Let’s get in with the review on the helmet alright guys so we’re gonna unbox this helmet so I could show you what comes in the package now. I’ve been using this helmet for about a month now I didn’t want to do a review on it till I had a thorough chance to put this thing through its paces use it as much as I possibly could so that I could give you an honest idea of what’s going on so I got this about a month ago so yeah the box looks a little funky and you’re gonna notice that the helmet looks used because it is I wanted to make sure that I gave it the best possible review that I could so let’s crack this box open see what’s inside.
Last update on 2019-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There’s gonna be a clear protective film over this I already took that off of there because I’ve been using this helmet here is just a quick glance at the helmet, the inside, the adjustable headgear and then you’re also going to get an extra face shield for it in case you damage the one that you have here, and then underneath here if you look this up you’ll have a bag with all the operating instructions and then also inside the bag is this USB cable now, we’ll get into this a little bit later what this USB cable is for but I’m going to tell you it’s pretty cool.
Pros of Optrel Panoramaxx Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Black
The first thing I noticed about this when I pulled it out and put it on for the first time is it is exceptionally light and exceptionally flexible which is kind of cool. You can literally just flex this thing in any direction you can kind of, bend it around move it around and it just everything about it is super flexible which is awesome.
Now it makes for a super light hood and the other thing I noticed were the multiple controls on the side for the headgear. This particular control up here will actually tilt the helmet back and forth and move it forward and backward so that when you’re wearing this helmet and you’ll see why you need to move this headgear back and forth to get this thing positioned properly. But there’s extra dials, so the extra dials were kind of cool I thought. So now I don’t know how well you guys are going to be able to see there we go that’s nice so inside there you’ll notice that this looks like a pair of ski goggles on the inside.
You’ve got a little spot for your nose right here you’ve got the viewing window and then up and above that you actually have all of your controls now these controls are super cool and I’ll tell you why: You have your sensitivity adjustment, a delay adjustment, an auto adjustment and a manual adjustment. Now this helmet has something really cool in it, that allows you to set it to auto and it will auto adjust the shade based on the brightness of your arc or the amperage that you’re welding at now, that is such an awesome feature.
The next thing I noticed about this was that there is a button on the side of this thing right here that button is for grind mode, I don’t know how many of you guys are welders but in most welding helmets when you want to stick them into grind mode you have to flip them over flip them up push a couple buttons inside and then you end up in grind mode.
It’s really nice about this one is you have this little button on the side here push that button and you get a nice little blinking blue LED in the front that reflects off of the front glass here so when you put this helmet on. I don’t know if you guys would be able to see it through the lens probably not but when you put this helmet on and it’s in grind mode you can see an actual reflection in the lens from that blue light so that you automatically know that you’re in grind mode and you don’t accidentally flash yourself.
So all you have to do is push that button put it in the grind mode and you’re good, which is awesome for me because I do a lot of you know weld something and then have to cut or weld something and then have to grind it down. I have to grind a piece of pipe or cut a piece of pipe in the middle of welding and that makes it absolutely amazing for me in the fact that I could just hit up on it on the side go into grind mode hit the button again be right back into welding mode without having to lift the helmet in any way shape or form I think that’s my second favorite feature.
The first favorite feature of this helmet is just how light it is, how absolutely light it is you put it on and you don’t even realize you’re wearing it, we’ll get into some of the specs on this thing in a second but these are just first impressions was the fact that it was so light, the viewing window is so wide even though it looks like it’s truncated a little bit as compared to light my 3M which has you know this massive viewing window on the front that one doesn’t look as big but I can tell you what they say Panoramaxx for a reason the Panoramaxx i literally is panoramic I get just as much side-to-side peripheral vision.
The reasoning behind this little nose piece in here is so that you can get the panoramic view and then the reason for this button over here is so that you can adjust this helmet so that it is either closer to your face or further away from your face and that is HUGE so that’s basically my first impressions on this helmet.
It felt super light almost to a point where it feels cheap but not cheap you know it’s it’s very well-made it’s just very light and sometimes when things don’t have weigh to them they have kind of a cheap feel but this doesn’t have that cheap feel, it’s got a nice feel yet its light yet it almost could feel cheap but it’s one of those deals so all right let’s move on to some of the features and specs.
So the reason this is called the panoramics 2.5 it’s not a version number 2.5 there wasn’t two versions of this beforehand and now they just came out with 2.5 the reason being is that the shade when this helmet is in its light stage is that a 2.5 shade, now most other helmets run a 4 or a 5 shade in the light stage this brings a whole new world of you know not having to lift your helmet when you’re done with your arc you can see your piece without having to lift the helmet.
