Most of us who pick up a torch and start burning metal aren’t professionals. The vast majority of welders don’t make their living on it and never will.
Sometimes it’s not worth 300 bucks for a professional welding helmet when it will spend most of its life hanging on a peg.
However, eye damage and radiation burns are no joke, but these risks are easily controlled if you take your time and shop your equipment wisely.
Cheap doesn’t always mean crap. So we’ve put this list together to help you narrow down your choice for choosing the best budget welding helmet that will actually last.
In a Rush?
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
Best Budget Welding Helmet under $100 with Reviews
Here's a list of the best budget welding helmets we found:
1. Antra AH6-260 Welding Helmet - Top Choice
- Passive filter gives consistent performance with or without power
- Easily adjustable delay and sensitivity controls
- Designed for TIG, MIG, MAG, Flux Core, MMA and plasma cutting
- Viewing size of 3.86" x 1.78"
- Shade range within 4/5-9/9-13
- Passive UV/IR filter works continuously
- Light design weighs 1.01 pounds, easing neck strain
- Low DC TIG amperage rating
- Quick Grind switch
- Solar power for longer battery life
- Best Budget Helmet for under $100
- Some complaints of the lens not darkening
With solar power to lengthen battery life, replaceable batteries and lightweight, the Antra AH6-260 is our choice for the best budget welding helmet. It’s got a battery indicator, something that’s often missing on helmets that cost twice as much. Another nice touch is a test button to check the auto-darkening before you actually strike an arc.
The filter works as a passive shade 13 lens when not powered, so you can work even if the batteries are down. Antra includes an automatic turn-on and shutoff feature, which is quite handy when you’re in a hurry to get to work. The ADF system includes a delay in the power-off function. It stays powered on for 10 minutes before going to sleep.
Four separate sensors make it less likely that you’ll block the arc flash from activating the ADF. The 1/25,000th-second reaction time of the auto-darkening feature is actually the standard for far more expensive helmets. To top it all off, the 1/1/1/2 optical clarity rating is outstanding for a helmet in this price range.
2. Deko Pro Orange Solar Powered Welding Helmet
- Auto darkening filter
- 1/1/1/2 optical rating
- Meets ANSI Z87.1-2010 and EN379 4/9-13 standards
- Solar-assisted for longer battery life
- Viewing size of 3.85’’ x 3.15’’
- Shade Range: DIN 4, Variable 9-13
- Light weight suitable for long work periods
- Comfortable headgear
- 12.1-square-inch viewing area
- If batteries fail ADF goes to shade level 16
- Manual shade and sensitivity settings
- Some reports of shade level fluctuating during use
The Deko Pro Solar is another welding helmet with a 1/1/1/2 optical clarity rating at a great price. The rounded corners make it easier to get into and out of tight spaces. It extends downwards for good neck coverage. The bottom of the skirt curves outward, making this helmet easier to use than most when you need to lower your chin to see the work.
Most users really liked the headgear in the Deko Pro, but many felt it was a little too cheap, suggesting the Jackson 370 headgear when it comes time for new headgear. A few owners mentioned fluctuating shade levels in the filter during long welds.
A huge 12.1-square-inch viewing area with manual shade level and sensitivity settings adds a lot of value at this price. Light weight, solar power and passive shade level 16 just add to a great buy. ANSI Z87.1-2010 and EN379 4/9-13 compliance combine with a bold, unique look to really put an exclamation point on our value pick.
3. Yeswelder LYG-L500A Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
- Auto Darkening
- Great For TIG, MIG or MMA
- Viewport offers over 6 square inches of viewing area
- 1/1/1/2 Optical Clarity
- True color view of the welding puddle
- Viewing area of 3.64" x 1.67"
- Wide Shade Range DIN4 / DIN9~13
- Comfortable for long periods
- Includes replacement lenses
- Auto darkening down to 5 amps on tig
- True Color lens at a good price
- May fail to trigger in sunlight
- Battery not replaceable
- Slightly smaller viewing area
Things are really improving for the average guy in this price range. Even the budget pick in this review offers 1/1/1/2 optical clarity. Yeswelder actually ups the ante in this game with an auto-darkening filter featuring True Color Technology. This gives a better view of the weld puddle, which is probably the fastest single way to lay down better-quality welds.
Many welders report less eye strain using True Color than they get from standard green-shaded filters. Most owners liked the fit on this helmet, but some report issues with the helmet failing to lighten properly in bright sunlight. Others weren’t happy with its non-replaceable battery.
