Pancake Welding Hood: The Complete Guide [2021]

Pancake welding hood might be an intriguing name to a lot of you, was for me at least. 

Hearing it for the first time, I went berserk like… What? Is my favorite breakfast a welding fad now?

Well, for pipe welders, pancake welding hoods were the saviors. 

In this post, we are going to see:

  • What pancake welding hood is?
  • Advantages of it.
  • Small buyers guide for those who loved it(aka me).
  • And my top 3 recommendations 
Pancake Welding Hood Front View
Pancake Welding Hood

What Exactly is Pancake Welding Hood?

Pancake Welding hoods are essentially a helmet or a mask used for welding. 

It protects the welders’ eyes and face from the welding arc and is equipped with a unique boxed shaped thing known as a balsa box which is made up of wood.

Balsa box’s main function is to hold the lens while providing maximum comfort to the welders.

As for the name, from the outside it looks like a pancake, round with the perfect thickness. Unlike some welding helmets which are bulky and cause problems with the extra added weight, pancake hoods are lighter and comfortable for long usage.

Hence, these are majorly used by pipe welders.

These pancake hoods come with a shield, The shield acts as an added protective layer against the harms of the welding arc and other emitted radiation and thus is very important.

However, The shield location is based on whether you are right-handed or left-handed. 

A word of caution, always check whether you are buying the right pancake hood for you.

Since there are two types i.e right-handed and left-handed pancake hoods, buying a left-handed hood for a right-handed person will be troublesome and cause much nuisance at work.

Moreover, there’s a huge risk of safety involved as well.

Custom Pancake Welding Hoods
Custom Pancake Welding Hoods – Source

Balsa Box

While every other item in this modern era is made via automation, pancake welding hoods still stick to the old ways i.e they are handmade.

This exact thing makes them unique. By going this route, they are designed in such a way that the balsa box is customizable for every welder according to his needs.

Balsa box as already mentioned is a small box made of up wood to hold the lens. It is made sure that the box is clean and free of sharp edges which might hurt or cause irritation.

Being handmade, the balsa box is further given such a shape that fits perfectly for the welder, and also protects him from the dangers of the arc.

The balsa box of the pancake welding hoods makes sure that all the light coming inside that might get reflected off the lens is sealed out. 

The lens is fitted perfectly inside the balsa box, giving a perfect solution of headgear for the welders, especially welders who are working outside.

Working outside particularly in the field of welding without welding tents, or welding umbrellas can be annoying. 

With the sun just behind you, interfering with your projects, it will be really difficult to get a clean looking weld. For this same reason, pancake welding hoods are used by pipe welders as a replacement of the regular welding helmets which does not provide this function.

Also, they are most of the time tinted black from the inside, since black absorbs most of the light rays that land on it, thus providing maximum comfort for the welder by minimizing glare.

Advantages Of Pancake Welding Hoods

Being the best hoods undoubtedly for outdoor welding, there are many advantages to it.

Being in the pipeliners welders union myself and working for a long out in the open, it is really difficult to work without this nifty gadget.

Apart from that, these hoods are made up of wood which gives the welder the utmost ease to weld freely, which is not at all possible with those giant-sized regular welding helmets.

Additionally, if you are working indoors with lightings which are causing an issue, these helmets can come in handy and can be great alternatives for you.

Being made of the balsa tree, which is very light and soft, these are very lightweight. The other parts of the box which requires a strong layer are made up of pinewood. 

Keeping the softness, the welders do not feel congested, and being lightly weighted does not exhaust the welder who might be wearing and working with this the entire day.

To sum up the advantages of a pancake welding hood, they are:

  • Lightweight
  • Extra Protection
  • Comfortable
  • Anti-Glare Lens or Glare Minimization
Pipe Welder using Pancake Welding Hoods
Pipe Welder using Pancake Welding Hood

Pancake Welding Hood: A Buying Guide

Some of you might be interested in getting a pancake welding hood for your journey on welding adventures, and the only thing holding you back is how to choose the perfect one for you?

I decided to write this small buying guide and list the top picks for those of you in dilemma. The following are some must have features and guidelines to follow onto getting your first pancake hood.


As already discussed, pancake welding hoods come in two different models:

  1. Left Handed
  2. Right Handed

This is the most important aspect that you must look out for before buying a pancake hood for yourself.

Since the protection provided by the pancake hood depends upon the model you choose and any mistake in this will cost you much more than you expect at the same time being lethal.


A good solution for loose helmets is adjustable straps. Make sure that the hoods that you have your eye on have those, which helps you tremendously with the various positions you might work in.

Also, if you have a unique head shape like mine this will be a real life-saver for you.


This feature essentially gives the welder the ability to look at the weld or surroundings without taking off the helmet. 

The balsa box coming with the eyepiece can be flipped at any given moment. Along with the eyepiece, there is a face and side shield as well

While being a very important feature for me at least, some welders might disagree with me. Hence it is optional and the opinion on this will differ from welder to welder.

OSHO Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some guidelines for welding headgear and you must make sure that you are getting the pancake hood from a reputable source or brand which strictly follows those guidelines.

That wraps up the buying guide which included must-have features in a pancake welding hood. 


Here are my top 3 recommendations for the best pancake welding hood.

Sarges Pancake Welding Hood

The top on my list is the pancake hood coming from the well reputable brand Sarges. They have all the must-have features except the flip-up style which makes them perfect for indoor as well as outdoor welding.

Instead of the usual whole body of balsa wood, these hoods are made up of 50% Formica(Heat-resistant plastic sheets) which makes them even lighter and makes their total weight a mere 1.65 pounds. The hood comes bundled with sandpaper by which you can smoother the sections from the inside to fit the best for you.

I have used it a lot, and I know these are well worth it. The only downside I can think of is the straps. They are not of the highest quality yet are workable and are long-lasting.

Wendy Pancake Welding Hood

The second on my list is the pancake hood from wendy’s which sports a flip-up style. Additionally, it comes with adjustable straps made up of elastic materials enabling you to have a great experience while using it.

An exceptional choice for those who are into outdoor welding, however, there are some parts made up of plastic. Further, for the miller fans out there, they can easily accommodate a miller fixed shade electronic lens.

PS: Miller topped my list of best welding brands.

Original Pancake Welding Hood 

Besides the name, these pancake hoods are the real deal if you are looking to get one in funky colors. Sporting a bright yellow outside, these are exceptionally well looking and worth it for all. 

If you are a hobby welder who works in his garage or backyard on his DIY projects, this is the right option you are looking for. However, it is slightly on the expensive side compared to the regular welding helmets.

The only con that I have come across with these pancake hoods is difficulty with changing the eye box. For newbies, this might be very difficult and hence it is advised to send them back to the manufactures and get it fixed.


Being a pipe welder myself, these hoods are very close to my heart and I did try my best to relay all the information regarding it.

Again these are some of the lightest hoods ever made, and if you are looking for lightweight long-lasting welding hoods, you should definitely give them a try.

Happy Welding!