Best auto darkening helmet?
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  1. #1
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    Default Best auto darkening helmet?

    Best quality ; would like to keep it under $350

    I read about a Swiss brand but can't recall it now. Taking TIG welding class at MATC and just got myself a Fronius mig/tig/stick welder so looking to get a top notch helmet . Better to buy the best I can afford ; would make learning and practice more enjoyable.

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    I have a Jackson NexGen that works great. When I was shopping for a auto helmet, I looked for the one with the fastest switching time and the Jackson was the quickest.

    http://store.cyberweld.com/janeaudaleww.html

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    Placed an order for an Optrel E684 , their top of the line model. Figured a good auto darkening helmet will make a big difference in how fast I can learn Tig and make the experience enjoyable.

    The E684 comes with or without a vent opening on top, for a respirator system. I got the standard one without vent opening. Optrel said I can just buy the plastic casing with the vent opening if I decide in the future I want the respirator system, and reuse the lens/digital controls. The casing by itself is $150. The E684 I ordered came to about $330 with fast shipping.

    Did my first TIG welding at technical college day before. Was getting along fine welding without filler rod then tried to lay a bead but could not get the hand of it. Hopefully my 2nd class I can .

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    I really like the 3M Speed Glass helmets... very light.

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    Default Own both

    I own both Optrel and 3M/SpeedGlas.

    Make pick to Optrel. With Optrel you can adjust the settings w/o removing your hood. Being able to switch from weld to grind at the press of a button is a time saver to anyone.

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    the viking sucks eats batteries like candy

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    Best one I have used (and just bought) is the miller titanium. I have had a few jackson hats and a 3m but once I switched to miller I will not be going back I have an elite and the titanium. The titanium is the fastest acting I have used and it is very light with a large viewing window, the grinding function side button is also very nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizingkid View Post
    I really like the 3M Speed Glass helmets... very light.
    Yep, your kneck will thank you, equally battery life is about 5 years for me, the damn things last longer than the Mitutoyo verniers, which is some achievement!

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    i'm in need of a new helmet also. i checked with my cousin-in-law who has been an iron worker and welder 35 years + and he says in the shop he is at now they have 8 welders and all use weldcote metals klearview with no complaints.

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    just one thing, if possible, try before you buy. I went to buy a 340$ speedglas, and had my card on the counter, said, oh, why not try it on?

    that thing wouldn't stay on my head. tried adjusting 4 times, nope, still flipped off. guy behind the counter tries it on, had no problem with the same unit.

    point being, it's a bit like "what's the best boot?" there is an element of personal fit to a welding helmet.

    wound up getting a new suspension rig for my Miller Elite, and saved 300. I still have never really been happy with it, though.

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    Speedglas 9100X here, had a 9002x before it and it went a good 10yrs and 1000's of hours. I looked at others before getting then 9100x, nothing seemed as good to me.

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    Hi
    The Lincoln Viking 3350 is the only helmet I know of that scores a perfect 1,1,1,1 as defined in the EN379 standard.

    I have a Viking 1840 which scores 1,1,1,2 and a smaller window. I didn't see any advantage in the larger window of the 3350, especially when I need magnifying lens.

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    Hope you like the e684! My favorite hood. I prefer the look of a passive gold lens, but the convenience of being able to switch between processes without even thinking about your lid settings is killer.

    My two critiques: My grind mode button is kinda sticky (gunna try out their warranty process soon), and I'd really like it if they rolled the 2.5 min shade of the VegaView into the e684. Guess that's not really a critique, just a desire for a new model that has both of those high points.

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    I've been using a miller digital elite for the past like 8 years, pretty much since they came out. Just replaced the batteries in December of 2016. X mode is great when your positioning can cause the arc to be obscured a bit, this will cause most to open the autodark lens. X mode uses electromagnetic sensors to detect the arc and keep the shied dark. It's sensitive enough that some electrical equipment will cause it to activate. I welded on custom pipe fixtures I designed and was tired of getting flashed lol...it's almost 400 bones but we'll worth it. The shield goes very bright when not active, and the digital controls are easily operated with a gloved hand.


    Ymmv

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    Had my first class using the Optrel this past Thursday. I have not used any other auto-darkening so can't compare. Huge difference going from a standard helmet to the Optrel. I think an auto darkening helmet is possibly the best investment for people starting out.

    I can now use filler rod to run a bead to join 2 pieces of metal; the auto darkening helmet certainly helped along with more hands on time.

    I got it for $335

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    Quote Originally Posted by apt403 View Post
    Hope you like the e684! My favorite hood. I prefer the look of a passive gold lens, but the convenience of being able to switch between processes without even thinking about your lid settings is killer.

    My two critiques: My grind mode button is kinda sticky (gunna try out their warranty process soon), and I'd really like it if they rolled the 2.5 min shade of the VegaView into the e684. Guess that's not really a critique, just a desire for a new model that has both of those high points.
    1 thing I wish was for the viewing area to be larger. It is larger on some other brands. It's not deal breaker though. This helmet will also accept the active air filtration system but the hood casing would need to be changed while the lens and controls can be retained. Cost of just the plastic hood is $150.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud View Post
    1 thing I wish was for the viewing area to be larger. It is larger on some other brands. It's not deal breaker though. This helmet will also accept the active air filtration system but the hood casing would need to be changed while the lens and controls can be retained. Cost of just the plastic hood is $150.

    I would like to get a PAPR setup eventually - I don't really mind my 3M respirator, but a nice breeze sounds preferable. And I imagine it would help with my lens fogging when I start welding and it's 23 degrees in the shop.

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    I've been welding tig in aluminum and stainless over the last 17 years. My #1 pick is the Optrel, #2 is the Miller Elite or current equivalent, and i put my speedglass behind these 2.

    I do a lot of out of position tubular items where a lessor helmet with poorer sensor configuration will allow you to get "flashed" on a regular basis.

    The Optrel Vegaview 2.5 is $100 less than the E684 and light as a feather-- and did I mention its a 2.5 shade when you don't have an arc-- that make it easy to position things without flipping the helmet up.

    Good luck.


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