How Do Welding Helmets Work & Why Do You Need One?

While welding might seem like an easy and task, there is a lot involved in the process as it entails joining metal together through the effective use of heat and pressure. As such, it is important to take precautionary measures to ensure not only your safety but also the safety of others. Whether you're a professional welder or a novice, it is always a good idea to use gear that will protect your eyes and head while working. There are a variety of welding accessories like goggles, scarfs, and helmets, for example, designed to help you in this regard. While all of these welding precautions can keep you safe on the job, a welding helmet is by far the most important.

What is a Welding Helmet?

A welding helmet is a form of headgear designed to protect the head and eyes from sparks. Considering that most head and eye injuries are caused by sparks and ultraviolet rays, which generally occurs during welding or while using a plasma cutting machine, they are worth the investment.

Risks of Not Wearing a Welding Helmet

So what are the downsides of not wearing a welding helmet, you ask? Well, welding is a job predicated on precision and good eyesight; without eye protection, you could risk damaging your cornea, which could lead to irreparable eye damage and vision loss. Also, a welding helmet can protect your hair from being burned during the welding process.

How to Choose the Right Welding Helmet

As with most things, there are several different options available when it comes to choosing the right welding helmet. Some of the more popular options include Auto-darkening helmets that do not require you to flip open a view lid as lighting conditions change or to clear view a person or an object. These types of helmets are a godsend to most welders as they allow them to avoid neck strain and work more efficiently.

Regular Lens Helmets

Regular lens helmets are obviously not as effective as auto-darkening helmets; however, they do offer valuable head and eye protection. Ideally, these helmets are better suited for beginners and those who are uncertain about a long-term career in welding.

Variable Shade Helmets

Variable shade helmets are those that allow welders to manually adjust the viewing space of their helmets. In most cases, darkness can be toggled on a scale of 5 to 13 depending on the helmet. These helmets are ideal for welders who have to endure frequent changes in lighting conditions and need to increase or decrease shading in the process. Fix shade helmets are the least expensive choice in helmets; although they do offer some protection, they are usually not the first choice for most professional welders.

Check out our blog post about the Top 5 Best Welding Helmets of 2021

Welding Safety & Comfort

Although this article has primarily focused on welding safety, it is important to choose a welding helmet that is comfortable to wear. This is especially important if you will be working for several hours at a time. Fortunately, many of today's helmets offer a range of viewing sizes to satisfy even the most demanding welder.

It is important to note that a large viewing size can help a welder perform his or her job better in that it provides more peripheral vision, which is helpful on large scale projects.

Auto-Darkening Helmets

In addition to more viewing options, many auto-darkening helmets now allow welders to set delays on their helmets, which increase or decrease the amount of time it takes to lighten or darken their helmets. This is a tremendous benefit for those using plasma cutting machines and those needing to quickly lighten or darken their helmets before and after a welding job.

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