Wish we had a pound for everytime this question has been asked !
The answer is that it is really down to personal preference, your work environment and your pocket.
If you are working on your own then an auto lens is great, but if you work with lots of other
welders around you the auto lens can be triggered by other welders striking up, plus more
chance of your helmet being damaged or stolen.
If you find that at the moment you can get away with just one lens shade for all your work, then
the Fixed Shade Auto Lens will be a better bet than the more expensive Variable Shade Auto Lens.
But if you are constantly needing to change your lens shade, then go for the Variable Shade.
There is very little difference in performance between battery powered and solar, so this is a minor
consideration when making your choice.
Auto lenses are great when you first learn to weld as you don't need to keep lifting up the lid
to see your work. But as welders get more experienced the majority to seem to prefer
the traditional non auto helmet. Much cheaper and much more robust.
Finally with helmets you get what you pay for. We sell over a dozen helmets here at UKWelder,
but we only offer helmets from the top European and US manufacturers. We could make
more money selling cheap Chinese imports, but we don't with good reason.
Click below to view our helmets. Even if you don't buy from us, these are all good helmets.http://www.ukwelder.com/shop/helmets/welding_helmet_menu.php