Welding Helmet Buying Guide

by Admin 8. November 2019 09:33

 One of the most essential pieces of equipment when welding is a welding helmet.

The welding helmet plays multiple health and safety roles during the welding process. The correct helmet should provide complete protection, from flying materials to the blinding lights. The purpose of this welding helmet buying guide is to ensure you not only select the correct helmet for your welding applications but for the safety of the welder themselves.

Passive Vs Auto Darkening

A passive lens helmet has a fixed shade, the helmet is worn in the up position while the electrode, gun or torch is positioned. With a quick nod or snap of the neck the operator can flip the helmet into position before striking the arc. For the operator who doesn’t weld often they can find it difficult to position and hold the electrode while snapping the helmet into place.

Auto Darkening

Auto darkening helmets allow for wearing during the positioning of the electrode, gun or torch. This is due to the range of shade lowering usually down to shade 3 or 4, allowing for positioning of the welding equipment, whilst the helmet is in place. When the sensors detect the arc, the lens darkens. This can potentially improve weld quality as there is no movement required before welding can commence.

Fixed/ variable shade

On fixed shade auto darkening helmets, when an arc is detected the helmet will automatically change to the shade opted for on the control dial of the helmet, this doesn’t mean it’s the correct one for the application. If you tend to weld the same application with the same number of amps, this could be the helmet for you. However, if you are continually changing between jobs a variable shade helmet maybe the ideal solution.

Commonly welders do not change the shade for different amps or applications nor do they know exactly what shade they should be on (see table below for correct shades). If you don’t know the right shade for your application, then let the helmet choose for you, choose a model of helmet which can detect and automatically select the correct shade level. This is a new Optrel feature which can be found on their E684 and Panoramaxx helmets, this is also known as autopilot lens detection.

Lens Reaction Time

When switching from setting up your weld to the actual welding consider the lens reaction time, in most cases the quicker the better. The more arc’s you strike in a day the more you’ll appreciate a quicker speed. Some helmets have an adjustable display control, this allows for the lens to stay darker for a period once the arc has stopped, this would be beneficial when welding at high amperages, as molten metal may still emit harmful rays while it cools.

Optical Clarity

The optical clarity defines the quality of view you get through the helmet, you wouldn’t buy a cheap pair of sunglasses, so don’t let the quality slip when it comes to welding, after all you only get one set of eyes!

Optical clarity is governed by European Standards for the welding industry, the standard is known as EN379. Ratings are determined by tests that measure light transmission across the cartridge as well as lights from the cartridge layers. The ratings are displayed as numbers, each defining an aspect: Optical class (distortion), diffusion of light (blurry image), variations on luminous transmittance (even shade) and angle dependence. Ratings are graded on a scale of 1 to 3 in each class. A score of 1 is perfect, while 3 is the worst rating. So, the perfect clarity score is 1/1/1/1.

Viewing Size

The bigger the better right? Not necessarily in this case! Consider your environment when selecting the viewing size of your helmet. The bigger the viewing size, the bigger the helmet and possibly the heavier the helmet.

Number of Sensors

Helmets usually range from 2 sensors to 4. The more sensors the better coverage, if you are welding in restricted areas sensors could be obstructed, therefore the more the better.

Other Things to Consider

Availability of cheater lenses

Power source – Battery powered or battery and solar powered

Comfort — Ensure the helmet has a good fit or has changeable head gear. When wearing the helmet for longer periods, ensure weight is kept to a minimum.

Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) – Do you require a fresh air unit on your helmet or may require one in the future? Check out the availability of an upgrade to a fresh air unit. PAPR are air fed helmets which supply filtered air back into the helmet to ensure the welder does not breathe in welding fumes.

If we’ve given you too much to think about, don’t hesitate to contact our sales team who will be able to assist in selecting the correct welding helmet for you, sales@rapidwelding.com or on +44 (0)23 92 214 214.

Now for the fun bit . . .

Now you’ve got an idea of the requirements for your desired helmet, let’s review some possibilities.

Optrel Crystal

This helmet is one of the most advanced available on the market, it’s been a firm favourite amongst our customers since its launch in February.  With the crystal lens technology, the welder has a clear view before, during and after welding. The incredibly low shade 2.0 light state provides a practically unclouded view of the working environment eradicating the need for a flip up visor or removal of the helmet between welds. This helmet also benefits from an upgrade to an air fed version for the ultimate protection. 

