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Corbet
02-04-2010, 09:54 AM
What should I look for in a welding helmet. Getting close to pulling the trigger on MIG welder. I know I want an auto darkening helmet. What else should I look for without breaking the bank? Say $200 ceiling on helmet cost.

These two are what I've been looking at:

http://cgi.ebay.com/MILLER-PERFORMANCE-SERIES-BLACK-WELDING-HELMET-232035_W0QQitemZ360211627473QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item53de493dd1#ht_4893wt_1167

http://cgi.ebay.com/3M-SPEEDGLAS-100V-CHROME-HELMET-07-0012-31CH_W0QQitemZ360230354931QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item53df66fff3#ht_5494wt_1167

Overkill for occasional use? But I'm not one to skimp on safety or maintaining my eyesight.

AxleIke
02-04-2010, 10:00 AM
Both of those will be good helmets.

Things to look for, IMO, are speed of the glass, IE, how fast can it switch, availability of replacement parts, location of the sensors: you want something that is going to sense the arc even when you are in a tough position. Most would agree that the bottom is the best place, as you 99.9% of the time will have your chin down far enough if you can see anything with your eyes.

Either one will work well, as I said, and also, CONGRATS ON THE UPCOMING PURCHASE OF A WELDER MAN!!!! You are gonna have a BLAST!

Corbet
02-04-2010, 10:06 AM
Thanks, I've wanted a welder for some time.

I've been working on a business plan to produce some "cruiser" products for some time now. I finally have the time to put into this venture and a garage large enough to make it happen. I hope to have product by CM10 if at all possible we will see. Oh don't ask I'm keeping the products a secret until I at least have a prototype to post up.

Red_Chili
02-04-2010, 10:08 AM
Check with Dave Rios at General Air on Santa Fe and Rio Grande (Littleton). Tell him I sent you and that I said he would take care of you. He will. Great guy, good advice.

Corbet
02-04-2010, 10:48 AM
Check with Dave Rios at General Air on Santa Fe and Rio Grande (Littleton). Tell him I sent you and that I said he would take care of you. He will. Great guy, good advice.

Thanks for the referral but I'll be buying online most likely due to my location unless the local shop wants to be competitive. The ebay store I linked above has gotten good reviews on MUD.

Beater
02-04-2010, 12:27 PM
take this for what it's worth. I have 2 helmets currently. High dollar, and hf cheapy. both are auto type. both are small window helmets. Guess which one I wear/use the most?



that's right, the cheapy.

Corbet
02-04-2010, 12:30 PM
fit, or other reason? I don't want to spend extra for just a name. But I do enjoy my eyesight so I'm not willing to go cheap just to save money.

hardest part here is Durango is lack of retail shopping. There is a welding supply store but they are pretty proud of their stuff if you know what I mean. Definitely no HF is sight.

RockRunner
02-04-2010, 02:29 PM
I have one from Hobart, I think $119 normally but on sale all the time for $89. Works great and came with 3 sets of replacement lenses. Don't go high dollar IMO, most of the ones I saw seemed nearly the same as the cheaper ones. Just my opinion.

Beater
02-04-2010, 05:04 PM
seriously, save the coin. an adjustable filter is nice, as well as glass, not plastic safety lenses. That's my only criteria. buy a sheepskin cover for the sweat band if you want comfy.

Also, the best feature is the push knob adjuster for the band. quick adjuster for loose/tight

Air Randy
02-04-2010, 07:16 PM
I also have the HF auto darken helmet. Fits fine, easy to adjust and works like a champ. You can also adjust the speed at which it darkens. $49 can't beat it and your eyes will be just fine. You can order online from HF too. Later on if you decide you want something nicer sell it for what you paid for it and get something else.

