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Life Expectancy of Harbour Frieght Auto Dark Welding Hood...

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  • Life Expectancy of Harbour Frieght Auto Dark Welding Hood...

    Yes, I said Harbour Freight. I have to of these and one of them has died, literaly. Bought this puppy in 2004 and it stopped working just this summer. Don't know exactly what powers it; there is a solar cell above the lens, but the $39.95 HF special lasted 7 years. I have one more and it should die about 6 months from now. I have already been looking for another hood, Speedglass most likely. Right now I'm using my dads last hood, a $99.00 Hood from Lowe's. Thought I would post this on here because others might have or be looking at the HF Hood. Now you know how long one will last.
    '77 Miller Bluestar 2E on current service truck
    '99 Miller Bobcat 225NT for New Service Truck
    '85 Millermatic 200 in Shop

    '72 Marquete 295 AC cracker box in Shop
    '07 Hypertherm Powermax 1000 G3 Plasma Cutter in Shop
    Miller Elite and Digital Elite Hoods

  • #2
    I always heard they have a Lifetime two part Tennesse guarantee......if it busts in half you can keep both parts for the lifetime of the tool.


    • #3
      I also had/have one of the Lowes auto helmets - I was told by the guy at Lowes that is was made by Hobart. It was working fine until I started Tig welding this last summer. Even on the lowest setting I still could not see 9-13. I am 69 and eyesight is a problem. I have already had cataract surgery on both eyes. I recently bought a new one from AirGas - it is a Radnor, don't know who makes it for them. I bought it because it has 7-13 shade adj.. I does help me see a little better so I can't ***** too much, although the Lowes was about 100.00 and the Radnor was 275.00 (List was 325.00). The other features are a wash other than viewing area much bigger on the Radnor - I believe the largest out there right now.
      Roger Troue

      Retired since 2004

      Miller 211
      Miller 200 Syncro
      Miller 375 Extreme


      • #4
        The stated lifetime is 5 years, what is in side I haven't tried to change the batteries yet as I haven't had time to unsolder them.
        They also clearly state that these helmets aren't made for low amp welding TIG or other wise.
        Mine lasted about 5 years and worked great up to the day it stopped working. Replacement AD's run more than some new hoods. I went back and bought another on sale with the 20% off coupon can't beat it with a stick. I save my elite for the TIG and other low amps welding.
        Some thing that I found out that there is one factory making these hoods and exporting them, the low dollar. So even if you buy another brand Northern tool or a branded one with another name if the specs are close. It is the same hood in a higher priced box. Now I will state that I'm not anything other than a hobbyist. So my hoods aren't getting beat 16 hours a day.

        glen, If your not on the edge, your wasting space


        • #5
          Being a safety item, I would not risk my eyes. I have yet to splurge on a ADF hood, partly because I haven't tried the better ones.

          I do fine with my old school big view Jackson passive as I have a good assortment from 8-11 shade and 2-4 diopter magnifiers when I am "welding razor blades".

          On the other hand, I had my first HF tool failure, a 17" long air sander. Took it back and exchanged it, modifying the new one with a bit of contact cement to lower the stress on the pad's two screws. If this one lasts more than 48 hours, the mission will be done and all remaining life is gravy.

          So far, the stud welder (autobody tool) works great, its companion slide hammer is balky but still works. The 32" sheet metal brake has been abused with 30" bends in 16 gauge, still fine after beefing it up with more steel. On 18 gauge, it still folds sharp corners.

          Yes, I bought a few HF tools in the past few months. 1/3rd the cost with acceptable performance. I won't trust my eyes to their ADF helmets.


          • #6
            Considering how long the AD hoods have been sold and the numbers in use. If there was a problem. we would have heard of the class action lawsuit lawyers by now

            Plus the fact that the internals are the same ones you get when you buy another brand hood.
            Plus they meet the ANSI Z87.1 standards
            ANSIZ87 2010 FAQ.pdf

            AWS PDF download
            glen, If your not on the edge, your wasting space


            • #7
              Mine's lasted about five years. Not bad for a throwaway price, but I don't use it much and prefer my Pipeliner conventional helmet.