Passive versus Auto Darkening Filter Lens Welding Helmets

Passive vs Auto-Darkening Filter Lens Welding Helmets


The world of welding helmets was completely changed with the introduction of the auto-darkening filter lens, which uses external sensors to detect the size and intensity of an arc and automatically adjusts the shade on an LCD view screen. This was a huge step forward compared to the static glass lenses of the past, but the question still remains: which type of lens is best? Read on to learn about the pluses and minuses of each model and decide for yourself.

Passive Lens Pros

The biggest advantage of a passive lens is that it’s never going to short out on you or experience any kind of technical malfunctions. All it is is a tinted piece of glass with absolutely no electronic parts, so it’s not going to stop working on you until it physically breaks or cracks. Since there are no electronic parts, there’s also no need for a power source, so you won’t be prevented from welding due to a low battery. Finally, these models are almost always significantly more affordable than auto-darkening filter helmets.

Passive Lens Cons

The biggest disadvantage of a passive lens also comes from the fact that there are no electronics, since it’s only going to have one shade rating. This means that if you need to do a welding project that would call for a #13 shade filter, but your helmet only has a #10 shade filter, then you won’t be able to use it safely. Also, passive lenses require you to manually put them into place, which can be a huge disruption in work flow because you need to move your hands to raise and lower the lens.


Auto-Darkening Filter Pros

As you might expect, the main benefit of an auto-darkening filter is that it’s going to automatically change from a resting state to a shade rating when it detects an arc. This will save you time and effort, since you don’t have to do anything in order to put the shade into place. As a result, you can increase your productivity and put more effort into the precision of your welds. Also, some models allow you to compensate for ambient light or set a response delay, giving you more versatility in how you work and the jobs you take on.

Auto-Darkening Filter Cons

The top drawback for welding helmets with auto-darkening filter lenses is that they are way more expensive than passive models. They also require a battery to function, which can actually prevent you from welding if your battery isn’t fully charged when you’re ready to start a project. Most auto-darkening filter helmets are also bigger than standard models, which can prevent you from accessing certain tight areas that don’t have much room for working.

The Final Verdict

Ultimately, there is no winner when it comes to the type of filter in a welding helmet, since each has its good and bad features. You need to weigh each type carefully against your own needs and decide which type is going to work best for you.

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