Best Welding Lens: Comprehensive Review and Buying Guide
Welding is one of the most dangerous professions, and this is why safety is a top priority. The welding lens is probably one of the most important PPE that any welder will ever own- and it is for a good reason. It helps protect your eyes from the intense light given off by welding machines, and it is necessary for all types of welding. Also, it not only protects your eyes from light but also from stray sparks and slag. So, with the best welding lens, there is a reduced likelihood of injury from welding light or foreign bodies.
Welding lenses also allow you to see what's going on, and they help prevent eye arc, a painful eye injury that affects the cornea. Additionally, they come in different shades for various welding applications. It is therefore critical to determine the correct shade number for your welding process. However, the general standards require that the lens protect the welder's eyes regardless of the shade settings.
One of the most important features to look for when choosing the welding lens is the auto-darkening aspect. This feature allows the lens to darken automatically when the sensors detect a bright welding arc. The advantage of this is that the user does not need to change the lens's position manually, which will help save time and minimize the risk of exposure to harmful light when welding.
Here is a comparison of some of the best welding lens on the market
1. LINCOLN ELECTRIC 2x4 C-Series KP3775-1
The LINCOLN ELECTRIC 2x4 C-Series is by far one of the clearest lenses you'll find. The color is fantastic, and the best part is that it offers more adjustability. Also, the variable shades allow you to get just the right view no matter what you are welding. Additionally, the lens's clarity is superb, fits most helmet styles. It is also easy on the eyes.
This lens is expensive but worth it. It offers a very clear view while welding with little to no color saturation. However, the batteries included have a short life span, but other than that, it works just fine, and it fits the title of the best auto-darkening welding lens.
2. ArcOne S240-10
This ArcOne lens comes in an HD version to ensure that you're able to see both the weld area and puddle much better. The biggest plus is that you don't have to raise your helmet or flick your head down after every pass. All in all, it is a great lens, and it offers all the necessary features.
Key features of ArcOne S240-10
ArcOne S240-10 is designed for every welding level, from the professional to the hobbyist. It offers beautiful clarity in light state and fantastic blue color in the dark state with consistent shade throughout the viewing area. The favorite part is that it is almost the same thickness as a regular glass lens, making it the best welding lens you'll find.
3. Armour Guard 2 x 4-1/4
This lens is Armour Guard's top-line auto-darkening welding lens. It offers unusual features for its class, and it is a common sight in most fabrication shops. Additionally, its enhanced optics make it easier to see natural colors, so you can see your work and manage the welding puddle. Welders and general users often praise the clear blue technology on this lens as the best they've seen.
This lens is useful for professional welders and hobby welders alike. It allows for clear visibility and evaluation of the weld area and the surrounding area. The lens has incredible optical clarity, and it offers a good view of the weld puddle.
4. Miller Electric Lens
Miller Electric offers a variety of welding lenses for DIY users up to heavy-duty and high heat industrial applications. Safety first, this lens is made under ANSI/CSA standards regulations to ensure that it will meet all safety parameters. Furthermore, the lens offers all the features and qualities needed to facilitate utmost viewing and effortless welding.
This welding lens provides Miller quality at a very affordable price. Users love this product in general, though some report it is somewhat fragile and not durable.
5. ArcOne T240-10
The ArcOne T240-10 is cheap, but it provides one of the best optical clarity for welders out there. It offers shade number 10 in the dark state and 3 in the light state for basic welding use. The viewing area is just the perfect size for anything, while arc sensors make sure there is a short switching time. The lens will definitely set your standards through the roof, and in terms of comfort, it is the best.
Features of ArcOne T240-10
Overall, ArcOne T240-10 is an impressive lens that is hard to beat. It provides a lot of clarity, and the auto-darkening works really well. This lens is ideal for hobby enthusiasts, novices, professional welders, and those learning the art of welding.
