If you're a welder, you probably already know of ESAB. The company has been churning out industrial welding equipment and supplies forever, and has several patented products that have been widely considered the industry standard. In fact, many of the welding parts, supplies and gear that don't carry the ESAB name do carry the ESAB design, as many companies have reverse engineered and copied these designs for decades.
ESAB welding helmets are - and have always been - on the cutting edge of safety and usability. As you know, the two must go hand-in-hand to get the job done properly, efficiently and without accidents. Safety always comes first, but when welding helmets are so safe that they aren't practical, what use do they really serve? You won't find that with an ESAB welding helmet, these are painstakingly designed to provide a "best of both worlds" between safety and functionality.
ESAB makes helmets for all types of welders, from heavy industrial welders who may be wearing their helmet for hours at a time to hobby/amateur/DIY welders who still need maximum safety but not all the bells and whistles as a pro. And of course there are options for all stages in between.
ESAB Aristo Tech 5-13 Welding HelmetCredit: ESAB
The Aristo is the flagship of the ESAB welding helmet lineup, and is built for the heavy duty professional who needs the best of the best. It's lightweight and ergonomic, so it stays comfortable even if you're welding for hours at a time. But what makes the Aristo so impressive is that it features the latest in digital lens technology, meaning the user has complete control over the shad level, sensitivity and darkening delay, and the information is actually displayed on an LCD inside the helmet itself.
ESAB New-Tech 6-13 XL ADC PlusCredit: ESAB
The New-Tech 6-13 XL ADC Plus helmet, which is one of the two "New-Tech" offerings from ESAB, is what the company calls, "Perfect for almost any welding application." The shade level is adjustable, ranging from DIN 6 to DIN 13 and the ADC Plus technology ensures that the shade stays consistent, even when viewing from an angle. Also, the silver finish is designed to minimize heat, from both outside and inside, making it a very comfortable welding helmet for hot environments.
ESAB New-Tech 9-13 ADC PlusCredit: ESAB
The New-Tech 9-13 ADC Plus, like the 6-13, has the latest ADC technology that means the shading will stay consistent even when looking at an angle. Plus the shading is easily adjustable from 9 DIN to 13 DIN, and the helmet features the same heat resistant finish as it's cousin. ESAB says this one is perfect for just about anything, including TIG, MIG/MAG, MMA and gas welding and cutting.
ESAB Origo Tech 9-13Credit: ESAB
The Origo Tech 9-13 comes with an adjustable shade adjustment that takes the lens from DIN 9 to DIN 13, and an easy-to-use knob inside the actual helmet itself lets the user adjust the delay and sensitivity. This helmet offers superior face, ear, neck and head protection, so you can use it in just about any body position you can think of. The front lens itself is slightly concave, which makes it stronger but also resistant to splatter and spills.
The Globe-Arc is the perfect all-around helmet for all kinds of metal working, and is a very popular choice amongst non-professional welders because it's cheaper than ESAB's other models, but still offers features that the competitors can't match, even with their helmets that cost twice as much. The Globe-Arc inner visor offers protection from Ultraviolet (UV) and Infrared (IR) radiation even when the dark visor is open. The darkness "shade" isn't adjustable, but you do have the choice of DIN 2, DIN 3 or DIN 5. This helmet is ideal for welding, grinding, gas cutting, gas welding and plasma cutting.
Where To Buy ESAB Welding Helmets
Look for the ESAB lineup at any heavy duty industrial supply or equipment store. Most businesses that sell welding equipment also offer welding helmets for sale, but you won't find them at lighter-duty DIY havens because these are built for the big boys and girls.
Many home improvement stores stock them, though. Home Depot and Lowe's sometimes carry them, but it varies depending on the store. They'd probably be more than willing to order one if you don't have a welding supply business in your area.
Or you could always buy one online. Last time I checked, Amazon doesn't carry them, but tool and equipment companies like Grainger do. Usually at a cheaper price than you'd find in a traditional retail shop, too.
If funds are tight, you could probably find a great deal on a used ESAB welding helmet. Auction sites like eBay or online classified sites like Craigslist often have great deals. Just be sure you're getting a genuine ESAB welding helmet and not a knock-off clone.