If you are looking for the best optrel welding helmets, you chose the right place. Optrel is a well-known company in the welding industry, trusted by thousands of welders for their high safety standards and high quality auto darkening welding helmets. In this article, we review some of their top helmet models, highlighting their pros and cons.
The MIG or Metal Inert Gas welding method is one of the most common techniques applied to join to pieces of metal together, with the use of shielding gas along the ire electrode. In order to use the particular welding method, you need an excellent welding helmet, such as the ones manufactured by Optrel.
After extensive research, we recommend the Optrel 680 as the best welding helmet model from the particular company. It provides awesome workflow no matter the welding process, and its safety standards can only be compared with the top auto darkening helmet models in the market.
Why use an Optrel Welding Helmet?
The MIG or GMAW method has a large variety of appliances in many industries, this is the reason why it is one of the most well-known methods of welding. Regarding beginners, it is considered one of the best ways to start learning the welding process, because it is less complex and time consuming compared to methods like TIG.
The particular method has four main ways with which you can transfer metal. These ways are the spray, the pulsed-spray, the globular and the short-circuiting. All these four ways have their own procedures, which differ in the details, and the Optrel hoods are the protection headgear of our choice.
One of the most common industries that uses MIG method is the automotive manufacturing and repair on all sizes of automobile and vehicles. The reason why it is considered one of the best welding methods for such large projects, is the fact that it produces extremely sturdy welds that result into durable structures.
Pipe welds, robotics and railroad tracks are some well-known applications of MIG welding. It is one of the most affordable methods for such industries, and it is considered a major quality investment considering the longevity of its results.
As far as materials are concerned, welders can use the MIG method with a different varieties. Some of the most common for commercial use, are the titanium, alloy metals, aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, copper and magnesium.
Optrel welding helmets are designed to keep the welder safe under all the above circumstances. They have extremely fast auto darkening filters adjusted to their lenses, which take action the moment the arc ignites. A great example is the Optrel e680, which is one of the safest welding helmet models available in the market.
Best Optrel Welding Helmets
In order to proceed safely with any welding process, you need the proper welding helmets to keep you protected. In the list below, we have searched and reviewed 5 of the best Optrel welding helmets, and we recommend them for your weldings.
1 – Top Pick – Optrel e680
This welding helmet is my number one choice when it comes to MIG welding. It is a very low profile helmet, and it is especially recommended for those that are going to work in tight places, as it fits nicely and maintains a magnificent coverage.
The Optrel e680 which you can find on Amazon, is a bit more rounded helmet compared to other similar models, and it works significantly well for overhead MIG weldings due to its shape. It fits perfectly on the head, and has great positioning as it stays in place no matter what.
As far as its clarity is concerned, in my opinion it is amazing. It has a fairly large viewing area, which optically offers convenience to the welder, especially in tight spaces with minimum movement. I highly recommend the Optrel e680 for anyone that wants to enhance his MIG welding experience and get his projects to the next level.
2 – Runner up – Optrel Panoramaxx
- Panorama field of vision offers a 6 times larger...
- True Color View - specially developed UV/IR filter...
- Autopilot - Detection of the arc brightness and...
- Multi-sensor detection - The completely redesigned...
- State-of-the-Art power technology - With its...
The large-sized viewing area is one of the biggest advantages of the Optrel Panoramaxx. I consider this helmet a great choice when it comes to MIG, although the manufacturer claims that it is a general task welding helmet for almost any welding process.
The helmet has dual settings for shade levels, which offers flexibility regarding the levels of adjustment. The grinding mode is another nice addition to the variety of features of this welding helmet by Optrel, and the nice tight headband holds the helmet correctly positioned on the head.
If you are going to use the helmet for more than one welding methods, the shade level range is going to help you adjust them specifically for your projects. For more information, check the Optrel Panoramaxx here.
3 – Optrel e670
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If you are a fan of guaranteed safety, then is the perfect welding helmet for you. The design has amazing simplicity, which makes the Optrel e670 one of the most professional auto darkening welding helmets in the market.
