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

Last Updated: by Alfred Byron

There are a number of different welding helmet options with batteries that have good optical features that are available today.

Every auto-darkening welding helmet design should meet current safety and optical standards, large enough to give stellar comfort, have a high-impact lens, can fit the head properly, can offer long life on their batteries, and be able to provide you with light filtering mode at all times.

No matter what the shade rating happens to be, these important features will help to protect your vision as you are welding. You need this to protect your eyes from the glare of the weld.

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.

Best Welding Helmet 2019 Reviews

ProductDetails
#1 Antra AH6-660-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

All Bells & Whistles Inclusive

  • Star Rating: 4.3
  • View in Inches: 3.78x2.5
  • Price: $$$
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#2 Antra Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Equipped with Interference Suppression Technology

  • Star Rating: 4.5
  • View in Inches: 3.86x1.73
  • Price: $$
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#3 Forney 55703 Premier Series Edge Auto Darkening Helmet

External Shade Selector Feature

  • Star Rating: 4.7
  • View in Inches: 5.97 Sq. Inch
  • Price: $$$
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#4 Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Helmet

Excellent Sensitivity Control

  • Star Rating: 4.3
  • View in Inches: 3.5x1.375
  • Price: $
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#5 Antra Auto Darkening Welding Helmet w/ Grinding Feature

Smart Chip Controlled Sensors (4)

  • Star Rating: 4.5
  • View in Inches: 3.86x2.09
  • Price: $$
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#6 Coocheer Solar Arc TIG MIG Auto Darkening Helmet

Great Looking | 16 Levels of UV Protection

  • Star Rating: 4.8
  • View in Inches: 3.5x1.375
  • Price: $
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#7 Neiko 53932A Auto Darkening TIG/MIG Welding Helmet

Striking Skull Design | Lightweight

  • Star Rating: 4.2
  • View in Inches: 3.78x2.05
  • Price: $$
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1. Antra AH6-660-0000 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

“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.”

When you’re looking for an affordable viking welding helmet with ADF technology, a wide viewing area and a good battery life, there is one general problem that they all tend to have: fogging of the lenses. 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 of the lenses while still providing a full range of shading from 4-13, based from the reviews out there. 

If you’re looking for the definitive best  auto darkening welding helmet with excellent safety features, large viewing area, and superior comfort, the Antra AH6 is our top pick. Thanks to the great value it offers with comparable features to many more expensive models.

Pros:

  • Comes with 4 different sensors
  • Can be used for a variety of applications
  • Lightweight
  • Comes complete with all the bells and whistles
  • Makes quick work of switching from light to dark
  • Shade settings have wider range and more varied compared to others

Cons:

  • Some people said this has batteries that are more difficult to change.
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2. Antra Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

“It is an affordable choice that will provide you with the safety features you are looking for.:

There is a reason why this new Viking style helmet operated by batteries has good reviews. This top and high quality welding helmet does a great job for all welding, cutting, or grinding applications. You get more control over it, making it great for elite welding. Four arc sensors ran by a battery support the 3.86×1.73-inch wide viewing area, with step-less delay and sensitivity adjustments available for operator support whether you are doing weld or grind work.

It can work for hours without lagging behind and sacrificing on optical clarity. It is friendly on the budget and has a good fit as well.

Filter or 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.  It is large enough to accommodate that lens. 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.

You can get a lot of use from this helmet that has a classic design, which is what makes this great for a professional. This also has a nice design that works with the style of gloves. This product also meets ANSI Z87.1 specification. If you like Miller Electric helmets, you will like this one because of the similar design. Miller Electric products also have similar styles.  

Pros:

  • Most responsive when it comes to TIG and MIG electric arcs
  • Works for both Plasma and MMA applications
  • Equipped with Interference Suppression technology
  • Comes with a lot of nifty features including solar-powered efficiency
  • Can also operate using 2 replacement batteries
  • Has a battery indicator that will let you know when it is running out on juice
  • Test button will let you know how well its self-darkening feature powers
  • Has an automatic on and off, and power off delay function
  • Filter stays on for up to 10 minutes even in the dark before it goes into sleep mode
  • Excellent protection.
  • One of the most lightweight.

