Even with all these brands producing welding helmets, most welders have a hard time finding the best true color welding helmet. But the issue with these helmets is that not all of them feature auto-darkening, or have high optical clarity, or come with a passive filter.
Solving that issue, we have scoured through the internet to find the top 10 true color welding helmets.
We have also done some extra research and prepared an extensive write-up to help you make a wise purchase. So be sure to stick around till the end of this write-up to find the perfect welding helmet.
10 Best True Color Welding Helmet Reviews
Weighing all the pros and cons, we have reviewed 10 of the best welding helmets that also fit your budget. Let’s go over these reviews now!
1. Lincoln Electric – Best Welding Helmet for 4C Lens
We are going to be starting off our list with this bad boy from Lincoln Electric. Most of you experienced welders know already how well-reputed the brand is and how high quality their welding products are.
The VIKING 3350 series of true-color welding helmets come with almost everything you could ask for in the best one.
2. Antra AH6 260 – Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
If you thought that was an amazing welding helmet, you are definitely going to love this one by Antra. If you need a auto darkening welding helmet that can provide permanent shade from 13 to IR/UV with its passive filter, this is your best bet.
And, its fast darkening feature makes it the best auto darkening welding helmet.
3. Miller Digital Elite – Best Welding Helmet for Quality Lens
If you thought the first product had a large viewing area, boy, are you in for a treat! This one surpasses the lens size of that one and is on par with both the previous entries in terms of most of the features.
4. ESAB Sentinel A50 – Most Stylish Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The previous helmets had a similar design, very similar to the stuff you see typically. However, the ones by ESAB are a little different and slightly futuristic looking.
Not only are they futuristic looking, but they also come with high-tech features that improve your welding experience. So, why do we exactly think this is one of the best welding helmets? Let us explain our reasons.
5. 3M Speedglas – Best Welding Helmet with Side Windows
And we are back to the previous design of welding helmets, with the Speedglas 9100XXi by 3M. Let us go a bit more in-depth with the features of this incredible welder’s helmet.
6. YESWELDER – Best Welding Helmet for Clearest Optic
So you don’t mind tacky designs if it means the quality and performance of the welding helmet will be good. If that is the case, this would be the ideal one for you.
7. Hobart – Best Welding Helmet with Smart Feature
If you didn’t prefer the orange colorway of the previous one, this simple black welding helmet with equally good features should have you sold.
Why do we think it would appeal to you? Well, Hobart is well-known for producing welding gears, so we’re sure this one won’t disappoint either.
8. Jackson Safety – Best Welding Helmet for TIG Welding
If you were looking for another option that provides a 1/1/1/1 rating on clarity of vision, here it is. The HSL-100 by Jackson Safety should impress you with its lens clarity, auto-darkening, and fixed-shade filters.
9. Optrel – Best Welding Helmet for Bright & Color view
If you want to look like an astronaut while doing welding work, you’ve just got to check out the Crystal 2.0 by Optrel. Not only is the design fascinating, but the features and benefits of this welding helmet will impress you as well.
10. DEKOPRO – Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Brand
And to conclude our top 10 list, we have this amazing welding helmet by DEKOPRO. Don’t be misled by its color like the YESWELDER one we reviewed earlier. Let’s see how this one stands out.
What to Look for Before Buying?
Like most other projects, welding requires high-quality tools and gears as well. The welding helmet is the most crucial item to have in your inventory. Not only will it protect your face but also your neck and shoulders to some extent from sparks.
So, what features make such a helmet so great? By now, you probably know which features a good welding helmet comes with. But just for your sake, let’s take a trip down this buying guide and see what exactly makes those features important.
Note that not every product will come with all the features mentioned below. However, the best one from the lot will consist of the majority of them. As a result, you get to see which product from our list is worth splurging over the most.
Anyway, let’s cut this short and get right into our buying guide. Let’s hope this helps you find what you need!
An obvious no-brainer, the material used for the construction plays a big part in determining the quality of a welding helmet. You will want something flexible but strong and durable at the same time.
Most color welding helmets are usually constructed with polyamide nylon. This material is known to be very flexible and lightweight. As a result, helmets made of this material tend to be more popular among amateur welders. The lightweight design coupled with the durable structure makes it highly sought after by novices.
But the wow factors of helmets made of this material don’t make them expensive. If anything, polyamide nylon color welding helmets are very affordable. We would suggest you go for a helmet of this structure if you want quality within a tight budget.
Although not being anyone’s first choice, thermoplastic welding helmets are slowly becoming quite popular among welders. The reason for this is mainly its affordability.
