Auto-darkening welding lenses protect your eyes from harmful spatter, specks, and radiations while you are welding. Auto-darkening welding lenses also provide protection against harmful radiations. Welding helmets with light-sensitive lenses give you full-coverage protection against all types of welding and plasma applications.
The best auto-darkening welding lens helmet should have multi-stage sensors (for maximum coverage), quick reaction time, decent viewing size, flexible delay settings, impressive optical quality, and adjustable sensitivity controls (Source).
Unlike Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) in TVs, auto-darkening welding lenses use the same crystals but with a monochromatic display. This lens uses its three primary elements: a polarization filter, UV/IR filter, and a liquid crystal wall to lower the display format.
When you switch on an auto-darkening welding glass, the UV/IR panel filters the light from the welding sparks to remove harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation. The filtered light then passes through the polarization panel that darkens the light.
Finally, the liquid crystal cell turns the passing light at a 90-degree angle to protect the eyes, as the photosensors (present in the welding helmet) trigger these individual panels to do their jobs (Source).
There are two types of auto-darkening lenses – fixed and variable. The former includes only one dark shade, whereas the latter provides you with an adjustable setting for choosing the shades.
In this product guide, we’ll give you an insight into the best auto-darkening welding lenses with helmets. With our top picks, you will have appropriate protection, versatility, and productivity during your welding operations.
What is the Best Auto Darkening Welding Lens?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Best Auto Darkening Welding Lens?
- 2 What is an Auto-Darkening Welding Lens?
- 3 Comparing the Top 5 Products
- 4 1. Antra Welding Helmet AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Wide Shade – Best Overall
- 5 2. Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet, Black, 3350 Series – Most Adjustable Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
- 6 3. Neiko 53847A Industrial Grade Welding Helmet with Flip Lens – The Most Affordable Model
- 7 4. DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding Helmet Auto Darkening Hood with Adjustable Shade Range Welder Mask – Solar-Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- 8 5. YESWELDER True Color Solar Power – Welding Helmet with Extended Battery Life
- 9 Before Choosing an Auto Darkening Welding Lens
- 10 How Do Auto Darkening Welding Lenses Work?
- 11 Use a Welding Helmet For Your Next Welding Project
The best auto darkening welding lens is the Antra Helmet AH6-260-0000, due to its smart chip sensor. Additionally, it contains interference suppression technology which reduces false triggering that comes from strong sunlight.
What is an Auto-Darkening Welding Lens?
The various types of welding lenses are primarily designed to protect your eyes from the range of radiations edited in the process of welding. However, auto-darkening welding lenses are rather unique; having been designed to get darker automatically when exposed to bright light.
Auto-darkening g lenses come in several shades that are triggered to turn dark by different welding arcs. It should protect you from the harmful welding arc, which can reach up to 10,000 F. Again, the best auto darkening welding lenses should also protect you from the spatter.
The bright light associated with welding will activate the auto-darkening filter (ADF), in a few milliseconds, causing it to adjust its shade automatically.
Comparing the Top 5 Products
|Antra Welding Helmet AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Wide Shade|
|Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet, Black, 3350 Series|
|Neiko 53847A Industrial Grade Welding Helmet with Flip Lens|
|DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding Helmet Auto Darkening Hood with Adjustable Shade Range Welder Mask|
|YESWELDER True Color Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet|
1. Antra Welding Helmet AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Wide Shade – Best Overall
This is further enhanced by the innovative Interference Suppression Technology by the manufacturer. The technology is specifically designed to prevent false triggering of the lens by bright sunlight or fluorescent lights.
The welding g helmet features a passive filter with Permanent shade 13 to UV/IR, which is coiled to a double-layered auto-dimming LCD shutter. All this allows for an accurate shade range of 4/5-9/9-13 to visible lights.
Offering a full-neck coverage, you will also love the highly-responsive detection and shade control capabilities offered by the lens. It is also fitted with a convenient external grinding switch for when you want to switch from welding to grinding application.
2. Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet, Black, 3350 Series – Most Adjustable Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
It is equipped with four arc sensors, offering a responsive time of 1/25,000 seconds. The solar-powered lens has a TIG AMP Rating of 2A. It is also fitted with ADF Controls Knobs and is fitted with 4C(TM) Lens Technology for enhanced Optical Clarity.
This Lincoln auto-darkening lens with a helmet will allow you to select your preferred level of sensitivity, within a range of DIN 6 to 13. For improved optical clarity, the model is fitted with Viking auto-darkening cartridges.
