The 9100 auto darkening helmet by 3M Speedglas is the type of helmet designed to not only save the welder precious time on the job, but it’s built from lightweight materials that can help to reduce user fatigue, an important feature if you’re a pro and welding for eight to ten hours a day. The helmet’s solid construction, longer than average battery life, and adjustability make it a perfect choice for the serious welder.
Our Verdict: If you’re searching for a lightweight ADF helmet that features top of the line variable shade control and shade presets, then your search is over. While for some, the price may be a little steep, considering the helmet’s quality and adjustability, most pro welders will find that this helmet is worth every penny.
Read on to learn what other top features this popular helmet by 3M Speedglas has to offer and how it performs when put to the test.
Overview and Features
This auto darkening welding helmet by 3M Speedglas features a viewing window size that’s similar to one of the top competing models on the market, the Optrel Panoramaxx auto darkening welding helmet. However, unlike the Optrel Panoramaxx, the 9100 offers a more intuitive user interface that makes it beginner-friendly. This helmet’s superior optics will also allow a welder to easily complete special jobs with more accuracy.
Welding In color
Compared to other auto darkening helmets, the 9100 provides spectacular optics that give the welder the ability to see natural colors, unlike other ADF helmets on the market. Now, the welder can identify certain colors tones, shades, and dark and light contrasts. The ability to see this type of detail can be important in terms of productivity and safety. It can also help to improve the welder’s control over the weld puddle.
A Smoother Process
If you’re used to traditional welding helmets, then you’ll be blown away by how much time this ADF helmet can save you. No longer will you have to constantly flip up your mask to view the details or the progress of a project.
Grinding and Welding Modes
One of the helmet’s biggest selling points is its ability to allow you to quickly and seamlessly switch between grinding and welding in a matter of seconds, and all without having to remove your gloves. Simply push the grinding mode button located on the front panel. This button will instantly switch the view screen from welding mode to shade three grinding mode.
The helmet’s memory mode allows you to save welding modes so you can easily flip from mode to mode depending on the welding process you’re using. This feature will allow the welder to choose from shade modes for:
- Light to dark switching sensitivity
- Dark shade
- Dark to light delay.
Energy Saving Design
This helmet has a battery life of eighteen hundred hours. It will also automatically shut off once it detects a lack of activity.
The ADF view screen instantly reacts once the welder strikes an arc. The patented Speedglas viewing screen is equipped with a variety of shade options including:
- Light shade of three
Viewing Screen Size
The viewing screen measures in at 2.8 inches tall and 4.2 inches wide. This is currently the largest viewing screen size available in the 3M Speedglas series.
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If you’re a welder, then you already know, the more sensors the better. This helmet has a total of three arc detection sensors that can precisely and instantly identify the spark of the arc. Once an arc has been detected the helmet’s lens will transition from its normal light state to a darker shade. Once the arc is switched off the lens automatically returns to the natural light state.
The lens has a safety delay of forty to two hundred and fifty milliseconds. This helps to improve the welder’s workflow, allowing them to quickly check a weld before firing the arc back up.
The exhaust vents work to keep the user nice and cool while moving exhaled air quickly and cleanly from the helmet in order to prevent the lens from fogging up while also reducing condensation buildup.
- Lightweight design
- Variable shade modes
- Preset shade modes
- Fast delay response
- Controls may be difficult for the beginner to adjust
Can This Helmet Handle All Types of Welding Processes?
It can! Thanks to its top-notch variable shade controls, and its ability to allow welders to identify natural colors, this helmet is perfect for a wide range of welding processes and materials, including tougher materials, such as brass. To learn more, click here to read our article on how to weld brass.
Is This Helmet Beginner-Friendly?
Yes and no. Most beginners will struggle in the beginning to learn how to operate the variable shade preset controls, however, with a little practice, most hobbyists will get the hang of how to use this tech-loaded model. If you’re new to welding, make sure you read the included instructions manual from cover to cover before use. To learn more about welding helmets and how they work, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
Conclusion and Rating
The 3M Speedglas welding helmet is an auto darkening model that comes complete with variable shade controls, preset shade modes for a smoother welding process, an excellent delay time, and a lightweight design that helps to reduce user fatigue. This is a very tech-loaded welding helmet, so beginners may struggle when it comes to adjusting the variable shade presets or using some of the basic controls. However, the included instructions manual does walk users through the process of adjusting and setting up the helmet. This is definitely a pro-quality helmet, however, hobbyists, even beginners, will come to appreciate how the helmet can speed up the welding process while also helping to improve weld quality. We gave this model a rating of four and a half stars out of five stars.