How To Use A Welding Helmet? [Overall Guidance For Beginners]

How To Use A Welding Helmet

Wearing a welding helmet is safety equipment that you must need during the task. Although this plays a vital role, it may bring disaster if you’re a beginner or completely ignorant about this matter. 

One of the most significant facts about a welding helmet is that it saves your eyesight from the impacts of a fire spark. Yet, if you don’t wear them properly, you may lose your sight power. You, as a beginner, must be aware of how to use a welding helmet to avoid any kind of inconvenience. 

It’s not too difficult to use a welding helmet, but you should be conscious of some matters seriously, which I will discuss in my article. Besides, I’ll also break down the types and forms of different welding helmet lenses here.

5 Steps Of Wearing Any Welding Helmet 

Wearing any welding helmet is like putting on a bike helmet to protect your skull from unpredictable injuries. The difference between the two tasks is to give protection from physical injuries. And the other one gives protection from continuous fire spark plugs or bright lights. Anyway, below are some steps that one must have followed carefully. 

Step-1: Ensure About The Welding Helmet Fitments:

Fitment is the priority that you must achieve before wearing any welding helmet. There are two reasons behind this fact. First, poor or loose fittings may block your sight power or fail to give proper protection. 

Second, loose helmets will be a curse for you as they feel uncomfortable, and you may be tempted not to use them again. These things are not expected of us. So the question is, how exactly do you confirm that the auto-darkening welding mask fits? 

First, you must be strict about fitting them according to the skull size on your head. If your helmet didn’t come to fit you, it’s better to get it customized. You can take help from my suggestions below, where I’m discussing them in-depth. On the other hand, some people seem to prefer a welding hood as they give much protection and comfort. Besides, you can learn any other options that give you a tighter fit as well as much safer. 

Step-2: Adjusting The Lighter Sensitivity Of Welding Helmet: 

In the second step, you have to give importance to adjust the helmet. There are 3 adjustments that you apply as an alter to wearing the helmet. The three adjustments- light, medium, and high are recommended for the welding type.

If the arc amount of your welding is not too high, you might have chosen the first adjustment. They are usually suitable for any light and simple fire sparks. 

Correspondingly, medium adjustment is suitable for the mid-light levels. But it is crucial to check that the helmet is installed adequately after using any of these adjustments. Comparatively, a powerful welding arc is preferred to the high sensitivity adjustment.

Anyway, fix the adjustments according to the arc types and works. Then go for the next before wearing the shield over your head. And start the task. 

I want to inform you that the important thing is to try to keep the helmet with low sensitivity settings. If you ever work around any professional welder, they used to lower their adjustments, especially for TIG welding.

They did it from their firm belief that low sensitivity settings are necessary to give certainty to their torches. Moreover, these settings also help to protect the helmet too. 

Step-3: Set Out The Long Duration / Delay Time Between Response Time: 

It is the main task and requires extra attention to do the job correctly. The delay time of the welding shield is essential to adjust your back to the arc lights. But do not mess this up with the response time. Because once you start to weld any metals, your lens gets darker than any black sunglasses. 

So you must take a break between the response time and delay time. Beyond my preferences, I usually set out a longer delay time while welding at a higher temperature. This is because your arc or fire torch needs some time to cool down or pass out. 

Step-4: Adjusting The Helmet Shade: 

Another thing you must have to follow is adjusting the helmet shade. These are the things that rely on how dark you’re going to face during the working period. Not to mention that every welding shade requires a specific numbering. 

They mainly range from number 9 to 13 for auto-darkening lenses. At the same time, the passive lens prefers #10 shades for clear visibility. It is crucial to take a higher number of welding shades. Because the higher the number is, the darker shades it will give. Moreover, the darkest welding shades offer the level best vision protection.

As such, all equal being equal, a higher shade is usually dreadful for novices. So I suggest you choose the darkest one that allows you to see clearly what you’re working on. To make the matter clearer, I attached below the lens shades of both auto-darkening and passive for choosing the right shades according to the welding applications. 

