While standard helmets with fixed lenses are often less expensive, they have some drawbacks. For an inexperienced welder, it can take some practice to keep the torch steady and in the right location after snapping the welding helmet into place. Also, if you’re welding in a restricted area or confined space, there isn’t always room to maneuver or to flip a helmet up or down. Lifting and lowering a helmet also adds to your work time, which can have an impact on productivity.
Variable Shade welding helmets feature auto-darkening filters with an electronic filter lens. An auto-darkening filter or ADF, is a liquid crystal display that features light sensors mounted near the lens to detect the welding arc. When the lens is not activated, the LCD filter will typically have a #3 or 4 shade, similar to sunglasses so it’s easy to see with the helmet in place. Once a welding arc is started, sensors on the helmet will darken the lens to a shade from #9 to #13. The advantage of this helmet is that it can stay in place before you start work allowing you to set up a welding joint with the helmet in position. You can also keep the helmet in place for the length of the task, with no lifting or lowering needed.
Yes. A lighter weight welding helmet will minimize neck strain and reduce fatigue with extended use. Choosing your helmet weight will really depend on the combination of all of the other factors along with how long each day you plan on using it. Again, if welding is your primary task, choose a welding helmet with the lightest weight possible for your budget.
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