8 Best Welding Respirators to Keep You Safe and Sound (Spring 2022)

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Last updatedLast updated: April 22, 2022
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We’re not here to scare you, but welding fumes, gases, and particles are known causes of lung damage and cancer. Exposure to these fumes and gases may also cause short-term side effects such as temporary skin or eye irritation, nausea, and dizziness. That’s why we’ll advise anyone interested in welding, whether as a professional or hobbyist, to invest in the best welding respirator.

Here, we’ve compiled the best respirators for protecting your lungs and respiratory system from harmful fumes. While reviewing, we’ve looked at the type and filter compatibility of respirators to make sure they are suitable for welding, as well as the sizes available and the materials they’re made of, which determine how comfortable they’ll be to wear.

Top 8 Welding Respirators Review 2022

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Features
  • Type: half-mask, reusable
  • Filter compatibility: P100 particulate filters
  • Size: S, M, L
  • Material: medical-grade silicone

More features: NIOSH-approved; backpack adaptor option; PAPR and CF-SAR application

This is our Editor’s Choice as it is comfortable to use, is an inexpensive respirator, and is one of the safest Niosh-approved respirators currently under consideration.

The North Safety Respirator is part of the popular manufacturer’s 7700 series, which includes some of the best respirators in the world. However, this is the most inexpensive in that range. This half mask is made of the highest quality silicone and is delivered in one piece once purchased. The silicone used in the development of this superb mask is soft and hypoallergenic, making this mask ideal for all faces and skin types. The construction allows it to follow the contours of the face and does not harden over time.

The North Safety goggle uses its silicone gasket to provide customers with maximum protection and a comfortable fit. The cover adjusts so that no toxic substances can pass through the mask and enter your system. In general, this mask is designed so that workers who use it during working hours can see everything that is being worked on. To make the respirator even easier to use and breathe with, you can also purchase its backpack adaptor, the Honeywell North BP1002, which is made for air-purifying facepieces.

What are our favorite features?

  • Has a hypoallergenic silicone gasket
  • Low resistance to inhalation and exhalation
  • Easy to clean and extremely durable
  • Full-contour sealing eliminates discomfort caused by pressure points on facial nerves

What could be better?

  • Difficulty getting parts replaced
  • Doesn't come with filters
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Features
  • Type: half-mask, reusable
  • Filter compatibility: P100 particulate filters
  • Size: S/M, M/L
  • Material: thermoplastic elastomers

More features: lightweight at 6.4 oz.; hypoallergenic; up to 99.97% efficiency against 0.3-micron particles

The GVS SPR457 Elipse respirator is the runner-up model and one with the best value in the review. This half-face respirator is one of our favorites because it is lightweight and compact making it easy to carry and use wherever you go for welding projects.

It prides itself on its versatility and flexibility. It even has an anti-slip strap that you can easily adjust up to 4 positions. You can position it to increase your comfort. The welding respirator also has incredible protection that protects you even in wet conditions. You can also use it as a P100 breathing mask. This not only increases your protection against particles but also makes it oil resistant. You can use it with a few filters to protect you from a lot of things like mildew, wood, and rockwool.

We were also drawn to the overall design of the respirator. The large valve of the respirator is also a nice feature. It reduces breathing resistance and prevents respiratory condensation from accumulating in the respirator. One downside is the uncomfortable rubber seal, especially if you find yourself in extremely hot environments.

What are its best features?

  • Light and compact
  • It is oil resistant and can provide the greatest protection
  • It's visually pleasing
  • It has a large valve that reduces breathing resistance
  • Flexible and customizable adjustment

What could be improved?

  • It can be uncomfortable to use, especially if the temperature is quite high
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Features
  • Type: welding helmet with respirator
  • Filter: HE filter (included)
  • Size: N/A
  • Material: not specified

More features: 1000 Assigned Protection Factor assembly; G5-01 helmet airflow optimization system; audible and visual alarms for low airflow and low battery charge; 7–9-hour battery life; 5-level sensitivity

For those looking for the best PAPR masks, that is, helmets models that have respirators, our favorite for this is the 3M Speedglas G5-01 welding helmet. Speedglas G5-01 is the latest generation welding and grinding helmet made by 3M. It has a self-darkening protection filter with variable DIN 3 / 8-14 protection. One of our best welding helmets with a respirator, the 3M helmet uses HE filters, instead of an N95 system.