  • Crystal lens technology 2.0
  • Autopilot, detection of the arc brightness to automatically set the correct shade level (4 to 12)
  • Twilight function 
  • Grind mode
  • 3 Arc sensors 
  • Viewing area: 50 x 100mm
  • Weight: 460g
  • Optical clarity: 1/1/1/2

 View Online



Weldline Flip Air

The Lincoln Weldline Flip air 4500i with Zephyr Air PAPR system is a great value air fed helmet, providing protection and comfort. It features a flip up helmet with a 4/5-13 wide view auto darkening feature. The battery powered PAPR system is mounted on a cushioned belt to ensure a high level of comfort for extended use.

  • ADF with digital display, showing shade and settings
  • ADF infotrack system can display useful information such as current time, time on a job, temperature and alarm
  • Welding mode shade 9 - 13, Cutting mode, shade 5 - 9 and Shade 4 grind mode
  • Low battery indicator4 Optical sensors, X- Mode with magnetic sensors for outside use or low amp Tig welding
  • Adjustable shade and sensitivity
  • Viewing area: 97 x 60mm 
  • Weight: 510g 
  • Optical clarity: 1/1/1/2


Lincoln 3350

The Lincoln 3350 is a great value helmet, which has proved to be a very popular option amongst our customers. With its 1/1/1/1 optical class it provides the largest viewing area compared to others at this price point. This helmet comes with a bandana and decal sheet for a personal style. 

  • Continuously variable sensitivity and delay
  • Continuously variable 5 - 13 shade with internal control 
  • Grind mode
  • Magnifying cheater lens capability
  • Solar powered with replaceable battery
  • 4 Arc sensors 
  • Viewing area: 95 x 85mm 
  • Weight: 595g 
  • Optical clarity:  1/1/1/1


ESAB Warrior

The ESAB Warrior is a great all-round helmet offering all required protection. For the price, this budget helmet provides the best protection in its class. This is a lightweight helmet that provides the ideal functionality, performance and comfort for the occasional welder, maintenance and construction workers, through to the professional welder. 

  • Sensitivity control
  • Adjustable ergonomic headband for better fit and comfort 
  • Delay control
  • Shade 9 – 13
  • 4 Arc sensors
  • Viewing area: 98mm x 48mm
  • Weighs less than 500g
  • Optical clarity: 1/2/1/2   


Still not too sure? Shop the full range of helmets available from Rapid by clicking here

Try before you buy and see the difference in helmets at our facilities in Portchester, Portsmouth. We have these helmets and many more on display for you to try before you buy. 

Alternatively, if we’ve given you too much to think about or would like some more options to suit your needs please contact our sales team, sales@rapidwelding.com or on +44 (0)23 92 214 214.


Introduction to Arc / Stick Welding

by Admin 16. October 2019 15:41

 Arc welding is one of several methods of using fusion for the joining of two metals. During the welding process intense heat is created by the electric arc to melt the metal and cause fusion. The arc is formed between the two pieces of metal being fused together and the electrode. This can either be a stick or wire, then this is manually guided into the joint.

The electrode can either have the purpose of simply carrying the current or it can be melted and used as a filler metal between the joint. This process is most commonly used for the manufacture of steel products. When the electrode is heated the rod creates a shield from oxygen. This stops the weld from being contaminated. This is why stick welding is also known as SMAW or shielded metal arc welding. This makes the process very versatile and a popular choice for site work and repairs.

Why Stick Weld?

  • Stick welding is an extremely versatile process. Welding can be carried out in various locations including on site and can be powered by a generator
  •  Equipment can be relatively simple, inexpensive and easy to use
  • The process is suitable for most commonly used metals and alloys
  • Good for windy and outdoor conditions, where other processes can’t be used


If stick welding is the process for you or you simply fancy giving it a go, there are several affordable stick welders available on the market. Our full range can be found by clicking here.

Here at Rapid we will shortly have the complete range of Bester by Lincoln stick sets. These are great value, ready to weld packages, which will be available very soon!  

The Bester by Lincoln range is the perfect solution for anyone wanting to stick weld. These are compact yet versatile single-phase machines.

With three models to choose from we will have the complete range of MMA Inverter welder packages, all complete with a carry case, electrode holder and 3m ground cable.

Benefits include: 

  • Great welding characteristics
  • Digital display allowing precise setting of welding current
  • Generator compatible
  • Lift TIG with excellent striking
  • 2 Year warranty



For more information on these machines, or any other, don’t hesitate to contact the Rapid Team!

Either call +44 (0)23 92 214 214, email webenquiries@rapidwelding.com or ask Andy through the Rapid Website.


Meet the team - Richard

by Admin 16. October 2019 15:40

Richard has been part of the Rapid team for over 8 years and is a fundamental member of the website team. He is responsible for the upkeep of products and content on the website as well as other channels like eBay and Amazon. His favourite part of his role is how the website is constantly evolving, so there’s always a different variety of projects they are working on.

