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Auto Darkening Welding Helmets vs Passive – Which is Best

Auto Darkening Welding Helmets vs Passive - Which is Best

Welding is an activity that requires one to take a number of safety measures. It involves the use of high heat to join materials, usually metals or thermoplastics. One of the recommended safety measures to take is to wear a helmet, but what kind? The best welding helmet will definitely keep you safer in the process. You could choose between auto darkening welding helmets or passive ones. Before choosing auto-darkening welding helmets on the market or passive ones you have to know about the advantage and disadvantages.

Auto darkening welding helmet

An auto darkening welding helmet’s filter is quite similar to that of a TV screen. It is made up of a specialized liquid crystal display. It can be powered through different sources for example: rechargeable batteries, solar power or a combination of both. When you activate it, the arc sensors on the helmet will immediately detect a change of light in the surrounding. They then reduce the ADF shade as required. Advanced sensors can also differentiate between different kinds of light such as natural light, bulbs and also the welding arc.

Some of the advantages of using this kind of helmet include:

  1. It improves the quality of your welding output as there is no need to change the positioning of the torch. As such, you are less likely to have bad starts when you start welding because of the minimized amount of time you as the welder will have to nod your head. You will be able to stay focused.
  2. It makes it easier for welders to do their jobs in tighter spots since they do not need to raise this helmet.
  3. They make one less susceptible to discomfort around the neck area while doing tack welding.
  4. With auto darkening welding helmets there is reduced occurrences of arc flashes as there are rarely any issues with ADF delay settings.


While there are significant advantages, there exists a down side to using these kinds of helmets. That is, you are only limited to a shade 10 darkness while you do your welds and are only restricted to a shade 3 or 4 darkness when you are not.

 Auto Darkening Welding Helmets vs Passive - Which is Best

Passive helmets

This kind of helmet has a standard glass viewing lens fitting. It is usually in a shade 10 and also has an ultraviolet and infrared protection coating. While using these helmets, you will have to nod the helmet up and down a couple of times. This is in order for you to be able to inspect the weld puddle. It also facilitates repositioning of the torch between welds.

Some of the advantages of these welds include that:

  1. Compared to auto darkening welding helmets, they are relatively cheaper
  2. They are also light in weight, meaning they are very comfortable to use.
  3. Passive helmets are clearer, meaning they are easy to see through.
  4. Replacing of the lenses is cheap and does not require too much time or effort. You can also buy lenses of different shades and then change them around whenever need arises.
  5. With passive helmets, you do not need any batteries or sensitivity controls. You can make use of them as they are.


A disadvantage that exists when it comes to a passive helmet is the lack of electronics. Due to this, the welder’s ability to make any adjustments on the helmet for a specific purpose or welding project is greatly limited. It also does not offer much protection to all types of welding projects and therefore requires one to take extra precaution and ensure they have the right shades for protection of their eyes.

It is common for people to question which of these two types the best welding helmet is. In the end, it is all dependent on your needs. However, auto darkening welding helmets give beginners an easier time because they do not require too many adjustments during the welding process. The more experienced welders are able to operate passive ones with ease though compared to beginners, who might encounter accidents. Those accidents could be detrimental to their health.

An auto darkening helmet is also good for professional welders who want to save their time while enhancing its management. It also comes in handy if you would like to have your productivity and work flow enhanced, compared to a passive helmet.

Having stated some advantages and disadvantages of these two types of helmets, the best advice for one who is interested in making a purchase is to wear and test. This is to determine which one you are most comfortable wearing and using as well as how clearly you can see through the lens on it.