Designed for intensive high amperage welding and grinding jobs, it adapts to the needs and working conditions of each welder. This brand new version with a modern and ergonomic design can be used in MIG / MAG, MMA, TIG processes and for grinding.

The G5-01 mask offers a high degree of protection against radiation, sparks, and splashes thanks to the opaque design, respiratory protection thanks to the Adflo powered respirator, and a wide range of additional optional protections. Thanks to the new design of the air channels on the mask, the Adflo respirator offers class (TH3) respiratory protection. It however doesn’t come cheap. If you’re looking for a protective helmet for beginners that comes a bit more inexpensive, check out our review of the best welding helmet for beginners.

Why is it special?

  • Large curved clear protective screen
  • Natural Color technology for more realistic colors, more detailed vision, and greater contrast
  • Adjustable airflow adjustment system
  • Auto-darkening hood
  • The Adflo powered air respirator provides TH3 class respiratory protection

What are the flaws?

  • High price but worth it because it includes an auto-darkening helmet
RELATED: 6 Best Welding Helmets with Respirators: Safer Way to Do Your Work! (Spring 2022)
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Features
  • Type: half-mask, reusable
  • Filter compatibility: Ellipse (N100) HEPA air filters (included)
  • Size: S/M, M/L
  • Material: various, medical-grade

More features: up to 99.97% filtration of airborne particulates and aerosols; large non-return exhaust valve

If you’re a professional or even a hobbyist/DIYer interested in welding, then you must have come across Miller Electric welding machines and accessories? Miller has conquered their market with their high-quality products. Their half-mask respirator is one of the brand’s respirator bestsellers. And it’s not even expensive, sells for less than $50, and comes in small and medium sizes.

This Miller welding respirator is fully functional and protects welders from allergens and harmful particles. This respirator has a unique pleated filter design which we love. The filter media has a large surface area which helps reduce breathing resistance. The patented filter media design is great because it maximizes filter efficiency, even in high humidity. This prolongs the life of the filter.

This welding respirator is very protective. It protects you against vapors of all kinds and metals such as nickel, lead, and iron oxide. The four-point headband is also very useful as it can be customized to suit your needs. The strap is also well-padded, which makes it even more comfortable. It can be used as a respirator under a welding helmet, as it fits under most welding helmets available. The slim, ergonomic design allows it to fit comfortably under your helmet without causing visual impairment.

Why are we impressed?

  • Protects against the fumes of various metals
  • You can customize and adjust it to ensure the perfect fit
  • You can use it with the majority of current welding helmets
  • Guaranteed minimum breathing resistance
  • Slim and ergonomic design

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • The replacement filters are expensive
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Features
  • Type: half-mask, reusable
  • Filter compatibility: approved 3M cartridges and filters
  • Size: N/A
  • Material: silicone, nylon; polyester, spandex

More features: proprietary cool flow valve; three-size adjustable head cradle

The 3M Half Face Respirator may be the right choice for you if you like the personal protective equipment the 3M brand provides. This reusable respirator from 3M looks great and will provide respiratory protection even in harsh and dirty environments. If you use 3 M-approved filters and cartridges, you can expect to be completely protected from any airborne contaminants when in these environments.

It can be used in almost any environment, job, or workplace that requires basic or extreme respiratory protection. The tough silicone gasket that was used to create this respirator is very satisfying. It allows it to withstand extreme conditions and long hours. It is strong enough to extend the life of the mask and keep it looking great even in extreme heat environments. Its overall design is amazing.

The valve cover is a unique design that allows exhalation and moisture to be directed downward. It has a cooling valve that reduces heat and humidity and promotes easy breathing. It fits perfectly and comfortably.

What makes it special?

  • Versatile and useful; ideal for any work environment.
  • A secure and comfortable fit for your head
  • Can be adjusted to fit your head shape and size
  • Durable silicone face seal
  • Protects against all harmful elements in the air

What cons did we find?

  • When repositioning your head, you have to readjust it to fit your needs
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Features
  • Type: half-mask, reusable
  • Filter compatibility: NIOSH N100
  • Size: S/M, M/L
  • Material: thermoplastic elastomers

More features: quick-release extra-wide straps; 99.99% dust filtration

Trend introduced this P3-rated dust mask back in 2017 and today in 2022, we can say it’s been a success so far, even for tough professional jobs such as welding. The P3 standard indicates the protection of the respiratory tract against all wood dust and other industrial fumes such as silica, fiberglass.

