If you need to choose one of the best 3M Speedglas welding helmets, then you came to the right place. In this article, we have tested, reviewed and rated 5 of the best Speedglas welding hoods in order to help you make the right choice.
Out top recommendation is the 3M Speedglas 9100, which is the crown jewel of the 3M Company. It has everything a welder might need: excellent optical clarity, a very large viewing area for better control, and very easy-to-use auto darkening knobs for adjustments.
To ensure the safety of the cutters and welders who use the plasma arc cutting and the plasma arc welding methods, as well as any other welding method, we have gathered information about 5 of the best 3M Speedglas welding helmets and we present them below:
Best 3M Speedglas Welding Helmets
1 – 3M Speedglas 9100
- 2.8 x 4.2 in. viewing area
- New comfortable headgear
- Sensitivity adjustment that allows use with all...
- SideWindows increase peripheral vision by over...
- SideWindows increase peripheral vision by over 100...
Searching for the best Speedglas auto darkening welding helmets suitable for any type of welding, I found out that the 3M Speedglas 9100 was a helmet specifically designed for maximum convenience, and they have done an excellent job.
On this awesome headgear, you are going to find 4 high quality sensors that guarantee instant arc detection. As a result, the auto darkening feature of the welding helmet is more than sufficient for any type of welding or cutting process.
What is more, the optical class of the helmet is one of the best in the market. The absolutely clear lens along with the large viewing area, provide excellent visibility to the user. The shade is evenly spread across the surface of the lens, and makes this welding helmets a great protection means against harmful rays and arc flashes.
If you are looking a welding helmet with such features and specifications, you can find the 3M Speedglas 9100 on Amazon. Make sure that you read the reviews and ratings, to determine whether this is the right welding helmet for you.
2 – 3M Speedglas 9100 FX
- Speedglas 9100V auto-darkening filter (dark shades...
- Shade 5 SideWindows increase peripheral view
- Aerodynamic exhaust vent technology
- Standard headcover included
- Side windows with dark shade 5 filters increase...
Now this is a great looking auto darkening welding helmet in my honest opinion. It has an orange-colored tint that makes it very appealing to the eye, as well as some very impressive design mainly on the side parts of its surface.
Apart from its looks, the 3M Speedglas 9100 FX has a shade range of 8 to 13. This wide range of shades allows the welder or the cutter to work on multiple projects effectively. In addition, it has several different modes, such as grind, cut and weld.
It has all the necessary controls for manual adjustments, and a significantly effective lens that is going to protect the vision of the user under any circumstances. It works with lithium batteries, and there is an indicator on the screen to help you determine when the battery is at low levels.
All in all, the 3M Speedglas 9100 FX which you can find here, is a more than capable auto darkening welding helmet for plasma arc cutting and welding applications. It comes in an affordable price, and is considered a nice investment long term.
3 – 3M Speedglas SL
- Adjustable headband, allowing for an excellent fit...
- Easy back and forth adjustment of welding helmet
- Tiltable helmet
- Ergonomically designed head suspension offers...
- User-selectable dark shades of 8 through 12, and a...
As far as plasma arc welding is concerned, the 3M Speedglas SL is among the best choices for the modern welder. It has fascinating optical clarity, that is going to allow the user to work in great detail, both while welding and while inspecting his projects.
The welding helmet has a shade range of 9 to 13, which is enough to protect the eyes of the welder while using the plasma welding method. The convenient viewing area is another nice advantage of this high quality auto darkening helmet, which adds more comfort to the job of the welder.
Both the settings of the shade and the light sensitivity are awesome. The structure of the helmet is sturdy enough to overcome minor misuses, and it comes in a very affordable price. For more information about the features of the 3M Speedglas SL, visit Amazon.
4 – 3M Speedglas 100
- 1.73 x 3.66 in. viewing area
- Excellent optical quality
- Sensitivity adjustment that allows use with all...
- Optical quality gives worker a good view of the...
- Classic black helmet
This is a very effective welding helmet for plasma cutting, which offer maximum protections to the cutter. The 3M Speedglas 100 has some a very smart and eye-catching design, and is considered a very appealing welding helmet model.
It is a lightweight helmet, it wears comfortably on the head and stays in place as it is tight enough without causing inconvenience during the cutting process. The are also knobs on the helmet, that can help you balance the positioning while you wear it.
You can find the 3M Speedglas 100 on Amazon. It comes with a grind mode, which essential for most welder s and cutters nowadays, and you can use it for most of the well-known welding processes, as well as plasma arc cutting of course.
5 – 3M Speedglas QR
- 3M speedglas auto-darkening filter 9100 V with...
- Selectable shades 5, 8-13 and shade 3 light state;...
- Delay function to set the dark-to-light opening...
- Sensitivity of the arc detection that can be...
- Compatible with select 3M disposable welding...
