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Home / Sandblasting Helmet Respirator Buying Guide

Sandblasting Helmets and Respirators Buying Guide

A Sandblasting helmet is one of the key components for blasting operator safety. It protects the operators face, eyes, ears and upper torso from rebounding abrasive, excess noise and harmful dust. The Blast Helmet also supplies an external source of breathing air through an additional supply line.

Choosing the right respirator is important for blaster comfort and productivity. A Blaster with a comfortable helmet will have less fatigue, so we hope this article helps you on your search.

Name Includes Options Best Scenarios Benefits Disadvantages Weight lbs/kgs Warranties
RPB Nova 3 Air Fed Blast Helmet Respirator

RPB NOVA 3 AIR FED BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR

  • Blast Helmet
  • 28” Nylon Cape
  • Breathing Air Tube
  • Waist Belt & buckle
  • Lenses
  • Single Climate Control Tube
  • Dual (hot/cold) climate control
    tubes
  • Helmet Mounted Blast Light
  • In-helmet communications
  • Cape options -Leather cape, nylon cape, extra length nylon cape or blast jacket
  • Ultimate operator comfort, and ease of use
  • Full head padding for ultimate comfort and optimal sound attenuation
  • Glove friendly face-frame latch
  • Up to 20dB noise attenuation
  • Largest viewing window
  • Bellows seal on face-frame for dust and particle exclusion
  • Easily replaceable inner protective lens
  • One click lens replacement
  • Motorcycle style head padding
  • Airflow spread across head and over lens for comfort and anti-fog vision
    – turns with your head
  • NIOSH, CE, ANSI Z87+ and
    ANSI Z89.1
  • Ratchet system and adjustable
    molded side pads to help create
    a secure, customized fit
  • More parts than Nova 2000
  • Some parts not as robust as Nova 2000
  • 4 lbs /  1.8 kgs
  • 12 months, with a another 12 months available on registering product with manufacturer
Bullard 88VX Blast Helmet Respirator

BULLARD 88VX BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR

  • Blast Helmet
  • 28″ Blast Cape
  • Constant Flow Valve
  • Lenses
  • Rectangle front lens frame available
  • Tinted Lenses
  • Optional climate control tube
  • Not Recommended
  • Current versions are superior, only purchase if you have 100’s in your fleet and want to maintain consistency
  • The favorite of the “old-timers”
  • Wide Angled Lens
  • Limited noise attenuation
  • Pressure points from head harness
  • Doesn’t move well on your head
  • Breathing air hose is at the side of the helmet, often giving the operator headaches.
  • 8 lbs / 3.62 kgs
2 year warranty on shell, hinges,
latch, suspension, and breathing tube
BULLARD GEN VX BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR

BULLARD GEN VX BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR

  • Blast Helmet
  • 28” Cape
  • Constant Flow Valve
  • Lenses
  • Cheek pads for a better fit
  • Tinted Lenses
  • Optional climate control tube
  • When you remove the internal padding, it is the lightest helmet available, but that is uncomfortable…
  • Has room inside the helmet for an individual air monitor if your specifications call for that.
  • Wide Angled Lens
  • Less comfortable then the Nova Helmet
  • Limited noise attenuation
  • Pressure points from head harness
  • 2.93 lbs / 1.32 kgs
2 year warranty on shell, hinges,
latch, suspension, and breathing tube
NOVA 2000 BLAST HELMET, RESPIRATOR SANDBLASTING HOOD

