During welding, dangerous fumes and toxic material often contaminate the air, and PAPR systems help to solve this problem. PAPR breathing helmets help to provide the user with safe breathing courtesy of powered purified air. Most of the time, it is mandatory, and your employer will demand you use one as it is mandated by federal or state law. The smoke and fumes that result from the welding process can cause problems to your nervous system, which is why PAPR welding helmets are crucial.
A proper welding helmet constitutes a mask that seals the user’s face from the outside air. The air supply connects the helmet to the filter box responsible for bringing fresh air to the helmet. There is also a filter system to offer different levels of protection and battery-powered air movement.
Additional components and other things like special features should be considered when purchasing a welding helmet. The following are some of the best PAPR welding helmets available today.
PAPR Welding Helmet Reviews
1. 3M Speedglas Heavy-Duty Welding Helmet
3M excels at using science to improve daily life. The company started as a small mining venture back in northern Minnesota. Their products have helped make life easier for many people worldwide. The company claims it was only sometimes successful from the beginning; there was a lot of trial and error. They tried new stuff, retried cycles, and everything else. In all these ups and downs, the one thing that drove them was perseverance and innovation, which is why their products, like this welding helmet, are known these days
This G5-01VC welding filter features a unique variable color technology that allows the user to pick between three different color options. In addition, you can choose between warm, cool, or clear. These three options can enhance your ability to see the weld joint, arc, or puddle better than the other filter.
In addition, there is a 5, 8-14 dark shade option. It has an automatic on and off for added convenience, and the 3M Natural Colour technology makes the filter view lighter and more colorful and detailed.
You will enjoy having the large 104 x 170mm curved protective visor that allows you to see both up, down, and peripherally. The helmet also allows you to control your comfort and comes with airflow optimization to decide whether you want the air to flow on your face, the visor, or in between. One downside we noticed about this welding gear is that it doesn’t have great neck and ear protection. Thus, you might have to get extended neck coverage.
The 3M welding helmet is labeled, packaged, and sold to trained industrial customers to use in their workplace. They are not meant for primary, home, recreational, or personal use. Welders should use it following health and safety regulations and user instructions and warnings. These precautions are necessary as misusing them may result in sickness, injury, property damage, or even death.
- Convenient variable color technology
- Dark shade options
- Airflow optimization systems are handy
- Automatic on and off
- The view is lighter, more detailed, and more colorful
- Not the best for neck and ear protection
2. RPB Safety Z4 Welding Respirator
RPB aims to create solutions for you and your team so that every worker can return home safely and securely. They did just so with this welding respirator. The company initially supplied components for the healthcare sector. Still, they are a global group that produces high technology diversified filtration in the energy and mobility, healthcare and life sciences, and health and safety sectors. The RPGZ4 welding respirator is a product of the USA, made from source components acquired locally.
One of the things you might appreciate most is how easy it is to use. A flip-up welding visor allows for optimum vision when you are grinding. You also get peripheral vision courtesy of the clip-in shade and five side windows. If you want, you can switch these out for window blockers available in the package.
It is also built for comfort courtesy of the head suspension system that comes with multi-adjustment. When you purchase it, it comes with a complete kit. This includes the head harness, the PAPR unit with HEPA filter, a battery charger, a high-capacity battery, a quick-release belt support, a belt, and a flow meter.
There is also a quick connect breathing tube. The helmet offers eye protection with a clear and replaceable grinding lens that is ANSI z87+ approved. The welding lenses are large and they auto-darken.
The Z4 features dual air distribution, which helps deliver 75% of the air to your breathing zone using a multi-directional outlet. The remaining 25% helps to reduce fogging as it directs air over the grinding visor.
One downside is that if you use it for more than a couple of hours, the front side gets a bit heavy, and you might get a headache. Another issue is that the entire front cannot entirely flip to allow you to wipe off your sweat or get a drink; you have to remove it entirely.
- Relatively easy to use
- Head adjustment systems make it comfortable to use
- Offers eye protection
- Ansi z87+ approved
- Dual air distribution
- Allows for peripheral vision
- It can feel heavy after prolonged use
- It’s difficult to wipe off sweat or sip a drink while wearing it
3. Optrel Crystal Papr System
If accurate results are what you are after and you want the aid of smart technology to produce them, Optrel is the ideal choice. This brand focuses on not only the health and safety of the workers but also productivity. Their industrial safety equipment that offers face and head protection is widely used by fabricators, metalworkers, medical professionals, and welders. Optrel is one of the first inventors of auto-darkening technology and has years of experience making safety equipment.
For one of the most powerful, well-ventilated breathing protection systems out there, the Optrel e3000x is the ideal choice. It features an integrated airflow sensor and three-level airflow adjustment.
When it comes to battery life, you can depend on it as it can go up to 18 hours. In addition, you get 240 liters of air per minute at the convenient touch of a button. Furthermore, it features an ergonomic fit and has a mountain-breeze odor filter.