J Kimmel
02-04-2010, 08:01 PM
I wouldn't cheap out IMO. I had a cheap auto darkening hobart and it sucked...I use a Jackson, it was about 350 bucks but the darkening is about 1/25000 of a second. I dunno, to each his own but I'm not chancing it with my eyes...how many pros use the cheap ones?

have fun with it :)

Big John
02-04-2010, 08:28 PM
I have a Miller Elite big window and will never go back to a small window hood.
Buy it once.
http://cgi.ebay.com/MILLER-ELITE-AUTO-WELDING-HELMET-WICKED-241464_W0QQitemZ360209262558QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item53de2527de

Red_Chili
02-04-2010, 09:58 PM
I have a HF cheapie and a big window nice one. The HF left my eyes itchy after a lot of welding. It now goes in the truck- the advantage is that it needs no batteries, so nothing to go dead (solar). But for any significant fabrication, I use the nice one.

rover67
02-04-2010, 10:28 PM
I've been using a regular nice miller for about 20 years. never really got to the auto ones...

seems to do alright. you can just skip the auto darkening at first maybe.

Rzeppa
02-05-2010, 04:27 PM
I used a $50 HF one for 6 years and it worked great. It finally died a couple months ago and I replaced it with...

Another $50 HF unit. After talking with the chaps at both General Air and Front Range Welding they both said if I was happy with the HF unit and got that much use out of it, go for it. And they both conceded that the $200+ ones they sell aren't much different.

Basically, save the coin and use it for something else (like AR/CO2 gas - $80 bottle exchange - ouch!)

I keep a "regular" helmet as a spare with shade 11 lens. I use shade 7 goggles for O-A work.

AxleIke
02-05-2010, 06:40 PM
I've been using a regular nice miller for about 20 years. never really got to the auto ones...

seems to do alright. you can just skip the auto darkening at first maybe.

IMO, since I started out welding not too long ago, its much easier as a beginner with the auto. I'm sure there are some hardcore pro welders who'd disagree, but I find that if I can concentrate on the welds themselves, and not the irritation of trying to figure out where to put the gun after the hood goes down, I'm much happier, and my welds are much better.

rover67
02-05-2010, 07:06 PM
IMO, since I started out welding not too long ago, its much easier as a beginner with the auto. I'm sure there are some hardcore pro welders who'd disagree, but I find that if I can concentrate on the welds themselves, and not the irritation of trying to figure out where to put the gun after the hood goes down, I'm much happier, and my welds are much better.

Great point, I didn't think about that. I do tend to weld with my eyes closed quite a bit without thinking about it.

Corbet
02-05-2010, 07:16 PM
There's no doubt I'm getting an auto darkening for just that reason. I learned to weld many years ago but I am nothing but a newbie seeing I have not touched a welder since I took my intro class.

Rzeppa
02-05-2010, 09:37 PM
the irritation of trying to figure out where to put the gun after the hood goes down, I'm much happier, and my welds are much better.

Before I went auto, I used to find that however I tried to hold everything steady once I nodded the helmet into the down position, sometimes the gun would be off by a bit from where it was before and the bead would start a bit off from where it was intended until I could see it.

Once I went auto it was like whole 'nother world and I wondered how I ever lived without it.

SteveH
02-06-2010, 06:23 AM
I use an HF cheapie. I don't sense that my eyes are frying, even after extensive weld-a-thons. Invaluable on my 1980 FJ40 resto project.

Steve

sleeoffroad
02-06-2010, 06:36 AM
Had one of these. It was high dollar, but didn't really work well. Maybe one of their early models, but it had issues that it would not go dark, or battery drain was excessive.

http://www.jacksonsafety.com/linkdetails.cfm?groupid=3002518

then bought one of these, and really happy with it.

http://www.millerwelds.com/products/weldinghelmets/digital-elite.php

Big John
02-06-2010, 10:55 AM
Had one of these. It was high dollar, but didn't really work well. Maybe one of their early models, but it had issues that it would not go dark, or battery drain was excessive.

http://www.jacksonsafety.com/linkdetails.cfm?groupid=3002518

then bought one of these, and really happy with it.

http://www.millerwelds.com/products/weldinghelmets/digital-elite.phpYou can get them for about $100 cheaper on Ebay, "buy it now". I've had mine for almost 5 years and a ton of wire burned in front of it with only one battery change to date.

