Do you want to buy a welding mask but you are undecided on which model to choose? Do not worry, in our guide you will find all the useful information to choose the mask that best suits your needs. If, on the other hand, you don’t have time to read the insights, you can jump directly to the section with the reviews of the seven welding helmets most appreciated by buyers, professionals and non-professionals. The models that have been most successful are the Deko Deep Sea IDL02 , a mask for hobby use with an excellent quality-price ratio, and the Telwin Vantage Red , produced by the well-known Italian company and appreciated for its versatility.
7 Best Welding Helmets for Beginners [2022 Updated ]
Below, in order of importance, here are the seven welding helmets currently most in demand on the market. As usual, the best-selling are those of the hobby range, but there are also professional models.
1. Deko Deep Sea IDL02 professional solar powered helmet
According to the opinions of numerous satisfied buyers, the Deko Deep Sea is one of the best welding helmets of 2021, among those available in the medium-low price range. It is in fact an integral model similar to the much more expensive high-end professional helmets.
We are talking about a self-darkening welding mask that is powered by a small photovoltaic solar panel placed immediately under the protective screen, so as to be able to convert the light produced by the welding arc into energy. The adjustment takes place automatically, thanks to four integrated sensors, and the transition of the screen from light to dark takes just 1/25000 of a second.
The Deep Sea is also quite light in spite of its size, just under 500 grams, and is adjustable to adapt to the operator’s measurements; the only flaw is that in TIG welding the darkening of the screen occurs more slowly.
Automatic: The screen is darkened automatically, thanks to the four sensors integrated into the mask. The screen darkening time is extremely fast but the type of soldering could affect its reactivity.
Convenient: Apart from the low weight, which is just under 500 grams, it can also be adjusted to adapt perfectly to the size of the operator’s head; consequently it also offers a high comfort of use.
Solar Power: The screen is powered by a 3V CR2450 lithium battery, which has a lifespan of 5,000 hours, but is also supported by a photovoltaic panel for solar power.
TIG: The screen darkens very quickly when MIG welding is performed, but with TIG welding its reactivity is lower and darkening occurs more slowly and gradually.
2. Telwin Vantage Red XL 802936 automatic welding screen
The Telwin Vantage Red XL welding mask is another extremely popular model thanks to the performance offered and the quality it possesses; it is slightly more expensive than the Deko, but the fact that it is produced by an Italian company expert in the sector of welding systems and related accessories places it among the best-selling models.
In comparison to the Deko, moreover, the Telwin Vantage Red XL is also much more beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, with better attention to detail and finishes. It is suitable as a shield for MMA, MIG, MAG, TIG welding and for grinding work; like the Deko, moreover, it is equipped with sensors, photovoltaic solar panel and darkly automatic adjustable according to the type of welding to be shielded from.
The only flaw is represented by the cost, which is advantageous only for welders who have to make frequent and intensive use.
Telwin Brand: The Citadel of Welding, as the Telwin complex is known, is known and appreciated all over the world. The Vantage Red XL is therefore a very good quality welding helmet.
Versatile: The screen of the Vantage Red XL is suitable for shielding from different types of welds; therefore it is suitable both for those who weld with MMA electrode and for those who work more with MIG-MAG and TIG welding.
Automatic: Darkening occurs automatically as soon as the bow strikes, so there is no need to raise and lower the mask every time. It is also equipped with sensors and solar panel.
Price: Considering that it is a Telwin welding mask, the price is well proportioned to the quality, but it is already less accessible for a novice welder.
3. GYS Spaceview welding helmet LCD 040717 size XXL
Among the various professional welding helmets sold online in the medium-low range of the market, the GYS Spaceview is also among the most requested thanks to its visibility qualities. It is a welding mask equipped with an LCD screen, like those examined above, but the latter is characterized above all by very large dimensions, measuring XXL in fact.