Cons:

  • Some said they had issues with it triggering after a few months of use.
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3. Forney 55703 Premier Series Edge Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

“This one that is a part of the Premier Series welding helmet.”

It is a great choice because it offers a switching speed of 1/16,000 of a second, which is perfect for most home and hobby applications. As the reviews say, this electric Viking helmet strong enough and has a sufficient battery life to support a side hustle or the weekend warrior. It can last for hours. It is also still highly affordable. It can last for a long time due to its great quality.

There is a certain amount of backlighting that comes through if you’re working outdoors; thanks to the power it generates from its replaceable batteries, so be sure to play with the adjustment setting and mode to make sure your optics are where they should be before you strike an arc. Optical clarity is up there.

The shade selection range of this budget electric Viking helmet is 9-13, so it can go quite dark a lot. The lens is noticeably clear and with more visibility, so it will ensure that your preferred discipline and safety preferences are supported with ease. It is also ANSI Z87.1-specified.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t constrict the head and it offers a great fit
  • User friendly. Great choice for beginners or for hobbyists
  • Comes in different color and pattern options
  • Holds up well against a lot of abuse
  • Resistant to impact
  • Very responsive. You can switch speed without making too much effort
  • Features a good external shade selector

Cons:

  • It might be too responsive.
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4. Instapark ADF Series GX-350S Solar Powered Helmet

“This Viking welding helmet focuses on the basics a lot, according to reviews.”

It serves are your basic guide to using this type of helmet. The optics of this electric Viking helmet are 1/2/1/3, so there are better options on the market when it comes to range of lenses, but not at this price. Reaction time for filter or shading is 1/15,000 of a second, giving you a range of Shades #9-13, along with a resting shade of #4. You won’t have a problem with sensitivity and delay as well as large viewing capacity.

It can get as dark as you want it to go. We found that it works well for most common welding applications and some grinding or cutting needs without running out on battery juice quickly although it may night be the best for more rigorous grind work. Equipped with 2 arc sensors and with a large viewing area of 3.5×1.375 inches for the lenses, there’s enough quality to get the job done for about the price of dinner out with the family. 

Pros:

  • Responsive and sensitive
  • Has a filter which allows you to change torch without stopping to change the darkening function
  • Filter eliminates the need to do rework as it helps you replace your torch with excellent accuracy
  • Ergonomic
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
  • Solar powered
  • Comes with a low voltage indicator
  • Also works as a grinding welding helmet

Cons:

  • Some said the adjustment knobs tend to loosen up.
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5. Antra Auto Darkening Welding Helmet w/ Grinding Feature

“This is the only ADF helmet that is this good in quality and feature-rich that comes in weighing less than 1 pound – it’s just 15.8 ounces.”

After a thorough review, we really liked this Viking helmet for MIG and TIG welding especially. It is suitable for MIG welders.  It offers a full range of shading or filter capability, from 4-13, and offers a delay as well as sensitivity adjustments that are easy to access. With a large viewing window, you should be able to see better. These features make this a great choice for a professional. If you are looking for one that will not blow your budget, get this.

The 4 arc sensors help operators be able to complete grinding and cutting tasks easier as well as promote safety. Its grind mode is reliable. You can get the shade you need for various grind applications. You can use a cheater type of lens with this helmet if you wish. It’s best feature according to review, however, is its weight. You can look for other reviews but you will be hard-pressed to find something as lightweight as this one that has a long life span.

Pros:

  • Comes with 4 sensors that are controlled by a smart chip
  • Has a nice responsiveness to an electric arc – from MIG to TIG applications
  • Unmatched versatility – Can be used for cutting and grinding. 
  • Responds in split seconds
  • Unbeatable price for its features
  • Lightweight, feels solid and not flimsy.
  • Good entry-level welding helmet that can grow into a mid-range one

Cons:

  • If you prefer something made from a stronger material like fiberglass, this isn’t for you.
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6. Coocheer Solar Arc TIG MIG Auto Darkening Helmet

“It’s definitely a solid value buy, especially given its good battery life.”

