Chris is a teacher of Literature at a school in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He is also our favorite irreplaceable freelance writer who can turn such a boring topic into something that people read with interest and pleasure.
Thomas is a professional welder who gained his certification several decades ago and learned all the nuances of this job since then. When not at work, Thomas loves fishing in a lake near his summer house.
Last updated: January 12, 2022
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Welding glasses help protect your eyes from welder’s eye, which is inflammation of the eye caused by looking at your welding arc. They also protect your eyes from the sparks and heat associated with welding and are therefore a necessary part of your toolbox.
Having reviewed the best welding glasses in the market, we chose options with optimal shading as that determines just how much protection your eyes get. We also looked into the material construction to ensure they last long after purchase. This is in addition to looking at the types of welding they are ideal for, among other features. As such, we were able to curate the list of recommended purchases below as they’ll give you the most value for your money.
Other features: temple style adjustable, UV protection 99.9%
Starting the list are the Bolle Safety Welding Safety Glasses. They feature Polycarbonate lenses encased in a Thermoplastic Elastomers frame. These lenses also have a scratch-resistant coating which allows them to stay usable for a long time after purchase. They offer 99.9% UV protection and a 5.0 shade level. As such, you should still be able to see your weld as you work. Lastly, they have an adjustable temple design which makes them comfortable to wear and use for a large portion of the population.
Considering the shade level, these safety glasses are ideal for gas welders. They’re also ideal for anyone who wants welding glasses that will last a long time and through consistent use, thanks to the scratch-resistant design of the lenses. The last differentiator is they provide 99.9% UV protection.
What are its best features?
Despite being welding glasses, we noticed they’re quite stylish, and you won’t have to worry about aesthetics as you’re using them. Additionally, they offer optimal protection for your eyes if you’re using a torch for welding. Another thing we liked is the adjustable strap that makes for a comfortable fit over your eyes.
What could be improved?
With a 5.0 shade level, there are plenty of applications for which these welding glasses are not suitable. Examples include plasma arc cutting, plasma arc welding, air carbon arc cutting, shielded metal arc welding, and more that require level 6 shade or higher. Additionally, they fog up fairly easily, making use tricky in some scenarios.
Other features: two premium sensors; 1/1/1/2 optical clarity
Next are the YESWELDER True Color Auto Darkening Welding Goggles with a shade level of up to 13. As such, you can easily use them for TIG, MIG, and MMA welding. Since they offer true color viewing and optical clarity, you’ll have a much better view of your workpiece as you’re welding. These glasses are designed to fit under a welder mask without an adapter. Also, they come equipped with knobs on the side, so you can adjust the shade depending on the type of job you’re tackling.
Some of the key differentiators for these welding glasses include the fact that you can adjust the shade level at will and that they fit into most welding masks without an adapter. This makes them versatile enough for most types of welding, grinding, and cutting.
What makes it special?
In our opinion, the sensors included in these glasses are top-notch and allow for different levels of shading to cater to various welding processes. Additionally, we liked the optical clarity users get while using these glasses. Another positive is the compatibility with different welding masks without needing an adapter. Lastly, the controls are easy to use.
What cons did we find?
Compared to other welding glasses listed, the YESWELDER True Color Auto Darkening Welding Goggles are several times more expensive, making them harder to acquire. Also, even with such a high price, you still need to budget for a welding mask if you don’t already own one. Lastly, the lenses are not durable and may break easily if you drop the goggles.
Welding applications: gas welding or plasma cutting only
Weight: 9.6 oz
Dimensions: 3.44 x 7.5 x 3.75 in
Other features: 99.9% UV-AB protection, meets ANSI Z87.1 safety standards
Another pair of welding glasses limited to gas welding and plasma cutting is the Forney 55320 Goggles. Like the Bolle Safety Welding Safety Glasses, they offer level 5 shading. Also, the frames are made entirely of plastic, while the lenses are made of glass. Another similarity to the editor’s choice is the 99.9% UV-AB protection, which allows them to conform to ANSI Z87.1 safety standards. They come with an adjustable strap that allows a perfect fit for most users.
These welding goggles are designed to fit people who wear glasses. Additionally, the lenses lift without you having to remove the goggles. As such, if you constantly need to inspect your handiwork as you’re welding, these are the glasses for you.
Why is it special?
