Can you use a welding helmet to look at the sun: answers and tips

It has become common knowledge that we aren’t allowed to look at the sun directly as it can cause irreversible damage to our eyes. Thus, we wear eyeglasses, caps, and hats to protect ourselves from the sun’s dangerous rays. However, these measures aren’t considered to be sufficient eye protection.


In case you want to experience sun gazing or solar eclipse viewing, there are better alternatives to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. One of the typical solutions is purchasing certain welding helmets designed to look at the sun. Let’s dig deeper into this interesting eye protection appliance.

Possible ways to experience a solar eclipse

In case you look at the sun directly, it may lead to blindness and cause severe damage to the eyes. Hence, make sure to protect yourself properly by possessing the correct equipment.

The commonly utilized tool is solar eclipse glasses. They are believed to be the best option due to maximized blocking of UV rays and most of the visible light.

These properties make them a better choice than traditional sunglasses. Solar eclipse glasses work by blocking hazardous rays.

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The consequent equipment is a sun-gazing solar filter. This tool can provide its owners with the highest degree of protection with its special filter.

The next possible way is purchasing a welding helmet. It is specially designed to protect the welder’s eyes from ultraviolet rays and infrared light coming from the welding arc. Thus, welding masks protect eyes from detrimental rays by filtering them out.

Welding helmets have a property called lens shade number, which corresponds to the number of rays they can filter out.

Additionally, they can provide owners with full coverage and be worn over the sunglasses. They are kept in place better and, depending on the lens shade, can protect from UV rays.

Welding helmets and the protection they provide

After realizing the usefulness of the welding mask, it is essential to comprehend the procedure behind its excellent performance. As mentioned previously, there is a property of lens shade number.

Consequently, the higher the number, the better protection can be provided by the welding helmet. In addition, depending on the area of its usage, this number can significantly differ.

The common shade range used by welders is 10-13. Although the greatest available value is 14, the most recommended one is shade 12 or higher.

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According to the experts, anything below this value cannot ensure adequate safety of the eyes if you want to look at the sun or view a solar eclipse.

The lowest shade is 2, which is the worst at protecting the eyes during sun gazing. This is suitable only for work that has no connection to direct sunlight.

Therefore, try to be extra careful to protect your eyes from the dangerous effects of the sun properly.

Additionally, welding helmets are made of specially designed dark lenses that can block specific UV light, just like solar eclipse glasses. Although it isn’t possible to completely block the ultraviolet rays, welding helmets can filter out enough to cover your eyes.

However, please keep in mind that the welding helmet might get heated due to the bright light coming from the sun. Thus, it is essential to take it off from time to time and drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration.

Nevertheless, some science-based associations claim that even welding helmets might not be enough if the individual wants to experience a solar eclipse.

There are several reasons, including the previously mentioned drawback of welding helmets and their filter reducing the visibility of the solar eclipse.

Auto-darkening welding masks

This type of welding mask is one of the most convenient tools for welders. The purpose of its creation was the alleviation of their work. Consequently, it removes the necessity to adjust the welding mask manually and doesn’t consume much time.

Thus, it can automatically adjust to the brightness of the surroundings. Despite this superior quality, not all of these welding helmets have shade levels of 12.

Also, this automatic setting of auto-darkening helmets reduces exposure to UV light. But this quality can also get brighter or darker without any necessity.

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Additionally, auto-darkening helmets have properties such as delay and sensitivity. These qualities make the work easier.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to set them properly to protect your eyes from UV rays and infrared light. Thus, pay attention to these details and auto-darkening helmets will be of great help to you while looking at the sun, its eclipse, or some welding work.

Viewing solar eclipse

A solar eclipse is an occurrence of the moon standing between the Sun and the Earth while casting a shadow on parts of our planet and blocking the sunlight. Solar eclipses are one of the most rare occurrences.

There are three diverse types of them such as annular, partial, and total solar eclipse.

can you use a welding helmet to look at the sun

Despite being dim, solar eclipses can cause irreversible damage to your eyes by their invisible rays and intense light. Thus, you ought to protect your eyes carefully and be extra cautious.

The perfect equipment for viewing a solar eclipse is solar eclipse glasses because they can provide proper eye protection and are approved by many scientific organizations.

Welding helmets

If it comes to welding masks, they might not perform flawlessly in these cases. Although the welding mask with a shade level of 12 or greater can protect your eyes sufficiently, it will block and filter out most of the light, making it difficult to view it properly.

