Can You Use A Welding Helmet For Plasma Cutting?

Yes, you can use your welding helmet for plasma cutting as long as you set your helmet to the correct shade level. Any plasma cutter operating at 40 amps or less can safely be used with a welding helmet set to a shade level of 5.

welding helmet hanging on plasma cutter

Shade Levels For Different Amperages

Here are the following shade setting recommendations for plasma arc cutting (PAC) based on amperage from The American Welding Society (ANSI Z49.1:2005) (Page 7):

  • Less Than 20 Amps: Shade Level 4
  • 20 – 40 Amps: Shade Level 5
  • 40-60 Amps: Shade Level 6
  • 60-80 Amps: Shade Level 8
  • 80-300 Amps: Shade Level 9

If you must follow OSHA standards, then you will need to use a minimum shade of 8 to be compliant.

Check your manual. Most machines will state in the manual the recommended lens shade for the power range of your machine. I know most of us blue collar guys don’t bother with reading the directions, but take a minute to read what they recommend. It’s worth your time.

What Is The Best Welding Helmet For Both Plasma Cutting And Welding?

When looking for a helmet that works well for both welding and plasma cutting it’s important to have one that allows you to easily change your shade settings. It is highly recommended to get an auto darkening helmet to make starting your cuts/welds a lot easier. Most welding helmets will be adjustable from shade 5 all the way up to shade 13. This shade range will have you fully covered for 99% of all welding and plasma cutting applications.

Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Welding Helmet

One of the best auto darkening helmets with fantastic comfort and an ultra clear viewing lens. It adjusts from shade level 5-13. The auto darkening switching speed is 1/25,000 sec. It has a dedicated grind setting for running a grinder with full visibility as well. Fantastic helmet for the money. This is what I use personally in my garage. It’s not cheap, but it’s totally worth the investment.

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Can I Use Plasma Cutting Goggles?

Most machines come with some kind of cutting glasses or goggles straight out of the box. While these glasses will work, we think that using an actual helmet to protect your entire face is always safer and worth the extra money.

There are times when you may need to use a plasma cutter in areas where your torch is above your face and you will have sparks falling straight down on your head. For situations like this, a helmet and head cover is 100% necessary to prevent your hair from burning. You may also encounter some “blow back” when cutting thicker pieces of metal regardless of your torch position. When this happens, sparks will go flying resulting in direct contact with your face if you’re not wearing a full helmet. Invest in a good helmet that can be used on both your plasma cutter and welder and you will thank yourself later.

REVCO Welding Hat

Great inexpensive welding cap that can be used under your helmet to prevent sparks from burning your hair in situations where your torch is being using over your head. For the cheap price it’s worth having one on hand for when you need it.

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