Last Updated on May 7, 2021
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a fortune to start welding. Not only are there plenty of great affordable machines out there for you to choose from, but you can also find a great welding helmet for under $100. They offer some must-needed protection without the inflated price tag.
Helmets are one of the most important pieces of equipment you can invest in, so you need to take some extra time choosing the right one. To create our list for the best budget welding helmets, we tested a selection of affordable products. Here are our recommended picks.
Reviews of the 7 Best Budget Welding Helmets
1. Miller 251292 Welding Helmet– Top Overall Pick
This welding helmet shows that big-name brands cater to those who are on a budget, too. Despite the lower price tag, Miller has the high standards of quality that you might expect from some of the company’s more expensive products.
This is obvious with the thick nylon shell and advanced auto-darkening lens. The helmet covers most of the head and features a ratcheting strap system. This helps to improve comfort levels while making it easier to flip up and down when you need better visibility.
The lens uses two electromagnetic sensors to detect the UV radiation levels coming off your torch. You can easily adjust the sensitivity of those sensors on the control panel, which is located inside the mask.
This helmet has all the features you need to stay safe. Thanks to the intuitive control panel, the helmet is more versatile than what you would expect to get at this price point. For this reason, we’ve chosen this option as the overall best welding helmet under 100 dollars.
2. Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet – Best Bang for Your Buck
This inexpensive welding helmet has multiple layers of filtration to block out harmful UV rays. In addition to the auto-darkening filter, the helmet has a passive UV blocker. It remains at level 13 to provide a wide range of overall darkness levels.
There’s a total of four sensors used. They’re strategically placed on the helmet to ensure that the system is getting accurate readings regardless of what position you’re working in.
The sensors also work to minimize false triggers. The helmet operates well outdoors in full sunlight and in darker workshops with artificial lighting. The equipment can even detect low-power TIG arcs that are less than 2 amps.
Ultimately, we chose this helmet as our runner up because it is chock-full of useful features. The addition of a passive light filter adds loads of functionality. You can do a wider variety of tasks, which is pretty impressive for an economical product.
3. DEKOPRO Solar Powered Welding Helmet
With a price tag that’s considerably less than $100, this helmet is great for those who don’t want to spend a ton of money. Even with its lower costs, the unit does a pretty good job at protecting your eyes. The auto-darkening lens can get as dark as level 16. Plus, it has an active safety feature that automatically goes to that darkest level if it experiences an electrical issue. This is a nice perk that can provide you with some peace of mind on the job.
Inside the helmet, you’ll see some simple knob controls. These can be used to adjust the exterior sensors and fine-tune the performance of the lens. There’s even a test button to make sure that things are running smoothly before you start welding.
In terms of design, this helmet looks great. It comes in a handful of unique color schemes. You won’t be covered as much as you would with other models. But, the large window can help improve your visibility in tight spots.
4. Antra AH7-860-0000 Welding Helmet
Here’s another competitively priced helmet from Antra. Like the previous Antra model on this list, this version uses an extra passive filter to provide a wider darkness range. It can get as low as level 4 or as high as level 13.
The biggest difference with this helmet is the size of the viewing window. It’s just under 4 inches wide, making it considerably larger than what you’d usually find with low-cost helmets. The bigger window improves visibility quite a bit. Plus, it can be used by those who wear glasses.
The window’s auto-darkening feature can be adjusted with the control panel inside. Just below the window, you’ll find a collection of simple knobs to control sensitivity and delay. There’s also a switch to change into grind mode and choose between high or low darkness levels.
Overall, this helmet has a lot to offer. The main issue we encountered was with the shape of the helmet itself. It has a unique oblong design, which throws off the weight balance a bit and makes the unit uncomfortable with prolonged use.
5. Tanox ADF-206S Welding Helmet
We’re proud to say that this Tanox welding helmet is a great bargain. It costs well below $100. Yet, it has an efficient auto-darkening lens. The lens has an impressive range to provide some work flexibility.
You can make adjustments as well. Inside, there are simple knobs to control the sensitivity and darkening delay. On the outside of the helmet, there’s a knob to switch work modes and make manual darkness adjustments. The placement of the external knob is very convenient.
The main flaw that we encountered was with the head strap. It’s not the highest quality and falls apart pretty easily. Tanox does throw in some spare parts for the head strap.
The manufacturers also made up for that quality oversight with the rest of the helmet. It’s made out of thick polypropylene. So, it’s durable enough to protect you while remaining relatively lightweight.
6. Instapark ADF Series GX990T Welding Helmet
The Instapark welding helmet is an economic option with some style. One thing that we liked about this product was the material. It’s made out of thick composite material that’s considerably durable. That material is then covered in a glossy print pattern for some added flair.
Beyond its cool looks, the helmet performs well, too. The auto-darkening lens is very responsive. Plus, it has one of the biggest viewing windows on this list. The large window can make it easier to see from different angles as you work.
