Why Do Welders Use Pancake Hoods? (5 Reasons You Should Also)

Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood Helmet w/Strap - Right Handed - White
Wendy’s Pancake Welding Hood Helmet w/Strap – Right Handed – White
  • lLightweight balsa wood eyepiece with face and side shield
  • Accommodates standard lens and cheater or a Miller fixed shade electronic lens
  • Lens holder has a pocket depth of 5/8 inch.
  • Each hood comes with 1 adjustable elastic headband and 1 piece of sandpaper for custom-fitting of the eyepiece
Sarge's Pancake Black Welding Hood Helmet Right Handed Regular Pipeline OSHA Approved (Right Hand, Black)
Sarge’s Pancake Black Welding Hood Helmet Right Handed Regular Pipeline OSHA Approved (Right Hand, Black)
  • Lightweight balsa wood eyepiece with phenolic formica face and side shield
  • Accommodates standard lens and cheater or a Miller fixed shade electronic lens
  • Weight: 12.5 oz. Face Shield: 10.5 in. Side Shield: 5.8 in x 8 in
  • Each hood comes with 1 hand-made, adjustable 1.5 in elastic headband
Wendy's Pancake Welding Hood Helmet w/Strap - Right Handed - BLACK
Wendy’s Pancake Welding Hood Helmet w/Strap – Right Handed – BLACK
  • Lightweight balsa wood eyepiece with shields on both sides
  • Suitable for Miller fixed shade electronic lenses and cheaters
  • The pocket depth of the lens holder is 5/8 inches.
  • Each hood comes with 1 adjustable elastic headband and 1 piece of sandpaper for custom-fitting of the eyepiece

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The first time I heard of pancake hoods, the first thing I considered is one of my favorite breakfast meals. These fluffy and light blobs of deliciousness topped with a plethora of butter along with maple syrup is the kind of pancakes that the majority of people is familiar with. The pancake hood is actually tools used for welding.

The reason welders are using pancake hoods?

A pancake hood is a shield to the eyes of a welding face. It’s a headpiece that is rigged using a balsa box.

The balsa box has a compact box designed to shield the eyes and surrounding of the welder. its primary purpose is to secure and help support lenses of headpiece.

The nifty device got its nickname because the front of the helmet that is used for welding is flat, is of the correct thickness, and is similar to your breakfast food.

Based on this it is clear that the reason why pancakes are the perfect name for this security gadget.

Sarge’s Pancake Welding Hood (OSHA Approved)

Why Do Welders Use Pancake Hoods? (5 Reasons You Should Also)

Sarge’s helmets are very popular, and they are used by a lot of guys. They will cost you about $120, but they are light in weight and incredibly durable.

They have an extra support brace between the eye box and the side shield which really makes this helmet feel quite sturdy.

This extra brace is also useful in case an impact happens, as it is able to protect the wearer’s head from damage. It increases the helmet’s strength and makes it more resistant to damage.

Additionally, the helmet is equipped with an adjustable dial that allows the user to adjust the tightness of the fit, providing a personalized and comfortable experience.

The lightweight balsa wood also increases the durability of the helmet, as it provides more structural support than other materials that are typically used.

Additionally, the elastic strap provides a secure fit, ensuring that the helmet stays in place while being worn. The OSHA approval also indicates that the helmet meets the necessary safety requirements.


  • Weight: 12.5 oz
  • Face Shield: 10.5 inches
  • Side Shield: 5.8 inches x 8 inches

What We Like:

  • Light weight
  • Well built eye box
  • very sturdy helmet with extra brace
  • Overall comfort

What We Don’t Like:

  • No extra colors available

2. Wendy’s Pancake Welding Hood

Why Do Welders Use Pancake Hoods? (5 Reasons You Should Also)

This is another very popular brand that a lot of guys use. Wendy’s Helmets are also made here in the USA, and are made with balsa wood for the eye box to make them very lightweight.

It is easy to buy replacement lenses for these glasses almost anywhere because they use standard lenses or Miller Fix shaded lenses, making them easy to use.

With a weight of 14.4 ounces, these hoods are just a bit heavier than the Sarge hoods above, which are rated at 14.4 ounces.