Lenses Shade Selection Chart: 

ProcessElectrode Size In. (mm)Arc Current In AmperesMinimum Protective Shade, NoSuggested Shade No.
For Shielded Metal Arc WeldingLess than 3/32 (2.4)Less than 6070
For Shielded Metal Arc Welding5/32-5/32 (2.4-4.0)60-160810
For Shielded Metal Arc Welding5/32-¼(4.0-6.4)160-2501012
For Shielded Metal Arc WeldingMore than ¼(6.4)250-5001114
For Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)0less than 6070
For Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)060-1601011
For Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)0160-2501012
For Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)0250-5001014
For Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)0less than 50810
For Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)050-150812
For Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)00012
For Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)0150-5001014
For Gas Tungsten Arc Welding ( TIG)0less than 501012
For Gas Tungsten Arc Welding ( TIG)050-150014
For Gas Tungsten Arc Welding ( TIG)00110
For Gas Tungsten Arc Welding ( TIG)0150-50000
For Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)light heavyless than 204-54-6
For Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)  020-606-88-10
For Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)  080-4008-910-11
For Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)  0400-8009-1012-14
For Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)0less than 2066-8
For Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)020-100810
For Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)0100-4001012
For Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)0400-8001114

Step-5: Start To Weld The Metal: 

Now start to weld any metals. Don’t forget to keep your hand straight before starting to weld. And also, keep both your hands far away from the fireplace. Otherwise, you burn them or get injured. Thus, you can wear any helmet before starting any welding task. 

Essential Tips

To make the welding job facile, you might be aware of some tips. Let’s take a look! 

  • Don’t forget to clean the helmet lenses with any solutions. The matter must be taken seriously when it comes to auto-darkening lenses. 
  • Clean the lens regularly after finishing the welding task.
  • Keep your hand straight and stand it far away from the fireplace.
  • Hold the welding tools in one hand and the helmet wire in another.
  • Adjust the helmet with your head appropriately, lest it should fall from there.  

Lens Types Of Welding Helmet 

Welding helmet lenses usually come in two variants. One is known as auto-darkening, and the other is the regular or passive lens. Both of them are used in the field of welding. But there is a subtle difference between them.

Auto-darkening is very famous among professional welders nowadays. In contrast, passive lenses are recommended for beginners or people who hardly need a welding job for any home projects.

More About Auto Darkening Lenses: 

Auto darkening helmets are easy to use. You don’t need to lap or pull out the viewing lid or the entire helmet. Those helmets are good to use for your neck and shoulder. Users get comfortable working with them in every field. Two options, including solar and battery, can charge another worthy thing about this lens. 

More About Passive Lenses: 

Regular or passive lenses are not as effective as auto-darkening. Those lenses aren’t suitable for any heavy-duty work, either. Those lenses help practice as a beginner or a new welder. Besides, passive lenses come with a straightforward design and are lightweight. Again, those lenses are more optically sound than an auto-darkening lens. 

4 Tests To Check If Your Old Welding Helmet Still Works

Whether you use your welding helmet frequently or not, it is vital that you check them twice or a month later. It is crucial if you’re working with any older welding helmet, a year later. There are numerous ways to test out that your older helmet is still working. Below, I have discussed only five tips that proved that the welding helmet is working. 

Test-1: With A Torch Striker:

The first thing you can do to test the fixation of the welding helmet is to use a torch striker. A torch striker comes with oxy-acetylene lighting structures. This will help to create some sparks. So probably, you may notice that the helmet is going to the dark mode automatically while you’re using the sensor. 

Test-2: Check With Lighter:

You can use a lighter to check if the welding helmet works.

Test-3: Take Help From Sun Rays: 

The third tip for checking helmet adversity is taking help from the sun rays. Just put your welding helmet into the shiny sun for some time. If it is still good, you will notice that the helmet is going into dark mode rapidly. 

Test-4: Check Out The Batteries: 

My last tip is to check out the batteries in your helmet. If you’re using the auto-darkening helmet, then separate them at once. Afterward, test them with the help of any battery tester to ensure that they work. 

Things You Should Consider While Wearing Any Welding Helmets:

To wear any welding helmet properly, you should consider the below things. If you’re a beginner, then I must say it will be a hard and fast rule for you that you never skip. 

