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40 CAL Showdown: How Enespro PPE’s UltraSoft Stacks Up

40 CAL Showdown: How Enespro PPE’s UltraSoft Stacks Up

By: Mike Enright


When it comes to selecting personal protective equipment, decisions are often based on immediate need. Complete a risk assessment and an incident energy analysis, determine what level of protection you need, print a label, and require workers to wear adequate clothing for the job at hand. Knowing this, one of the most common levels of protection is 40 CAL, PPE CAT 4.

All PPE vendors offer this commonly used suit—with some offering two different 40 CAL options (standard and lightweight). While the lightweight 40 CAL alternative has begun to gain popularity in recent years, the standard weight 40 CAL is still the go-to option. Today, we would like to introduce you to the PPE market and compare our product to the status quo.

The Basics of Arc Flash PPE: Common, Comparable Products

While things can change, as NFPA 70E (2015) removed Hazard Risk Category 0 and replaced HRC with PPE categories, labeling has become easier to read, and the latest IEEE 1584-2018 standard found that new analyses could result in higher-than-anticipated incident energy levels, PPE manufacturers often deliver comparable Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) products for comparable situations.

Built on the four PPE categories, arc flash PPE often falls into a common rating, with 8, 12, 20, and 40 CAL being among the most popular levels of protection, although the following levels can be found:

  • Category 1 (rarely used): 4 CAL
  • Category 2: 8 CAL, 12 CAL, 20 CAL
  • Category 3 (rarely used): 25 CAL
  • Category 4: 40 CAL
  • Category 4+: 55 CAL, 65 CAL, 100 CAL, 140 CAL

This said, as more and more companies have moved to the two-level CAT 2/CAT 4 approach to make selection easier for workers, CAT 1 and CAT 3 options have fallen out of favor.

The 40 CAL Suit: The Core of CAT 4 PPE

Throughout the years—especially considering the rise of the two-suit approach—one level of PPE has become the proving ground for manufacturers: The 40 CAL suit.

Common Elements of 40 CAL Standard-Weight Suits

The majority of 40 CAL suits have a few common elements:

  • Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV): >40 Cal/cm2
  • Approximate Fabric Weight: 18-20oz.
  • Kit Basics: Jacket, coveralls or pants, hood with hard hat and face shield, storage bag.
  • Hood and Face Shield: Hard Hat, Hood that covers head and shoulders, face shield (Green or gray,). Optional lift-front face shield, optional fan cooling system.
  • Available Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, XL, 2XL (Many offer 3-5XL on request)
  • Standards: ASTM F1506, OSHA 1910.269, NFPA 70E, CSA Z462
  • Country of Origin: Varies

What Makes Enespro 40 CAL Suits Different?

Standard-weight suits often have similar weights, offer the same level of protection, come in similar size options, and meet the same standards. This is the problem. Yes, some might use proprietary arc-rated fabric(s) from one company while others will use fabric from another. Some might offer long coats while others use short coats. Some may offer pants; some may offer bib overalls. One product might be khaki, another might be green, and another might come in navy blue.

However, you could dig through spec sheets of any vendor, all of them do the same thing, and none of them did anything differently. At Enespro PPE, this is where the similarities end. Long before launching, we spoke with those people working on the front lines to discover not only what they needed, but what they wanted.

We wanted to create a better version of the standard suit, so in our basic 40 CAL model, we made sure to deliver the following:

  • Made in the USA
  • Venting and airflow where it matters: Our exclusive ActiveCool Venting™ underarm system offers increased mobility and breathability—three times the stretch and five times the airflow.
  • Our elastic-back waist moves with workers.
  • Antimicrobial collar to keep the suit sanitary between wash.
  • Easy to don and doff, thanks to our 14” leg zippers with Nomex® tape
  • OptiShield™ grey shields improve color recognition and visibility.
  • Your choice of dual fans or lift-front hood, both offering breathability without sacrificing safety.
  • An easier way to order—browse our online store, see our products from all angles, and order today from stock.

We wouldn’t be in business if the arc flash clothing market wasn’t stagnant. We went out of our way to design a suit that was not only compliant, but breathable, comfortable, and more mobile as well. Don’t just take it from us though, hear it from Tom King, Safety Manager at Continental Electric Construction.

Ready to learn more? Browse our entire selection of 40 CAL Arc Flash PPE including our AirLite™ weighing in at an astoundingly low 11.5 oz. fabric weight below:

Enespro 40 CAL UltraSoft® Line

Enespro 40 CAL AirLite™ Line

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