Antra AH6-260-0000 Welding Helmet Review

Introduction

The AH6-260 Series welding helmet from Antra is an affordable auto-darkening welding helmet. While learning to weld, I struggled to place satisfactory welds using a fixed shade welding helmet as I was not able to see the weld puddle and the joint. Furthermore, I had to manually lift the helmet every time there was a need to inspect the weld.

The helmet also had to be lowered before the start of each weld just in time to protect the eyes from the arc. A solution to this problem is to use an auto-darkening helmet which allows you to see the workpiece before starting the arc and makes it easier to keep the welding torch or electrode in the joint.

Things to consider before buying an auto darkening welding helmet

The choice of an auto-darkening welding helmet will depend on the following factors:

  • Type of use: Trade or personal use. For trade use, the frequency of use and budget is likely to be high.
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    Compliance with industry and safety standards.
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    Suitability for use with processes: TIG, MIG, MMA, plasma and/or grinding.
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    Permanent shade: To protect eyes against ultraviolet/infrared radiation when the shade in normal and darkened mode. 
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    Variable shades: The level of light emissions are different for the various processes, and hence the shades require adjustment.
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    Size of viewing lens: A larger lens provides a wider viewing area.
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    Sensitivity and delay adjustment: Adjust the sensitivity and delay in a state change to suit the process and personal preference. Sensitivity changes the amount of light/arc required to darken the lens and is useful for adapting to variable light conditions and a wide range of welding processes. Delay setting determines the speed with which the lens turns from dark to light.
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    No of sensors or electromagnetic sensor to switch to the mode (light to dark and vice versa): Ensures that the welder is not flashed if some of the sensors are blocked. Electromagnetic sensor detects the electromagnetic fields generated by the welding process.
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    Minimum arc rating to detect arc: Important to check when using TIG for thin sheet metal welding to ensure the shade is triggered at low amperes.
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    Battery only or battery/solar cell: If powered by just batteries only, the batteries require regular replacement. The solar cell ensures that the battery is kept charged.
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    Colour and patterns: Consideration for aesthetics and personal preference.
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    Weight: A heavy helmet can lead to welder fatigue.
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    The rigidness of the helmet: For trade use, the helmet needs to be rigid. This will allow for safe working even in overhead welding situations.
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    Suitability for climate: Temperature range needs to suit the minimum and maximum temperatures at the location of use. 
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    Availability of spare parts: Readily available spares and accessories for the helmet are essential. 


Presenting the product

The AH6-260 Series welding helmet from Antra is an affordable upgrade to welding goggles and fixed shade helmets. It is a versatile auto-darkening helmet and is not only suitable for most of the conventional welding processes, but also for grinding. It also complies with the North American and European standards. The welding helmet is supplied complete with batteries, instruction manual, and spare covers.

This welding helmet is aimed at the DIY welder and not ideal for the trades person.

Pros

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    Low cost
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    Comes with numerous features
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    Compliant to industry standards
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    Suitable for use with most common processes

Cons

  • Small viewing area
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    Not suitable for the tradesperson
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    No choice of colors or patterns

Features & Benefits of Antra AH6-260-0000 Solar Power Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

The AH6-260 Series welding helmet from Antra comes with the following features:

