Best Welding Respirators 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
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A good welding respirator can be hard to find, but it can also be worth its weight in gold. Going without one for just a few minutes can leave you coughing and potentially make you sick, so it’s important to get a respirator that’s up to the task.
While there are many overpriced professional-grade models out there, you can get the same value for a lot less. These reviews are designed to expose you to some welding respirators that give you the protection you need at a price that won’t wipe out any possible profit from the job.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide designed to help you think through the buying process, so you end up with a respirator you love using.
Breakdown of our Favorites
The 5 Best Welding Respirators
1. Breath Buddy Welding Respirator Mask – Best Overall
The Breath Buddy Respirator Mask is beloved by woodworkers, plumbers, and other groups because of how well it works at filtering out dust and smells. Not only do the active-carbon filters have 99.95 percent efficiency, but they also do a ton to remove bad smells. People working with extremely smelly paints and the occasional toxic chemical nearly universally report that they couldn’t smell it at all, which is a huge plus. It also comes with a cool air valve, which is useful for when you want to breathe easy while on a break.
However, what really sets this mask apart is that it’s supremely comfortable. Very few respirators rise to that level, but this one is widely regarded as being very comfortable. That said, you’re paying a large premium for this mask over other ones with equal levels of filtration. Still, the extra comfort will justify the price for many people, which is what boosts this model to the top of our list. This is a respirator that most people will love, despite the above-average price.
2. 3M Full Facepiece Welding Respirator
The 3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6700/54145 is another great choice for welders looking for a convenient respirator. Unlike the previous one, this respirator comes with a full facemask, so that both your lungs and eyes are protected from potentially harmful chemicals or smoke. It comes in three different sizes, small, medium, and large, so you can get one that fits well. Something else to like about this model is that there’s a wide range of compatible filters. That way, you can get the kind that fits the job at hand, especially if exotic fumes are going to come into play.
It’s also worth pointing out that this respirator is supremely comfortable. It’s designed to be worn all day, and it really shows. Most users report absolutely no discomfort, which means this model is a great choice in that category. While it doesn’t come with filters, it does mean you get to choose your own, though that’s not a plus for everyone. Even though it costs double what the top pick on our list costs, the added protection makes it a great overall choice.
3. GVS Elipse P100 Half Mask Welder’s Respirator – Best Value
The GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 Half Mask Respirator is another choice that will make most welders very happy. Its defining feature is its form factor, which is much smaller than those found in most other respirators. That lets it fit comfortably under most welding masks, while other models sometimes make for a tricky fit. It also weighs just 6.4 ounces, which is extremely light for a respirator of equivalent quality. Plus, it comes with a multi-position strap, which allows multiple areas of adjustment, so you can produce a very comfortable fit.
This is also a great respirator for those looking for a deal. It costs about half of what you’ll have to shell out for the top model on our list, which makes it a great investment, and the best value for the money on our list. The one thing that keeps it out of the top two is that it’s not durable enough to last forever with daily use. Still, if you’re looking for a respirator that’s small, effective, and light, there’s not going to be a better choice on the market for you for the price.
4. 3M Half Facepiece Welding Respirator
The 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator is used by many welders. It’s easy to understand why. It comes with filters, which saves you time and money. Since 3M makes a variety of filters, you’ll be able to get replacements when you need them for the different jobs you’re doing. It’s also one of the more comfortable respirators on the market, which makes it great for long-duration welding jobs. It does exceedingly well with welding fumes with the included filters, which is certainly a huge plus.
Unfortunately, this respirator sometimes causes fogging, both of glasses and of welding masks. That’s a huge pain to deal with. If you can’t see, you can’t work, and fogging makes it hard, or impossible, to see. It’s also a bit on the bulky side. The design makes it fit okay under welding masks, but that’s the most that can be said for it. There are certain things the manufacturer could do that would improve its overall fit under the hood. Ultimately, this respirator isn’t a terrible choice, but many welders will be able to find better options for the money.
5. 3M Rugged Comfort Half Facepiece Respirator
3M makes a lot of different respirators, and the 3M Rugged Comfort Half Facepiece Respirator (6501QL/49488) is another one that often gets brought up when welding is involved. It has a quick-latch mechanism, which lets you quickly lower it for when you need to have a conversation or otherwise make your voice heard. It’s also a high airflow respirator, so if you have problems with feeling choked off in respirators, this one will really fit your needs. Plus, it’s designed to stay cool and to not collect moisture, which can make for a more comfortable experience.
Of course, the inside of the respirator is only part of the equation. The straps aren’t well placed. That means it’s hard to get a good fit, and it can be even harder to get a comfortable fit. It’s also disappointing that this model doesn’t come with filters, which adds an extra hassle to the buying process. While some people will be able to make it work, that’s a low bar to hurdle, given that there are so many other respirators that can excel for welders. That makes this one a poor overall choice.
One of the most important, but also most underrated, things to consider when shopping for a welding respirator is comfort. Jobs can take hours or days to complete, and you’re going to be wearing a respirator the entire time. If it’s not comfortable, it’s going to leave you frustrated with your purchase.
Strap position is very important when it comes to comfort. The more options you have when it comes to adjusting the straps, the more comfortable the mask typically is.
Another thing to consider when buying a respirator is the range of filters available for that mask. Different welding jobs produce different kinds of fumes, and not all filters are certified to work against all of those. That may mean that you need to change filters between jobs.
If that describes your work environment, go with a brand that has a wide range of available filters. 3M is an excellent choice in this category, though this can sometimes make it difficult to figure out which filters are compatible with which masks.
Typically, respirators aren’t going to last forever, especially if you’re using them for hours every day. It’s important to ensure you’re getting a great price. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money away. It’s often a good idea to spend more on more durable respirators, as the lifespan gains can be quite large.
You should also pay attention to the price of replacement filters. If you’ll be replacing the filters frequently, small changes in price can make a big difference in the long run.
The Breath Buddy Respirator Mask is our choice for best overall respirator for welding, due to its 99.95 percent filter efficiency, nuisance odor relief, and overall excellent comfort. The 3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6700/54145 comes with a full facemask, a choice of sizes, and good comfort. Its lack of included filters keeps it out of first place. The GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 Half Mask Respirator has a slim form factor, a lightweight frame, and a multi-position strap. Its low price means that it’s the best value for the money on our list. The 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator is comfortable and includes filters that do well with welding fumes, but it sometimes causes fogging and is a bit bulky for use under a welding mask. In last place, the 3M Rugged Comfort Half Facepiece Respirator (6501QL/49488) comes with a convenient quick-latch mechanism and high airflow, but its lack of included filters and poor overall comfort really hurt its value.
Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide give you a better understanding of welding respirators, and you can now find the one that’s right for your next job.
We highly recommend you also read:
- Which are the top 5 welders for beginners?
- Which welding jacket should I pick?
- What are some good budget welder picks?
- Breakdown of our Favorites
- The 5 Best Welding Respirators
- Buyer’s Guide