6. Antra AntFi X60-8
This lightweight welding lens is designed to be versatile; you can use it for welding, cutting, plasma cutting, and grinding applications. It will serve as a perfect upgrade for fixed shade glasses or goggles for a reasonable price. And in case you are looking for a vast viewing area, this welding lens is made for you. The lens comes with a 3.86 inches X3.50 inches viewing size, along with four premium sensors.
Features of Antra AntFi X60-8 Auto Darkening Lens
This Antra welding lens provides you with the required protection, versatility, and comfort. Since it is an advanced lens, it offers comfort and utmost viewing clarity, and good control over various welding processes.
How to Choose the Best Welding Lens
i. Lens shade
The first decision you need to make when looking for a welding lens is choosing the lens shade. Choosing the right lens shade will help ensure that you don't burn your eyes from the welding flash. The lens shade is listed as a number, and the higher the number, the darker the shade.
Lenses rated between shades 3 to 4 are easy to see through, but they provide little to no protection. A good lens shade should range between shades 10 to 13. Typically, the lens shade you choose depends on the amount of amperage you're using while welding. The higher the amperage, the higher the lens's shade.
ii. Fixed shade lens
A fixed shade lens, just as the name suggests, comes in a fixed shade. This means the lens can only darken to a single and pre-determined shade. This means that the lens will not switch from a darker state to a lighter state- it will remain dark, but some offer a light state. Therefore, when using these lenses, you might need to lift or remove your helmet when inspecting the weld. These types of lenses are also designed for different amperages, so ensure you choose the right shade.
iii. Auto-darkening welding lens
The auto-darkening or variable shade lenses darken as soon as you start to use your torch and lighten up when not in use, or depending on the nature of the arc. Further, these lenses can darken to several shades, depending on your welding process and the materials being welded. Ideally, auto-darkening lenses come in handy when you need to weld on different materials or when dealing with different parameters.
Additionally, some lens may offer an additional grind mode, which is usually shade 3 or 4. This helps the operator improve visibility when doing prep work or grinding, and it also eliminates the need to remove the helmet now and then.
iv. Lens reaction time
Simply put, this is the time taken to switch or, to darken, from a standard shade to a darker and protective shade. The reaction takes place when you start a welding arc, and it should occur extremely fast to protect your eyes from any exposure. The time lens takes to switch affects your protection and comfort. Any good lens will darken within milliseconds just before your eyes time to register light from a welding arc.
Most auto-darkening welding lenses have a speed lens reaction of up to 1/20,000 of a second to keep your eyes safe even during long working hours. If you're mostly engaged in light welding, you might get away with a lens with a reaction rating of about 1/3,600 of a second, but this might still lead to eye strain and fatigue, so it is always a good idea to choose one with a faster reaction time.
The sensitivity control allows the lens to adjust how much light or brightness will trigger the lens to darken. This feature is present in most auto-darkening lenses, and it is useful when you need to weld at low amperages where the arc is not as bright as is the case with other processes. Also, when working in bright sunlight, the sun can make the lens to darken at the end of the welding process.
Adjustable delay control
The delay control is another important feature that enables you to control or set how long your lens remains dark after the welding arc stops. For example, setting a longer delay time is essential when welding at higher amperages as molten metal may still produce harmful rays as it cools down. On the other hand, a shorter delay comes in handy when laying tack on large projects as you reposition for the next weld faster.
Eye injuries are the most common injuries for welders, and as such, it is important to arm yourself with the necessary knowledge for safer and more productive welding. The best and simple way to control eye injuries is by proper selection and use of welding lenses. But like other PPE, welding lenses are not made equally. The quality of the material will affect the level of protection, as well as how well you can see.
Choosing the best welding lens will ensure that you are always protected from impact hazards while allowing you to see clearly. Ideally, the type of welding lens you need will largely depend on the type of welding you need to perform, the amps you are using, and the material you are welding. And as stated earlier, different types of welding will require lighter or darker amounts of shade depending on precision and safety levels. So, whatever your welding needs or budget, we hope this guide helps you find a welding lens that suits your needs.