A good welding helmet is an essential gear for every professional welder. However, finding the best helmet isn’t as easy despite variety of models flooding the market. The type of lenses on your welding helmet determines its efficiency. Auto darkening lenses are the most popular and the best type of lenses you can go for. Even though you may have to pay more, they are worth every penny. They’ll protect your eyes and save you the hassle of lifting and lowering your helmet among other benefits. If you have faced a dilemma deciding the best auto darkening welding lens, we are here to help. Our elaborate guide should help you to get your most befitting welding helmet lens.
How Do Auto Darkening Welding Lens Works?
Four major components take part in the general operation of an auto darkening lens. These include filters, arc, sensors and shades. When the welder strikes an arc, the inbuilt sensors in the lens detect it. Immediately, the shade activates automatically and start rising from about 10 to 13. This is determined by the intensity of the light from the arc. The protection is offered by UV and IR filters all incorporated in the lens structure.
When not welding for specific period of time, sensors relay a message to filters. In return the filters will lighten up to about 10. The process repeats itself continuously throughout the welding process.
9 Best Auto Darkening Welding Lens
So far, you must have known that there is hundreds of welding helmet models with different auto darkening lenses. That can be a bit confusing to anyone while shopping. However, this cannot be a problem to anyone with this guide. Our review below presents 9 best products and their ranking is based on their various aspects. Tested and proven, you can choose any lens from the competing models below;
1. Auto Darkening Fixed Shade
If you are looking for the top-notch premium auto darkening lens, this is the best quality you can get. First off, it will fit any hood using a 2X4” lens. One feature that propels these lenses to this position is their quick transition from dark to clear when exposed to different light. This is a plus considering that most lenses tend to have a long wait period.
Also, it maintains a certain level of darkness when performing certain tasks like grinding and cutting metals. This ensures you have adequate visibility and immediately you begin welding, the auto darkening feature activates immediately. Therefore, your eyes remain protected throughout working session.
The use of incredible clarity Enhanced definition ensures that your eyes don’t strain. Basically, these lenses are best used on both field and booth hoods. With a double arc technology also, it’s a true definition of a modern-day lens.
- It is affordable.
- Has a short wait period thus perfect for eye protection.
- Features clear blue technology.
- It also has enhanced clarity.
- Its durable.
- May be a bit too bright to some people.
2. ArcOne T240-10 Tradesman Horizontal Auto-Darkening
Our number two auto darkening lens comes from your familiar brand ArcOne. Their T240-10 model is a unique one with crucial features to keep you safe when welding. With a capability to provide up to 10.5 dark states, this lens provides your eyes with top-level protection. It features two independent sensors to generate maximum shading.
With a 5.25” viewing area, you can work with limited turning and tilting. The small area is perhaps it’s the biggest undoing. Otherwise, all the other things are perfect. You don’t need to wait for the transition between the states to take place. Also, the exchange is seamless as it occurs instantly.
It also has 3 light states. That provides the best protection to your eyes depending on the lighting. So, if you have a 2-Inch x 4-1/4-Inch x .2-Inch hood, you may need to check this lens out. Considering the fact that you can use a general filter, this lens is considered economical.
- Can provide up to over 10 shading.
- Uses two independent sensors for maximum protection.
- It is economical.
- Provides 3 light states.
- The transitioning is almost seamless.
- It has a small viewing area.
3. Miller Electric Auto-Darkening lens
If you are tired of straining your neck when welding, this auto darkening lens can save you. It features an incredibly advanced clarity which means a beautiful weld while keeping your eyes safe from welding light and sparks. However, under normal conditions, you may find it hard to see through these lenses.
Also, instead of struggling with small view lenses, the Miller Electric auto darkening lens got you. This lens has a wide view which means you won’t have to tilt in angles to see certain points.
The two independent sensors on this lens guarantee maximum darkening based on lighting. The delay time between darkening and lightening is seamless. Also, the auto-on and auto-off fitted on it make it easy to use. You don’t have to stop welding to lift or lower it. The lens detects your operations and whenever you stop for a certain time it powers itself off. With up to a 10-dark shade, this lightweight lens can greatly maximize your productivity.
- It is lightweight.
- It features an auto-on and off modes.
- Provides up to 10 dark shade.
- It has a large view.
- It has a short delay time.
- Offers elite protection.
- Under normal environment, you may strain your eyes to see.
- It is too fragile thus not recommended for industrial use.
4. S240-10 Tradesman Horizontal
This lens offers an incredible clear definition to see as if you had nothing covering your eyes. The high clarity contributes to great performance because you can see materials and joints clearly. Additionally, it is resistant to various environmental contaminants like dust and water. Therefore, even when working in dusty and moist environments, your efficiency won’t be affected at all.
Also, the short wait period is a strength of these lenses. They can transition from dark to light within 0.5 ms. this means you don’t have to stop working waiting for it to change. So, your eyes remain protected because they are never exposed at any given point during welding. The lens relies on two independent sensors to determine the lens behavior. That is when to change and to what degree.