The 3M Speedglas QR auto darkening welding helmet from the 3M Company has one of my favorite designs: amazing simple and elegant, fit for professional welders that do not want fancy or extreme welding helmets.
Besides from its affordable price, it is a highly protective headgear, which is able to keep the welder safe from sparks and flames under rough circumstances. It can be used for all kinds of welding processes, and it is especially designed for plasma welding and cutting.
The auto darkening filter has a decent, fast-enough response time, a shade range of 9 to 13 and the brightest shade of the lens is 4. For more information about this beautiful auto darkening welding helmet, check out the 3M Speedglas QR here.
Why you need to take care of your Speedglas welding helmet
A good welder knows how to take care of his welding helmet. Doing so, you are making sure that your Speedglas helmet is going to last longer, and that it will keep you safe during that period of time. Protection is the main reason why welders wear their helmets, so it is common sense that they should keep them in perfect condition.
In order to achieve this, there is a number of effective ways and tips you can use. One thing that you should always keep in mind, is that you should refer to the user manual provided by the manufacturer, in this case 3m,as often as you need to handle your helmet in a proper way.
In addition to the above, you should also ask question to more experienced welders about how to take care of your welding helmet the right way. You can always call or visit the shop from which you purchased the helmet, and ask the salesperson or the owner about useful advise on how to use your welding helmet.
In this article, we have gathered a list of 5 ways that you can follow in order to take care of your Speedglas welding helmet, or any welding helmet. Make sure that you read them carefully, and apply them to your own gear.
8 easy ways to take care of your welding helmet
1 – Store your welding helmet in a safe place
In my opinion, one of the main things welders should take care of is the proper storage of the welding helmet. It may sound a very simple advice, but most of the times it gets overlooked by most users.
Welding helmets like every other tool or piece of equipment collect dust and dirtiness, especially after long periods of no usage. Most people tend to forget them unprotect in basements or warehouses, both of which are humid environments.
Humidity and dust damage welding helmet if they get exposed for some time. They tend to wear down the surface of the helmets, and they cause cracks that may endanger your own safety if not spotted on time.
Make sure that you store your helmet in a room that has good air supply so that it can breath. In addition to this, when air gets into a room, it gets much harder for dust to sit on your welding helmet. Preferably, store the helmet in an average temperature room, without immediate exposure to sunlight.
2 – Use a storage box
To avoid this, make a case of purchasing a plastic storage box like the IRIS 53 Quart Stack & Pull Box. Such storage boxes provide excellent protection to your gear, and they are very cheap and easy to move around, so that you can place them in any part of your home or warehouse.
They work like shields for your welding helmet. They keep it clean, and if you place the box with the helmet inside in a proper warehouse or room like we mention above, you are going to achieve maximum results.
3 – Wrap the helmet for extra protection
If you want to be extra protective with your welding helmet like I am, take a step further and get some bubble wrap paper for it before you place it into the storage box. Quality bubble wrap, such as the One Earth Bubble Wrap Roll will keep your helmet highly protected in the box, especially in case you want to move it around.
Bubble wrap are very affordable, and they offer a soft surface of paper for your welding helmet to lay on. Make sure that you wrap it completely, two or three times. The bubble wrap is very durable, and at the same time it lets your helmet breath some air, as it is not very tightly attached around it.
4 – Get it out of the box regularly
Every now and then, take the time to unwrap and unbox your welding helmet. Air is essential for every piece of equipment so that it can get refreshed and breath freely.
Although it might take some time, this is especially useful if you know that you are not going to use the helmet for long periods. Once in a month, devote five minutes to put your welding helmet out of the box, let it sit in a room with decent air supply, wrap it again and place it in the box. That is all it takes.
5 – Inspect your welding helmet
In case you are one of those geeks like me, who like to take their time with their welding helmets then luckily you have the ability to inspect it more often too. Inspections are placed among the most important tasks when it comes to taking care of your helmet.
Make sure that at least once a month (I do it one a weekly basis) you give a detailed and thorough inspection to your welding helmet. Make sure that you look for cracks, damages and dents, and treat them instantly after you spot them. Such damages make your jeopardize your safety, and you should keep your face protected at all times during welding processes.
Except from the surface of the helmet, pay extra attention to your lens. Lens protect your eyes from rays and extreme heat, so make sure that you check every inch. Except your vision, use your hands to feel the glass of the lens for minors cracks that may escape your naked-eye.
Inspections are the one thing that you should devote your time to no matter what. The welding helmet works for your own safety. If you don’t take its maintenance seriously, you are basically leaving yourself unprotected to harmful health dangers.
6 – Clean the helmet properly
This goes the same for all welding gear and equipment. The cleaning is the most important process as far taking care of your helmet goes. You should clean your helmet regularly and in a proper way, to protect in from potential dirtiness that may cause damages to its materials.