In our opinion, the fact that you can lift the lenses with the goggles in place is a pretty thoughtful feature as then you don’t have to undo the strap as you’re removing the goggles every few minutes. Additionally, they’re designed to fit over regular spectacles, so you don’t have to remove them as you’re welding.
What are the flaws?
Like the editor’s choice, the functionality of these glasses is quite limited. They are only suitable for plasma cutting and gas welding since they only offer a 5.0 shade level. Also, we noticed that users can’t look down while wearing these goggles, limiting the types of projects they can work on. Lastly, the lenses scratch pretty easily, meaning you’ll have to be extra careful not to damage them during use.
Other features: meet ANSI Z87.1 standards, scratch resistant coating
Next are the Hobart 770726 Safety Glasses, which will cost you slightly less than $15. The lenses in these glasses are made from shatterproof polycarbonate reinforced with scratch-resistant coating. As such, their durability is top-notch. As for the frame, it’s made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane. Like other shade 5 lenses, these glasses will work for both gas welding and plasma cutting but not much else.
If you’re looking for glasses that you can use for plasma cutting or gas welding, the Hobart 770726 Safety goggles are an ideal pick. They offer just enough shading to do the job, and the lenses are more than durable enough to last you a long time. They’re also excellent if you’re looking for affordable goggles to protect you from UV light.
Why are we impressed?
We liked the general design of these goggles as they seem just like regular sunglasses. Also, the durability of the lenses is impressive. After all, they’re shatterproof and come with a scratch-resistant coating. Lastly, they meet ANSI z87.1 standards and should therefore protect your eyes from damage as you’re working.
What negatives must you be aware of?
They fog up relatively easily, which can reduce the visibility of the metals as you’re working. As such, you may have to keep taking them off and wiping them. Additionally, the shade level is quite low, meaning the goggles aren’t usable for MIG, TIG, and MMA welding. Lastly, the padding around the lenses makes them uncomfortable for some users.
Welding applications: electric welding, gas welding, steel welding, cutting, etc.
Materials: polycarbonate lens, rubber frame
Weight: 8.4 oz
Dimensions: 9.84 x 1.97 x 1.97 in
Other features: 1/1/1/2 optical clarity, solar-powered, auto-dimming filter, wear-resistant
The QHRM Welding Glasses have impressive capabilities in terms of the shade level. As such, it can be used for gas welding, electric welding, steel welding, and various cutting methods. Also, just like the Bolle Safety Welding Safety Glasses, it comes fitted with a polycarbonate lens. As for the frame, it’s made of rubber, making it more comfortable for long periods of wear. It’s designed with an auto-dimming feature that activates when your welding equipment generates the arc.
These glasses are ideal if you’re looking for goggles that work for most types of welding. Also, a key differentiator for these goggles is the auto-dimming filter that makes them easy to use. Another unique differentiator is they’re solar powered.
What are its best features?
In our opinion, the auto-dimming feature makes use a lot easier as all you have to do is put wear the goggles and activate the arc. Additionally, we liked the wear-resistant rubber frames that are pretty comfortable to wear for long periods. Lastly, even with the impressive technology included in these glasses, you can still get them for less than $20, which is quite affordable.
What could be improved?
The auto-dimming effect isn’t immediate, and as such, you may cause damage to your eyes if you’re not careful. Also, you need to budget for a welding mask to use together with these goggles so you can keep the rest of your face protected from the radiation. Also, one lens seems to offer more shade than the other.
Other features: True color viewing, 2 premium sensors
Like the YESWELDER True Color Auto Darkening Welding Goggles, these YESWELDER Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Goggles can also be used for MMA, TIG, and MIG welding thanks to the shade level. Furthermore, they can also be used for plasma cutting. They come fitted with two top-of-the-line sensors that allow true color viewing. Also, they’re designed for use in areas where traditional welding helmets are not allowed.
The YESWELDER Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Goggles are excellent if you want glasses that can handle multiple welding applications. They’re also a perfect pick if you have no other choice but to use a hard hat rather than a welding helmet.
What stands out?
In our opinion, the YESWELDER Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Goggles have a pretty impressive design that incorporates premium sensors and true-color viewing. We also liked that they’re solar-powered and will likely never run out of power during use. Lastly, they can protect your eyes during MIG, TIG, and MMA welding.
What cons did we manage to find?
The auto-darkening feature for the YESWELDER Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Goggles is relatively slow, which could damage your eyes if you’re not careful. Additionally, there’s no way to finetune the darkness settings depending on the type of project that you’re handling. Also, while you’re able to protect your eyes, the rest of your face is still exposed to UV rays, and you may have to buy extra protection.
