Buying a Welding Mask
1/. Auto darkening masks
Most welders are now choosing masks with the very latest 'True-view' welding filter technology.
'True-view' is an innovation that offers the welder enhanced vision around the work peice when welding. A clearer view of the job when the lens is in it's light state offers a further benefit. This means you don't need to lift the headtop to inspect your work.
We have two welding helmets that incorporate 'Trueview', so think about a budget before making your welding mask choice
Within our own brand premium products range sits the Foster Grind-Plus. The Grind-Plus incorporates 'True-view', has a grind only option and two year warranty-Coming in at under £100, it's more than a great value purchase.
*Speedglas 9100xxi lens with True-view.
The bluechip version of 'Trueview' comes in the form of 3M's Speedglas 9100xxi, which not only incorporates 'True-view', but a number of other defining features such as an external button to facilitate quicker switching between welding & grinding and the ability to programme two preset modes.
The 9100xxi's new instant-on feature which returns you to the last welding mode the minute you lays your hands on the helmet has also proved a hit. This head top allows you to fit a magnifying lens, if you're a spectacle wearer and you can MIG, plasma cut and TIG weld to very low amps to your heart's content..
Giving the Speedglas 9100xxi a run for it's money is the Miller Digital Infinity. With a deeper helmet shell, the Infinity is a great choice for heavy duty MIG welding and it has the largest welding filter lens on the market to boot. The recent introduction of it's information centre, in the form of Info track, allows the operator to record arc time. A multi language help menu is a great addition too!
In order to draw a comparison between the Speedglas 9100xxi & the Miller Infinity we've listed their benefits side by side:
- Warranty: Infinity: 3 years, 9100xxi; 2 years.
- Shell size: The Miller Infinity has a deeper shell & covers for more of the face. Better for MIG. The Speedglas 9100 was designed predominately as a TIG welding helmet.
- Viewing area: The Infinity currently has the largest viewing area recorded at 13.4 square inches.
- Battery life in hours: Infinity; 3000, 9100xxi; 2000.
- Sidewindows; Infinity; No. 9100xxi; Yes.
- TIG rating; Infinity; 5 amps, 9100xx; 1 amp.
- Weight in grams; Infinity; 650 , 9100xxi; 545.
- Headgear; The Speedglas is beautifully designed & has numerous adjustments. Difficult to beat!
- Trueview technology: Infinity: No, 9100xxi: Yes
2/. Air Fed welding masks
The Adflo 9100xxi FX air fed welding respirator covers all bases with it's large true-view lens, FX grinding headtop, super comfy headband & long life PAPR blower unit. It's difficult to argue with it's lightweight lithium-ion battery, fast switching between welding & grinding & instant on mode. It has all the pedigree a blue chip manufacturer such as 3M has to offer, but maybe out of some welder's budget.
A suitable alternative is the Foster Industrial Prem-Air welding respirator. The Prem-Air PAPR blower unit boasts smartsensor technology, offering constant airflow regardless of filter condition and a user interface which displays battery capacity, air flow level, filter status & temprature. This links to the Foster Grind-Plus headtop which incorporates True-view lens technology.
*The Foster Industrial Prem-Air Welding Helmet
For more assistance on choosing a welding mask, read our blog.