If you are working hard in a welding class or need something that can help you go on welding mode 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 design 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 response time, reviews say. The sensitivity and delay are top-notch. The large viewing window is also helpful. It also defaults to Shade #16 in case there’s an electric failure, preventing an unwanted flash to reduce eye fatigue

Pros:

  • Great looking
  • Comes complete with a grinding function
  • Response time is fast at about <1/300000 seconds. 
  • Features 16 levels of UV protection – great for working outdoors
  • One of the most adjustable auto-darkening welding helmets
  • Has a versatile fit, so a wide range of head sizes can use this
  • Rugged and Solidly-constructed
  • Can withstand impact and everyday wear and tear
  • Comes with a low battery indicator
  • Lightweight but it doesn’t compromise on quality
  • Has a wide viewing space
  • Includes 2 pieces of clear view shields made from clear plastic

Cons:

  • Some say the adjustment knob is a bit sensitive
  • Tends to be prone to shifting with movements
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7. Neiko 53932A Auto Darkening TIG/MIG Welding Helmet

“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 with its unique design. It holds up to the heat well, review says, staying strong in temps as high as 130F/55C, even with its battery on. Shade states of #9-13 are available with a response time of 1/25,000 of a second. Based from our own reviews, we found the helmet to be lightweight, balanced, and comfortable, no matter what shade mode of lenses. It promotes stellar safety as well.

If you wear prescription glasses, however, you’ll notice that there is not much space for your face in this helmet as the lenses can get pretty tight. It does, however, look stylish enough to match with gloves. If you don’t mind the tight fit with glasses on, you should find this one a great choice.

Pros:

  • Has a striking design
  • Lens darkening reaction is super-fast
  • Whether you are working with metal or tungsten inert gas, this will serve you well
  • Provides a good amount of protection against IR and UV
  • Has wide viewing lens
  • Has clearer optics
  • Battery operated but can also use solar power to operate

Cons:

  • Some said the adjustment knob is easy to accidentally hit with your hands
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8. Jackson Safety BH3 W40 Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

If you like classic style helmets such as those from Miller Electric for elite welding, get this. The Miller Electric ones also have a similar color and design as this one.

This is a high-quality Viking welding helmet according to review, due in part to the fact that it offers a better viewing lens than most other helmets. The wide viewing area of this electric Viking helmet is 3.93×2.36-inches, plus you have a delay as well as sensitivity adjustments to the lenses that can be made so that every project receives customized optics, which is why it is doing so well in reviews.

“The optical clarity is just top-notch”

It is compatible with Jackson Safety BH3 Internal Safety Lenses, all rights reserved for Jackson. What the Jackson Safety BH3 technology does is improve your safety while doing welding work. The Jackson Safety BH3 components also help in reducing heat build-up. Many other products from Jackson Safety comes with BH3 technology or balder technology, so it is worth noting.

If you want to take advantage of the balder technology, you can get the Jackson Safety BH3 Auto darkening Welding Helmet. The balder technology is already incorporated in it. You could get a lot of benefits from the Jackson Safety BH3 technology.  

Grinding and welding modes support all common disciplines and this electric Viking helmet is compatible with the HSL and HLX 100 Series shells by this manufacturer. Although it has a large fit, it’s also one of the lightest welding helmets with a grind mode that you’ll find on the market right now, coming in at barely over 1 pound even with the battery in it, perfect for rigorous weld and grind applications.

Use it for hours and it won’t buckle under the pressure. It is also safe to use as it meets ANSI Z87.1+ specifications. Grab the Jackson Safety W40 today before it disappears because that is a lot of features for one more affordable find. Because it is cheaper, it won’t take a toll on your budget.

