Welding helmets are crucial for any welding operator’s safety, protecting from the intense glare and harmful light of a welding arc, as well as from fumes, stray sparks, and other hazards. Because they play such a vital role, choosing the right helmet is essential, especially since a well-maintained helmet can last for many years. It’s important to carefully consider your options before buying.

When looking at welding helmets, particularly those with built-in body cameras, there are several key features to consider. Here’s our guide to the top 10 features to look for in a welding helmet with built-in body cameras.

Comfort and Security: The Importance of a Proper Fit

When selecting a welding helmet with built-in body cameras, one of the most important features is how well it fits. The helmet should fit snugly and be adjustable to ensure both comfort and security. An uncomfortable helmet can be distracting, lead to mistakes, or even result in you choosing not to wear it, which is a significant safety risk.

Ensuring your welding helmet fits properly is crucial for both safety and comfort, making it a key feature to look for.

True Colour Welding Helmet Technology:

Auto-darkening lenses in welding helmets allow more visible light through, known as true colour technology. It varies among manufacturers, so welders should ensure when it’s active. Some emphasize true colour when the sensors detect no arc, with a clear shade. True benefits are seen during welding, with shades between #8 and #13. This tech aids in distinguishing colors like red and orange, which is challenging otherwise.

Advanced Welding Helmets: Powering Up Protection

Some welding helmets are more akin to PAPR medical masks or SCUBA gear than traditional welding masks, boasting powered features like their own air supply.

While these advanced helmets offer top-notch protection from welding fumes and particles, they’re not essential for everyday shop welding, particularly if you have adequate fume extraction. They’re primarily designed for use in enclosed spaces lacking ventilation, such as underwater or inside ships. Generally, they’re considered overkill for basic welding tasks.

Viewport Size Matters in Welding Masks

When choosing a welding mask, the size of the viewport, or the part you look through, is crucial.

  • Bigger Viewports: These, like those on motorcycle helmets, offer a wide view of the weld, arc, and workpiece, ideal for larger projects and on-the-fly adjustments.
  • Smaller Viewports: While limiting vision to what’s directly ahead, they might miss unexpected hazards. They can be safer in controlled environments but less adaptable.

Overall, larger viewports provide better visibility and flexibility, while smaller ones can be more restrictive.

Enhanced Convenience Features in Welding Helmets:

Certain welding helmets offer additional features to make them more user-friendly, especially for individuals with specific needs. For example, wearing a welding helmet might not be very comfortable if you wear glasses. Some helmets provide magnifying shades to improve visibility, while more advanced models even have built-in lenses customized to your prescription.

Another common issue is fogging, especially in hot and humid conditions. To combat this, some helmets include anti-fog designs like vent slits for better airflow or anti-fog treatments applied to the shades.

What ANSI Approved Means for Welding Helmets:

When you’re browsing welding helmets, you might notice the term “ANSI Approved.” ANSI, the governing body, establishes standards for various aspects of welding equipment, including helmet shades. Their latest standard, ANSI Z87.1-2003, lays out tests that shades must pass for certification.

It’s worth noting that while ANSI previously approved many helmets, the standards became more stringent in 2003. So, make sure the helmet you choose meets the updated requirements to ensure safety and quality.

Simple Welding Masks: When They’re Enough:

You’ll find plenty of basic welding masks out there, usually simple ones with basic features like limited tilt and fixed shading. These masks don’t offer extra protection for areas like your neck or ears.

Despite their simplicity, basic masks have their place. They’re cheap and do the job fine for occasional welding tasks where you don’t need top-notch protection. If you’re just doing a bit of welding here and there, a budget-friendly mask should do the trick. But if you’re welding often or for longer periods, it’s worth upgrading to a better helmet for added safety.

Enjoyable Welding with Comfortable Helmets:

We all understand the annoyance of wearing an uncomfortable welding helmet. Whether it’s too tight, lacks airflow, or feels like a ton, it can really take the joy out of welding.

Luckily, there are many helmets out there that prioritize both comfort and safety. Take, for example, the Panoramex CLT, which is highlighted in this piece. It’s praised for its Isofit headgear, known for its comfort, and its unique nose cutout design that prevents fogging. Plus, despite its wide viewing area, it’s surprisingly lightweight.

Challenges of Overhead Welding: Helmet Limitations

When people discuss overhead welding, the general advice is usually to avoid it whenever possible. It’s understandable because gravity doesn’t make welding any easier when you’re working overhead. However, there are situations where overhead welding is unavoidable. Surprisingly, most welding helmets available aren’t approved for overhead welding.

MIG Welding Considerations: Optimal Helmet Features

If you’re into MIG welding, it’s smart to choose a helmet with a wide shade range to handle higher amps. Since MIG welding produces more heat compared to TIG, you might want to check out a heat-reflective option like the Crystal 2.0 in silver. Its silver paint offers over 30% better heat reduction compared to the same model in black.


When it comes to choosing a welding helmet, your personal preferences take precedence. Like many welders, you might begin with a basic helmet purchased from a local hardware store just to get started. However, as you advance in your career, you’ll realize the limitations of cheaper helmets, especially when considering features like built-in body cameras.

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