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Recommendation for welding helmet for simple flux welding jobs

Trying to decide which of these is the good choice for use with a simple 125 A flux wire welder. Only used for simple welding jobs, like bespoke tools & fixtures, weld a nut to a bolt, stuff like that. Would there be enough advantage with the $119 first helmet, compared to the $39 second one, to make it worth the extra price?

You don’t have any vehicle payments and your insurance premiums should be low . Go to a real welding store you can afford it.

I can’t see me buying a safety item like that from Harbor Freight.

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I’m not a welder, but my son is. He bought an inexpensive auto darkening helmet years ago. It failed in a short amount of time. He will now only get an auto darkening helmet that is high quality. If he can’t afford it, then he gets a good normal one.


Good info there @tcmichnorth , thanks.

I know someone bought a cheap helmet and when it failed, it failed in the off state- mid weld. Nice flash burn. $39 for eye safety? Get a fixed filter if you want inexpensive. Frankly, those are fine for occassional use. I have a Speedglas. I used a conventional fixed filter helmet for years before going to auto darkening. Set right, it’s no big deal to flip it down with a head bob just before striking…

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I don’t disagree with getting a good one but I bought the HF one and it’s been fine. It was my second one and the first one lost its charge through non-use. If you haven’t used it in a while, test it with a bright light first to make sure it is still charged. They are solar charged or at least mine is. I think the better ones use a battery which would be better.

We use the Vulcan ArcSafe welding helmet at the company I work for. We don’t do a lot of welding, only to make angle iron stands or similar fixtures for mounting equipment. We have not had any problems with it.

I would not cheap out on important safety equipment such as this. If you can’t afford/don’t want to pay for a decent welding helmet, then you should not attempt to weld. Many simple jobs can be accomplished by soldering or brazing, with a torch, and then all you need is an inexpensive pair of safety glasses.

I’ve been using one of the $35 Harbor Freight auto darkening helmets regularly for quite a few years with no problem.

They have a fixed filter version. Number 10 filter I think. Would that be as dark during a weld as the electronic versions? If so that may be the way to go for my infrequent minor welding jobs, as you say, get the weld set up, pop the helmet down, and start’er up.

#10 is typical for fixed lens but depending on what you can/will do with your MIG it may not be enough. Check this out-

Mine isn’t a MIG. It’s just a inexpensive wire flux welder. Would that be less bright then?

Edit: Looking at that chart in the link, it appears for a 125 A flux weld the recommendation is number 10, so that should work ok.

No, gas or flux core, it just depends on the current or power setting. Look at the specs for your welder’s highest power and compare to the chart in the article…

Btw- the flux core in your wire does the same thing as the gas to shield the arc from atmosphere. It’s still considered mig welding. It doesn’t yield as clean a weld in my experience but it works. My unit supports either mode plus aluminum with separate roller/feed system and appropriate shield gas. I started using it with flux core wire but bought tanks pretty soon after…

I currently have an O2/MAPP setup now and it has welder goggles, so I’ll use those goggles in conjunction with the fixed helmet lens as a start, just to be on the safe side.

I got to wondering if I could attach my cell-phone camera inside the welding helmet, the camera’s front lens “looking” out through the shaded (no. 10) helmet lens at the weld, and me looking only at the rear (screen) side of the camera. The brightest the light will ever get in that configuration is the brightness of the camera’s screen, which isn’t bright at all. It turns out there’s a product available that already does this, but in a better way, and I must say it is pretty cool. This is the way to weld imo. It makes welding a walk in the park. Take a look at the vdo.

Don’t see how that would be a benefit for me. I seldom sit at a bench welding things up. I move around changing orientations constantly to work around the piece being constructed. You’d have to stop and reposition the camera constantly and deal with changing angles. Plus, getting a clear shot with the camera might be tough to not get an arm or hand in the way. Would be better if the camera was built into the goggles…

I can see that. Maybe my camera/screen inside the welding helmet is a better configuration for general purpose welding. For precise small parts welding, like making a bicycle, the setup in the vdo seems like it would work well. Cameras viewing the weld isn’t new of course, that must be the way the robot welding machines that manufacture cars these days work.

I don’t know anything about TIG but just remember the helmet for arc welding protects not only your eyes but your face from burns. I did some welding one afternoon with just short sleeves and gloves and ended up with a pretty good sun burn on the exposed skin.


Yeah, that video of the guy with just glasses on does not look safe.

I know this is old but I just wanted to edit my previous comment on cheap auto darkening helmets. Like I said I was on my second one and I only use on projects once in a while. Well the second one failed and I had to finish the job with a pain in the neck regular helmet. They are all certified and the cheap ones switch in 25 thousands of a second versus 30,000th but you can’t replace the batteries on a cheap one. So I just picked up one with replaceable batteries this time for about three times the cost. Hopefully this one will last more than a couple years. The thing is, once you get used to auto-darkening, it’s hard to go back.


That’s weird. I’d have never guessed such a thing would even have to be considered. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll definitely verify the batteries can be easily replaced before putting any cash on the table for a new welding helmet.