Speedglas 9100 FX Air Review
The team at AWS (the guys who represent the Speedglas brand in Australia) allowed us here at Welding Helmets Online to trial the Speedglas 9100 FX Air. After trialling this legend of the industry, we very quickly understood why we see this helmet being used by so many professional welders. Below in our Speedglas 9100 FX Air Review we’ll break it down for you and take you through what you get in the box, what’s required to set it up, our product review and any negatives that we discovered when using this product.
But first, what’s in the box?
When you open up the Speedglas 9100 FX Air the box includes:
- The Speedglas 9100 FX Air Welding Helmet complete with the 9100XXi auto-darkening welding lens with internal and external cover lenses (installed).
- Adflo Powered Air Purifying Respirator complete with spark arrestor, pre-filter, particle filter and Adflo quick charge battery (installed).
- Self-adjusting breathing air tube.
- Two replacement outside cover lenses.
- Speedglas branded carry bag to protect and transport the helmet.
- Instruction manual
What’s Required Before You Start Welding?
After pulling the Speedglas FX Air PAPR out of the box, all you need to do is connect one end of the breathing tube to the helmet and the other end to the Adflo respirator, pull out the plastic safety strip between the battery and the connection and you’re ready to weld. You can literally be welding in less than a minute if you, like us, hate waiting. Spoiler Alert: obviously you should read the instruction manual etc before you use the helmet and respirator. But, if you’re amped and just want to get welding ASAP, then it’s ready when you are.
Speedglas 9100 FX Air Product Review
As soon as you wear this kit for the first time you know you’re wearing a helmet that has been carefully designed with all of a welder’s needs in mind. The first thing that struck me was the vision. You can literally see all around you with 180 degree vision thanks to the Speedglas windows on the side of the helmet. The lens is enormous and the True View that they talk about in all the Speedglas marketing, needs to be seen to be believed. We’ve used earlier version Speedglas welding helmets and the vision is so good that it would be difficult to go back to any of the older series helmets compared to this new optical experience. If you haven’t looked through one of these helmets yet, do yourself a favour.
You can tell they spent time on the comfort factor on this unit because even though you’re wearing over a kilo and a half on your head and another kilo and a half on your back you can barely notice the weight due to the balance and clever distribution of weight that they use through a thick belt positioned over your bum and the head harness.
With all the talk about the link between cancer and welding fume it makes sense to protect your lungs with one of these combined helmet/respirators. But the difference in comfort that we experienced from having air supplied in the helmet was over and above what I was expecting. All the talk is about the protection factor, which is obviously more important, but given you can’t ‘experience’ a protection factor, the comfort upgrade alone feels worth the extra investment. Normally extra safety features are annoying but necessary, but this safety feature makes the overall welding experience much more comfortable.
We put this welding lens through its paces and couldn’t fault its performance. It really isn’t a surprise that you see them at so many sites across Australia.
Speedglas 9100 FX Air Issues and Faults
After trialling this unit over a week, we really couldn’t find many downsides. It is a slightly larger welding helmet, which is absolutely fine for most welding but if you’re going to be welding in positions where your head is going to be in really confined spaces, there’s a chance you may have to look at other smaller welding helmets.
All in all, the worst part was having to give it back and go back to a non-true-view welding lens. Obviously a week isn’t really a long enough trial period to assess long-term durability – speaking to welders out on site who have used this product the feedback is really positive. One company mentioned they had experienced an issue with one unit but the product was replaced under warranty in less than a week and the new unit worked perfectly. The 9100 FX Air is covered by a 3 year warranty on the lens and from welder feedback the product support from the AWS team is brilliant.
Thanks to the team at AWS for letting us trial a unit.
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