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what helmet?

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  • what helmet?

    I'm a student in the welding course at a local college. I just started and I am looking to buy my own helmet. I wanted to know some of the definitions of the options for auto-darkening helmets. For one, what is "inverter capable" and what is the difference in TIG amperage ratings? Hope my questions make sence because I'm not sure I understand them myself. Thanks for the great site and the chance to ask questions even my instructor couldn't answer.

  • #2
    Welcome John!
    Good questions.

    First, try to get a helmet with 4 sensors. It will respond better and have less chance of flashing you if one or more of the sensors get obstructed. An inverter capable helmet refers to the fine arc that inverter welders have. Some helmets have a hard time "seeing" that fine arc and either won't turn dark or may flash you once in awhile. There are a number of threads about this subject so do a search on helmets and you'll be covered in data. The MILLER Big Window Elite is our best hood.

    Good luck.



    • #3
      The MILLER Big Window Elite gets my vote. i got 1 and have loved it. it realy helps to have a good view. and as andy said it is the best.
      the tig ratings is due to the lower light arc of TIG as you can tig well below the normal 30Amp's of a MIG set low. the more sensitive the helmit the lower tig arc it will react to. i have used my BWE with my plasma cutter on steel with a 12 Amp arc with no problems.
      a good auto will realy help in class as you will be able to watch the instructor start the arc not just see it after it is going.
      thanks for the help
      hope i helped
      feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
      summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.


      • #4
        I wouldn't look into an auto tint helmet at first. Mostly because you are in a trade school and thigs like "To Grow Legs And Walk Away" if you know what I mean. And secondly if you are doing a lot of stick welding in all positions the spatter would ruin your nice new helmet. I recomend a fibre metal tiger hood, they are about $50 and last forever. If you do get an autohood save it for TIG. Just food for thought. I would hate to see you spend $300 on a helmet and then set it down on a hot piece of steel or step on it.


        • #5
          I need to put in a vote for the optrel satillite, it has a grinding mode, the range is from 5-13 in two ranges, very high quality. I have had mine for about 2 years now and (except for the Miller elite) wouldn't have anything else. They run about $235 on ebay for a new one. It only has two sensors but I have yet to be flashed using it, I think that not only the number of the sensors is important but their placement is also critical.
          Regards, George

          Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
          Hobart Handler 140 - Great 120V Mig
          Hobart Handler EZ125 - IMO the best 120V Flux Core only machine

          Miller Dynasty 200DX with cooler of my design, works for me
          Miller Spectrum 375 - Nice Cutter


          • #6
            Welcome aboard and many of the fellows here use the miller Big window elite, for good reasons and I will also say there are several high caliber hoods made by different manufactures. Speedglas 9000x is what I have and I also have a miller XLix which performs flawlessly. The real magic is find one that is comfortable and don't buy a cheap Harbor freight model, they are not made well and you only get one set of eyes, protect them!!

            I have used a Selstrom, Optrel, Jackson, Miller, Speedglas, Huntsman, and Lincoln, they all have good models I would steer you toward a middle of the road model not the $300 nor the cheap $80 a good hood can be had for around $150 +or-. I will say that after you've been welding for a few years you'll find one you like better than the first one, but don't buy an expensive one and quit in 6 monthes, it is easy to be all about the equipment and less what it is all about "Welding"!



            • #7
              I'll cast my 2ยข in here, also...I've use a Huntman 2 x 4 fixed shade lensfor 30 or so years, then a Speedglas, and a Miller Elite....tried lots of others, too...The a/d helmets have a lot going for them....I prefer the Speedglas over the Miller for two reasons.....Speedglas has better headgear, and exhaust ports to keep it from fogging. The Miller, however, has the best lens setup...if they would only improve the headgear.... The speedglas has only two sensors, however it has passed the floordrop test...from 30 feet!
              Arcin' and Sparkin', Rocky D

              "Experience is the name we give our mistakes"


              • #8
                Welcome to the world of welding. Its a great career choice and is most rewarding. I`ve enjoyed it for 32 years now as a profession, and have never regretted it.
                I agree with Canuck. I wouldnt sink my money into a big dollar helmet just yet. Wait and see what type of welding your leaning towards as a career. This may have an affect on the type of helmet you purchase.
                You generally get what you pay for so don`t be cheap and also don`t pay for a bunch of "cute" features you might not even use. My long time personal choice is the Jackson EQC helmets. I bought my first one in the mid 1980`s and it still works just fine. I recently purchaced one of thier newer helmets because i wanted the variable shades feature, but i chose not to get the model with the grind and torch modes to save money cause i would rarely use them. This is just my personal preference, you might use and enjoy the features, so shop around for the best hood for you. I believe the Jackson is the only one made in the USA, if that matters to you. It does to me. Jackson also warranties thier helmets for 2 years, another thing you should inquire about before laying down the big bucks. The lastest NEXGEN hoods offer the larger viewing area, 4 sensors, and is digital. A bit pricey at around $349 and up, but if money is no object, its a great helmet.
                Good luck to you in your schooling!