Chris is a teacher of Literature at a school in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He is also our favorite irreplaceable freelance writer who can turn such a boring topic into something that people read with interest and pleasure.
Thomas is a professional welder who gained his certification several decades ago and learned all the nuances of this job since then. When not at work, Thomas loves fishing in a lake near his summer house.
Last updated: July 03, 2022
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Welding isn’t a job to be taken lightly. There are a whole host of safety regulations that should be considered. While some welders prefer using traditional welding helmets, it’s worth noting that these models can’t keep you safe from inhaling dangerous fumes created by welding materials. It might be time to switch to one of the best welding helmets with respirator options currently on the market.
If you’re considering upgrading your old, conventional welding helmet to a more modern model, this article is for you! We’ve compiled a detailed guide featuring a few of the top welding helmets that should make it to your shortlist. Additionally, we’re also including a nifty buyer’s guide to identifying the necessary features to consider when looking for the perfect welding helmet with the respirator. Some notable features to consider include filter and field of view. Both of these features will make finding the right welding helmet so much easier!
More features: adjustable headgear, HEPA filter, integrated clear grind shield, assigned protection factor (APF) of 25
The Viking 3250D FGS PAPR with Standard Battery is one of the more popular welding helmet options. And it’s easy to see why! One of the top features is the premium optics that boast 4C® Lens Technology. A much larger widescreen provides a viewing area of 12.5 sq. inches.
Additionally, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers a minimum of 9 hours of battery life before needing a recharge, providing enough power for a day’s work! Another prominent feature is the HEPA filter that’s inside the respirator! HEPA filters can easily filter about 99.97% of particulates, greatly reducing the risk of respiratory issues contracted from extensive welding. It’s very easy to see why this model is regarded as the best-rated air-purifying respirator with a welding helmet!
This model is ideal for professional welders that prefer a larger and wider viewing area. The 12.5” range will be a plus for any welder serious about the project they’re working on! The side windows even out neck strain because it isn’t necessary to continuously move your head.
What makes it stand out?
One of the features we liked the most about the Viking 3250D FGS PAPR is that this unit maintains a positive air pressure at two speeds of 180 and 210 liters per minute. These pressure settings can be automatically increased or decreased. Breathing is effortless, with clean air being sent through to your nose and mouth!
Another feature we like is the audible and vibrating alarms that notify the operator to change the battery or filter. This takes the guesswork out of knowing how long you have to complete a project before your battery runs out.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
While we know that helmets with wider viewing areas are generally heavy, this model is bulkier and heavier than most of its counterparts. This might be attributed to the integrated grind shield. Despite the weight, though, the helmet isn't uncomfortable.
More features: natural color technology, additional accessories available
If you want a welding helmet that offers you modern functionality as well as a futuristic appearance, then the 3M Speedglas Heavy-Duty Welding Helmet 46-1101-30iVC should be on your shortlist!
Aside from a sleeker design, this helmet also offers the 3M Speedglas called “TrueView,” which allows more colors through the lens. Better coloring through the lens means you have better control over your weld pool, and you can see your welds so much better!
This unit is ideal for professional welders, fabricators, or boilermakers. With the narrower viewing area, it’s ideal for welders who prefer a more focused view in confined spaces. While this model is an upgrade to the previous version, the essential difference is the narrower shape of the helmet in general. Again, this is ideal for work that needs to be done in smaller, narrower spaces.
What do we love it for?
For expert welders or boilermakers, this option is a firm favorite for several reasons. One of our top likes on this unit is the adjustable flow of air which is great for welders who suffer from dry eyes when using these types of units. We also really like the removable flip-up attachment, which makes the helmet lighter when you need to switch to grinding.
What were we disappointed with?
Unlike some other models in this general category, this unit doesn’t come with a standard battery. While the addition of a heavy-duty battery means longer battery life, the extra weight of a heavy-duty battery adds extra weight to the belt. If you don’t mind the weight in exchange for extra battery life, you might not consider this too much of a problem!
More features: highest safety class, Swiss made, TH3 filter
If you need a smaller, narrower option for welding or for work to be done in tight spaces, the Optrel Clear High Efficiency Powered Air Purifying Respirator is a firm favorite to consider.
For starters, the respirator has a TH3 filter making it incredibly safe from any harmful fumes you’re exposed to. If you need to weld for extended periods, the 2 lithium-ion batteries that are included will easily provide you with an amazing 18-hours of uninterrupted work. An advantage is that it comes with solar cells that provide an additional power source.
