What Shade Lens For Mig Welding

What Shade Lens For Mig Welding - One of the primary components of a welding toolkit is the shade lens. A shade lens that is properly fitted will shield the welding worker from spatters, radiations and sparks that can be produced by welding.

As per the US Consumer Product Safety Commission report more than 10,000 eye injuries have been reported to the USA each year. 

What Shade Lens For Mig Welding

The majority of these are linked to welding.

How do you determine the safety from your helmet's shade No.

Before you put on a helmet and trusting it to shield your eyes, make sure it is fit for purpose. 

Be sure to confirm the specifications on the helmet, by looking for the mark of quality. 

One of the most straightforward methods to verify is to test whether the helmet is in compliance with standards of the American National Standards Institute Z87.1 standard.

The standard specifies the requirements which all helmets for welding must fulfill to be classified as suitable for welding. 

Avoid selecting helmets that do not meet this standard.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Lens Shade

The Lens Reaction Time

Lens response time refers to the time required by the lens to change from a regular shade to a protective. 

For a standard shading lens the time to react is estimated at 1/3600 seconds. 

The more sophisticated and durable lenses have a time of reaction that is higher than 1/20,000 of a second.

Arc Sensors

The majority of welding helmets are equipped arc sensors in the range of 2 to 4. 

The sensors detect the illumination in the area. 

A helmet with more than 3 sensors can guarantee precise measurements, especially when working with different lights within the area. 

A helmet that has 2 sensors is enough for basic work, however MIG welding needs helmets equipped with additional sensors.

Fixed or Variable Shade of Lens

Welding lenses are available in two types they are fixed and variable. 

Fixed lenses typically are darkened by a shade and are typically fitted to the helmets for passive welding. The lenses that are variable are most popular due to their capability to darken to a variety of shades.

Fixed shade lenses is sufficient for a basic task like welding one material using one process. 

For work that is more complicated like MIG welding, you should use the variable lens.

The Level of Amperage

The color of the lens is dependent on the amperage level in the welding process. 

The higher the amperage, darker the lens you'll need to utilize. 

The lenses with darker shades has the ability to block out the harmful caused by the use of more amperage for welding. 

When it comes to light welding, which requires light amperage, lighter lenses are suitable.

The Shade Number

Different lenses have distinct shades based on the welding type. 

When it comes to MIG welding for instance welding, welders will typically require lenses that range from shade between 10 and 13. 

These shades are able to block the majority of radiation light when compared with lenses with less shade.

Things to consider when determining the best shade number

The Type of Metal

The kind of metal you are planning to weld will determine the shade number. 

In that the different metals have distinct the arc intensity. 

This is why the welding amperage will vary depending on the metal.

Eye Sensitivity

Do you have pre-existing eye problems or other health problems? 

It is necessary to get an approval from your physician before you enter the welding zone. 

In the event of eye irritation, see an optometrist before making a decision on welding lenses.


As we have explained as explained earlier, the higher the amps, the more the lens's shade is required. Begin by determining the amperages you're working with to determine the shade number you should pick.

How to Choose the Right Lens Shade

The process of selecting the correct lens can be a difficult task, especially for novices.

To ensure that the process is smooth, you must be aware of the welding material as well as the amperage and the shade of the lens. 

This is a brief overview of the lens shade to choose when welding mild steel at various amperages.

  • Mild steel MIG welding that uses between 80 and 100 amps
Use lenses with shades 10

  • The MIG steel mild welding that has 100-175 amps
Use an eyepiece with shade 11

  • Mild steel MIG welding using 175-300 amps
Use lenses with shade 12

  • The MIG steel mild welding using 300-500 amps 
Used with lenses that has shade 13

At a minimum, when welding using lower amps and with thinner steel materials make sure you use a lens that has shade 10. 

In the average, welding 1/4 inch of steel mild in one cycle requires about 180 amps.

Welding Flux Core by using MIG using different amperages needs the shade of the lens as illustrated below.

  • MIG Flux Core welding using between 125 and 175 amps
Use an optic with shade 10

  • MIG Flux Core welding using the range of 175-225amps
Use lenses with shade 11

  • MIG Flux Core welding using the range of 225-275 amps 
Use eyepiece that has shade 12

  • MIG Flux Core welding using between 275 and 350 amps
Use lenses that has shade 13

Flux Core welding with MIG is recognized to burn much more brighter when the amperage is lower and thus require a more powerful tint of lenses.

In the case of welding aluminum using MIG Below are the different shades of lenses that can be used at various amperages.

  • MIG aluminum welding that uses 80 to 100 amps is lenses with 10 shades.
  • MIG aluminum welding using 100-175 amps is the best option lenses with an 11-shade.
  • MIG aluminum welding that uses 175 to 250 amps use lenses with an opacity of 12.
  • MIG aluminum welding using 250 to 350 amps you need lenses that has 13 shades.

There are times when you'll encounter welding workers whose eyes aren't sensitive to handle the high-intensity light that comes from MIG welding fully despite having an eye-safety lens with a shade 13.

You will be able to recognize the struggle of these workers when they have burning and dry eyes on a regular basis. 

If you have employees suffering from this, buy them the darkest welding lens.

They come with shades 14 which are generally bought separately from welding helmets. 

They can block out nearly 98% of radiation light. 

They are generally customized.

Interpreting Welding Lens' Shade Number

Its Deutsches Institut fur Normung (DIN) rating refers to the German Industrial Standards used for classifying levels of light filtering. 

When the DIN number increases, the lenses become darker and block more light from entering. 

For instance, the majority of auto dark lenses come with an average base DIN that ranges between 3 and 4. 

