Welding exposes you to a wide array of noxious and lung-damaging gases and harmful particles. However, a high-quality welding respirator can save you from potential lung or brain damage, and it’s surely something to invest carefully in.
Hence, this article has been written, keeping your well-being in mind. Even the most experienced welders have a hard time choosing the best welding respirator because of the knock-offs abundant in markets.
This guide will help you avoid that problem by reviewing the 10 best brands of welding respirator masks out there. By giving you the pros and cons of each product, we hope your safety while welding will never again be compromised.
10 Best Welding Respirators Review
Time for the much-awaited reviews. Here, we will go through the top 10 welding respirators out there and highlight their pros and cons in a succinct manner. Hopefully, the product you are looking for will be right here!
1. 3M Personal Protective Equipment Large Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 7503/37083(AAD)
To start off our reviews, we bring you the 3m welding respirator from the renowned brand 3M. 3M is famous for all kinds of personal protection equipment. Made for durability, this reusable respirator is a top choice for many. The product is made from an advanced silicone-based material. This is done so to increase comfort levels for those wearing it, as well as boost flexibility.
Equipped with a state-of-the-art cool air valve for cool comfort, your breathing will never be impeded while wearing this product. As a matter of fact, moisture, as well as dirt and debris particles, are filtered continuously, leading to improved air quality. It also works like a non-return exhaust valve.
While many air-supplying respirators can feel too loose or too tight, this one is can readily be adjusted via the head harness. There are two modes to choose from standard and dropdown.
If you are worried about fogging, then worry no more. A specially designed exhaust valve directs exhaled air via a specific pathway and prevents moisture from accumulating near the nose, which would otherwise lead to fogging.
This product has been tested by NIOSH, a government agency designated for quality control and inspection. The 7500 series of this product has passed all safety standards and has been endorsed for quality and safety.
2. Miller Electric ML00895
3. Honeywell North 7700 Series
The 7700 series from Honeywell is as versatile as a product as they come. Made for comfort and convenience, these particulate respirators provide the perfect blend of safety and comfort.
Made of the highest quality silicone, this product has been approved by top medical standards for safety. It provides proper protection against harmful fumes, dirt and dust, gases, and noxious vapors.
Moreover, because it is compatible with all N series cartridges, it has a plethora of applications. This makes it versatile and one for all your needs. This is one of the powered air-purifying respirators for welders. These types of respirators are one of the best safety equipment you can find for a reasonable price. However, you will still need safety glasses to prevent eye irritation.
With its distinct shape and profile, it is a snug and comfortable fit for types of facial structures. To allow adjustments and flexibility, the elastic adjustable straps can be used to fix adjustments and tightness settings. Along with other welding materials, these straps are also made with durable textile materials.
Because it sits nicely on the face, it is an ideal choice for people who need to wear respirators for extended period of time. Wearing this type of respirator for long periods of time will not result in discomfort, because it is always well supported. Like any common type of respirator, this gives you a very tight seal for a half-face respirator.
This product can also convert to a PAPR or (CF-SAR). These two conversions are for specialized tasks or requirements, and they require attachments.
4. 3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL
Another 3M welding respirator from 3M, but this time it is the 6501QL model. This one is easier to put on due to its latch design feature all the while giving you an excellent protection. The latch design feature enables a drop-down mechanism to facilitate easy wearing while moving through high-risk areas.
Made of silicon, the ergonomic design of the facepiece and face seal is both durable and stable. The silicon enables the product to retain its shape even when exposed to high levels of heat. A greater level of comfort is also achieved. The head harness allows the wearer to adjust the tightness setting according to his/her requirements.
In order to prevent overheating, the specially designed valves ensure that the exhaled air is rapidly expelled, along with heat and moisture.
All moisture is directed downwards, and this greatly reduces fogging and discomfort. To ensure that the wearer’s field of vision remains unimpeded and clear at all times, the facepiece is designed to maximize the field of view.
This product can be paired with every 3M bayonet-style filters and cartridges. Hence, this allows you to use one product for all filters and cartridges, thereby saving money and trips to the market. These types of welding respirators are ideal for all types of heavy-duty industrial uses and is thus recommended for expert welders.
