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If you want a top-quality welding helmet, look no further than 3M Speedglas.
3M was the first to produce the groundbreaking self-darkening light welding helmet in 1981 and continues to produce state-of-the-art helmets.
You've probably tried cheaper welding helmets in the past, and now you're ready to invest in the best.
Speedglas makes no compromises, delivering superior viewing quality while keeping you safe.
Here, we break down the best 3M Speedglass welding options for you.
in a hurry?
Here's our pick of 3 products that you might be interested in depending on your budget…
3m Speedglas 9100 FX
This helmet is not cheap. Every bell and whistle, it's made for professionals. Side windows, auto-dimming, flip-up visor and the ability to fit a hard hat or respirator mean top protection.
3m Speedglas 9100XX
The 9100 XX has large side windows and the largest viewing area in the Speedglas range. Our great value pick, this pro helmet has the same features as the 9100 FX except for the flap.
3m Speedglas 9100 V
The 9100 V is also equipped with side windows. This pro helmet costs less than the XX and FX, but has a smaller viewport. However, the smaller glass area allows the solar panels to extend battery life.
Here is a list of the best 3m Speedglas welding helmets:
1. 3m Speedglas 9100 FX welding helmet
- Dual crown straps for better weight distribution
- Padded front headband reduces forehead pressure
- Swivel Ergonomic Helmet
- Nine different available helmet angles
- Maximum size 8 hat size
- Ready and park pivots are easily adjustable
- Four optional amplification boards
- Flip-Up Grinding Hood
- Controls are easy to operate with gloves on
- Includes full headgear
- Flap lid adds weight to the front
- Replacement lens caps are expensive
- Easy to accidentally lift the front cover
The "FX" in the name refers to the clamshell front cover. You can raise the front visor and still get protection while sanding. Otherwise, this is the same helmet as the Speedglas 9100 XX, which means it has the largest and best filter glass in the 9100 series. Some users have had issues with the flip-up visor, such as accidentally raising it, or trying to raise it but triggering the auto-dimming feature.
Complaints like these may seem trivial, but one purpose of welding helmets is to increase productivity. These things get in the way and add to wasted time. Another complaint from some owners is the issue of glare on the curved front glass. This is common in curved glass covers. It bothers some welders, but others don't mind.
The Speedglas 9100 FX is equipped with a hood that deflects sparks from above or from the side and even protects the inside of the helmet. Most welders in a shop environment are grinding and welding around, which is a nice feature. Accessories include a hard hat adapter for use with passive and powered 3M respirators.
2. 3m Speedglas 9100 XX welding helmet
- Padded headband evenly distributes head pressure
- Side windows improve peripheral vision
- Auto Darken filter adjustment for shades 8-13
- Three Arc Flash Sensors
- 12.5 square inches of filter glass
- Designed to fit most 3M respirators
- Lightweight and easy to wear all day
- Easy-to-use shadow and sensitivity controls
- Locking headband adjustment
- Tack Mode Dimmed Intermittently
- Your breath temporarily fogs up the lens
- The included tote bag is too cheap to make
- Some users report that the hood lowers too easily
The 9100 XX has three sensitivity levels for MIG, TIG or stick welding. The digital sanding controls are easy to operate with gloves on, and the auto-dimming is adjustable from 8 to 13 shades. The "XX" designation means the 9100X has twice the viewable area of the 9100X, offering a 12.5 square inch viewport.
Wide side windows with sunshade class 5 enhance peripheral visibility. Not only does this help prevent crashes, it also keeps you from getting lost when running beads on very long parts like car frames. Battery life is rated up to 2000 hours.
This welding helmet is for professional welders. Among these users, there are only a few complaints, but they are all consistent. The first is that sometimes the swivel doesn't support the hood very well and it swivels down when it doesn't expect it. This annoying problem can reduce productivity. Another minor problem some welders have is that exhaled breath can fog up the lenses. This only seemed to last for a few seconds. If this is an issue for you, consider the 9100 FX, which has better vents to prevent this issue.
