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Ben — not the Ben, but you know, another Ben — asks: “I’m in the market for a decent pair of safety glasses. I’ve had lots of cheap-o plastic ones and they usually get scratched up after just a few days. I also need something fairly low profile as a lot of what I do is work on my back under my car in the garage (on my sweet Harbor Freight creeper!) and crap keeps falling into my eyes. PS: What are ‘dual wrap’ lenses?”

Stop me if I’m wrong, Toolmongers, but “dual wrap” usually refers to “wrap around lenses” — the Oakley-looking ones you see a lot of guys wearing these days. Personally, I have a couple of pairs of the cheap ones Ben mentioned plus a mix of cheap low-pro plastic models, and a single full-face shield. I mix and match for the occasion. But as to the best all-round models, I thought I’d open the floor here in comments to see what everyone else uses.


25 Responses to Reader Question: Best All-Round Safety Glasses?

  1. Alex says:

    For work (as a paramedic-firefighter) I use real Oakley’s with clear lenses. While there are some cheaper alternatives out there I decided to drop the cash on something I knew would last a while and have good optics.

  2. Dave P says:

    Just do what big shops do. Buy in bulk. If you google “bulk safety glasses” there are a number of companies selling basic safety glasses for less than 2 bucks a pop. Spend 50 bucks, and unless you’re really careless with them, that’ll last you a really long time.

  3. cheerIO says:

    My favorite general, wear all the time safety glasses are actually a free pair that I got with a Ridgid brad nailer. They are the most comfortable, light, and form fitting I have ever had and were essentially a free bee. I Seriously need to find a source for more.

    For more debris flying around. I switch to my Dewalt Concealer Goggles. They are really great and nothing is getting past them. But even with the anti-fog claim. Mine do start to fog after about ten minutes, but a quick break and shake and I’m good to go.

    For grinding and such I also double up with the Uvex Bionics face shield. This is the best face shield I have ever used. It has held up for years, easy to change the lens, and it is shaped really well to give good protection but it allows you to turn your head without limiting your movement much.

  4. minh says:

    I wear RX glasses and I HATE the safety glasses that goes over your normal rx glasses, to me, they just look plain STUPID. I end up using my Serfas Isla glasses w/ the RX inserts and the clear lens. They’re not OSHA certified but oh wells, I’m sure they’re still 100000000x better than nothing and they are only $50! I have a pair that I use for sport and a pair that I use in the garage. I only have one set of rx insert that I share with both though.

  5. Mike says:

    Honestly, I don’t think that there is a “Best all-round” model. I supervise a HS school shop and stock 3-4 different brands and styles. Even with that, I still have students that can’t find a pair that works for them (i.e. fits well and don’t fog up immediately). That doesn’t even consider how long they last! Each person is different, so you have to find what works for you. My advice if you have problems with ones from the big box stores is to find an industrial safety supplier. The company I deal with has several dozen styles of glasses at various prices. I can go in and try on a bunch until I find what I like. They can also order a lot more that they don’t stock regularly.

  6. Matt says:

    Ever since wearing safety glasses in the engine room became required, I went with the basic wrap around MSC’s. They run cheap, are really durable, come in a variety of colors and tints, and are so light you don’t feel like they are there. Also, since they are molded with no frames, you don’t lose any visibility or end up with a blind spot if they slip a little. The only issue I have ever run into is that they tend to fog up a bit on cooler days, but I expect that with any glasses.

  7. JD says:

    I like the DeWalt ones, you can get them for about $6 on Amazon and they also come in tinted, which is nice in the summer. For just a couple more DeWalt also has some that look like Oakleys, I don’t know if they function any better.

  8. Ben says:

    Sweet! Thanks for the input guys! I will let you know what I end up with.

    -“Other Ben”

  9. george says:

    having glasses is limiting. i found that the full faceshield worked for me. being able to flip up the shield makes it even better. plus i don’t get shrapnel
    in my face.

  10. Kai says:

    I’ve got a couple of pairs of Bollé safety specs. One pair with sunglass lenses, one pair with clear lenses. The ones with tinted lenses are actually good enough to be worn as regular sunnies, and the clear ones are crystal clear.
    They wrap around well, they have bendy plastic frames that don’t break and they’ve lasted me for years. Oh, and they were ten bucks apiece.

  11. Murph38_99 says:

    If I’m in the shop or my garage and I’m doing anything where I probably would need eye protection, I’m wearing an UVEX Bionic face-shield. Much more protection, keeps everything away from the face. I used to wear safety glasses until I had a dremel disc disintegrate and fly through my nostril entering from the inside and exiting to the outside. Good times. The face shield is light enough to wear for a while and typically easy to spot. And I won’t lie I’ve even used an angle grinder in the wrong position with sparks flying towards the face with it.

  12. DoItRite says:

    Can’t go anywhere without my Dewalt bifocal-type safety glasses. They are about $12 on Amazon and come in clean and sun glasses style. I use them for my regular sunglasses and love them. I can drive and read the gauges on the dash and I can read the newspaper on the deck in the bright sun. I think I have 4 pairs in various places and cars.

