Whether you’re a professional or hobby welder, it’s extremely important to have a quality welding helmet you can trust and rely on. After all, your welding helmet is ultimately the only thing that’s protecting your face, head, and neck from all of the rays and heat that comes from welding.
That being said, auto darkening welding helmets have become the latest rave in the market. But, how can you be sure you have a quality auto darkening welding helmet? That’s where this guide steps in! Check out the eight easy steps you can take to test your auto darkening welding helmet below!
#1 Different Lenses
Most welders use different processes and techniques, such as using an array of materials that range from steel to aluminum. That being said, different techniques and processes require different amounts of protection.
That’s why it’s important that your auto darkening welding helmet has different adjustable lenses. Typically, modern welding helmets will have lenses that range from level nine to level thirteen. This range is perfect for small welding projects, as well as industrial sized welding projects.
#2 Note the Type of Power
There are a few different ways an auto darkening welding helmet can be powered. Some welding helmets utilize non-replaceable batteries that are either strictly solar or battery powered, or use a combination of both. These helmets are great because you won’t have to worry about replacing the battery.
Unfortunately, when the battery dies, your entire helmet is practically useless. So, you will most likely have to purchase a new welding helmet. On the other hand, some welding helmets utilize replaceable batteries. Although you will have to eventually replace the batteries, these helmets are usually more durable and responsive.
#3 Know Industry Standards
Whenever you purchase a new auto darkening welding helmet, it should at least meet industry standards. Currently, auto darkening welding helmets must meet ANSI Z87.1-2003 standards. This means every certified auto darkening welding helmet includes:
- The ability to sustain and operate in environments ranging from 23 degrees F to 131 degrees F.
- Filter a minimum amount of infrared.
- Have complete UV protection.
- Sustain impact in the event of anything flies and hits the helmet.
- Backed up data from tests to demonstrate durability, strength, and effectiveness.
#4 Consider Sensitivity
Sensitivity is one of the most crucial aspects of an auto darkening welding helmet. It’s difficult or manufacturers to preprogram the right amount of sensitivity, which is why most auto darkening welding helmets include adjustable knobs.
When you test your welding helmet’s sensitivity, it should be able to adequately respond to changes in light. But, your welding helmet shouldn’t be so sensitive that it darkens with only a slight increase in light.
#5 Note Reaction Speed
Large sparks can happen at any moment. That’s why reaction speed is extremely important. For reference, 1/2500ths seconds is the usual standard for reliable welding helmets. If your welding helmet takes any longer than that it might still be a good welding helmet, but it’s probably not the best auto darkening welding helmet.
Since this time is extremely fast, it’s hard to time your helmet’s reaction time. There are two ways you can ultimately determine if your welding helmet has this reaction speed.
First, refer to your welding helmet’s manual. The manual should describe and define specifics, such as the helmet’s reaction speed. Then, put your helmet to the test. Like previously stated, the recommended reaction speed is so quick. So, you’ll be able to notice if the reaction speed isn’t up to industry standards.
#6 Weigh it
Any quality welding helmet will be lightweight, especially auto darkening welding helmets. This is because quality welding helmets use top-quality materials that aren’t dense or lightweight.
Lightweight welding helmets are great because they are designed to fit your head, instead of the other way around, which is the design many bulkier helmets use. Also, lightweight welding helmets usually have plusher padding, which makes long term wear more bearable.
Overall, with a lightweight auto darkening welding helmet, you will be able to weld for as long as you want to without having to worry about neck strain or head fatigue.
#7 Check Visibility
A welding helmet is ultimately pointless without optimal visibility. After all, how are you supposed to weld if you can’t see out of your helmet?
That’s why it’s extremely to explore your welding helmet’s visibility! Of course, you should be able to clearly see everything when you initially put on your welding helmet. But, it’s also good to check your visibility as the auto darkening feature works.
In other words, can you see just as clearly when the lens is extremely dark as you can when the environment is normal, so the auto darkening feature isn’t in action? If so, you have a quality auto darkening welding helmet. Unfortunately, if you can’t see clearly when the lenses are darkened, then you should consider purchasing another auto darkening welding helmet.
#8 Use the Sun Test
The sun test is ultimately the best way you can test the quality of your auto darkening welding helmet because it requires all of the features on your welding helmet to work together.
Simply put on your helmet like you would if you were about to weld. Then, head outside and get into a comfortable spot. Glance towards the sun and see how your lenses react. If your helmet is durable and reactive, then your lenses should darken.
Next, glance towards the sun and slowly move your hands in front of your face. Since your hands are moving slowly, your auto darkening welding helmet should still register the light. Therefore, your lenses should darken and remain dark. If they don’t, then you should consider fixing your auto darkening welding helmet or replacing your helmet altogether.
Overall, finding the right auto darkening welding helmet can be extremely difficult. But, testing your auto darkening welding helmet is easy. So, if you’re ever second guessing whether your welding helmet is durable and reliable, simply use this guide to test it.