The Spaceview helmet is adjustable both in terms of head measurements and darkening, in order to optimize the shielding according to the type of work to be performed. It is also equipped with four light sensors and is powered in a combined way by a CR2032 battery and two small solar panels placed above and below the protective screen.
The GYS Spaceview is suitable for shielding from TIG, MIG, MAG and MMA welding, as well as from grinding or cutting operations performed with tungsten discs.
Visibility: The XXL-sized screen ensures excellent visibility; the field of view offered by the panel, in fact, measures 100 x 93 millimeters, so it has a width greater than even the Telwin mask.
Adjustable: The GYS Spaceview mask can be adjusted both in terms of sensitivity and time and for the type of welding to be performed. The blanking speed is just one thousandth of a second.
Versatile: Also this mask can be used to shield the view from different types of welding, TIG, MIG-MAG and MMA, and from grinding operations performed with the flex or other tools equipped with tungsten discs.
Price: According to some it is a bit too expensive because, despite the good characteristics, the manufacturing materials are not that great and the mask is made of 90% plastic.
4. 3M Speedglas 100 series high amperage welding helmet
If you are looking for where to buy a new welding helmet for hobby use, but do not trust the models sold at low prices, then you would do well to take a look at the 3M Speedglas 100 series welding helmet.
It is a mask equipped with a protective shield for those who perform high amperage welding, so apart from MMA electrode welding it is also suitable for TIG, MIG and MAG welding. Being a 3M product it is of superior quality compared to the solder masks examined above, and the cost also shows it; the blackout filters are variable from 8 to 12 and the blackout speed is just one thousandth of a second.
The mask is certified according to the European standard EN 175: B, moreover it is also prepared for the mounting of magnifying glasses, by means of a support integrated in the welding screen.
Superior quality: The Speedglas 100 series is a product of the American multinational 3M, as such it is characterized by a quality and performance level above the average.
Versatile: It can be safely used both for grinding and for welding, the latter both at low and high amperage, therefore electrode welding MMA, MIG, MAG and TIG.
Screen: Apart from the cutting-edge features related to blackout filters, the screen is also prepared for mounting magnifiers with factors from x1.0 to x3.0; the lenses are to be purchased separately though.
Price: Unfortunately the cost makes it not very accessible for hobbyists, but its performances are clearly superior to those of cheap welding helmets.
5. Spargo self-darkening protective mask for TIG cutting and welding
The cheapest model, among all those examined in our guide, is this TIG welding mask produced by the Spargo company, and is mainly recommended for hobby and do-it-yourself use.
Apart from the reduced price, its dimensions are also extremely compact, and in fact it has the typical design of “goggles”, that is, of the classic protective goggles.
The screen has a field of view of 92 x 42 mm and offers protection from UV and IR rays, it also has an additional lens to shield the eyes during grinding operations. The filter is automatically adjusted from 9 to 13 DIN, depending on the intensity of the arc, and is powered by a small solar panel.
The Spargo is especially appreciated by hobbyist welders and beginners, not only for its low cost but also for its compact size and lightness, which make it very comfortable to use.
Price: The cost of the Spargo welding mask is nothing short of negligible but despite everything it is a good quality product suitable for those who have no particular needs and prefer to save money.
Filter: Apart from shielding from intense light, the Spargo filter also offers protection against the extreme radiations of the spectrum, therefore against infrared and ultraviolet rays, in order to offer complete protection to the eyes.
Compact and Lightweight: The “goggles” design makes it very light and extremely comfortable to use, as it leaves the head uncovered and only shields the eyes.
Only for DIY: The characteristics of the Spargo mask are good, but it is still an economic product. It is only recommended for occasional use and do-it-yourself.
6. 3M Speedglas 9100 MP con filtro XXI e Versa Flo V500E
The Speedglas 9100 MP is the best welding helmet of all the ones we have reviewed, but it only ranks sixth as it is a very expensive niche product.
