The Best Welding Safety Glasses: Shades 14, 10 & 5
Which one is right for you?
Welding glasses come in a variety of fixed shades, so it’s important to choose one that will provide a suitable level of cover for your type of work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specified appropriate levels of protection when welding, so take this into consideration when you’re choosing the right welding glasses for you. We’ll be looking in detail at five of the best safety glasses for welding on the market, including welding glasses shade 14, 10 and 5, arming you with information to choose great dark or light welding lens shades.
1. Green Shade 14 Solar Eclipse Glasses
#14 is the darkest lens shade you can buy – just as dark as the most protective welding helmet shades. As a result, these glasses are so dark that you can wear them to watch a solar eclipse, as well as using them for all types of welding including MIG and TIG. The glass lenses, which have been made to a high quality, block out almost 100% of UV light and 97% of infrared radiation, giving your eyes almost complete protection. In addition, this is the only pair of welding safety glasses on this list which comes with protective side shields, although you can remove them if you’d prefer.
That said, the side panels do tend to come off quite easily, but as they’re not essential it’s not a deal-breaker. We found that they fell off more easily when worn with prescription glasses or a welding helmet, but luckily a helmet provides all the additional protection that you lack from not having the side panels attached.
2. Bollé Safety 253-SL-40084 Slam Safety Eyewear with Matte Black Rimless Frame and Welding Shade 5 Anti-Scratch Lens
These safety glasses have been made from a polycarbonate material, which is extremely strong and lightweight. The frames don’t have any metal parts whatsoever, so you don’t need to worry about them heating up and accidentally causing burns while you’re working. At 2.3mm, the lenses are really thick, tough and durable – and not to mention protective, featuring a scratch resistant coating and a filter which blocks over 99.9% of UVA and UVB rays. They’re designed to give you a full 180° of perfect viewing space – and the best part is that when (or if) you decide to replace these glasses, you can do your bit for the environment as they’re completely recyclable.
However, their only downside is that they’re not dark enough to support any welding processes that have arcs of light, including MIG and TIG welding. If you’re prepared for the fact that you can only use these with torches or plasma cutters, then you can be sure that this pair of welding safety glasses is a fantastic buy.
3. SAFETY GLASSES PROTECTIVE GLASSES SHADE 10 GOGGLES FOR MELTING & SOLDERING (E 5)
Welding glasses shade 10 are surprisingly difficult to source: most either come with much darker or lighter shades which are designed for specific welding processes. This pair falls somewhere in the middle, making it suitable for all different types of welding (here are some examples), but without being too dark. As a result, these lenses give great clarity and visibility, fitted with polycarbonate lenses which are scratch resistant and replaceable. This makes them great value for money, as you won’t have to fork out for a whole new pair if one of your lenses ever becomes damaged. Fitted with adjustable earpieces, the frame is lightweight and impressively comfortable to wear.
However, these glasses are not without their faults. They fit very snugly to the face, which might be appropriate for many welders, but you can’t wear them at the same time as a separate pair of prescription glasses. Furthermore, the frame is made of plastic so it won’t stand up to too much heavy duty wear and tear.
4. Welding Safety Glasses, Shade 5.0 Lens
Miller Electric has produced some fantastic quality welding kit over the years, so this pair of welding safety glasses will make a brilliant addition to your protective gear. The polycarbonate lenses and frame are really light and comfortable to wear, a feeling which is increased by the addition of rubber pads at the ears which won’t leave unsightly marks after hours of welding. The scratch resistant, reflective coating on the lenses is stylish, while still giving 99.9% protection against UV rays. In addition, these safety glasses have been designed so that they won’t fog up, but maintain fantastic visibility and peripheral vision, making it effortless to see your work.
The only downside is that as these are welding glasses shade 5, they’re only suitable for light processes including torch work and cutting. They don’t give enough protection for the bright arcs which are associated with MIG welding, so for that, you’d have to buy a separate, darker pair.
5. Jackson Safety 3004761 Nemesis Cutting Safety Glasses Black Frame / IRUV 5.0 Shade Green Lens (19860)
This pair of Jackson safety glasses has a sporty style which makes it much more sleek and smart than most stereotypical safety glasses. Their wraparound construction features a single lens which gives fantastic visibility and unobstructed peripheral vision. They fit really well – even over prescription glasses – and come with a neck cord which holds them in place. However, these glasses don’t just look great and fit well: filtering out 99.9% of UV rays, they offer sufficient optical protection.
As with all other welding safety glasses which check in at shade 5, these aren’t suitable for MIG or TIG welding. This is one downside which makes them marginally less versatile than auto-darkening welding glasses.
6. Servore Auto Shade Darkening Welding Goggle Arc-513 Arc513 World’s First Tig
Auto-darkening welding glasses are still pretty new to the market, so they’re not very common. However, in many ways, they’re so much more versatile than standard safety specs. This pair – the world’s first auto-darkening safety glasses – switches between five different shades, ranging from light shade 5 to dark shade 13. In addition, it even features a #4 shade which makes this pair of glasses suitable for use with grinding. As a result, this is the only pair you’ll need to buy to see you through all your different welding jobs, including MIG welding. These glasses have a great ventilation system and an elastic strap, so they’re super cool and comfortable to wear while staying firmly in place the whole time. The build quality of these glasses is exceptional, especially as they’re heat and shock resistant, so they’re more than sturdy enough to stand up to plenty of wear and tear. You’ll be left wanting for nothing as these safety glasses even come complete with a solid case.
There is one major downside to these otherwise fantastic safety glasses, and that’s the price. They are significantly more expensive than most other standard welding glasses on the market, and although they’re more technologically advanced, it will place them out of reasonable reach for most welders. This is the main reason why we could not recommend it more highly on this list. In addition, the way they’ve been designed means that they’re only really practical to wear on their own: they fit too snugly to wear with prescription glasses (yet don’t have provision for additional prescription lens inserts) and they’re not practical to wear underneath a helmet as they need to be switched on with a button rather than having an auto power on function. Finally, it’s disappointing that these glasses come supplied with instructions in Korean, although both written and video instructions in English can be found online.
If you’re interested in an auto darkening lens but want something that can protect your face a little better, you might want to check out these welding masks.