It just makes it unreal and I’m gonna try right now to give you guys a representation of that by showing you the Optrel through the camera and then I’ll show you my 3m speed glass through the camera and you’ll be able to tell that these at their light stage are very much different.
All right so here’s the Optrel in its light stage all right so you can clearly see my hand the 3m speedglas all that stuff really super clear, there’s really no darkness to it it just got a slight green tinge to it now let’s switch over to the 3m face so there’s the 3m guys so now with the 3m you can actually see that it is quite a bit darker than the Panoramaxx quite a bit darker you’ve got quite a bit more of the green tinge to it you’ve got quite a bit more of darkness on the actual helmet over there and you can see the cameras even having trouble focusing through it so there is definitely a massive massive difference between this helmet and the 3m speedglas.
The next feature is although this is a digitally controlled helmet it has all analog controls so now the reason that that is a benefit to have analog controls in a digital helmet is that you have an exact representation of what you’re doing like in here.
When you move the manual setting you know that you’re in shade 8 shade 9 shade 10 whatever right now I have it set to about nine and a half then you have a mode switch that allows you to do either auto or manual then you have an auto compensation dial so for instance if you’re in automatic mode and it’s a little too bright for you or a little too dark for you.
You can adjust that accordingly then of course you have your typical delay which is the delay from the time the orchestra struck till the time of the helmet darkens and then you have a sensitivity which basically again allows you to set sensitivity based on Arc based on stuff when you’re welding in super low amperage situations like you know 20 30 amps sensitivity and delay become a big thing.
That’s really really handy to have a setting for now you’ll notice this little you be connector right here and that’s what that cables for that I showed you before. Now most all digital helmets have batteries inside of them. They are usually the button cell watch batteries now this also has a battery inside it however it is a lithium ion battery and with this little port right here you can actually charge that battery it’s got a little tiny battery indicator right here that I’ll tell you when the battery needs recharging it’s got the charge port you just plug it in your computer and charge it up and I’m assuming I didn’t get any confirmation on this from Optrel but I’m assuming that once they come out with maybe a firmware update for the panel itself.
You can actually do firmware updates to this but for right now all I’m 100% on is the fact that you can charge the batteries inside now to complement that particular charging sequence on the front of this helmet and you have a huge solar panel across the top of the helmet which that solar panel will also charge the internal battery so unless you’re doing a ton of welding in the dark or you’re doing a lot of low amperage stuff you’ll probably very rarely ever have to charge this helmet. I’ve been using it for a month and I haven’t had to charge it once yet, I haven’t even gotten a low battery indicator.
Then right next little battery indicator is the grind mode when you push the button on the front it’ll start blinking and then you can see it from there so having these dials is great now.
Let’s go over the auto feature, the auto feature is probably one of the best things in the world, a lot of times when I’m welding I have to keep resetting my shade because I’ll go from welding stainless steel or titanium at 35 45 55 amps to welding thick aluminum at 130 140 amps to welding mild steel at 160 200 amps, depending on what I’m doing having an auto feature is amazing now I was skeptical about this auto feature on this helmet because I’ve dealt with things that are automatic and usually they’re more manual than they will ever be automatic but I can honestly tell you that this works. the auto shade is absolutely phenomenal and the reason I say that is because how many times have you guys been welding and you start to weld and you kind of get around a corner a little bit and the arc kind of goes out of your vision when the arc goes out and around your vision it either flashes the helmet over and over again or you start to lose your ability to see because that bright arc isn’t there any longer.
This helmet will auto adjust as that arc gets dimmer the helmet gets brighter and as the arc gets brighter the helmet dims down, I thought it was amazing because I rolled over the edge of a piece of tubing and the helmet didn’t flash me at all it literally just lightened up enough so I could still see what I was doing and then as I came back around the piece of tubing the helmet darkened back up again absolutely incredible.
I cannot tell you how amazing this helmet is now we’re gonna go over yet another feature on this helmet It’s called true color view. Reading the side of the box that helps it’s called true color view true color, it allows you to have a better representation of the colors that you’re looking at what you’re super important when you’re welding because it gives you the ability to see what the coloring on your weld looks like without having to lift your helmet now.
I’m sure you saw the difference between the Optrel and the 3M when it came to darkness versus lightness in its light stage but I’m sure you also saw that what the Optrel you have a much better representation of actual color than you do with the 3M.