These cartridges are rated some of the best for the diffusion of light, angle dependence of luminous transmittance, and luminous transmittance within its class. All these features are meant to offer you unmatched crystal-clear clarity at all times. Additionally, you will also like its wide viewing are of 3.74in x 3.34in.
3. Neiko 53847A Industrial Grade Welding Helmet with Flip Lens – The Most Affordable Model
Despite being an affordable option, the helmet is very reliable, as far as performance and safety are concerned. The built-in-in passive viewing lens on the helmet will give you total protection from infrared and ultraviolet light. The flip lens features an attached magnifying glass to enlarge small objects that need to be welded.
It comes with a two-way adjustable headband. The headband allows you to make flexible adjustments for improved comfort and fit. Its large viewing area offers clear work visibility.
The viewing lens on this helmet measures 2 x 4 1/4 inches. This wide field of view allows you to see more area thus produce quality and precise welding results, as compared to using a standard-sized viewing lens.
4. DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding Helmet Auto Darkening Hood with Adjustable Shade Range Welder Mask – Solar-Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
You will also like the fact that it meets ANSIZ87.1-2010 and EN3794/9-13 safety standards. For enhanced versatility, this Dekopro auto-darkening variable welding helmet allows for manual adjustment of the lens sensitivity and delay period.
These make it adaptable to an array of environment and welding task durations. It will also offer you better visibility and color recognition, with its DIN4 light filtration level.
In addition to its relatively large viewing angle, the lens is efficient at light diffusion, a variation of luminous transmittance, and angular dependence. This allows you to have a clear visor view at different welding angles. The headgear is also lightweight, and adjustable, hence comfortable to wear for extended periods.
5. YESWELDER True Color Solar Power – Welding Helmet with Extended Battery Life
Upgrading the auto-darkening welding helmet with True Color technology has been proven to preserve the 1-1-1-2 optical clarity the model is known for.
Additionally, the upgrade improves visibility by reducing the lime green tint of the lens. Such aspects make the welding helmet suited for a myriad of welding applications, including TIG MIG MMA, and Plasma Applications.
The helmet may also be used for grinding applications. It is fitted with you premium sensors, by still offers extended battery life.
The wide view screen on the helmet will give you a full range of vision, in relation to the area you are welding or grinding. It comes with an oversized headgear that is adjustable for optimal comfort.
Before Choosing an Auto Darkening Welding Lens
As compared to passive lens welding helmets, auto-darkening welding lenses have an assortment of benefits to offer. For instance, the auto-darkening lens welding helmet will remain in position the entire time, before, during and after that weld.
This has been proven to be convenient as the welder will not have to remove and put on the helmet every now and then. To recap the very best of benefits associated with such welding protective gear, you just have to choose the right one.
Here are the main considerations you should make while shopping for the best auto-darkening welding lens helmet:
Auto-Darkening Lens Type
Auto-darkening welding lenses may be classified as variable or fixed lenses based on their flexibility in action.
These are the two main lenses types you should consider:
- Fixed Auto-Darkening Welding Lenses
Fixed auto-darkening welding lenses are only capable of adjusting to one-darkness shade, following exposure to bright light.
For instance, most of the leading fixed auto-darkening lenses are only capable of darkening to a #10 shade, regardless of the arc they are exposed to. Fixed lenses are often added to passive welding helmets.
These are preferred for their affordability and most of them are known to be very effective at protecting the eyes while welding. They are suited for welders who often work on similar materials of almost the same thickness, and that require similar welding processes.
This alone makes the fixed lenses suited for DIY welders who often work on projects with limited amperage ranges.
- Variable Auto-Darkening Welding Lenses
Similar to the fixed lenses discussed above, the best variable auto-darkening welding lenses are also designed to darken their shade when exposed to a welding arc. However, the variable lens models are capable of automatically adjusting to different shades, so as to offer you the best view of the puddle.
Most of the leading variable auto-darkening welding lens models are capable of adjusting to between #9 and #13 shades automatically. The darkening shade the lens adopts is determined by the brightness of the welding arc it has been exposed to.
Such welding lenses are best suited for professionals that constantly engage in different welding processes, such as MIG, Stick, and TIG.
Number of Sensors
The amount of coverage offered by an auto-darkening lens mainly depends on the number of sensors it has. This will particularly come in handy during out-of-position welding applications.
Most of the best auto-darkening helmet models have between two and four sensors. The lenses that feature two sensors are suited for DIY enthusiasts and beginners.
