Finding a Welding Helmet on a Budget
Welding gear can be expensive, and one of the biggest expenses can quickly become your helmet. It’s absolutely essential when it comes to welding, but it’s not a purchase you should make lightly. If you’re trying to stick to a budget while shopping for a welding helmet, here are a few tips to help you keep your costs as low as possible while still finding a quality piece of gear.
Skip the Auto-Darkening Filters
Hands down the quickest and easiest way to save money when you’re looking at welding helmets is to focus exclusively on passive lens models. These are the standard, traditional type of welding helmets that have a single piece of tinted glass embedded in the mask to offer you eye protection, compared to the more expensive auto-darkening filter (ADF) lenses. ADF helmets use an LCD screen and sensors to detect the presence of an arc and automatically change the display to the necessary shading, which is a nice feature but by no means a necessity to work on a welding project.
Look for A Moderate Shade Rating
Since passive lens helmets only have one filter that can’t change its shade rating, you’re going to want to make sure that the shade is appropriate for your tasks. Unless you’re going to be doing some specialty projects, your best bet is to look for a helmet with a filter that has a shade rating of around #10 or #11. The ADF models will give you a dynamic range of #9 to #13 because they are designed to cover as broad of a spectrum as possible, even though a #11 shade will suffice for the majority of projects. So, unless you know for a fact that you’re not going to need something darker, pick a mask with a #11 shade filter.
Stick to Polymer Bodies
There are many welding helmets out there made of heavy and expensive materials that can drastically increase their price into the same range as an ADF helmet, so you’re going to want to stick to models that have a polymer body. These helmets are still going to give you the appropriate protection for your face and head in the event of an impact with debris or a spark, and are going to allow you more flexibility in how you move around the work site and reach some of those tight spots.
Saving on ADF Lens Helmets
If you do decide that you want to go with an ADF helmet, then there are some ways to keep costs down. Look for models with a solar-powered battery, as these save you the cost of buying your own batteries. You should also avoid any models that offer more than two sensors or that offer an insanely fast response time, as these aren’t by any means mandatory features to work on a job.
As you look through the models out there, make sure that you don’t sacrifice even an iota of safety in the name of saving a penny. The cost of your medical bills in the event of an accident or injury are definitely not worth any amount of savings you might be tempted by, so always put safety first when you shop.