Choosing the Right Helmet | MillerWelds


Head and Face Protection

The most important criteria when choosing a welding helmet are safety, compliance and comfort, but other valuable features to consider include: lens type, viewing size, filter shade, number of sensors, ease of use, weight and useful technology. Choosing the right helmet for your application(s) and overall comfort can increase your weld quality, productivity, safety and long-term health.

 Miller Helmet Selection Guide

Choosing the Right Helmet

Lens Types and Shade Coverage

Lens Passive Lens  Auto-Darkening 
Shade Type Fixed Shade Variable Shade
Inactive Shade Coverage Shade Dependent #14
Active Shade Coverage Shade Dependent

Passive Lens vs. Auto-Darkening Lens

  • Passive Lens: Utilizes a UV and IR coated dark-tinted glass, typically with a #10 fixed shade. A passive helmet is worn in the up position until the electrode, gun or torch is positioned. The welder then flips the helmet down with a quick nod of the head, just before the arc is struck.
  • Auto-Darkening Lens: Typically starts with a #3 or #4 shade in its inactive state. Depending on the light state, when an arc or cutting torch is started the lens darkens to shade #5-#13. The helmet stays in position, without the need for head nods – improving weld quality and reducing neck fatigue.

Auto-Darkening  Helmet Options

  • Fixed Shade Lens vs. Variable Shade Lens
    Fixed Shade Lens
    : Senses an arc and darkens to a fixed shade. Ideal when using the same material, thickness and process every time you weld. Fixed shade lenses are available in different shades.
    Variable Shade Lens
    : Adjusts the shade depending on the brightness of the arc. Ideal when using different materials and processes that vary the amperage.
  • Number of Arc Sensors
    More arc sensors on a helmet allow it to easily identify a change in lighting, increasing the sensitivity and accuracy of the auto-darkening function. Four sensors are best for fabrication or out-of-position welding, while two may be adequate for a hobbyist.