5. 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6200
The ultra-comfortable, super-efficient 6200 model respirator from 3M is a trademark in quality and performance.
Very lightweight and ultra-durable, this particular model is not only comfortable to wear but also easy to adjust. With specially made head straps, you can set your own adjustments and not worry about the fitting being too lose or too tight.
One clear advantage this product has, over many others, is that it is reusable. In fact, it can be cleaned for better performance and even comes with a storage bag to keep away after use. So, it will be handy even if you don’t have the best welding bag with you.
When coupled with the right cartridge and filter, it can clean a plethora of contaminants and airborne particles. Furthermore, it is incredibly versatile and can be used for painting, sawing, woodcutting, and handling toxic chemicals. It would also be a good match with a welding table made of wood. However, you should still use safe paint sprayers like the Wagner 590 or Titan XT330.
If you desire higher level of protection from fine particles and particulate matter, then its specially designed particulate filters are always there for you. They are placed over the face seal, and when pressed gently, can provide maximum protection instantaneously from particulate matter. You have a very secure seal with excellent comfort.
This product can be paired with other 3M bayonet cartridges and filters. This multi-compatibility feature is in place specifically for user convenience and to ensure hassle-free use.
6. 3M Medium Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 7502/37082(AAD)
The 3M welding welding mask from 3M industries has been around for more than a century giving you maximum protection. Because of their high level of focus towards making the safest product, they have become the first choice for many professional welders. The7502/37082(AAD) model is a medium-sized respirator.
It is equipped with the trademark 3M cool valve. This specially-designed and engineered valve facilitate easier and more effective breathing. It aims to minimize discomfort or breathing difficulties that may be encountered by the wearer. To cut down on fogging, a special exhalation valve is set in place inside the respirator.
This valve directs the exhaled, moisture-rich air downwards and away from the face. And this prevents fogging, and moisture does not accumulate. You also have some well-designed straps here. You can easily adjust them, especially the upper strap.
To maximize comfort during use and also durability, this product has been manufactured with high grade, advanced silicon. The silicon build adds flexibility and also comfort. Furthermore, the product will not collapse onto itself when under stress.
For meeting safety standards and protocols, this product has been endorsed by NIOSH and has been tested with 3M cartridges for performance against dust, harmful fumes, and dangerous gases. Finally, because of the beneficial qualities of this welding fume respirator, it is recommended for use in various sectors and industries, such as paints, chemical treatment, and more.
7. 3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6900
A nice design and perfect facepiece respirator for optimal protection against harmful particulates, the 6900 is the one you need for full-face shielding. Starting off, the entire product is amazingly lightweight and stable. The silicon face seal is engineered from the highest quality silicone to ensure that it is a comfortable yet snug fit.
Equipped with a large and very clear lens, your vision will never be impeded, nor will the field of view be obstructed. As a matter of fact, there is an optical correction limit installed so that any distortion in vision is quickly eliminated.
To prevent the accumulation of moisture and fog, the exhaled air is promptly directed away from the face and nose. This allows the exhaled air to be expelled quickly from these full-mask respirators, and prevent fogging from occurring. Since this product is a reusable mask, it can be cleaned and maintained rather easily. So, it is far cheaper than disposable masks.
Also, the surface has been made smooth to allow for this. When coupled and paired with other 3M filters, its ability to provide clean air is drastically increased. It will be able to provide respiratory protection against fumes, molds, paint, and also chemical vapors or gases from harmful chemicals and reagents.
8. 3M Rugged Comfort Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6502/49489
The medium-sized, 6502/49489 model from 3M is another gem of a product coming from the factories of this trusted company. Stylish in appearance, it provides safety and quality. The face seal of this product has been made with high-quality, but high endurance silicon for ultimate protection.
This implies that the product is not only lightweight but also flexible, durable, and long-lasting. While uncomfortable heat levels can build up in a respirator, this one has no such issue. The specially designed flow cool valve dissipates the heat and keeps the wearer cool and the inside of the respirator comfortable.
To facilitate quick adjustments, the harness situated on the sides provide the option of loosening or tightening the respirator. Depending on your comfort levels, you can adjust it in whatever way necessary.
