Popular Welding Safety Equipment: PAPR Helmets 101

If your job includes welding or any other kind of part assembling task, you’re probably using a welding helmet to protect yourself from the dangerous ultraviolet light, the unpleasant flash burns, infrared light, sparks and the heat in general. At this point, you should know that many welders worldwide replace the standard welding helmets with the superiorly protective PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) ones as a part of their air supplied welding hood.

Benefits of PAPR Welding Helmets

If you’re wondering how a helmet featuring a mounted filtration system can protect you while you’re welding, here are some of the advantages worth mentioning.
air welding helmet

Protection Against Carcinogens

You probably heard that the fume you inhale while you’re welding can be harmful to your health, and that’s why you’re wearing a welding mask to protect yourself. But what you probably don’t know is that in 2017 the International Agency for Research on Cancer has reclassified welding fumes from “possibly carcinogenic to humans” to “carcinogenic to humans”, which confirmed a lot of welders’ worst fear that welding unprotected can cause cancer.

But once you get yourself with a convenient PAPR welding helmet, there’s no reason to be worried since it’ll constantly filter the air and won’t let the dangerous fumes and gas get to your lungs.

Superior Air Filtration

There’s no doubt that welding with your basic helmet offers some level of protection against toxic gas, fumes, dust and different particles. But did you know that a welding helmet with air filter is capable of protecting you up to 5 times more than the disposable and reusable ones?
air filtration welding helmet

If we compare these two types of welding masks, the basic disposable and reusable respiratory ones have an RMPF (Required Minimum Protection Factor) of 10, while air fed welding helmets are estimated at 50. This means that wearing an air fed helmet while you’re welding will provide you with 40 times cleaner air than the basic respiratory masks.

Ultimate Comfort

It’s not uncommon for welders to work in humid areas accompanied by hot temperatures, and wearing a basic respiratory mask can often mean inhaling air through a sweaty and hot filter. If you’ve experienced this “level of uncomfortable”, then it’s time to ditch the basic respiratory mask and get yourself an air supplied one. Not only will it protect you from inhaling the toxic dangerous fumes and gas, but they’re also intended to deliver steams of cool and clean air straight to your nose, which will put an end to the nightmare of having a sticky and sweaty mask all over your face.
welding helmet

You Don’t Have to Quit on Your Beard

You probably know that being a welder means having a freshly shaved face every time you go to work. This is due to the beard standing in the way of the basic respiratory masks, making them unable to create a proper seal to provide protection.

But this won’t be the case with air purified welding helmets, since they’re able to produce enough pressure to make a seal on your face regardless if it is covered in beard or clean-shaven. So, if you’re a proud beard owner, you can simply replace your basic mask with an air fed one instead of shaving your beard. Great news, isn’t it?

Choosing the Right Welding Helmet with Air Filtration System

If you decided to embrace all these benefits and get a PAPR welding helmet, know that it won’t serve its purpose if you don’t make the right choice. This is why we wrapped up a couple of useful tips to help you choose the best option for yourself.

The Helmet’s Construction

If welders in the past had to install air filtration systems separately to their helmets, nowadays you can easily find a welding helmet with air flow system included on the market. These helmets are constructed by the mask itself which is sealed on your face through a rubber seal. Then, there’s a hose that is connected to the helmet through a filter box that has the role to supply you with fresh air. In fact, this box uses a system of filters that can feature different levels and types of protection depending on your needs. Finally, the entire construction is supported by a battery, often a rechargeable one.
air welding helmet protection

The Type of Welding

The protection level of your welding helmet will highly depend on the type of welding you’re doing. For instance, if you’re working in a confined environment where there’s a little bit of ventilation, then a basic welding mask offers a good level of protection. But on the other hand, if you’re working in hazardous spaces where there’re chemical fumes and noxious odours then the superior protection of a welding helmet with oxygen supply is more than required.

Aside from choosing the right protection level, make sure you consider what kind of helmet your work requires. For instance, some welders will need low-amperage TIG protection, while others may need a true colour viewport or high optical clarity. PAPR helmets come in a great range of styles and designs, so make sure you choose what’s optimal for yourself.

Your Personal Preferences

The best part about the air supplied welding helmets is that you can completely customize them up to your preferences so you can feel comfortable while you’re working. While the usual way of wearing these units is through a harness on the waist, this doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust yours to hang off your shoulders or place it in a stationary position if you need to lay down while you’re welding.

Additional Features

Finally, it’s essential to take a notice of your new PAPR helmet’s features and choose the ones that will come in handy according to your job. For instance, some of these helmets can feature digital management systems, so you can always adjust the battery usage, prolong its lifespan and charging modes. Some of them can also feature convenient mechanisms such as alarms and vibrating devices that will let you know to recharge the unit or replace the filter once their battery is low.

However, make sure you choose these features if you truly need them since they will additionally increase the cost for the helmet as well as the maintenance costs later.