The 9100 MP, in fact, is a welding mask with integrated Versa Flo V500E respirator, and like the Speedglas 100 series seen above, it is produced by the well-known American multinational 3M. It is at the top of the range in all respects, starting with the screen equipped with the XXI protection filter, which in addition to being self-darkening is also distinguished by the extra large field of vision, for the improved optical properties and for a clearer and clearer vision. detailed, even in the color rendering.
It is intended for welders who work at high altitudes or where environmental conditions are extreme, in fact it is also equipped with a particulate filter and designed to mount the gas filter.
3M: The products of the American multinational 3M are all characterized by a high level of quality and performance, and the Speedglas 9100 MP is no exception to the rule. In fact it is at the top of the range among welding helmets.
Improved vision: The field of view of the mask is enlarged on the sides, in order to increase and improve peripheral vision during work; the screen also offers a sharper rendering of details and colors.
Respirator: In addition to the protective screen, the Speedglas 9100 MP is also designed for connection to both electro-ventilated and compressed air powered respirators.
Price: The cost of this mask may seem stratospheric, but it is a top of the range product, intended exclusively for professionals in the field of welding, used to working in extreme environments and conditions.
7. Lincoln Electric K-3282-CE Viking 1740 series welding helmet
The last mask examined is also a professional model, but unlike the 3M examined previously, the Viking welding mask stands out for a far more accessible price, even if still proportionate to the quality of the product.
Produced by Lincoln Electric, an American multinational specialized in the production of welding equipment and related accessories, it is equipped with an auto-darkening screen, variable internal control from 9 to 13 DIN, dimming, sensitivity and delay adjustment, as well as the function grinding.
It is equipped with sensors and photovoltaic solar cells, which together with two replaceable AAA alkaline batteries provide its power supply. The package also includes two internal and five external replacement lenses, plus a series of stickers to customize the mask to your liking. Magnifying glasses are also available as an option to be purchased separately.
Professional: The Viking mask is also a product intended for professional welders, with an ideal level of shielding for those who spend at least five days a week welding.
Lightweight: It weighs just under 500 grams and can be adjusted to the wearer’s head size; its comfort of use is therefore very high, and it does not cause excessive discomfort even wearing it for hours.
Customizable: Apart from the spare glasses for the screen, the package also contains a series of stickers that allow you to customize the mask according to your tastes, or to make it easily distinguishable.
Field of view: Despite the helmet design and high price, the screen’s field of view is smaller than that of masks of similar design and size.
How to choose the best welding helmets
Pay attention to the mask requirements
To understand how to choose a good welding mask, you must first have a clear idea of the type of welds you want to perform, and this clarification is especially beneficial for hobbyists and novice welders.
In fact, the masks, in addition to acting as protection devices, also allow to maintain visual contact with the pieces to be welded, so as not to make mistakes and jeopardize the work; in this case, therefore, the price is not the only factor to determine which welding mask to buy, but you must pay particular attention to the DIN values, which indicate the filter’s darkening capacity, and then to the structural characteristics of the mask, which can be integral or reduced only to the shape of goggles.
The degree of darkening
As for prices, these can vary from a minimum of 20-25 up to a maximum of 1,300 euros and more, depending on the model chosen. The price is indicative not only of the quality, but also of the characteristics of the mask even if, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, only in a relative way.
The type of filter mounted on the mask, and the technology used, are the most important factors in determining the type of usability of the mask; in fact, the darkening can be more or less intense, fixed or adjustable. For the degree of darkening it is necessary to refer to the DIN value possessed by the filter mounted on the mask, which can be fixed or variable depending on the case.
The value expressed, and therefore the intensity of the darkening, is strictly linked to the type of welding; the greater the amperage of the welding current, in fact, the more intense the light produced by the arc will be. Just to give a practical example, therefore, a filter with a DIN 8 value is limited to low amperage welds, no more than 70 A, while a filter with a DIN 11 value allows welding with an output current of up to 200 Amps.