Also, this product is also equipped with an exhalation valve cover to direct the moisture-laden exhaled air downwards. This mechanism prevents fogging from occurring giving you an unobstructed field of vision.
And the half facepiece design makes this product compatible to be paired with welding shields. For welders, this comes as an added bonus, as they can keep using the welding shield while working.
9. Reusable Half Face Cover, NASUM M101 Face Cover
Nasum brings you their M101 welding fume respirator, specially engineered for a wide variety of tasks and capable of blocking out most toxic fumes. Made of high-quality silicone mixtures, this product has a rich and soft texture. But do not be fooled by its soft build, as it is incredibly durable and strong.
To accommodate a variety of sizes, the head strap belt can be maneuvered to be tighter or loosened, in order to fit the conditions that the wearer desires. Although, it looks like a multi-position strap, it is not.
With its fog-resistant display, your vision will never be impeded while working. In fact, the display can actually repel small contaminants that would otherwise get in your line of view.
Because it is reusable, you can make the most out of it, not once, but multiple times. You will be provided with 2 extra pairs of filters made of cotton, so you do not have to make frequent trips to the store in the middle of work. And you can work with all kinds of base metals.
This type of filter generally has a very sensitive filter efficiency. So, filter replacement might be frequent. But it will protect you from all kind of dangerous gases and heavy fumes like metallic oxides, galvanized steel, or even stainless steel etc.
This product is suitable to be worn by both men and women. It is highly recommended for paint spraying, grinding, welding, sand brushing, and many other workshop based tasks. What’s even better, you can put it on even while wearing glasses, and no discomfort will be felt at all.
10. 3M – 51131494911 Rugged Comfort Half Facepiece
Our final product for today is from 3M, and it is the large size 6503/49491 model. One of the best welding respirators out there, it guarantees safety, quality, and of course, comfort.
Like majority of welding helmets from 3M, this product has a face seal manufactured from high quality, durable silicon. The entire product is lightweight and has been tailored for comfort.
To reduce heat inside the welding mask respirator from heating up, a specially placed cool valve allows the rapid dissipation of internal heat. This cool flow valve thereby keeps the inside cool for the wearer to not feel uneasy, even in high-temperature environments.
Because of its half face profile, your wide field of vision will be clear at all times. When working in factories, this is crucial as any obstruction of sight can prove dangerous. An exhalation valve allows the exhaled air to be released outwards very efficiently. This prevents moisture from building up inside, which otherwise fog up eyewear.
And this product is compatible with welding shields and eye protection. Hence, you can use it, knowing that you will not have to modify or change your existing gear to accommodate it while getting adequate protection. All in all, this low profile welding respirator might be the best half mask respirator you will find in the market.
Why Do Welders Wear Respirators?
In this section, we will outline a few reasons why welders wear respirators in order for you to get an idea of the dangers involved in welding.
Protection from Welding Fume
Welding fume is actually a rich mixture of particles released during welding. It consists of oxides, metallic particles, and coatings. Protection from particles like these are the primary concern of a respiratory protection device.
These particles are toxic due to their dangerous chemical composition, and this is the first threat that welder faces. Hence, a respirator greatly cuts down the risk of ingesting these particles.
Protection from Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is one of the most harmful gases known to man. It is virtually undetectable due to being odorless and colorless.
During welding, CO is released in large amounts and in close vicinity to the welder. Without a respirator, CO enters the body and can cause poisoning. In fact, 50,000 people suffer from CO poisoning annually in the US alone. This number is higher in developing countries.
Hence, a good respirator will eliminate the risk of CO poisoning completely and prevent health damage.
Preventing Skin Irritation
Respirators cover most of the face. This is important gases released during welding are known to cause irritation to the sensitive skin on the face, which can lead to chronic skin damage.
Do Welding Respirators Work?
Welding respirators are used worldwide by not only welders but people who work high contaminant environments in general. This includes factories, mines, construction zones, buildings, and so on.
The contaminants released in these environments include toxic gases, fumes, dirt and mold, particulate matter, and many more. All these collectively can cause irreversible damage to the body. Welding respirators certainly work.
They cover the face and nose and are fitted with high-quality filters that trap dirt and keep out welding fumes from the air you breathe. Hence, they provide clean, unadulterated air to your airways, reducing the risk of lung damage or lung disease.
