I write for a product recommendation site called Wirecutter, and I’m gonna be working on an upcoming guide to safety glasses.
I’ll be looking into what is good in a number of different contexts and activities, but I figure as a group who is possibly a bit too used to wearing safety glasses for multiple hours a day FIRSTers have a unique appreciation for this particular kind of PPE.
So, do you have a favorite pair of safety glasses? Or a brand that you know is good enough for the price? Tell me about them!
They fit over most glasses, they are comfortable around the nose. The tilt on the side arms allow the gap between the top of the frames and the forehead to be tuned so that they are still safe while allowing humidity to vent. Also, they are not Quite as ugly as the traditional Over-the-glasses styles.
As a vision-glasses wearer there’s a couple subdivisions of safety glasses:
Normal eye-hugging safety glasses: Useless to me; if I have to choose between being safe from projectiles and being able to see then the correct decision is to leave the shop and come back with the correct PPE.
Side-shield safety glasses attachments: Personally I don’t consider them safe enough to be safety glasses in the shop, some people do.
Over-glasses safety glasses: They go over my normal vision-glasses, they’re my bread and butter. I have my own personal pair and case because the places I go often don’t have any or they’re an afterthought. If you have guests stop by occasionally then please stock some decent ones.
Of note is that while splash googles/chem googles will protect you from liquids, they offer very little protection from solids traveling at high speed. Waterfight/chem lab? Go for it. Wood/machine shop? Get something better.
Same with sunglasses, they’re for the beach not the shop.
I think the most important thing is that they fit your head well, so the “best” brand & model will depend on the individual. But these work great for me - they stay on my face without being so tight they give me a headache or hair-pulling rubber feet, and I like that they fit over my glasses without being so huge they cover my whole face. I’ve also never had any trouble with them fogging. I notice that the temples transition to a different (more flexible) kind of plastic, which probably helps with comfort. I usually buy a new pair every year or two in March, so I can have crystal-clear vision at competitions, and donate the old ones to the team’s general supply.
As a glasses wearer, I’m a fan of these from NoCry. Despite what the picture shows, the earpieces sit above the earpieces of my glasses so they don’t give me a sore spot above the ear like some safety glasses do after wearing them 5 days straight. They’re a bit pricey if you order them from the website, but I’m pretty sure I got them on sale at a local hardware store for a heavily reduced price.
With my last pair of glasses at competition I would wear hard plastic side shields* on my backup pair of glasses. Technically the glasses weren’t Z87 rated so they weren’t safety glasses, but in my role at competition I really only need safety glasses if I’m getting hit in the face with a flying game piece and to appease the safety advisors. The polycarb lenses wouldn’t shatter if I got hit with a game piece (and if my backup pair got a scratch I don’t mind so much) and they kept the safety inspectors off my back. My current pair of glasses are more square than the previous ones so the side shields don’t fit on them properly.
When I’m in the shop I wear the real safety glasses when working with dangerous tools or mechanisms. Side shields really won’t protect your eyes from flying chips, saw tooth blades, grinder wheels, flywheel shrapnel, etc.
I’ve always purchased Jackson Safety, Nemesis, safety glasses. I purchased in bulk when I was younger and starting to get into welding, and am still working through my supply. They’re very flexible, so they are comfortable to wear. They’re flexible enough that you could take each end and lay the entire pair flat, and neither the lenses nor frames will crack.
For a pair of cheapy safety glasses, the AndyMark ones are usually my go to. (Yes, I work for AndyMark, but they are pretty comfortable too.) If we are talking my daily wear/robot competition ones, I go with Oakley safety glasses. They are ANSI rated lenses, and stay on even when sweating. Plus they are super comfortable for all day wear.
Ironically I thought my lab goggles would never be useful after general chemistry only to find myself using them this summer when I had to sand down some 3D blocks for my online printmaking class. They fit nicely over my glasses so I might try them out if competition happens next year. That being said there admittedly on the bulkier side so the ones I have with me are closer to this model. The biggest thing for me beyond safety is comfort and the ends of the glasses not poking and causing discomfort after a couple hours/day wear.
I have pretty bad eyesight, so throughout high school I wore glasses. When I started spending lots of time in the shop, I bought a pair of prescription safety glasses (I got them at lenscrafters, can’t speak to cost because they were covered by insurance.) I wasn’t super impressed with their durability to wear and tear, but I was known to mistreat them (I often had them clipped to my belt while wearing other glasses, and would hit them on things/sit on them fairly often)
Since I started wearing contacts, though, my go to has been this pair of Bearkat glasses. Super comfortable for pretty long wearing, especially given the price. I have two pairs I switch between, one Tesla branded (received free on factory tour) and one unbranded.
Second on anything Oakley. I have multiple pairs, and one of my frames are the same ones @Jon_K runs. Literally the most comfortable glasses you can wear. I forget I have them on my face after an hour or so. They’re expensive, but it’s a premium for a comfortable safety product that can easily be worn all day. That kind of premium is one worth paying, IMO.
I’m sure Glenn Lee from 359 can back the Oakleys as well. They’re sponsored by Oakley, IIRC.
These are my go to glasses. They used to be available on Amazon but I couldn’t find them there as of writing this. Super comfortable for wearing them all day at competition and they have an anti-fog coating that works really well.
Safety Glasses are one of the things where I have found it is worth it to spend a little extra. Still, I only pay like $15 including shipping, but I get Bolle Cobra.
The main rason I like them is that they don’t have dumb ridges or nubs that are in my vision while I’m wearing them. With them on I have almost the exact same vision as I do with them off (notice the subtle join line in between the eyes - that line disappears when you put them on). And secondly, they are more comfortable than almost all others I have tried. I imagine there are more comfortable ones out there. But the Cobras are top notch.