Best Reusable Half Mask Welding Respirators in 2021
Welding respirators are an important piece of welding safety equipment used to help filter out poisonous fumes and particles. The best welding respirators will fit under your welding helmet, help you to breathe cleaner air, be comfortable to wear and durable.
- Do I Need to Wear a Welding Respirator?
- Top 5 Welding Respirators
- What to Consider when Buying a Welding Respirator
- Different Types of Welding Respirator
Do I Need to Wear a Welding Respirator?
There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that suggests exposure to welding fumes, including mild steel fumes can cause lung cancer and kidney cancer. General ventilation does not offer adequate safety from welding fumes and wearing a welding respirator is an additional step to help protect yourself. Respirators can easily help to prevent dust and fumes from going up your nose. They really aren’t very expensive and it’s not worth taking the risk by not wearing one.
Top 5 Welding Respirators
1. 3M Rugged Comfort 6500 Series Respirator
Best overall & best features
The 6500 series respirators are built for durability but our favorite feature is the quick release drop down mechanism which enables you to release the respirator without having to remove your helmet. This is perfect if you want to talk to someone, take a quick break or to have something to drink. The soft silicone faceseal is firm and keeps its shape whilst being comfortable and the air is directed out the bottom of the respirator to prevent condensation building up. The harness straps are OK quality and are adjustable in three sizes to add extra comfort. It’s available at a good price and fits nicely under your welding helmet.
2. 3M Medium Half Facepiece 7500 Series Respirator
Best for comfort
This is another great quality respirator from 3M that’s super comfortable but without the quick release feature of the 6500 series. The faceseal is made of slightly softer silicone so it fits round the face easier to offer more comfort and an effective seal. There is a special cool-flow valve to help make breathing easier and cooler. On the front is an exhalation valve to direct your breath downwards to prevent condensation on the inside of your helmet. The strap is more durable that the 6500 series, but the mask is more expensive. This fits nicely under your welding helmet with the 3M 2297 P100 filters. If you’re looking to spent a few extra bucks on a mask that will give you that little bit extra comfort then we recommend the 7500 series.
3. 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6300
Best for the money
The 3M 6300 respirators are basic, lightweight and great value for money. The facepiece is made from a soft thermoplastic elastomer and is comfortable to wear. The straps are a bit fiddly but they fit well around the head and stay in place once you’ve set them in place. It fits under your welding helmet and with the 3M filters you’ll block out any welding fumes and grinding dust. You can also disassemble the mask to clean out any dust before reusing it. There’s no special features with this such as quick-release or the ability to direct air downwards, but if you want to improve your breathing with minimum cost, this is perfect.
4. GVS Elipse P100 Half Mask Respirator
The GVS respirator comes with replaceable filters included that are the highest safety rating for particulate filters. These filters are small and out of the way to give you the maximum field of vision. It’s very similar to the Miller respirator but available at a cheaper price. The GVS is made from a thermo-plastic elastomer (TPE) that is silicone and odor free. The result is a soft, lightweight mask that weighs just 3.44oz and allows you to wear it for extended periods of time. It’s a comfortable too and the soft material fits your face nicely. The GVS fits under a welding helmet and is slightly smaller that the 3M 7500. Please note that this is only a particulate respirator so you can still smell solvents and vapors. Overall it’s perfect if you just want a small, lightweight respirator at a good price with the filters already attached.
5. Miller Half Mask Respirator
The Miller welding respirator is very similar in design to the GVS Elipse. They’re lightweight and come with the filters already attached with a small design so that your field of vision isn’t limited when welding. These are a little on the expensive side though and if you’re on a budget you’ll be better off going for the 3M 6300. If you have quite a small welding helmet this might not fit under it.
What to Consider when Buying a Welding Respirator
Below are some of the main things to consider when choosing a respirator to wear when you’re welding. These are the criteria we used when selecting our top picks.
Size of the respirator
Your respirator needs to fit under your welding helmet comfortably. If you have a large mask size then your hood won’t close all the way. If it doesn’t fit properly it will also make you feel cramped and uncomfortable.
Some respirators have the filter included and others you need to buy separately. You should always keep some spare filters lying around in case you need to replace them. If you ever start to smell fumes when welding you should immediately switch the filter over to a new one. The 3M Pancake 2097 filters are great for the 3M respirators.
If you’re welding for long periods of time you won’t want to wear something that’s uncomfortable. You’ll already have a fair bit of weight on your head with your helmet, so a lightweight respirator is a must. Respirators with easily adjustable straps will allow you to fit it to your perfect head size, rather than being limited to a small, medium or large piece of elastic.
Seal on Face
The closer that the respirator fits to your face, the more effectively it will be able to block out any dust from getting behind the mask. The material that the facepiece is made of is improtant here. Soft silicone can fit perfectly around the countours of your face and provide the closest seal.
Type of Air Vent
When you breath through your respirator, the direction that the air flows can have an impact on whether or not your helmet lens steams up. Welding respirators that direct the release of air downwards will blow the air out the bottom of the mask and allow you to see more clearly without having to wipe your helmet lens clean.
Quick release is a great feature that allows you to quickly unclip the respirator so it drops from your face without having to take off your helmet. This makes life a lot easier if you want a quick break and don’t want to fully take off all of your head gear.
If you’re buying a reusable respirator it goes without saying that you’lll want to keep using it for as long as possible. Reusable half mask respirators and much more durable than disposable respirators, but you’ll need to look out for one that won’t easily break. It’s important to look for straps that aren’t flimsy and could easily break.
Different Types of Welding Respirator
Reusable Half Mask
These are the most popular form of welding respirator due to their efficiency in improving welding safety and the price you can buy them for. You can use these time and time again, however, you will need to replace the filters after certain levels of exposure to welding fumes. These have a more secure fit and better efficiency that disposable masks but can still fit under your welding helmet. All of our top picks are reusable half mask respirators.
Disposable respirators are a lightweight solution that allows you to feel less constricted when wearing it under your helmet. These will only be made of thin material and won’t offer high levels of protection against welding fumes and particles.
If you’re welding all day then air feed respirator is the best solution. A purifying respiratory system will attach to your welding helmet and purify the air by filtering out dust, fumes and mist. You can attach these with a shoulder strap to distribute weight and minimize neck strain. These are much more expensive that purchasing a simple helmets and half mask respirator.
We hope you liked our top picks for the best welding respirators. You need to decide which one is the best for your needs, but any one of the above will help add an extra level of safety protection when welding.
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