What Shade Lens Is Used For Welding? – Complete Guide

Welding is a dangerous task that makes you vulnerable to many serious risks.

So, you must take safety measures in this job. Your face, especially, your eyes are very prone to severe damage. In this regard, you must wear a helmet with a lens. 

At this point, you may be confused. You will find various helmets from different brands with a variety of shades.

What shade lens should I use for welding? This question may cross through your mind. 

You need to consider some points while choosing a shade lens. You may need to use different shade lenses depending on your needs.

In this article, I’ll talk about those points which will ease your selection of a perfect shade lens for welding. 


Number of shades: why is it important?

Though many people take this as the main point, it is not the only considerable point. However, the number of shades is important. It ranges from 8 to 13.

The higher the number, the darker the shade lens is. And as you have to use higher amperage, you need to use a darker lens. 

This number is only meant to protect you from direct arc striking and damaging your vision. Besides this, UV and IR protection as well as sufficient clearance to see the welding is important too.

However, the number is about personal preference which depends on your work and your eye power.

Yet I’m giving an idea about the number of lens shades.


Shade Lens For TIG:

In TIG, the required amperage is from 5 amps to 250 amps. Between 5 and 100 amps, use the number from 9 to 10. Above 100, you need to use 12 and 13.

Shade Lens For MIG:

If you are doing MIG welding with argon as shielding gas, you may use 10 and 11 under 200 amps. If the amperage is higher, you need to use 12 and 13. 

If you use CO2 as shielding gas, under 150 amps, use 10, 11, and 12 according to your preference. Above 150 amps, you need to use 13.

Shade Lens For Stick/Arc:

For stick, the required amperage is from 30 to 500 amp. If the amperage is from 30 to 150, use a shade number of 9 to 11.

If the amperage is from 200 to 500, you will need to use a shade number of 12 and 13.

Shade Lens For Flux-Core:

For FCAW, the required amperage is from 100 to 350 amps. You need to select the numbers from 10 to 13 gradually corresponding with amperage.

Shade Lens For Plasma cutter/Oxy-Acetylene:

The shade lens for plasma cutters has a variable range of amperage from 50 to 400 amps. You need to use 11 for up to 150 amps, 12 for the range from 150 amps to 250 amps, and 13 for above these levels.


Passive helmet or Auto-darkening helmet?

Passive helmets are a bit old-fashioned and some difficulties while welding. The shade is almost fixed, the number is usually 10.

That means you are wearing a dark shade lens. This always remains dark, even when you are not welding.

But the problem is that sometimes it becomes hard to see what you are welding. In that case, you will have to stop welding and see the welding to get a clear vision.

Auto-darkening shade lenses come with a better facility that helps everyone-from beginner to professional welder. However, it is not always dark. If the arc is struck, it becomes dark. It also has 2 types. 

One has fixed shade. And the other can offer variable shades. Let me tell you the difference between them.

The fixed-shade lens is enough for a particular form of welding. For instance, you can not use the shade fixed for TIG in GTAW which requires low amperage. And with variable lens shade, you can use it for almost all purposes.


Is auto-darkening shade better?

Passive helmets work still now and they are cheaper. But they are not fit for every welding task. What’s the point of buying a helmet if you can’t see the area during welding?

On the other hand, auto-darkening shades, especially, the ones with variable shades enable you to weld in all settings and types. So, it’s obviously better. 


What if the auto-darkening shade doesn’t darken immediately? 

It may be a common issue in the case of cheaper auto-darkening shades. But it can be very dangerous for your eyes as welding arcs emit UV and IR radiation.

So, you must select a high-quality helmet whose shade can be activated in fractions of a millisecond.

Some shades protect your eyes, even before activating your helmet. Those are a bit pricey, but they are worth the money. 


How many arc sensors are good? 

In short, the more number of sensors, the better the helmet becomes. The sensors help to darken the shade immediately.

So, the high-quality helmets have 4 sensors. If you are doing simple welding, 2 sensors are enough.

But if you are doing it professionally, I would recommend you make a good investment. For this, 3 or 4 sensors are okay. 


Solar vs battery power: which is better for welding helmets?

Your helmet may be supplied by lithium battery or solar power, or by both of these. If the helmet is supplied by a battery, you need to change the battery if the battery runs out of power. It is a more expensive method. 

On the other hand, the one with solar power lasts for several years. There is no need for changing batteries.

But here is a problem too. You have to recharge the solar battery before using it. If the sun is not available, it won’t work. 

The best practice is using the one with both lithium batteries and solar power. It combines the advantages of both types. So, it is the right choice for you.


Final Verdict:

So, you’re here. If you have read from the beginning to here, you are supposed to know everything about shade lenses for welding.

I tried to cover all the topics that need to be considered while buying a shade lens for welding. 

I want to wrap up things again for you.

Select a high-quality auto-darkening shade lens that has 3 or 4 sensors and combines the facility of both lithium battery and solar power. And notice the numbering too. Good luck!

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