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Best Welding Respirators of 2021

Updated
Welding respirators protect your lungs.

Breathing poisonous fumes when welding is always a danger. The gasses that escape during the welding process can cause long term damage to your health. So, making sure you have a suitable respirator is crucial if you want to work safely.

We look at the best welding respirators to bring you our top 5.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features
Product Image of the Miller ML00895 Lpr-100 Respirator W/Filters, Medium/Large by Miller Electric
Best Comfort Welding Respirator
Miller Electric Respirator Mask
  • Layered & pleated filter
  • Traps 99.97% of pollutants
  • Ergonomic design
Product Image of the Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator - 1 Year Full Manufacturer Warranty - Eye Protection
Best Full Mask Welding Respirator
PT-100 Full Face Mask Respirator
  • Full face protection
  • Filters 95% impurities
  • Non-fog design
Product Image of the 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6200, Gases, Vapors, Dust, Paint, Cleaning, Grinding, Sawing, Sanding, Welding, Adjustable Headstraps, Bayonet Connection, Medium
Best Half-Mask Welding Respirator
3M 6200 Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator
  • Interchangeable filter cartridges
  • Reusable
  • NIOSH approved
Product Image of the 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator Assembly 6391/07003(AAD), Large, P100 Respiratory Protection 051131070030
Best Reusable Welding Respirator
3M 7182 Reusable Respirator
  • Easy-change filters
  • Balanced mask
  • Easy to adjust
Product Image of the KN95 Mask-10PC, White
Best Disposable Welding Respirator
FeraDyne KN95 10-Piece Mask Pack
  • Trap 95% of pollutants
  • Require no maintenance
  • Disposable

Do Welders Need to Wear Respirators?

The simple answer is yes, they do. During the welding process, noxious fumes and odors are released that can cause serious harm. A welding respirator forms a vital part of your PPE equipment (Personal Protective Equipment) and stops you from inhaling tiny particles that, at best, cause you discomfort and, at worst, serious health effects.

How Bad Is Welding Smoke for You?

Exposure to fumes can cause heart and lung defects and even cancer! Lung cancer is a common disease among welders who take PPE lightly. If the metal you are working on has zinc as an ingredient, you might end up with a condition called metal or welder’s flu. This is where the zinc fumes give you all the symptoms of seasonal flu.

The difference is that welder’s flu has long term health implications if exposure is prolonged. Some fumes cause skin and eye irritations, while others can damage the throat and lungs.

How Do Welding Respirator Masks Work?

The principles behind these masks are really simple. Knowing their capabilities is vital if you want to remain safe.

First, look for the filter respirators. These respirators have filters that remove impurities from the fumes that could cause harm. They are far more effective than N95 face masks.

There are two types of masks: filter and N95 face masks. N95 removes 95 percent of dust and allergen particles by trapping them in the mask’s fabric, preventing inhalation. These masks are ideal if you are protecting against dust but not fumes.

The second technique and the most expensive to buy is an air-supply respirator. These are the safest to use because they supply unpolluted air from an independent source to protect the welder.

Types of Welding Respirators

There are many ways to protect yourself during welding. Here are the types of respirators commonly used in the industry.

Reusable

Product Image of the 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator Assembly 6391/07003(AAD), Large, P100 Respiratory Protection 051131070030

This is an economical approach to safety. These masks are relatively inexpensive and can be used multiple times. The only thing you have to be careful of is changing the filter when it becomes dirty.

Disposable

Product Image of the KN95 Mask-10PC, White

These respirators are use-once items. They are tossed away after use and replaced with a new one. Welder’s wear these under welding helmets. As they are disposable, they are often constructed using thin material to save costs.

The advantage is you don’t have to clean them after use, and they are lightweight and comfortable. The downside is they offer a reduced level of protection, so bear this in mind when shopping for your respirator.

Half-Mask

Product Image of the 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6200, Gases, Vapors, Dust, Paint, Cleaning, Grinding, Sawing, Sanding, Welding, Adjustable Headstraps, Bayonet Connection, Medium

Half-mask respirators cover your nose and your mouth. They should be tight fitting to ensure that no fumes penetrate. For this reason, they can feel restrictive, reducing the amount of time the wearer can use them. Also, you will need further protection for your eyes to avoid irritation from the fumes.

Full-Mask

Product Image of the Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator - 1 Year Full Manufacturer Warranty - Eye Protection

A full-mask respirator does the same thing as the half-mask but covers your entire face. This gives you better eye protection, and it also improves the respirator’s performance by reducing instances where the fumes can penetrate.

Air-Purifying

As the name suggests, it provides the welder with a continuous supply of clean air, typically through a hose that connects to a welding helmet. Some of these respirators have cooling fans that keep the welder feeling comfortable, even in the hottest environments. These respirators offer the highest level of protection, and it improves the comfort of the user.