The cleaning process may differ slightly (or in some cases a lot) between various welding helmets. This is because of the brand. Different brands use different ways of manufacturing their welding helmets, so there are various processes of removing accessories such as screws or the lens.
One thing you are advised to do, is read the manufacturers manual that comes with every new welding helmet purchase. Go through every step of the process they use to clean the helmet, and make a case of using the cleaning product they suggest in order to achieve the best results possible.
Always have in mind that you must clean your welding helmet after every use. Welding processes produce lots of dust and debris that usually jump towards your helmet, so it is essential that you remember to clean the helmet thoroughly while the dirtiness is still fresh.
As a last cleaning tip, I have to advise you not to wait until your helmet gets too dirty to take action. Establish a regular cleaning routine, purchase all the necessary cleaning products that the manufacturer recommends and have them always ready for your welding helmet.
7 – Replacements for repairs
It is a fact that replacements and repairs are what costs the most regarding the care of your welding helmet. It a necessity that no welder can avoid, and you have to always be ready for something that is going to be replaced on the helmet.
All common welding types (TIG, MIG, Arc), are heavy welding process that cause a lot of debris, and take place in high temperature environments. As a result, there is high possibility that at some point your welding helmet is going to get damaged.
Some of the main replacements parts you are going to need sooner or later are listed below:
Batteries are the most common accessory regarding welding helmets. If you use your helmet regularly, you already know that you need to purchase batteries often in order to keep it functional.
In case you want to be prepared, buy extra replacement batteries and store them for a rainy day. It is more than certain that you are going to need them, so it is a nice time and money investment (sometimes they come cheaper if you purchase them in bulk).
Another very common part of your welding helmet that you will need to replace regularly is the front lens cover. It is very easy to find lens replacement online, or at a welding store near your neighborhood.
It would be very useful for you if you took the time to learn how to change the lens of your helmet on your own, as it a job that can be easily done at the comfort of your home. I do it very often without facing any issues, although I do know my own welding helmet in and out.
If you are unsure about how to process, you should always refer to an expert, or ask the owner or the salesperson of the shop where you bought it to do it for. In addition to this, there are multiple tutorials online about how to change the lens of a welding helmet.
Now this is a must for me, although I don’t see welders using welding helmet bags too often. This is not a necessary accessory such as the batteries or the lens, but it helps avoiding major damages and accidental drops of your welding helmet.
There are two types of helmet bags that I personally use. The first one is the simpler and more affordable of the two. For moving my welding helmet around I use the Tillman 520 Welders, which is a simple affordable welding bag. I use to transfer my helmet when I have work to do not too far from the house. It can protect your helmet, although I would suggest that you also use bubble wrap on it for extra protection.
As an even more effective solution, I use the Revco GB100 BSX. This is a gear pack, in which you can store your welding helmet, gloves and the rest of your accessories, as it provides storage for everything you are going to need at work.
I prefer this gear pack, as it made from solid materials and it has protected my helmet multiple times effectively. I can even place my welding jacket in it as it has more than enough room, and I don’t take any other protection measures, as it is as safe as it gets on its own.
If you are interested in taking care and protecting your welding helmet the best way possible, make sure that you check the price of Revco GB100 BSX on Amazon.
As stated above, replacement parts and repairs are costly, although necessary for the maintenance of your welding helmet. Adjust your budget accordingly, and don’t neglect to change anything that doesn’t work the way it should be.
8 – Follow manufacturer’s instructions
Although those are all smart ways that you can use to take care of your welding helmet, they are general rules that apply to most of the helmets available in the market.
For more specific treatments towards your welding helmet, always refer to the manufacturer’s manual. In more complicated occasions, don’t hesitate to call the shop from which you purchased the welding helmet, and ask for specific instructions.
There are many types of welding helmets available, and manufacturers have their own ways of designing the helmets. The methods you are going to use to each helmet vary a lot, so don’t take action unless you know what you are doing.
Taking care of your welding helmet is an essential role of being a welder. It all comes down to your safety, and you should never leave your face unprotected.
Taking good care of your helmet is going to keep it functional and ready for work at all times, and in addition to this the helmet itself will help you get more productive and effective during your working hours.
Repair your welding helmet regularly to maintain its functionality and extend its longevity.
Why are Speedglas welding helmets suitable for plasma welding?
Plasma arc welding and plasma arc cutting are two well-known processes among welders and cutters. The first process is used to join pieces of metal, and the second process is used to cut through metal surfaces, both thin and thicker.
These processes need a level of experience in order to be used by the welders and cutters, although they are fairly convenient for beginners that want to give them a try. They are used for large commercial constructions, and smaller projects that require simpler and faster procedures.
In this article, we did our research and found out that Speedglas welding helmets are perfect for plasma welding and plasma cutting. They offer great protection to the user, and they have all the necessary features and specifications that will make the job of the welder and the cutter convenient.