  13. Patrick says:

    On the safety note, I believe Popular Mechanics had a abuse test a few months – a year back testing out some glasses. Even the cheap ones kicked tail. I’d go with the cheapest, comfortable ones I can find. For me, it’s the one piece wrap around model that doesn’t ever fog on me (but seems to collect the sweat off my brow here in TX), about $3 at HF. I don’t do enough spark-flyin’ to need a face-shield.

  14. Brau says:

    The ones I wear are the most comfortable, a $20 set I bought at a gas station simply because I liked the fit. I have about 6 different styles now. Some I won’t wear because they distort my field of vision and others because they slip, pinch, or irritate. Price doesn’t seem to make much difference.

  15. DC says:

    I’m with Patrick.. the $3 HF glasses are the best I’ve found (for my face). The $4 tinted variety are quite nice out of the shop if you tend to quickly destroy most sunglasses like I do.

  16. Tim B. says:

    During my time as a machinist / mechanic at Boeing, safety glasses became mandatory for everyone everywhere at the factory that wasn’t designated ‘office space’… Company provided a few ‘standard flavors’ (typical Uvex and similar brand close-fit and over glasses fit for Rx), but I never could get comfortable with any of them, primarily due to fogging, tendency to accumalate sweat and comfort/fit.

    I personally ended up visiting a few local industrial supply houses that sold safety gear, clothes, etc, and trying a variety. Ultimately, I settled on the US Safety Guard Dogs ‘Bones’ model… once I tried them, I never wanted to use anything else. They cost ~$10 (though they can be found for less than that), were very comfortable, virtually never fogged, and had a built-in sweat catching brow =) To this day, I still keep a pair in my portable toolbox and in the garage. WELL worth it.

    Can’t specifically vouch for any of the others.. but these are the ones I’m referring to: http://www.ussafety.com/catalog.php?category=A&item=11&cd=950

  17. Rich says:

    OK, you guys are going to laugh, but here it is. First some background: my eyes actually have some sort of low-pressure vortex around them that sucks in everything remotely nearby. I get stuff in my eyes *constantly* if there’s any chance. So I finally smarted up and started wearing glasses, which may have helped but stuff got around them all the time. So it got to be where I wouldn’t wear the glasses because they just didn’t seem to help much (I know, you don’t really know about the stuff that *didn’t* get in your eye). I tried larger goggles but they would also gap at the edges (skinny head) and then trap stuff in them, and also fog up.

    My answer, finally? Swim goggles. Yeah, I imagine they may not meet impact requirements (but I wouldn’t be surprised, they’re pretty stout compared to safety lenses). They do fog up sometimes. Off-axis vision isn’t great (but suffers with alternatives). But I can wear these things and *finally* not get stuff in my eyes. It’s really great.

    But, yeah, I look pretty stupid with neon orange goggles on. Oh well, beats trying to wash something out of my eyes again.

  18. Steve says:

    Instead of swim goggles, I have used chem lab goggles. They seal around the edges and have vents. Plus I had them left over from college.

  19. fred says:

    We provide Uvex brand eye protection which we purchase in bulk – with the style – including full face shield – depending on the hazard encountered. In the shops we insist that they are worn. Its more difficult to police the policy on jobsite but we try – just as we do for other PPE. When we have an incident – where the PPE works as intended – we spread the word as positive reinforcement.

  20. Mr.Miz says:

    Try buffing your cheap glasses with shaving cream. It usually lasts me a week or more depending on how much I’m using them. It should help keep them from fogging up. Somebody I played paintball with suggested it to me and it works pretty well. The other thing I do is wear and bandana and keep it cool and wet. My face is less likely to over heat that way. If I can keep them from fogging up I’ll pretty much deal with any pair.

    I just buy a bunch of cheap glasses at the local big box. i keep 2 in my shop, 2 in my truck and I buy safety rated sunglasses and try to make sure I keep them with me.

  21. Chris says:

    I believe “dual-wrap” means that they’re roughly conforming to your facial profile in both the horizontal and vertical axes, as opposed to just one (horizontal).

    I wear Uvex Tomcats as my daily sunglasses. They’re comfortable, reasonably scratch-resistant, cheap to replace if needed, have metal frames so they’re durable, and there’s a clear-lens version if you’re not in need of sunglasses.


  22. Dc says:

    I love uvex protege glasses. Hands down, the best style of safety glasses I have ever worn. I buy them by the box so I have them on hand at the jobsite when I beat mine up.

  23. Mac says:

    Furniture polish also works pretty well for a while as a fog preventitive on plastic lenses. As for shaving cream, the foam works better than the gel.

  24. TL says:

    For those who wear prescription lenses, nothing beats going to your local Lenscrafters or equivalent and plunking down the change for prescription safety glasses. I’ve got two pairs (one tinted, one clear) and store them by the door to the shop.

  25. miss frannie says:

    I should wear them but sometimes I don’t. I always get them at my local thrift. we all need to protect our eyes.

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