Best Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews (2019): Our Top-Rated Hoods For The Money

There are a number of different welding helmet options that are available today. Every helmet should meet current safety standards, have a high-impact lens, and be able to provide you with light filtering at all times. No matter what the shade rating happens to be, these features will help to protect your vision as you are welding.

What the best auto darkening welding helmets will provide is an automatic response to the light generated from welding. In less than a microsecond in many instances, your lens will adjust to the specific shade needed to protect your vision.

Here Are the Best Auto Darkening Helmets in One Simple Chart

Some auto darkening helmets go to just one shade that is very dark, offering a one-size-fits-most solution. Others offer shade ratings that range from 3-11 with accurate adjustments. Here are the top-rated welding helmets in this category that will help you be able to work quickly and efficiently on any project you may have.

PictureNameOur RatingViewing Size (Inches)Price
PictureNameOur RatingViewing Size (Inches)Price
Antra Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet 4.5
Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Helmet 4.6
Forney 55703 Premier Series Edge Auto Darkening Helmet 4.7
Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Helmet 4.4
Antra Auto Darkening Welding Helmet w/ Grinding Feature 4.5
Coocheer Solar Arc TIG MIG Auto Darkening Helmet 4.8
Neiko 53932A Auto Darkening TIG/MIG Welding Helmet 4.2
Antra AH6-660-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet 4.3
Lincoln Electric K3064-1 Variable Shade Auto Darkening Helmet 4.7
Weldsmart Auto Shade Darkening Welding Helmet 4.4

How Does an Auto Darkening Helmet Work?

If you’re familiar with the auto darkening glasses that are on the market today, then the principle of the auto darkening welding helmet is essentially the same. When the glass of the lens is exposed to a bright light, it will darken to protect the eyes of the user.

The difference between your glasses and the lens in an auto darkening welding helmet are the sensors that are incorporated into the product. These sensors will detect the beginning of an arc, which will trigger the lens to instantly darken to protect the eyesight of the user. Industrial-grade helmets can change shades in 1/20,000 of a second, so there is virtually no delay in the process.

In comparison, the glasses that change shades can take 10-30 minutes to fully adjust to changing conditions.

Auto darkening welding helmets also stay in position throughout the entire time you are wearing the project. This stability, along with the instant change of the lens, allows users to set up welding joints with the hood in a protective position. This technology also allows users to transition from a weld to a grind without needing to change out their welding helmet.

This means an auto-darkening helmet can recognize the light level of an arc and protect against it, but it also saves time for the welder because it reduces the need for equipment downtime.

What Are the Options Available for Auto Darkening Welding Helmet?

There is an auto darkening welding helmet available for welders of every skill level. Here are the options you’ll want to look at within the best auto darkening welding helmet reviews to make sure you’re preferred model will get the job done for you.

  • Shade Options. You can choose from fixed or variable shade options. Fixed shade helmets tend to darken to shade #10.
  • Reaction Time. Most entry-level welding helmets in this category offer a lens reaction time of about 1/3,000 of a second. This is suitable for occasional welding. Professional welders will want a minimum of 1/10,000 of a second in reaction time to prevent eye fatigue.
  • Viewing Size. The size of the lens in the helmet will dictate how much you can actually see while working. Top models offer 9 square inches or more.
  • Sensor Quantity. An entry-level auto darkening welding helmet typically has two light sensors that trigger the lens to react to the arc. Top helmets will usually have four sensors. If you perform out-of-position work, you’ll want 4 sensors.

There are additional options available on many helmets, including delay controls, sensitivity controls, and weight reduction considerations. Evaluate your current and future needs, then select the best auto darkening welding helmet that will meet them as often as possible.

What Are the Advantages of an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet?

The primary advantage of owning an auto darkening welding helmet is its overall versatility. Virtually every helmet in this category will have a range of 8-13 in its shade that it can provide. Lower-amp applications benefit from the lower shade number, while high-amp applications benefit from the upper shade number.

The best welding helmets include a shade value for grinding and polishing work in addition to the welding work you need to do.

You’ll also receive these advantages when you make the investment into an auto darkening welding helmet today.

  • Better weld starts. When the helmet is being snapped into place on a standard helmet, it can be difficult to place the electrode into the correct position. This leads to a poor start or a low-quality bead, which requires grinding or a do-over to get right.
  • Better tack welding. With an auto-darkening helmet, there is no need to lift and lower your welding helmet. Just wear it the entire time as you move from tack to tack.
  • Less fatigue. Constantly moving your helmet up and down or through other motions can lead to neck fatigue and repetitive motion injuries.
  • Fewer inadvertent arc flashes. Even when you get everything right, an entry-level helmet can move and cause your eyes to get a bit of the welding flash. An auto darkening welding helmet stays in its proper position, protecting you against those inadvertent flashes.

Pricing Options for the Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

Pricing in this category is dependent upon the customization of the helmet, the number of options it contains, and the reaction time of the lens. An entry-level helmet may cost around $100, while industrial-grade helmets can easily exceed $300. Adding customization to the helmet will typically add another 50% to the final price of the product.