The 3M is still very green you know very all the colors are very washed out everything looks just basically green where’s the Optrel you can tell reds from blues from greens from all that stuff so really amazing helmet. Again sensitivity functions the autopilot function which is the auto shade absolutely incredible works absolutely flawlessly shade levels from 2.5 all the way up to 12 and they’ll all work in Auto 2.5 obviously is the light stage 5 is your very first welding or grind mode stage and then it goes all the way up 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 all the way up to shade 12 again
Grind mode absolutely phenomenal push-button click you’re in grind mode push button you’re out of grind a multi-sensor detection this helmet has yet to flash me my 3m has two main sensors on either side of the lens and if I happen to rotate just a little bit out I will get flashed from that helmet
I have yet to been flashed by this helmet which I’ve put it in some really awkward upside-down positions and it’s been absolutely perfect now my final thoughts on this helmet I was skeptical at first because I’ve been a 3m fanboy for years, I mean you could see this helmet I’ve probably had this lid for want to say going on about eight years now it’s definitely been beat up it’s seen its share of stuff I’ve probably put 15 or 20 new lenses on the front of this thing never had a problem with it always been a workhorse a little heavy a little clunky but other than that it’s been 100% perfect and a good friend of mine.
I contacted Optrel and they sent this out and asked me if I would review a form so I did my final thoughts on it.
It is my new go-to helmet it’s the new helmet that I use every day use it for all of my take welding not using it for MIG welding because I don’t want to destroy it I want to kind of keep it nice and have you know the three m4 MIG welding exhaust systems and crap like that because the parts for that is super cheap the Optrel is also very inexpensive for the consumables but I just want to keep this helmet nice.
I love it it’s comfortable it’s light it’s everything that I wanted I could see so much better my welds are coming out better because I can literally see the center of the weld the edges of the weld I can see everything with that I couldn’t see with the 3M the auto shade is absolutely phenomenal, it works flawlessly I don’t even have to think about it I can change averages on the fly I can weld hotter longer faster and not ever have to lift the helmet to change anything which is incredible that is one of the most amazing features I’ve ever seen and it works it actually works.
I like the fact that you can adjust the helmet in and out to your face that’s amazing that’s one thing that you’ll have to do as soon as you get it yet to adjust it to your face.
Now let’s get into the things that I don’t like about this helmet
Cons of Optrel Panoramaxx Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Black
One thing I don’t like about this helmet is the headgear itself, it’s very rigid like you can’t even bend that very rigid. The head gear on this it’s just it’s very rigid like you can’t move that at all and even the front half here is super rigid and the top is really really rigid and I’m hoping it kind of breaks in over time it hasn’t really done it yet but I’m hoping it breaks in over time.
The other thing that I’m not real happy about is that this headgear just moves freely so the problem that I always run into with it and I’ll show you is when you put this helmet on if you’ve got it loose enough to where you can actually just you know do one of these and flip it down when it’s up at it’s fully position and you look down from it is forever doing that now if you tighten it so that it doesn’t do that then you have an issue with this usually have to do it twice it only comes halfway down so that might not seem like a big deal to anybody but it is because now when you take my 3m and I don’t know if you guys will be able to hear this but this headgear is very flexible you can move this all around this top half is super flexible this front I mean I can literally take this entire headgear and just move it in any way shape or form.
The other thing that I like about the 3M headgear is that at the top there’s a detent so when you look down it doesn’t go anywhere and then you can literally flip it up and you’re fine you do whatever you need to do and then boom comes right down so the only flaw that really drives me nuts about this Optrel helmet is that headgear I think they could improve on that quite a bit they could definitely do a much more comfortable headgear and the adjustability because this knob is kind of funky sometimes and you know the headgear.
They’re too tight or if you have it too loose it doesn’t conform to your head and it slips off and then you’ve got the whole issue with the helmet just randomly coming down on you so I’ll trail you guys need to kind of update this headgear a little bit and then this helmet would be absolutely perfect.
If you are welder I highly recommend this helmet it’s amazing only issue you’re gonna have is with the headgear takes a little getting used to it’s a little uncomfortable at first but once you get used to it and you get the settings dialed in just right then you’re absolutely good one thing I can absolutely recommend to you is make sure you put the little pad on the nose gear that comes in with it because a lot of times
I have the tendency to put my helmet on just like that and when you slap that thing down it smacks the bridge of your nose so hard so you have to make sure that it is absolutely perfectly centered and right in front of your face and then when you flop it down it’ll go right over your nose and it’s perfect okay so that’s it for the optronic again guys
Optrel Panoramaxx Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Review