The Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 the best welding helmet for the money. Hands down.
Featuring 4C lens technology to achieve the highest possible optical rating and boasting one of the biggest lenses in the industry, this hood is the top choice for newbies and professionals across the board. The Viking 3350 has 4 arc sensors that detect the flash at an almost unfathomable speed (.00004 seconds) to protect you every time.
The pivot style headgear is highly regarded and perfectly balances the helmet, reducing neck pain and allowing you to work longer without distraction.
Lincoln Electric has done an outstanding job with the Viking 3350. It combines the latest technology with comfort and affordability to give you the best welding helmet available today.
The Lincoln Viking 3350 looks like Samus Aran’s space mask from Nintendo’s smash hit action-adventure video game Metroid. Perhaps, because of it, the Lincoln VIKING 3350 has risen to become one of the most popular welding helmets on the market. And it is definitely one the safest.
It is promoted as a “top-of-the-line” helmet series. This piece of premium safety gear comes with a perfect EN 379 1/1/1/1 optical-clarity rating. It also features one of the “the largest viewing area in its class.” As well as a new, pivot-style headgear for greater comfort and a better fit. The list below rounds out the at-a-glance specs on this popular welding helmet:
- 4C lens technology
- Largest viewing area in the VIKING line
- The superior comfort of a pivot-style headgear
- 3-year warranty
Rated 5.5 by 209 customers on Amazon, the helmet sells for a little under $240. The 4C Lens Technology promises to improve visibility and reduce eye strain by mitigating the traditional lime green coloring existent in most helmet view screens. In addition, it proves to be good in fields like general fabrication, shipbuilding, engineering, structural, electric, and pipe-cutting.
Highest possible optical clarity rating (1/1/1/1)
Rated 1/1/1/1 according to EN379 standards the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 provides you with the best optical clarity possible. The rating ensures that the hood is up to par and will protect you when needed. Although its not required in the US, it is used as a benchmark for newer models.
Massive viewing area
The Lincoln Viking 3350 has an enormous (3.74″ x 3.34″) field of view allowing you to see the weld in whatever position you may be in. The more awkward the better with this hood. This is especially good for beginners so they can focus on the weld without having to squint or find the right position to see.
4C Lens Technology
Featuring the much desired 4C Lens Technology:
- Clarity – 1/1/1/1 EN379 rated optical clarity
- Color – True color view
- Carat – Lightweight
- Cut – Consistent shade from any angle
The lens improves visibility while reducing eye strain by minimizing the bright green glow so common with helmets.
Unique graphic designs
Here’s the fun part. Lincoln offers 14 different designs to match your exact style. Camouflage? They have it. Zombies? Yep. The American flag? Lincoln has your back. Or if you just want plain black, they have that too. All hoods come with a set of stickers too, so you can customize it however you want.
Long battery life
There is nothing worse than having your battery die mid-arc and getting flashed unexpectedly. The Viking 3350 comes with solar rechargeable batteries. Just leave it by the window when you’re not using it and you’ll always have a fresh charge. When the batteries need to be recharged the helmet flashes an LED light so you wont be caught off guard.
Shiny paint is easily scratched
The glossy coat makes the helmet look beautiful but is easily scratched. Unless your big on vanity it’s a non-issue.
A bit heavy
Because of the massive viewing area the hood tends to be on the heavier side and might get bothersome if working all day.
The Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 is a phenomenal piece of equipment for welders of all skill levels and all processes – be it MIG, TIG or Stick. The 4C Lens Technology leads the industry in optical clarity and the viewing size is unrivaled. It even comes with a carrying bag and a set of stickers so you can customize it to fit your style. Whether you’re a hobbyist looking for the best, or a professional who needs the latest technology this hood is an outstanding choice.
