Best 3M SPEEDGLAS Welding Helmets 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

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If you want a top of the range welding helmet then look no further than 3M Speedglas.

3M were the first to produce the groundbreaking auto-darkening welding helmet in 1981 and continue to produce state of the art helmets today.

You’ve likely tried cheaper welding helmets in the past and are now ready to invest in the best.

No compromises are made with the Speedglas which produce superior viewing quality while keep you safe.

Here we break down the best 3M Speedglass welding for you to choose from.

In a Rush?

Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...

Best Pick
3m Speedglas 9100 FX
This helmet comes at a premium. With every bell and whistle, it’s made for pros. Side windows, auto-darkening, flip-up visor plus the ability to fit a hard hat or respirator mean top-shelf protection.
Best Value
3m Speedglas 9100 XX
The 9100 XX has big side windows and the largest viewing area in the Speedglas lineup. This professional helmet is our value choice, with the same feature set as the 9100 FX except for a flip-up cover.
Best Budget
3m Speedglas 9100 V
The 9100 V also features side windows. This professional helmet costs less than the XX and FX, but the viewport is smaller. However, smaller glass area allows for a solar panel to extend battery life.

Best Speedglas Helmets with Reviews

Here's a list of the best 3m Speedglas welding helmets:

1. 3m Speedglas 9100 FX Welding Helmet

3m Speedglas 9100 FX Welding Helmet
  • Double crown straps for better weight distribution
  • Padded front headband eases pressure on the forehead
  • Swivel-mounted ergonomic headgear
  • Nine different available helmet angles
  • Up to size 8 hat size

Pros

  • Ready and park pivots are easily adjustable
  • Four optional magnification plates
  • Flip-up grinding shield
  • Controls are easy to operate with gloves
  • Full head cover included

Cons

  • The flip cover adds weight to the front
  • Replacement lens covers are expensive
  • Easy to raise the front cover by accident

Overview

The “FX” in the name refers to the flip-up front cover. You can raise the front visor and still have protection while you grind. Otherwise, this is the same helmet as the Speedglas 9100 XX, meaning it has the largest, nicest filter glass in the 9100 series. Some users have problems with the flip visor, such as accidentally raising it, or trying to raise it but triggering the auto-dark instead.

Complaints like these may seem minor, but one purpose of welding helmets is improving productivity. These things get in the way and add wasted time. Another complaint by some owners is glare problems on the curved front glass. This is common with curved glass covers. It bothers some welders but others don’t mind it.

The Speedglas 9100 FX comes with a head cover to deflect sparks from above or sides, protecting even down inside the helmet. Most welders in shop settings have grinding and welding going on all around, making this a nice feature. Accessories include a hard hat adapter and it works with passive and powered air 3M respirators.


2. 3m Speedglas 9100 XX Welding Helmet

3m Speedglas 9100 XX Welding Helmet
  • Well-padded headgear distributes head pressure evenly
  • Side windows improve peripheral vision
  • Auto-darkening filter adjustment from shade 8-13
  • Three arc-flash sensors
  • 12.5 Square inches of filter glass

Pros

  • Designed to fit most 3M respirators
  • Lightweight and easy to wear all day
  • Easy-to-use shade and sensitivity controls
  • Locking headgear adjustment
  • Tack Mode intermittent darkening

Cons

  • Your breath can fog the lens temporarily
  • Included carry bag is too cheaply made
  • Some users report the hood lowers too easily

Overview

The 9100 XX has three sensitivity levels for MIG, TIG or stick welding. Digital grinding controls are easy to operate with gloves and auto-darkening is adjustable from shade levels 8 through 13. The “XX” designation means there’s twice the viewing area of the 9100 X, delivering 12.5 square inches of viewport.

Generous side windows in shade level 5 enhance peripheral vision. This not only helps to prevent collisions, it keeps you from getting lost while running beads on very long pieces like vehicle 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 consistent. The first is that sometimes the swivel won’t hold the hood up well enough, and it can swivel down at unexpected times. This annoying issue can lower productivity. Another minor problem for some welders is fogging the lens with exhaled breath. This seems to last for only a few seconds. If this is a problem for you, consider the 9100 FX, with better exhaust vents that prevent this.


3. 3m Speedglas 9100 V Welders Helmet

3m Speedglas 9100 V Welders Helmet
  • 6.6-square-inch viewport
  • Hood pivot features a locking swivel
  • Filter sensitivity is adjustable for MIG, TIG and stick
  • Shade level 5 side windows
  • Highly adjustable headgear

Pros

  • Users love its all-day comfort
  • Roomy interior for easy breathing
  • High-quality auto-darkening
  • Controls are easy to operate
  • Auto-shutoff saves your batteries

Cons

  • The lightest grind mode setting is shade level 5
  • Needs a button to freeze the filter on grind mode
  • Viewport area is on the small side

Overview

Every helmet reviewed here is for professionals. The best thing about 3M’s 9100 Series is its modular system. The same basic helmet shell can be upgraded with better headgear, larger or nicer 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 room for a solar panel, extending battery service life.

