Shade Recommendations for Welding Helmets in Australia

Here is a breakdown of the commonly used welding processes and their corresponding shade recommendations.

In Australia, the shade recommendations for welding helmets follow the guidelines of the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1338.1:2012. Lower numbers are lighter, higher numbers are darker. 

Oxy-Fuel Welding & Plasma Cutting:

  • Shade 3-5 for general work
  • Shade 5-8 for heavier work

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW/Stick Welding):

  • Shade 10 for currents below 60 amps
  • Shade 11 for currents between 60 and 160 amps
  • Shade 12 for currents between 160 and 250 amps
  • Shade 13 for currents between 250 and 550 amps

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG) & Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW):

  • Shade 10 for currents below 60 amps
  • Shade 11 for currents between 60 and 160 amps
  • Shade 12 for currents between 160 and 250 amps
  • Shade 13 for currents between 250 and 550 amps

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW/TIG):

  • Shade 8 -14 (depending on amperage)


Important considerations

  • Auto-darkening helmets: Many welders prefer them over their less versatile fixed-shade counterparts because of their adjustable shades that can be switched between different processes with relative ease. These have electronic lenses that automatically darken when they sense the bright light of a welding arc to give you better visibility.
  • Standard compliance: Ensure your helmet meets the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1338.1:2012.
  • Personal comfort: Choose a shade that allows you to see the weld clearly while providing sufficient protection.
  • Amperage: Within a process, higher amperage calls for a darker shade.
  • Base material: Shiny, reflective metals usually call for a darker shade.
  • Position: Out-of-position welding sometimes requires slightly darker shades.


AIMS’ Note on Buying Industrial Supplies

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