Another unique design choice is the location of the controls. Rather than putting them inside the helmet like other models, Instapark put them right on the side. As a result, making quick adjustments on the fly has never been easier.
Overall, this helmet can serve most people well. It does have some comfort issues though. The head strap is prone to stretching out. The hinge to lift the helmet up is also too weak to support it in the upright position for too long.
7. Jackson Safety Insight Welding Helmet
When it comes to flexibility, this cost-efficient helmet from Jackson Safety has it in spades. One of the most noticeable features of this option is the size. It’s relatively thinner than some other helmets you’ll find on the market.
This is to make things easier when you need to work in tight spots. The thinner profile allows you to approach your project from virtually any angle.
Beyond the shape, the helmet also has some flexible performance settings as well. The auto-darkening lens can be adjusted with the digital control panel inside. All it takes is a press of a button to change sensitivity levels and delay. You can see all of the changes you made on the LCD screen.
The helmet is pretty comfortable to wear. The ratchet-controlled strap encircles the top of your head. There’s also an additional strap that goes over the top of the head to create a custom fit.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Budget Helmet
Any piece of safety equipment requires careful consideration. However, it’s more important than ever with low-cost welding helmets. Face and eye protection are paramount in the world of welding. The hazards of the job put you at risk for burns. Plus, you could encounter skin damage and the dreaded “Welder’s Flash.” When you’re searching for helmets that fit within your budget, keep an eye out for the following features.
There are several types of welding helmets on the market. We recommend auto-darkening varieties. As the name would suggest, the viewing window automatically gets darker based on the amount of UV radiation it’s exposed to.
There is no one-size-fits-all welding technique. As a result, there’s a good chance that you’ll be using your helmet with different settings and equipment. With all that variation, you’ll need a helmet that can keep up. Auto-darkening models utilize advanced sensors to adjust the darkness levels appropriately.
Even with an auto-darkening lens, that doesn’t mean that a helmet will be able to provide you with the protection you need. Helmets are capable of producing different shade levels. The higher the level, the more eye protection you’re getting. As a good rule of thumb, go with a model that has a wide darkness range. Darkness levels up to 13 are preferred if you want maximum protection.
Adjustable Lens Settings
Finding adjustable lens settings on cheap welding helmets is easier said than done. Oftentimes, those settings are the first to go in cost-cutting design changes. You can still find these adjustments on helmets less that cost less than $100. But it is rarer.
For the most flexibility possible, go with helmets that have adjustable sensitivity levels and delay settings. Sensitivity affects how the auto-darkening feature works. You can manually set the amount of UV light that triggers the system, which is great for low-amp jobs. The delay refers to the amount of time that the darkening effect stays on after the torch has been turned off.
Helmet Power Source
A helmet’s power source could affect your ongoing maintenance costs. If it uses standard alkaline batteries, you will need to pay for new batteries regularly. However, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can last for several years. If the helmet has a built-in solar charger, that’s even better. Solar-powered helmets cut down on recharge times, ensuring that your helmet is always ready for use.
Another issue you’ll encounter during your search for welding helmets under $100 is inferior materials. Remember, your helmet is supposed to protect you from sparks, extreme heat, and splashes of molten metal. This is an area that you shouldn’t skimp on.
Some of the best helmets are made out of thick heat-resistant plastic. You might find models made out of nylon or ABS. Metal is also available. Whatever the case may be, make sure that it’s thick enough to protect you in the worst-case scenario.
Just because a helmet is affordable doesn’t mean that you have to suffer every time you wear it. The key to finding a comfortable welding helmet is customization. Multiple head straps can do wonders to take away the pressure. They also balance out the weight to ensure that you don’t feel the effects of welding on your neck or back.
Because you’re purchasing a cheaper welding helmet, it’s a good idea to go with something that has a solid warranty. Warranty policies can vary dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most cover repairs and damage during your first year of ownership. If you encounter any problems, you can get repairs at no cost to you. Warranties are a great way to stretch your investment further.
Finding the best cheap welding helmet involves much more than just obsessing about the price tag. This piece of equipment will be your first line of defense against short and long-term injury! So, you need to make sure that it’s built tough regardless of the price.
Any of the helmets on the list will serve you well. However, the welding helmet from Miller Electric 251292 is the clear winner. First, it has the high-quality construction that the brand is known for. It’s made out of tough materials, feels solid, and is comfortable to wear. The same can’t be said about models from Dekopro or Antra. Secondly, the Miller Electric helmet has some of the best technology. The auto-darkening sensors are very sensitive and respond quickly to the arc. Plus, you can make adjustments to the work mode, sensitivity levels, and delay. Finally, our top-choice comes with a long warranty. None of the other helmets have a two-year warranty. If you ever encounter issues, you’ll be happy you went with Miller Electric.
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