View Full Version : Speedglas or Miller welding helemet

05-11-2012, 02:47 PM
Looking for a little advice...need to buy a auto darkening welding helmet...looking at Speedglas 9100 series or Miller Digital Elite. Anyone have a preference?? :cool:

thanks Bob

05-11-2012, 04:15 PM
I bought a Miller about 1-1/2 years ago, next model down from the Elite, and I'm very happy with it. The Elite series has a few features that mine doesn't have, and I didn't really figure I needed. It's never given me any trouble.

05-12-2012, 04:25 PM
I buy Harbor Freight helmets and consider them disposable. I pay $39 each and they work fine for a long time. The only problem I've had is that the headstrap has broken on a couple of them, but I got a $5 warranty last time and got a new one. I think they fixed that problem. The operational specs are every bit as good as a $300 helmet, imo. They just don't look as fancy, and I don't care to look fancy when I'm welding. I have never had one fail, and the reason I buy new ones is that we have trashed the lens while grinding sometimes. They have a protective cover on front, but not on back.

05-12-2012, 04:30 PM
I test-drove an "auto-darkening" lid a year ago , but I couldn't get that nagging fear out of my head ; what happens if it misses just by a few hundredths of a second ? By the time you've stitched up your floorpan or quarter-panel , you've burnt your retinas . Go high end (Miller) with a helmet ; there's no bargain to be had with protective devices . An old wag once asked , "Would you look for a bargain when buying a parachute?" Be safe...Bob.

05-13-2012, 09:40 AM
I'm definitely willing to spend the money...only have one set of non-replaceable eyes. Always been afraid of those HF welding helmets...in fact...my girlfriend bought me one and I've never used it...don't trust it...

05-13-2012, 08:36 PM
You guys crack me up. Check the specs on the HF helmets...they're equivalent to any others on the market in terms of switching time, etc. I've been using them for years and my eye checkup is great every year. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the helmets on the market use the same supplier for the electronics. Spend more money if you want to...it's your choice to throw it away on a helmet that costs almost 10 times as much. imo. Sometimes it makes sense to spend more money, sometimes it doesn't.

05-13-2012, 08:51 PM
Here's the specs for the HF helmet:

The auto darkening lens on this solar powered welding helmet darkens in 1/20,000 of a second as soon as you begin welding! Featuring a custom fit made possible by a ratcheting headband and padded interior, you can arc, MIG or TIG weld in comfort. The solar powered welding helmet gives you a full view of your welding area as well as complete UV/IR protection.

Darkens in 1/20,000 of a second (clear #4 to dark state)
Variable shade control - shades #9 to #13
High/low light-sensitivity adjustment
UV/IR protection

Meets CE and ANSI Z87.1-1989 standards

Uses: MIG/flux welding, Plasma arc welding/cutting, air carbon cutting, stick welding, (not low amp TIG)

Comes with spare lens cover

Shipping Weight: 1.95 lb.

This is for the Miller Classic:

Viewing Area – 3.75 x 1.38 in./ 5.03 sq in (95 x 35 mm)
Features Variable Shades #8 - 12 and Light State #3
Two Arc Sensors – 1/10,000 sec. lens speed
Sensitivity and Delay Control – Slow/Fast
TIG rating – 20 Amps
Auto-On/Auto-Off power control
Weighs only 16 oz (454 g)
Rechargeable Solar Cell
Convenient Magnifying Lens holder
Meets ANSI Z87.1-2003 (High Impact) standard
Hard Hat Adapter accessory available (#222 003)

And the Miller Elite:

Viewing Area - 3.85 x 2.38 in/ 9.22 sq in (97 x 60 mm)
Features Variable Shades #8 - 13 and Light State #3
Four Arc Sensors - 1/20,000 sec lens speed
Sensitivity and Delay Control - .10 - 1.0 sec
TIG rating - 5 Amps
Auto-On/Auto-Off power control and Grind Mode
Weighs only 18 oz (510 g)
Replacement lithium batteries (2) 3,000 hours with solar assist
Convenient Magnifying Lens holder
Includes $25 Accessory Package: 5 outside and 2 inside cover lenses, helmet bag, comfort cushion
Meets ANSI Z87.1-2003 (High Impact) standard
Hard Hat Adapter accessory available (#222 003)

How does an electronic helmet "miss"? Even if the lens doesn't switch (sensor blocked), the helmet still offers eye protection (#4 lens) but it's too bright to weld. In fact, the #4 protects better than the #3 that Miller uses for light state. The switching speed of the HF helmet is better than the Miller Classic helmet.

The HF helmet wouldn't be approved for use is it didn't offer adequate protection. If your eyes get burned by welding, you can feel it. I have never felt anything after hours of welding with one of these...neither has my son who has welded a lot with one.

05-29-2012, 05:00 PM
The problem with the Chinese stuff is not the specs - it's whether they meet the specs and for how long.

I earlier posted that I had the next model down from the Miller Elite. Not so, memory was fuzzy, I did buy the Elite (but not the Digital Elite). The battery indicator showed low charge last night - they lasted 18 months. Not too bad. Batteries were $4 each locally and it takes 2. You can get them cheaper if you shop.

06-01-2012, 05:44 PM
All automatic helmet have pro's and con's
For home stuff the cheap ones are good , For heavy duty welding I haven't seen any that will stand up very good !! One thing to remember is with a helmet you should still be wearing safety glasses !!
There is no way to get a flash burn to the eyes with a automatic helmet just the clear lens will stop the flash now if you keep welding with it clear then you can burn your eyes and if you want to know what that feels like just have someone pour some sand in your eyes .
What weld burn eyes are hundreds of really small blisters on your eyes .