NOVA 2000 BLAST HELMET, RESPIRATOR SANDBLASTING HOOD

  • Blast Helmet
  • 28” Cape
  • Constant Flow Valve
  • Lenses
  • Waist Belt and Buckle
  • Climate Control Tube (Hot or Cold)
  • Climate Control Tube (Dual Hot and Cold)
  • Cape options -Leather cape, nylon cape, extra length nylon cape or blast jacket
  • Snug fit helmet, good for when when you need to get into tight environments. ie Bridge Blasting
  • First Helmet to ever have Full comfort padding  like a motorcycle helmet. This means the helmet turns with your head.
  • Peel off outer lenses
  • Simple design
  • Preferred by many contractors for its durability
  • Airflow spread across head and over lens for comfort and anti-fog vision
  • Robust latch
  • Tight fit, if you have a very large nose, this helmet might not be for you.
  • Smaller viewing window
  • 5.5 lbs / 2.5 kgs
  • 12 months, with a another 12 months available on registering product with manufacturer
Nova 3 Blast Helmet Bullard 88VX Blast Helmet Respirator BULLARD GEN VX BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR NOVA 2000 BLAST HELMET, RESPIRATOR SANDBLASTING HOOD
RPB NOVA 3 AIR FED BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR BULLARD 88VX BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR BULLARD GEN VX BLAST HELMET RESPIRATOR NOVA 2000 BLAST HELMET, RESPIRATOR SANDBLASTING HOOD
Includes
  • Blast Helmet
  • 28” Nylon Cape
  • Breathing Air Tube
  • Waist Belt & buckle
  • Lenses
  • Single Climate Control Tube
  • Blast Helmet
  • 28″ Blast Cape
  • Constant Flow Valve
  • Lenses
  • Blast Helmet
  • 28” Cape
  • Constant Flow Valve
  • Lenses
  • Blast Helmet
  • 28” Cape
  • Constant Flow Valve
  • Lenses
  • Waist Belt and Buckle
Options
  • Dual (hot/cold) climate control
    tubes
  • Helmet Mounted Blast Light
  • In-helmet communications
  • Cape options -Leather cape, nylon cape, extra length nylon cape or blast jacket
  • Rectangle front lens frame available
  • Tinted Lenses
  • Optional climate control tube
  • Cheek pads for a better fit
  • Tinted Lenses
  • Optional climate control tube
  • Climate Control Tube (Hot or Cold)
  • Climate Control Tube (Dual Hot and Cold)
  • Cape options -Leather cape, nylon cape, extra length nylon cape or blast jacket
Best Scenarios
  • Ultimate operator comfort, and ease of use
  • Not Recommended
  • Current versions are superior, only purchase if you have 100’s in your fleet and want to maintain consistency
  • When you remove the internal padding, it is the lightest helmet available, but that is uncomfortable…
  • Snug fit helmet, good for when when you need to get into tight enviroments. ie Bridge Blasting
Benefits
  • Full head padding for ultimate comfort and optimal sound attenuation
  • Glove friendly face-frame latch
  • Up to 20dB noise attenuation
  • Largest viewing window
  • Bellows seal on face-frame for dust and particle exclusion
  • Easily replaceable inner protective lens
  • One click lens replacement
  • Motorcycle style head padding
  • Airflow spread across head and over lens for comfort and anti-fog vision
    – turns with your head
  • NIOSH, CE, ANSI Z87+ and
    ANSI Z89.1
  • Ratchet system and adjustable
    molded side pads to help create
    a secure, customized fit
  • The favorite of the “old-timers”
  • Wide Angled Lens
  • Has room inside the helmet for an individual air monitor if your specifications call for that.
  • Wide Angled Lens
  • First Helmet to ever have Full comfort padding  like a motorcycle helmet. This means the helmet turns with your head.
  • Peel off outer lenses
  • Simple design
  • Preferred by many contractors for its durability
  • Airflow spread across head and over lens for comfort and anti-fog vision
  • Robust latch
Disadvantages
  • More parts than Nova 2000
  • Some parts not as robust as Nova 2000
  • Limited noise attenuation
  • Pressure points from head harness
  • Doesnt move well on your head
  • Breathing air hose is at the side of the helmet, often giving the operator headaches.
  • Less comfortable then the Nova Helmet
  • Limited noise attenuation
  • Pressure points from head harness
  • Tight fit, if you have a very large nose, this helmet might not be for you.
  • Smaller viewing window
Weight lbs/kgs

4 lbs /  1.8 kgs

8 lbs / 3.62 kgs

2.93 lbs / 1.32 kgs

5.5 lbs / 2.5 kgs

Warranties 12 months, with a another 12 months available on registering product with manufacturer 2 year warranty on shell, hinges,
latch, suspension, and breathing tube
2 year warranty on shell, hinges,
latch, suspension, and breathing tube
12 months, with a another 12 months available on registering product with manufacturer

Sandblasting Respirator Helmet Videos

Sanitizing Your Blast Helmet

Changing lenses in the RPB Nova3 helmet

Heat and cool your Sandblasting Helmet

Use a genuine inner lens in your blast helmet

Save time with the RPB Cassette Lenses

Climate Control Tube

How to remove and replace the Nova3 helmet padding

Common issues with blast helmets

This is a good question. Common issues with blast helmets include…

  • Insufficient noise attenuation meaning the operators need to wear dual hearing protection
  • Lack of head support – older Bullard Helmets don’t rotate with your head when you move.
  • Uncomfortable head support – If you are purchasing a nova helmet, you can buy different size padding inserts to make them more comfortable
  • Being prone to allowing dust in – an old helmet should be replaced if you find dust leaking inside
  • Having latches that are difficult to use with gloves on
  • Uneven airflow distribution – Older style helmets have just a single air entry at the back of the helmet, a good helmet will distribute the air towards your breathing zone (Front of helmet)
  • Difficult to change lenses – This is especially true with the inner lens, it is the safety lens, if its hard to replace the operators might not install one, creating a safety hazard.
  • Breathing air tubes that break easily – Industry age problem, blasters aren’t kind to their equipment.
  • Face frames that break easily – often blasters will tape up their helmets to stop this from happening.
  • Capes that are difficult to fit – You need to ensure that the cape doesn’t come off if pulled or snagged by some steel, if you do, your breathing air is compromised.

Important considerations when choosing the right blast helmet

When talking to your sales rep about the best helmet for your application, here are some questions to ask when deciding on a blast helmet…

  • How comfortable is it on your head? – if you are wearing it for more then 2hrs per day, get a comfortable one.
  • Does the helmet move with your line of sight when you move your head?
  • How well does it keep out dust? This is very important, get a helmet that is rated for your dust level
  • How robust is the helmet as a whole and how robust are individual components?
  • How evenly is the airflow distributed?
  • How noisy is the incoming breathing air?
  • Do the lenses fog up?
  • How well does it attenuate sound?
  • Does it have hard hat protection?
  • How easy are the lenses to change?
  • What do spare parts and lenses cost?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What blast helmet lenses should I use for Sandblasting?

