Crummy Welding, LLC
I would like to thank optrel very much for the opportunity to sample the E648 helmet. I have had a chance to use this hood for 3 weeks straight on many different jobs and materials. Below you will find my personal review. From the little bit of looking around online I have seen this hood priced from $335-$506, so it's worth taking the time to shop around and look for a deal. I hope that you find this review informative and answers a few questions that you might have had about the Optrel E684 helmet.
This has always been a large issue with my hoods. Other brand hoods I have used the headgear was always a deal beaker for me. The E648 headgear is very nice. Very easy to adjust on the fly without needing to remove. Especially like the in and out adjustment I found very handy. The larger knobs on the sides for up and down are nice for adjusting with gloves on. Easy to find by feel and stays adjusted for a good amount of time after set. My favorite part of the headgear is the travel distance adjustment knob. Very easy to use and adjust on the fly. Others I have used have a flimsy bracket that never seems to hold or just wears out over time causing the hood to flip down too far. The E648 headger I feel will hold up for a long time which is very important.
The E648 is a very attractive helmet. Defiantly draws your attention from others that you may see hanging on the wall at a supply store. There are a few good and bad points to this shape though. This hood is a little larger than others. In using this hood in climate controlled environments and non controlled environments I found having the extra space inside very nice and was breathable. Other hoods I have used were very hot and did not breath very well. Never felt very claustrophobic or stuffy after using the E648 for several hours. One down side to the larger helmet is it is very difficult to get into tight spots. I build lots of frames and found it hard to manipulate my head to be able to reach the locations I needed to get to. Another down side is the overall shape. Though it is very attractive it doesn't sit very well on the bench while working. I am one to take my hood and gloves off as soon as I am done and putting it back on after laying a part out. I would put this hood on the table and it would roll around and a few times rolled off the table. This isn't a terrible thing but more an annoyance that it's normally not where I left it when I go to reach for it. Overall though I do like the shape and style of this hood for most applications.
I have never been a big fan of controls being on the outside of helmets but after using the E648 that feeling has changed a bit. It is nice to be able to adjust as needed on the fly. The Grind Mode isn't something that I used at all or would use but it is very handy to just have a click away on the side. Very easy to find and large enough to touch with gloves still on. The Sensitivity settings are very nice. I liked that it's not just a pre set high, med, or low. Being able to adjust to what you need is very important. I did find that the sensitivity needed to be turned very low so that when I purged the torch it didn't set off the hood. This was very annoying at first but after some trial and error I found a spot that seems to work just fine. It also seemed to help with the strobe light flashing issues at work. Though it still did flash from time to time but not as bad as other hoods. I do understand that is a frequency issue that is hard to overcome. The Delay settings are very nice. Again nice to be able to set this to what ever your personal preference might be. Not just Fast, Slow. I did enjoy the slower delay but again with the strobe light setting off the hood it was very difficult to work with so I had to turn the delay up to a manageable speed with the strobe. I liked that this hood doesn't turn off. Just put it on and go. Overall I'd give the Controls and locations of these controls high marks. Very user friendly.
When I received this hood I had heard lots of great things about the optics being very clear. Everything I had heard was true. The first few welds I made was very shocking at how clear it was compared to other hoods I had been using. One down side to the optics is the size of the screen. I was expecting it to be a bit larger for the retail cost of this hood. A few other co workers I had try this hood said the same thing. It is larger than some but smaller than others in the same price range. I did like the Auto Adjustment/Manual settings. It was very interesting to see the shade getting lighter as I was backing off to trail out of a weld. You really could see a difference in this. I did find myself using the manual setting more often just because I felt more comfortable with arc starts. The Auto seemed to have very bright start, as almost like it didn't turn on, then darken whereas the Manual just went dark. The clarity of the optics are surprisingly clear.
Overall Shape and Appearance
Overall with using this hood for a few weeks I enjoyed it. Yes, it has a few minor down sides, like the size, but every hood you look at will have something wrong with them. The headgear and clarity of the of the optic would have to be my favorites. The simple adjustments on the sides for up and down stopping and a smooth up and down motion. Personally, if your hood keeps falling on you or goes too far after you have flipped it down can become very annoying no mater how clear the optics are or other bells and whistles. If you are in the market for a new helmet and thinking of trying Optrel I would say don't be afraid to give them a try. If possible I always suggest to go to your local weld supply store and try on the different helmets. Putting the hoods on can make the largest differences. You will find this style of hood very spacious and open feeling compared to others. This hood is very light weight which after wearing it for hours on end can make a huge difference in neck fatigue.
I hope that you have found this review useful and informative. Thank you for taking the time to read through it and hope it helped you in your consideration of an Optrel helmet
Nicely packaged with little worry of damage. I was very surprised at the light weight of the box when it arrived. The instructions are very clear and understandable to get you welding right out of the box. Nice to see that you don't have to assemble anything, just adjust the headgear and you're welding. Very nice quality helmet bag! I'm honestly not one to use a helmet bag but was pleasantly surprised to see a quality one was included