It super light, which adds great convenience to the welder that works on long-hours projects. It doesn’t press the head or the neck, and its was designed to prevent fatigue at any cost. Structure-wise, the outside seems well-designed, and it is sturdy and solid.
The exterior part of the helmet has the features and adjustment switches which you can use to set the helmet to your liking without putting it off. A minor disadvantage might be the slightly loose headband, which you have to adjust manually. Visit Amazon to check out the Optrel e670.
4 – Optrel Liteflip Autopilot
- The fully automated welding mask: automatically...
- No manual shade level setting necessary.
- The portal lite flip autopilot automatically...
- Super lightweight flip-up welding helmet with...
This is a very nicely designed welding helmet by the Optrel Company, with some awesome minimal black-green graphics on it. It is definitely a very appealing auto darkening welding helmet, which has all the essential features to make any welding process as convenient as possible.
The viewing area is more than sufficient, and offer the necessary room to enhance the visibility of the user. This is especially useful for welders that work in tight or small places. The switching time of the Liteflip is super fast, due to the 4 sensors.
As far as the power source is concerned, the Optrel Liteflip Autopilot which you can find on Amazon, uses batteries along with solar power, which means that they are recharged saving you from the trouble to look for replacements every now and then.
5 – Optrel VegaView 2.5
- The automatic welding helmet with world record...
- Shade level range 8 to 12
- Grind mode with perfect view
- Shade level 2. 5 in Light state
Optrel is a well-known welding helmet manufacturer because of the high quality helmets they provide to their customers. The Optrel VegaView 2.5 which you can find here, is another great example that confirms this statement, and there is a good reason why.
Its very convenient viewing area offer the desired flexibility to the welder, and makes welding as easy as it gets because it doesn’t restrict his positioning. The colors and the clarity of the shades is excellent, and the filtering guarantees protection for the eyes of the user at all times.
One big advantage of the Optrel VegaView 2.5 is the response time which is very fast. You have to adjust the knobs in order to tighten the hood to your head, but after that it provides stability and stays in position under any circumstances. It feels extremely comfortable on the head, and the headband is convenient enough once you get used to it.
What is MIG (GMAW) welding?
MIG is the process welders use in order to join two pieces of metal by melting an electrode and applying the molten result onto the joint. In order to produce the melting electrode, we need to a solid electrode, a power source which supplies the shielding gas and electrical power so that we can melt the electrode mentioned before.
This process is usually done automatically by the appropriate equipment, although there is some manual operation needed during the welding. The welder, must manually control the travel speed and direction, and operate the torch or gun to direct it towards the correct position.
The essential amperage needed to melt the electrode are provided by the power supply, although the welder has to adjust the settings for proper functionality. This way, the appropriate rate of amperage is going to be produced so that the electrode can melt and the arc length is going to be preserved as required.
What is the purpose of MIG?
With the MIG method, we use the shielding gas to avoid exposing our molten weld pool to the elements of the environment and the air, such as the oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. When the molten weld pool comes in contact with these elements, a reaction is occurs along with holes in the weld bead or spatter, which can damage the welding projects and make them non-functional.
There is a variety of different gases used in order to determine the way how the weld is going to be penetrated. Along with the penetration, using these varieties of gases, we can determine the arc stability or the mechanical properties when we have the final result of our weld.
To achieve successful results that are going to provide us with the desired weld, we need to acquire an appropriate welding helmet for MIG, such as the Optrel Liteflip Autopilot Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet, and an effective, high quality MIG kit with all the essentials like the Forney 29901 125 FC MIG Welder Start-Up Kit.
Why use MIG: Advantages and disadvantages
Like every other welding method, there are certain considerations you should take into account before getting in touch with the Metal Inert Gas method. Lets find out what the advantages and disadvantages of the particular welding type are:
It costs very little to get started with MIG welding. You can acquire the necessary equipment, accessories and tool for very affordable prices, and the replacements are equally cheap. Of course, if you are a professional and you want to enhance your productivity level, you can go with higher-quality, more expensive tools and complete kits, such as the Forney 324 190-Amp Multi-Process Welder with all the accessories and tools included in the package.
