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Absolutely. The nice lenses are worth the money, especially for TIG welding. After you weld with at 300 dollar helmet, you will never go back. HF makes a good helmet for the money in the sense that it works. It is kindof like saying that you need a way to get to point A from Point B. A Kia will get you there just fine and serve the purpose, but a Rolls would do it a tad bit better.

If you are wanting to see the fine detail of welding, shell out the extra cash, as it is worth it.

Also, the straps on the HF helmets hurt after just a couple of minutes under the hood. If welding for hours on end, the nicer straps are needed.
 

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After welding for 6 years without an auto dimming, and I think 3 of those years I had broken straps so I had to use my shoulder to keep it from falling off my face, I must say my HF auto dim is very nice. I think the straps are actually pretty good, maybe they updated, I just got mine for christmas. When I welded for the formula student team we had nice stuff and I can't say I personally noticed the difference, but it wasn't back to back so who knows. Also I only TIGed with the uni's helmet so I can't comment there.
 

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HF has certainly been improving some stuff... anyone seen the new Pittsburgh Pro stuff? I would venture to say that most of it actually looks pretty quality! I was impressed last time I went.
 

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i weld with both a Miller and a Jackson.... one for the jobsite (if i HAVE TO weld at work) and the nicer one at home.

would i recommend one over the other? nope. they both do what they are supposed to do.

i have never fell into the Speedglas fad, but they are nice hoods for sure. the thing i DONT like about them is that they use proprietary lens covers and not even in between models themselves can you interchange. but they are nice.

another nice one is the Optrel.....

it boils down to how much you use it really. justify $300 now and use it twice a year, nah.... but use it twice a month or even week, maybe so.

one feature that is great is grinding.... where it has a shade 5 or so for the work. Speedglas and Optrel i think both have it....

the Jackson lens i have in a Huntsman hood..... its a replaceable lens setup for any hood that takes a big lens.

http://www.jacksonsafety.com/linkdetail ... id=3004399

http://cgi.ebay.com/jackson-EQC-Executi ... 2a0ea34f88





and the Miller;

http://www.millerwelds.com/products/wel ... ets/elite/



Optrel;

Swiss made, high dollar, nice hoods. i used one of the predecessors to this hood a few times, and liked it.

http://www.optrel.com/en/index.php?site ... oduct=e680

 

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Great Info.
Thanks for all the comments. So many choices.
I have two large projects I want to start. First I need to build the Chassis Rotisserie. But before I even do that I need to make sure my Garage Circuit wont trip the breaker for all the Garages like my Compressor does sometimes. (5-Garages to a circuit makes for some long runs and I'll have to run a 10ft Extension cord to the welder)

Anyhow, I"m tempted to just spend the money 1-time, get a nice one, and take good care of the helmet.
 

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i actually went to school for welding and to be 100% honest at nice as they may seem auto tints are trash... only one that was any good is a 3m speed glass they are around 500. just get your self a good glass lens shade 9 and 10 and a miller helmet. the clarity is never near as good never

http://cgi.ebay.com/Miller-235626-Weldi ... 5198186ba8

there was a mnaifod i made and welded up for my rocco
 

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I got the auto-dark HF helmet (the non-blue flame version) which at the time cost the same as a non-auto helmet that I got first when I needed to do some welding for a quick fix.

I learned how to weld on a nice Snap-on auto helmet, the HF one is actually a little better in my opinion. Weighs less, the lens reacts quicker, and there is more view area. If I had to complain about anything, I always have to adjust the tension on the sides so it will swing up and stay up, and be able to swing it back down with a head-nod. But that is a minor thing with the kind of onesey-twosey welding that I do.

Even though the HF one is cheap, I keep it covered and in a bag when not in use, it's still as good as the day I took it out of the box and I've had it for a year and a half now.

I'm sure that some of you pro welders can nitpick other bad things about the HF helmet but for me, it's great.