This slimmer, sleeker welding helmet is ideal for welders who often work in smaller, narrower spaces. Welders and boilermakers in industries such as the aircraft industry benefit from its narrow design. Narrower types of helmets make it easier for users to work and move around in smaller spaces.
What makes it special?
A feature that we enjoy is the Clearmaxx with New E3000X respiratory protection. The TH3 filter allows users to breathe clean, fresh air despite working with harsh fumes such as smoke, dust, and harmful gasses. Additionally, a rotary switch can feed about 20% of the air toward cooling the forehead area. This makes for comfortable working and not feeling excessively hot!
What cons did we find?
Some users have found the mask slightly heavier than a few other types. In addition to this, there have also been claims of skin irritation caused by the elastic that goes around your face. It might be worth looking into, as wearing the helmet and mask for an 8 – 12-hour shift can leave a welder feeling incredibly uncomfortable!
More features: high-efficiency system, lithium-ion battery, side windows, auto-darkening filter
If you need a welding helmet that can easily be worn for long hours and still feel comfortable, then the Adflo 3M 35-1101-20SW Powered Air Purifying Respirator is well worth looking into!
The most prominent feature of this model is its ergonomic design that allows the helmet to be comfortable and compact when worn for extended periods. The head suspension can easily be adjusted to your required comfort level.
With its widened view and double hood, it’s an ideal option for welders or boilermakers who weld for considerable hours at once. The double hood’s safety feature is a great function for hazardous conditions. Simultaneously, the built-in respirator with extra HEPA filters is the best way to keep toxic fumes out.
Why are we impressed?
A feature that stands out for us is the flip-up visor and ABS blower. Although the helmet seems a bit bulky, it’s important to note that this is because it comes with a double hood, which makes it all the safer. The visor also features a flip-up function which makes it easier to switch between welding, edging, or even grinding. Fortunately, the ABS technology means the blower is lighter but provides enough airflow to keep the inside of the helmet cool and super comfortable.
What negatives must you be aware of?
Although many users have indicated the weight of this helmet is a bit concerning, it’s important to remember it comes with a double hood as an added safety feature. We don’t really know if there’s a way to make this helmet lighter without compromising this much-appreciated safety feature!
More features: made in the USA, eye protection, easy to use, multi-adjustment head suspension system, dual air distribution
Many professional welders and boilermakers find this welding helmet quite impressive. The RPB safety-15-018-11FRZ4 Welding Respirator with PAPR has a few features that make it a firm favorite. As a USA product, this model is made entirely from domestically sourced componentry. This makes replacing components so much easier and quicker.
Additionally, the package includes a complete kit which includes a head harness, welding/grinding helmet, respirator with HEPA filters, battery charger with high-capacity batteries, flow meter, belt, and quick release belt support, as well as a quick connect breathing tube.
This model is ideally suited for work in foundries with harsh temperatures or even hazardous medical or chemical environments. Its lightweight and compact design serve to maximize user comfort. Since the unit is vertically mounted, it easily contours to the welder’s back with the additional support of a flexi belt system.
What makes it stand out?
One of the features we enjoy about this model is the patent-pending dual air distribution system that delivers 75% of fresh air to your breath zone. This happens via a multi-directional outlet. The other 25% of air is directed across the grinding visor that prevents fogging. This means the welder has a clear view at all times. No matter how hot the work is!
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
While there isn’t much to complain about with this welding helmet, it’s worth mentioning that this model might not be suited for every type of environment. Some welders might feel it’s a bit excessive for some industries. But as we mentioned, it’s better suited for work in extreme conditions such as work in foundries.
More features: variable black shades, clear protective visor, 6.7 inches thick
This helmet comes with many advantages. It has a G5-01 filter with 3M natural color technology, which makes the filter view lighter, more colorful, and more detailed. The G5-01 welding filter comes with dark shades 5, 8-13 and tack welding comfort mode. It can be used for arc welding.
Its protective visor is curved, with clear peripheral views, and it’s quite large at 104 x 170mm. Its airflow system also allows you to direct air wherever you like. This product was designed for welders working at high amperages who need to grind frequently.
What are its best features?
One of the best features of this helmet is that the airflow really keeps you cool. It is easy to wear all day long. Additionally, the colors in the auto-darkening filter are very functional. You can change the color temperature. And you don’t smell any noxious fumes from your work. The balance of the hood makes it very comfortable, and it doesn’t fall down when you tilt it up. The ADF doesn’t trigger. You can also control all the features from an app. Furthermore, there is the option of mounting a task light to the helmet. All in all, really practical.
