Custom Welding Helmets: A Comprehensive Buying Guide 2019
While welding is an art, protecting your neck and face while doing it is your responsibility. Welding is a risky job by its own nature due to which it calls for sufficient personal protection. While several accessories are designed to ensure this protection, the most critical is the welding helmet. They are called custom welding helmets, which are known by other names such as cool welding helmets, cool welding masks, and custom welding hoods. Their increasing popularity is evidence of the fact that helmets are no longer used only for protection.
Note: This article has been updated in June 2019 and currently being the most up to date post on the internet.
Well, there is much more to such a helmet. For some, it is not only a medium of protection but also of personality booster. Many helmets pave a way for the welders to add a persona to the task at hand, using a custom decal or a custom airbrush.
It is wise to have a model that looks genuinely pleasing while providing reliable protection. Thus, this buying guide aims to help you in choosing one of these cool welding hoods that are reliably functional.
Why You Need a Custom Made Welding Helmet
Custom painted welding helmets reveal the user’s personality while protecting them from any kind of probable risk at work. Thus, no longer the helmet you wear while welding has to look dull or boring.
There are several custom welding helmet designs to fit you perfectly as well as stylishly. So, you can take the advantage of selecting the helmet design along with the picture or that will appear on it.
While custom painted options exist, a few are adorned with cool designs. You can easily find models with striking images or impressions such as natural scenes, flags, bizarre faces, and exotic birds. In fact, considering the current trend, you can even have your image inscribed on a customized helmet.
If you prefer to have a cool look rather than a boring or an odd one, buying a custom or a cool welding mask is something that you should seriously consider. If you are keen to invest somewhat more into something that is pleasing-cum-protective, welding helmets that are custom painted are your best bet.
This is because they provide two-fold benefits even in the long run. These benefits are in terms of both appearance and functionality, which normal welding helmets cannot give.
These next-generation welding hoods not only fulfill the compliance regulations to be followed by a user but also ensure a greater comfort level even if it is in use throughout the day. This along with the appearance factor is perhaps the biggest selling factor of these helmets.
It is known that the arc’s bright flash, although initially harmless, can lead to eye fatigue as well as eye burning with incessant work, especially over the course of a day. Further, if the helmet is poorly designed, it is likely to put much weight on your shoulders or neck to invite fatigue, strain, and pain.
A well-designed custom helmet provides a reliable level of shield against these risks. Whether it is an auto darkening or a fixed shade model, eyestrain is negligible while focusing on the generated bead. Thus, you are ensured of a high-quality output.
You can also easily get custom light helmets that fit well to minimize nodding, shoulder rotation, and neck twirling. This is essential to prevent the risk of acute pain and fatigue felt in these areas. So, it is safe to wear such welding hoods for longer periods.
Thus, custom welding hoods take care of your health and boost personal productivity by reducing your downtime. In simple words, you are ensured of a lower risk of hazard exposure with every weld made.
So, if you get performance, protection, and pleasant look, why not choose a custom welding mask? Well, even if you are on a budget, you can consider investing in these masks. This is because there are affordable options among custom welding helmets for sale.
Factors to Consider for Selecting a Cool or Custom Welding Mask or a Helmet
Several custom helmets for welding do look cool but they are likely to lack the needed features such as readable display and auto darkening. This is true but it does not mean that the highly tailored protective helmets compromise with efficiency or quality.
What you need to understand here is that you should select both a functional and appealing model. Such helmets could be more useful than the traditional helmets for welders. If you want to look cool and simultaneously work for a great welding outcome, a custom welding helmet suitable for that task is required.
Right from aesthetics to safety and comfortability, there is much to consider in selecting a custom helmet. It is wise to consider all of them holistically for deciding which model is the best for you as per your requirements and budget.
The most important aspect here is the set of specifications. Prior to selecting any helmet, it is essential to be sure that the revealed specifications fulfill the obligatory safety guidelines. This is perhaps the main purpose of its design.
It is vital to note that the safety guidelines are likely to differ from one nation to another. Thus, it is prudent to be aware of the standards in your country.
Before you go ahead and invest in that awesome welding helmet you have craved for, ensure that you will get sufficient protection. While all custom helmets do ensure this, it is a fact that a few are better than the rest.
