If you do any welding, you need a welding helmet to protect your eyes. These helmets come in a variety of styles with a range of features. To choose the right helmet for your needs, you may want to keep the following in mind:

Passive or Auto Darkening Lens

When you're welding, you are exposed to different strengths of light depending on type of welding you are doing. With a passive welding helmet, the shade features a set number. That means that you can weld anything up to that number. If you go past that number, your eyes won't have the protection they need, but if you're welding items where the light arc is lower than that number, you may have more shade than you need, potentially making it hard to see.

In contrast, with a variable shade helmet, the shade uses sensors and an auto-darkening lens to change strength as needed. If you just need a little protection for grinding, you get that, but if you need top level protection for working with lots of light, that's possible too. Note that while the auto darkening lens give you protection in a wider variety of situations, they also tend to be more expensive.

Viewing Size

In addition to thinking about the strength of the lens on your welding helmet, you also need to think about the viewing size. If possible, try on the helmet and assess what you can see out of the lens. Then, imagine working with that field of vision. If you do a lot of small detail work, you may be fine with a relatively small viewing size, but if you want a more comprehensive look at your project, you need a helmet that can handle that instead.

Comfort and Style

In addition to thinking about function, you need to consider comfort and style. Put on the helmet before buying it. Does it feel good? Do you think you can wear it comfortably for hours at a time? Then, take it off and look closely at its features. Ideally, you want high density foam that isn't going to break down and compress quickly. With cheap foam, you will end up feeling the hard sides of the helmet in no time.  

Then, consider the style of the helmet. Most helmets have colours or pictures on their sides. If you weld in your home shop, you can choose any design you want, but if you regularly work for others or meet with clients, you may want to choose a design that works in that environment.

Keep in mind that a welding helmet is an investment, and they usually aren't inexpensive. If you are just going to weld one or two things, you may want to save the cost of the helmet and pay a professional to do your welding for you. To learn more, contact a welding specialist directly.