Beater
02-06-2010, 04:25 PM
my high dollar one is a jackson, not that thrilled, especially when compared with the cheapie sitting right next to it. abs is abs.

I will add that I had a battery powered auto. THAT was not a good thing. It quickly went away. Stay with photo/battery backup, but don't go battery only.

j

Jacket
02-07-2010, 09:12 AM
Looks like you've got plenty of choices. My "starter helmet" is this one (or something very similar):

http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Helm-AH88BK-Darkening-Welding-Helmet/dp/B0014ZN62Y/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

I have nothing to compare it to, but it got good reviews, the price was better than most, and it's got the basic features (light adjustment setting, grinding option, auto-darkening, etc.). So far, so good...

AddictedOffroad
02-07-2010, 10:34 AM
I weld all day, everyday. I used to have a small lens Speedglas. I sold it and moved to the Miller Elite with the manual adjustments with the large screen. I bought it around 3 years ago, and have only gone through one set of batteries on it. I love the hood and lens and would never go back to a smaller lens.

Sometimes you get into places where you will need the larger lens to be able to see. While I have used a HF hood a couple times, I can tell you that its NOT the same. The sensors are cheap, and allow a lot more flash to get past the lens, and their location is tough sometimes when you are in tight places. For a typical garage fabricator, I have no issue with it, but considering its your eyes were talking about, I wouldn't skimp on the helmet.

If you've ever had flash burn, you will know that your eyes are your life, and not being able to see and feeling like there is sand paper behind your eye lids for several days absolutely sucks. Its the most uncomfortable feeling i have ever had.

Uncle Ben
02-07-2010, 12:49 PM
A good read! http://www.asashop.org/autoinc/jan2002/collision.htm

My new one is a Nexgen module in a Jackson vented hood I like it a lot! The grind mode is awesome (perfect) for plasma cutting and the sensitivity adjustment is phenomenal! My old favorite is a Speedglass. It is still a great helmet but the shade adjustment is out and unless there is plenty of light a mig arc is pretty dim. I would never ever consider trusting a "cheap" welding helmet.....I use my eyes too much! :rolleyes:

Red_Chili
02-08-2010, 11:08 AM
Just one set of batteries so far in about four years:
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/cyberweld_2091_44400782

As mentioned, all the different modes make it quite nice. It does NOT go on the trail however.

Corbet
02-19-2010, 07:04 PM
Well I decided to get the Miller Elite.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390156934079&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Spurged a little I guess but its a safety item. I like the idea of the larger viewing lens. And this way I should never wish I had a better helmet. Had them send me a Millermatic 211 as well so I can properly test the helmet :thumb: Can't wait for it to show up :D

RockRunner
02-19-2010, 07:58 PM
Nice deal, should work real well for you.

Funny thing, I stopped by General Air to pick up a new jacket and asked the guys there what kind of a helmet I should get for a part time welder. They had every model there from $75 to $370. They showed me the differences on the helmets and what I could expect etc.

One of the biggest differences is the pick ups or light sensors. The more you have, cheaper ones have two and the expensive one up to four, the better the lens reacts to the arc. As he explained it, if you just weld on a table or easy to reach places the $150 helmet is just fine. If you are welding in cramped spaces where a sensor may be blocked or maybe two, having more sensors is a huge benefit. This made a lot of sense to me since welding on my rear bumper and other items did make it hard to see sometimes. Also if Tig welding you need more sensors since the arc is lighter and you really need to see ASAP.

The larger lens is nice no doubt but again more for hard to reach places not really needed if you are welding a bumper on a jig or floor.