So, if the budget allows, consider going for superior quality for getting the desired protection as well as unbeatable comfort for a long working period. Keeping this in mind, following are the factors to consider for choosing a cool welding mask:
While most custom hoods for welding comply with the latest safety and protection standards in your country, it is wise to check it out! Such helmets usually meet the benchmarks of ANSI Z87+ standards.
Sadly, this vital factor is often overlooked. Nevertheless, you will value the protection that such helmets offer. They are perhaps the most reliable helmets, as no rays or remains can reach inside the mask, even if the work environment is pretty stressful.
By buying such a helmet, you are ensured of protection against the radiation, sparks, and spatter due to the welding process. Remember, it does not suffice to look cool; it is equally essential for the helmet to be comfortable, function properly, comply with safety standards, and weld what you need to and in the required way.
Most helmets these days have auto darkening features. They automatically take care of light penetration adjustment. This is essential for protection against bright, intense light generated due to welding.
This is an important factor to check if you are choosing an auto darkening model. Most of them come with a control pad (outside or inside) that allows choosing from a variety of shades. Doing so adjusts the lens to the shade once the welding arc triggers.
Auto darkening models are typically in a shade range of #4-#14. A few of them come with grind mode, which has a lower shade of #3.5 or #4 for boosting visibility in front of a bright arc. As a rule, the higher the shade is, the darker the lenses are.
The desired shade level relies on the welding’s amperage rating. In short, the shade level should be adjustable as per your welding process. For stick, MIG, TIG, and plasma cutting, a shade level of maximum #13 is required. For grinding, #5-#8 is fine.
Perhaps, the most wanted custom feature is the hood’s fit. So, it is worth checking for the hood advances in terms of shape and adaptability.
For most welding helmets, the head shapes are typically the standard ones. However, in case of a customized one, you obtain the best fit. This is because it is easily adaptable and candidly molded to the measure of your head.
Thus, you get a secure fit. As a result, there are fewer pressure points found despite the prolonged wear, which prevents discomfort or headache.
Weight and Balance
Having a custom helmet to make it turn into various positions can reduce its overall weight. In fact, by customizing it, you can boost its overall balance while yet decreasing its overall weight.
Thus, it is vital to consider the helmet’s weight as well as balance positions, specifically if you are going to wear it for a prolonged period. This also restricts the torque on the neck because of heavyweight or uneven distribution of weight.
Consider this factor seriously if you are an expert in the field of welding. This is because you will significantly benefit from an expanding viewing area for enjoying a better visual perception than before.
If you are welding only at home, a narrow field can make you some cash without triggering the risk of harm to eyes. However, do not end up buying a cheap model that has low price as well as functionality.
Still, there are some good cheap models that deliver superb functionality. Thus, you need to consider a cool welding helmet that has a sizeable viewing area.
Design, color, and setup are perhaps the other main factors to look for, while going through the different custom welding helmets. A dark color, especially black is the standard shading color. However, such a color tends to absorb more heat when you weld.
On the other hand, light-colored models such as silver and yellow can reflect some of the generated heat. You can even go for other colors as well as designs to showcase your personality through the helmet while at work.
Further, you should check the paint quality. Not all paints have the same quality. Thus, it is essential to ensure that the design has been done using a high-quality paint that will not come off, especially if the working environment is harsh. In such an environment, the heat and radiation are quite high to peel off the paint.
When it comes to the design pattern, you may choose a funny mask, a skull hood, or simply a plain looking headgear. No matter which one you choose, check out for the following three pointers:
- Do go through some former works of the artist who has painted the hood.
- Glance at some more hoods designed by that artist. Even an excellent artist can mess up a paint job on a welding helmet if they’re not used to the contours and materials the helmet is made of.
- Find out about the paint that has been used.
Nowadays, there are advanced custom hoods available in the market. These models are made using the thinnest materials that are lightest enough to make the gear also lightweight without compromising its protective power.
Such models come with a half-mask respirator. This utility defends you from the fumes generated while welding a few metals or utilizing a few types of shielding gas.
Thus, you will prefer having a hood with room for this respirator and your glasses. Well, a genuine custom hood can consistently fulfill these requirements.
Custom Welding Helmet Reviews
Yes, even this is an important factor, which most probably users consider. Let’s say you have shortlisted some 5-6 custom welding hoods. Now, you need to compare them and see which one is the most suitable for you. This is where reviews help.
