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Good CHEAP autodarkening helmet.

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  • Good CHEAP autodarkening helmet.

    Ok, I know I'm asking for something that a lot of people have strong opinions against, but here it goes. I know there are a lot of cheap helmets out there and many of them are cheap garbage, but i've read where many guys are very happy with their inexpensive AD helmet. I've seem numerous on Amazon that have really good reviews, but I trust the opinion I read on here as the real deal.

    So, its my b-day and I decided I want to get an inexpensive AD hood. There are plenty out there in the forty to sixty dollar range and may get one of those, of there's a much getter one for less than $100, I may go that route. What specific helmet would you guys recommend?

    I have a passive helmet and that's all i've got. I've never used an AD, but I'm tired of the first strike of an arc being in the dark.

  • #2
    How cheap do you want to go and how much are your eyes worth to you?


    • #3
      Obv my eyes are worth more than my welder is, but i've read that even some of the cheaper helmets say that their helmet protects from UV even when the lens is off and doesn't darken. I don't mean to start an adjustment our debate, butfrom your answer (another question) I get the idea you don't believe in using an inexpensive helmet.

      Like I said before, I've seen them in the forty dollar range, but might be willing to spend $100 if its really that much better.

      If there's one you guys use that works great for you, what make and model is it?

      I don't weld all day for a living, but when I do work on a project it is for several hours a day, a few days in a row.


      • #4
        I have millers pro hobby. I've had it for 5-6 years. Works fine, has some adjustability. Head gear is fine. Only thing is it is not auto on capable, so you must remember to turn it on or you will get flashed. No biggie for me though, I have just made a habit of hitting the on button when input on the helmet


        • #5
          About 5yrs ago I got me a cheap harbor freight, I got it for my overhead par t of a stainless mig test, it worked out great, I didn't have to worry about burn in it up (which I did) still works just fine


          • #6
            I got a cheap Hobart one several years ago from Tractor Supply was about $70 at the time. It has been fine for my use but it is not adjustable and I think it only darkens to #10. No battery to change it is always on and charges from the light but when it decides to die it will likely be permanently dead as it is not easily serviceable. Just be sure the one you buy darkens enough for your use. I have been told the same thing about UV that they all protect against UV darkened or not but it's not too comfortable if it doesn't darken.---Meltedmetal


            • #7
              Good CHEAP autodarkening helmet.

              optrel bo20 lens ,slam her in any 2x4" receptacle helmet (got them for 12$) you got a pretty good auto darkening helmet!

              shade 3-10
              awesome lenses


              • #8
                I have a pre-3M Speedglas 9000X that I've been using for more than ten years. I like its light weight, long battery life and relatively large viewing screen. It's a good one, but they are rather expensive.

                For a second hood in another area of my shop, I just got a Rhino on Amazon. It was less than $100 delivered. It has a larger viewing area than my Speedglas and works just as well.

                There are many good units in the $100 range but Rhino is the only other one that I've used besides the Speedglas.
                Miller Syncrowave 200
                Milermatic 252
                Lincoln AC/DC "Tombstone"


                • #9
                  Here's my local supplier, Welders Supply in Wisconsin. They have some reasonable prices. It maybe worth it to look. Money well invested.


                  • #10
                    I got a kobalt from lowes 2 years ago and 1 (forgot what brand) and it's lasted a year.


                    • #11
                      Hobart Impact is a good choice in the lower price range. It has grind mode and adjusts from a 7-13 I believe. It has three arc sensors, a medium sized viewing area, and a sensitivity control. The headgear is a miller elite headgear and very comfortable. Also it deflects sparks good because of its shape. It is in the 120$-140$ range. The only drawback is it fogs up just a fraction between the outer lense and the front of the AD lense but only when it is really cold. It doesn't' do it if you make sure to not breath forward (out of your mouth).


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jimmydoc1 View Post
                        Obv my eyes are worth more than my welder is, butfrom your answer (another question) I get the idea you don't believe in using an inexpensive helmet.

                        Like I said before, I've seen them in the forty dollar range, but might be willing to spend $100 if its really that much better.
                        I have had some of the cheaper ones, and they did not last for very long. Some less than a year of just intermittent use, some a little longer. If you go too cheap, it ends up costing more in replacement costs over a period of time. You could buy 4 $40 hoods and still be needing a hood, or buy a better one up front for $120 and use it for years to come buying only once. That's what happened to me. I now have a Miller Elite and like it. Its light and the head gear in comfortable and I paid $120 for it.
                        I'm thinking of getting some fixed shade lenses to put in the other hoods so they can still be used. They are still in good shape, just don't darken anymore
                        . I'm tired of buying cheap stuff and needing to replace it many times, instead of investing in something quality to begin with. It's cheaper in the long run to spend a little more now than a littleless several times over.


                        • #13
                          Maybe a different way of looking at GOOD & Cheap...

                          Got my Miller Big Window Elite about 10 years ago for approx $250..

                          that works out to $25 per year..

                          if you don't count new batteries every 3.5 years (at approx $5 a set)


                          The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

                          “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

                          Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

                          My Blue Stuff:
                          Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
                          Dynasty 200DX
                          Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
                          Millermatic 200

                          TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000


                          • #14
                            There are also used helmets available

                            For years I've been using my old Speedglas 9000 Utility, single shade, #10 I believe. I bought it used and it's never failed me. Back in the fall I had to replace a part on my utility trailer. I had about a dozen tabs that were to be welded to a bar so that after being drilled they could be used to make the bar more easily removed when necessary. My wife was walking by and saw what I was doing and said she'd like to weld them on. She hadn't welded anything in a good long while and wanted to see if she still could I guess. Anyway my little 140 was at its limits to do the job and she said something about it. I couldn't see where she was having problems because I only had the one helmet - which, of course, she was wearing. So that was when I decided to get me a second helmet. I wouldn't have anything other than an auto dark and after my recent experiences it would have to be variable shade too.

                            As soon as I decided to get a second helmet I went straight to Ebay and limited my search to used gear. I got a Lincoln Viking 3550, plain black with no fancy paint, in nearly new condition with its protective bag, and with half a dozen unused spare inside and outside lens covers for $147. There isn't a day goes by that you can't find and buy a very good used helmet for a hundred bucks or less.

                            Oh, on that Lincoln, love how it works but hate how it fits. I'm not exactly a Conehead but it can not be adjusted down small enough to stay on my head. Its bad enough that I'll probably give it to the guy who bought my old welder (the other good outcome from this was my wife saying we needed a welder with a little bit more power). I sold my 140 to a friend of my son at a very good price and at my wife's insistence bought a new 211.

                            Some days the gods just plain smile on you. Go check out EBay every day for a week or so. You might do good.


                            • #15
                              I've looked into that Hobart impact since you recommended it and I'm quite impressed. Found it online for $104. That's the kind of deal I was talking about; we're not talking about a $300 helmet that I can't afford and its not a $40 disposable. It send to be a fairly inexpensive helmet with nice features that make it worth the little bit extra. Rather than hurry and get a real cheapie, I'll wait am extra payday or two and go worth the impact. Thanks all for the appreciated advice.