Do you think about investing in a new welding helmet and you’re not sure which way to jump?
Well, this shiny and chrome bad boy from Optrel might interest you – it’s literally got everything you could possibly want from a welding helmet made for the 21 century.
From a super lightweight design ( 18,7 oz, no neck fatigue) to the state-of-the-art Crystal Lens Technology 2.0.
I have to be honest now and I’m going to sound quite biased towards this hood, but this is the best one that I have put on my head for these 10 years of welding. I felt the difference the moment I looked at the welding pool through it.
However, some other people may have other opinions and that’s ok. There is plenty of fish in the sea, but for me, Optrel Crystal is a keeper and probably the best welding helmet.
(Cold shower: It’s quite expensive)
Optrel Crystal 2.0 Welding Helmet Features
This welding helmet meets the expected safety stands of the United States (ANSI Z781.1), the European Union (CE EN378, EN166, and EN175) as well as the Canadian standard CSA Z94.3.
Crystal Clear And Crystal Lens Technology
In short, when you are not welding, i.e., the welding hood is in the Light state) you feel almost like looking trough Ray-Ban shades and it feels like looking through a clean window.
Light transmission is 31% in bright conditions (sunlight or well-lit room) and you will have a clear view of your working environment.
No other company or competitor has put out something like this so far. 2.0 shade rating combined with “true colors” filter is revolutionary stuff in the welding helmet industry when it comes to clearness and brightness. Protection level 2 is a world apart from other competitors in this category.
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The autopilot feature/auto feature or automatic shade level adjustment and brightness detection is nothing new. Older Optrel welding hood models had it as well as helmets like VegaView 2.5, Panoramaxx and others down the line. Do keep in mind this does not make this feature bad in any way.
The autopilot – detection, depending on the arc brightness, will adapt to changing light conditions and is great for when you have to change the amperage on your welder many times for the same task or change the welding process altogether.
A good example of this kind of a situation is when welding a pipe and you have to do a root pass with TIG and finish with Stick.
Now imagine having to do 30 of these pieces pipes today and you can see now how automatically changing shade and brightness level will come in handy. P.S. You also have an individual calibration option of ± 2.
On the other hand, you can always switch it off if you don’t like it and change the shade level the manual way by using the knob on the left side.
This is another awesome feature. Other top welding helmets have similar delays when switching from dark mode to light mode. They add a few seconds of delay in terms of the ADF opening before the welding pool is solid and cold.
The Optrel Crystal 2 mask has one more card up its sleeve. Crystal 2, unlike other ADF lenses that rapidly return to light, the Optrel e684’s Twilight ADF Technology restores light much more naturally. It gives you a smooth transition and prevents eye strain and eye fatigue. Welders that weld 10 hours a day know what I’m talking about.
True Color View
Now, this is a feature that separates good welding helmets from the bad ones. For some home welding or hobby-tacking something in your garage, you will not need this.
However, when you get into the pro stuff, you have bad eyesight and you need a cheater lens, the color vision is a dream come true and a blessing for the eyes in my opinion.
Color spectrum realistic perception and the high-contrast view will not only help with welding but it will also add one more reason not to remove the helmet when ADF is in the light mode. The detailed and high-contrast realistic color that your eyes will pick up through ADF will certainly aid in your welding quality (won’t help you if you suck, though).
You can individually adjust the sensor angle and angular dependence from 120° to 60°. Changing the detection angle to 60° will narrow your viewing area and view of the welding and prevent an issue of the unintentional reaction of your welding helmet to the arc flash and scattered light for the other welders nearby.
The trigger button for the grind mode is on the left side from the windowpane on your welding helmet. The button is big, on an easy-to-reach place and can be pressed with gloves on.
All knobs, buttons, and switches are on the outside of the welding helmet. All adjustments to the shading, light sensitivity, grind mode, and other operator modes are easily accessible without removing a welding helmet or welding gloves.
Shape Stability And Heat Resistance
The ergonomic design that other Optrel helmets have is used here too. It will help you avoid inhaling smoke and welding fumes to some point. You can note its distinctive silver color compared to the other helmets. The silver paint is there to reflects harmful UV rays, heat, and other harmful rays. You may think that silver paint is not going to change things much when 400A strong welding arc is flashing in front of your eyes, but take a look at the ability of color to reflect the UV rays and you will be amazed.
Optrel Crystal 2.0 shell is made of nylon polymers that are designed to be flexible and heat-resistant. This durable nylon together with silver coating can withstand temperatures up to 158°F or 70°C. The official operating temperature is from 14°F to 158°F or -10°C to + 70°C.
The headband is made for optimum weight distribution for almost any head shape. The outcome of this is a minimum strain on the neck and shoulders of the helmet wearer as well.
- Shade levels: inactive: shade level 2.0active, manual: shade level 4-12
- Power supply: Solar cells, 2 lithium batteries (CR2032)
- Sensors: Three (3) Sensors
- Sensitivity: Infinitely adjustable, now with “super high” sensitivity
- Switching time: bright to dark: 0.100 ms at room temperature at 55°C 0.070 ms at 55°C dark to bright: 0.1 s to 2.0 s (with dimming function)
- Shape stability: Welding mask: up to 220 °C / 428 °F Front cover lens: up to 137 °C / 279 °F
- Operating temperature: -10°C to + 70°C / 14°F to 158°F
- Storage temperature: -20°C to + 80°C / -4°F to 176°F
- Weight: 18,7 oz / 460 g
- Warranty: 2 years 1-year warranty extension (except batteries) for online product registration within the first 6 months.
Is The Crystal 2.0 The Best Auto-Darkening Helmet?
There’s a lot to recommend about this welding helmet; from the color perception in the light state to the clever grind button – this provides the expected protection level at every turn while you enjoy a detailed view of the weld pool and the overall fruits of your labors even in ambient light conditions.
If you’re looking for near-full-spectrum welding lenses that offer you the best protection from the arc flash through any other combination of welding processes or even when plasma cutting, you have to at least consider this product. It even supports a wide range of operating temperatures.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Wear Safety Glasses With It?
Yes, no matter the shade level you are working with – the welding helmet allows you to adjust the size and it’s easy to wear safety glasses with it. This won’t affect the color vision it provides or the UV or IR filter system and the color perception in light should also be unaffected. It’s as though they knew what professional welders would want from a helmet.
Can You Wear A Respirator Underneath It?
Yes, again, no matter what shade level you choose, these welding helmets have fully automated adjustable controls and you can easily use a respirator if your working environment demands one. The light state is almost perfectly clear too even with this addition to the setup.
Can A PAPR System Be Added On To This Helmet?
Yes, given that the PAPR system is made by the same people that make these welding helmets, they are completely compatible with each other. The crystal 2.0 system and crystal lens arrangement are not affected at all by this.
Optrel AG is a Swiss manufacturer that specializes in the lens and eye protection gear for the industry and is widely used in stick welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, grind mode, etc.
Their crystal lens technology (and its 4 to 12 protection) is the latest in a long line of well-designed products that support the welder at work. They are based in Wattwil, Switzerland where they’ve been operating since 1986. In North America, they operate from East Greenwich in Rhode Island, USA. If you wish to read more on Optrel welding helmets besides Crystal 2.0 or want to find a cheaper version there is an article on the reviews of most of the top Optrel helmets that can be found in the US today. You can check this article here