Other features: comes with microfiber bag and zippered case, extra UV ray protection
With the Insight Goods, Safety Welding Glasses, buyers get a wraparound frame that protects their eyes from all sides. Also, you get extra dark lenses with level 6 shading. As such, these goggles are a little more capable than the Bolle Safety Welding Safety Glasses and can be used for gas welding and oxygen cutting. Furthermore, the purchase comes with accessories such as a zippered case and a microfiber bag. That said, you’ll have to pay more for these welding goggles than most of the other alternatives listed.
If you want gas welding goggles or glasses that you can use for oxygen cutting, the Insight Goods Safety Welding Glasses are an excellent choice. Additionally, they’re great if you want better UV protection than what is provided by level 5 shaded goggles.
What makes it stand out?
With the wraparound design, there won’t be any light sneaking into your eyes from the sides of the goggles. Additionally, we liked the extra UV protection provided by the extra shading, which allows the glasses to have more functionality. Another positive is the accessories provided, including a case and microfiber bag.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
In our opinion, these welding goggles are relatively expensive especially compared to the other alternatives listed. Also, they’re incredibly dark, which means you can only use them when you’ve activated the welding arc. That said, they also have some limitations with applications such as shielded metal arc welding and air carbon arc cutting.
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Features & Benefits
Best Welding Goggles For Reducing Visual Distortion
Other features: non-slip, UV 400, military-grade, ANSI/ISEA & MCEPS compliant
The Edge SW11-IR5 Dakura Wrap-Around Safety Glasses combine great aesthetics and functionality, and for most people, it won’t be a problem wearing them every day. They have polycarbonate lenses like a lot of the other welding goggles listed, in addition to a nylon frame. Also, they incorporate tapered lens technology, which reduces both eye fatigue and visual distortion during use. Lastly, they can block out 99.9% of UV light, and the shade level makes them usable in plasma cutting and gas welding.
The key differentiators for this pair of welding goggles are that it blocks out 99.9% of UV light and offers long-lasting comfort throughout extended wear. Additionally, the tapered lens technology reduces visual distortion and prevents eye fatigue.
What do we love it for?
Given the design, we feel that these goggles are quite fashionable despite being designed for plasma cutting and gas welding. Additionally, they’re ANSI/ISEA & MCEPS compliant and comfortable to wear for long periods. Another positive is the tapered lens technology that reduces eye fatigue and visual distortion as you’re working.
What were we disappointed with?
We noticed that the tint and shade levels are not dark enough for MIG or TIG welding applications. Also, when folded, the temple tips can end up scratching the lens, which often affects the shade level as you’re looking through them. As such, it’s best to avoid folding the temple tips altogether. Lastly, if they don’t fit the frame of your face, they can be uncomfortable to wear.
Things to Consider
Of course, the welding glasses you pick could mean the difference between severe damage to your eyes and maintaining your eyesight in top condition. As such, you have to ensure you pick and purchase the right ones, and if you’re not sure where to start, the buying guide below can help you out.
How to Pick the Best Welding Safety Glasses
Here’s the summary of how to pick the best welding safety glasses from the options you come across.
Size and Fit
First, check the size and fit
Trusted SourceHow are Safety Glasses Supposed to Fit? - PK Safety SupplySimply wearing any old pair of safety eyewear isn’t enough to protect your eyes. Sure, it decreases the possibility of an injury, however, if your eyewear fits poorly or incorrectly, your putting yourself at a higher risk
of the glasses, so you only buy welding goggles that fit you. As you may have realized, the shape and size of your head are different from that of most of the people around you. This may even be influenced by your gender. In fact, according to Research Gate, a male’s head is on average 1.33cm bigger than that of a female.
Consequently, you don’t expect a pair of welding glasses to fit both parties. This is why it’s essential to get welding glasses that fit your face shape and size.
Style and Design
Also, not all welding glasses are made the same with regard to the style and design. There are four distinct design styles for welding goggles to choose from. First are the classic-style welding goggles, and these typically have separate eyecups for your eyes to look through.
Another option is the mask-style welding glasses. There’s no eyecup partitioning, and both eyes sit behind one big lens or screen. One example of mask-style welding glasses is the Forney 55320 pair of welding goggles.
