Best Welding Mask 2022 – A Buyers Guide

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Welding can massively increase the number of jobs that you are going to be able to complete yourself. Add it to your DIY abilities and there will be so many more things that you can accomplish! However, welding is also quite a difficult and potentially dangerous thing to do which means that you need the right safety equipment to get the job done! At the very least, a welding mask meeting current safety regulations must be worn when welding.

Here are some of the best welding masks that we have found and the key considerations that you need to make before you buy!

Best Pick Welding Mask

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When it comes to choosing the best welding mask, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is the type of welding mask lens technology you’re going to need: passive or auto-darkening.

Passive Vs Auto-darkening

Lens technology ProsCons
Passive Relatively inexpensive TraditionalRequires repeated lifting and lowering of the lens
Potential safety risks should there be a delay in the lens being lowered
Auto-darkeningNo intermittent lifting or lowering required
Mask remains stable potentially improving weld quality and increased comfort levels
Solar powered requires sufficient light level
Lithium battery powered – batteries will need to be replaced
Lens reaction time means there’s inevitably a marginal amount of exposure to the welding arc

The Lens

When it comes to protection, it’s the lens of the welding mask that stands between you and the potentially harmful light and radiation levels produced from welding. The best welding masks will have a lens that’s made from heat-resistant, high-quality mineral glass, with a decent shade rating and of a decent size – generally speaking, the bigger the better!!

Shade rating

Lens shade level is measured according to DIN specification, which is the German industrial standard. A welding mask with a lens shade up to DIN 8 is regarded as being suitable for low-amperage welding; masks with a lens shade level ranging from DIN 9 up to DIN 13 are used for high amperage tasks. A welding mask with a rating of around 11 DIN should be sufficient for the majority of mid to high amperage welding jobs.

Lens size

When comparing lens size, you ideally want to go for the biggest surface area that your budget allows. Sizes tend to range from around 44mm x 93mm up to 73mm x 107mm.

Lens technology explained

Passive welding masks

Traditionally, welding masks had passive lenses, which means the lens has a fixed shade value. Consequently, the lens is raised during the preparation stage and prior to welding, and then lowered directly before the welding work begins. In order to check the weld, the user will be required to manually raise and lower the mask as and when needed.

As passive welding masks are equipped with a fixed shade lens and cannot be adjusted, you’d need to be sure to choose one which has a sufficient shade value for the type of welding work you intend on carrying out.

Auto-darkening welding masks

In the early 1980s, the first auto-darkening welding masks were launched – welding masks equipped with light sensors and variable shade lenses. Unless the sensors detect a welding arc, the lens, in its inactive state, remains fully transparent giving the wearer clear visibility without having to raise the lens. Once it detects welding is in process, it automatically applies a dark filter to the lens. This automatic adjustment is powered either by an integrated solar battery and/or lithium batteries. A decent solar battery can provide between 2000-3000 hours of use however the downside comes when working in low-light conditions; having a welding mask which has the option of switching to a lithium battery is handy for when working inside; in the evening or on particularly overcast days.

When comparing auto-darkening masks, pay particular attention to the lens filter activation speed/reaction time; this is the time it takes for the lens to darken once welding commences – you want the quickest speed your budget allows for; speeds vary from  0.1 m/s to 0.04 m/s. Granted, there’s not much in it but, when it comes to protecting your sight, every fraction of a second count!

If you want to know more about auto-darkening welding masks then here is a video on how to use them!

Additional features

The best welding masks will be both functional and comfortable.

Functional features to look out for

  • Auto-darkening filter technology (ADF)
  • Flip-up lens
  • Grinding function
  • Storage bag
  • Low battery indicator
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Extra lenses supplied
  • Flash decay time control
  • A lens which offers the maximum level of UV and IR protection
  • Lengthy warranty – some manufacturer’s offer lifetime warranty
  • Arc sensors (2 min/4 max)

Comfort features to look out for

  • Forehead cushion
  • Adjustable headband – no-slip fit
  • Ergonomic adjustable shade and sensitivity knob/dial
  • Removable & machine-washable sweatband
  • Lightweight
  • Magnification lenses for users who normally wear glasses and/or adjustable headband rack/pinion adjustment

Looking to get the best from your welding mask? Here are some tips and tricks on how to best use your welding mask.

Best Budget Welding Mask

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Choosing the safest welding mask

The two main safety standards to look out for when choosing your welding mask are EN175 and EN379.

EN175 is the European standard for all face and eye personal protective equipment. A welding mask with this standard means the design has been found to offer sufficient levels of protection against potential radiative, flammable, mechanical and electrical hazards. If the welding mask you’re considering doesn’t have this standard, move on and look for one that does!!

EN379 is the standard known as ‘optical clarity’ and is governed by CEN specifically for the welding industry. This standard is relevant to auto-darkening welding masks as it relates to the auto-darkening filters that darken in response to the welding arc. The filters are graded on a sale of 1-3 (1 being the best and 3 being the worst) across 4 categories:

  • Optical class
  • Diffusion of light
  • Variations on luminous transmittance
  • Angle dependence.

The best welding masks would achieve the maximum grading of EN379 1/1/1/1 whilst the lowest possible score would be EN379 3/3/3/3.

Wanting a little more information on the safety aspects to consider when purchasing a welding mask – this is the best information that we found – Welding Mask Safety Standards.

Best of the Rest

Silverline 868520 Welding Helmet Passive DIN 11EW, Black
  • Suitable for MIG, TIG and Arc ( mmA/GMAW) electric welding
  • Durable, wraparound head shield for face and neck protection
  • Flip-up lens for improved vision
  • Face shield certified to EN175 / green infrared lens (DIN 11) certified to EN169
  • Spatter shield certified to EN166

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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Esab Warrior Tech 0700000400 Welding Umbrella Black
  • Heat protection, sparks and splashes of water, suitable for all types of welding and cutting
  • Developed with the latest drain technology, has four front arc sensors which guarantee a quick and precise response.
  • 97 x 47 mm filter provides a larger field of view and spatial perception
  • DIN9-13 filter with 1/2/1/2 optical class for visibility and comfort soldering iron
  • The adjustment level can be set externally, while the sensitivity and brightening of the time in the mask is adjusted.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean my welding mask?

The welding process creates large volumes of dust so your mask will need cleaning after each use. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove the dust from the lens and then rinse the screen with warm water or a specialist lens solution; finally, wipe it down with a soft cloth or tissue and leave to dry.

How should I store my welding mask?

You should store your welding mask in a safe and secure location; ideally in a dark room with low humidity. The best welding masks will come with a storage bag or case, which protects the lens from scratching; if your mask doesn’t come with a bag, it’s a good idea to store it in the original packaging.

Why can’t I see through my welding mask?

If you have an auto-darkening welding mask and you are struggling to see through it when you are working then it could possibly be that the batteries are running low on your welding mask or that the sensor is not functioning correctly. These should definitely be the first two things that you check!

About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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