If you’re not up to spending a lot of cash right away, you can upgrade the 9100 V to the larger X or XX filter glass in stages. The only upgrade you can’t make is the flip front cover of the FX, which has a different shell. Once you’ve installed the rest of the upgrades over time, you could buy the FX shell and transfer everything onto that piece.

The 9100 V offers the same side windows with shade level 5 as its higher-priced companions. Like the rest of the series, the auto-darkening filter glass is rated for MIG, TIG and stick, with sensitivity settings down to 1 amp.


4. Speedglas 9100 X Helmet

Speedglas 9100 X Helmet
  • Three arc sensors for reliable auto-darkening
  • Every piece is upgradable
  • Headgear's large knobs are easy to use with gloves
  • Roomy, ergonomic design
  • Comes with storage bag, welder's hat and starter kit

Pros

  • Plenty of helmet angles to choose from
  • Rides low on the head while raised
  • Fits well with the Miller LPR-100 Respirator
  • Roomy interior stays cool longer
  • Owners love Speedglas durability

Cons

  • Lens covers are expensive
  • Silver cover can get burned
  • Top straps are cheaply made
  • Many users say it’s too heavy

Overview

The Speedglas 9100 X welding helmet has smaller glass than the costlier XX and FX models. It’s 30 percent larger than the 9100 V. That’s still small enough to provide for a solar panel on the front, which the XX and FX don’t have the room for. Professional welders love the clarity of the optics and the high quality auto-darkening, but many feel it’s too heavy for all-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 shade level on the main lens is adjustable from level 8 to 13. Some welders don’t like the amount of light allowed into the helmet from the outside, but this seems to be a minor issue.

These helmets are known for their longevity, with many reports of welders using Speedglas welding helmets for 10 years or more. The 9100 X keeps that tradition while offering a modular upgrade path to larger glass, better headgear and add-on respirators.


5. 3M Speedglas 100 Trojan Warrior Welding Helmet

3M Speedglas 100 Trojan Warrior Welding Helmet
  • Excellent optical quality
  • Adustable auto-darkening for MIG, TIG and stick
  • Graphics make it easy to identify your helmet
  • Has great neck and face coverage

Pros

  • selectable dark shades 8 through 12
  • Users love the comfort
  • Lens is easy to change
  • Easy-to-operate controls
  • Relatively light

Cons

  • Hard to see in the overhead position
  • Auto-darkening has to be turned on before use
  • Cheap headgear doesn’t last long

Overview

The Speedglas 100 is a step down from the no-compromise nature of the 9100 series, but still offers professional quality and features. The auto-darkening is adjustable down to 10 amps, still sensitive enough for TIG welding but less responsive than the 9100 series filters at 1 amp. This is a cost savings that helps keep the price down.

Owners of the Speedglas 100 love the optical clarity, good comfort and light weight of this helmet, which comes in about the same as the 9100 XX. There are some complaints that it’s hard to see out of when welding overhead. One big concern is that there’s no auto switch-on feature when you pick up this helmet, so you have to remember to turn it on before you strike an arc or you’ll flash yourself.

The Speedglas 100 welding helmet upholds 3M’s reputation for durability and longevity. The shell is very impact resistant and can easily handle an all-day beating. Light weight and quality filtering make this is a quality first helmet that can be worn full-time.


3M Speedglas Buying Giude

The best 3M Speedglas welding helmets are heavily focused on three main goals.

Industrial Strength

This means more than impact resistance and durability. 3M bases Speedglas helmets on high-tech solutions to workplace problems. Swedish technology ensures high quality, precision assembly and lasting durability.

Technology is at the base of the entire Speedglas approach. Engineers choose materials, shapes and even colors to address safety, cost and quality. For instance, the 9100’s silver front plate reflects heat away from your face with its color and shape.

Ergonomic Design

For over 35 years, ergonomic design has been at the center of the Speedglas project. 3M conducts continuous tests for ease of use and ways to maximize safety.

The side windows in the 9100 improve vision and reduce collisions or mistakes. Yet, so much extra light bothers some welders. 3M provides panel inserts that block the side windows if they’re a problem for you. This is a result of ergonomic testing.

With its headgear design, 3M chose to focus on weight balance and comfort. There’s no sacrifice of durability and protection to lighten the helmets further.

Welding Helmet Modular Systems

Most components other than the helmet shell can be exchanged between these helmets. The Speedglas 100 V uses the same filter glass and headgear as the 9100 V. The modular approach gives a clear upgrade path that lets you buy the helmet you can afford. Later, you can buy upgrade parts one piece at a time.

A 9100 shell converts your Speedglas 100 V to a 9100 V. Switch out the filter glass to convert the 9100 V to the 9100 X and XX. Once you’re at that point, get the 9100 FX shell for the flip visor. The new XXi filter glass fits either the 9100 XX or FX. This filter improves the optics to a more true-color gold tint instead of green.

The Best 3M Speedglas Helmet is Yours

The Speedglas line earned its place in top fab shops over three decades by innovation, thoughtful tech and quality construction. Any professional welder will be proud to have a 3M Speedglas welding helmet in the tool cabinet.