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    On-off switch: To extend the life of the battery a fully automatic power ON/OFF is provided.
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    Compliance with industry standards: Compliance with the local industry standards is a must and conformity to the domestic industry standards is mandatory. This helmet meets American, Canadian and European standards: ANSI Z87.1 / EN379 CE / CSA Z94.3.
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    Suitability with processes: It is convenient to have one helmet which can be used for a broad range of processes. Due to the speedy response to electric arc from TIG, MIG, MMA or Plasma applications, this helmet is versatile and can be used on grinding, cutting and welding applications.
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    Permanent shade: To protect the welder's eyes at all times even when the viewing lens is in the light state, ultraviolet and infrared protection are necessary. This helmet has a permanent Shade DIN13 for this purpose.
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    Optical class: The optical class rating determines the quality of optical vision through the vision lens. This unit has an optical class of 1/1/1/2.
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    Light State lens: An auto-darkening lens usually has a #3 or #4 shade, which is applied before, during and after the weld. During welding the state changes to the darkened state. This helmet has a DIN 4 light state shade.
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    Variable dark shades: It is necessary to have shades suitable for the intensity of the arc which depends on the process. This ensures that the welder is adequately protected and still able to see the welding process. As this unit caters to multi-processes, it has variable shade settings as DIN 5-9/9-13. 
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    Size of viewing lens: A larger lens provides a wider viewing area and helps significantly with ease of welding. This unit has a standard viewing area of 98mm x 44mm / 3.86" x1.73”.
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    Sensitivity and delay adjustment: Sensitivity and delay settings are essential to ensure that the viewing glass switches to/from the darkened state at the correct times. This will ensure that the welder is not flashed, but also able to see the weld joint at the appropriate times. This helmet has good sensitivity and fast reaction time. Reaction time: 0.00004(1/25,000) seconds - Dark to Light: 0.1-1 Seconds adjustable to suit the process and personal preference.
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    Arc sensors: Two arc sensors are provided to ensure redundancy.
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    Minimum arc rating to detect arc: DC TIG Amperage Rating: >2 Amps. A low value is essential when using TIG for thin sheet metal welding to ensure that the viewing glass is triggered to change to the darkened state.
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    Battery only or battery/solar cell: This unit has a solar Cell + 2X CR2032 batteries installed which are replaceable. This solar cell ensures that the batteries have long battery life.
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    Colour and patterns: This helmet is available in plain black color only.
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    Weight: This helmet package weighs 1.9 lbs and is relatively lightweight which will help with the prevention of welder fatigue.
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    The rigidness of the helmet: The helmet is made out of high Impact Polyamide Nylon material for welder safety.
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    Suitability for climate: The temperature range needs to suit the location of use geographical and indoor/outdoor). This helmet can be operated in a pretty wide temperature range and will suit most indoor (garage) applications. -10°C- 55°C (14°F-131°F) .

Other features:

  • A hard hat adapter (sold separately) is available for separate purchase for this helmet.
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    A battery indicator and testing function are provided on the helmet.
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    6 external and 1 internal lens covers included as spares. These spares will help as lens covers get scratched thus obscuring the vision. These lens covers require regular change.

Availability of spare parts: Spares for this helmet are readily available including the following:

Exterior lens covers, Inner lens covers, Head Gear, Hard hat adapter, Sweat Band, Auto Darkening Lens, Cheater Lens

Alternatives

Three auto-darkening welding helmets are listed below for comparison: 

This helmet is slightly more expensive than the Antra AH6-260 Series, but has a larger viewing glass and is lighter. This welding helmet also meets European and other international standards in addition to American and Canadian.

This is a mid-range auto-darkening welding helmet and provides for more enhanced features than the Antra AH6-260 Series. These include 4 sensors, advanced lens technology, and a widescreen view.

This is the higher end range of auto-darkening welding helmets and provides for more advanced and elaborate options than the Antra AH6-260 Series. These include advanced color optics, longer battery life, easy to use interface and elaborate sensitivity/delay settings.

Conclusion

The AH6-260 Series welding helmet from Antra is a versatile auto-darkening welding helmet targeted for DIY use. It caters to a number of welding processes and is handy with numerous features. The auto darkening feature ensures that the welder’s eyes are protected as the arc ignites and makes welding easier.

This helmet is a small investment to make to ease welding and for eye protection. Being a helmet targeted at the DIY clientele, it is not suitable for overhead welding and laser cutting/welding applications. It is good value for money considering the extensive features included.

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David Brain
 

I am Welding engineering.My skill: Mechanical Design - Machine, materials handling, product, process, plant, equipment, piping, guarding and platform. I like to share my experience to other welders.

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