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The Basics of Welding Helmets

Welding helmets come in all shapes and sizes, and are one of the most important of a welder’s tools. Like my other tools, I get real attached to my welding helmets. I’ve had favorite helmets that were just like and old friend, and I almost couldn’t get rid of them even though they were beat up and ragged.

I’ll tell you right off, that you want a welding helmet that is lightweight and comfortable. A heavy helmet will tire your neck and back and is awkward and cumbersome. There are all kinds of different types and styles out there, but the most important thing to me is that the helmet it is light weight and durable…in other words tough. Welding helmets take a beating in the shop and field getting thrown around and stacked upon in tool boxes

welderIn my days in the Iron Workers union I had to wear a hardhat with my welding hood so it was real important that the hood was as light as possible. A lot of construction jobs, and even some shops require a hard hat with the welding helmet. There is a special head gear that allows you to clips the hood to the hard hat. That way you can pop it on and off easily when not welding so you can wear just the hard hat. The adapter is inexpensive and I learned to keep an extra just in case mine wore out or broke.

The adapter on my welding hood broke one time and I had to “improvise” with electric tape. I looked like a dang idiot walking around the beams up there. Of course I was the focal point of everybody’s jokes. What’s worse was by the time we got back in town (the job was out in the sticks) the welding supply store was closed, so I had to do that for a couple of days before a buddy finally gave me and extra he had. After that job, I always had a spare!

There are a million different styles of welding hoods out there right now, everything from plain black, to gorilla faces. My student had a gorilla face welding hood once and it was real hard to take him serious when he came to ask a question!

If you are a new hand going out to a construction job, DO NOT go there with a gorilla face, or for that matter, any other kind of novelty welding hood.

You do and you’re gonna’ be the laughing stock of that job site. You want a plain-Jane welding helmet that is light, comfortable and black in color. You shouldn’t have to spend more than $30 or $40 bucks for a good basic welding hood.

For the shop, you might want to spend more depending on what kind of shop it is, and what you will be doing. If you are going to be doing a lot of fabricating it will definitely be worth buying a quick change welding hood. Quick change welding hoods allow you to see what you are getting ready to tack or weld as if you were looking through a pair of sun glasses. As soon as you strike an arc, the lens changes in literally thousandths of a second to the shade number for welding.