In nature, thermoplastic welding helmets are lightweight, non-toxic, and portable, which makes them an ideal choice for those always on the go.
However, if we had to give our honest advice, we would recommend you refrain from purchasing such material helmets, especially if you have the budget to splurge.
As you might know, plastic can, in fact, emit fumes when coming in contact with heat. Due to direct contact with the heat and other chemicals in the factory, the fumes can become deadly enough to prove fatal to anyone. Invest a tad bit more and simply get a safer metal welding hood.
The reaction time in a color welding helmet is the time taken for the arcs to change. In short, you will want to invest in a helmet with a fast reaction time. Delay in changing arcs can be harmful to your eyes, as the shades will go through transition slowly.
But on the bright side, many color welding helmets come with adjustable reaction time controls. You can easily tweak the settings according to your preferences and work with an arc that suits you best.
The react speed, in general, ranges from a minimum of 0.1 seconds to 1.0 seconds. Novices and professionals alike usually work well with such transition speeds. However, you can go for even faster speed-changing helmets, but note that those might cost you more in comparison.
This is more important if you tend to work with high amperage all the time. The heat from sudden flashes and the sparks emitted can be quite dangerous to your eyes. Fast-changing arcs will protect welder vision, as they will react quicker in general.
Color-changing welding helmets are all the rage mainly because of their auto-darkening feature. Such a product requires little to no tweaking when working, which ultimately makes it an ideal choice in a factory.
You will want to go for a product with quick darkening lenses when in contact with flashes and sparks. A high-quality welding helmet will be able to darken its lenses the moment your hammer or tool makes contact with the metal or object in question.
We will cover more about the shade value and color for auto-darkening later below in another section.
Another feature that sets apart a high-quality welding helmet from a lesser quality one is the viewing area. Basically, this is what you will be peering out through, so you want it to be spacious enough to cover a modest surface area.
People generally go for helmets with a larger view area, which can be around 7 inches or even more. However, there is a downside to such a large display. What is that, you ask?
Well, for obvious reasons, the larger the display, the heavier the helmet will be. You will already have a lot of weight on your head and neck; a larger display will only add to that bulk.
Although professionals might not have an issue with this at all, we think beginner welders should always go for a helmet with a smaller display. A size of around 4 inches should be okay enough to handle for a first-timer. Take it as a trial helmet and purchase a bigger and better one if required later on.
A good welding helmet will allow welder clear vision with optimal clarity at all times. This feature should be high quality regardless of the lighting conditions, whether it be during the day or night.
As a general rule of thumb, helmets with a rating of EN379 are moderately better than other welding helmets on the market. This rating is a standard one, which typically specifies effectiveness and safety for consumer usage.
However, note that better clarity will not necessarily mean enhanced brightness. In fact, the two fall on different ends of the spectrum. Optical clarity defines the crispness, clearness, color correction, and illumination in a welding helmet.
In short, know that one stands to be the best on the clarity range, whereas three tends to be blurry. The 1/1/1/1 rating is one of the best for optical clarity in a color welding helmet.
What Is Auto Darkening Feature? How It Works
So, we are back with the auto-darkening feature, but this time we’ll cover it in depth. Basically, this feature means your welding helmet will change the shade of its lens to something dimmer the moment it detects light.
Nowadays, many high-quality auto darkening welding helmets come with a transition speed of about 1/25,000 per second. This transition speed is achieved by the sensor on the helmet. Most auto darkening welding helmets come with about 2-4 sensors attached to them, but four are much better in terms of safety and speed.
We suggest you go for a helmet with four sensors compared to only 2 (although being pricier), as the response time will be faster. The number of sensors can vary according to the type of welding helmet you purchase.
For example, a product with only two sensors is ideal for home usage or DIY carpentry/welding. However, 3 or 4 sensors are required for larger, industrial projects with more heat and flashes.
On the other hand, we have the light state, which is represented on a scale of 3-13. A level 3 state is very light, which is ideal for viewing the area you are working with. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the light state is, the darker your vision will be when not welding.
What Is the Clearest Welding Lens?
The quality of a welding lens should be top-tier, as it is the items that lies between the welder and the flashes/sparks on the other side. The international standard for clarity in welding lenses typically follows the EN379 standard. EN here stands for European Norm.
As we mentioned before in another section, a rating of 1/1/1/1 provides the clearest vision, whereas 3/3/3/3 is the blurriest. The tinge on the former rating is very mild, which provides users with a “clear color”.