What could be improved?
The weight of the hood was slightly concerned for some wearers. The belt is also a little tricky to set up. What's more, the orange color of the 3M doesn't really help you out – the whole of the weld pool looks the same color. Overall, there are a few cons to this product. Most are due to personal preference, but the one criticism is that the G5-01 still attracts dust on the inside of the filter lens and the scratch lens. This could be improved in future models.
Any experienced welder will tell you that not all welding helmets are the same. They may look similar and have the same fundamental purpose, but an array of features and functions set them apart.
With the many options available on the market, it might be a little challenging to find the best welding helmet with respiratory function. Some welding helmets are better suited to professional, heavy-duty, everyday work, while others might be better suited for home, DIY use.
To help you know which one you need, we’ve compiled a comprehensive buyer’s guide that highlights the top features to consider. Keep reading for an idea of why functions such as battery and protection factors are important!
Why Do You Need a Welding Helmet with Respirator?
There’s no denying that welding is a dangerous job. During welding, welders experience a wide variety of potential health-threatening hazards. Aside from extensive eye protection, it’s important to consider the other hazards.
Many welding materials used can be dangerous to the respiratory system. Some of these materials include base metals, coatings, and shielding gases that emit harmful gasses during the welding process.
Some of the benefits of using a welding helmet with a respirator include the following:
Provide clean air: Filtration systems in the welding helmet purify and provide clean air to the welder.
Protects the welder from dangerous fumes: Some materials only become toxic when they’re heated and subsequently release toxic fumes. A respirator will filter the air and prevent inhalation of toxic fumes.
With this in mind, it’s a clever idea to invest in a welding helmet with an attached respirator. Many welders prefer to use these types of helmets, irrespective of what material they’re welding with.
Depending on what your plans are for your welding helmet, some features are more important to consider than others. Once you’ve identified what materials you’ll be welding, it makes it easier to consider the importance of distinctive features. We’ve listed a few of the more common functions & features to consider!
The purpose of a welding helmet with a respirator is to prevent
Trusted SourceWelding Safety Tips and Guidelines for 2020When it comes to welding, personal safety is not a choice. As a welder, every decision you make should be guided by safety standards set in place by organizations like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
inhalation of toxic or harmful gasses. The component responsible for this is the filter inside the respirator.
A clever approach is to look for filters that contain a layer of charcoal that absorb all types of gasses and vapors. It’s important to choose a welding helmet with a respirator that features a quality filtration system.
One such example from our review list is the VIKING 3250D FGS PAPR with Standard Battery that features a HEPA filter system that purifies 99.97% of fumes, toxins, and particles in the air.
Depending on what you’re going to be welding and the environment in which you’re going to be working, you might benefit from a bigger field of view. A bigger viewing area will provide better visibility to the welding area.
A smaller, narrower field of view, on the other hand, provides a more focused view. It’s important to note that helmets with larger viewing areas tend to be heavier. An option to consider if you prefer a larger viewing area is the VIKING 3250D FGS PAPR with Standard Battery with a 12.5” viewing area.
Alternatively, the 3M 35-1101-20SW Powered Air Purifying Respirator features side windows allowing you to work without having to constantly keep turning your head to get a view of your work. This simple feature makes work easier and goes a long way toward preventing neck pain!
A quality welding helmet protects
Trusted SourceWelding safety | ISHNWelding emits ultraviolet light, so every welder and helper should wear suitable helmets, goggles, or cutting glasses. Lenses are filtered and the amount of the filter is numbered — welders helper’s glasses might be a 2.0, brazing goggles might be a 3.0 or 4.0, and the filter for an arc welding helmet might be a 14.
your eyes and facial skin from severe sparks as well as vision-damaging infrared or ultraviolet rays emitted by the welding arc.
Always consider the amount of protection the size, shape, and features of the helmet provide. It’s important to opt for a helmet that has great protection features as opposed to one that simply looks great. One such option to consider is the 3M 35-1101-20SW Powered Air Purifying Respirator that features a double hood adding to its safety feature.
Bear in mind, though, welding helmets that feature double hoods or grind visors are usually heavier and bulkier.
Whether you’re an at-home hobby welder or a hard-core professional who welds long hours every day, a feature you should always consider is the auto-darkening function. The more modern, advanced helmets with an auto-darkening function allow the helmet to automatically change between welding and non-welding. Not only do auto-darkening helmets allow you to see clearly in the down position, fast-changing LCD technology quickly gets the helmet ready for the next weld.