The P3 standard mask is ideal for use in welding, woodworking, agriculture, metalwork, masonry, stone cutting, insulation works, or in marble, stone, or sand quarries. The Stealth dust mask incorporates easy-to-change flat filters placed behind removable grids. The filtration has been designed to offer the least possible resistance to breathing to maintain a high level of comfort when wearing the mask.

It is an ergonomic low-profile half mask with HEPAC double pleat filters. The grid covers the entire surface of the filter and protects against moisture. The filter provides 99.99% filtration of airborne particles and aerosols at 0.3 microns and larger.

The dust mask can be used in combination with eyeglasses or goggles without creating fog thanks to the exhalation valve positioned at the bottom of the mask. Replacement filters are available including activated carbon to treat odors while providing P3 protection.

What makes it stand out?

  • Exhalation valve for heat and moisture removal and low breathing resistance
  • Versatile for use in industries that need face masking
  • Has a double strap harness
  • It has a filtration efficiency of 99.99%

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • Could be designed to be easily cleaned
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Features
  • Type: half-mask, reusable
  • Filter compatibility: 2091 P100 particulate filters
  • Size: S, M, L
  • Material: thermoplastic elastomers

More features: NIOSH-approved; 99.97% filter efficiency; Advanced Electret Media for easy breathing; lightweight at 1.6 oz.

3M again? Yes, but we promise this would be the last 3M welding mask! This brand makes the best gears for professionals and some of the things we liked with this half facepiece mask is that it is NIOSH approved and has 99.7% filtering efficiency. Finally, despite all its nice features, it’s sold for almost a giveaway price. What more do you need from a protective mask?

The excellent value for money, the impeccable quality of the 3M™ half mask, its durability and reliability even during prolonged makes it one above the rest. It requires little maintenance, is easy to use, and is particularly light, which allows you to work without a feeling of discomfort. Its compact shape gives it unobstructed visibility. The three sizes available mean that this mask will adapt to all face shapes.

Its filters provide the user with reliable protection against almost all hazardous substances. The bayonet type filter fitting helps to make it even more convenient to use. The two-filter system does not interfere with breathing and distributes the weight of the mask well. This half mask is compatible with 3M™ safety glasses.

Why are we impressed?

  • Extremely lightweight mask
  • Unobstructed visual field
  • Wide range of filters available (not included in delivery)
  • Includes a 2091 particulate filter
  • Maintenance-free and economical
  • Excellent value for money

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • Can be better sealed
  • Some buyers report missing filters
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Features
  • Type: half-mask, disposable
  • Filter: N95, charcoal filter
  • Size: M/L
  • Material: Dura-Mesh

More features: PVC-free; 95% or greater filter efficiency against particulate aerosols free of oil; NIOSH-approved; pack of 10

The Moldex 2400N95 Respirator is designed to resist particles and irritating levels of organic vapors and ozone. The Moldex Respirator features an added carbon layer, which helps filter nuisance levels of fumes and gases. It also features an exclusive Moldex® Dura-Mesh™ cover that protects the media so it stays clean for longer.

The 2400N95 respirator from Moldex® is recommended for dusty, hot, and humid environments, for welding, grinding, bagging, sanding, sweeping, rock quarrying, underground mining, metal machining, polishing, poultry, and the textiles industry. It’s also ideal as well for other welding and foundry operations, laboratory settings, agriculture, chemical processing, printing, food processing, paint and varnish manufacturing, waste processing and sewage treatment; as long as they are oil-free particles.

It is a suitable respirator for most oil-free welding fumes. It easily adapts to welding helmets. With the Moldex 2400N95 respirator, workers remain cool and breathe smoothly thanks to the exhalation valve that reduces breathing resistance and the accumulation of hot air. It also has an easy-to-use soft foam nose pad. This respirator does not have a metal nose clip to adjust so the seal is maintained without pressure points.

What do we love it for?

  • It has a 95% filter efficiency or more for particles with a non-oil base
  • The carbon layer helps filter nuisance levels of ozone and organic vapors
  • Can be used against most welding fumes that are oil-free.
  • The exhalation valve allows you to breathe easily and stay cool.
  • Exclusive Dura-Mesh® mesh resists collapsing in heat and humidity.
  • The contoured mask seals naturally without pressure points.

What were we disappointed with?

  • Could be truer to the indicated size

Things to Consider

A welding respirator provides maximum lung and respiratory protection from all the gases and fumes the burning gas, welding sparks, and welding wire throws up. It is however important to invest or buy the one that suits you best. You want one that fits your face and is compatible with your current work environment. That’s why in this buying guide, you’ll find all the needed information on the benefits and types of welding respirators and the features to consider before selecting one.