The gentleness will allow you to view your work easily without lifting your hood several times.

An DIN level of 3 allows about 15% visible light to enter the lens. 

In contrast the lens with DIN shade 4 is three times more dark than one with DIN 3. 

These lenses permit only 5% of light to pass through.

Auto Dark Helmets VS Passive Helmets Lens Shade

It is possible to choose an auto-dark or active helmet lens shade to ensure maximal eye protection. 

This article will provide an outline of these two.

Auto Dark Welding Helmet

The helmets, also referred to in the field of Auto Darkening Filter (ADF) are not equipped with lenses.

They operate by using controlled sensors located at in front of helmets. 

If welding flash hits them, the sensor will will automatically reduce the light to the desired level of darkness. 

The process is quick and it is estimated to take a around 1/1200th of seconds.

One of the advantages of having an auto-dark welding camera is its capability to wear your helmet continuously while welding. 

This feature eliminates the trouble of flipping the lens upwards and downwards while welding, which could be a hassle. 

It is also utilized when you are doing a number of welding jobs that are short, compared to lens that are passive to welding.

The main disadvantage of an automatic dark welding device is the fact that it can be quickly triggered to darken when it sees flashes of light that are emitted by other welding equipment nearby. 

Because of this, welders must be in a larger area of work. 

This can be unsuitable, especially when you're working on only one weld.

Passive Welding Helmet

Passive lenses are typically constructed from glass or plastic sheet coated to a particular level to assist in filtering out sunlight. 

The advantage of these types of helmets is that they are always in darkness, which makes them suitable for long distances. 

Passive welding helmets don't rely on batteries or sensors. 

This reduces the chance of burning if sensors or batteries fail to perform as they should. 

The only disadvantage of this type of helmet is you'll be moving your hood a lot that can get tiresome especially when performing short runs.

Things to Take into Account when using Welding Lens

Check for Cracks

When MIG welding it is not impossible. 

If you fall off your helmet and a hairline crack appears on the lens may form. 

The light it lets into can cause burning to your eyes and your face without even realizing it.

Welders often look for cracks in the lens but do not think about the helmet. 

Many welders ignore cracks within the helmet, or attempt to repair it with some duct tape. 

Patching up only provides an interim solution to stop that crack in place from penetrating however, it won't stop the dangerous light from getting through.

Try your Auto-Dark Lens

The majority of auto dark lenses have an internal battery to provide power to the sensors. 

Sometimes the batteries are out of juice, which can reduce the brightness on the lens. 

When the batteries are depleted, the shade becomes useless.

To correct this, regularly check the battery's health with the Auto-darkening filter button on your helmet. 

The button will let you know if the ADFs within the helmet are in operation and will also display the battery's level of power.

Another method of checking if your sensor is functioning properly is to test using infrared rays (IR) that are generated by a normal remote control on your TV. 

When welding, the sensors of the helmet are typically activated by infrared rays of an arc of welding.

The sensors in the helmet could also be activated through IR from the remote control. 

If the sensors in the helmet are able to recognize the remote's IR sensor, they begin to activate and reduce the light. 

This process effectively establishes the ability of the sensors in the helmet to recognize signals coming from the side or below and over.

Always wear your helmet in a safe manner While welding

While welding, ensure that your helmet is positioned all the way down, preferably in front of your chest.

Wearing the helmet in the wrong way allows light to reflect indirectly off the table and illuminate the hood. 

This indirect reflection can cause burns to you in the same manner as directly reflected light that leads into an arc or welding eye. 

Choose a hood that matches your head properly to protect your head from burning caused by wearing shorter helmets.

The Symptoms of Arc Eye

An an arc eye is a disorder that can affect the vision of a welder due to damage caused by light flashes caused by MIG welding. 

The UV light can harm the mucous and surface membranes of a welding eye. 

This can lead to conjunctivitis or arc eyes which is the most common symptom irritation of the cornea.

Other signs of an arc eye are:

  • Bloodshot -tears and swelling of the eyes, and the membranes
  • Feeling sandy-like sensations in the eye
  • Atypical sensitivity to light
  • Partially photophobia due to the inability of looking at the sources of light
  • The pain can become serious if not addressed immediately

What Is The Durability Of MIG Helmets?

Helmets, as with other welding tools, are subject to tear and wear. 

The lifespan of the helmet is determined by the way you use it as well as the level of care you provide it. 

Welders who are skilled can wear their helmets for as long as 3 years, whereas others are unable to last beyond a year due to inadequate maintenance.

Can You Weld With Shade 5 Glasses?

The welding process using shade 5 is typically enough for light work. 

If you are working with the use of arcs, such as MIG welding, then shade 5 is not suitable. 

The shade isn't enough dark enough to shield eye protection from IR radiation of the MIG welding arc.

Why Can't I See Through My Welding Helmet?

It is possible to have your helmet set to the optimal level, but still have inadequate vision. 

This vision issue could be the result of dust accumulation on the lens of your helmet. 

To increase your visibility, make sure that your helmet is cleaned regularly and keep it in a safe place of dirt and other contaminants.

How Do I Know My Auto-Darkening Helmet Is Working?

You can conduct a sun test. 

Utilizing your helmet, gaze straight at the sun. 

You'll be able to observe how your lens adapts to the increasing brightness.


The wearing of a safe helmet that is fitted with the appropriate shade number isn't just the responsibility of welders. 

The responsibility falls to the supervisor and subordinate team. 

If you are choosing the best helmet shade, begin with a number that is higher as you move to a lower number. 

In this way you will be able to identify the welding zones of your helmet precisely and will increase the number of high-quality welds. 

Be sure to not fall below the shade minimum, which is 11.

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