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.
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.
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
- Comfortable and convenient
- Soft, lightweight facepiece
- Easy-to-adjust head straps
- Approved for environments containing certain oil and non-oil based particless
We believe this is the best welding respirator. It has the most 5 star reviews. It is great for use in any working conditions, and it’s also very adjustable. It has easy-to-adjust head straps and a nice comfortable design. It is also lightweight which makes it easy to wear for long periods of time. People say that they’ve been working in it all day and had no complaints at all. The package includes the respirator itself and a couple of filters.
- Easily fits under a welding helmet
- Large non-return exhaust valve for reduced user fatigue
This mask is one of the highest rated on the site. It might be a bit expensive but it is worth it, since it uses P100 filters, which are used to filter out nearly 100% of oil and non-oil based particles. The package includes the respirator itself with the filters already installed in it. Pretty convenient if you want to get your package and start working straight away.
- 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
This mask is perfect for hobbyists or amateurs. It is not designed to be used in extreme conditions, as its’ filters aren’t that effective against oil-based particles. However, it is cheaper than any other mask in this review and it provides needed protection for those who aren’t going to work in it for hours. A very good choice for starters.
- Compact design
- Great respiratory protection
- Bottom-positioned exhalation valve
- Uses N100 filters
It is one of the best respirators for welding you might find. It has a very compact design, which makes it compatible with most goggles and welding shields. It also makes it very comfortable to wear. Respiratory protection on this one is very good, as it protects the user from airborne particles, mist, welds, fumes, dust, plaster and silica dust. However, it’s not very effective against oil-based particles. Bottom-positioned exhalation valve is a great feature for those who have experienced their spectacles getting foggy during work.
- Soft but firm seal
- Quick latch mechanism
- Cool flow valve
- High visibility
- Bottom-positioned exhalation valve
A great choice for any kind of work. It has a silicone resilient faceseal which provides comfort, durability and stability. Quick latch mechanism is also very convenient and adds comfort as it’s easy to drop down the mask after a long shift without removing head straps. Cool flow valve helps to reduce heat and moisture to make breathing easier, and also makes it great to use under extreme heat conditions. Low profile half facepiece design provides used with high visibility and makes it comfortable to use with any goggles or welding shields. Exhalation valve is positioned at the bottom to exclude possible fogging of face shields. It is surely one of the best 3M respirators for welding.
Respirators For Welding & FAQ
3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator Assembly
The strongest point of this particular respirator is comfort. It’s adjustable and is good for working in any conditions. This is why so many people chose this one and are happy to use it in their working environment every day.
3M Welding Valved Respirator
It has a cool flow valve that is very useful for working with extreme heat. It also fits well with most spectacles and protective welding shields, and is very easy to use.
Trend STEALTH/ML Stealth Air Half Mask
It’s designed for spectacle wearers as it has a very compact design and a bottom-positioned exhalation valve. This is very important for those who have struggled with their glasses fogging up. If this is the issue you have experienced, this might be the mask for you.
3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator
This mask is designed to be compatible with welding and grinding shields, and it has a cool flow valve as well, so it’s great to use if welder is exposed to heat.
Half Mask Respirator
This one fits easily under most welding helmets due to its’ size. That also makes it lightweight, thus it’s comfortable to wear for a long period of time.
We will review a number of respirators for welding and you will be able to make your own choice based on what features you need the most.
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.