Specs and Features
Auto Darkening: Yes
Viewing Field: Width 3.74″ x Height 3.34″
Shade Range: DIN 6 – 13
Reaction Time: .00004 seconds
Weight: 21 oz (595g)
Power Source: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
Warranty: 3 years
Lincoln Electric History and Company Info
Based in Cleveland, OH, Lincoln Electric manufactures welding products and arc welding equipment. The list also include plasma and oxyfuel cutting tools, robotic welding systems, welding consumables, gear and safety equipment. A global company with offices and factories in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, Lincoln ranks as a Fortune 1000 company.
Moreover, Lincoln is often offered up as a successful business model for studies at Harvard Business School and other business schools worldwide. Furthermore, since 1975, eight cases gave praises about Lincoln Electric by Harvard alone.
Today, it has over 10,000 employees worldwide and almost $2 billion in assets as of 2011. Indeed, Lincoln Electric is one of the most successful companies in the U.S. Subsidiaries. These subsidiaries include The Harris® Products Group, Arc Products and Burny Kaliburn. Followed by Eason Automation, Metrode, Python X – Burlington Automation and Vernon Tool.
The global presence, the subsidiaries, and the assets are all made more impressive considering that John C. Lincoln founded The Lincoln Electric Company with a capital investment of only $200. This is in order to make engines of his own design in 1895. He and his brother James successfully ran the company together until the 1920s, when John stepped away to pursue other interests.
After John’s departure, the company continued to explore other products. In 1922, the production of welders surpassed the making of engines. It was the start of what would soon grow into a welding empire. They manufactured Mig welders, and other welding equipment for different industries.
Lincoln Electric pride themselves on making quality products for over a century. They started to acquire businesses in the later part of the 20th century. A few notable examples include the acquisition of J.W. Harris Co., known worldwide for brazing and soldering alloys in 2005. They also acquired in 2006 the Metrode Products Limited. It is a U.K.-based manufacturer known for their work with nickel and stick electrode consumables. A year later, they would also acquire the Vernon Tool Company to gain computer-controlled pipe-cutting equipment.
Then in 2011, Lincoln flexed its considerable engineering muscle to raise a 443-foot-tall, 2.5 -megawatt wind turbine. This is now responsible for up to 10% of the energy used annually at the company.
Lincoln Electric Is Committed to Education
But Lincoln Electric isn’t all about expansion and acquisitions. In fact, the J.F. Lincoln Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization that was founded in 1936. The company is dedicated to promoting welding as a sound construction and building choice. Also, to champion it as a career path, the company continues to work with schools, instructors, and students the world over.
It is the only organization in the country so dedicated, and now, in its seventh decade, it publishes educational texts and bestows cash awards for contests. They also recognize technical achievements in schools and institutions worldwide.
Moreover, John Lincoln set up the Lincoln Electric Welding School in 1917. Furthermore, the school recently reported that over 100,000 men and women underwent trainings on the techniques and safety surrounding the arc welding processes. The school is even listed by the Ohio State Board of School and College Registration.
In addition, the Lincoln Electric Education Partner Schools (LEEPS) is a program designed for welding instructors at many levels of education. It aims to educate the educators who teach the welders of tomorrow, producing an effective, intelligent workforce capable of building great things.
And speaking of philanthropic pursuits, John Lincoln also established the often-overlooked Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in 1946. This is based, in large part, on Henry George and his book, Progress and Poverty (1879). The Lincoln Institute and the Lincoln Foundation merged in November 2006, but the founding objective to “address the links between land policy and social and economic progress” still lives on.
Lincoln VIKING 3350 Delivers Safety and Performance
The Lincoln VIKING 3350 is one of the company’s top-of-the-line welding helmets. It also ets high marks for both safety and performance. One of the best helmets for optical clarity available on the market today, it boasts the largest viewing area in its class. Plus, the improved headgear allows fluid movement, greater comfort, and an optimal fit.
And while all welding helmets protect your head from arcs, flashes, and particulates, the Lincoln VIKING 3350 scores a perfect 1/1/1/1 on the four C’s scale. All welding helmets made in the EU undergo a standard rating process dubbed an EN (or European Norm). Standards include EN 166, EN 169, EN 175, and EN 379 (auto-darkening lenses). Before any helmet reaches a retail supply chain, it comes with a standard and a score.