How to Choose the Best Welding Respirators

Several elements make the best welding respirator. Here are some basics to keep in mind.

Type of Work

The hazards you face while working dictate the type of respirator that suits your needs. If you work in an environment that exposes you to gasses, fumes and dust, get a welding respirator that offers full-face coverage. It’s the only way you can ensure total safety.

If fumes are your principal concern, try an air-supply system. This keeps your face bathed in fresh air, stopping the harmful effects of noxious fumes and odors. Knowing the contaminant risks is important. Knowledge is king if you want to remain protected.

Also, the environment you work in is a key factor. If the work is hot, consider an air-supply technique to keep you cool. If you work in a dusty but well-ventilated space, maybe the half-mask might suffice.

The kind of work you do is probably the most defining reason for choosing what type of respirator best suits you.

Comfort and Wearability

Remember that you will be wearing the respirator for long periods, so it has to be comfortable and practical. If the mask causes you irritation or discomfort, you are less likely to want to wear it, and it may impact your work rate.

It should allow you to breathe naturally while not restricting the airflow. It shouldn’t cut into your skin or cause you to overheat, which could give rise to rashes and irritation. It should have ergonomic elements that allow the mask to hug your face without feeling uncomfortable.

Filtration System

Make sure the filtration system is up to the task. Check what the filter traps before you buy and if they are suitable for your types of welding. Different welding materials have varying properties and ingredients, so remember that the fumes they emit change. Make sure your filters can cope with this.

Durability

Welding masks must be up to the job. Disposable masks are thinner, but they still should provide the agreed level of protection for the duration of usage. Once used, they should be thrown in the trash.

Look for things like replaceable filters and working parts and make a note of how fragile they seem. By getting the buying process right, you can save money in the long run and ensure that you don’t have to shell out for a costly replacement too often.

If you are on a budget, it might be better to opt for disposable masks rather than place your faith in a cheap and flimsy respirator that costs more but ultimately fails on you.


The Best Welding Respirators of 2021

With so many respirator masks to choose from, getting the best 5 was a challenge.

We bring you our list of the best 5 respirator masks.

1. Miller Electric ML00895 Respirator Mask

Best Comfort Welding Respirator

Comfort is such an important consideration when shopping for a welding respirator mask. If you are wearing it all day, you want it to feel like a second skin and not pinch your face. This Miller Electric face mask features an exhaust valve that allows the air to flow one way, and it is lightweight and fits under welding helmets with ease.

The ergonomic design hugs the face, removing gaps where contaminants and fumes can enter while not cutting into your skin. It is very comfortable to wear. The filter traps 99.97 percent of pollutants, and the 4-point head strap means the mask is fully adjustable for comfort.

This is a medical-grade mask that is allergen-free, odor-free and latex and silicone-free. It also features a wrap-around spark guard to protect the filters from sparkes and other debris.

Pros

  • Layered and pleated filter.
  • Traps 99.97 percent of pollutants.
  • Ergonomic design.
  • Fully adjustable.

Cons

  • Only protects half the face.
  • Filters are hard to get.

Additional Specs

Weight 5.61 ounces
Dimensions 4 x 3.8 x 7.5
Number of filters 2
Effectiveness 99.97 percent
Protects against Fumes, oil-based particles and airborne particles
Type Half-mask
Price $$

2. PT-100 Full Face Mask Respirator

Best Welding Full Mask Respirator

This full-face mask respirator provides a professional level of protection. It has dual-action charcoal filters and an impact-resistant face shield, so you can ensure that your eyes are safe from irritants and danger.

It filters out dust, grime and vapors that could cause harm. It never fogs, has voice amplification for better communication and high-density elastic straps for complete comfort. The particulate filter performance is slightly less than the Miller model, at 95 percent, but it offers that extra face shielding that a half-mask respirator doesn’t have.

The only downside is you cannot wear glasses under the shield, which means that if you have prescription glasses, you will struggle with this respirator mask.

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Pros

  • Full face protection.
  • Filters 95 percent impurities.
  • Non-fog design.
  • Impact-resistant.
  • 1-year warranty.

Cons

  • Reduced filter performance.
  • Can’t wear glasses under the shield.

Additional Specs

Weight 1.79 pounds
Dimensions 9.8 x 8.15 x 5.39
Number of filters 2
Effectiveness 99.5 percent
Protects against Fumes, gasses, airborne particles
Type Full-mask
Price $$$

3. 3M 6200 Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator

Best Welding Half-Mask Respirator

The beauty of half-mask respirators is they are lightweight and easily adjustable. They are also easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance. This respirator is compatible with particulate filters, filter cartridges and hard case filters. It means you have the versatility to cater to many applications.

This respirator offers protection against fumes, vapors, chemicals and other heavy-duty jobs. It is NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) approved, so it has been tested to the highest standards, and it has a reusable filter that removes easily.