Such a review highlights the important features, specifications, pros, and cons of the corresponding custom helmet. It may also reveal the user’s personal experience of using the hood. So, it is beneficial to go through such reviews. In each review that you read, do look for the following points:
- Clarity, which can be better or blur
- Viewing area, which can wide
- Balancing factor
What Makes a Great Custom Welding Helmet
Welding can create more fun especially when you make your working tools more attractive. This is where having a custom welding helmet creates more joy in what you do. Incorporate some graphics on your helmet according to your likes and preferences is a great way of having a cool helmet.
There are many custom welding helmets in the market and they can easily confuse you despite knowing the factors to consider before buying them. That’s why the following tips will help you make a more concrete purchase decision:
- Quality Graphics
The last thing you want to have is a welding helmet that will scrap off after some weeks of use. Whether you have decided to have a zombie customized helmet with awesome graphics or a multi-colored helmet, you need to choose something quality that will have value for your money. No matter the harshness of your welding environment, a great custom welding helmet will not peel off.
- It offers great protection
No matter the kind of design you have chosen, the ultimate thing is to protect you from radiation rays, sparks, weld flashes, and spatters that can be dangerous to you. Besides, it must adhere to the set safety standards. There is no need of looking awesome, but you are not comfortable in it and it offers little or no protection at all.
- They have a considerable number of sensors
Arc sensors are very important in keeping you safe from being flashed. Depending on the environment of your welding, you may require a welding helmet that has more arch sensors than the other. The preferable number of sensors in a good custom welding helmet are at least 3 or 4.
- Have adjustable Settings
A good custom welding helmet has the sensitivity settings that are adjustable. Sensitivity refers to the level of brightness the helmet arc ought to be before the auto darkening feature is activated. It also has adjustable delay settings. Delay is the time your lens will stay dark. Most welding helmet has a delay of between 0.5-2 seconds.
- They come with a warranty
Although this is a must for most companies, it might not always be included when purchasing your custom welding helmet. Any company that doesn’t give a guarantee that their product is reliable, through giving you a warranty of at least two years, should not be part of your choices. Some companies will offer even 5 years if the quality of their product is great.
Top 5 Custom and Cool Welding Helmets
Antra AH6-260-6217 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
This cool looking helmet features American eagle design and is among the affordable custom welding helmets. With a shade range of 4 to 13, it is appropriate for arc, MIG, TIG, and plasma processes. It also has a grinding feature and is quite fast in giving a response to the electric arc. This makes it a versatile model.
Some more notable features of this mask include four premium sensors, magnifying lens compatible design, a knob to adjust delay and sensitivity, battery indicator, and seven lenses (included).
The hood is lightweight, comes with a good viewing area, and is fully automatic to turn on or off. You can consider it is an ideal upgrade for goggles and fixed shade helmet. Consider it even if you are a novice or an occasional user, for it has good features at a great price.
- Weight: 1.04 pounds
- Design: American Eagle
- Viewing Size: 3.86″X1.78″
- Dark to Light: 0.1-1 Seconds
- Light: Shade 4
- Dark: Shade 5-9/9-13
- Material: Polyamide nylon
- Standards: ANSI Z87.1 / EN379 CE / CSA Z94.3
- Easy to change settings
- Large viewing area/superb visibility
- Quick darkening
- Spacious inside to accommodate spectacles
- Replaceable battery
- Thin plastic
Forney 55702 Premier Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
This is an ideal choice for beginners and hobbyists in the field of welding who want to go for welding small, mild steel that has a thickness of maximum 3/16 inches. This Premier Series hood is user-friendly and versatile to meet the diverse basic needs of TIG, MIG, flux core, grinding, and plasma procedures.
The shell is sturdy and durable, while the headband is a quick fit with an adjustable design. The headband features a sweatband apparatus to control strain and fatigue of neck and shoulders caused due to the frequent lowering of the helmet during daily welding tasks.
Some salient features of this helmet are an internal switch for sensitivity and delay control, auto on/off, solar cells, and external shade knob for instant shade switch. The helmet also comes with radiation coating to protect the lens of scratching and discoloration and sensors to defend from arc risks. One of the awesome welding helmets in our top list.