In terms of durability, ArcOne T240-10 doesn’t disappoint. Its weight and resistance to scratching greatly boost its durability. So, investing in this lens is pure joy.
- It provides enough viewing area.
- Has a short wait period making transition seamless.
- It is resistant to dust and water.
- Resistance to scratching makes them very durable.
- Has an incredible clarity.
- Some people complain the viewing area is small.
- The delayed transition can sometimes cause eye injuries.
5. Gimiton Solar Auto Darkening Welding Helmet/Mask Lens Filter Shade 3-11 ab
Gimiton Mask lens provides 3 light states and DIN 11 darkening state. The lenses come in a pack of three thus offers the best value for your money. It offers incredible clarity giving the welder an opportunity to produce the best products. The clear visuals allow one to see all joints and measurements as if they had nothing covering their eyes.
Whatever you do, you can wear this lens comfortably without straining your eyes, face, or neck. You even don’t need to adjust anything. The lenses are automatic; they can sense the environment and your operation and adjust accordingly. So, you don’t need to press any button or lift anything. Everything is automatic.
Its lithium battery ensures a long supply of charge as it is recharged via solar. Therefore, you can even recharge your battery as you work. You don’t even need to worry about switching off the device when done working. The auto on and off feature got you covered. Whether an armature or a pro welder, this lens can work for you.
- It has an auto-on and off feature.
- Comes as a pack of three lenses.
- Can work for both professional and part time welders.
- Uses a solar rechargeable lithium battery.
- Provides a darkening of up to DIN 11.
- It is lightweight.
- It has a small viewing area.
6. LINCOLN ELECTRIC 2×4 C-Series Auto-Darkening Welding Lens
This is an outstanding auto darkening lens with a spectacular performance. It’s capable of providing a crystal clear view of the arc and puddle during welding. It ensures that your eyes remain healthy and relax for the longest time possible as you deliver goldwork.
If your current lenses are straining your eyes and neck, maybe it’s time you changed gear to this Lincoln Maverick.
It provides an increased color range whether in lightened or darkened mode. The clear images of your materials and surroundings guarantee you high quality work and productivity. Blurring and distortion are rare with this lens, unlike others. With a light of up to 8 and 13 shading, this is not an average lens.
- Provides a crystal-clear view of the arc and puddle.
- Offers long hours of eye comfort.
- Provides high color range.
- Has reduced blurring and distortion effects.
- You can personalize the experience.
- It is too thick.
- It’s hard to adjust.
7. Optrel 5012.238 Nova Auto Darkening Filter
It’s a solar rechargeable lens but with incredible capability. If your hood is a 2″ x 4 ¼ model, this lens will be a good choice. It is solar rechargeable which means that you can work for a long while recharging the battery. Besides, even its internal accumulators are able to recharge themselves and store the necessary energy.
Those who have used this lens, hail it for its uniqueness in providing the coolest working images. Also, the freedom to customize the shade is a beautiful provision. The lens comes with a green lens when the two blends can shoot the auto to whooping DIN 11. Its quick switching speeds should also inspire you to perhaps consider it in your welding kit.
- It has fast switching speeds.
- It has an additional green lens for bolstering the auto rates.
- Provides a perfect tint.
- It is very clear.
- It is solar rechargeable.
- It’s too dark for some people.
- Has a small viewing area.
8. Seer Solar Auto Welding Lens (Shade 11)
This is one of the auto darkening lenses with varieties. Its shades range from 9 to 11 meaning you can choose whichever fits best. With clear blue technology, Techniweld ASP2X4H11EA offers incredibly high clarity. With the ability to see clearly what you are working with quality performance is assured.
Additionally, the high definition offered by this lens means your eyes don’t strain when working. And since the neck strains are a result of eyes strain too means you won’t have any. The result of that is a quality working time without injuries.
The two independent sensors embedded provide automatic control of the lens. That means you don’t have to control the operations of the lens manually. Tested and approved by ANSI Z87.1-2015 and CE 379, this is a must have lens for welders.
- Has a wide range of shade from 9 to 12.
- It is approved by ANSI Z87.1-2015 and CE 379.
- Has a clear blue technology for advanced clarity.
- Includes independent sensors that ensure maximum productivity.
- It has auto-on and circuitry.
- It is solar rechargeable.
- Cannot be used for industrial purposes.
- Some of its shades are too deep.
9. Techniweld ASP2X4H09EA Seer Solar Auto Welding Lens (Shade 9)
This lens is almost a photocopy of Techniweld ASP2X4H11EA except for a few things. One of their major glaring differences in the shade. Whereas this one has shade 9, the Techniweld ASP2X4H11EA has a shade of 11. Like its predecessor, this lens features clear blue technology. Its other features include;
- Certified by ANSI Z87.1-2015 and CE 379
- It has two independent sensors
- Has high definition to reduce eye and neck straining
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Key Features to Look Before Buying Auto Darkening Welding Lens
There are several factors that you should consider before buying an Auto Darkening Welding lens. This will help to get a helmet which will give you comfort when doing your work. Below are some of these factors that you should consider.
