Last Updated on Mar 18, 2022
Welding can cause physical harm and injury if you do not have the proper protective gear, especially if you own subpar safety glasses. Your eyes are one of the most important things for welding, and we recommend protecting them with as high of budget as you can afford, to make sure you get the best welding glasses available to you.
Your eyes are particularly vulnerable due to the sparks coming off the flames, and you need some eye protection. One of the best ways to protect your eyes is through safety goggles.
What are Welding Goggles Made of?
Most welding glasses are made of hardened materials that are strong enough to withstand everyday use and the rigors of construction. One of the materials used is polycarbonate which is lightweight and hard-wearing.
This combination makes it ideal for the welding process as it also protects against UV rays. However, polycarbonate is not a clear as other lenses, and it may lower your vision during the process.
Acrylic material is scratch-resistant and lighter than glass. It is not as durable as polycarbonate, and it’s cheaper than other materials. It also does not offer clear vision like glass. NXT Polyurethane or Trivex material is very durable, like polycarbonate, and lightweight. It is clearer than polycarbonate, and this will improve your sight while welding. However, trivex is very expensive compared to other materials.
Optical Glass does not distort like other materials since it is treated, making it scratch-resistant. However, unlike polycarbonate, glass is not lightweight. It is heavy, making you feel uncomfortable, especially if you wear it for a long period. It is also less robust than polycarbonate and trivex, meaning it can break easily.
Types of Eye Protection for Welding
Eye protection gear consists of safety welding helmets, safety glasses, and safety goggles. The best welding glasses look like normal eye-wear since they have two lenses, a frame that adjoins the lenses over a bridge over the nose. They have a side shield for additional protection for your eyes, and the lenses are harder than regular glasses.
On the other hand, safety goggles have an enclosed frame that completely covers your eyes. They look like old-fashioned motorcycle goggles and protect from the front to the side. They have generous proportions which allow them to fit over prescription glasses.
How to Choose the Best Welding Safety Goggles and Glasses
Various factors influence the type of safety glasses you buy. The first thing to consider is the shade. It is one of the most essential factors since it directly affects your safety and quality of work. Each shade is ideal for a certain type of welding work, and using the wrong shade can lead to poor quality work or eye injuries.
Welding glasses shades range from 3 to 14, but some can go even higher. Your style of welding will dictate the shade you use. For example, a shade of 14 is not ideal for soldering as it may obscure your weld pool, while a shade three can blind you when performing a TIG weld.
Auto-darkening glasses and goggles can adjust the shade according to the welding technique being used. You may have to preselect the shade on some while other high-end models do this automatically. They usually have a shorter range of between 9 to 13 and come with lithium batteries. These goggles are usually more expensive than other welding goggles, and you should always check the specifications.
Before buying a pair of safety goggles and glasses, ensure that they at minimum meet the criteria below…
Minimum criteria when shopping for safety goggles:
- Protect your eyes from the front and sides
- Fit properly and feel comfortable over long periods
- Not obscure your view
- Be durable, robust, clean and anti-smudging
- Not impede or interfere with your work in any way
You should also consider the lens material that will match the type of welding you are doing. Trivex is a good option if you are looking for robust, light, and clear glasses. Glass and acrylic materials are on the cheaper scale of glasses. However, acrylic does not offer the same quality of clear vision and lightness as the others.
Finally, it all comes down to budget and how much you are willing to part with for your safety and comfort. Auto-darkening goggles, trivex lenses, and higher shade protection glasses all fall under the high-scale end. Generally, polycarbonate and acrylic are more durable than glass but offer lower vision.
|Operation||OSHA Minimum Protective Shade Number||ANSI & AWS Shade Number Recommendations||More Details|
|Shielded Metal Arc|
|7||Up to 14||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Gas Welding||4-6||5- 8||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and|
Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW
|3-5||4-6||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)||7, 10||11, 12||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Air Carbon Arc Cutting (CAC-A)|
|10||12||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Air Carbon Arc Cutting (CAC-A)|
|11||14||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)||6,8,10,11||6-8,10,12,14||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)|
|8||9||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)|
|9||12||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC)|
|10||14||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Torch Brazing (TB)||3||3,4||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Torch Soldering (TS)||2||2||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
|Carbon Arc Welding (CAW)||14||14||For more specifics see OSHA Fact Sheet|
* As a rule of thumb, start with a shade that is too dark to see the weld zone. Then, go to a lighter shade which gives a sufficient view of the weld zone
without going below the minimum. During oxygen gas welding or cutting where the torch produces a high yellow light, it is desirable to use a filter lens
that absorbs the yellow or sodium line in the visible light (spectrum) of the operation.
** Values apply where the actual arc is clearly seen. Lighter filters may be used when the arc is hidden by the workpiece.
