Best Safety Glasses & Protective Eyewear Reviewed for Protection
When it comes to our eyes, it can be easy to take them for granted. However, if you’ve ever been the unfortunate victim of an accident which either temporarily or permanently affected your vision, it becomes clear how fragile it truly is. The best thing we can do for ourselves to protect this asset is, well, protect it. When researching the best safety glasses for you, it is important to figure out what activities you plan to use them for, and what ratings they need to meet in order to properly protect you. Here, we will break down the terminology behind glasses, and help you learn more about our top ten picks.
- Pyramex Safety Intruder
- Fit Snug
- NoCry Safety
- Adjustable ear and nose pieces
- Fog Resistant
- Allen Over Shooting
- Fit Over Prescription Glasses
- Peripheral Protection
While doing your homework, you may have run across the acronym ANSI: American National Standards Institute. ANSI sets standards for many different things, one of which includes safety glasses. If a product is certified through ANSI, it has undergone certain tests to prove its qualities. For safety glasses, the Z87.1 portion, they undergo different tests based on the specific activity they have been designed for. These tests include: basic and high impact assessments, exposure to non-ionizing radiation and chemicals, and durability to flammability and corrosion. Each rating has a different identifying mark on the glasses to inform you of what ANSI has approved it for. These are important to pay attention to when deciding what is best for your given activity, and if you require them for a very specific high-danger activity, it is best to delve in deeper to each product of interest to ensure they provide what you need.
10 Best Safety Glasses
1. Pyramex Intruder Glasses
Boasting a small surface area, the Intruder was designed for those who appreciate a lightweight build which keeps a low profile on your face.
Of course, looks can never be dismissed, and this package offers 12 pairs of glasses, two of each color, for the same price as some individual safety glasses.
Cost and Value
As mentioned above, while this is not the cheapest option outlined in this review, if you're shopping for bulk, these are the way to go.
- Highly durable
- Fit snugly
- Little to no distortion
- Various color options
- Fog easily
- Little peripheral protection
2. NoCry Wrap-Around Glasses
Offering adjustable nose and ear pieces, these glasses are truly a one-size-fits-all masterpiece, offering the ability to fit any face shape or size.
The double coating offers glasses that do not fog as easily as others, allowing unimpeded vision for a variety of activities and condition.
Cost and Value
While these definitely aren't the cheapest glasses outlined, you won't feel bad for spending the extra couple dollars for these solid glasses that will last for years.
Don't fog up;
Do not inhibit peripheral vision;
Logo on lens can be annoying;
Doesn't come with case
3. Allen Company Shooting & Safety
For certain activities, or as personal preference, clear safety glasses are a huge draw for many people. Whether you need easy eye contact with someone nearby, or simply prefer natural lighting, these give you just that.
Fit Over Prescription Glasses
With an inside clearance of 2" x 5", most modern day prescription eyeglasses will fit under these. However, these fit comfortably even for those without a set underneath.
Cost and Value
Winning title of Best Value, do not let a low price fool you into thinking that means lower quality. These impact resistant, wrap-around safety glasses will keep your eyes protected without breaking the bank.
- Don't slide down nose
- Good clarity
- Fit well under ear muffs
- Doesn't come with a case
- Blocks peripheral vision
4. BluPond Sports Safety Glasses
For those who desire glasses that feel more sturdy than the normal plastic safety glasses, these will suit you fancy. A combination of magnesium and aluminum make these not only lightweight but extremely durable.
Especially important for reducing glare, the polarized lenses will give you better clarity in high-light conditions, and reduce glare during night excursions.
Cost and Value
While these are the most expensive glasses reviewed, coming with a hard case and multiple accessories, combined with a metal frame and polarization, make the extra investment an easier choice to make.
Comes with a hard-zippered case;
Adjustable nose bridge
Nose piece can get uncomfortable;
Metal frame reflects on lenses
5. Howard Leight Sharp-Shooter
A favorite feature for many is the supreme comfort of the rubber nose piece provided, which can be hard to find in glasses. For most, these do not cause red marks from being too tight or sitting wrong.