Pros:

  • The sensors are true. It doesn’t require a lot of effort to trigger it.
  • The variable shade settings make this an ideal choice for both professionals and hobbyists out there.
  • It comes with digital controls that are easy to understand and easy-to-use. This is a welding helmet that has user-friendly functions.
  • It lets you choose between weld and grind. It is a versatile choice that can accommodate the needs of both professionals and hobbyists.
  • It has a wide compatibility with shells from other brands.
  • You can use this in different work and light settings since it has an excellent Auto Darkening Filter.
  • The controls are quite sensitive. Many users said they were able to operate it even when they have their gloves on.
  • A lot of people said the lens is clearer than many of those they have used in the past.
  • It has a wide viewing area. There were those who used this and said they can walk around their shop without taking this off.
  • These won’t take up a huge chunk off of your budget.

Cons:

  • Some said this could use a bit more head coverage They said they felt cramped while using this.

Here’s more information on the best rated auto darkening welding helmet by Jackson.

More of the best Jackson welding helmets are featured here.

 

9. Lincoln Electric K3064-1 Variable Shade Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

If you’re tired of off-brands not standing up to the heat and your safety preferences, but you’re hesitant to purchase a Viking welding helmet that is several hundred dollars, then we feel this Lincoln electric viking is an excellent compromise.

After a review, we found out that this Lincoln electric Viking option weighs just 1.5 pounds, 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 with its replaceable batteries, MIG welding is its primary strength.

“It is still good for a novice TIG welder.”

The headband of this Lincoln electric viking helmet holds strong, reduces eye fatigue consistently, and will give you the supports you need for home-based welding mode.

Get this Lincoln electric Viking helmet for a mixture of attractive design, functionality and quality. It doesn’t hurt that this helmet from Lincoln looks stylish too.

Pros:

  • This welding helmet has a darkening shade from 9 to 13. It comes with an auto-darkening lens filter that works in providing you with excellent optics.
  • This helmet has been crafted from a high density plastic material that should be able to easily withstand damage and wear and tear. You can be as rugged as you want with this tool, but it won’t break or come apart easily.
  • This product features a ratchet suspension that you can adjust in order to fit the size of your head.
  • If you want to use a magnification filter, that can be done with this. You just need to buy it extra.
  • In just 40 microseconds, it switches to the lens you want.
  • It is operated through solar cell technology, thereby reducing the amount of energy you consume.
  • It has a wide viewing size as well. It enables you to see what you are doing effectively.
  • A lot of people find this helmet very comfortable to use. It works even or women. It can be adjusted to fit smaller-sized heads.
  • The price is accessible. Whether you are a beginner looking for a budget-friendly auto-darkening welding helmet or you are a professional who just wants to try something more reliable without breaking the bank, you will surely find this a great option.

Cons:

  • Some said it doesn’t come with a good customer service.

More of the best Lincoln welding helmets found here.

10. Weldsmart Auto Shade Darkening Welding Helmet

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 good quality free spatter shield with the helmet as well. Its electric function 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.

Reviews say that there is plenty of interior space between your eyes and the lenses, so you don’t feel cramped while wearing the helmet on your head, but it isn’t so tight that it makes your face hot while wearing it for an extended period of time. It is a good option because it works well for all common welding and cutting disciplines.

“Whatever work mode you prefer, this helmet will cater to your needs.:”

Pros:

  • This welding helmet has one of the best viewing areas. It is large and very clear.
  • You can’t get anything better in terms of quality for its price range.
  • This product is backed by an 18-month warranty.
  • The filter incorporated is made in Japan, so you can only expect excellent quality from it.
  • The response time for switching shades is fast. You can also manually input your preferred shade setting.
  • This helmet can be set up to grind mode as well.
  • It accommodates all sorts of applications. You can do MIG, MMA, TIG or Plasma without issues.
  • It features an automatic shut off function. It also has a low battery indicator that will tell you when you need to replace the batteries.
  • It is very resistant to impact. Compared to ABS plastic, this one is up to 65 times more durable.

Cons:

  • It might not have enough room for a respirator.

 

How Does an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Work: A Novice Buying Guide

man workingIf you are a welder familiar with the auto darkening glasses that are on the market today, then the principle of a standard 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. It will effectively and easily filter light to protect your eyes. It operates through a set of lithium batteries.

Aside from batteries, darkening helmets may also come with solar features.

