The green taint and the erratic darkening of the viewing screen were getting on my nerves. In spite of the drawbacks, I was faithful to the hood for the fit and comfort. But lately, I could hardly distinguish the pool from the arc and it was affecting the quality of my welds. Thus, my search for a reliable welding hood began.
I decided to focus on the following features of Welding helmets in the market:
- Viewing area
- High-performance batteries
Tons of rave reviews and some personal recommendations made me try Viking 3350. Lincoln Inc. boasted of a patented lens technology that offered crystal clear view along with the best fit; amongst quite a few other solid features.
Lincoln Viking 3350 Specs at a Glance
- Warrenty: 3 years.
- Lithium Ion battery included.
- Color black.
- Extra large lense.
Who can use it and why
The welding helmet covers all welding types, gouging, grinding and even plasma cutting. A single hood that can be used for MIG, pulsed MIG, TIG, pulsed TIG, Flux-Cored welding and requires no change of hoods when one switches from welding to cutting or grinding.
Recommended for general fabrication as well as heavy industrial welding. It was meant for every weldor: professionals and amateurs.
Comfort, utility, view, and the viewing area were of utmost priority for me (not in the exact same order).
The crystal clarity offered by the patented lenses coupled with the wide viewing area and powerful set of solar-powered batteries along with the headgear that guaranteed a snug fit; egged me.
I was okay with changing hoods when I changed guns, but adjusting my vision and getting a hang of the grinding hood took some effort. If this is as good as it boasts I am in for a surprise! (Learn more about tacklife welding helmet)
What included with this helmet?
- Viking 3350 welding helmet.
- Bag for welding helmet.
- 5 outside cover lenses.
- Inner protection lens
Let’s take a quick look at the features of this welding hood from the house of Lincoln.
- 4C Lens: This patented technology ensures that the lens is free from all-optical errors that might blur. The four Cs being clarity, color, carat, and cut, determines the quality of all-optical lenses and these lenses have the perfect scores.
- Viewing area: The hood has the largest viewing area amongst welding hoods of 12.5 sq. inches. And it’s 3.74″ x 3.34.
- Batteries: The performance of the solar-powered CR2450 battery is boosted by the advanced ADF electric circuits. These ensure that the power usage is optimized and the rechargeable lithium cell lasts long.
- Light sensors: The hood provides continuous Light sensitivity control with the help of four sensors. It has Analog light adjustment delay and sensitivity settings knobs on a dedicated control panel.
- Headgear: The hood has four rotatable padded headbands that can be adjusted to evenly distribute the weight at six different points of contact. It has a cushioned back pad, an air vent, and mask adjustor. With a three year warranty, it was definitely worth a try.
Lincoln Viking 3350 vs. Miller Digital Elite
As a part of the in-depth research, my focus was also on the Miller Digital Elite, which ranked in the top three welding safety hoods in most expert reviews. I must say, Miller Digital Elite matched Lincoln Viking 3350 in quite a few parameters and proved to be a strong contender for the top spot.
- Optical clarity: Lincoln Viking 3350 had more excellent optical clarity scores than Miller Digital Elite. While Viking 3350 scored perfectly in all clarity parameters, Miller fell short in angular displacement.
- Viewing area: The viewing area of Digital Elite is 9.4 sq. inches, while Lincoln Viking has 12.5 sq. Inches.
- Battery performance: The same set of solar-powered batteries powers both hoods; however, with advanced ADF circuits, the Lincoln Viking is more energy efficient.
- Light sensors: The light sensitivity and transition speeds are the same in both the hoods.
- Weight: Lincoln Viking is more substantial of the two with three pounds, while Miller Digital Elite weighs just eighteen ounces.
Despite being heavier, Lincoln Viking proved better in terms of clarity, viewing area, and power efficiency.
With features hard to match, the welding hood is undoubtedly one of the most popular welding protective gear. However, in-depth research revealed that the helmet fell short in the following:
- Weight: A headgear weighing three pounds is bulky. It might be a cause of strain on the shoulders and the neck during prolonged use. However, the unique padded helmet with contact support at six points kept me hopeful.
- Shiny exterior: While the polished exterior added to the helmet’s visual appeal and gave it a sleek look, the shiny surface might be prone to scratches and will require careful handling.
- Splash and humidity: The full viewing screen, control panel, and the headgear is not splash-proof and might be easily damaged with a bit of exposure to splashes and during rain. Nor is the headgear equipped to fight sweat and humidity.
My first impressions
Well, the sleek look of the hood caught my eyes and it appeared lightweight. The touch confirmed that it was lightweight with a smooth finish. Yes, the headgear was comfortable and with a little adjustment, it gave a snug fit. The cushioned back pad was comforting and held well.
I am hard to impress, but must confess, as I welded I could distinguish the pool from the arc in detail. The lens darkened fast without affecting my vision and I was impressed! I will need some time to perfect the light sensitivity and delay adjustments.