Welders, professional, amateur, or just hobbyists, expose themselves to gases and fumes that are produced while welding. That’s why the best mask for welding is a must have for any welder.
Yes, the dangers might be different, harmful particles might be oil or non-oil based, but we can’t deny the fact that various hazardous elements are always present in the welding fumes. The welders are getting themselves exposed to various gases and harmful particles that may damage their airways during their work. That is why people working in this field need to wear a respirator.
#1 Respirators For Welding
- Comfortable and convenient
- High level of visibility
- Easy-to-adjust head straps
- Easy to replace filters
We can clearly see why this respirator is rated so highly by its’ users. This respirator combines comfort and convenience, because it provides high level of visibility. The head straps can be adjusted as you like. It’s also extremely lightweight which provides for comfortable wearing throughout the whole welding process. The filters can be easily replaced as well.
It’s clear that this product is popular for a reason. Many other respirators don’t combine this level of comfort and convenience. Head straps may be too long or too short and it can be a pain to adjust it to your size. Some models don’t have an easy access to the filters, too. This respirator, however, is the perfect choice for anyone. It’s good for professional welders as well as the ones who have just started working in this field.
What are respirators for welding?
A welding respirator is a piece of protective equipment that protects welders from fumes. Various designs are available including half mask respirators, powered air purifying respirators and supplied air respirators are used depending on the level of fumes in the workplace. Basically, welders should use respirators to protect their airways from fumes and gases. This is a must have because these hazardous elements may damage welder’s health in a very short time.
You can watch a very informative YouTube video that tells us why it is so important to wear a respirator while welding. It answers many questions about safety and airways protection.
Types of Respirator for Welding
There are several types of respirators available in the welding market. A proper welding respirator reduces the generated welding fume and saves your lungs alongside your whole breathing system.
Commonly used welding respirators are:
Disposable Half-face mask
These masks are cost-effective, widely available, and sufficiently protective. Lightweight and requires minimum maintenance. Can be used with helmets and construction hats. But does not protect the eyes.
Elastomeric Half-face Respirators
Similar to the previous type but you won’t have to replace it wholly. Instead, there are replacement filters available on the market for these. Fits quite easily. Easy to breathe in. But as the name suggests, won’t protect your eyes.
Supplied Air Respirators
These respirators come with a mechanism that pumps in the air inside the mask. Covers full face, so your eyes are covered as well. No risk of breathing in fumes as the air supplier has an in-built purification system.
Also for further information, consult with an expert. You could check out this link as well.
How do I know if I have to change the filters?
You should dispose of the filter if it becomes damaged. Most of the time breathing becomes difficult, and that’s how you know you should probably change the filters. The general rule is to change filters after 40 hours of use.
It is important to mention that you should change filters regularly even if they don’t look very damaged. It’s safer and much better for your health to change the filters regularly. The damage may not be visible on the filter, but you still better change it, especially if you used it for 40 hours.
How do respirators work?
Mechanical filter respirators retain particulate matter when contaminated air is passed through the filter material. Wikipedia has a very good explanation of the process. Basically, filters remove contaminants from air in the following ways:
- by interception, when particles which come in with the airstream get adhered to the fiber;
- by impaction, when larger particles unable to follow the curving contours of the airstream are forced to stick to one of the fibers directly; this increases with diminishing fiber separation and higher air flow velocity;
- by an enhancing mechanism called diffusion, where gas molecules collide with the smallest particles which get delayed in their path through the filter; it becomes dominant at lower air flow velocities;
- by using certain plastics, waxes and resins as coatings on the filter material to attract particles with an electrostatic charge that holds them on the filter surface;
- by using gravity and allowing particles to settle into the filter material (this effect is typically negligible and isn’t used in today’s filters);
- by using the particles themselves, after the filter has been used, to act as a filter medium for other particles.
How do I know if a particular respirator mask would fit well with my spectacles / welding shield?
Most of welding respirators, especially 3M welding respirators, are designed to be compatible with any spectacles or wending shields. Yes, they come in different shapes and sizes, but if you use a half mask you should be good to go. The issue there might be that it can be uncomfortable, but if you choose a lightweight adjustable model that is comfortable for wearing for long periods of time, it should be alright.
The Best Respirator For Welding
As we already saw, some respirators might work better in different conditions. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it might be very hard for a casual user to find what fits him and his needs best. There are top 5 picks we came up with.
The top best product [hide]
- Comfortable and convenient
- Soft, lightweight facepiece
- Easy-to-adjust head straps
- Approved for environments containing certain oil and non-oil based particless
- Easily fits under a welding helmet
- Large non-return exhaust valve for reduced user fatigue
- Provides at least 95% filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols that do not contain oil.