If you are looking for an industrial-grade auto-darkening welding helmet, it is advisable to get one with more sensors, at least four.
More sensors are particularly beneficial in applications in which one of the sensors is blocked from the view of the welding arc. More sensors will also give you a clearer line of sight whenever you are welding.
This refers to the amount of time the lens takes to detect a welding arc and change from the natural light shade, usually #3 or #4, to a darker shade. It is always advisable to get one that offers a faster reaction time for enhanced eye protection from the harmful rays.
Most of the entry-level lens models have a reaction time of about 1/3,600 of a second. Such lenses are only suited for light-duty and often DIY applications. For professional-grade professional applications, you will need a lens that reacts faster than this.
In this case, you should get a model that offers a reaction speed of between 1/10,000 and 1/20,000 second. Faster reaction time will curb exposure of the eyes to the harmful rays produced while welding.
The right auto-darkening welding lens size will mainly depend on the much your welding tasks will be out of position. It will also, to some extent, depend on your personal preferences. Most of the leading brands offer varying lens sizes, ranging from 6 to 9 square inches.
The large3r the lens, the more the area you will be able to see from behind the lens. If you will be doing a lot of out-of-position welding tasks, a larger viewing window will come in handy. Larger lens sizes are also useful when welding at odd angles.
Adjustable Delay Settings
This will determine how long the lens will remain dark after the welding arc has stopped. For added versatility, it is advisable to get a lens that allows you to choose your preferred delay period.
A short delay will allow for faster welding and is particularly beneficial tack welding on a large project. A longer delay, on the other hand, will come in handy whenever you are welding at high amperages. Since the molten metal may still emit harmful rays, a longer delay is better suited.
You also need to check the optical rating on your preferred auto-darkening welding helmet. It is often expressed using a series of four digits, such as 1/1/1/1.
The numbers denote the accuracy of vision, diffusion of light, consistent shade, and angular dependence of the lens. Higher quality is always better, but will also cost more.
Adjustable Sensitivity Settings
A good number of the variable auto-darkening welding helmets are fitted with adjustable sensitivity controls.
These controls are meant to regulate the amount of brightness of the welding arc that is supposed to trigger the darkening process.
Sensitivity controls are particularly useful when welding at low amperages. For instance, the welding arc in TIG welding is not as bright as is the case with other types of welding. In such an application, you need to adjust the lens to lower sensitivity levels.
How Do Auto Darkening Welding Lenses Work?
In most cases, an auto-darkening welding lens is essentially a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen.
The only difference between these welding lenses and the LCDs used on monitors and TVs is that the auto-darkening lenses are monochrome.
In its design, the darkening lens features three main elements: a liquid crystal cell, IR/UV filter, and a polarization filter.
The first layer features a thin glass substrate with several metallic layers of silver and aluminum oxide.
This is layer is meant to filter out UV/IR radiation, reflecting about 99.9% of the UV/IR rays, even in its inactive state. The liquid crystal cell then twists the incoming light to an angle of 90 degrees.
In its inactive state, the liquid crystal cell lies flat. They are normally activated by electricity and some of the best models will even allow you to adjust the light-bending angle. The leading auto-darkening welding lens models have at least two polarizing filters.
Situated on the side closer to the eyes, the two polarization filters are arranged in the same orientation. In the inactive state, the liquid crystals in between the filters bend the light to 90 degrees. So when ADL is switched off, the lens stays in a dark shade of #5 to #6.
You may think of the polarization filters as a safety feature that will protect the eyes, in case the ADL lens fails. After activation, the liquid crystal panel will untwist the light waves, causing the shade to drop to shade #3.
When Struck, the welding arc will activate the lens sensors, causing the liquid crystal panel to turn the light. This will darken the lens to the predetermined shade level.
Use a Welding Helmet For Your Next Welding Project
Continued exposure to the bright welding arc can lead o an array of eye complications. An auto-darkening welding lens is designed to automatically adjust its shade following exposure to a welding arc.
In order to get the required level of protection, it is advisable for you to choose carefully. Like the five helmets reviewed above, the right auto-darkening lens should offer a short reaction time, optical quality and viewing area size.
A model with adjustable sensitivity and delay settings will also come in handy. And, in the event, you need to separate spot-welded panels, consider buying a quality spot weld cutter.
Investing in more protective accessories? Check out our reviews of top bluetooth hearing protection to protect your ears while you handle power tools for your work or hobby.
Finally, consider buying a welding jacket to protect yourself during a welding job.