Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Review
We’ve created this Buyer’s Guide to help you navigate the welding helmet market.

Whether you’re a seasoned welder or freshly enrolled in a welding school near you, a quality helmet is a must. Although standard glass helmets do exist, most welders prefer an auto darkening helmet. However, with all of the welding helmets on the market today, it can be hard to figure out which is best for you. For this reason, we’ve created 2018’s Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews to help you navigate the market.

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews: Overview

Standard Lens vs Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Lens

Chances are, you’re reading 2018’s Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews because you’ve heard that pipe welding helmets with auto darkening lenses are optimal. But do you know why? If not, here’s a quick distinction between the two: Simply put, a passive lens is just glass that’s tinted. Unlike auto darkening welding lenses, that adjust to the light of the weld, a passive lens stays the same.

Best Welding Hoods
Source: 3M Personal Protection Equipment

Benefits of Passive Lens

  • No technological difficulties to worry about: Since they’re not operated by power (either battery or solar), you won’t encounter interruptions when you have lack of power. Each lens has only one shade rating.
  • Cost: Another advantage is that they’re cheaper.

Disadvantages of Passive Lens

  • Safety: It’s dangerous to use the wrong shade lens with a welding project. And chances are, the different projects you do will call for different levels of protection. This means that having just one lens puts you at a disadvantage and increases your risk of using the wrong lens during a weld.
  • More cumbersome: Also, you need to manually put passive lens in place. Without the handy controls you get with an auto helmet, you’ll need to take valuable time during your project to move the lens.

All in all, we at Trades for Careers believe that audio darkening welding helmet lenses are the way to go. Yes, they cost more. But the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

What is the best auto darkening welding helmet?

As mentioned earlier, finding good welding helmets requires some strategy. Not all pipe welding helmets are the same! The following is an explanation of our evaluations in the best auto darkening welding helmet reviews.

Lens Reaction Time

Simply put, the faster the lens reaction time, the more protection you’ll have. This is an important safety measure. Because over time, even the milliseconds before the lens adjusts to the light add up and can contribute to eye damage. All those tiny bits of infrared and UV rays can permanently harm your eyes.

Cheap Auto Darkening Welding Helmets
The Tanox ADF-206S is a very cheap welding helmet. (Click for more pictures)


If you want one of the best auto welding helmets for the money, you’re going to need to spend at least $100.

That being said, there are models less than a hundred dollars that work in the short-term. (Or for hobby welders who don’t work as frequently.)

For example, the Tanox ADF-206S is ultra cheap.

Although some of the slickest models can be as much as $500, it isn’t necessary to spend that much for all the extra bells and whistles.


In fact, heavy welding helmets can interfere with work by causing premature fatigue.

Fortunately, cutting edge technology allows welding helmets to be relatively light while still providing excellent protection.

Fixed vs Variable Auto Darkening Lens

Whereas variable auto darkening lenses adjust based on the welding amperage, a fixed lens simply shifts to a fixed shade, which is usually #10. Most variable lenses shift to somewhere between #9-#13, depending on the arc. A fixed shade is fine if you’re going to be doing the same type of weld over and over again with the same amperage.

But since most welders – especially students – need to do use multiple welding methods, it’s better to have a variable lens.


It’s best to choose a helmet with an adjustable headband. This way, you can ensure a safe and comfortable fit.

Size of viewing window

Obviously, the larger the viewing window, the more you can see. Usually, you’ll see viewing windows ranging in size from 12 square inches to 23 square inches. Smaller tends to be best for personal use, while larger viewing windows are ideal for industrial welds.

Battery operated vs solar powered

Most auto darkening welding helmets are battery operated. However, a few are solar powered. This comes down to personal preference, availability of sunlight, and passion for the environment.

