My cheapo, imported welding helmet is basically useless.
The only thing I can see through the window is the arc, itself. I ca'tn see the work piece or the puddle.
Needless to say, this makes it pretty difficult to hit the mark, once you've positioned yourself, then put the helmet down.
I hardly do ANY welding. Just little things on the Jeep. Maybe one small project a year and never anything structural- ever!
So I am looking for recommendations on a decent welding helmet that does not run in the professional price range.
I know eye safety is paramount and am ok with paying for that, but a $300 helmet just doesn't seem to make sense to me.
I went to the local welding store and asked about a cheap helmet, they recommended one, less than $100, I bought it, it worked for years. Then I decided to buy a ~$300 helmet, yes a huge difference, anyway ask the local supply guys what sells.
Maybe related, maybe not. Just thought to add this cause I don't see it mentioned.
Keep your hood from getting dirty. Try not to leave it on the bench or shelf to collect grinding dust and stuff. When you try to wipe it off you can scratch the crap out of the lens making it hard to see.
I keep mine in the protective sock until it's time to weld, then immediately back in when done.