For this reason, it may be a good idea to pursue a mid-range helmet that can be used for most home needs and some commercial needs without customization. This will get you an excellent welding helmet for under $200 in most cases.

Real Life Reviews of the Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

Antra AH6

This welding helmet does a great job for all welding, cutting, or grinding applications. Four arc sensors support the 3.86×1.73-inch viewing area, with step-less delay and sensitivity adjustments available for operator support. Shading options range from 4-13, which allows you to support even plasma cutting processes with relative ease. It is also compatible for a cheater lens if so desired. You’ll find helmets like this from other brands priced well above $250. Check out the price on this helmet and we think you’ll be surprised.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.

Jackson Safety W40

This is a high-quality welding helmet that offers a better viewing lens than most other helmets. The viewing area is 3.93×2.36-inches, plus you have delay and sensitivity adjustments that can be made so that every project receives customized optics. Grinding and welding modes support all common disciplines and the helmet is compatible with the HSL and HLX 100 Series shells by this manufacturer. It’s also one of the lightest welding helmets that you’ll find on the market today, coming in at barely over 1 pound. Grab it today before it disappears.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.

Forney 55703

This Premier Series welding helmet offers a switching speed of 1/16,000 of a second, which is perfect for most home and hobby applications. It’s strong enough to support a side hustle or the weekend warrior, but still highly affordable as well. There is a certain amount of backlighting that comes through if you’re working outdoors, so be sure to play with the adjustment settings to make sure your optics are where they should be before you strike an arc. The shade selection range is 9-13 and the lens is noticeably clear, so it will support your preferred discipline with ease.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.

Instapark ADF

This entry-level welding helmet focuses on the basics. The optics are 1/2/1/3, so there are better options on the market, but not at this price. Reaction time for shading is 1/15,000 of a second, giving you a range of Shades #9-13, along with a resting shade of #4. We found that it works well for most common welding applications and some grinding or cutting needs. Equipped with 2 arc sensors and with a viewing area of 3.5×1.375 inches, there’s enough quality to get the job done for about the price of dinner out with the family.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.

Antra AH7

We really liked this helmet for MIG and TIG welding especially. It offers a full range of shading, from 4-13, and offers a steples (I’m not sure what this should be) delay and sensitivity adjustments that are easy to access. The 4 arc sensors help operators be able to complete grinding and cutting tasks as well. You can use a cheater lens with this helmet if you wish. It’s best feature, however, is its weight. This is the only ADF helmet that is this feature-rich that comes in weighing less than 1 pound – it’s just 15.8 ounces.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.


If you are working hard in a welding class or need something that can help you weld around the house safely, then this is a helmet option we’d recommend. Priced for less than $50, you’ll still receive decent graphics and a variable shade lens that offers support through shades #9-13. The optics are pretty solid at this price point at 1/2/1/3, especially with the 1/15,000 of a second reaction time. It also defaults to Shade #16 in case there’s an electric failure, preventing an unwanted flash to reduce eye fatigue. It’s definitely a solid value buy.

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Not only is this welding helmet affordable, but it also looks pretty impressive. Molded into a skull design, you’ll be able to express your personality as you create a great weld. It holds up to the heat well, staying strong in temps as high as 130F/55C. Shade states of #9-13 are available with a reaction time of 1/25,000 of a second. We found the helmet to be lightweight, balanced, and comfortable. If you wear prescription glasses, however, you’ll notice that there is not much space for your face in this helmet.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.

Antra X60-6

When you’re looking for an affordable welding helmet with ADF technology, there is one general problem that they all tend to have: fogging. Your optics tend to look like clouds as you’re trying to work and that can make it difficult to manage your pool effectively. This model is one of the few that does an excellent job of minimizing fogging while still providing a full range of shading from 4-13. If you need to protect yourself from multiple welding and cutting processes, consider grabbing this helmet today so you can see clearly every single time.

If you’re looking for the definitive best auto darkening welding helmet, the Antra AH6 is our top pick thanks to the great value it offers with comparable features to many more expensive models.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.

Lincoln Electric K3064-1

If you’re tired of off-brands not standing up to the heat, but you’re hesitant to purchase a welding helmet that is several hundred dollars, then we feel this option is an excellent compromise. It weighs just 1.5 founds, offers shading protection from 9-13, and still looks pretty cool while doing all of that work. It does a good job when TIG welding, though MIG welding is its primary strength. The headband holds strong, reduces eye fatigue consistently, and will give you the supports you need for home-based welding work.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.


With a shell made from DuPont nylon, this was one of the toughest helmets we got the opportunity to take a look at. You receive a free spatter shield with the helmet as well. It is supported by 4 arc sensors, a 4×2-inch viewing area, and shading protection of #5-13 with a 1/30,000 of a second response time. There is plenty of interior space so you don’t feel cramped while wearing the helmet, but it isn’t so tight that it makes your face hot while wearing it for an extended period of time. It works well for all common welding and cutting disciplines.

Click here to view the price on Amazon and get the best deal.

The best auto darkening welding helmets will give your optics the customized shading they need for any welding, cutting, or grinding work that you’re trying to finish. Pick up the helmet that has the features you want and you’ll be able to see clearly for every future project.