  • Weight: 14.4 oz

What We Like:

  • Balsa wood eyepiece
  • Uses standard easy to find lenses
  • Comes with sand paper to sand eye box to fit your face

What We Don’t Like:

  • Little bit heavier than the Sarge hoods

Factors To Consider When Choosing:


When it comes to working as a professional welder on pipeline jobs, the weight of your helmet can be a very important factor to consider before buying one.

When you wear a pancake helmet, you will feel less fatigued after a long day of work. The average weight of a pancake helmet is usually between 12-15 ounces (a little less than one pound). We recommend that you avoid helmets that weigh more than that and spend a little more money to get a lighter helmet.

Helmet Strap

You will want to make sure you look at the helmet’s strap as well. We have found that wider straps tend to be more comfortable than skinnier straps. Some guy’s purchase aftermarket head straps and attach them to their helmets without the adjustment buckle, and this results in the helmet not being able to be adjusted, but being more comfortable to wear.

Side Shield Brace

There are some helmets that have wood between the side shield and the wooden enclosure for your eyes in order to strengthen the side shield.

I think it helps reinforce the side shield, but it also makes the helmet heavier. In my experience, I prefer to use a side brace because it adds to the safety and feel of the helmet. If for any reason you put pressure on your helmet’s side shield, you are less likely to bend or break it if you do so.

Lens Size

The pancake helmet is commonly fitted with standard lenses as well as Miller fixed shade electronic lenses. If you see a helmet that comes with a proprietary lens, stay away from it and buy something else. It seems that this is a standard across all helmets. You want to have the ability to pick up replacement lenses quickly and not have to order a specific lens from a manufacturer. If you are not careful, they can break very easily.


I would say that a lightweight, high quality, made in the United States helmet will cost around $120. Anything less than $120 and you will probably find yourself with a helmet that is subpar in many ways (weight, construction, etc). This is a worthwhile investment if you’re making a living with this thing, and you’ll really appreciate the increased quality and value for your money.

Made In The USA

The majority of guys who run welding rigs want their equipment to be made in the States as the quality of the equipment is often much better than the equipment made in other countries. There are a wide variety of great brands that are made in the States, and all of the helmets on our top five list are made right here in the States.

Carbon Fiber

Some carbon fiber helmets are as light as 10 ounces in weight, but it is not for the faint-hearted. They can be very durable and lightweight, but they are going to cost you a pretty penny.

How Are Pancake Welding Helmets Different From Regular Helmets?

Fully Enclosed Eye Enclosure

In addition to being light weight, these helmets have a wooden enclosure that can be molded around your eyes so that you can see clearly. The wood enclosure keeps unwanted sunlight from shining into the back of your lens. If that occurs on a normal welding helmet, the sun will shine into the lens and you won’t be able to see anything, much less weld.

Light Weight Design

In addition, pancake helmets also have the benefit of being light in weight and reducing fatigue during long hours of use. The majority of people who use pancake helmets are welding 8 to 10 hours a day. Therefore, they really can feel every ounce of weight at the end of the day.

Extra Protection When Welding Over Your Head

You can use a pancake helmet as an extra layer of protection. This is in the event you find yourself welding under a pipe or working over your head for a longer period of time. The pancake helmet is designed with a shield on the side that prevents sparks from flying during welding.

The way the helmet sits on your head makes it much easier for you to wear a welding cap as well as the welding helmet.

Traditional welding helmets that are adjustable with plastic straps often do not fit well when wearing a welding cap. Pancake helmets have an elastic band that easily contours to your head, even when you wear a hat.

What Exactly Are Pancake Hoods?

pancake hoods

Pancakes hoods can also be referred to as masks or helmets. They are designed to shield a welding eye from the sparks generated by the welding equipment.

Additionally, they protect your eyes from intense (and nearly eye-shattering) UV rays produced by the welding equipment operating.

The pancake welding hoods are rounded to cover and shield the entire surface. It’s flat and just the right amount of thickness to help reduce the weight. You don’t want a material that’s too heavy and burdening you.