In the cheaper range, therefore, there are both goggles and integral welding masks with a fixed DIN at 11 and those with a variable DIN from 5 to 12, therefore both types ensure a certain versatility of use and the possibility of welding. with an output current not exceeding 300 Ampere (DIN 12); in the medium-high range, on the other hand, there are welding masks equipped with filters with variable DIN up to a value of 13, which allows welding with an output current greater than 300 Amps.
Professional welding helmets
The price of a good welding mask intended for hobby and artisanal use, therefore, rarely exceeds 130-150 euros; and at the top of this price range you can also find excellent masks intended for professional use, even if with basic performance.
The high-performance professional welding masks, on the other hand, have a price ranging from 150 to 300 euros at least, except for the specific models that are also equipped with a respirator.
The latter, in fact, can easily exceed € 1,000, as previously mentioned; but these are in fact specific masks intended for particular professional fields, they are therefore niche products and, as such, little requested by the wider range of users, made up of hobbyists and professionals who have no needs of this kind.
What is the solder mask used for?
Welding masks are protective devices that serve to protect the operator’s eyes during work. The filter of the mask shields the eyes both from the light intensity generated by the arc, which varies according to the amperage used, and from the ultraviolet and infrared radiation of the spectrum.
The eyes are obviously the most important part of the body to protect during welding but depending on the type of mask used, the protection is also extended to the skin of the face and the respiratory tract. In fact, during welding, in addition to the generation of intense light by the electric arc, occasional splashes of molten metal ejected from the weld pool can be produced; Furthermore, the melting of the metal also produces fumes which, depending on the welded alloy, can be more or less harmful to the human body.
The use of the mask is therefore essential, both for a matter of health and for the correct execution of the welds, as the intense light produced by the arc would end up dazzling the operator and preventing him from maintaining the view on the parts to be welded. .
What is the difference between welding goggles and goggles?
Both masks and welding goggles can be found on the market. The difference between the two protective devices, apart from the purely structural aspect, is given by the fact that the glasses are limited exclusively to eye protection.
It is therefore a type of mask suitable only for hobbyists, especially those who use the welding system for very short and only occasional jobs, and consequently do not have the need to buy a more performing but also more expensive mask.
How to use a solder mask
How the solder mask works
These important accessories have undergone significant improvements over time, also integrating new technologies. Let’s see how they have changed and how they work.
The most important personal protective equipment for a welder is the mask that protects the eyes and face. The potential risks to which this category of workers is exposed, in fact, are the cause of a wide range of disorders that can cause acute and even chronic effects. These are caused both by the toxic fumes produced by the molten metal and by the intense light generated by the electric arc, and mainly affect the eyes and respiratory tract.
Protecting oneself from these risks, therefore, is a matter of primary importance, especially for professionals; one of the first devices developed for this purpose was the mask. Originally it was a simple protective screen for the face in which a window was created where a perpetually darkened glass was inserted that allowed the welder to keep his eyes fixed on the joint while working.
Technological evolution has also brought about great changes in this field, and the new generation welding masks have a series of features that have made it possible to increase both their efficiency and the level of comfort during use.
The first welding masks were very coarse, and could not even be worn but had to be held in front of the face with one hand, by means of a handle integrated into them, as a sort of real “shield”.
This requirement was dictated by the fact that the glass plate had a fixed darkening, so as soon as the voltaic arc was interrupted it was necessary to move the mask to be able to see the state of the joint; the welder, therefore, was forced to perform a real ballet, holding the mask with the left and the electrode holder with the right, and coordinating the movements he had to alternate between welding and pauses to visually check its progress .
The first change was made when the masks with adjustable straps were adopted, which allow the operator to wear them and thus have both hands free to perform the work. The mask was connected to the straps by means of bearing joints that allowed it to be raised and lowered, like the concealment of a helmet. Even in this case, however, the operator was forced to perform this movement with one hand quite frequently, in order to regain visibility and be able to check the state of the joint.
