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How to Choose a Welding Helmet Based on Clarity Rating

How to Choose a Welding Helmet Based on Clarity Rating

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. There are a variety of welding helmet lens options to consider, and we’ll hope to offer some clarity for your next welding helmet purchase, as well some of the best deals available on helmets.

Clearlight lens tech

This picture from Miller shows how lens technology can make things appear different.

Breaking Down the Welding Helmet Rating System

Welding helmet lens are rated between 1-3 on four categories of clarity, so a perfectly clear, undistorted lens is rated: 1/1/1/1. Welders who work with a perfectly clear lens report that they are able to see the weld without distortion or blurring, leading to greater comfort as they work. Many of the bestselling welding helmets offer either a 1/1/1/1 clarity rating or a 1/1/1/2 clarity rating.

The current clarity rating system is a European standard since America has yet to adopt formal standards for helmets. The four rating options measure the following:

Optical quality: Measuring the among of distortion for objects. Are they clear or wavey?

Diffusion of Light: Is the glass completely clear and free from defects throughout?

Light Consistency: Is the light being transmitted uniformly throughout the lens or are there bright or dark areas?

Angle dependence on luminous transmittance: Are the angled views clear and true to reality or do they appear with stretches or dark areas?

Clear sight through a consistent shade while welding ensures that welders can work for longer with less eye strain and fatigue. Experienced welders will notice the difference between 1 and 2 shade options, and in the case of a lens that is graded as a 3, welders will notice significant eye strain.

Do You Ever Want a 1/1/1/2 Clarity Rating?

The one situation where many welders have opted instead for a slight loss of clarity has been in the case of the shade 3 for grinding and other prep work on an auto-darkening welding helmet. A 1/1/1/1 clarity isn’t possible with the lighter shade 3, which prompts welders to make an important choice.

Manufacturers have had to choose between staying with the 1/1/1/1 clarity rating but only going down to a 4 shade or opting for a 1/1/1/2 clarity in order to include the 3 shade option. Since many welders like the option of switching between autodarkening shades for their prep work, there is a strong demand for helmets offering the 1/1/1/2 clarity rating.

Learn More about Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets

Baker’s Gas and welding has some of the most competitive prices on welding helmets and welding safety gear, offering steep discounts on the Lincoln Electric Viking, Miller Electric Digital Infinity, and the ESAB Sentinel welding helmets. Easily include the appropriate shades, cheater lens, hard hat adapters, and other add-ons in your shopping cart before checking out.

Shop top Welding Helmets 

Ed Cyzewski


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