Are Weld-Masks Replacing Helmets?
Looking at the Miller Weld-Mask 2 feels like discovering a turtle without a shell. Sure it’s smaller and more lightweight, but it’s just so… different. That’s not a bad thing. Heck, we’d still be wearing slabs of cast iron for helmets if “different” was our only judging criteria.
So the weld-mask looks different, but how well does it work? Despite appearing like it has less protection, the weld-mask 2 was actually designed specifically for safety and convenience. Essentially, Miller got a bunch of construction welders, ship builders, automobile welders and a few other industry experts together to discuss their current problems with welding helmets. Bulky size, safety, neck strain and over heating were the main issues.
The bulky shape of even modern welding helmets has always been a big issue. Most helmets make Darth Vader’s headgear look like a tiara in comparison. Moving around in any tight space is like trying to do gymnastics in a clown car. In tight spots, some welders give up and resort to the very, very dangerous task of taking off their helmet, positioning their gun and then turning their head away from the flash (do not do this).
If you can’t weld with your helmet on, you shouldn’t be welding. But this presents a problem because your job is to weld. Miller’s Weld-Mask 2 was designed to counter this issue. It’ll fit anywhere your head can fit when you’re not wearing a helmet. That means no more choosing between your job and your eyes.
You’d think that by getting rid of the bulkiness of a traditional helmet, a weld-mask would be less safe. Not necessarily. The weld-mask has a flame-resistant head cover that provides protection from UV/IR rays and limited spatter.
Construction workers, pipe welders and ship builders have all pointed out that a traditional welding helmet might protect the front of your face, but it won’t save the top of your head. And there’s a reason these industries often mandate hard hats: Falling objects are a real danger. The weld-mask 2 and original weld-mask were both specifically designed to be able to fit underneath a hard hat. They’ll still work without one, but it offers a greater level of protection for the top of your dome than most traditional welding helmets.
It should be noted, if you’re doing overhead welds that rain hellfire down on your face, this might not be the best helmet for that application. Miller specifically states, “Limited spatter.”
Some of those really old metal helmets can weigh up to 10 pounds. Considering most heads weigh about 11 pounds, that’s almost doubling the load your body has to carry between its shoulders.
Neck strain is caused by more factors than the weight of your helmet, but it’s still one of the most significant contributors. By removing the bulky structure of a traditional welding helmet, the Weld-Mask 2 weighs in at just 7.8 ounces. This basically eliminates neck strain that would be caused by the weight of your mask, allowing you to weld more comfortably for longer.
Is The Weld-Mask for You?
The Weld-Mask and Weld-Mask 2 have the potential to revolutionize the industry. Their visibility is equal to most high quality welding helmets. They offer the benefit of a smaller size, less weight and the ability to comfortably wear a hard hat for added protection. Price-wise, they’re about what you’d pay for an auto-darkening helmet of the same magnitude. Remember, the Weld-Mask was literally created with a committee of experts from several different industries who told Miller what they wanted to see in headgear.
While the Weld-Mask 2 offers a lot of improvements, its flame resistant head cover isn’t indestructible. If you’re using applications with heavy spatter, it’s recommended that you use a full welding helmet in that particular situation.
It also has to be said that welders simply like the bulky look of a welding helmet. It makes you feel like a juggernaut and when people see the helmet, they know what you are. But as Weld-Masks become more common, that perception might change. So don’t let it hold you back from getting the best equipment for your situation.
To learn more about the NEW Weld-Mask 2, check out the related products below.