Optrel Panoramaxx Review
We’ve had a lot of welders asking us to take the Optrel Panoramaxx welding helmet with the E3000 Powered Air Purifying Respirator for a test drive to tell them what we think. Well here it is. The experts calling a spade a spade and telling you what we really think of this “very different” PAPR welding helmet.
Well, I can honestly say I’ve never used a welding helmet like the Optrel Panoramaxx before. From the instant you put it on, you know you are dealing with a completely different beast to any other hood you’ve owned before. It’s like you’re not even wearing a welding helmet. The vision is more like what you’d expect through a pair of sunnies because the welding lens is brought so close to your eyes. The guys over at Optrel say that because of this feature your field of vision is increased by up to 6 times. I’m not sure about 6 times, but I can say the field of vision is enormous and this type of technology is a real game changer for welders. It’s funny when you think about it, while all the other brands are trying to compare the size of their welding lens, Optrel went the other way and thought about what welders actually want. Welder’s don’t really care about a bigger welding lens, they just want a better view of their weld and world. The Optrel Panoramaxx is a truly unique design, executed perfectly to give welders exactly this. Everyone always says it’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it right? The other clever thing about using this unique design is that the lens doesn’t need to use as much glass as the other brands, meaning that the vision is huge but the weight is like a feather. Huge views and light weight – two things that welders tend to love!
Another amazing feature on this bad boy is the “Auto Pilot”. Believe it or not, this helmet interprets the light from the weld and then selects the shade level it knows is best. Yes, it gives you fully automatic shade level adjustment. No more stopping and adjusting, just point and shoot. When the auto-pilot is combined with the huge field of vision and one of the clearest and lightest light states available, this welding helmet is something special when it comes to vision.
In my opinion, stress on MY OPINION (don’t hold it against me if it doesn’t happen), I believe that powered air will become mandatory for welders in the very near future in Australia. “Why” you ask? Because we all know welding fume is terrible for you and we always knew that it “probably caused cancer”. Well just recently some scientists who work for the International Agency for Research on Cancer came out and set the record straight with a number of studies. They said it’s not probable that fume causes cancer, they said it’s a certainty. They concluded there is a direct link between breathing welding fume and getting lung cancer. So in short, wear a bloody powered air respirator. And if you are looking for a powered air respirator it’s pretty hard to go past the Optrel E3000 PAPR.
By the way, if you have ever wondered what PAPR stands for it means Powered Air Purifying Respirator. These respirators give you 50 times the protection that you would have unprotected. So I repeat. Wear a bloody powered air respirator.
But where was I? Yes the Optrel E3000 PAPR. What a unit. The battery on this thing runs for 20 hours. Most units that I’ve used have batteries that run anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. I know what you are thinking; if it has a battery that runs for a long time then you must sacrifice weight. It will be heavy. Well that’s not true. This PAPR welding respirator weighs less than most that I’ve used and I have used them all. So, it must sacrifice something right? Not that we could find and we put it through its paces and worked it hard. What I loved about this unit was that it also had a higher air-flow rate than most I’ve used in the past, ramping up to 250 sweat reducing litres per minute of fresh air. This powered air unit keeps you cool and protected and we couldn’t fault it.
Nothing is perfect, and as with any helmet there is always something that’s been overlooked. As I said, the vision is up there with the best I’ve ever used and the PAPR is also right up there. The only negative I could find with the Optrel Panoramaxx and the E3000 PAPR is that the welding lens only extends to shade 12. For some of the heavy-duty welding that I do, I like to use shade 13 or above with upgrade plates. Also, the welders who are looking for a powered air welding respirator are more likely to be doing high arc, bright light, heavy duty work, meaning they will require that shade 13 option. However, if you are not in need of a high amperage setting and you want a helmet with enormous light-weight vision and a heavy duty PAPR, then the Optrel Panoramaxx comes with our experts’ highest recommendation.
About the Author: Welding Helmets Online is Australia's most comprehensive online Welding Helmet Shop. We stock the best brands all backed by our best price promise. Buy spare parts and helmets with free delivery to anywhere in Australia for orders over $150.