There are a number of things you have to consider before buying a welding helmet. The market presently offers different welding helmets featuring diversified technological solutions. The adopted technologies make them essential and unique. After all, it plays a vital role in keeping a welder safe and protected. Now, what is grind mode on a welding helmet?

Grind mode means a welding helmet with an external option for grinding. You can go into the grind mode by flipping a switch or pushing a button. The feature has become crucial in advancing a welding helmet’s productivity and safety.

Now I will discuss what grind mode on a welding helmet is, centering around what it does and how you can benefit from it. Let’s see what it has for you.

How Does The Grind Mode Work?

Today, many welding helmets come with auto-darkening lenses while keeping down the shield. The transparent shield opens from underneath the lenses. It helps provide the clearest look of the surface. You should note that safety glasses should be beneath the helmet when the clear shield stays on.

Auto-darkening helmets have either fixed shades or variable shades. Helmets with fixed shades darken as per specific pre-set shades. It works well when the welder repeats particular welds. On the contrary, helmets featuring variable shades have grind modes to enable users to select their preferred modes. It generates the best results when used for variable applications.

Most latest auto-darkening helmets offer this mode, and they are impressive in capability and performance. When buying welding helmets for grinding, see if your chosen one has the ANSI Z87.1+ label. The plus sign confirms the helmet’s authenticity, which minimizes the risks of suffering from high impact.

grind mode in auto darkening welding helmet

What Are The Ways To Use The Grind Mode?

Internal Control

A small switch, knob, or button on the helmet’s inside enables the grind mode to start functioning. But the control placement is virtually inconvenient here.

You will have to tilt your helmet hood up, remove your glove, and take your hand up ahead of your head to look for the switch. At the same time, you have to make sure not to touch other critical settings. Usually, you will have to remove your helmet to do it.

A user should maintain this drill if they need to switch to the grind mode, which will get exhausting soon enough. Some older helmets do not have any indicator to signal you while the mode is on. So it is highly possible that you will forget it. That’s another inconvenience with this system.

External Control

When placed on the helmet’s outside, a switch becomes more convenient. You can turn it on without removing or lifting your hood. However, you might still need to take off your glove to run the control.

Other than the switch placement, everything is the same. It is still manual, so the user is responsible for every setting. But this feature is available in newer auto-darkening helmets that will come with a reminder. They may also have better optics and improved useability.

A drawback of this kind of switch is it is prone to damage from impact and spatter. But that is acceptable considering you will use an external switch to avail the feature. It will offer you more safety and higher productivity.

Auto Control

The darkening system is entirely automatic, which decreases the probability of human errors in this system. Grinding sparks cannot full the advanced sensors. So they will not over-darken the view.

It detects the brightness fluctuation in welding activities to adjust the shades accordingly. You can carry on without worrying about it.

Auto control is expensive, but it increases productivity and comfortability for every welder regardless of their skill level.

Flip-Up Shield

The auto-darkening lenses can rotate in and out of views, leaving a transparent protective shield. It fulfills the criteria for high-impact face and eye protection. But it does not have any filter, so it cannot minimize brightness or prevent harmful rays.

It is the ideal option for weld inspection, grinding, and preparation. It prevents brightness by about 87%, reducing eyestrain and making details visible.

Which One Is The Best Feature Of The Grind Mode?

Helmets with grind modes have either flip switches or push buttons. While either of them is just fine, the flip switch is the better one. That is because it can alter the shape of your welding helmet, lessening the likeliness for you to forget about turning off the ADF option.

The flashlight is to remind you that the grind mode is still on. It will go off automatically after restoring the ADF. Although most helmets have UV protection-coated lenses, they may not be the best at providing protection against excessively bright light even if the grind mode is not on.

When Should A Welder Use The Grind Mode?

Using helmets with grind modes means the helmets have a shade 3. Some helmets come with more shades to make them better suited for cutting. That generally varies from 5 to 8. Grinding mode lets you shift to grind applications within seconds by using a button or flip. Any experienced or professional welder uses it when welding.

When you are done grinding, use the same button or flip to switch it off without removing your helmet. There is an automated system installed in the helmets. But switching the mode makes sure there is 100% protection when you perform different welding tasks.

It does not matter what kind of ADF helmet you are using. The thing is to check and confirm the helmet settings to be completely safe and secure.

There is also an alternative. The other solution is to buy an auto-darkening welding helmet. It responds automatically to the welding arcs generated during welding even if the grind mode is on. The helmet design self-adjusts itself during any exposure grinding and welding.

What Are The Advantages Of The Grind Mode On A Welding Helmet?

An auto-darkening welding helmet is undeniably the best helmet in the current market because of its unique features like the grind mode. Here are what you will enjoy if you use it.

  • Grinding mode does what it does best – providing complete protection.
  • It is easy to operate. All you need to do is push a button or use a flip.
  • It has many features, all of which cater to comfortable and convenient operation.
  • It does not let you forget that the grind switch is on because your helmet will alter its shape when it is on.
  • You can switch the modes within seconds.
  • The mode uses sophisticated technological developments.

Is There Any Disadvantage?

As a matter of fact, it does have one or two downsides.

  • The buttons are vulnerable to jamming, leaving welders vulnerable to grinding-related dangers.
  • It cannot function without solar energy or a battery because the welding helmet runs with electronic systems.

Additional Read: Best Passive Welding Helmet

Final Words

So that is what grind mode on a welding helmet is. As you go shopping for that, remember to look for helmets offering essential features your work requires. The grind mode gives you a clear and proper viewing area and protects your neck, face, and eyes. But it is your responsibility to remain alert to shift between the modes.

Your responsibility and efforts combined with the grind mode features will result in the perfect welds. Best of luck with that!

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