Welding can be a challenging and rewarding occupation but working with hot molten metal means that safety should always be in the back of your mind. It’s important to have the right equipment to protect you as you work and that starts with a top-quality welding helmet.
There are lots of great options to choose from these days with high tech features made from lightweight materials that provide protection from flying sparks, a great range of motion and a comfortable experience. Here are our picks for the best welding helmets of 2021.
1. 3M Speedglas 9100
The best overall welding helmet
Overall, the Speedglas 9100 have everything you need in a welding helmet. It might be a bit heavy and you may have to make periodic adjustments for comfort, but the pros clearly outweigh the cons. With two different memory modes and an auto-on feature, this mask makes welding a breeze.
If you’re looking for the best welding helmet on the market in 2021 and you’re not overly concerned about price, you won’t find many better contenders than the 3M Speedglas 9100. It will set you back almost $500, but it’s packed full of features that will make your welding tasks easier and safer.
This helmet is light years ahead of most of its competitors. It has an easy to use auto-darkening filter, it has external controls for easy access, you have the option of two different memory modes for ease of use and it has an auto-on feature so you can quickly start up with the last setting you used. The 9100 is also equipped with side windows for expanded peripheral vision.
We did have a couple of concerns with this helmet. The underlying headgear does have a tendency to loosen over time so you may have to make adjustments from time to time. Also, the mask will get marked up with continuous use and it can be difficult to clean. It’s also a little on the heavy side for a helmet in this price range.
- Auto-darkening filter.
- Easy access external controls.
- Two different memory modes.
- Auto-on feature.
- Side windows.
- Headgear loosens over time.
- Difficult to clean.
- A little on the heavy side.
2. Lincoln Electric Viking 3350
The best auto-darkening helmet for the money
There were a lot of things we liked about this Viking 3350 (K3034-4 model) welding mask. It may not be the best option for cold weather use, but for indoor work, it’s hard to beat. This helmet is great value for the money.
If you’re looking for a combination of great features and a great price the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 welding helmet is a great choice. It also happens to be our pick for the best auto-darkening helmet currently on the market. At just under $300 it’s a great deal on a professional-quality product that will provide years of use for the welder.
With 4C lens technology, you get a sharp and crisp view of your weld while you work. The colors are vivid and precise and the extra-large auto-darkening lens enhances your field of view. This helmet is also designed with comfort in mind, the weight is evenly distributed across 6 contact points which reduces pressure on the wearer and makes for a more comfortable experience overall. On top of that, this mask is backed by a 3-year warranty.
On the negative side, if you’re doing a bit of outdoor welding you may experience a little too much glare when using this helmet. It will tend to fog up in cold weather as well so you may have to remove your mask from time to time to clear the display which can be frustrating.
- Under $300.
- 4C lens technology.
- Extra-large lens.
- 3-year warranty.
- Glare when used outdoors.
- Tends to fog up in cold environments.
3. YesWelder 302C
The best value at under $150
For the price, the YesWelder 302C is a solid choice. They could improve on the comfort level for the wearer and tweak its performance in low light conditions, but overall it’s a good mask.
For anyone looking for a quality welding helmet that doesn’t break their budget, you won’t find any better options than the YesWelder 302C. This is a high tech piece of equipment and you won’t generally pay more than $150 for it and it still has all of the features you’d expect in a commercial mask.
This is an auto-darkening helmet with true color optical. It’s also equipped with side windows for a 180-degree field of view. This makes it easier to perform welding tasks accurately, safely and quickly. You won’t have to change the batteries frequently either as it’s designed for extra-long battery life.
One thing we didn’t like about this helmet was its wearability – it’s not the most comfortable helmet on the market. We also found it didn’t always adjust to the lighting conditions right away making it harder to use in dim light conditions.
- Priced under $150.
- True color optical.
- Side windows for a better view.
- Long battery life.
- Not overly comfortable.
- Doesn’t adjust well to low light.
4. Antra AH6-260
The best budget welding helmet
For a budget helmet priced under $50, the Antra AH6-260 is excellent value for the money. It does have some issues in terms of comfort, and it can be slow to adjust for different lighting conditions, but there aren’t any major problems with this helmet when you consider how affordable it is.
There aren’t many quality welding helmets priced under $100, so we were quite surprised to find one under $50. The Antra AH6-260 performs surprisingly well for a budget welding helmet. It’s safe to use and it has more features than you’d typically expect at this price point.