On the other hand, this level of technology at this price is pretty hard to match. Combine that with included replacement lenses, auto-darkening sensitive enough for TIG work down to 5 amps and a 6-inch viewing area. Don’t forget to figure in the solar power. You’ve just described a great helmet for our budget pick.
4. Antra AH7-360 Auto-Darkening Welding-Helmet
- Smart chip controlled 4 sensor auto darkening lens
- Passive Filter with Permanent shade 13
- Adjustable shade levels from 5-13
- Meets ANSI Z87. 1 Standards
- 4 redundant arc sensors
- Light weight for long work sessions
- TIG rated down to 2 amps
- Ready for plasma, MIG and arc
- Adjustments protected inside
- Stopped working for some within a year
The Antra AH7-360 Series welding helmet is an update to our overall pick in this review, the AH6-260. The most immediately noticed difference is the AH6-260 adjustment knob prominently located on the outside.
Several owners mentioned exterior adjusters damaged from welding spatter or collisions in the work area. The AH7-360 design moves the adjustments inside the helmet for better protection from the harsh welding environment.
Of serious concern are a few reports of this helmet failing to function in less than a year. On the plus side, Antra offers a hard hat adapter for this model.
Like our top pick, this helmet offers four separate arc sensors and a 1/25,000th-second reaction time. An 8-square-inch viewport sensitive enough for TIG welding offers a passive shade 13 filter that turns on automatically when the helmet is picked up.
It also includes a battery test button and a battery level indicator. The auto power-off feature delays turning off for 10 minutes. Our impression is that Antra made some thoughtful improvements to the series, but may need to address quality issues.
5. Tanox ADF-206S Budget Welding Helmet
- Optical clarity rating of 1/1/1/2
- 4 separate arc sensors
- Shade level settings ftom 5-9 and 9-13
- Large viewing area
- Comes with a hard hat adapter
- Includes 16-inch Welding Gloves
- Sensitive to TIG arc down to 5 amps
- Some complaints the hood won’t stay up
A helmet in the under-100-dollar range that includes a hard hat adapter and 16-inch welding gloves is pretty hard to ignore. These extras alone are potentially worth half the cost of the helmet itself. Tanox is really going the extra mile to take on the competition here.
Weld Guru pulled a clean sweep in this budget helmet review. Every helmet we looked at offers an optical clarity rating of 1/1/1/2. The Tanox ADF-206S stands with the rest in this regard. One minor complaint by several owners was that the helmet wouldn’t stay raised. Tanox needs to improve the tighteners on the swivel.
This helmet has a generous viewing area and auto-darkening sensitive enough for TIG welding down to 5 amps. Like several other helmets in this review, Tanox equipped this welding helmet with 4 separate arc sensors. When you take the included gear into account, relatively few complaints and optical specs that match the rest of the class, this helmet is hard to pass up.
What to Look For in a Budget Welding Helmet
The feature list in this price range has continued to grow at a rapid rate. Technology is always trickling down from higher-priced helmets. Quality has continued to rise as well.
The most important things to check are how effective the filtering is and the coverage offered by the welding helmet. No matter how little it costs, it’s still a very serious piece of safety equipment. Even with a spending limit, it’s got a job to do and this is no place to cut corners.
- Coverage: Will this helmet completely cover your face, ears and neck? IR and UV radiation will burn exposed skin.
- Auto-darkening: 1/25,000th-second reaction time.
- User-adjustable sensitivity and shade levels.
- Light weight: Even hobbyists can wear a helmet for several hours at a time.
- Safety Standards: The helmet should meet safety standard ANSI Z87.1
- Construction: Make sure the helmet protects from molten slag and sparks.
Narrow Your Choices
Durable materials and high quality should always take top priority over the feature list. Find out whether the headgear in the welding helmet is well padded and balances the weight of the helmet. Check what users are saying about whether a helmet is very slim. It might be too small to wear for larger people. This also applies the other direction. If a helmet is too large for your head, it can let light in from behind, making it hard to see what you’re doing.
It’s a good idea to join some online welding forums. That lets you read what other welders are saying about helmets. Members who are professional welders will often answer questions from amateurs. This is free education for the taking.
Don’t Give Up
With a little patience and some care, you can find a good helmet for part-time welding at an affordable price. Check over the choices in this review again, ask friends and relatives and join some online welding groups. You’ll find exactly what you’re looking for without compromising on either safety or your budget. When we look over this selection of budget welding helmets under 100 bucks, the Antra AH6-260 is our top pick.