Popular Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Brands

Coming up are individual reviews the 6 Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets on the market in 2018. But if you find yourself wanting more, we suggest perusing these popular auto darkening welding helmet brands:

The 6 Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Reviews

#1. The Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet for the Money
Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Balder Technology

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Review
The Jackson Safety BH3


  • Color: Black with yellow frame around lens
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9.375 (H) x 12.8 (L) x 9.5 (W)
  • Viewing lens size: 3.8″ x 2.7″
  • Shade Range: 9 to 13
  • Reaction time: 0.15 milliseconds
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price Rating: $$$

For 3D visuals, see the Video Review: BH3 Welding Helmet with Balder Technology.

Notable Features:

In a nutshell, the Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is fantastic. As one reviewer puts it, “This is the clearest lens money can buy.”

Here are the main features of this auto welding helmet:

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Reviews
Follow the link for Discounts/Pictures on Amazon
  • Works well with eyeglasses
  • Lens not negatively affected by sunlight
  • Lens is easier to see through than most
  • Has 3 headgear adjustments

Special Considerations: 

Before purchasing, we want to make sure you know that this auto helmet does not have cutting/grinding modes. Also, it doesn’t have a test button to monitor the darkening speed.

Overall Assessment:

Despite a couple cons, the Jackson Safety BH3 is one of the best auto darkening welding helmets on the market. Its clarity is above average, it’s lightweight, and it’s extremely high quality.

In other words, this is a great welding helmet that is well worth the investment!

>>Follow the link for 100+ owner reviews

#2. Best Professional Welding Helmet:
3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 910 

Best Welding Hoods
The 3M Speedglas features a flip-up auto darkening filter.

The 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 910 is best for professional use. After all, it is one of the most expensive welding helmets. So we recommend this for professional welders who want the best of the best.


  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10 (H) x 14 (L)  x 14 (W) inches
  • Viewing lens size: 8 x 4.24 inches
  • Shade range: 8 to 13
  • Reaction time: .1 milliseconds
  • Warranty: Upon request
  • Price Rating: $$$$$
Best Welding Masks
(Follow the link for more pictures)

Notable Features:

  • Adjustable headband
  • Provides protection even when turned off
  • Built for Stick, MIG, and TIG welding
  • Ultra-convenient flip-up design

Special Considerations:

Overall, the biggest barrier with this best auto darkening welding helmet is cost.

Since it’s so costly, it’s best suited for professional or extreme welders.

For example, if you’re a welding student, it might not be necessary to spend so much.

Overall Assessment:

Without a doubt, the 3m Speedglas Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is a cut above most welding helmets.

So, if you have the means necessary, then go for it! It’s a long-term investment that will have you set for years to come.

>>Follow the link for Discounts, Reviews, & Pictures

#3. Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews
Jackson Safety Insight Variable Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Overall, this is one of the best budget welding helmets on Amazon right now. It isn’t so inexpensive that it has cheap quality, but it still manages to be budget friendly.

Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Review
Follow the link for more pictures of the Jackson Safety Insight Variable Helmet.


  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.1 (H) x 13.6
  • Viewing lens size: 3.93 x 2.36 inches
  • Shade range: 9 to 13
  • Warranty: Upon request
  • Price Rating: $$


  • User friendly digital controls
  • Detects potentially harmful fumes
  • Has both ‘grind’ and ‘weld’ modes
  • Is CSA compliant

Special Considerations:

Although this is a great budget helmet, it can’t compete with more expensive models, such as the Jackson Safety BH3.

Overall Assessment:

That being said, it does deliver a good “bang for the buck,” and it even has the “Amazon’s Choice” stamp of approval. This is a good choice if you aren’t ready to make a big investment, or for basic hobby welding.

>>Click here for 100+ Verified Owner Reviews

#4. Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Large Lens
Rhino Large View + Grind Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

If you’re looking for a review of the best auto darkening welding helmet with large lens, the Rhino could be one of the best new welding helmets for you!

Best Welding Masks Review
The Rhino Large View is a great budget helmet.