The MIG method can be used for all kinds of industrial projects and commercial metals. This makes it one of the most flexible welding methods for the majority of the industries and welders.
Regarding the convenience it offers to the welders, the particular method is excellent both for beginners and professionals. The reason why, is because if the user has the appropriate equipment he can work in various positions without restrictions. In addition to this, because you can work with less disruptions due to the high operator duty cycle.
The welder can work with precision, as deep weld penetration can be achieve using the MIG method. There is no weld bead or covering slug produced during the process, this is why it is considered a clean welding method, which means that is saves you time and enhances the user experience as he can weld in a clean workplace.
If the welder knows how to use the required filler metal, MIG is perfect for multi-pass welding. You don’t have to acquire many skills as an operator because most of the work is done automatically by the machinery. This also means that it is the ideal method for mechanized welding.
Lastly, it has certain advantages compared to other methods like Stick Welding that are going to help beginners learn much faster and be safer while getting in touch with welding. For instance, it has higher metal deposition rates and welding speeds, there are less fumes produced during the process and the electrode deposition efficiency is far more superior.
One of the most important disadvantage of MIG welding is the fact that you cannot use it on all types of metal thicknesses. That said, it would be advisable to start by applying MIG onto thinner pieces of metal at first, and then proceed to medium-thickness metals with caution.
The portability of the particular welding method is another issue, especially of you are going to work outdoors. This is why because with MIG, you will need to use inert gas, which is not easy to transfer. If you need to work in multiple places, consider using a method like arc welding, which doesn’t require external source of shielding gas and will be more convenient and less time consuming.
If your aim is precision, then MIG might or might not be the ideal welding method for you. Although it considered to be one of the cleanest and precise types of welding, it is not THE most precise and clean. For best and more detailed results, welders should consider turning into the TIG welding method.
Are Optrel Welding Hoods suitable for the Solar Eclipse?
Although the sun is responsible for all life on Earth, we are so used to it that we take it as granted, and this is why we never pay attention to it. What is more, if we look straight at this huge source of heat, energy and plasma, we are most likely going to burn our eyes.
When the time comes for an eclipse, the majority of people wants to take action and view this magnificent spectacle. To achieve this, we need to be careful and become aware of the dangers that can harm our health, by reading and getting informed about solar eclipse.
Ultraviolet rays are responsible for eye burns and sunburns of skin. They are extremely hazardous for the human skin and our vision, and this is why we need to stay protected from them. Optrel welding helmets (as well as welding glasses) are one of the best ways to ensure our safety.
Regular sunglasses are not recommended. Their lenses are not dark enough to protect our eyeballs from UV rays, and exposure to sunlight during a solar eclipse can lead to retinopathy. Retinopathy is a condition which leads to losing parts of your vision. Most of the times it causes temporary loss of vision, but sometimes can also cause total blindness if the exposure is too big.
Due to these dangers, in this article we have gathered some useful information as far as safety during a solar eclipse is concerned. We are going to find out whether Optrel welding helmets are a good way to protect our eyes from UV rays, and find out how to achieve this level of safety.
What shade of welder’s glass to use?
The minimum shade you should use in order to view a solar eclipse is 12. Although shade 12, most of the times is claimed to be too bright for viewing the solar eclipse, it can still be used effectively and protect the viewer’s eyes.
Helmets designed and manufactured by the Optrel company offer this exact type of protection, allowing the user to enjoy the solar eclipse rather than worrying about the safety of their eyes.
Welder’s glass is initially designed and structured in such a way, that it can protect the welders eyes from ultraviolet and infrared rays during the welding process. As the sun emits ultraviolet rays too, welding helmets are great for viewing safely a solar eclipse.
