Many woodworkers will spend top dollar on new machinery that’s “safe”, but neglect their own long term health. Woodworking creates lots and lots of dust. Over time, this can lead to respiratory problems that no one wants to deal with. No matter what your solution to dust control is, just about anything is better than nothing. Seeing that woodworking has been a frequent activity of mine for the past 10 years, I figured it was about time to dump the nuisance masks and make an investment in my long term health and enjoyment of woodworking. If you’ve researched powered respirator equipment for more than two minutes, you know that there isn’t an overwhelming number of options. You will have also noticed that every option is quite expensive.
Enter the Trend Air Shield Pro. This is the product that I decided on. While substantially less expensive than most competitors, this product has saved me from the sneezing and congestion that used to accompany long woodturning sessions even when wearing nuisance masks. The helmet has two filters that remove 98% of air born dust particles and a fan that blows this filtered air down across the inside of the face shield to keep dust out of your face.
Considering all that this product has packed under the “hood”, it is surprisingly light weight and well balanced. I do not find the helmets weight uncomfortable until wearing it for a few hours. After 4 or more hours, I’m ready to take it off, but of course it’s also usually time to eat too! The face shield is very clear and I’ve not had any issues with glare using this product. I’m able to see out of the helmet very well and absolutely love that I can wear my glasses while wearing this helmet.
Before I bought the AirShield Pro, I was relegated to wearing a nuisance mask under a standard face shield. That wasn’t a problem unless I needed to wear my glasses. The face shield and my glasses were constantly fogging up from the moisture in my breath. I work in an unairconditioned shop, so just about any time of year causes a face shield, safety glasses, or prescription glasses to fog up when wearing a nuisance mask. The AirShield Pro can also integrate ear muffs into the helmet. I choose to not buy the ear muffs at this time as I am very content with ear plugs. However, it is nice that Trend has built in the ability to attach ear muffs directly to the helmet.
Well that’s the good… Here’ are the troubles I’ve had with the AirShield Pro powered respirator. First off, a few minor annoyances. I feel that the charger should automatically switch to a trickle charge once the battery has reached full charge, as leaving a fully charged battery continually charging can shorten the run time of the battery. The low battery warning… AHHHHHHH!!! I hate the low battery warning. It IS the most annoying sound ever (worse than a 6 year old with a Bop-it). This sound is especially the worst when perfecting the exterior shape of your turning and you hear this constant BEEP… BEEP… BEEP that makes you want to do nothing more than to gently take of the helmet and bash it into a billion tiny pieces. That’s how I really feel about the low battery alarm. I mean do you really need this feature? Does it need to start 20-30 minutes before the unit actually stops working? Trend, if you’re reading this, can you tell me how to disconnect the tiny speaker of doom? Lastly, I’ve gone through two head bands for this unit. Each head band failed in the same area so this was obviously a weakness in the design. After having the second headband fail, I was very tempted to get what I could for the unit and go with a different brand.
When I called Trend, the rep I spoke with (Dave, super nice guy by the way) informed me that they had redesigned the strap and that is was much more robust than the original design. He sent out a replacement that day free of charge (the first replacement was also free) and it arrived two days later. The new head band is black instead of gray and while it does not appear any thicker, the plastic seems a bit more tough. Regardless, I’ll be babying this head band as I might just lose my marbles if I have to deal with another broken head band. I know I said earlier that this product is much more affordable that it’s competitors, but having to replace the same components twice inside 8 months of use is a bit frustrating. That being said… The customer support I’ve received has been absolutely top notch. Dave and Jamie are both great guys to work with and I’ve had nothing but positive interactions with them. Regardless of my issues with the head band or my own personal annoyance with the battery and alarm, I would not hesitate to recommend this product to any of my fellow woodworking or woodturning friends.
Other Trend Products WSM Has Reviewed
The Trend Diamond Whetstone Kit is a super product for all of your hand tool sharpening needs. Check out the article, Trend Diamond Whetstone Kit, Up For Review where I walk you through the process of sharpening multiple items in your shop, even those pricey carbide inserts.
The Grinding Stone is a great addition to any sharpening arsenal! Check out the article, Trend Grinding Stone, Up For Review to see how this diamond whetstone performs!
Full disclosure: I have not been compensated in any way for writing this review. I purchased this product, it was not provided by Trend or any of their affiliates for a review. Thanks for reading y’all. As always, leave questions in the comments section and have a great day!