Multiple Lens Colors
Coming with a choice of a clear, yellow, or dark lens, these protective glasses offer something to fit every occasion and activity.
Cost and Value
Holding the same price as the NoCry safety glasses outlined above, these glasses are better suited for those who need something more resistant to impact, but not necessarily for those who wear ear muffs while shooting.
Good ventilation underneath;
Comfortable rubber nosepiece;
Don't work great with over-the-ear protection;
Frame kind of flimsy
6. Radians Revelation Protective
Coming in just about every lens color variation you could imagine (except for clear, unfortunately) you can find whatever tint it if you're looking for to best suit your needs.
Exceeds ANSI Z87.1+
Meaning, these lenses can take quite the beating. They have held up and rated above ANSI's standard for high-impact resistance, so your eyes will be kept safe.
Cost and Value
One of the least expensive pairs of glasses outlined here, these are a decent choice for those who just want something that will keep their eyes safe, while not spending a fortune for glasses that are bound to get banged up along the way.
Works well with ear muffs;
Distort toward the edge of the lens';
Can fog up
7. Champion Over-Spec Ballistic
As one of the few glasses that are capable of fitting over standard prescription eyeglasses, these are a great solution for anyone who needs it.
Wrap Around Safety
The large sidebars keep your peripherals safe without a severely impacting field of vision, keeping your eyes safer
Fits over most standard eyeglasses;
Don't slip down;
Work well with ear muffs;
Slightly distorts vision; Can get uncomfortable for extended periods of use
8. Remington T-72
While there can be a certain sturdy feeling to larger frames, the lightweight nature of these make them easy to forget they are on your face and keep them comfortable for hours.
Exceeds ANSI Standards
The T-72's have proven to provide high impact resistance, keeping your eyes safe from debris and flying objects through a variety of activities.
Cost and Value
While the Remington T-72's are the second most expensive pair of safety glasses reviewed, Remington holds true to their good brand name by providing a quality set of glasses that will protect your eyes.
Sit comfortable on the nose;
Can wear for hours;
Good peripheral protection
Can fog up
9. Pyramex Fortress Eyewear
Not only is the nose piece adjustable to fit many different faces, but the ear pieces are flexible to allow a comfortable fit for many different head sizes.
While they may have a simple design, they do still offer superior protection from a fog, due to their vented lens technology which allows air flow in to keep fog out.
Cost and Value
As one of the least expensive pairs of safety glasses reviewed, these are a simple solution for those who want to keep their eyes protected but do not need any additional frills.
Adjustable nose pad;
Don't fog up;
Won't slip down face;
Flexible ear pieces;
Don't reduce glare;
Not much peripheral protection
10. Global Vision Eyewear Escort
While the frame is quite substantial, to make up for this they have incorporated a side viewing panel to increase peripheral vision.
These aren't just good to protect your eyes; they are also one of the best at reducing glare while driving at night, or from the sun.
Cost and Value
One of the cheapest options among safety glasses reviewed, Global Vision Eyewear provides a sturdy solution for those who wear prescription glasses at a low cost.
Cut down on glare;
Crystal clear glass;
Work great at night;
Peripheral viewing panels
Eyesight is not something to risk due to inattentiveness during work or play, and it is important to provide yourself and your family with proper protection during yard work, shooting, certain household repairs, etc. While we had to rate our top ten, it is important to note that all glasses outlined above offer great protection for their intended activity. Of course, protecting your eyes is only a small piece of the puzzle, and it is important to include proper pants, shirts, gloves, ear, foot and head protection when necessary.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the best Safety Glasses
The acronym ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute, which is a nonprofit organization. Their goal is to “Enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and safeguarding their integrity.” The ANSI is responsible for developing standardized guidelines and the minimum required capabilities for a vast array of equipment and products including safety glasses.
The Z87.1 rating is a reference to their standard requirements for educational and occupational face and eye safety devices. They ensure the product is able to protect you from a wide assortment of potentially harmful materials that can come in contact with your eyes or face while working. Since 2003 the ANSI has updated their safety standards twice, in 2010 and again in 2015. They strive to provide a satisfying user end experience while maintaining their high standard of safety and protection from workplace hazards.