  • Always keep the helmet on a clean surface before you wear them. Don’t forget to clean the lenses every time you put them on. 
  • Lift the helmet, and try to swing it over your headband. Don’t pull it out forward. Just ensure that the helmet adequately covers your entire skull. 
  • Before going to start the main task, wear it as a trial. Check the weight to ensure that it wasn’t too heavy over your head. 
  • Don’t forget to set up the delay time. 
  • Avoid over-tightening the helmet’s straps unless they may stick tightly and hit your skull badly. 
  • Store the welding helmet in clean and particular areas. 
  • Test out the battery capacity and the compatibility of your welding helmet once a month. 
  • Customize the helmet’s size if it’s too big or loaded for you to hold longer. 
  • Avoid choosing any heavy-duty welding helmet if you’re not comfortable with that. 

Related Question

What Safety Does Any Welding Helmet Provide? 

A welding helmet protects you from unpredictable injuries. It is crucial to keep in mind two things when thinking about welding: metals, which are melted and fused in welding. 

A survey said that the temperature of the welding areas could rise to 5,500 degrees Celsius or more. So it may take a few seconds to burn or annul any human beings. This is the main factor in which welding helmets work. In a word, those helmets provide you with both internal and external safety.

Can You Wear a Welding Helmet To Handle Power Lasers Safely? 

The welding helmet doesn’t handle power lasers even if they are used as safety equipment. The fire sparks from the arc are harsh enough to poke your eyes within a nanosecond. So it’s better to wear any particular goggles or glasses for the power lasers. 

Again, power lasers are often potent and may not be covered by any welding mask or helmet. A welding helmet usually comes with bright light, which will help with attenuation. But most likely, those do not stop all the frequencies harmful to the human optic eyes. 

What Does 1111 Mean On A Welding Helmet? 

Welding helmets have brought some specific numbers on their own. The manufacturer includes them with this helmet to indicate some specific meaning. Among them, one of the standard numbers you may find is 1111.

1111 is a substantial number for any particular welding helmet. Those numbers refer to how well the welding lenses or sensors performed against the 4-criteria points. They pointed out the three basics, ranging from 1-to 3. 1 stands for best, and 3 is for worst. 

Do You Need To Wear Sunglasses Under The Welding Helmet? 

Undoubtedly, wearing any welding helmet will ensure you the best security during the working period. But it would help if you still protect your eyes from the sparks because you may not be conscious when the sparks of the arch get aggressive. And it may split over your eyes. 

So it would be better to wear any extra goggles or safety glasses underneath the helmet. And it would be best if you chose the glasses compiled with ANSI Z87.1. Besides this, consider wearing sunglasses during gas welding or oxygen cutting. 

How Far Can You Look By Wearing Any Welding Helmet? 

As the welding helmet helps to protect your eyes, it’s also used for visible wear. While wearing any welding helmet, a person can visualize any objects from 3-20 meters away. But this is not an accurate measurement. Welding helmet visualization optimal distance varies depending on the types and shades of the lenses. 

So it is pretty uncertain how far you can see through any welding helmet. Yet, it is worth knowing that you can hold the welding mask from the arc around 2-3 feet or more without any trouble with visual clearance. 

How Often Should You Change The Welding Helmet Lenses? 

You should change the welding helmet lenses once a month. But this is not required for every individual. If you’re not a professional welder, you don’t need to change it frequently. The professional welder used to weld almost every day, which does not go for the general masses. 

So you can take good care of the lenses for using them for a longer period. After all, proper care and maintenance are the keys to healing any piece of equipment’s longevity.

Final Wrap 

Welding is a challenging task for the welder. Even though welding without a safety helmet is more challenging than I thought, you can be a pro welder; without safety wear, the journey might not be able to bring any good to you. The reason is that a welding helmet tends to be a face cover and a true soldier that works directly to fight against the blast. 
So you must learn how to wear a welding helmet as a beginner to avoid any further issues. Also, don’t forget to share any difficulties or personal opinions about welding via comment.

You may also want to read:

Can’t See Through A Welding Helmet

Kaosar Ahmed

This is Kaosar Ahmed. I’m the main publisher of this blog. Welding Leader is a blog where I share welding tips and tricks, reviews, and guides. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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