A welding helm is just one of the protective gears you need to wear when you’re welding. Apart from a helmet, you also need gloves, appropriate clothing (an overall), and the proper footwear. Whether you’re an expert or beginner in welding, you’ll need a helmet to protect your face, especially your eyes.

Uses of a Helmet

A welding helmet is a headgear is made to keep your face and neck protected from flash burns, sparks, heat, and UV light caused by welding.

Typically used with arc welding jobs such as gas tungsten arc welding, gas metal arc welding, and shielded arc welding, helms are crucial tools to prevent arc eye—a condition where the eyes’ cornea is inflamed. In addition, helmets keep your retina from burns which can cause blindness.

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Arc eye and vision loss can occur when there is unprotected exposure to highly concentrated infrared and UV rays, which are expelled by the welding arc.

UV emissions can also harm your skin if it’s unguarded, leading to a sunburn-like problem. Aside from the radiation, gasses and splashes can also damage your eyes and skin.

If you’re wise, you’ll wear a welding helmet before any welding operation.

Modern Helms

Welding helmets today evolved from the helms launched by Willson Products in 1937.  Helms usually come with a window that’s covered with a lens shade—the filter through which the user is able to see what he/she is working on. The window can be made of tinted glass, tinted plastic, or a variable-density filter which is made from a pair of polarized lenses.

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The recent development in welding helmets is the auto-darkening filter introduced by the Hornell International. They used an LCD electronic shutter that darkens by itself whenever sensors detect the bright welding arc.

Thanks to this filter, welders no longer need to nod their heads to lower the helmets over their faces. The most significant advantage of this technology is its power to save the time of the welder by ruling out the need for adjustments. It also reduces the risk of being exposed to the welding arc while making adjustments.

So when all is said and done, there’s one last thing I should say:

For goodness’ sake, wear a welding helmet!