Reviews, Comparisons & Buyer’s Guide
Jackson is one of the leading names within the welding industry, so if you’re looking into buying one of their helmets, chances are you’re looking for something reliable and long-lasting. In general, they deliver. These are by no means the highest spec welding helmets on the market, and they do all have their downfalls, but that’s reflected in the price. In return for what is overall a high-quality helmet, you won’t find yourself unreasonably out of pocket at all.
1. Jackson Safety Halox Truesight Digital Adf
Jackson Safety 138-29371 W60 Halox Black
Pros: The considerable viewing window is one of this helmet’s best features, as it allows you to see exactly what you’re working on with no obstructions. The fact that it runs on solar power as well as AAA batteries is a real bonus as well because these batteries are very cheap and easy to replace if they run out. Regarding specs, this lightweight helmet has separate grind, torch and weld modes, giving you great flexibility regarding the number of applications you can use it with. It also has four arc sensors which react to light impressively quickly.
Cons: At first, this helmet might feel front-heavy, which is awkward and uncomfortable. However, it just takes some getting used to; this feeling soon goes away after you’ve used the helmet a few times.
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2. Jackson Safety BH3
Jackson Safety BH3 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Pros: Out of all the welding helmets on the market, this one is the best in its class regarding optical clarity and several other categories. In other words, you won’t find better visibility anywhere else, which is seriously impressive. In fact, visibility is improved even further by the fact that there is reduced fogging and reflections due to the aerodynamic curved front plate (which also reduces heat build up). This front plate can be adjusted into three different settings, so it’s suitable for different welders and jobs, and it’s even possible to wear it with a hard hat, too.
The lens has sensitivity and delays controls, variable dark shades 9 to 13 and a 0.15-microsecond switching time, so the helmet is ideally suited to MIG, TIG and arc welding. For a comfortable welding helmet that comes with a five-year warranty, you won’t find much better than this.
Cons: Although the head strap is comfortable to wear, it is prone to slipping, which can be incredibly frustrating. Besides, you might find it difficult to find clear lens replacements – but not impossible!
A detailed review of the Jackson Safety BH3 Welding Helmet
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3. Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable ADF
Jackson Safety W40 Insight Variable ADF Welding Helmet
Pros: At the end of a long day’s welding, you can really see the beneficial effect that this helmet’s adjustable headband has. It’s super comfortable, which reduces neck strain and fatigue, meaning that you can carry on working for longer. It features digital sensitivity and delay controls, so changing your settings is a breeze – and it’s not possible to accidentally bump a dial and change a setting, causing yourself an injury in the process. Impressively, this helmet features four arc sensors, dedicated weld and grind modes, and variable dark shades 9 to 13, so it is guaranteed to keep you incredibly well protected, whatever you’re working on.
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4. Jackson Safety SmarTIGer
Jackson Safety SmarTIGer Variable Auto-Darkening
Pros: You’ll probably notice the curved front plate on this helmet straight away. It isn’t just there to look good – it’s actually aerodynamic, which reduces the build-up of heat in and around the mask, as well as minimizing reflections and fogging. As a result, seeing what you’re working on is very clear and straightforward. There is a magnifying lens holder, which gives you the possibility of improving what you’re seeing even further.
This helmet features three different headgear adjustments, so it’s ideally suited to a variety of welders and welding tasks. For example, it’s possible to wear this helmet with a hard hat, giving you increased protection and flexibility with your work. Being so lightweight, this helmet is really comfortable to wear, which is something that your neck will definitely notice at the end of a long day. With variable shades 9 to 13 and sensitivity and delay controls, this helmet is suitable for use with MIG, TIG and arc welding. It comes with a five-year warranty, which just supports the idea that you’re getting a reliable, good quality product for your money.
Cons: Some people have reported that when the sensitivity is put on the highest setting, the auto-darkening feature fails. However, this is not a common problem, and it is one that can quickly be resolved by adjusting the sensitivity by the slightest amount. Furthermore, there is no dedicated grinding mode, which may be frustrating for many welders. The headgear that comes fitted as standard is a fairly snug fit; this should be comfortable for most, but it might feel tight on larger heads.
How much does welding pay?
As with most jobs, a welder’s salary depends a lot on their skill and experience levels.
Newly qualified welders who don’t have much experience will start out with a pretty basic salary, somewhere around the $10-$14 per hour mark. However, as your level of experience rises, so will your pay.
On average, a welder’s hourly pay is usually around $20 per hour, but this takes into account both beginners and the very highest earners. At the top end of the scale, very skilled, highly-qualified welders can earn $30-$40 per hour.
In general, the farthest locations and the most dangerous jobs carry the highest salaries, as of making offshore oil rig contracts. However, it’s up to you to weigh up whether the extra income is worth the risk, long hours and time spent away from home.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that some specialized jobs (such as those involving underwater or pipe welding) will only keep you busy for a few months at a time. Although you might earn a big income over the course of a few months, as soon as the contract ends you might find yourself bringing in nothing until you see the next welding gig. Some welders like having these breaks between jobs, while others don’t like the feeling of uncertainty which this type of work can bring.
Whether you’re a new welder or someone who’s been in the game for a few years, there are always things that you can do to increase your wage. Do as much training and gain as many qualifications as you can, as this will attract employers’ attention and make it clear that you know your stuff. The initial outlay for the course fees might seem high, but you’ll easily make your money back with the extra pay that you earn.
Similarly, if you have a broad skill level then you’ll appeal to more employers, so try to perfect as many different welding techniques as possible. This also means that if demand drops in one particular field, you won’t be left wondering where to turn in your career, as you’ll already be qualified and experienced enough to move into another area.
The location also plays a big part in a welder’s salary, so it’s worth carefully considering whether you’re in the best place for your career. For example, wages in Alaska average out at double the fees that welders earn in South Dakota, so do your research to find out where the highest paying jobs will take you. It stands to reason that the parts of the country with a high demand for welders will pay more, so it’s really worth considering a move if you’re able to do so.
How much does underwater and pipeline welding pay?
Underwater and pipeline welding are more specialized techniques which need more training and carry higher risks, so naturally, these are higher earning areas.
The average underwater welder’s salary usually falls at around $24 per hour, which works out to about $54,000 per year. Low earners might only see $30,000 per year, while the top earners can rake in £90,000 or more. It isn’t uncommon for very experienced underwater welders to bring home six figures.
A similar blog post we wrote Welding Terminology and Abbreviations
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