Therefore, even though a welding helmet with a shade of 12 or higher can protect your eyes from heat and light, it won’t allow you to view it properly. But even this setting might not be sufficient.

Thus, you should understand the properties of the welding helmet and set the correct degree of shade factor and darkness.

If you aren’t sure of these properties, try to comprehend them properly, only then utilize welding masks. It can be the case whether you want to view the eclipse or look at the sun.

Eclipse glasses and some tips

So, although it is potentially possible to look at the sun or its eclipse wearing welding helmets, the better option is eclipse glasses.

They are designed for this specific purpose and can ensure the protection of your eyes. Don’t forget to pay attention to the label “ISO 12312-2” because it means that eclipse glasses are suitable for viewing the eclipse.

With the possible detrimental consequences such as blurred vision, eye damage, pain, and blindness, it is an excellent idea to comprehend the seriousness of this question.

So, even if you want to look at the sun or eclipse, take it seriously and purchase the proper equipment for it.

Consequences of staring at the sun directly

After explaining the importance of purchasing adequate equipment, it is essential to comprehend the possible outcomes.

The period of exposure to direct sunlight determines the severity of the eye damage. The eyes might get irritated, watery, and red. Additionally, individuals may experience permanent or temporary loss of sight.

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Then, there might be serious cases such as damage to the retina, resulting in an improper connection between the brain and eyes. The worst scenario is getting cataracts, eye cancer, or solar retinopathy, which was described previously.

The latter can lead to the appearance of dark spots, difficulty seeing during dark times, and even loss of vision. It can happen to one or both of the eyes.

These detrimental outcomes explain why it is essential to get eclipse glasses or welding masks with the correct shade factor. Therefore, don’t neglect the safety and precautionary measures before viewing these natural phenomena.

To learn more about Can You Use a Welding Helmet to Look at the Sun, check out this post here.

Frequently asked questions

Do welding helmets protect from UV?

The welding helmet is made of special lenses, which are dark enough to filter and block most of the UV radiation. Even though it isn’t able to filter all the UV light, it can do it up to a sufficient degree and provide good protection for your eyes.
The welding helmet has a property of shade level, which determines its strength and how much light can get through it. Therefore, if you want to protect your eyes from UV, you should pay attention to the lens shade and the manufacturer.

Can I look at the sun with welding mask?

It is possible to look at the sun with a welding mask because it can provide better protection compared to sunglasses. Nevertheless, it is essential to use it properly and according to specific instructions.
So, if you want to look at the sun, pay great attention to the shade factor and don’t neglect to study it carefully. This neglection can lead to detrimental damage to your viewing organs.
Thus, you ought to get a welding helmet with shade 12 or preferably higher to enhance the protection of your eyes.
As you are undertaking risky actions such as viewing the eclipse or sun, you might want to prevent bad outcomes.

Can you use a welding helmet to look at a solar eclipse?

It is theoretically possible to experience it with a welding helmet; however, it isn’t recommended. Welding masks with a high shade factor can provide adequate protection and ensure a safe view.
It is recommended to get a shade factor of 12, but the higher the level, the better it is for viewing.
Nevertheless, eclipse glasses are always a better option for this experience. With its special design for viewing a solar eclipse, it will ensure the safety of the eyes and prevent bad consequences.
They accomplish their mission by blocking the harmful sun rays.

Do welding goggles protect from UV?

Although they can filter out most of the UV coming from the sun, they can’t do it completely. Thus, if you want to look at the sun, you should purchase a welding helmet with a high shade factor to enhance safety.
It is advisable to get 12 or higher and set the settings of the welding helmet correctly to minimize the harmful effect of the sun. Additionally, pay attention to the authenticity of the manufacturing company, as this negligence can lead to loss of sight and other types of eye damage.


A welding helmet is a great tool for welding work and provides users with proper eye protection. They have special darkening filters and can block most of the UV radiation. However, there are some things to take into account.

While it might be safe to use it to look at the sun, there may be some issues with viewing the eclipse. Therefore, try not to neglect the properties such as shade factor and set proper settings before viewing any phases of the sun.

If you need to read about How to clean a dirt bike helmet, please read our article.

Robert Miles

I have an immense love for fast motorcycling and a deep passion for motorcycles. With a decade-long involvement in motorsport, I have experienced thrilling adventures and have had the opportunity to explore various aspects of this exciting world.

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