Choosing A Welding Helmet

Sparks, flying spatter and damaging rays could all ruin your day if youʼre not wearing adequate protection.

PROPERLY PROTECTED. These welding helmets will keep dangerous rays and debris from vulnerable faces.

Welding helmets have come a long way in recent years. For one thing, they can now be a fashion item, with many suitable for Halloween. Among the options are helmets that will make you look like a robot, a bulldog or a gorilla.

There’s also the “Burning Skull” model, which looks pretty much like it sounds. But why spend the money when you could get the same effect by simply welding without a helmet?

The danger is real. So is the need to protect your head and eyes from intense light, sparks, heat, debris and dangerous rays.

A helmet with appropriate eye protection should be used for all types of welding, but electric arc welding is especially dangerous. Arc welding creates a brilliant white light that can hurt the eyes while preventing the welder from seeing the work, and it also emits ultraviolet and infrared rays that can severely burn both the eyes and skin. The arc should never be viewed with the naked eye.

Lens Basics

To allow welders to see their work, the helmets are equipped with filter lenses, often called filter plates, that protect the eyes by blocking both the intensity of the light and the ultraviolet and infrared rays. Two standard lens sizes are available, 2 1/2-by-4 1/4 inches, or 4 1/2-by-5 1/4 inches, according to Greg Runyan, an expert welder and a customer service specialist for Praxair, a worldwide supplier of

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Ron perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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