The heaviness or lightness of a helmet determines the comfortability when working. When you get a heavy helmet, it will increase exhaustion especially when you weld for long hours. Heavy helmets bring fatigue easily. Therefore, when you look for a lightweight helmet, expect to get the best experience when working. Additionally, they are secure and less damaging. Imagine when you are working more than 8 hours a day and you have a heavy helmet, e.g. 400g? It will definitely inflict significant damage even when you are experienced.
Another factor you should consider is comfortable headgear. Also, the headgear should be easily adjustable and you can do it with a lot of flexibility. Nowadays, we take an advantage of innovation which has really influenced the making of fitting headgears. So, when looking for good headgear, look for the one with cushioned front strap spread. This adds comfort to your helmet. Another feature in the headgear is, it should be adjustable up, down, forward, and front. Also, it should not be hard when fixing around your head.
There are several ways you can power up your Auto Darkening Welding lens. There are some which use replaceable lithium cells. Others comprise solar-based cells blended on them also with user-replaceable lithium batteries. With all these factors, the decision is always according to the individual. Comparing the Auto-Darkening helmets that have user-replaceable batteries and that do not have, the ones that have will give you room for the more aggregate service life of the cap. Note the ones which do not have, most likely they have a short service life.
Clarity of lens
The clarity of a lens is done by EN379 standard. They determine the following four considerations. These include diffusion of light, the accuracy of vision, angular dependence, and consistent shade. An immaculate rating is 1/1/1/1. However, this should be a big issue when you picking a protective cap because many are almost clear.
This is the time that the lens takes to change from light to dark after detecting an arc. So, the less time it takes the better. This is because it will increase the time efficiency. It is obvious when you are using less time, you will deliver to your customers in time.
Size of lens
When you choose a helmet that has a greater lens size, the more area of you will have. The standard size of a lens is 2” by 4”. This will increase your work. Therefore, when you are selecting a lens, the one with a large lens size will improve your job efficiency.
It is important to purchase a hood that has the right shades that correspond to the type of welding you do. Note that getting a cap that has torch or light modes will help you to perform different tasks without removing the helmet.
A good auto-darkening welding lens should give you the best experience if it is simple to understand the controls. You do not need to remove the gloves when adjusting them. Also, the controls should be positioned where you will not struggle to operate. So, look for a helmet that will give you an easy understanding when using it.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
How should I work with auto darkening welding lenses?
To use auto darkening lenses, you must understand their working principle. The lens is set to darken automatically when the light strikes the arc. Though, there is a wait time between striking and maximum darkening of the lens. Therefore, depending on your lens, and how fast its switching is, ensure you don’t look at the arc directly before absolute darkening. Such an act can easily lead to eye strain or injuries.
Therefore, to ensure your helmet lens works perfectly, do not obstruct the arc with anything. In case of blockage, the lens translates that the light isn’t strong enough to warrant darkening.
How can I test whether the auto darkening lens is working?
Sun rays are the simplest way to test whether your auto darkening lens is working properly. All you need is to wear the welding helmet and stare directly at the sun. The sun’s brightness and UV rays should activate the filters and darken to at least 10.
To check the switching speed, place your palm In front of your face. A perfectly working lens should display some light behind the palm but not lighten the lens.
Why do welding lenses appear greenish?
The welding light consists of UV and visible lights. These both can cause a certain degree of damage to naked eyes. Actually, they are what lead to a phenomenon referred to as welders flash which can cause temporal or permanent blindness. The welding lenses are designed to block the blue and red rays of the light spectrum resulting in a greenish hue appearance.
Are welding auto darkening lenses safe?
Yes, as long as you use them properly, auto darkening lenses do not pose any threat to users. That’s why it’s advisable to ensure everything is perfect before putting them to heavy tasks. Ensure that you set everything properly before subjecting them to real tasks. Also, when buying, get the right ratings according to your needs. If you buy light-purpose lenses, don’t use them for industrial heavy welding.
Can auto darkening lenses spoil?
Yes, anything man made can go bad due to many reasons. Therefore, anytime you notice reduced shade efficiency, bending, and rusting, you need to take your helmet for checking or replace it.
What are the types of welding lens shades?
There are two types of shades; auto darkening and passive. The passive lenses are tinted to block welding light and flying objects. However, the user must lower them when working and lift them when not. They are less effective and tiring.
On the other hand, auto darkening lenses are automated to darken and lighten. The welder has less control over them. They darken when exposed to light and lighten when not.
The lenses you use on your welding helmet are what determine the efficiency of your helmet. They are the ones that will protect or expose your eyes to hazards. That’s why choosing a lens isn’t a walk in the park. If you chose a lens that exposes your eyes to intense welding brightness, within a matter of time, you may lose your sight.
The auto darkening technology used in modern lenses presents the best option for welders or anyone in such a field. They don’t need to waste their time controlling their helmet or pressing buttons to make adjustments. If you are a welder or anyone in need of auto darkening lenses, we’ve explored the market for you. This guide should basically solve your entire dilemma about the choice for a good lens.