Brendan
 

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I'm with Hank 100%, I use my my miller helmet and love it. I can adjust the shade level and see what I'm doing, recently I did a couple jobs and just used a regular shield on the job site. Holy shit, I couldn't see shit... I mean it didn't end up looking terrible but I wasn't all warm and fuzzy feeling after wards.
 

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I am a cheap cheap bastard. When I am willing to shell out money you had better bet it was because have reason. The HF units are color powered which is nice. I have used mine on the occasions that my helmet is out of aaa batteries, and I can't stand the green tint omit nor the speed of auto shade. They are not as fast as the speed glass or the nice miller helmets. After a couple hours of welding under a HF hood, I find myself scratching my eyes with eye fatigue. It is the same phenomena as driving. Long distAnce with crummy headlights on a two lane freeway. Many oldschool elders use regular lenses for continuous welding for this reason. Even the nicest of nice autodarkens expose the eye for fractions of seconds. Even in fitment where I am tacking bunch, I find myself closing my eyes with event nicest hoods.

My other gripe is the openness of the hood onthe bottom when in the use position. It puts a tremendous amount of fume into the hood to be inhaled. This is a bfd for me as I will commonly weld for 6-8 hours nonstop doing production runs. With the hf hood I find myself holding my breath during passes.

My last grip is with the lack of an antifog film on the inside of the lense. Nothing worse than rationing air to keep fuorging to minimum.
 

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the only reason i hate auto tints is because the clarity sux. its just never as good as a nice piece of glass (not the plastic lens) shade 9 glass for mig and tig and 10 for stick and carbon arc cutting. lots of people don like the glass because it makes assembly and tacking parts harder but if you learn how to do it you will be a better welder for it
 

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And this comparison is against a good quality auto?
 

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i used every auto tin made just about i was in school with about 75 people and every one had a diffrent auto tin my favorit auto tin is this one

http://www.activeforever.com/p-15080-3m ... ndows.aspx

that was the latest moddle at th time i tried it. 3m has put out a few better ones by now. and the one thing i can say most auto tints people had where from $75-$250 and just about every one with one compaled about there eyes. for most mig a auto tint will be fine. but if your welding for long time or doing some serious tig you will hate them just saying go spend $15 on a nice peice of shade 9 glass and you will see what i mean. and anothor hure problem with auto tints is most people adjust them to light so your eyes get more damage.
 

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Miller of Speedglass FTW

Ive used them all, you get what you pay for. I have a 6-7 year old miller helmet, the older one with the dimmer knob on the outside. I love this helmet. Sometimes you may hit the knob but i like it better on the outside.(0-13)
 

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Absolutely. The nice lenses are worth the money, especially for TIG welding. After you weld with a 300-dollar helmet, you will never go back. HF makes a good helmet for the money in the sense that it works. It is kind of like saying that you need a way to get to point A from Point B. A Kia will get you there just fine and serve the purpose, but a Rolls would do it a tad bit better.

If you are wanting to see the fine detail of welding, shell out the extra cash, as it is worth it.

Also, the straps on the HF helmets hurt after just a couple of minutes under the hood. If welding for hours on end, the nicer straps are needed.
I have a cheaper $70 generic self-darkening helmet but I see helmets as much as $500. Are there big differences in their performances the more you pay or are you more or less paying for a brand name?
 

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I have a cheaper $70 generic self-darkening helmet but I see helmets as much as $500. Are there big differences in their performances the more you pay or are you more or less paying for a brand name?
Realistically the more expensive helmets are going to be nicer overall. I have used cheap helmets in the past, and they tend to be heavy and not catch as much with the sensors to trigger the lens. I currently own 2 miller helmets. I have the miller titanium, and the miller digital elite. The titanium is great for me at work do to the heat shield built onto the lens, and the clock and timers. The elite is nice at home with having a mig welder, and a Tig/stick machine.

In general, the cost of a helmet boils down to quality, features, materials, and brand. Yes, the big name brands are more expensive, but if you plan to be using the helmet a lot, you want a quality piece that doesn't weigh a lot.
 
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