But even a top-quality, widely used welding respirator has its limits. In cases of extreme exposure to very toxic or contaminated fumes, the filter inside the respirator will give out rather rapidly.
In this case, it is important to keep track of the efficacy of the filter and replace it as frequently as possible, at least every week, ideally. All in all, welding respirators do work and have been medically proven to so. They are essential in certain places and can greatly cut down health hazards.
How Do I Choose a Respirator?
When selecting the best respirator for welding or any similar purpose, it is important to keep certain factors in mind in order to get the best and, more importantly, the safest product.
That is why we are providing some pointers for you to keep in mind in you buying process of an high-quality respirator.
Comfortable to Wear
One of the most crucial aspects you should look out for when buying a respirator is the level of comfort you can get out of it.
Respirators and majority of helmets are not meant to be fully comfortable or fun to wear. However, they should not be too loose or tight and must not be attached so firmly that it causes pain. Hence, find the balance that suits you and try out a few types before making the pick. You should also get a comfortable respirator that fits under welding helmet.
Filters are divided into 3 main classes, based on their filtration ability: N, R, and P. Each class has its own subdivisions, which are beyond the scope of this article. As a guideline, keep in mind that the N series has been medically proven to be a good choice for the best respirator for welding.
Full or Partial Face Coverage
If you work in a dusty environment, a full face welding respirator or a welding hood with respirator is better as it helps shield the eyes.
But if the welding environment has good ventilation and fumes are the only concern, a partial face covering respirator is good enough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Time to get those FAQs out of the way. Here you will find answers to the most common questions one may have regarding welding respirators.
1. Are respirators durable?
Yes, they are. However, everything has its lifespan, and a respirator loses its efficacy after prolonged use, just like anything else.
But for the most part, they are durable and will last a long time giving you ample protection.
2. Is the filter replaceable, or is it for one-time use only?
A replaceable filter is a feature of some respirators, but not all. A replaceable filter will be highlighted by the manufacturer, so keep an out for the specifications.
3. How can I maintain the respirator?
The best way to maintain it is to clean it every day (provided it’s a reusable one). To clean it, wash out the filter with warm water very carefully.
Also, clean the body of the respirator with antiseptics to eliminate bacteria. Don’t forget to dry the respirator thoroughly before reuse.
4. How long can I expect a welding respirator to last?
This really depends on the type of use and level of fumes or contaminants it is exposed to regularly.
But keep in mind that even the best respirator for weling will not last as long as one which has limited exposure to dangerous fumes.
5. Replaceable or reusable respirator: which one should I buy?
Reusable respirators can save you the hassle of buying a new respirator frequently. But they must be cleaned every day, to ensure safety and a decent protection from harmful fumes that can cause lung cancer.
Replaceable respirators are cheaper and more comfortable to wear at times. But keep note that a cheap respirator may not have the best safety levels, as they are made of cheaper materials.
It is best to use disposable respirator masks under these respirators. But we would largely recommend not to use disposable welding respirator mask or half-mask respirators to get the best protection against airborne particles.
6. What respirator is the best for welding?
We felt that the 3M Personal Protective Equipment Large Half Facepiece Respirator would be the best pick.
7. Is N95 OK for welding?
N95s are highly recommended for most kind of welding.
8. Do welders wear respirators? Why?
Welders always wear a respirator under the mask. The ones who don't are risking their lives. Because the welding process exposes welders to harmful gases, fumes, and other toxic substances that are some of the leading causes for cancer and other disease. With a respirator, a welder is inviting his death.
9. Why do welders drink milk?
It is believed that drinking milk can prevent the toxic effects of welding and metal fume fever. But there is not sufficient research on this topic. So, we cant say it if is true or not. Nevertheless, we all know that milk will do you no harm.
10. Is welding smoke bad for you?
Continuous exposure to welding smoke can be life threatening. So, you must wear a respirator under welding helmet. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found in their research that welding fumes can be a big cause for lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
So you have finally reached the end of this article. As you now know, the best welding respirator can greatly minimize health hazards and provide clean air for you to breathe. Hence, choosing a respirator carefully can go a long way, investment, and health-wise.