- The M-nose clip feature allows for fewer pressure points on the face and greater comfort
- Very small
- Fits perfectly with most spectacles and welding shields
- Compact design
- Great respiratory protection
- Bottom-positioned exhalation valve
- Soft but firm seal
- Quick latch mechanism
- Cool flow valve
- High visibility
- Bottom-positioned exhalation valve
Respirators for Welding – Buying Guide
Welding jobs don’t only put your hands and eyes at the risk, but they also endanger your breathing system. How? Welding produces a lot of toxic and harmful fumes and gases. These fumes contain particulates that shouldn’t be breathed in at all.
So what should you do? You can’t abandon your job, right? Well, don’t worry. A proper respirator for welding is all you need. Welding respirator masks have high-quality filtration media that screens out fumes and toxic particulates. Makes breathing significantly healthier and easier.
Aside from that, some welding fume respirators offer full-face protection. So if you’re looking for the best respirator for welding, our guide has you covered.
What are the different types of welding?
Welding is a fabrication process that uses high temperatures through electrical currents or gas to fuse different metal pieces. And it’s used in tons of industries. But all welding processes are not the same. You are likely to encounter a variety of welding methods and different guidelines if you surf through the net. Learn more from here.
Some of the common welding methods are:
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
It’s a welding process where an electric arc generates between a MIG wire electrode & the weldable metal. The arc heats the workpiece metals and causes them to melt and join. Also, shielding gas channels through the welding gun to prevent atmospheric effects.
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
Also known as the tungsten inert gas welding. It’s also an arc welding process that involves a non-consumable tungsten electrode that produces the weld. Here also, a shielding gas protects the welded area from oxidation.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
This one is commonly known as stick welding. It’s another manual arc welding process using a consumable flux covered electrode that lays the weld. An electric current from an AC or DC welding power supply forms an electric arc between metals and the electrode.
Also, there are some other methods like FCAW, EBW, AHW, Plasma welding, etc. For further information and guidelines, click here.
Personal Safety While Welding
Welding works are some of the most dangerous works out there. You have to work with high voltage electricity and harmful rays. Also, as you weld together different metal pieces, harmful and toxic fumes will generate. And you should never breathe em in. Here’s why.
Continuous exposure to welding fumes and gases can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. It may also cause dizziness and nausea. If you experience these symptoms in a welding area, leave immediately, and breathe fresh air.
Extended exposure can lead to lung damage and different types of cancers. Among them, lungs, larynx, and urinary tract cancer are prominent. Additionally, stomach ulcers, metal fume fever, nervous system, & kidney damage may also formulate. Further exposure to manganese fume may lead to Parkinson’s–like symptoms.
To be on the safer side, try to avoid breathing, and stay out of direct contact. Take proper safety measurements for keeping the fumes out of your system. A welding fume respirator will come in handy in such cases. Some 3m welding respirator masks are popular among welders due to that. Also, a proper exhaust system in the welding area can keep out fumes out of your lungs.
Consider switching to lower fume generating metals and electrodes. If you can minimize the sources of fume, you’ll be on a safer side already. Also, OSHA recommends to weld in a well-ventilated area. You should never weld in confined, narrow spaces.
Choosing a Respirator for a Suitable Job
For the perfect selection, consider the materials you’re working with. A specific respirator for a certain material won’t fare well against a different material.
For example, a respirator for welding Aluminum usually performs better for aluminum-electrode fumes. It may not be the best respirator for stick welding. So the best respirator cartridge for welding or the best respirator filter for welding heavily depends on the material you’re working with.
Although, a lot of the welding respirators nowadays can filter most of the welding fume types, making them versatile for almost every welding job. Powered air-purifying respirators, supplied-air respirators, 3m welding respirators, etc are well suited for most welding jobs nowadays.
Levels of Protection for Different (Negative Pressure) Types of Respirators
The Half face disposable masks can withstand up to 10x WES air contamination levels. They can filter class 3 air as well. However, they can only stop p1 and p2 particulates. They can’t stop p3 particulates.
Half face reusable masks however can stop p3 particulates alongside p1 & p2. But they can only work in up to 10x WES air contamination levels.
Full face respirator masks are better in these cases. They can function in up to 100x WES contamination levels and stop all p1, p2, & p3 particles.
You can also check out the summary in detail from here:
We should’ve already covered all the important fields that required detailed information regarding the workers, present tasks, and work environment. Try to follow the OSHA guidelines and other linked webpages and you should be well on your way for the perfect buy.
Respirators For Welding - FAQ
3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator Assembly
3M Welding Valved Respirator
Trend STEALTH/ML Stealth Air Half Mask
3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator
Half Mask Respirator
There are a lot of respirators on the market that provide users with needed level of protection, but it is very important to find the one that is comfortable to wear and use on a day-to-day basis. It should be the right size and have the necessary features.
Using a respirator is key to preventing hazardous particles, fumes and gases from damaging your health. It is very important to invest in a respirator that fits your needs and also provides the best level of protection possible.