From our reviews, the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 has one of the clearest welding lenses (1/1/1/1 rating). The product itself is ideal for industrial usage, and the lens on it only makes the welding helmet better in terms of quality and value.
The lens shade range on this helmet can be chosen from a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 13. On top of that, this helmet also has four sensors attached.
What Setting Should You Use for the Lens Shade?
According to typical market ratings, the lens shade falls on a scale of 5-13, where five is the lightest and 13 is the darkest. As a result, the lighter a shade is, the less protection your eyes will receive when coming in contact with flashes and sparks.
In our suggestion, a shade of 9 or 10 is ideal for all kinds of usage. This includes DIY welding and industrial usage. However, note that different kinds of welding will require different lens shades. For example, for plasma cutting in 400 amperes, you should go for a welding helmet with a lens shade of 13 at most.
Plasma can produce bright and dangerous sparks and flashes which only a shade of 13 can tackle the best. On the other hand, gas metal or air carbon cutting welding for amperes 500 or so will require a lens shade of 8 or 9.
What Is the Darkest Welding Shade?
The darkest welding shade is 13, which is ideal for intense welding processes such as plasma arc cutting, ARC air-cutting, etc. Less intense welding, such as for electrodes or MAG, requires lens shades of 8-9, which can sometimes extend to 12 as well.
We suggest going for dark welding shades from the get-go, as they will protect welder eyes the most. You can set your welding helmet to this shade when working with amperes ranging from a minimum of 250 to a maximum of 500. Try not to go any lower than this, or you can cause severe harm to your vision.
Other times, working with a lens shade of 10 is not bad either, as it typically falls in the middle. With this level, your view will not be as dark as a 13, but also not light enough to harm your eyes.
What Is the Minimum Shade Value When Arc Welding?
For metal arc welding or even brazing, the minimum shade value should be around seven only. This is ideal for an arc current of 60 or even less. At the same time, the size of the electrode will be three or less than three. The electrode size for arc welding is more or less always measured in 1/32 inches.
On the other hand, welder can also opt for an increased shade value when arc welding. For this, the typical level chosen is usually 8 or 10. The arc current, in this case, falls between 160 and 250. Electrode size will be around eight only.
Next, we have plasma arc welding, which consists of a shade value of 11 for an arc current of 800. 11 is the highest here. Note that you need to always have goggles or some other kind of protective eye-shield on when arc welding.
Choose the Right Lens Reaction Time
Did you know that with an increase in working temperature, the reaction time of your helmet can decrease? This is exactly why you need to invest in a welding helmet that comes with a swift reaction time.
High-quality brands will manufacture their products with a transition speed that works within 1/25,000 of a second! This speed is ideal for working in hot temperatures, as even the decreased speed would stand at 1/20,000 per second. That is still pretty quick if you ask us.
If you are short on budget and need an entry-level welding helmet only, then going for something with a reaction time of 1/16,000 or 1/10,000 will not be a bad deal either.
However, make sure to purchase from a trustworthy brand or dealer. Many manufacturers tend to dupe customers by stating a fake reaction time on the product.
In conclusion, the faster you want your color welding helmet to be, the more expensive it will be. But the price range here really makes up for the comfort your eyes will receive by the end of the process.
Sure, cheaper products will save you a ton of cash, but helmets with slower reaction time will leave your eyes dry and scratchy in the long run.
Adjustable Sensitivity and Delay Controls
The sensitivity is the amount of light your helmet will take in when working. As a result, the more light perceived, the darker your viewing area will become. Many high-quality color welding helmets allow adjusting the sensitivity and delay controls to your own requirements now.
This is ideal for those who mainly work outdoors, as the lighting outside can dim and brighten as the day goes. Pair that up with the flashes of the welding process itself, and you will receive a super sensitive welding helmet.
Here, being able to adjust the sensitivity will give you some control over the product and your welding process as well.
On the other hand, we have the delay controls in a welding helmet. This feature will let you adjust the darkening feature or shade level of the lens after you weld. You can delay the controls by a few seconds only, which range from 0.5 to 2 seconds at most.
Users can tweak the controls according to their project size. For example, you can delay the darkening feature by 2 seconds if your project is a large one and you need more time to view it in its clear color. This will also let your eyes adjust to the natural lighting much easily in-between welding.
Why Is Optical Clarity Important While Welding?
The optical clarity is one of the most important features a good color welding helmet can come with. This is what will allow your eyes to maintain clear vision while working while also protecting them from outside flashes.