Welding Glass Shade Comparison
As pointed earlier, glass shade is the most crucial factor to consider when choosing welding sunglasses. The shade number refers to the darkness of the lens, and it determines the type of welding you can do. Depending on the welding technique, you may need higher-grade eye protection to protect your eyes against acute light. A lighter shade will allow you to see the welding pool since they are not blinding clearly.
What Shade Is Safe for Welding?
Typically, soldering and brazing produce less brightness and require a lower shade 3 or 4. Stick welding usually needs a shade of between 8 to 12. TIG and MIG welding use a higher amperage that produces more light and requires a higher shade of between 8 to 13. A shade 14 and above is mostly used with a carbon arc. You can review the OSHA guidelines here.
The higher the amperage you’ll be working with, the darker the shade is recommended. This helps reduce the risk of flash burn and other potential eye based complications due to welding. The general recommendation is to start with a shade that is too dark to see the weld zone, and then go lighter as needed.
Best Shade 10 Welding Glasses – Reduce Flash Burn Risk
The NOVEL Welder’sWelder’s Protective Glasses are made of shade ten green lens glass that is radiation-resistant. They are ideal for welding techniques that produce a lot of light since they are very dark.
These glasses do not seal your face all the way around, which allows you to receive light from the top and the bottom of the glasses.
They are made of a plastic frame, making them lightweight and very comfortable. These Novel protective glasses come with polycarbonate lenses and offer high optical quality, resistance to radiation, and dimensional stability.
Best Shade 5 Welding Glasses – Cutting, Brazing, Soldering
Miller is known for its wide range of excellent quality welding equipment. These welding safety goggles are a shade five, which means you can use them for TIG/MIG welding but are ideal for grinding metals.
They offer more comfort than other glasses or goggles, thanks to the soft padding on the frame of the lens. This also makes them ideal for wearing for extended periods without leaving any marks on your head.
You also get a wide range of vision with Miller welding safety sunglasses since they wrap nicely around your head.
This also offers additional protection from debris and dust. Enjoy more eye protection while working in the workshop since the glasses are scratch-resistant and UV-resistant. Miller Welding protection glasses are made of polycarbonate lenses with plastic frames.
Best Shade 6 Welding Glasses – Cutting, Brazing, Soldering
The IR protection safety glasses come with a classic flip-up style that is versatile for various welding techniques.
The shaded side offers extra protection when working with high-intensity light sources, while the clear impact-resistance polycarbonate lens is ideal for other tasks in the workshop.
They offer comfort while working for extended periods thanks to the temple bars that extend and pivot up and down.
Best Shade 8 Welding Glasses – Gas welding and oxygen cutting
These pair of protective glasses are lightweight and highly durable. They have protective shields and blue and green glass lenses.
The frames are made of plastic with a wrap-around shape. They are ideal for people who do not prefer large masks and goggles.
Best Shade 9 Welding Glasses
These safety goggles have different lenses that come with their level of protection. You can easily change the lenses by unscrewing the ring and replace the lens and ring. The TITUS Welding Safety Goggles have an adjustable that helps to secure them tightly in your head.
These glasses are comfortable to wear for long periods thanks to the added padding around the lenses and the adjustable bridge of the nose.
However, the nose bridge is made of hard plastic, which can be uncomfortable even though it is adjustable and has extra padding.
The lenses are not dark enough, and the tiny slots where the nose bridge attaches to the eyepiece allow light into the goggles.
Best Auto Darkening Welding Glasses
The auto-darkening technology is relatively new in the industry but offers numerous benefits to welders. Auto-shade darkening welding goggles are more lightweight than a welding helmet.
They allow you to get into restricted spaces easily. You can purchase the compatible Servore face guard to protect your face from burning while wearing these goggles.
Servore auto shade darkening welding goggles range from shade 5 to 13 and come with easy-to-use controls. You can adjust the settings from the side where there is a sensitivity control button and a shade control button.
The goggles have a wide field of vision and react accurately and quickly to changes in light. Unfortunately, you cannot wear these goggles over prescription glasses, but you can have your lenses fitted on their frame.
The lens and frame are designed to be heat and shock-resistant, which increases their durability. They have a strap and compact size that snug fit and still allows proper airflow through the vent system. These goggles are typically more expensive than other welding protection glasses, but they offer value for your money.
- What are Welding Goggles Made of?
- Types of Eye Protection for Welding
- How to Choose the Best Welding Safety Goggles and Glasses
- Welding Glass Shade Comparison
- What Shade Is Safe for Welding?
- Best Shade 10 Welding Glasses – Reduce Flash Burn Risk
- Best Shade 5 Welding Glasses – Cutting, Brazing, Soldering
- Best Shade 6 Welding Glasses – Cutting, Brazing, Soldering
- Best Shade 8 Welding Glasses – Gas welding and oxygen cutting
- Best Shade 9 Welding Glasses
- Best Auto Darkening Welding Glasses