What shade lens for MIG welding

When you’re just starting as a MIG welder, several questions could easily come to mind;

What shade lens for MIG welding should I use? What do welding shade numbers mean? And many more.

If you have no idea right now, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, as you’ll be in the know momentarily.

Making the most of your welding experience while remaining safe is your major focus. And with the tips you’ll get right here, you’re sure to locate the right shade lens for MIG welding and lots more.

Why Should Lens Shade Selection Matter?

Selecting the right welding shade for your join process proves useful in guaranteeing better eyesight. Welders can get the required amount of vision while blotting out harmful arc light.

Most adverse lingering welding issues pros face begin with eye problems. It’s getting so rampant that there’s a condition now called welder’s eye.

The right lens shade protects your eyes from any harsh contact and keeps your welding operation running smoothly.

Shade Selection Guide

Welding Shade Numbers – What Do They Mean?

Shades represent the potential of lenses to filter rays from bright arc light capable of damaging human eyes. Most auto-dim helmets feature built-in UV and IR protection required for better eye safety during welding.

The lens shade numbers show the darkness level of your helmet and how much eye safety it can assure. A higher shade number translates to a darker lens.

Welding processes could determine the ideal welding shade and could vary widely in some instances. Since there are many dynamics attached to selecting a welding shade, getting detailed information is crucial.

How Best to Pick Lens Shade Number

Amperage range

Selecting a higher amperage range for your welding operation should involve getting a darker helmet shade. Engaging higher amperage makes the chances of increased arc light development more likely.


Arc intensity shifts are common in different metals. Shade lenses are the only way to avoid getting blinded by light due to choice of metalwork pieces.

Vision sensitivity

Such a factor may not matter to professional welders with several years of experience with arc lights. But newcomers and DIY enthusiasts need to be careful with selecting shade numbers.

Selecting a shade one or two units should be ideal for getting your eyes used to bright light over time.

Lens reaction time

Variable shade lenses take a certain time to switch between regular to protective schemes. Time taken for these helmets to protect your vision plays a role in better welding potential and improved eye health.

Welding helmets usually have reaction times within a fraction of a second. Most brands in the market come with reaction times ranging from 1/36000 seconds to 1/20000 seconds. A lower denominator figure translates to a higher reaction time.


Arc sensors feature on helmets to assess ambient light for better shading potential. These lenses detect surrounding light and trigger shade lenses within moments.

Sensors on regular helmets usually don’t exceed two. Simple welding tasks in a lit environment may support helmets with two sensors. On the other hand, out-of-position welding requires improved sensor detection. High-end helmets could possess four or more arc sensors.

Lens type

There are two lens types on the market – fixed and variable shade lens. Fixed shade lenses feature only one darkness level, giving them rigid eye protection support.

Variable shade lenses can switch within shades to accommodate a slew of demanding welding processes.

What Shade Lens for MIG Welding is The Best?

Metals for the process and chosen amperage range are two factors considered before selecting a lens shade level.

Steel welding processes usually involve an amperage range within 60 – 300+ amps based on certain characteristics. Increasing amperage usually has more to do with metal thickness, form, purity, and other features.

Lighter metals like aluminum require amperage ratings not exceeding 300units for a successful weld. To make your selection more comfortable, check out the selection chart below for relevant info;

Lens Shade Selection Chart (MIG Welding)

  Amperage Shade Level
1 60 – 100Amps 9 – 10
2 100 – 170Amps 10 – 11
3 170 – 300Amps 12
4 300Amps+ 13
  Amperage Shade Level
5 75 – 100Amps 10
6 100 – 180Amps 11 – 12
7 180 – 200Amps 12
8 200Amps+ 12



What is the minimum shade for MIG welding?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act standards, MIG welding requires a minimum shade level of 10 DIN. The minimum shade level can guarantee improved eyesight with currents from 70 – 400+ amps.

What determines the correct shade of lens for use during welding?

The correct welding shade for welding, according to OSHA, should begin with the darkest level. During welding, operators should lighten their shade to achieve better vision without exposing their eyes to blinding arc light.

What shade lens is used for TIG welding?

Shade level 8 is ideal for tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Starting at this shade level could be light for some welders, particularly with operating currents exceeding 55amps.

What is the darkest welding shade?

Welding shades range from 5 – 13 in many brands. But shade 5 lenses could be unusable for gas-based processes (MIG and TIG). The darkest shade available from welding lenses is Level 13.

Shade 14 lenses are available, but blocks out more than 99% light, making it unsuitable for welding.

Can you weld with shade 5 glasses?

Yes, but with limited operation support. Shade 5 glasses cannot filter harsh arc light from several processes, particularly TIG and MIG welding.

Final Word

What shade lens for MIG welding should I use?

If you’ve been undecided or unsure of what shade to use, this piece provides all the info you need. Making the most of your vision during a MIG welding process doesn’t come any better.

And with access to these facts, you can be sure of achieving better welds without hassle!