3. 3m Speedglas 9100 V Welder Helmet
- 6.6 square inch viewport
- Hood pivot has locking swivel
- Adjustable filter sensitivity for MIG, TIG and welding rods
- Shade class 5 side windows
- height adjustable headgear
- Users love its all-day comfort
- Spacious interior for easy breathing
- High-quality auto-dimming
- Controls are easy to operate
- Automatic shutdown saves battery power
- The lightest grind mode is set to shade level 5
- Need a button to freeze filter in grind mode
- Viewport area is small
Every helmet reviewed here is for the pros. The best thing about the 3M 9100 Series is its modular system. The same basic helmet shell can be upgraded with a better helmet, larger or better filter glass, mounted to a hard hat or fitted with a respirator. The 9100 V is the most basic model with the smallest viewport. Less glass on the front means there is space for the solar panels, extending battery life.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money right away, you can upgrade the 9100 V to a larger X or XX filter glass in stages. The only thing that can't be upgraded is the FX's flip front cover, which has a different shell. With the rest of the upgrades installed over time, you can buy the FX enclosure and transfer everything over to that part.
The 9100 V offers the same side windows as its pricier sibling, with a shade rating of 5. As with the rest of the range, the auto-darkening filter glass is suitable for MIG, TIG and welding rods, with sensitivity settings as low as 1 amp.
4. Speedglas 9100 X helmet
- Three arc sensors for reliable automatic dimming
- Every piece can be upgraded
- Headgear's large knob is easy to use with gloves
- Spacious, ergonomic design
- Complete with storage bag, welder's hat and starter kit
- Various helmet angles to choose from
- ride on head when lifted
- Ideal for Miller LPR-100 respirators
- Spacious interior keeps cool longer
- Owners love Speedglas' durability
- Lens caps are expensive
- silver cover may be burned
- Top straps are inexpensive to make
- Many users said it was too heavy
The Speedglas 9100 X welding helmet has a smaller glass than the more expensive XX and FX models. It is 30% larger than 9100 V. It's still small enough to mount a solar panel on the front, which the XX and FX don't have room for. Professional welders love the clear optics and high-quality auto-darkening, but many find it too heavy for full-day work. Others say the weight is offset by the comfortable headgear.
The 9100 X offers variable sensitivity down to 1 Amp for reliable auto-darkening even when TIG welding. The shadow level on the master lens can be adjusted from 8 to 13 stops. Some welders don't like the amount of light entering the helmet from the outside, but that seems like a minor issue.
These helmets are known for their longevity and there are many reports of welders using Speedglas welding helmets for 10 years or more. The 9100 X maintains that tradition while offering a modular upgrade path to larger glass, better headgear and additional breathers.
5. 3M Speedglas 100 Trojan Warrior Welding Helmet
- excellent optical quality
- Adjustable auto-dimming for MIG, TIG and Stick
- Graphics to easily identify your helmet
- Has good neck and face coverage
- Selectable shades 8 to 12
- users like comfort
- Easy to change lens
- Easy-to-operate controls
- relatively light
- Difficult to see from an overhead position
- Auto-dimming must be turned on before use
- Cheap headwear won't last long
The Speedglas 100 goes a step further than the uncompromising nature of the 9100 Series, yet still delivers professional quality and functionality. The auto dimming is adjustable up to 10 amps and is still sensitive enough for TIG welding, but not as responsive as the 9100 series filters at 1 amp. This is a cost saving that helps keep prices down.
Owners of the Speedglas 100 love the optical clarity, good comfort and light weight of this helmet, which is about the same as the 9100 XX. There are some complaints that are difficult to resolve when doing overhead welding. A big problem is that this helmet doesn't have an auto-on feature when you pick it up, so you have to remember to turn it on before arcing or you'll flash yourself.
The Speedglas 100 welding helmet upholds 3M's reputation for durability and longevity. The casing is very impact resistant and can easily handle a full day of banging. Light weight and good filtration quality, it is a first quality helmet that can be worn all day.