- Weight: 1.23 pounds
- Design: Camo
- Viewing Size: 3.62” x 1.65”
- Switching Speed: 1/16000 seconds
- Dark: Shade 9-13
- TIG Amps: 15
- Standards: ANSI Z87.1, EN166, EN175, EN379, DIN, ISO
- Optical Clarity: 1/1/1/2
- Fireproof shell and radiation coating
- Easy to use
- Impact resistant and sweat-absorbent
- Good clarity
- No replaceable battery
Instapark ADF Series GX 550S Solar Powered Welding Helmet
This one is perhaps the most affordable cool welding helmet in this list. It is also the most versatile one to consider, as it is suitable for all three welding processes (including grinding) as well as meet a variety of standards.
Ergonomically crafted with composite materials, this solar powered helmet has a custom fit that is due to a ratcheting circlet and a padded interior. The viewing area is wide from its auto darkening filter, which provides a full welding area view. It is also totally UV/IR protected.
The filter minimizes the need to move the headband up and down, which increases productivity during torch replacements. The dual arc sensors stimulate this filter to shift from light to dark quickly once an arc is hit.
Further, adjustments inside allow for flexible sensitivity and delay controls, while those on the side ensure the desired level of darkness.
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Design: Bluish devil
- Viewing Size: 3.63” X 1.65”
- Light to Dark: 0.1 to 1.0 seconds
- Switching Time: 1/25000 seconds
- Light Shade: 4
- Dark Shade: 9-13
- Optical Clarity: 1/2/1/3
- Standards: ANSI, CE, AUS/NZ, CSA Z94.3, GS, and DIN-Geprüft
- Improved optics for clarity
- Big viewing area
- Quick darkening
- Custom fit
- Replaceable battery
- Tight fit if glasses are worn under it
Save Phace 3010059 Black Asp Gen X Welding Mask
Go for this one if you wish to weld in tight areas although it is not recommended for heavy welding. This is perhaps because it features the second largest viewing area with great clarity and adjustable and interchangeable lens rotating up to 180 degrees.
This Extreme Face Protector (EFP) model comes with auto darkening lens design, which ensures an ideal external vision, which is unique to this brand. There is also no hassle of replacing batteries, as it is totally dependent on solar cell power.
With a curved lens, it is easy to look up and not move the face when welding, which eliminates the risk of flash reaching around the top. Some more features include cheater lens compatibility, a 9-point adjustable halo hood, and a replaceable headband.
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Design: Killer design
- Viewing Size: 23 square inches
- Lens: 180 degrees
- Light shade: 3
- Dark Shade: 10
- Material: High impact nylon (high heat)
- Standards: ANSI, CE, AUS/NZ, and CSA
- Second largest viewing area
- Impact resistant and sweat absorbent
- Great clarity
- Fast darkening
- Fitting into tight spaces, which is better than a standard shield
- Easy to adjust
- No grind functions
- No sensitivity control
Lincoln Electric K4134-1 Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
This one is perhaps the costliest custom welding helmet in the list. However, it is from one of the esteemed brands, Lincoln. Recommended for all welding positions, this cool mask is a custom fit model due to its adjustable ratchet band.
The comfort level is also maximized due to the absorbent jumbo sweatband. Fully powered by solar energy, this custom welding helmet removes the hassle of replacing batteries, thus saving you significantly over the years. However, it can even work with a battery as a backup.
The helmet is also compatible with cheater lens. There are two arc sensors that keep blind spots at bay, while two internal and external lenses resist all types of impact. The helmet is incessantly adjustable to delay and sensitivity.
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Design: Lone star
- Viewing Size: 3.82 x 1.73 inches
- Variable Shade: 9 – 13 with an external knob
- Switching Time: 1/25000 seconds
- Standards: ANSI Z87.1, CE EN379, CSA Z94.3
- Large viewing area
- Custom fit
- Quick darkening
- Somewhat flimsy feel
Considering all the cool and custom welding helmets here in the list, Antra AH6-260-6217 solar power helmet seems to be an ideal choice. This is because it has a perfect balance of all required features at a budget price. Still, it is best to choose a cool welding hood as per your specific requirements. If you couldn’t find the one that fits you most, feel free to read our best welding helmet article, where you will find more cool wedling helmets.