Most people won’t read the ANSI.1-2015 the standard document so they may not know what basic workplace hazards must be covered by any rated safety glasses. The most common hazards include blunt impact, dust, and liquid splashing are among what is minimally required for ANSI rated safety glasses to protect against. In their 2010 and update in their 2015 additional requirements, the ANSI started an initiative that requires all rated safety glasses include effective and simple frame markings. These markings are intended to allow any user the ability to decide which hazards apply to their working environment so they can use the ideal safety glasses for their needs.
The next 4 ratings encompass a few different aspects of light and radiation hazards. The rating “W” followed by its level of rating will protect the user from exposure to the light that is generated while welding. A rating of “UV” and the scale that follows it will protect a user from Ultraviolet light up to its recommended level. The “R” rating followed by its protection scale is the rating used to determine its effectiveness versus infrared lighting. The last of these 4 ratings is the “L” rating followed by its scale and this rating is simply protection from visible lighting.
These last 3 rating markings are “H”, “V”, and “S” ratings. The “H” rating is a rating that tells you the glasses are for someone with a smaller sized head to improve the fitting. The “V” rating is a rating that states the safety glasses ate photochromatic, which are lenses that can change from a darker lens to a lighter lens depending on the available light, making both indoor and outdoor use comfortable.
Safety Hazard Protection
Safety glasses that offer glare protection utilize an anti-reflective coating on the inside layer of the glasses. That annoying glare is also known as back-glare and occurs when the light hits the back of the lens and spreads into your eye. The Anti-Reflective part of safety glasses is made of a very hard and thin film that is layered onto the lenses. This layer refracts the light back to the point of origin on your glasses cause them to cancel each other out through the properties of destructive interference.
In order to resist any chemical corrosion safety glasses use a material called polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate plastic, or PC, while available in a wide variety of colors is generally transparent making them perfect for use with safety glasses. PC is generally combined with flame retardant materials making it a highly resilient material to be included in the production of safety glasses.
Almost all jobs that include labor that could require safety glasses there is generally a degree of debris that can fly through the air at significant speeds. Without proper personal protective equipment, your eyes are at severe risk. With an impact rating of 16 pounds per square inch, it’s obvious why polycarbonate plastic was including when making safety glasses that were capable of withstanding the most powerful of blows for debris or small particulates.
Sadly there is no safety glass or protective layer or coating that will be entirely scratch proof. Some lenses, however, are treated on both sides with a scratch-resistant coating that hardens the surface and is much more resistant to abrasions caused by scratching. Most of the lenses that are used are a combination of our friend the polycarbonate plastic and another plastic called Trivex. Like polycarbonate plastic, Trivex is extremely lightweight and is one of the most scratch resistant materials that has ever be manufactured.
Anyone that has ever worked while wearing safety glasses knows that you the perspiration you generate can cause your lenses to fog up. This obstruction can be quite troublesome if you happen to be using heavy machinery or a hand-held tool of any kind when your vision is essential to the operation. The fog-resistant technology from each of the safety glasses vary, they either use a fog-resistant coating that is applied topically, or they have vented sides allowing the moisture an escape.
Lenses, Coatings, and Tinting
When light hits a surface it scatters in all directions however if the list hits a flat surface, such as water or snow that is nearby, it disperses in a horizontal manner that can create a bothersome area of reflected light. Polarized lens work particularly well to help reduce the glare from water or shiny surfaces that reflect light. The polarized lens contains a special filter that blocks this intense light preventing glare. This same polarization can reduce your ability to see LCD and LED screens, some safety glasses have remedied this other are yet to include this function.
Ultraviolet light is suspected to cause macular degeneration and is potentially the cause of loss of vision in older people. Additionally, some kinds of ultraviolet light, particularly UV-B, can cause your eyes to develop cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the eyes lens which helps to focus light. Some of this damage is untreatable so the best alternative is prevention. Safety glasses that are UV resistant use translucent dye to coat the glasses and much like sunscreen it protects your eyes from these harmful rays.
A more uncommon but still hazardous element your eyes may need protection from while working is radiation. Radiation that gets into your eyes can cause swelling, dryness of the eyes and extreme irritation. Some of these safety glasses are treated with cerium, which can help by ionizing incoming radiation waves.