  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9.25 (H) x 13.25 (L)  x 7.75 (W) inches
  • Viewing lens size: 4 x 2.6 inches
  • Shade range: 4 and grind mode, 9 to 13
  • Reaction Time: 1/25,000 second
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price Rating: $

Notable Features:

  • Dual power source: solar powered with battery back-up power available
  • Two arc sensors: 1 independent, 1 redundant
  • Time delay after welding ends is adjustable between 0.15-0.80 seconds
  • Good for MIG, TIG, stick, plasma welding, and plasma cutting
  • Knob on outside of helmet makes it easy to adjust while welding

Special Considerations: 

Of course, cheap welding helmets like the Rhino Large can’t be expected to compete with models like the 3M Speedglas or Jackson Safety BH3 best auto darkening welding helmets. The most common critical complaint on Amazon’s reviews is difficulty finding replacement parts for when the cheap welding helmet parts are faulty.

Overall Assessment:

If you need a cheap welding helmet, consider the Rhino Large auto darkening welding helmet. This is okay if you’re a welding student or an infrequent hobby welder. However, if you’re looking for a professional grade welding helmet, we suggest looking elsewhere.

>>Click here for Verified Owner Reviews

#5. Top Welding Helmets Review:
Lincoln Electric Welding Helmet 3350 Series


Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews
The Lincoln Electric 3350 Series features a 3.74 x 3.4 inch viewing lens.
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 13 x 10 inches
  • Viewing lens size: 3.85 x 2.38 inches
  • Shade range: 8 to 13
  • Reaction Time: 50 microseconds
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price Rating: $$

Notable Features:

  • Solar switching speed power source
  • Has a grind mode
  • 4 arc sensors
  • Requires 1 lithium battery
  • Superior suspension allows for maximum comfort
  • Great ventilation system

Special Considerations:

Notably, it can be a little tricky to get all the screws just where you want them. Multiple critical reviewers have found issue with the hinge system in the back.

Final Assessment: For the price, this is a good welding helmet that will provide comfort and protection for both professional and hobby welders. It’s comfortable, safe, and affordable. What more could you ask for?

>>>Click here for 200+ Verified Owner Reviews

#6. The Cheapest Auto Welding Helmet on Amazon
Antra AH6 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The final helmet in our best auto darkening welding helmet reviews is the Antra A6. Without a doubt, it’s the best hobby welding helmet for a tight budget.

Best Welding Masks
The Antra AH6 is great for most welding & plasma cutting processes.


  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 9 inches
  • Viewing lens size: 3.86 x 1.78 inches
  • Shade range: 4, 9 to 13
  • Reaction Time: 1/25,000 seconds
  • Warranty: Upon request
  • Price Rating: less than $

Notable Features:

  • 6 exterior and 1 interior lens included
  • 4 sensors
  • Adjustable sensitivity & step-less delay knobs adjustable
  • Solar powered with back up, replaceable batteries

Special Considerations:

Although this is a super cheap auto darkening welding helmet, its cheapness shows in some areas. First, the welding mode dial on the exterior may have a mind of its own. Therefore, it could switch welding modes on you mid-project. Second, the helmet does require assembly upon arrival.

Overall Assessment:

If you want an incredibly cheap welding helmet with solar power, the Antra A6 is a good place to start. In fact, it has 800+ positive Amazon reviews. Typically, this is the helmet for hobby welders.

>>Click here for 900+ Owner Reviews

2018’s Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Reviews:
Final Thoughts

Now, we’ve just shown you a rather eclectic mix of the best auto darkening welding helmet reviews. If you’re looking for a durable auto welding helmet for professional use, go for the Jackson BH3 or Speedglas 3M.

If you want the the cheapest welding helmets, choose from the Antra A6 or Rhino Large. For mid-grade auto darkening welding helmets, we suggest the Lincoln Electric or the Jackson Safety Insight Variable welding helmets.

For more welding equipment, make sure to check out our Reviews of the Best Welding Supplies Online!

Best Welding Supplies Online

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