Why Do You Need a Welding Respirator?

8 Best Welding Respirators to Keep You Safe and Sound (Spring 2022)

If you work in welding or any other job that can expose you to dangerous and harmful particles, you will need to use welding respirators.

A good quality respirator is essential if welding is something you do daily. Without it, you may have health problems due to constant exposure to welding fumes. Inhaling these vapors can cause serious damage to your lungs and respiratory system.

You may not be familiar yet with welding fumes. They are solid and fine particles made up of metal oxides. The welding method used and the conditions around you will determine how much welding fume you inhale and what substances. Welding fumes contain many metals. These include cadmium and beryllium as well as iron, copper, selenium, and zinc.

Many gases can be associated with welding such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. These gases can be visible due to flux shielding combustion, the interaction of UV radiation with carbon dioxide, solvents, and oxygen, and the combustion of metal plating.

Prolonged exposure to welding fumes can have serious and lasting effects on your health. You may experience skin and eye irritation, muscle aches, dizziness, and headaches from your prolonged exposure to welding fumes.

The long-term consequences can be deadly. These fumes can have serious health effects, so it is important to protect yourself from long-term exposure.

The welding respirator is a crucial part of your preventive measures. Would you rather risk a lung disease or prevent it with a $30 to $500 protective kit? Wearing a respirator while working with adequate ventilation will make a significant difference to your health safety.

Features to Consider Before You Buy a Respirator

What are the main features to look out for which can increase your chances of finding a quality welding respirator? Here, are what you should consider.

Type

8 Best Welding Respirators to Keep You Safe and Sound (Spring 2022)

These are just a few types of respirators you should know about.

1. Half mask respirators

This type of respirator is fitted and designed for the area between the nose and the chin. You must first determine whether the half-mask respirator is suitable for the environment and processes to which you are exposed. This type of respirator can provide an APF rating of 10, which is the most common.

2. Full facepiece respirator

The second type of respirator you should consider is the full facepiece. It is also known as a full-face respirator mask. It provides some coverage or full coverage. This is because the respirator is designed to protect your eyes and any other skin on your face from toxic vapors and gases. Because it covers the entire face, it provides greater protection.

3. Disposable respirator

This option is popular for those who wear welding helmets. It is usually made from light and thin materials because it is disposable. It is essential to be able to wear it under your helmet. It requires no cleaning or maintenance, as you can simply throw it away after each use. The best thing about the disposable respirator? It doesn’t seem to block your movements. However, it may not offer the best protection.

4. Reusable respirator

If your respirator is inexpensive, you may want to get a reusable model. It is a device that you can use repeatedly, as the name suggests. In most cases, the outer part of the device is made of a resistant textile material. It is important to regularly check the filters to know if they need to be replaced. To maximize its protection against hazardous fumes and gases, make sure it is not charged too quickly.

Compatible Filters

Carefully consider the type of filter in your respirator. You should choose a respirator that uses a filter that is both functional and compatible with your specific mask or respirator. You should also consider the strength of your filter.

Most respirators are equipped with a filtration system. If this is true, you will need to assess its effectiveness in purifying your air. Determine the type of filter used by your respirator. You will be able to determine if the respirator can remove harmful gases or fumes. This will give you an idea of its security.

Size

Respirators are designed in various sizes and are determined by the rubber seal. They are available in small (S), medium (M), large (L), and extra-large (XL) sizes. The larger the wearer’s head, the larger the rubber seal should be. To know the exact size you need, measure from the chin to the bridge of your nose. If you measure less than 112mm or 11.2 cm, you should pick an S or M model. From 11.2 to 12.5 cm, choose an M or L model. For measurements exceeding these, choose an L or XL model. Thankfully, some models are available in multiple sizes you can choose from. These include the North by Honeywell 7700 Series and the Miller Electric LPR-100.

Materials

8 Best Welding Respirators to Keep You Safe and Sound (Spring 2022)

A good welding helmet or respirator should have three essential attributes. It should be heat-resistant and flame-retardant, shock and impact resistant and weigh as little as possible. Thus, the preferred helmet material is polyamide (PA) and polycarbonate (PC). These high-strength plastics are relatively insensitive to impact, and their melting point is 220 to 230 °C.