The mask is easy to keep clean, and it hugs your face to reduce gaps where the fumes could penetrate. It even comes with a sealable storage bag to stop contamination when not in use.

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Interchangeable filter cartridges.
  • Reusable.
  • NIOSH approved.
  • Sealable storage bag.

Cons

  • Only protects half the face.
  • Filter is separate.

Additional Specs

Weight 1.06 ounces
Dimensions 6 x 5 x 5
Number of filters 2
Effectiveness Not stated
Protects against Fumes, gasses, airborne particles
Type Half-mask
Price $

4. 3M 7182 Reusable Respirator

Best Reusable Welding Respirator

This 3M half-mask is designed for comfort and useability. It is soft, lightweight and easily adjustable, thanks to the head straps that make finding the best fit a breeze. Like the previous respirator, this is NIOSH approved for safety and performance.

This mask protects in a number of applications, including welding, brazing, and even exposure to chemicals and poisons like arsenic. The respirator can be disassembled and cleaned to prolong its life, and the filters are simple to change.

The position of the filters aid with the balance of the mask and increases visibility. It is also available as a drop-down head harness or standard design.

Pros

  • Easy-change filters.
  • Lightweight.
  • Balanced mask.
  • NIOSH approved.
  • Easy to adjust.

Cons

  • Only protects half the face.
  • Filters sold separately.

Additional Specs

Weight 5 ounces
Dimensions 8 x 7 x 3
Number of filters 2
Effectiveness 99 percent
Protects against Fumes, gasses, airborne particles
Type Half-mask
Price $$

5. FeraDyne KN95 10-Piece Mask Pack

Best Disposable Welding Respirator

If you have a limited budget and don’t want to splash out on an all-singing and dancing respirator, this 10-piece disposable set is an ideal choice. They are KN95, which means they trap 95 percent of particulates.

They are also lightweight, and one size fits all. Typically, they are for lighter welding duties that create more dust than fumes, but they can offer formidable protection when worn under a welding helmet.

The beauty of these masks is that they are disposable, so they require no cleaning or maintenance. When they are used, toss them in the trash and select a new one. The downside is that they are not good for the environment as they contribute to the landfill problem.

You should note that these are not N95 masks but KN95, which is a Chinese alternative, and while they trap the same 95 percent of particulates, their quality is less stringent than the N95 equivalents.

Pros

  • Trap 95 percent of pollutants.
  • Require no maintenance.
  • Easy to wear.
  • Lightweight.
  • Disposable.

Cons

  • Limited protection.
  • Disposable.

Additional Specs

Weight 2.08 ounces
Dimensions 11.42 x 7.48 x 1.97
Number of filters N/A
Effectiveness 95 percent
Protects against Airborne particles
Type Half-mask
Price $$

Welding Respirator Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Dimensions No. of filters Effectiveness Protects against Type
Miller Electric Respirator Comfort 5.61 oz 4 x 3.8 x 7.5″ 2 99.97% Fumes, oil-based particles & airborne particles Half-mask
PT-100 Full Face Mask Full Mask 1.79 lbs 9.8 x 8.15 x 5.39″ 2 99.50% Fumes, gasses, airborne particles Full-mask
3M 6200 Half Facepiece Half-Mask 1.06 oz 6 x 5 x 5″ 2 N/A Fumes, gasses, airborne particles Half-mask
3M 7182 Respirator Reusable 5 oz 8 x 7 x 3″ 2 99% Fumes, gasses, airborne particles Half-mask
FeraDyne KN95 Mask Pack Disposable 2.08 oz 11.42 x 7.48 x 1.97″ N/A 95% Airborne particles Half-mask

Welding Respirators FAQs

How To Care for Welding Respirators?

Ensure that your mask lasts the distance by regularly cleaning or replacing the filters and washing it in warm, clean water. This involves cleaning the filters and the cartridges, as well as the mask itself.

Allow the mask to air-dry in a clean space without contaminants.

How Long Do Welding Respirators Last?

It depends on how often you use the respirator, the types of work you undertake, and the respirator’s quality . Disposable models last just one use, while masks with replaceable filters can last indefinitely.

If the mask gets used in heavily polluted areas, expect to replace it sooner than in cleaner environments.

Is N95 a Welding Respirator?

An N95 mask is a welding respirator, providing protection through layers of material that trap 95 percent of pollutants. It may not be suitable for all types of welding and situations, but it should provide adequate support in most.

These masks are frequently worn under welding helmets as additional protection from harm.


Breathe Easy With a Respirator

Lung damage is serious, as are the other ailments that arise due to inhaling fumes, gasses and airborne pollutants. Some of these can cause long term damage, with potentially devastating effects.

The solution is simple, get a respirator. But make sure it matches the type of applications you need it for. Do yourself a favor and protect your lungs. It might be one of the smartest moves you make.

Headshot of Mark Weir

About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.

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