Fun fact about Rich:  I’m a keen petrol head, love driving quickly on racetracks and qualified as a mechanic. 


Panther Safety Range

by Admin 16. October 2019 15:30

Rapid is pleased to announce that we will now be stocking and selling the Panther safety range. Staying safe and protected is essential when working in any environment.

The Panther range offers hard-wearing welding safety equipment which is ideal for workshop use. This range offers protection from sparks and heat generated from welding and other industrial applications. The Panther range conforms to BS EN ISO 11611:2007 for protective clothing for use in welding and allied processes.

This new range of safety wear is available on the Rapid Welding website as well as from our Trade counter in Cosham.

Click here to view the range online




Optrel Crystal with e3000 10Hr PAPR package has been replaced with the new e3000X 18Hr PAPR system

by Admin 24. September 2019 14:19

 The Optrel Crystal with e3000 10Hr package has now been discontinued and has been replaced with the new e3000X 18Hr package, which when paired with the Optrel Crystal for PAPR is currently the same price! 

The e3000X Powered Air Purifying Respirator is the new league for fresh air and breathing protection.


The best just got even better . . .

30% longer filter life
18 hour run time before charge
Lightest long-life battery available on the market
Compatible with particle, odour and gas filter
++++Plus many more features not found on any other PAPR system

X-tending your possibilities!

Highest safety class (TH3) respiratory protection
Protects reliably from smoke, aerosols and dust
Ready for A1B1E1 gas filter
Integrated, automatic air flow control and calibration
Expandable with mountain breeze odour filter

X-tended Performance

Optrel have managed to double the efficiency of the new e3000X by combining a performance-optimised design with the latest battery cell technology. With up to 18 hours of battery life and 240 litres of air per minute available at the touch of a button, the new e3000X is the perfect choice for the most powerful ventilated breathing protection system available on the market.

X-tended Safety

The new e3000X shows you the battery charge level at the touch of a button and calibrates the air flow automatically, so you can get through the day safely.

X-tended Productivity

As soon as the filter in the current air flow level is saturated, you receive an acoustic alarm and the new e3000X‘s intelligent alarm function switches fully automatically to the next lowest air flow stage – without you having to interrupt the work process.

X-tended Application Possibilities

The new Optrel e3000X PAPR system protects you reliably from particles like smoke, aerosols or dust. Furthermore, the mountain breeze odour filter keeps you free from awkward smells and insanitary ozone. In environments with hazardous or toxic gases the new A1B1E1 gas filter will be available from Q2/2020. The new e3000X adapts to your requirements.

 click here, to view the Optrel Crystal and e3000X package online. 


 For more information on air fed welding masks, don't hesitate to contact our Product Manager for Industrial Safety, Ken. 

ken@rapidwelding.com 07803 898564



Rent, lease or buy welding equipment?

by Admin 17. September 2019 15:42

 The decision to rent, lease or buy welding equipment often depends on how often it will be used, the amount of equipment required and length of time in which it will be required for.

If equipment is going to be used more than 60-70% of the time for multiple jobs, either buying or leasing the equipment may be the correct way forward for you. If utilization rates are lower than 60% renting may be the way to go. Renting plant provides immediate access to professionally maintained equipment, exactly where and when its required.

Many companies prefer to own their core fleet of equipment then rent additional equipment when required to meet demands of a job or workload. Renting minimizes costs associated with maintenance, repair, storage, handling and freight, providing you with an opportunity to try out new equipment before deciding to purchase. When renting welding plant, you pay for actual use of the equipment, not equipment ownership, this allows you to be more agile as the job needs change and equipment demand increases or decreases.

At RentArc we specialise in the rental of welding equipment and have the most up to date, diverse fleet of rental welding equipment available to accommodate any process or technological requirement. Contractors, maintenance and repair companies, owner-operators and other welding professionals rent from RentArc because of our fleet size, equipment diversity, expert advice and equipment performance.

For larger jobs, lasting a longer period of time or for equipment which is needed on a regular basis, we can offer a longer-term hire contract. Depending on the length of the hire, and amount of equipment needed we can provide you with the equipment you need for the duration you need it at an affordable price.

We can also help to organise competitive lease purchase finance. This is a low cost, flexible option to build your core fleet, allowing you to conserve capital and avoid investing in depreciating assets. In addition to the tax benefits in taking out lease purchase finance, the equipment remains under full factory warranty during the lease term.