In order to keep your eyes as protected as possible, you need to use the appropriate shades. Shades 12 and higher are recommended for viewing an eclipse, although shade 12 is considered too bright and shade 14 is considered too dark.
This statement leads us to consider shade 13 as the most appropriate for a solar eclipse. The problem here is that lenses with shade 13 are the most difficult to find in the market. You can use them with passive welding helmets such as the Jackson Safety Passive Welding Helmet (passive welding helmets usually come with a 10 or 12 shade lens).
In order to solve this issue, you can use an auto darkening welding helmet such as the Optrel VegaView 2.5 Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet, which has a variable shade lens and goes up to shade 13.
Is it safe to view the solar eclipse with an Optrel Welding Helmet?
Most people that are not associated with the welding industry assume that you have to give a fortune in order to acquire a high quality welding helmet. Although it is common sense that the more you spend the best product you are going to get, you can still acquire great welding helmet in very logical prices.
For example, a significantly effective auto darkening welding helmet such as the Optrel Neo p550 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is perfect for viewing the solar eclipse. It has a variable shade of 9 to 13, and it is going to protect the viewer’s eyes from ultraviolet rays. The best part is that it costs under $300!
The only thing you need to keep in mind is to make sure that your welding helmet has a lens of at least #12 shade (preferably #13). This way it is going to darken enough to help you watch the solar eclipse safely, while having the cleanest view possible to enjoy the spectacle.
Before you purchase a welding helmet, take the time to read the reviews and specifications provided by the manufacturer. Also, to ensure that you get a quality welding helmet, make a case of acquiring one from a trustful manufacturer, that meets the National Safety Standards.
Try to avoid old welding helmets. Especially passive welding helmets, tend to come with only a shade 10 lens. If you have such an old welding helmet, it is recommended that you do not attempt to look at the sun during the eclipse, because you will harm your eyes.
If you don’t want to acquire a newer welding helmet, you have to get a new lens of shade 12 or more for your welding helmet, and replace your current one. This way, you are going to make sure that your vision is protected when you stare at the sun.
Test the welding helmet
The best way to find out if your welding helmet is able to protect your eyes effectively, is to test it by looking at the sun. It probably sounds stupid, but it is the only way you can find out if the ADF (auto darkening filter) works properly.
In order to achieve the best results possible, make sure that you make the appropriate adjustments on your welding helmet by using the light sensitivity and delay controls. That said, you need to turn the sensitivity up and lower the delay to achieve maximum response time.
Make sure that you get a welding helmet that provides all of these adjustments features, such as the Optrel Panoramaxx Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, which you can check here.
Be cautious when you test your welding helmet. Don’t stare at the sun for too long in case the ADF doesn’t work properly or is too slow. If you find out that it works, then you can test variations of the control adjustments, until you are satisfied.
Always have safety in mind. You might want to achieve brighter view for the solar eclipse, but you are advised to keep the shades darker for the safety of your eyes. You want to make sure that you are protected at all times, even if it means that you need to sacrifice some of the viewing quality.
How to prepare a welding helmet for the solar eclipse
If you already have a welding helmet, you might need to make some adjustments or hacks to it in order to make it more effective for viewing the eclipse. This applies especially for older welding helmets, that cannot be used safely for such an occasion.
To achieve this, you are going to need things that most probably lay around your home. After all, we are trying to prepare our welding helmet for the solar eclipse without spending any money, just by using our knowledge and regular stuff from our home.
What we basically want to do, is use the infrared light of a regular TV remote control, to make the view of our welding helmet safe for looking at the sun. Any TV remote control is okay for the job, even the most affordable ones such as the RCA RCR314WZ 3-Device.
We will combine the remote control with the cap of a bottle, to make our welding helmet safe for the viewer that wants to watch the solar eclipse. For this, we are going to need an auto darkening welding helmet, such as the Optrel e670 which you can find on Amazon.