The difference between the typical welder glasses and the optical lens in an auto-darkening welding helmet are the sensors that are incorporated into the product. These sensors will automatically detect the beginning of a welding 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. The batteries make sure that it responds quickly.

In comparison, review says the welder glasses or lenses that filter and change shades can take 10-30 minutes long to fully adjust to changing conditions. The power from the batteries might not be sufficient in providing quick reactions. That is an important factor to keep in mind.

The quality of standard auto-darkening welding helmets also allows them to stay in position throughout the entire time you are wearing it on your head, making this a great choice if you want safety. They have a size large enough to accommodate wearing glasses inside. 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 mode to a grind mode without needing to change out their auto-darkening welding helmet. This is what gives this a high rating in review.

This means an auto-darkening welding helmet has lenses that can easily and automatically recognize the light level of a welding arc and promote a good level of safety and control against it, but it also saves time for the welder because it reduces the need for equipment downtime. This is an important thing to put into consideration if you want to speed up your project.

 

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 ensure that your preferred model has the quality that will get the job done for you. Consider these when buying:

  • Filter or Shade Options.You can choose from fixed or variable shade options. Fixed shade helmets tend to darken to shade #10, according to review. Just make sure it has excellent visibility.
  • 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 response time to prevent eye strain.
  • Viewing Size. The size of the lens in the helmet will dictate how much you can actually see while working. Top models and design have visibility that can go up to 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. Put sensor quality as a priority when buying a helmet.

There are additional important safety options available on many standard helmets which are worth noting when reading review. That includes delay controls, sensitivity controls, comfort features, and weight reduction considerations. Our site also has the best welding accessories for you that will complete your welding arsenal.

Evaluate and review your current and future needs, then select the highly rated and best auto darkening welding helmet that will meet them as often as possible and can provide you with the safety features you are looking for.

 

What Are the Advantages of an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet?

close-up view of a man with face mask

What the best auto darkening welding helmets that has enough juice on the batteries will easily provide is an automatic optical response to the light generated from welding. The optimal control over its filter capability and quality is unparalleled. In less than a microsecond in many instances, your lens will adjust to the specific optical shade needed to protect the vision of a welder as long as it is used correctly.

Standard auto-darkening welding helmets automatically go to just one shade that is very dark, offering a one-size-fits-most head sizes solution, without any option for an adjustable filter. Others offer shade ratings that range from 3-11 with accurate adjustments.

The primary advantage of buying and owning a new 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. If you also do grind work, you definitely should look for a helmet with this function because not all of them will come with one.

You’ll also receive these advantages when you make the investment into a highly rated new 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 welding helmet, there is no need to lift and lower your welding helmet off of your head. Just easily 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 strain and repetitive motion injuries. This one can provide the comfort and fit that you need.

 

Pricing Options for the Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

Welder leaning on the table doing workPricing in this category is dependent upon the customization, design and the quality of the helmet, the number of options it contains, and the response time of the lens.

A standard, entry-level helmet with these lenses may cost around $100, while industrial-grade helmets and those that can come with grind function can easily exceed $300. Adding customization to the helmet lenses will typically add another 50% to the final price of the product.

The price also depends on whether you are getting one with batteries or one that is both operated by batteries and solar light.

For this reason, it may be a good idea to pursue a new mid-range helmet with a comfort and control that can be used for most home needs and some commercial needs without customization. Also look for those with a grind mode. This will get you an excellent welding helmet design for under $200 in most cases. Consider this as a guide to choose a good one.

The Verdict

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. Ensure that you pick up the best helmet that has the features you want, good reviews, is comfortable to wear on your head, and can cater to your preferred mode and you’ll be able to see clearly for every future project. 

While all of these helmets are a great buy, you are probably looking for the one that will work better for you e.g. something specially designed for your needs. We suggest getting the Antra auto darkening welding helmet line. You can choose from the one with a solar power or the one with a grinding feature, whatever suits your needs. This is a top pick just because of its ultimate reliability. It has all the right features in place, and it has a responsiveness that can beat many others out there.

Consider this article as a guide to help you find the best one. View our homepage for welding tools, equipment and more .