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The REAL Northen Tool ADF705S Helmet Review

Uncle Ed
12-13-2009, 10:28 PM
All Hail Eric!

In >>> stereo <<< where available.

When Longevity told me they had no 'large view' helmets I had to seek elsewhere. I ordered one from Harbor Freight but it's on back order so I went to Northern Tool so see what they had.

I settled on the ADF705S (Item# 164490). It's a typical solar w/battery unit that, I assume, charges the battery off all those cosmic rays that are emitted while arcing, tigging, and plasma cutting. It comes with an extra outer protection lens.

This helmet is replacing my Speedway as my primary helmet due to the increased viewing area and reliability. I had trouble with older solar helmets, which is why I bought the Speedway some time ago. It's powered by 4 AAA batteries and it's easier to replace them than wait a few hours while a solar unit (of the time) recharged in the sun. For some reason, most of my welding is done indoors or during overcast days. The new helmet, however, worked great out of the box. Bender ("Bite my shiny metal...") meet your replacement!

Here's a look at the cartridge - the lens protection film is still in place. It has nice versatility in the adjustments offered and a sensor in each corner. I have tested each sensor and they all function (no dummy sensors).

The helmet has an adjustable pivot stop. If you have a big schnozz, the helmet can stop short of swinging down onto it and getting nose prints on the lens.


Uncle Ed
12-13-2009, 10:58 PM
The headgear is okay, for plastic, with two big friction knobs on the sides. The adjustment knob is smooth with a positive lock. Push in the knob, twist to where you want it, then release. No clickies to wear out. The helmet does not have pivot locks. It's held up by the friction knobs only. :(

With all that said, if you are on the fence deciding whether a 'large view' lens is worth the extra $$ for a measly 1 inch more, consider this scientific example...

Your face is pressed up to the lens. A small size difference next to your eyes means a big difference a foot away. It's the difference between peeking at the nudist colony through a peep hole in the fence and having a picture window installed.

All in all, I am very pleased with this helmet. I have used it with all arc modes I have to play with (arc, mig, tig, and plasma.) both high and low current and it performed well.


Large viewing area
All the lens adjustments


Stoopid flames all over it like a bad omen
No pivot detents
No shade adjustment knob on the outside (this could be a pro or con depending on your use)
I had to remove the lenses to get all the protective film off
The lens is still a bit close to my nose (I would like to see an adjustment on the front of the headband in ALL helmets to allow positioning the head further back or forward within the helmet.)

Granted, it's not a Miller, Speedglass, or a Jackson. I have never used one and I'm not gonna compare a $300+ helmet to my old sub $100. I am reviewing a helmet for folks on a budget that are hoping to get a good bang for their buck.

For me it's a big upgrade and I am quite happy with it.


12-13-2009, 11:37 PM
Ed, thanks for sharing! Good write up.

12-14-2009, 12:16 AM
Good to know,I am in the market for a new helmet.This just might be the one for me !

12-14-2009, 04:00 AM

Stoopid flames all over it like a bad omen

LOL! :lol:

I have the Harbor Freight helmet that comes with the blue flame stickers. Like someone else that posted here, I pulled them off first as soon as I got home.

The large-view looks really good.

12-14-2009, 06:00 PM
How can we see the difference in the viewing area if the tape measure is different distances away from the lens. Of course you are going to see more if you hold the tape further away.

12-14-2009, 06:11 PM
Man, how do you guys not like the flames?? I think they look good!

12-14-2009, 07:49 PM
It's cause they just look cheesy

12-16-2009, 04:11 PM
The flames make it look like you are welding faster than you really are.

12-16-2009, 04:26 PM
What you really need is a Clay Smith Cams Woodpecker on the helmet. It improves the welds tremendously.

Art R.

12-16-2009, 04:40 PM
Why worry, you can't see them from inside the helmet anyway. ;-)

12-16-2009, 05:36 PM
I purchased the same helmet almost a year ago and I did not dig the flames either. But after a while they grow on you. My old helmet was a cheap and trashed when it was replaced. Maybe going from a dull black to shiny red was the reason.

Got to say I have grown to love the new helmet. For the price I would't even consider any thing but the wide lens, but then again the old one was also. Takes a while to get used to an auto darken hood after you get used to lifting one up to see your whole life.

12-16-2009, 09:23 PM
I like the big lense. I also like the controls on the inside. The price is good too. I would not be waring it with a TUX or looking in the mirror, so the flames do not bother me either way.

12-20-2009, 07:20 PM
I have been looking for a good helmet. Right now im just using my 20$ cheapo fixed helmet. Works fine for what i do.

12-21-2009, 04:40 AM
I think you would be happy with this one especially going from a $20 special. I have read other positive reviews on this helmet. HF also sells one that has had good reviews, probably the same thing. The small lense model of this helmet is even cheaper.

02-16-2010, 02:06 AM
Man, how do you guys not like the flames?? I think they look good!

The best thing about them is that if your welder is underpowered, you can just move your helmet closer and the heat from the flames will improve your weld. :-P

02-16-2010, 06:47 AM
I have a HF helmet with auto darkening; but never use it anymore since I got one of the Longevity helmets. Real reason is the HF helmet had batteries which would go just when you didn't want them to, the Longevity has the solar cell which keeps it charged. Also the Longevity drops down to a shade 6 I think which is great for plasma cutting, the HF won't go that low and is hard to use with the plasma. So I keep the HF one for the "watchers" that want to see what's happening...too bad I can't it to fit the dog though....

Uncle Ed
02-16-2010, 05:31 PM
After 3 months, the back-ordered HF helmet arrived.

Now I have a 'watcher' helmet, also.

03-16-2010, 10:57 PM
Like inot I got the HF welding helmet and got rid of the flames once out the box, but i might invest in the in the Northern tool helmet thanks for the review and bringing this to my attention Im always in for saving dough. LOVE THE LARGE VIEW!!

03-18-2010, 10:06 PM
stoped into HF today to pick-up 1/4 in. die grinder &ended up getting blue flame helmet they have in-store coupon that takes price from 69.99 down to 39.99 also got 20% off die grinder & free Led mini flashlightCoolMan

03-19-2010, 02:22 PM
I've had three HF helmets and they all left me seeing spots. anyone that knows me knows I love Harbor Freight but I am not going to buy another helmet from them again. I even made a youtube saying how great the helmets were and then it started blinding me so I took it down. I have a miller helmet but the batteries and replacement lenses are expensive. I just got a longevity helmet so lets see how this one works out.

03-19-2010, 07:03 PM
so far the HF helmet has been pretty good to me but i plan on getting a Longevity Helmet in the future.

03-19-2010, 09:16 PM
I can't vouch for the longevity helmet yet. Ask me in year and ill tell you how it worked out. I have a miller big window elite that lasted for over 4 years and counting. I never understood why a big window is important anyway. I mean we are really only looking at a tiny little hot spot and the rest of the window is black anyway.

03-19-2010, 10:29 PM
HHMMMMMMMMM.......................Good point Freddy! thumbsup

03-20-2010, 06:39 AM
I never understood why a big window is important anyway. I mean we are really only looking at a tiny little hot spot and the rest of the window is black anyway.

I agree, I have both and the regular window Longevity unit is my favorite.