The maximum level of evolution of fixed darkening masks was reached when bearing joints with automatic movement were introduced; with this type of masks, in fact, a quick nod of the head is enough to raise and lower the protective screen.
Fixed-darkening masks and goggles
Although fixed-darkening masks have been clearly surpassed, in terms of performance and comfort, by the new variable-darkening models, they still occupy a market niche that counts numerous buyers.
Their main advantage, in fact, is that they are available at a relatively low cost, and this makes them ideal especially for DIY enthusiasts; practicing welding only as a hobby and in free time, in fact, there is no need to spend large sums to buy a latest generation variable darkening mask.
The same goes for welder’s goggles; this personal protective device, in fact, represents a variant of the full face mask that has been developed for those who perform spot welding; In fact, firing a momentary arc to join two pieces of metal in some points does not require the need for complete shielding, especially if the intervention must last a few seconds and must not be repeated in series.
Even if they only offer protection to the eyes, therefore, the goggles are much more comfortable to use for short and occasional welding jobs, especially when they can be performed outdoors.
Variable darkening masks
The best-selling welding mask nowadays, on the other hand, is the variable darkening one, or more commonly known as self-darkening mask, even if this definition is erroneous. Despite their higher price than fixed-darkening masks, the new variable-darkening models are becoming increasingly popular also in the amateur and hobby sector.
These masks are characterized by an LCD screen capable of automatically varying the level of dimming according to the intensity of the light to which it is exposed, so you can easily understand the reason for their great success on the market even among the non-professional user range. .
The principle of operation
Since the sensitivity to light is a subjective factor that changes from person to person, in the latest generation masks the level of darkening can be adjusted according to the needs of the welder.
The adjustment range possessed by the variable darkening masks is usually included in a range that goes from DIN 9 to DIN 13; considering that the level of a fixed darkening mask is DIN 11, therefore, it is possible to adjust the shielding to make it equal, lower or higher than the normal standards of a traditional mask.
The LCD screen of the variable-darkening masks, on the other hand, is set to the DIN 4 base level, which allows almost normal visibility; as soon as the electric arc is triggered, the darkening level automatically changes to the DIN value set by the operator.
This variation occurs thanks to sensors placed at the corners of the screen, which react to variations in light intensity as soon as the voltaic arc is triggered; these sensors record the variation and allow the protective screen to pass from DIN level 4, kept at rest, to the DIN dimming level chosen by the operator on the scale from 9 to 13, and to automatically return to DIN level 4 when the arc is stops, thus restoring normal visibility to the welder.
The differences in typology
The principle of operation of a modern welding mask varies according to the model, the auto-darkening masks can be such as they use special polarizing filters indicated with the acronym ADF, or Auto Darkening Filter (automatic darkening filter), or a liquid crystal display (LCD).
The ADF filter is nothing more than a printed circuit connected to a small electronic board and sensors; these capture the intensity of the light generated by the electric arc during welding, in order to activate the sudden reaction of the filter, which darkens extremely quickly.
The LCD display is even more efficient, however, as it is usually added to the ADF filter, and allows the operator to be able to see through the latter both before and during welding.
Quality isn’t free
The number of sensors and the reaction time of the filter obviously depend a lot on the type of mask chosen and on the price; the more performing models, from this point of view, tend to be even more expensive. One aspect in particular, however, substantially affects the price and quality of the mask, and is the level of obscuration of the filter which is usually measured in DIN.
The DIN value can be fixed or adjustable depending on the mask, in fact, and affects the type of welding that the latter makes it possible to perform. The higher the amperage used for welding, in fact, the higher the DIN value must be (which therefore corresponds to a greater darkening).
Screens with fixed DIN are usually set to 11, while those with variable DIN can be set from DIN 5 to DIN 13; this last value, for example, allows welding with a current up to 300 Ampere.