered model. One of the most obvious benefits is that you will not need to charge or replace batteries in a solar powered helmet. Another benefit is that the solar powered helmet is always “on”, without an “on-off” switch. Both of these advantages can also be considered a safety feature as there is little chance for unexpected reasons, such as low battery or forgetting to turn the helmet on, for the glass not to darken.
Depending on how often you will be using your auto darkening welding helmet, or where you will be using it, sometimes a battery powered unit can be more efficient. If you’re not working in an area that has sufficient lighting, perhaps a solar powered helmet will not work as efficiently as a battery powered helmet. Also, if you will be using your helmet for extended periods this can also prompt you to go with a battery powered helmet as they can typically be used for longer time periods.
Either way, having an auto darkening welding helmet is the superior choice among hobbyists as well as professionals. Some have even claimed that it will improve your welding capabilities. The reasoning behind this claim is that with an auto darkening welding helmet, you are constantly ready to begin welding. There is no delay in beginning your weld in order for you to lower your shield as there is with a traditional welding helmet. This can prevent misalignment when you line your gun up to begin your weld. All welders know that it can be quite easy to ruin a weld and one of the most frequent reasons for this happening is that you miss the seam due to having to adjust your helmet, or your line of sight after you flip down your visor. With an auto darkening welding helmet, you are always ready. There is no delay in order to allow your eyes to adjust and this means that you have a better chance of staying on track and laying down a perfect weld the first time.
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