Industrial Equipment

The Whats and The Hows of Welding Helmet Filters: Preventive Maintenance is Not a Trend, It’s a Necessity

If you ask a welder what’s the most important equipment for doing the job most efficiently, tools such as sanding disks, chipping hammers and welding magnets are probably going to be first on the list. However, welding can be a dangerous activity that also requires safety equipment such as welding helmets to protect your eyes and skin from sparks and the dangerous ultraviolet and infrared rays that are emitted by the arc.

But welding helmets aren’t a one-time investment, as they require constant upgrading and replacing parts such as filters to provide maximal protection from dangerous elements. Let’s learn something more about replacing these filters.

Why Do Filters Require Replacement?


You probably know that the purpose of filters in welding helmets is to capture and remove airborne particulates from the surrounding environment and prevent you from inhaling them.

Regardless of your investment in an advanced welding helmet, know that every filter becomes oversaturated over time. Once your filter does so, it no longer will have the required “capacity” to accommodate different particles and repel them from ending up in your nose and mouth. Hence, an oversaturated filter won’t provide ventilation and proper protection against welding fumes and particles that can be dangerous for your health.

The Types of Welding Helmet Filters

Before you decide to get a helmet filter replacement for your fume extraction system, it’s essential to know that different filters are intended to perform specific functions. Getting a filter that doesn’t suit your needs won’t only fail to protect you from the dangerous elements, but it’ll also be an unnecessary waste of your money. For this purpose, we can split welding helmet filters into three general categories:



Pre-filters are designed to capture larger particles and remove them from the system before they reach the other filters. These filters are often made from sturdy materials such as aluminium and steel, and can also serve to prevent welding sparks from getting in touch with your face.

Main Filters

The main filter has the ultimate purpose to capture the majority of particles that come as a consequence of welding and the other connected processes. These filters aren’t only responsible for preventing you from inhaling most of these dangerous particles, but they’re also considered the most effective for welders that do aesthetical grinding.

After Filters

After filters are the last level of protection, as they’re responsible to filter out any remaining small particles. Such particles are typically sized from 0.1 to 0.3 microns, meaning that after filters are as efficient as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on vacuum cleaners.


When to Consider a Filter Replacement?

We already learned that your welding helmet filter can require a replacement once it gets oversaturated. However, a lot of welders can’t recognize this oversaturation and struggle to determine when is the right time to get a filter replacement.

For this purpose, have in mind that there’re a lot of indicators signalling the need for a filter change. Some of them are specific to your fume extraction system itself, while others can be related to the work conditions and the welding materials you’re using. Here’re a couple of the indicators you should pay attention to:

Indicator Mechanisms

Welding helmets typically feature gauges, audible tones or other types of features that get activated when the helmet air filter gets oversaturated. On top of that, you can always “predict” the oversaturation, as the filter will start decreasing its extraction and welding fume reduction capacity. If you don’t know where the indicator mechanism is, you can always find it in the instruction manual that came with your extraction unit.


Your Welding Environment

Your filter’s capacity can get oversaturated depending on the welding processes you, the particular welding settings and the choice of shielding gasses you use. For instance, stick and flux-cored welding is shown to generate higher volumes of fume, compared to MIG and TIG welding that generate fewer particles than any welding process.

The Hours of Use

One of the most important factors that determine your filter’s need for replacement is how many hours and shifts your system is operating between two replacements. Therefore, the more hours and shifts you work, the sooner you’ll need to replace your filter.

The Climate

Different weather seasons, as well as changes in the climate or the welding environment can highly affect the lifespan of your helmet filter. For instance, most of the companies tend to do extensive work during the summer season, meaning it’ll require replacing your filter sooner than expected. On the other hand, in the colder season when welding mostly occurs behind closed windows and doors, it’s recommended to make regular checks to ensure that the air purifier protects you maximally.

How to Choose the Right Filter Replacement?


Except for “scheduling” a filter replacement at the right timing, it’s also crucial to pick the appropriate option for handling specific welding fumes. And the most important thing to do so is to check whether the specific filter meets the requirements of the “Workplace Health and Safety” agency and the Environment Protection Regulator of our land.

Except for meeting the requirements, it’s also recommended to confirm that your replacement filter has the right MERV (Minimal Efficiency Reporting Value), according to the industry-wide metric for ranking filter performance. These rankings can range from 1 to 16, whereas the higher the number, the smaller particles it’ll capture and the more efficient it is. Welders typically require MERV of 11, 15 and 16, as these models can capture particles of up to 8 microns.

Now that you know the most important aspects of welding helmet air purifiers, it’s time to get one to protect yourself from the various dangerous elements.

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