Perhaps a welder's most personalized accessory is his or her helmet.

It provides critical protection from damaging arc flash, yet must remain comfortable enough for a full day's work.

In today's market, often the most convenient helmets sold are auto darkening.

Properly built, they protect you from harmful light emissions at all times and automatically darken in milliseconds to an appropriate welding shade when the arc is struck.

So how do you choose the right auto-darkening helmet?

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a helmet that is safe, comfortable and functional.

  • Does the helmet meet current safety standards (ANSI Z87.1) to address light leakage as well as flame and impact resistance?

  • Does the helmet include power circuits for extended dark storage so it always starts right out of the box?

  • Is the cartridge rated to darken at the low end amperages you will use?

  • Are the shade controls easily accessible for adjustments?

  • Is it easy to confirm the status of your current settings every time you return to the helmet?

  • Is it easy to access the front spatter lens, inside cover lens and auto-darkening cartridge?

  • Is the headgear adjustable up, down, forward, back and easily tightened around your head?

  • Is the headgear made of flexible and comfortable material with no sharp edges?

  • Is the rate of fall and degree of tilt controllable so the helmet lowers in a controlled manner?

  • Is the helmet lightweight enough to minimize fatigue throughout a day's work?

And what's more, today's auto-darkening helmets don't just come in basic black.

They are available in a wide range of graphic alternatives, allowing you to stand out on the shop floor while wearing a comfortable, functional and safe helmet.

For more detailed information and some of the latest auto-darkening helmets, visit www.lincolnelectric.com.