    Typical Blast Helmets all use a 3 lens system. this consists of the following

    • Inner Lens – this is your safety lens. They are typically about 1mm thick, and rated to a safety glasses standard. It is vital that you never blast without an inner lens.
    • Outer Lens – this is the lens that protects in inner lens from wear. its thinner and cheaper then inner lenses and you can blast with just using and inner and outer.
    • Tear Off Lens – These are outer lenses that have been perforated to allow you to tear them off while you are working, when they get frosted up, so you don’t have to stop working to change the lens. if you are going to blast over 2hrs per day, we would recommend that you use Tear off lenses. you can only put 3 tear off lenses on a helmet at one time.
    • Cassette Peal off System – this is a patented Lens system from RPB, they provide a sealed set of 6 lenses. 1 outer and 5 tear offs. this allows you to put more lenses on your helmet at one time, and they are sealed to ensure no dust gets in between the lenses (which is a common issue) These cost a little more, but highly recommended for all blasters to use.
    • Nova3 Replacement Lenses
    • Nova 200 Replacement Lenses
    • Bullard 88 Replacement Lenses
    • Bullard Gen VX Replacement Lenses
    • Apollo Replacement Lenses

  • What Blast Helmet Cape options are available?

    All Blast Helmets come standard with a 28″ Nylon blast cape. You can upgrade your cape at anytime, or when you order if you call into Customer Service.

    Cape Options include

    • 38″ Long Cape – great if you are taller and a standard 28″ cape doesn’t stay “tucked-in” to your waist belt.
    • Leather Capes – 28″ and 38″ – these are typically used by blasters blasting with steel grit as they last longer, however they are hotter and heavier.
    • Blast Jackets – these come in 28″ and 38″ and have closed sleeves that can cover your entire arms down to your blast gloves.
    • Custom – some other options are available including capes with high-viz and different colors. You are best to call us to discuss your project if you need something like this.
    • Bullard Replacement Capes
    • Nova 2000 Capes
    • Nova 3 Capes

  • What breathing air climate control options work with a blast helmet?

    Most of the blast helmets have their similar options these range from;

    • Air Flow control – basically just allows you to regulate how much air will come into the helmet.
    • Cool Air Tube – This will cool the incoming air to make it more comfortable for the operator, at a minimum, I would get this.
    • Hot Air Tube – Heats the incoming air
    • Dual heating/cooling tube – the contractors choice, allows the operator to heat the air at the start of the day, and cool if off as the temperature rises.
    • RPB Climate Control Tubes

    Folks, lets be really honest… Blasters have the most horrible job in the universe, living inside a dust cloud all day long, out in the elements. The least we can do is give them some control over the temperature of their breathing air.

  • What safety standards do the Nova 3 Blast helmets conform to?

    Respiratory Protection Certifications

    • NIOSH Approved – SAR Type CE/PAPR Type C
    • CE2797
    • UK CA 0086
    • EN14594:2005 4B
    • EN12941:1998
    • +A2:2008 TH3 P R SL
    • AS/NZS 1716:2012
    • BMP# 714303

    Eye and Face Protection Certifications

    • ANSI Z87+
    • EN166:2001 CLASS 1B
    • AS/NZS 1337.1:2010
    • BMP# 714304

    Hard Hat Protection Certifications

    • ANSI – Z89.1 Hard Hat Protection Type 1, Class C
    • EN397:2012+A1:2012 (Impact Clauses)
    • AS/NZS 1801:1997
    • BMP# 714306

  • Do I need a breathing air filter and carbon monoxide alarm as well?

    Yes, The Breathing air filter is designed to remove impurities from the breathing air. This works by passing the air through a 7 stage filter cartridge which will remove all oils, odors, particles etc. however it does not remove CO.

    CO is a deadly gas that is odorless, tasteless and colorless. This means you cant identify it without specialized CO monitoring equipment. There are a few different ways to manage CO and it is a legal compliance issue that all breathing air must be monitored.

    Government Authorities have a special interest in blasters breathing air, as it is feed typically by a diesel compressor, which generates CO and piped directly to the operators breathing air zone (in the helmet)

    Options for CO Monitors are;

    • RPB GX4 CO monitor (recommended if using RPB products)
    • Breathing Air Boxes – these can become a distribution manifold for your breathing air as well.
    • CO Scrubbers – if you have a constant problem these will convert the CO into CO2, but they are expensive to purchase and maintain, so we only recommend these when you cant resolve the CO issue any other way

  • Are Blast Helmet inner linings and pads replaceable?

    Yes, you can purchase hygiene kits for your RPB Nova3 and Nova 2000. We would recommend that you replace the inner linings on a quarterly basis.

    You can remove all the padding from your blast helmet and machine wash the linings as well.

    Nova 2000 Helmet Hygiene Kit

    Helmet Liner Replacement Kit

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