So after all of this info I showed him my Hobart helmet, $140 at Murdoch's. It is the same helmet as the $160 Miller one. It is a decent helmet for me since I weld once in a while and if I get into tight spots I may have some problems. The lenses all react pretty much as fast adn protect your eyes the same.

So what it really comes down too is how much welding do you do and do you weld in areas that are tight to get into. If money was no object I would get one with four sensors and digital read out etc. but for what I do and my pocket book I am happy with what I have.........................for now :rolleyes:

Uncle Ben
02-19-2010, 10:12 PM
Well I decided to get the Miller Elite.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390156934079&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Spurged a little I guess but its a safety item. I like the idea of the larger viewing lens. And this way I should never wish I had a better helmet. Had them send me a Millermatic 211 as well so I can properly test the helmet :thumb: Can't wait for it to show up :D

Very nice choice on both! :thumb::thumb::cool:

Big John
02-20-2010, 08:47 AM
Well I decided to get the Miller Elite.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390156934079&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Spurged a little I guess but its a safety item. I like the idea of the larger viewing lens. And this way I should never wish I had a better helmet. Had them send me a Millermatic 211 as well so I can properly test the helmet :thumb: Can't wait for it to show up :D
Good choice on both. The 211 is a good all around welder and will do everything you need to do. Have fun with your new toys:weld: Don't forget pics of your projects.

powderpig
02-21-2010, 07:40 PM
UB helmet was a nice treat that I would hope to afford soon. It made welding a whole lot esasier to do. It made looking at the weld nice on the eyes. Almost as nice as the beach looking at girls in bikini's.

RockRunner
02-22-2010, 08:51 AM
UB helmet was a nice treat that I would hope to afford soon. It made welding a whole lot esasier to do. It made looking at the weld nice on the eyes. Almost as nice as the beach looking at girls in bikini's.


Welding may be nice but comparing it to girls on the beach :eek: Not so sure about that :D

art hog
02-22-2010, 10:04 AM
Mines is a nexgen also. I use it every day and like it. I does use batteries. Maybe 4 sets in 3 years. Id by it again.

Rzeppa
02-23-2010, 08:30 PM
Almost as nice as the beach looking at girls in bikini's.

Go Lindsey Vonn! I'll bet she has a nice miller helmet. Yeah. Um. Go Lindsey!

Corbet
02-27-2010, 12:23 PM
couple of boxes showed up yesterday from the brown truck.:D

RockRunner
02-27-2010, 06:00 PM
Very nice, now go get it dirty:D

Big John
02-27-2010, 06:35 PM
Scotty needed a second welder at the shop and picked one of those up the other day. I've used it several times already and like it alot. He said something about the it welding real hot on certain materials while the wire was on auto set, but I haven't had that problem with it yet. So far I think it's a pretty nice welder.:thumb:

coax
07-10-2011, 10:12 PM
bumpity bump. Anyone have experience with the northern tool (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200311850_200311850) auto darkening helmet? Seems like it has gotten really good reviews. Response time is also really good. I realize it has only 2 sensors, but most of my welding is done straight on, since I'm pretty new at this. Seems like a pretty good deal for a shade tree welder?

Switch time (sec.)
1/25,000
Variable Shades
9 - 13

http://www.northerntool.com/images/product/images/1649902_lg.jpg

Corbet
07-11-2011, 08:08 PM
No experience with the HF helmet.

I will note that after a year and a half with my Miller Elite I am very happy I with it. I just killed the first set of batteries.

Uncle Ben
07-11-2011, 08:58 PM
I need my eyes in the future....not a place I would go cheap!

Rezarf
07-12-2011, 08:10 AM
I agree, when it comes to my ears and eyes... spending a little more now (not just for a brand but for real life protection) could really save me down the road.

I use a nexgen and it is excellent. I found one used on CL for like $175 and it is a great helment. Its very comfortable and the batteries last a long time, I think I have changed them once in 3 years.