The Optrel e3000x also has a high-efficiency particulate air filter that will filter out 99.8% of airborne particles. As a result, the air is evenly distributed in the PAPR helmet without causing eye irritation. Moreover, the breathing air is up to 500 times more clean courtesy of the high-level protection you get against dust and aerosols.
When working, you get to enjoy light transmission of up to 31% when in bright conditions, thus providing you with a clear unclouded view. In addition, there is a fantastic color spectrum that, for the first time, allows welders to look at the weld pool with amazing clarity.
In terms of warranty, the manufacturers guarantee automatic airflow control, calibration, and better efficiency, comfort, and performance conditions. It is, however, relatively costly.
On the downside, the filters get used up fast when the helmets are in high settings. They are also expensive to replace.
- It comes with adjustable airflow
- Ergonomic fit
- The battery power pack can last the entire day
- Mountain-breeze odor filter
- Integrated airflow control
- The filters get used up quickly
4. Miller PAPR T94i-R
This piece of gear from Miller Electric features most of the bells and whistles you require from your welding helmet. Miller Electric is known for building products that make an impact. They lead in the welding industry and focus on building solution-oriented products that meet the needs of their customers as far as health and safety are concerned. Anyone working in manufacturing, aviation, construction, agriculture, and motorsports will find the products from Miller Electric useful.
Weighing in at 2.2 pounds, the T94i-R is lightweight which extends its wearability without interfering with the surroundings. You also get dual air speeds that help adjust the air volume and maximize comfort in varied work environments.
In addition, there are helpful alarms and vibrating noises that will alert you if you are in a noisy environment in the event of a low battery or because of reduced airflow. You get a 180° field of vision courtesy of the integrated grind shield, and you have four independent arc sensors. You can also optimize your contrast and clarity in different welding and lighting states courtesy of the ClearLight Lens Technology.
In terms of battery life, it features a lightweight lithium-ion battery that gives you up to eight hours of run time. In addition, it has no memory retention from recurrent charging.
The battery is rated for 500 charges, and each system comes with two. In terms of protecting you from harmful fumes and smoke, this helmet does a great job and gets you working at your best.
The HEPA filter is useful as it protects you from metal fumes, mists, and solid dust particles. A prefilter also increases the longevity of the main HEPA filter.
However, it is not easy to use this helmet if you need to crawl into a tight space to weld, as it can easily get snagged or caught on something. This can be unpleasant, especially if you are trying to get the job done quickly.
- Reliable ClearLight Lens Technology
- Long battery life
- Offers 180° field of vision
- Convenient alarms and vibrations in noisy environments
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- It can be hard to use in tight spaces
5. Lincoln K3930-1 PAPR Welding helmet
Lincoln Electric is known for its top-tier development and manufacturing of arc welding products. Lincoln Electric has an industry-leading team of experts and an impressive portfolio of solutions that help advance innovations and deliver quality products to their customers.
There are several features on this welding helmet that users are sure to enjoy. The first one is the intelligent blower system with a HEPA filter. The HEPA filter provides up to 99.97% particle filtration at 0.3 microns. Safety concerns about air quality when welding are serious; for this reason, the two-speed blower drives air through the hose. Inside, there is a unique system that prevents the air from going into your eyes and irritating them when you are working.
You get perfect optical clarity with this product by measuring the blurriness, distortion, angle uniformity, and shade consistency of the automatic darkening of the welding lens. You also get an extra large viewing area of up to 12.5 inches. This increased field of view allows the user better operator control and versatility.
Finally, the PAPR is lightweight and comfortable; the blower weighs 2.2 pounds, whereas the entire system weighs 6.19 pounds. It might seem like a lot, but most of the weight is on the belt pack and hose and not on the shoulders or head, allowing you to work as comfortably as possible.
The battery run time is dependable and can last up to a minimum of eight hours. In addition, there are audible and vibrating alarm signals that will alert you if the battery is running low.
The Viking system maintains positive pressure at speeds of 180 and 210 liters per minute, and in keeping the airflow constant, the system will automatically adjust the fan speeds.
- Reliable filter system
- Offers increased field of vision
- Comfortable courtesy of the weight distribution
- Battery life is dependable
- It can feel bulky to use
When choosing a PAPR helmet, there are several things to consider, including quality, usability, and components, among other things. The type of hazards you are exposed to, the type of welding you plan to do, and your personal preferences also play a key role in deciding which PAPR helmet will best suit you.
We give the 3M Speedglas G5-01 the overall crown from the ones we reviewed. It is the ideal choice if you want a great PAPR welding helmet. After around 10 years of development, it’s an improvement over its predecessors. For ease of use, go for the RPB Z4. The Optrel e3000x is a high-end professional product that works well in hazardous environments. If state-of-the-art is what you are after, the Miller T941-R is your PAPR welding helmet. It features a true color filter and a face plate that flips up without you even having to remove the helmet. Finally, the Lincoln K3930 shines in output and offers a great viewing area and optics.