Respirators, helmets, and other items made of carbon fiber are lightweight. This carbon fiber material is very durable as well as heat and fire-resistant. However, carbon has one major disadvantage. This material easily breaks apart in the event of a hit or impact. However, the best passive welding helmet models are often made of aluminum, steel, and durable plastics.

A pane made of plastic or glass is attached in front of a passive filter or an anti-glare cassette. This keeps dust and sweat particles out, among other things. But which is better, plastic or glass?

Glass is generally harder and therefore less susceptible to sparks and slag. However, these are only really stable if they are marked as unbreakable.

Ergonomic Design and Weight

When looking for the best respirator, wearing comfort and weight is also important. It will be worn for a considerable period, so the wrong model may not give you a pleasant experience at work.

It’s important to find the right respirator for you, so you can breathe easily and move freely. It’s a good idea to look for a respirator that has an adjustable strap. This will allow you to adjust the comfort level according to your needs. This will also allow you to configure it to work according to your needs. It must be properly fitted and sized.

Price

The pricing of welding respirators varies a lot. There are reusable half masks such as the Miller Electric Half Mask Respirator, Moldex 2400N95 and the 3M 6000 Series have a starting price of $26 and aren’t usually more than $50 in price. Meanwhile, there are also super expensive models such as the 3M Speedglas G5-01 Welding Helmet which costs thousands of dollars.

You should however note that models with helmets, especially an auto-darkening hood, will be more expensive.

How to Use a Welding Respirator

First, you should always read and follow the instruction manual, if there is any.

  • To use the welding respirator, start by putting on the respirator covering the mouth and nose, with the straps loose.
  • Pull the top strap over your head, positioning the head harness over your crown.
  • Hook the lower straps behind your neck.
  • Adjust the tension of the straps until a correct fit is obtained.
  • Pull on the ends of the straps to adjust the tension.
  • Start with the adjustment points at the top of the respirator, then move to the points at the back of the neck. Don’t over-tighten them.
  • The tension in the straps can be reduced by pushing out behind the buckles.

Maintenance Tips

  • Always inspect the respirator before and after each use. You should inspect it at least once a month. Replace any damaged, worn, missing, broken or cracked parts immediately.
  • Disposable respirators should have their metal nose clips placed over the nose bridge.
  • You need to make sure that the edges of your mask are not warped or wavy. You can inspect your full-face respirator to see if any mounting clips are missing. Repair or replace the mask immediately if there is a problem.
  • When cleaning your respirator, avoid using solvents. To thoroughly clean the respirator, you can use a mild dishwashing detergent. You can wash it with a combination of detergent and disinfectant.
  • It is important to keep it dry and away from extreme heat, humidity, chemicals, sun, dust, and chemicals.
  • You should allow only trained and qualified personnel to repair the respirator.

FAQ

The P100 filter is a filter that retains all types of particles (solid, aqueous, oily). This filter has an internal thread to be able to join it with chemical cartridges from line 1, thus forming a mixed filter. The N100 designation indicates that the respirator filters 100% of airborne particles, except for oily particles. “N” here stands for non-resistant.

The N95 designation indicates that the respirator filters at least 95% of airborne particles but it is non-resistant to oily particles.

You should change your respiratory filter as soon as it goes past the expiration date, when dirty or when you can no longer breathe as comfortably as you used to. However, once the filter has been opened, it must be changed in six months, regardless of whether it’s been used or not.

Our Verdict

We’ve seen daredevils take on welding tasks with their naked eyes and open nostrils. In reality, if this work behavior is prolonged, it always ends up in respiratory issues, and worse, cancer. We’ve seen how important the use of welding respirators is and how inexpensive they are.

Our Editor’s Choice and the overall best welding respirator is the Honeywell North 7700 Series Niosh-Approved Respirator. We’ve chosen this half-mask respirator because it is comfortable to use, is inexpensive, and is one of the safest Niosh-approved respirators on the market.

The GVS SPR457 Elipse is our best value pick because it is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry and use wherever you go for welding projects.

Finally, the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet G5-01 is the best PAPR system and our premium pick. It has a self-darkening protection filter with variable DIN 3 / 8-14 protection.

References

1.
Types of Respiratory Protection | CDC
Find the alternative format of an image with types of respiratory protection and plain text of the descriptions of the different types of respirators.
2.
Long-Term Lightweight Materials Research (Magnesium and Carbon Fiber) | Department of Energy
The Vehicle Technologies Office supports research into magnesium and carbon fiber reinforced composites, which could reduce the weight of some compone.
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