While welding, you’ll need to bend. If the top part is heavy, it could hinder you and cause back pain, particularly if you have to work for lengthy durations.

The pancake’s Hood has the shield. The position of the shield depends on whether you’re left-handed, or right-handed. It will protect the sides of your face, but allows you to move your hands easily.

 It’s the pancake hood’s most important safety feature since it shields the face from damaging sparks and heat, and provides an excellent level of safety.

The Different Models

Be aware that there are left and right-hand versions of these pancake hoods . Ensure you get the model that best suits your requirements. Welders who are left-handed who is stuck with a right-hand pancake model of hood will have difficulty viewing his or her work.

In addition, they don’t have the correct protection since the cover not in the right place. Always make sure to invest your money into the best tool set and don’t cut corners on safety equipment.

In addition to providing protection in addition to providing protection, these pancake hoods have been described as being among the most effective and efficient security equipment available for welding jobs that take place in the outdoors or on the outside.

A lot of satisfied customers of these hoods for pancakes claim that the balsa box that is included with the equipment has been credited with putting this equipment above other welding equipment for protection on the market today.

What is a Balsa Box?

What is a Balsa Box?

It is crucial to know that the majority of pancake hoods are hand-made. In a world where everything is manufactured using machines, they are uncommon and distinctive, but these pancake hoods remain meticulously created by hand.

  • The main reason is to ensure that those who own the hoods for pancakes can modify the balsa box.
  • The reason for customizing is to make sure that the balsa container can be made to fit and conform to the contours of a welding face.
  • The balsa box, as its name suggests is a tiny box that serves as a vital element of pancake hoods. The box, which is unassuming, surrounds the eyes and is the grip for the lenses that protect them.
  • The balsa container is something like glasses for eyes. It is constructed of wood since it isn’t an efficient heater’s conductor.

The wood’s surface that is touching the face can be easily sanded in order to create a smooth surface when it touches the delicate facial skin.

This technique of sanding also allows that the timber to be moulded to perfectly fit your face.

A perfect fit removes the pressure points that could cause injury to your face, and ensures that the balsa container is sealed to ensure that harmful radiations and sparks from welding can be prevented from entering regardless of the angle.

What is the Role of a Balsa Box?

The primary function that the box serves is supporting the lens that is found inside the hood of a pancake. Its purpose is to shield the eyes of the user from damage caused by exposure to the intense light.

Keep in mind that people only have one vision, and when one disappears, it will be devastating and difficult to get back.

The balsa container can offer stability and consistency in the contact between your lens and eyes. With the balsa container, the contact is stable and secure which means it won’t shift during the whole welding process.

This ensures that the body components inside the box are protected from damage.

Remember that the balsa box has to be made precisely and with the proportions of the welder with in-mind, to make sure that it will fit precisely.

A proper fit ensures that harmful rays will not be absorbed by the pancake hood. A well-sealed balsa box provides welders the chance to shield himself from any light source that could hinder him from working effectively.

It also reduces reflections within the hood. This means that you as the user will be able to shield yourself from harmful glares emanating from the arc, or from the bright sun.

The Benefit Of A Balsa Box For Outdoor Welding

Welding hoods for pancakes is an essential device for welding outdoors. When you use it, you don’t have to be worried about the light of the sun getting into the hood of your welding.

  • The balsa hood is extremely well-liked by pipeline type welding machines that are always under the sun.
  • Working under natural light or bright lights in the indoor is a risk as the bright light can reflect off the reverse of the filter lens.
  •  This can block your vision and disrupt your work if you’re wearing the standard welding helmet.
  • The last thing that anyone wants when working is dealing issues with visibility, particularly when the work is delicate and requires a high level of precision.

When you have a balsa box flash of light entering the hood become a non-problem, and working with a nearby welder can be accomplished effortlessly since this handy device prevents their sparks from escaping also.

You might even observe that the interior of the balsa container is typically painted black.

The reason behind this is dark black captures light so doesn’t reflect it as strongly.

While working, reducing the glare is the main objective, as is safeguarding the eyes of individuals involved in the work.

What are Pancake Hoods for Welding Made from?