But how is it any different than the lens then? Well, for starters, optical clarity is simply not just the brightness of the lens. In fact, the optical clarity of a welding helmet combines the illumination and color correction produced.
A lens will simply dim and brighten your view according to the shade level it has and its own darkening features. However, optical clarity is what allows you to see things crystal clearly.
This feature is also what provides your eyes with the most real and true image formed on the other side of the welding helmet. Alongside that, proper color correction will feature a mild yet protective green tinge on the screen whenever light hits the arc.
As we mentioned previously in this article (many times at that!), the standard clarity level should be 1/1/1/1. This level is clear and holds the true color of the welding process. However, a level of 3/3/3/3 will be blurry and have a lot of green tinge to it, which can ultimately distort your view.
How to Pick a Welding Power Source
Choosing the right power source for your welding process is crucial. In fact, this also plays a great part in determining how thoroughly and smoothly your final welded piece is.
You will probably not be using your welding helmet for any over-the-top project in your garage (or backyard). A moderate (DC) power source of 100 amps with FCAW (Flux-cored arc welding) directly provided from the outlet will work best in cutting through the metal of ¼ inches in thickness.
The maximum voltage for this will be approximately 120V only. On the other hand, you can ramp this up to 240V if you wish to try welding thicker metal projects.
For Industrial Welders
Those welding in an industrial factory generally works with GMAW (Gas-metal arc welding) or GTAW (Gas-tungsten arc welding). Using a direct current (DC) of 240V (dual-voltage machine is ideal) is recommended in this scenario.
This power source will allow welder to easily cut or weld through the metal of ¾ inches in thickness. We recommend you stick to this voltage level, especially if you are working with a plasma cutter. Make sure to opt for a dual-voltage machine instead of a singular one.
Does Welding Ruin Your Eyes?
Unfortunately, welding can be really dangerous for the eyes, regardless of whether you wear a helmet or not. However, a good protective shield can reduce the severity of the damage, which isn’t possible without a welding helmet.
Welding, in general, combines different types of radiation on the spectrum. This usually includes infrared and UV rays as well. The most common eye damage that occurs is something called “Welder’s Flash”.
Symptoms include very painful and dry eyes, bloodshot corneas, as well as blurred and yellowing vision. However, the fortunate thing with this damage is that it is reversible. But it will take a long time to recover, and the yellowing might be persistent even afterward.
This is because the damage is usually done to both your lens and the cornea. Other kinds of eye damage are not due to radiation or light waves but because of flashes and burns. The harsh sparks can easily burn your eyes and blind you permanently if you do not have a shield on.
Unfortunately, unlike Welder’s Flash, injury due to intense sparks and flames is not irreversible in most cases. But you can avoid all of these damages simply by wearing a good-quality welding hood.
How to Reduce Eye Strain
Getting medical help from professionals can put you on the right path to recovery. Talk to an ophthalmologist and get the proper meds prescribed. On the other hand, you can also fasten the recovery process right from the comfort of your home.
Keep Eyes Covered
Put a bandage or soft clothing over your eyes and let them rest for a day or two straight. The darkness, in contrast to the bright flashes for a change, will relax your eye muscles and let them recover slowly, yet gradually.
Don’t Wear Contact Lenses
If you wear contact lenses every day, try to give that some time off as well and stick to spectacles. Remember to go for a check-up every once in a while and keep your doctor well informed about your recovery process.
Use Tear Drops
You should also use artificial tear drops every now and then, as that will keep your eyes hydrated throughout the day.
What Causes Welder’s Flash?
If you weld regularly or even have welded once in your life, you know how the sparks and flashes from welding can be. Sometimes, this becomes a bit too dangerous, and the UV light may reach your eyes.
This causes a flash burn, which is commonly known as ‘Arc Eye’ or ‘Welder’s Flash’. Generally, “Welder’s Flash” may be caused by looking at direct sunlight, or maybe a reflection of the sun on any reflective surface, and from welding torches.
While welding, if you are not careful and don’t use protective gears for that, you may be at risk of getting “Welder’s Flash”.
Due to this risk, it is quintessential that you opt for a helmet or welding mask that provides the best UV/IR radiation protection.
Not only will getting this kind of welding helmet to protect you from Welder’s Flash, but it also protects your face from the issues these radiations may cause. Lucky for you, most of the products we have chosen for you offer UV and IR radiation protection.
This works because the lens will automatically darken itself so that the luminosity from the welding torch is decreased. This results in a more soothing brightness, allowing you to stay safe from the UV and IR rays of the torch.