Clean your welding helmet
The first thing you should always keep in mind, is that whatever you need to do with your welding helmet you have to clean it first. It doesn’t matter whether you have a new or an old helmet, you should always clean it before and after the welding process to keep it in a good shape.
In this case, you have to clean the exact spot that you are going to place and glue the remote control on. That said, I strongly advise that you clean the entire surface of the welding helmet for best results. It is going to help you handle the helmet better.
You can use fire water or alcohol on the dirty area, although I recommend using a dedicated product designed for cleaning welding helmets. One of the best welding helmet cleaners I use is the Progold Helmet Cleaner and Deodorizer which you can buy on Amazon. Apart from welding helmets, you can use it for all kinds of helmets.
It is best to spray the cleaner on a clean towel, and rub it on the dirty surface slowly so that you can wipe the dirtiness effectively. This is especially required for old, used welding helmets that have collected dust, dirtiness, oil and fumes residues over the years. After wiping it, make sure that you let it dry.
Place the remote control
The purpose of gluing a remote control on the welding helmet, is o use its pulsed infrared light in order to darken its lens. This way, it is similar to using a darker shade for our welding helmet, which provides higher levels of protection for our vision.
To attach the remote control on the welding helmet, you must use a hot glue gun (for instance, the CCbetter Mini Hot Melt Glue Gun which you can find here) with the hot glue sticks that are usually included in the package.
The best area to glue the remote control, is at the side of the welding helmet, next to the infrared sensors. This way, we are helping the infrared light pass through to the sensors which are positioned next to it.
Sometimes, materials such aluminum need to be heated before they get glued using hot glue. Use a welding torch like the Bernzomatic TS8000 High Intensity Trigger Start Torch to heat the material, and then try using the hot glue on it. If you are not a welder, which means that you don’t have a torch, you can leave the material out in the sun to heat up, although it takes more time.
Place the cap on the welding helmet
The cap is essential for making this work. Essentially, it is used as a reflection of the infrared light coming from the remote control, into the arc sensors of our welding helmet. As a result, the lens of the helmet darkens more than before, and we can view the sun safely.
To make it work, we need to glue the cap in a specific way. We have to glue it in such a way that the LED of the remote control and at least one of the arc sensors of the welding helmet are under it. This way, it can work as a bridge between them.
If you want to handle the cap, for instance to bend it or expand it, you have to use heat again like we did with the material that are hard to glue. Make sure that the cap is made of polyethylene, so that you can take advantage of all its awesome properties.
Tape the cap and the sensors
Last but not least, you need to secure the cap and the sensors of your welding helmet from leakage. You have to cut pieces of tape that are bigger than the surface of the cap and the sensors, in order to avoid having light leakages through them.
The arc sensors are usually place in the front part of a welding helmet. They look like small dots in the edges of the front part, and you might need to cover them with smaller pieces of tape as they are not going to be as big as the cap.
The type of tape I use for this process is the XFasten Professional Aluminum Foil Tape. It is a very strong aluminum tape that sticks effectively on the area of the welding helmet, no matter the material it is made from.
If the question is whether we can use a welding helmet to view the solar eclipse, the short answer is YES. There are some particular steps you have to follow if you want to prepare your old welding helmet for viewing the eclipse, although they are considered fairly easy and fast.
Optrel welding helmets are very safe when it comes to viewing the eclipse, especially if they use a lens of shade 12 or more. They guarantee your eye protection, and they are a very affordable option if you consider that there are high quality helmet models for under $300 in the market.
Use your welding helmet to view the solar eclipse safely!
MIG welding is one of the most common and beginner-friendly methods in the welding world. In this article we have provided some useful information about what is MIG, its advantages and disadvantages and whether or not you can use Optrel helmets for viewing the solar eclipse.
Regarding the Optrel welding helmets, in the list above we have gathered 5 of the best auto darkening ones suitable for any type of welding. The Optrel e680 is our top pick because of its high safety standards, fantastic professional design and its amazing optical clarity.
If you want to know more, here are 2 videos reviewing two of the best Optrel welding helmets: