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Welding Helmets – 1/1/1/1 clarity

Most of the time when you compare welding helmets, one area of comparison that is quite often overlooked is the clarity rating of the helmet. A rating that is quite important and could be argued should be the first point of comparison.

For many companies, they choose to save money on the production by using lenses that are rated lower to save money on their entry level helmets. We choose not to skimp here and use 1/1/1/1 lenses even on our Weldskill Essential range of helmets.

A welding helmet lens is graded for its clarity with a series of four numbers.

The clearest helmet receives a 1/1/1/1 rating and helmets with slightly less clarity receive a 1/1/1/2, but is the highest rating the best rating for you?

When it comes to the higher end auto-darkening helmets, the shade quality can prove especially important since they are designed to be worn for long periods of time.

This standard is the European Standard EN379 that we also follow in Australia.

What does 1 / 1 / 1 / 2 Mean?

The main parameters of welding filters: optical class, light diffusion, light homogeneity and angle dependence. The parameters in each position can be any value from 1 to 3 (worst) and determine the characteristics of the filter.

Optical class

– Optical class indicates optical quality of the ocular.

Light diffusion

– Light diffusion class (adjustable filters only ) 1, 2 or 3 indicates light diffusion class of the filter lens.

Light homogeneity

– Variations in luminous transmittance class 1, 2 or 3 indicates shade variablity in the dark state of the filter.

Angle dependence

– Angle dependence of luminous transmittance class 1, 2 or 3 indicates the shade remains consistent when looking at an angle.

Why Is Optical Clarity Important While Welding?

Auto-darkening welding helmets carrying the EN 379 – 1/1/1/1 rating deliver even shade levels across the full height and width of the viewing area.

The benefit is it eliminates the traditional trial-and-error game of trying on helmets and determining which one has the best viewing lens. Welders looking to upgrade a helmet now know that one with a 1/1/1/1 optical clarity rating will deliver a perfect view and the best-quality lens. It also means that you know when you buy a helmet that is it up to a certain standard that all manufactures are tested against.

“Welding is not an easy process, especially when you think about welders who wear a helmet for the better part of an eight- to 10-hour shift, sometimes working on exotic, thin, or expensive materials. For the welder to be able to perceive subtle variations in the ever-changing arc and weld puddle, the clearer the view, the better. When you weld, you constantly adjust your angle and travel speeds based on changing conditions at the arc. As a result, the capability to clearly view what is going on in the weld puddle will help you deliver more accurate end results, with higher-quality welds.

Experienced welders who have used a 1/1/1/1-rated helmet can immediately tell the difference in optical clarity. They report that they see better, the workpiece is clearer, and the experience is more comfortable than when they are wearing a helmet rated, for example, at 1/2/1/2. They see the arc without distortion in the higher-rated lens and notice clarity issues in the one that is rated lower. While we are talking about subtle parameters, professional welders can notice the difference between a 1 and a 2, and a huge difference between a 1 and a 3.

What’s more, optical clarity plays a role in welder productivity. If you’re looking through a distorted lens with impurities and inconsistent shade, your eyes will strain to see what you are doing, causing you to work harder. Viewing your welds through a clearer, better-quality lens will allow your eyes to work longer and also put less overall strain on your body.” – The Fabricator.com

When buying a CIGWELD helmet, whether you buy a Weldskill Essentials Helmet or a top of the line ProLite helmet. You can be sure that you will be getting a perfect 1/1/1/1 clarity rated lens.