Balsa boxes are built out of balsa wood, hence the name. Other parts of the box, as well as the hood that have to be more durable could be made of pine wood.

  • It is important to note that 95% of balsa used for commercial purposes comes from Ecuador.
  • It’s the ideal raw material to build a balsa box since it’s soft pliable and lightweight.
  • This means that the wood is easily shaped to get the perfect shape and won’t become too heavy to welders who are using it for long hours during an entire day.
  • The hoods for pancakes usually have an adjustable and wide band for the head that holds the balsa box in position.

The wide elastic band allows for a better distribution of the weight and makes them more comfortable.

The Security Issue

What are Pancake Hoods for Welding Made from?

Traditional welding hoods although they provide sufficient protection against welding splatters as well as ultraviolet light and heat are not without flaws. 

  • Welders often make the habit of wearing safety glasses underneath the traditional hood for additional protection against flying splatters or slag.
  • Pancake welding hoods can eliminate the requirement for safety glasses as the balsa box, when correctly installed, will provide a tight seal for the face of the welder. 
  • In addition, with a few modifications to the balsa box welding professionals are able to wear prescription glasses without a risk of a loss in protection or the comfort.

There have been a few questions regarding safety at work sites and the requirements for OSHA approval of the hoods for pancake welding. Certain pancake hoods are able to carry Z-871 ANSI approval. 

  • A quick search on the websites of the manufacturers shows that the majority of the major brands come with at least OSHA as well as ANSI approvals. 
  • The source is Original Pancake Brand Welding Hoods, LLC
  • Safety gear, such as welding hoods, can only be efficient if they’re installed and worn. 
  • A hood that is uncomfortable will likely to be put away or used only in the event of a need. 
  • Inability to use the appropriate safety equipment is particularly applicable to hobbyists and home welding. 
  • Professional welders are fully aware of the risks to their health when welding without safety equipment that is approved.

The most commonly reported kind of injury sustained while welding are burns. 

The burns can be caused by radiation burns resulting from the extreme temperatures and UV light produced by arc welding, contact burns that result from hot slag, or splatter and burns to the eyes that are caused due to the intensity of light as well as UV radiation. This kind of burn could cause permanent and irreparable vision loss to welders.

The leading reason welders are injured is the lack of appropriate safety equipment.

Materials and Weight

What are Pancake Hoods for Welding Made from?

It is difficult to carry weight when using traditional pipeliner welding hoods. Even the most modern materials, like fiberglass and plastic become heavy when designed to comply with OSHA or ANSI standards. Welders often have to change their equipment in order to reduce their weight.

  • The modifications usually require cutting the helmet’s perimeter to eliminate materials. 
  • However, taking material off the edges of the helmet reduces the amount of safety offered. 
  • A smaller wraparound of protection is a higher likelihood of splatter, slag or UV light getting into the area of the face.
  • Certain manufacturers are making additional efforts to make lighter the traditional pipeline’s helmet using lighter materials. 
  • Carbon fiber and aluminum are among the most recent products. 
  • But both are not without issues. Both materials, aluminum as well as carbon fiber, conduct electricity.
  • Certain types of welding require high currents and amps of electricity to create an arc to perform the welding process. 
  • When welding equipment, the risk of an electrical incident is there. 
  • Conductivity is an issue when the helmet you’re wearing is likely to become part of an electrical circuit.
  • The majority of pancake welding hoods eliminate the potential issues through the use of non-conductive materials in the structure of the hood. 

Additionally, the fact that the main contact point for your body’s face is a further benefit. 

The face box, constructed from balsa wood is less conductive than the majority of materials used in pipeliner helmets.

Interesting fact! For small welders which operate on 115 volts can generate up to 140 amps , and can join up to 1/8 inch thick steel. 

If you use 220-volt welders are expected to produce around 200 amps, and can welding up to 1/2” of steel.

Conductivity issues are more pronounced for home or hobby welders , who are typically worried about the expense on their equipment to protect themselves, but are not conscious of certain risks that come with welding.

It is not surprising that the number of injuries is higher from the hobby and home welding industry than in professional welding workshops on a per-cent basis.