Surprisingly, this is an auto-darkening helmet which you wouldn’t expect at this price point. It uses a combination of solar and battery power depending on whether you’re working indoors or outdoors. With this mask, you’re also provided with an extra layer of neck protection to prevent injury from splatters.
On the downside, this mask does feel a little bulky when you’re wearing it. It isn’t overly heavy, it just doesn’t give a great fit. The only other complaint we have is with the auto-darkening feature – it can take an extra second or two for it to adjust.
- Priced under $50.
- Auto-darkening feature.
- Combination of battery and solar.
- Extra neck protection.
- A little bulky.
- Auto-darkening may take an extra second to kick in.
5. Jackson Insight
The best welding mask under $200
The Jackson Insight (46131 model) strikes a good balance between features and affordability. We did have some minor concerns with the build quality, but you will get many years of use out of this helmet with a little extra care.
If you have a budget of around $200 for your next welding helmet, the Jackson Safety Insight deserves serious consideration. This is an economical choice, but they haven’t sacrificed a lot to keep the price reasonable.
If you opt for this mask you’ll get a great tool for all your welding tasks. It’s equipped with a digital auto-darkening filter and it’s powered by 2 lithium-ion batteries that are included at purchase. You also have the versatility to switch between the weld and grind modes. At 2 pounds it’s not overly heavy either.
One area we think the manufacturer could improve on is the build quality – the frame that secures the helmet to your head is made from a cheaper plastic that isn’t built to last. Some users also found that the strap tends to snag in longer hair.
- Retails for under $200.
- Digital auto-darkening filter.
- Lithium-ion batteries included.
- Weld and grind modes.
- Cheap build quality.
- May snag in longer hair.
6. ESAB Sentinel A50
The best ergonomic welding hood
In spite of concerns about the power source for this helmet and the added expense of replacement masks, we still found a lot to like about the ESAB Sentinel A50. It has a comfortable ergonomic design and a true color touchscreen for precision work. The optional grind function is a nice feature as well.
The ESAB Sentinel A50 is one of the best quality welding helmets on the market today. It typically retails between $350 and $400 so it’s a bit on the expensive side, but it’s also loaded with great options to make your welding jobs easier. If you’re okay with spending a little extra this mask is worth stretching the budget for.
One thing we really love about this helmet is its ergonomic design – it fits the wearer like a glove, offering maximum comfort and mobility. It’s also made from high impact nylon so it’s very durable as well. The Sentinel A50 also features a color touchscreen with 8 separate memory settings. You get a grind option with this welding mask as well.
One problem with this mask is that it runs on standard C batteries and you may find yourself switching them out often if you’re using it a lot. Lens replacements can also be expensive for this helmet.
- Ergonomic and comfortable.
- Durable high impact nylon design.
- Color touchscreen.
- 8 separate memory modes.
- Includes a grind option.
- Uses basic C batteries.
- Lens replacements are expensive.
7. Miller Digital Infinity
The best lightweight helmet
If Miller could improve the quality of the headgear on this model and include a solar-powered backup it would be in contention for our best overall pick. It’s still a great mask as is with tons of great features that make it worth serious consideration when you’re looking for a replacement welding helmet.
There aren’t a ton of options for a welding helmet under $400, that’s lightweight and still packed with great options. The Miller Digital Infinity is one exception to this rule. This mask has everything you need to weld in a commercial setting safely and comfortably.
One of the standout features of this helmet is its ClearLight lens technology. You’ll be able to see each weld clearly while protecting your eyes from harm. It also has four different cutting modes to choose from. The settings are easily adjustable as well. Best of all it has a 13.4-inch viewing area, which is one of the best in the industry.
One thing that you won’t like about this helmet is that it relies on battery power only, there is no solar backup. We also found the underlying headgear is a little cheaply made for the price and will probably need replacing within a year or two.
- ClearLight lens technology.
- 4 different cutting modes.
- Easily adjustable settings.
- Large 13.4-inch viewing area.
- Battery power only no solar.
- Cheap underling headgear.
Our search for the best welding helmets revealed some great options and we’ve included many of them in the reviews above. The 3M Speedglas 9100 was our clear choice for the best overall welding helmet in 2021 because of its great combination of features, but we’re comfortable endorsing any one of the welding masks in these reviews.