If you work in the welding sector or planning to get in, you probably heard about pancake hoods. As a newcomer, you might be wondering what type of hood is this. So, a pancake hood is a safety gear that mostly pipeliners use instead of a helmet to protect their face.

Moreover, there are other benefits too. Keep reading to know why pipeliners wear pancake hoods.

What Exactly Are Pancake Hoods?

The pancake hood was invented by George Gilchrist of Gillette, Wyoming, US. When there was a short supply of standard welding hoods, George Gilchrist came up with this innovative yet simple idea of pancake hoods to meet the demand. Now, pancake hoods are essential in pipeline welding.

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Pancake hoods, or you can also say masks or helmets, is a safety gear for the head of the welder against the spark from the welding. Also, the helmet has a lens at the front to safeguard the welder’s eyes from harmful UV rays.

One side of the hood has a shield, which is mostly an extended and bent part of the shield, providing the necessary protection. This hood is mostly flat and has a round shape, thus the name pancake hood.

Different Models Of Pancake Hoods

As I mentioned above, a pancake hood is a very simple piece of safety gear that provides unprecedented protection. So, as a simple too, there is not much variety available either. Typically, these pancake hoods are categorized into two models.

1. Right Hand Model

Though the name says right-hand model, it has nothing to do with holding the hood with your right hand. Right hand pancake hoods just have the shield on the left side of the hood, protecting the left ear and the whole left profile.

Left Hand Model

The left model is the exact opposite of the right hand model. Left hand pancake hood has a shield on the right side of the hood. If you are a left-handed guy, you’ll need the shield on the opposite side, on the right.

Why Do Pipeliners Need A Pancake Hood For Welding

There are many obvious reasons why pipeliners need a pancake hood for welding. I am not saying regular welding helmets are not cut out for the job. But pancake hoods provide overall better ease of use, affordability, and protection. They are super light weight. pipeliners can carry them without too much effort.

For these reasons, pipeliners mostly prefer to work with pancake hoods in their line of work.

How Pancake Hoods Help Pipeliners In Welding

Of course, the pancake hood helps pipeliners by providing better vision, comfortability, and ease of use. But some added features help too. For starters, the pancake hood is a lightweight single-piece head gear, so it doesn’t feel like a burden on top of an already heavy welding instrument box. In short, the pancake hood is super portable.

Next, you have the option to customize the fit just as you like. The balsa box usually decides the fit around your face. You can easily customize that fit by sanding the balsa box. 

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Wearing A Pancake Hood

Pancake hoods are so popular in pipeline welding, and there are several reasons why it’s so popular. Here are some of the benefits of pancake hoods.


  • The first benefit of a pancake hood is that it’s simple to work with. Whenever you want, you can just lift the hood quickly and then get back to welding again by putting it down.
  • Pancake hoods are cheaper than regular welding helmets with fancy features. You can even make one for yourself if you want at home.
  • Pancake hoods are super lightweight too. So, when you are working on day-long pipeline welding projects, the pancake hood won’t feel like a burden on your head.
  • When you are welding indoors, the lighting around you can be a problem for clear vision. The balsa box of the pancake hood prevents that from getting in.
  • Pancake hoods don’t surround your head completely, so the ventilation is fantastic. On a scorching summer day, you don’t have to feel exhausted anymore

Alongside the benefits of pancake hoods, there are some disadvantages too. Though those disadvantages aren’t anything major, you should look out for those.


  • So, the first disadvantage of the pancake hood is that it lacks different high-end features that conventional or battery-powered welding helmets provide.
  • Though your neck isn’t the most vulnerable part in welding, it’s good to have protection in that area. Unfortunately, pancake hoods don’t provide that.

Last Words

Now that you know the purpose of pancake hoods, I hope you have understood its significant role in pipeline welding in terms of safety and a better vision.

Additionally, if you are planning to get a pancake hood in the future, this knowledge will help you get the best pancake welding hood for your upcoming pipeline welding projects.

Maidul Islam

I am Maidul Shakil and am a welder for more that 6 years. Welding metals and joining them is my hobby and passion. I have learnt all welding techniques, safety issues, fabrication process and rigging from SUNY Westchester Community College . I am now trying to teach beginners about welding to encourage them to come to the field.

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