Whether you work in a mechanics’ garage or on a construction site where you do a lot of metalworking all day long, you may face various fire and over-head hazards. These can vary from potentially vision-damaging ultraviolet and infrared rays, to severe flying sparks emitted by the arc that may damage your eyes and skin. Therefore, getting the proper protection beforehand is quite a concern. You must choose an adequate auto-darkening welding helmet that benefits you in any situation possible.
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Besides general factors such as safety, convenience, style, and comfort, there are other important features to take into account before buying an auto-darkening welding helmet. Here we have listed out some of the most important points for you to consider:
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Variable vs. Fixed Shade Lenses
The first decision would be to choose between fixed shade lenses and variable shade lenses. This can be decided simply based on the flexibility of the task you need to perform. A fixed-shade helmet can darken to a single shade, usually to shade 10. This is predefined which is why some auto-darkening helmets automatically darken to shade 10.
A fixed-shade helmet will suffice for any single process that involves welding a single material. Whereas, if there is flexibility involved with the materials and welding processes being used, you would need to go with a variable-shade helmet. As per market standards, the shades can be switched between 8 and 13, with 13 being the darkest.
Lens Reaction Time
Since the light emitted in the welding process travels super rapidly, the lens reaction speed in a welder’s helmet is critical as it may cause flash burns in the eye. Therefore, professional welders prefer auto-darkening helmets for improved safety. The time it takes for the lens to darken can affect the welders’ comfort level since it can increase eye strain. Hence, it must be chosen appropriately based on the situation.
Power Source and Control Panel
An auto-darkening helmet requires a power source such as a battery to operate. However, if you want your helmet’s battery life to last longer while you work, you can use a combination of solar and battery power.
Another important factor is the position of the control panel. The control panel lets you adjust the helmet settings according to the task. So while working, you may need to switch between the settings multiple times, requiring you to remove the helmet in order to access the control panel in it. A solution to this has been served by providing external control panels that you can access without having to remove the helmet, but that puts the helmet at a greater risk of getting damaged.
Number of Sensors and Viewing Size
The viewing area of the auto-darkening helmet is a matter of great concern. A helmet with a large viewing area can give broader and clearer vision along with easy positioning. However, greater viewing size may increase the helmet’s weight. On the other hand, a smaller viewing area gives a more focused view that helps the welder concentrate more.
Similarly, the number of sensors affects the area of coverage. An auto-darkening helmet with more sensors provides greater coverage as compared to one with fewer sensors. Having more sensors is often advantageous in case you get out of position. Having four sensors is adequate for most tasks.
Sensitivity Controls and Adjustable Delay
If you are working around other coworkers, external factors may cause the lens to adjust the level of the brightness before darkening. This can be achieved with the sensitivity controls available. You can also decide the period for which the lens remains dark after the arc has ended.
No matter how flexible your welding needs are, choosing the right helmet will save you time and effort. And now that you have read through our top tips, you may now proceed to decide on the right option for you.