Many welders prefer the benefits of an auto-darkening helmet. Most auto-darkening welding helmets need batteries to work. For the most part, auto-darkening helmet batteries have a lifespan of about seven years before needing to be replaced. This, of course, depends on the amount of work you need to do. Just remember they will need to be recharged at regular intervals, so plan for this in your work schedule.
Ensuring your batteries are fully charged will prevent you from having to quit work halfway through your job.
If you’re opting for an auto-darkening helmet, be sure to check the battery details. To save yourself a lot of aggravation, ensure you know where to get replacement batteries. Some welding helmets have solar batteries, which makes charging so much easier if you’re working outside.
A welding helmet should always fit comfortably over a person’s neck and face. Opting for the right size helmet will ensure your neck and face aren’t exposed to sparks which can cause burns. If you’re going to be welding for extended periods, many expert welders suggest choosing a lighter helmet. While lighter helmets tend to be a bit more costly, they provide the necessary protection.
Fortunately, welding helmets with respirators are available in a variety of sizes ranging from small, medium, and large. This means you’ll easily be able to find a size that fits you comfortably.
When considering welding helmets with built-in respirators, it’s important to consider the comfort of both the helmet and the respirator. A helmet that’s too heavy or too big will become a safety risk.
Heavier welding helmets also increase fatigue and make use uncomfortable after only a few hours.
It’s important to remember that welding helmets aren’t universal, and you should fit them on before making your final purchase. If you’re not 100% sure of your exact size, you’ll have to go to a store to fit on one before opting for an online purchase.
Before making your final decision, always consider the warranty the manufacturer offers. In general, a superior quality welding helmet lasts around seven to ten years. The longevity of a welding helmet has to do with the lens, sensors, and batteries.
In some helmets, these components can be replaced, making it cheaper than having to buy a whole new helmet every few years. It’s also important to check the criteria associated with the warranty conditions.
Each specific model must be used strictly according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. While the general idea is the same, there might be model-specific instructions that you should comply with to ensure safety at all times.
Wherever possible, always opt for respirator systems that offer a HEPA filtration system. These systems remove about 97% of bacteria, pathogens, and toxic fumes from the air being inhaled. To know if your Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) filter is working properly, simply use the unit in your normal work environment. If at any time you taste or smell any unusual contaminant or irritant, it means the filter needs replacing.
Ensuring that you get maximum use out of your respirator, it’s important to keep it clean. Keeping it clean also prevents build-up from varied materials that could be harmful. Simply follow these effortless steps to keep your respirator clean:
Clean the respirator facepiece with the pre-packaged respirator cleaning wipe.
Alternatively, immerse the facepiece (minus the cartridge & filter) in a warm cleaning solution – Ensure water temperature is less than 120° F.
You can use a soft brush to scrub till clean. If needed, you can use a neutral cleaning detergent to help with cleaning. Never use harsh chemicals.
Welders need to use the right types of welding helmets to ensure safety and comfort whilst working. For this reason, we trust our informative review of 6 of our top welding helmets with respirator products makes it easier to find the one perfect for you.
Our editor’s choice, the VIKING 3250D FGS PAPR with Standard Battery, rated at 9.8, is our favorite welding helmet with a respirator because it offers a 12.5” viewing area. This feature allows users to get an extensive view of the project they’re working on. With its HEPA filtration system, it filters out about 99.97% of toxic fumes. It’s the ideal unit for everyday, heavy-duty use!
We chose the 3M Speedglas Heavy-Duty Welding Helmet 46-1101-30iVC as our premium pick and rated it at 9.7. Its “TrueView” feature allows more color through the lens, giving you more control over your weld pool. With its narrower viewing area, it’s perfect for welding that needs to be done in narrower spaces. Additionally, it boasts adjustable airflow, which directs air away from the user’s eyes. This is great for welders who suffer from dry eyes when using respirator units.
When it comes to welding, personal safety is not a choice. As a welder, every decision you make should be guided by safety standards set in place by organizations like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Welding emits ultraviolet light, so every welder and helper should wear suitable helmets, goggles, or cutting glasses. Lenses are filtered and the amount of the filter is numbered — welders helper’s glasses might be a 2.0, brazing goggles might be a 3.0 or 4.0, and the filter for an arc welding helmet might be a 14.