Including some of the most common of workplace hazards the “D” ratings include protection from splashing, droplets, and dust hazards which can happen in nearly any workplace. D3 is the rating for the splashing and droplets and the D4 and D5 rating are for dust and fine dust. While this protective quality may seem obvious and non-consequential dust and splashing or droplets can be quite harmful and even lead to terrible injuries.
Most people that need to use safety glasses will end up wearing them for the entire working day, and for multiple working days. Most people who read or have been exposed to this type of long-term use knowledge of the dreaded glasses fatigue. Where the glasses set on your face can become sore over long periods of time. In order to combat glasses fatigue, I’ve included glasses that either have a rubberized insert where the rest of the bridge of the nose or used a different area on your head to rest.
No one person has the exact same shape and size head. Having safety glasses that can bend and adjust to suit your needs is a key trait that must be adhered to in the choosing of any safety glasses. Our friend the polycarbonate plastic is amazingly pliant and allows safety glasses to bend and twist quite effectively allowing them to conform to the shape and size of your head with ease. Additionally, I included a few sets of safety glasses that had adjustable arms to reach and not overextend past your ears.
With over half of all Americans suffering from some sort of visual impairment, having a prescription option was an absolute necessity in this best of the list. With this in mind, I sought to include safety glasses that were either capable of using prescription lenses or ones that were large enough to allow the use of standard prescription glasses underneath the safety glasses.
While it may seem an odd choice as a requirement for this criteria, the color of your lens was another consideration that went into making this list. While the standard black lens of some safety glasses is great for blocking the sun if you’re working indoors that tint would be less than ideal. Vice versa when you’re working outside that black lens is a blessing and will keep your vision clear and not cause you to squint whenever you need to look closely at something. Most of the safety glasses I have selected offer some type of color choice.
More often than not while working your heading will be swiveling around in multiple directions and sometimes quickly. This can cause safety glasses that overlooked this aspect to fall from your head completely eliminating the purpose of using them in the first place. With this in mind, I added options that wrap around your head in order to keep your safety glasses firmly in place no matter how hard you swivel your head while working.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are any of these Glasses Mirrored?
A: Mirrored glasses are more commonly found on sunglasses. This list does not feature a pair that offers a mirrored outer layering.
Q: Will any of these fit over my prescription glasses?
A: With visual impairment being one of the most common issues among adults I strove to include an option to assist. Multiple safety glasses on this list feature the ability to add prescription lenses or to be worn over prescription glasses.
Q: How comfortable are these glasses?
A: With extended use being very common with safety glasses I included glasses that feature rubberized nose pieces, adjustable arm lengths and wrap around designs that will sit on your head comfortably. Additionally, for added comfort, I included mostly lightweight safety glasses.
Q: Do any of these safety glasses come with a case?
A: Portability and the ability to store glasses will help to ensure that that last quite some time. A few of the options in this list to offer a carrying case for the safety glasses.
Q: What material are the frames made of?
A: With everyone having different needs and taste when it comes to style I tried to include a few options for the design of the frame. Some of these safety glasses use plastic frames while others use a metal frame.
Q: Do any of these glasses feature an adjustable nose piece?
A: With most safety glasses resting directly on the bridge of your nose being able to adjust the positioning is very important. While most offer the ability to adjust the nose bridge connection some fell short of this feature.
Q: Do any of these glasses protect from glare?
A: Glare is exceedingly good a finding just the right position to end up in your line of vision. All of the safety glasses I reviewed were capable of minimizing the effect of the menace known as glare.
Q: How can I tell if these glasses will fit?
A: Each of the glasses found on this list uses a polycarbonate plastic in their production with is extremely pliable. This aspect of polycarbonate plastic allows the safety glasses to bend and contour to the shape of your head. While all of these glasses are guaranteed to fit, they are generally one size fits most.
- Wikipedia, Eye Protection
- All About Vision, Safety Glasses and Protective Eyewear
- Safety Glasses USA, Product Information
- EHS Today, The Importance of Protecting Your Eyes in the Industrial Work Place