The Glare Problem

One of the main reasons cited by professional welding professionals for having an hood for welding with pancakes is the problem of glare within the helmet, particularly while working outdoors. 

The style of pipeliner hoods permits sunlight to penetrate the inside of the hood, and create glare inside of the filter lens protecting it.

This glare is an safety concern and an issue of quality in the workplace. Glare may cause accidents because of an arousal of the welding equipment to a sudden , intense glare of sunlight. 

According to United States Department of Labor, Accidents and falls caused by this type of reaction are the main source of information. 

Quality of work could be affected in the same manner. Welders who are suddenly confronted with glares or glints within the helmet, may not be able to manage the equipment used to weld.

A sudden reaction glare flash could lead to poor welding, or badly placed welds that need to be ground out and re-done.

The elimination or reduction of glare is one reason this hood for welding pancakes has become so sought-after by welding professionals who work outdoors. 

The style of the hood that has the balsa wood frame that is fitted on the face shields the interior of the lens filter and blocks glare or sparkle.

Benefits of Using Custom Pancake welding Hoods

  • Hoods for welding pancakes is constructed with balsa wood which is one of the most lightweight types of wood on the market today.
  • When it comes to manual tasks like welding, the size of the product is crucial greatly since something that weighs more than a ton can be uncomfortable and cause back pain or neck discomfort.
  • This characteristic of balsa wood is one of the reasons pancake hoods are mostly used to conduct welding outside.
  • Apart from balsa wood pinewood is also employed because it’s a lighter material that is of excellent quality.
  • The use of pine or balsa wood creates the pancake helmet as well as the balsa container easily adaptable to fit the shape of your head.
  • It allows you to fit the face correctly and provide the proper eye protection to shield the eyes of the pipeline welding.

A proper fit will prevent any discomfort that might occur while welding.

When working with a welding device, it is carrying the weight of the equipment, dealing with the heat that is emitted from the sparks, and working in extreme outdoors conditions.

Additionally, having the best right pancake hood will mean one less issue to be concerned about. Welding can be a tough physical and manual job that can make the person feel tired.

The tools made available make the welding process more comfortable for the welder who has to spend long hours working under the scorching sun and even in uncomfortable postures based on the location they work on.

Pancake Welding Hoods – Frequently Asked Questions

custom pancake welding hoods

Why Are Pancake Welding Hoods Shaped Like That?

Pancake welding hoods are round in shape so they can cover and protect the entire face. Because they are flat, their thickness is just right to reduce weight. Protective coverings shouldn’t be too heavy or a burden. It is inevitable that you will bend while welding.

Why Do Pipeline Welders Wear Pancake Hoods?

Masks or helmets are also known as pancake hoods. Welders wear them to protect themselves from welding sparks. Additionally, they can shield your eyes from the bright (and almost blinding) UV rays emitted by welding machines. … On one side of the pancake hood, the shield is placed.

Are pancake hoods OSHA approved?

The faceplate is formed from phenolic under pressure and the ear guard is folded. There are several styles available, all of which accept cheater lenses, have easy front or back loading with closures, and are available in black. Models that are ANSI-certified and OSHA-accepted are our most popular models.

Can You Wear A Respirator With A Pancake Hood?

A pancake hood blocks out all backlight, making it easier to weld outside. A respirator simply cannot be used with them because they are compact. Pipeliner hoods (sugar scoops) as well as a more normal welding hood should be able to fit most respirators.

Can You Wear A Pancake Hood With A Hard Hat?

Hard hat hoods and DH pipelines are incompatible. Look at the pancake wing of a pipeliner if you’re wearing a hardhat and turn your head to the side.

How Do You Sand Down A Pancake Hood?

Whenever you are sanding the very first hood that you touch, it’s a good idea to do it right the first time. Do that more often until you have sanded a couple of welding hoods and then you will do a little more sanding

What’s What Is The Distinction Between Piper And A Pancake Hood?

Many welders use pipeliners inside and pancake hoods outside. Pipeliners tend to weigh more but provide more coverage. Pancake hoods are less bulky and help reduce the glare. All it boils down to your preference, though.

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