DanS
07-12-2011, 11:43 PM
I agree, when it comes to my ears and eyes... spending a little more now (not just for a brand but for real life protection) could really save me down the road.

x2. Eyes, ears and noggin need protection. I kind of need those things.

Its very comfortable and the batteries last a long time, I think I have changed them once in 3 years.

Batteries? I have an auto-darkening helmet that uses batteries, they last about as long as yours. Then I got a nice Miller helmet that has batteries but also has a small PV cell on it. It NEVER needs batteries. I can set it out in the sun if I think it needs some juice to start it up until I get welding, but I'm pretty impressed with it in general. Not having to replace batteries is just a bonus.

Dan

Rezarf
07-12-2011, 11:54 PM
Yeah, I think my helment has a solar charger thingy on it too, so basically it charges as I weld.

Jacket
07-13-2011, 08:21 AM
I've got an Auto Helm similar to this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Helm-AH88BK-Darkening-Welding-Helmet/dp/B0014ZN62Y

I think mine was a bit more $$, but basically the same concept. As a starter helmet, it's been fine. Solar-charged, auto-darkening, setting for grinding/welding, and different sensitivity settings based on light. The lens on mine has gotten dirty and visibility is down, so consider grabbing some extra lenses to keep the visibility up.

And no cheesy skulls, firebolts or other graphics ;)

coax
07-13-2011, 09:25 AM
Thanks for the input everyone, really appreciate it. I did end up ordering the Northern helmet, for a few different reasons:

--In addition to my eyesight, I also like my lungs. I'm going to turn this helmet into a simple positive pressure air supply, which will require potentially modifying the plastic parts of the helmet. In turn voiding the warranty. I'd hate to go through that on a pricey helmet only to have the glass or something else require repair, and not be able to return it. This way if I break it or whatnot, only $55 lost.
--From what I have read, all certified helmets filter all UV and Infrared light out all the time, as a function of the glass, not of the auto darkening mechanism. This leaves visible spectrum flash as a possible downside given the 2 sensors instead of 4. Since I don't weld in crazy positions I'm not too worried about odd angles causing this.
--Since I am not time constrained when welding (ie not part of a business), I can set the delay higher to overcome the limited 2 sensors and reduce flash incase the helmet looses the arc while welding.


At any rate I guess I'll try it out, and see how it works! :cheers:

Beater
10-21-2011, 06:53 AM
lost yet another jackson helmet this weekend. Not the electrics, but the body. Funny, my light duty HF unit has yet to die, and I have gone through 3 "expensive" ones..

No more for me. I will stick with replaceable lens units and consider my helmet bodies "consumables"

j

nuclearlemon
10-21-2011, 04:17 PM
i had a hf auto dimmer...worked great for a few years on very light use. when it stopped, it was a "holy crap" moment. now i've got a cheap standard helmet that i use. i sometimes miss the auto dimming since seeing wth you're doing through a standard sucks, but i'm adjusting

nakman
10-21-2011, 07:01 PM
My first helmet is the HF auto dimmer.. so far, and that's only one evening, it's been great. I struggle a little getting it tight enough to stay put, but loose enough to still flip down, and it seems to want to smash my nose a little.. but other than that hey, seems pretty good.

AxleIke
10-21-2011, 11:43 PM
I had a HF piece of crap. It was okay for a while but after I started welding a LOT, I gave up and bought a good miller. The Spedglas are phenomenal, but 500 a helmet is too rich for my blood, and my use. My miller works awesome, and is FAR superior to my HF unit.

Beater
10-22-2011, 05:22 PM
i am not advocating that the HF's are good. I am merely remarking that this one in particular that I have is outlasting several ezpensive ones, mainly the hardware.

Rzeppa
10-24-2011, 10:42 AM
I still keep my old non-auto one around in case I have an "Oh Crap" moment like Ige did.