The third variation is the full-size welding helmets or masks. Just as implied by the names, these goggles come attached to welding helmets or masks. While there aren’t any examples of such goggles on the list above, options like the YESWELDER True Color Auto Darkening Welding Goggles are designed to work with welding helmets without needing an adapter.
Lastly, there are safety glasses-style welding goggles. They feature a similar shape to regular safety glasses, only that they’re shaded to protect you from the harsh UV light produced while welding.
Lens and Frame Materials
You also need to check the lens and frame materials. After all, these determine how easy or challenging it is to damage your welding goggles. Of course, the best welding goggles are designed with high-quality materials and are much harder to damage.
A common material used to make the lenses for welding glasses is polycarbonate. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary
Trusted SourcePolycarbonate Definition & Meaning - Merriam-WebsterThe meaning of POLYCARBONATE is any of various tough transparent thermoplastics characterized by high impact strength and high softening temperature.
, polycarbonates are tough transparent thermoplastics with high impact strength. As such, they are ideal for the construction of welding goggles. That said, there are other materials to choose from with varied benefits.
This also applies to the construction of the frame as well. If the frame and lens aren’t made from high-quality materials, it will negatively affect attributes such as impact resistance and durability. Consequently, you’re going to have goggles that sustain damage or scratch easily, which means they won’t be useful for very long.
The shade level determines the kind of welding that you can tackle with your glasses and still keep your eyes protected. After all, each welding technique you encounter produces a different amount of light. In fact, the shade level rating is given to indicate just how dark the lenses are, and the scale runs from 2 through to 14.
With projects that require brazing or soldering, you don’t need a high shade level as they don’t produce much light. As such, shade level 3 or 4 should work just fine, which is where welding goggles like the Hobart 770726 Safety Glasses with a 5.0 shade level come in.
Arcs produced during stick welding are a bit brighter but not by much. Consequently, they can work with any welding goggles with a shade level between 8 and 12. Since MIG and TIG welding produce even brighter arcs, a shade level between 8 and 13 is ideal.
Some welding processes like carbon arc welding require an even higher shade level. As such, you’ll have to look at your intended projects as well as the welding equipment you own before you can make a decision.
Auto-darkening could also be a unique, useful feature. Welding goggles with auto-darkening start off with clear lenses but respond to the activation of the arc by darkening to protect your eyes. However, this feature is not available in all welding glasses, and you have to decide beforehand whether you want it or not.
Some welding glasses like the YESWELDER Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Goggles also require power to function which is where the power supply comes in. If they rely on batteries, you’ll need to worry about constantly buying replacement batteries. The batteries could also be rechargeable. In the case of the YESWELDER solar powered welding goggles, you may not have to worry about recharging or buying new batteries since the device is solar-powered.
Given the heat and subsequent perspiration involved in welding, fogging up is a huge problem that impairs visibility in welding goggles. As such, some of the best welding goggles incorporate anti-fog features in their design. However, this feature may not always be available, and you have to decide whether it’s important enough for you to spend some extra money on it.
Dimensions and Weight
You also don’t want welding goggles that are too big and heavy, which is why you may have to check the dimensions and weight beforehand. That said, the extra size and weight could also be a byproduct of a few additional features, so you might have to weigh the positives and negatives before deciding if the extra weight is worth it.
Lastly, check the price. The prices for welding goggles vary widely, even on the list above. As such, you have to decide how much money you’re willing to part with and then look into how much value that will get you. The general trend is that more expensive welding glasses tend to have better features and functionality. That said, it’s also possible to get what you want functionality-wise without spending too much.
Wearing welding glasses has no proven correlation with damaged vision, so it should be okay to wear them all day. However, they can sometimes be uncomfortable to wear for long periods depending on the design.
Despite the expensive pricing, the YESWELDER True Color Auto Darkening Welding Goggles are a top contender for the best welding glasses. The shade level allows them to be helpful when dealing with most welding processes. Also, users can adjust the shade level depending on the job at hand.
As for the Forney 55320 Goggles, they cater well to welders who wear glasses. Additionally, the lenses can be lifted out of the way so you can quickly check your welding progress as you go along.
How are Safety Glasses Supposed to Fit? - PK Safety Supply
Simply wearing any old pair of safety eyewear isn’t enough to protect your eyes. Sure, it decreases the possibility of an injury, however, if your eyewear fits poorly or incorrectly, your putting yourself at a higher risk