What is plasma welding?
Plasma arc welding is also called PAW. It is the process which the welders use two ways to join pieces of metal. Firstly, using the heat of the arc from the electrode and the metal that we need to join. This process is called transfer arc.
The second way of plasma welding is again by using the heat of the arc like before, although this time the process happens between the electrode and constricting nozzle. This way of plasma welding is called non-transfer arc.
In order to shield the metal during the process, we use ionized gas. The particular gas is a result of the orifice, although we can use other sources of shielding gases, such as combinations of different types of gas that result to new more powerful shielding gases.
There is no particular way to work during the shielding of metal when it comes to plasma welding. For example, we can either use filler metal or not, or we can use pressure only in circumstances that is obligatory for achieve more secure shielding results.
The purpose of plasma welding is to make more powerful plasma arc, while the welder is able to monitor and control the entire process. This way, we can avoid accidental misuses of the plasma arc, and malfunctions during the joint of the metals.
Advantages of plasma arc welding
Higher concentration of power is one of the main advantages of plasma arc welding, especially when compared to other welding methods. Bigger amounts of heat are created using plasma welding, because of the fact that it has higher temperature, and an extended velocity of plasma jet which enforces it even more.
It is considered a very flexible welding method, because it allows the welder to make more manual operations during the process. For example, the welder doesn’t have to be extremely precise when using the torch, in contrast to other methods that require accurate moves.
The particular flexibility gives a certain freedom to the operator of the torch, as it enables him to work from a bigger distance, and this way he can inspect his welding more thoroughly. The working area is more visible, and the vision of the welder can be more objective.
The penetration of the workpiece is a lot easier and more complete using this process. The high temperatures produced during the process make this happen, and there is no need for addition penetration moves by the welder. This makes the process a lot faster and secure.
Lastly, faster travel speeds are produced with plasma welding. This is because of the stability of the arc and the higher heat temperatures produced. Faster travel is responsible for producing narrow welds, while the penetrations are a lot deeper and accurate compared to the rest of the welding methods.
Disadvantages of plasma welding
One of the most important disadvantages of plasma arc welding, is the fact that the replacements of the orifice are necessary. The equipment used for the particular process are not the most affordable in the market, and there are large investments required by the welder in order to use the plasma welding method.
Although it is not the most difficult welding process (there are other far more sophisticated methods), it is not the easiest one for beginners. There is more experience required by the welder than for example in the GTAW process, although if you take the time to practice you should be able to get familiar with the method.
What is plasma arc cutting?
The plasma arc cutting process is used by the cutters in order to cut through thin or thick pieces of metal using heated gas of high temperatures. These high temperatures, cause ionization to the gas, or they lead to conduction of electricity for the cutting purposes.
A tungsten electrode is used to in order to transfer the gas and place it on the metal. Then, the gas is transformed into plasma due to the high heat temperatures, and plasma allows the cutters to cut through the metal surfaces.
The particular process described can also be applied for gouging purposes, which are considered far more affordable than similar process such as the carbon arc gouging. The fact that is so affordable, leads to cutters and manufacturers preferring it from other similar processes for their construction projects.
Advantages of plasma arc cutting
Because of the easiness to apply the particular process on various types of projects, there is no fear of misuses regarding the shape of the metal. In addition to this, even beginner cutters and welders can use the process without causing distortion to the surface of the metals, if they are slightly cautious.
Another advantage of the particular process is the accuracy it provides to the cutter, which can be achieved to several types of different metals such as aluminum and various types of steel. This makes it one of the fastest and accurate process in the field.
Last but not least, there are no gas cylinders required to initiate the plasma arc cutting, and this makes it a convenient cutting process for all positions, no matter how difficult they are. Flexibility and freedom of operation for the welder make the plasma cutting even more convenient for many types of projects.
Disadvantages of plasma arc cutting
Apart from the creation of small bevel which may be insufficient for certain types of metals, the main disadvantage of plasma arc cutting is one regarding the safety of the cutter. During the process, caution is required by the cutter in order to avoid getting electrical shock or other accidents.
There is also the issue of portability. Plasma cutting is not considered a portable cutting method, because electricity and a non-contaminated air source are required in order to execute the particular process effectively and securely. There is also slight difficulty when it comes to cutting very thick pieces of metal.
Coming to end, plasma arc welding and plasma arc cutting are two separate processes, widely used in the field of welding. They require a certain level of protection, and you need to take good care of your welding helmet for better functionality.
3M Speedglas welding helmets are an excellent choice for plasma, and almost any other welding process, due to their high functionality levels, features and comfort. We recommend that you take a look at the 3M Speedglas 9100 since it is our top pick.
Keep in mind that you should do your own research before you purchase an auto darkening helmet for plasma processes, to determine whether it is suitable for your needs. Happy welding!