While the U.S. has no safety or quality protocols for the rating of welding helmet, many manufacturers are borrowing from this overseas playbook. In the case of auto-darkening welding helmets, the idea is that they carry a score ranked x/x/x/x, with one being the best mark and three being the worst.
Ultimately, when numbers are in, the overall rating of 1/1/1/1 becomes a benchmark for the best quality in lens clarity. This is extremely important, as clarity affect a welder’s productivity and safety. From matters of eye strain and fatigue to situations requiring precision welds, clarity has everything to do with welding.
The 4 C’s of the Welding Helmet
Are we talking about color, cut, clarity, and carat, like a diamond? Well, kind of, but with a welding helmet, all four ratings have more to do with the end result of clarity. Let’s take a look at the categories in order to help us better understand the x/x/x/x rating model mentioned above.
- The first thing to evaluate is the optical class. When you look at a filter – whether it is water or a pair of sunglasses – it is going to distort light and your vision, making things seem, well, distorted. Welding helmet with a 1 rating for this category will be exceptionally clear and without impurities or waviness.
- Diffusion of light refers to impurities in the lens due to manufacturing flaws. A number one rating here means looking through the lens is like looking through clear glass.
- The luminous transmittance class focuses on a helmet’s adjustable shade functionality. Helmet testers rate the uniformity of the shade across the helmet at certain settings. A rating of 1 means that the lens offers consistent shade across its entire surface of the lens at multiple settings.
- The angle dependence tests for a clear view without dark areas, blemishes, or blurriness when viewing objects at various angles. Again, here, the key is consistency. A big no-no happens when the shade darkens while looking through the lens at various angles. A rating of 1 is good; 3 is bad.
So, as you can see, the Lincoln VIKING 3350’s rating on 1/1/1/1 puts the welding helmet at the top of its class for safety and performance for a variety of reasons.
The Lincoln VIKING 3350 Colors and Patterns
But all work and no play makes even the most accomplished welder a dull person, and all of this talk about safety is getting a little dull. Luckily, Lincoln knows that your welding helmet is an extension of you. It may not seem like one could grow attached to a 2.5-pound plastic headbox when you’re wearing it for 10 hours per day in cramped spaces and tight fits. However, it starts to feel kind of like home.
So, to help break the monotony, Lincoln Electric offers whimsical colors and designs to help you express your welding personality. Show the world your true colors through a variety of proprietary helmet flavors. These include the Hot Rodder™, Foose Imposter™, White Tail Camo™, Jessi vs. the Robot™, Mojo, Code Red®, Motor Head®, and many more.
Personality is important, especially in a business that requires such attention to safety and detail. And, while others may dismiss welding as drab and dull, you know where the real action is. (Honestly, did the The Whimsical Woodsman teach people nothing?)
Other Welding Safety Considerations
However, a helmet alone is just a helmet. Indeed there are many more safety items to consider, especially in a learning environment. One has to consider welding safety glasses, gloves, clothing, fume control solutions, welding safety video, and arc welding safety posters.
Lincoln Electric is a heavy-hitter when it comes to acquisitions. Also, they have become a successful business model for study. But you also have to think that the company couldn’t have gotten where they are today without the hard work. Coupled by dedication of its employees and the foresight of an owner who grants paid vacations and stock eligibility as far back as 1923.
Indeed, an archived 1994 article by the New York Times reveals that Lincoln Electric has been incentivizing their workers since 1934. Furthermore, the current system even reportedly “has the backing of the Lincoln family’s heirs” today.
One of largest manufacturers involved in matching compensation to productivity, the approach has paid dividends in full. Lincoln Electric has paid out “almost as much in bonuses as in salaries.”
Maybe that is what has business schools so baffled – how can a company make money and treat its employees so well? John Lincoln was ahead of his time in so many ways, and his welders are popular globally. If only business around the world would learn to take a page from his HR playbook.