RentArc is here to meet your needs and to Keep welders welding. We are always happy to discuss your requirements to find the best options to meet your circumstance and requirements. 

www.RentArc.com . info@rentarc.com . 023 80 867 789



Choosing the best way to clean your Tig Welds . . .

by Admin 11. September 2019 09:07

Effective finishing and cleaning of a Tig weld is a crucial part of the post welding process.

The welding process can cause discolouration, heat tints and burn marks. Removing these can subsequently improve corrosion resistance, which in the long run will increase the durability of a weld and preserve the physical properties of the metal surface and weld.

When produced stainless steel has a chromium oxide film which is formed on the surface during production. The fabrication process can damage this film through scratches, the formation of surface oxides and embedded iron, this causes areas of lower corrosion resistance. To restore the protective surface areas can be treated and cleaned.


Pickling Paste

The traditional method of using pickling paste is slowly being filtered out due to the time-consuming method and potentially dangerous chemicals involved. If pickling paste is the chosen method, it is important to ensure the correct procedures are in place. These can be found of the HSE website by clicking here.

Electrolytic Weld Cleaning

Electrolytic weld cleaning is the ideal cost-effective solution to ensure clean and durable welds. This is an extremely quick solution and considered to be very safe in comparison to the hazardous process of applying pickling paste or exposure to excessive amounts of grinding dust.

The electrolytic weld cleaning process is very simple. An electrolytic cleaning fluid is applied to the surface of the weld using a conducive welding brush. When the electric current is applied the desired effect of cleaning and passivation occurs. This is a quick process which removes the iron-based oxides from stainless steel Tig welds, leaving the bright finish on the weld.

Affordable Weld Cleaner

The Telwin Cleantech 200 is an innovative TIG and MIG cleaning system. The Cleantech 200 is accurate and can give 100% in every job and task imaginable.

This machine will restore shine to stainless steel by eliminating elements of discolouration and oxidation at an astonishing pace. The kit contains two parts; the Cleantech 200 Welding Machine, with work clamp with 1.8m cable, dinse plug and handle kit and the cleaning kit, with 2x threaded pins, brush kit, tip kit, cleaning strips, Brush It Liquid kit and a Clean It Liquid kit.

Machine Features

- Enables smart auto power technology, which allows quick distribution of power on surface to clean

- Compact and light, easy to carry within work spaces small and large

- Reduced energy consumption, making the machine healthier and cleaner than previous models

- CE marking and EAC certification

View on the Rapid Website, by clicking here.

If you would like to know more information about this process, don't hesitate to contact the Rapid Team for expert advice.


Meet the team - Logan

by Admin 11. September 2019 09:04

Logan joined Rapid in January 2006, during his time here Logan has become a fundamental member of the warehousing and logistics team. Logan is responsible for internet logistics and warehousing team leader; his favourite part of his job is the variety of people he gets to support and speak to on a daily basis.

Outside of work, Logan enjoys spending time with his family and supporting Portsmouth Football club.

A fun fact about Logan: He once flew a plane (as a co-pilot).


Rapid Welding is pleased to announce that we are now official distributors for Furick

by Admin 11. September 2019 08:59

Rapid Welding is pleased to announce that we are now official distributors for Furick.

Furick specialise in the creation and production of Tig torch accessories. With Furick’s extensive knowledge and experience within the welding industry including the fabrication of F1 exhausts, they have designed their range with the sole purpose to make only quality innovative products.

The complete range of Furick products are available on the Rapid Welding website, they can be found by clicking here.

For more information on the products we sell, don’t hesitate to contact the Rapid team! Either call +44 (0)23 92 214 214, email webenquiries@rapidwelding.com or ask Andy through the Rapid Website.


A very happy Rapid customer . . .

by Admin 30. August 2019 10:52


I think it safe to say we have a very happy customer! Two new Fronius machines and an Optrel Crystal helmet, not to mention a Rapid mug! What more could one welder want?

This happy chap is the latest of our customers to be benefitting from Fronius’s quality manual welding equipment. With a joint demonstration between ourselves and Fronius our customer is assured that they have purchased the correct high-quality welding equipment to meet all their welding needs.

Choosing the correct welding machine to meet all your requirements can be a mind field, not to mention all the accessories required to go with it. For technical support and advice, the Rapid team are here to help! With years of welding knowledge and access to the newest products on the market, we’ve got you covered! From robotic welding systems to safety spectacles we can provide you with the products to meet all your welding needs.

For more information on the products we sell, don’t hesitate to contact the Rapid team! Either call +44 (0)23 92 214 214, email webenquiries@rapidwelding.com or ask Andy through the Rapid Website.

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