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10 Best Safety Glasses for 2020 (Buying Guide)
Whether you’re an artist or craftsperson, medical personnel, or working in heavy industry, safety glasses are critical PPE. After all, you’ve only got two eyes, and it only takes one accident to rob you of your precious vision for good. Projectiles, chemicals, and even UV light pose a direct threat to your ocular health.
That’s why today, we’re reviewing ten of the best safety glasses available online. Each model serves a slightly different niche, so read carefully to ensure you pick the right level of safety and best fit.
After our review section, we also present the fruits of our market research in abstract. The goal is to help you understand the technical specifications and certifications that make the best PPE eyewear worth entrusting your eyesight to.
Table of Contents
Top 10 safety glasses to protect your eyesight
A quick search for safety glasses reveals an overwhelming selection, and a ton of jargon and specifications that might sound meaningless. How then, can you confidently purchase the protection your eyes need, without overpaying?
For a start, check out the ten top-rated safety glasses currently on the market:
While the Over-Spec Safety Glasses from NoCry are solidly on the upper end of the price spectrum, they may just be the best. These wrap-around lenses work a treat to protect both your eyes and periphery, and have enough clearance to comfortably accommodate your prescription frames underneath.
This means you don’t have to shell out for expensive Rx safety glasses to enjoy clear sight. What’s more, the latex-free polycarbonate lenses don’t distort your vision at short or long range, with a 40°+ field of view. They also bear superior scratch resistance and impact/projectile protection during heavy-duty jobs like carpentry, metalworking, lab research, and more.
NoCry’s design meets all European safety standards for protective eyewear, including EN166, EN170, and EN172 approval for PPE. What’s more, the lenses bear a UV400 rating, filtering out nearly 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays (from both natural and artificial sources) before they harm your precious peepers.
But the goodness doesn’t stop at material stats; the NoCry Over-Spec comes together in a surprisingly attractive and lightweight package–just 38g all total. Many users report completely forgetting they’re being worn, even after a long day of work. This superior comfort is also due to the padded arms which hug your ear snugly (but not too tightly), adjustable to fit virtually any sized head.
- Extremely comfortable
- Stylish yet functional, adorned with black and high-vis orange accents
- Superior UV and projectile protection
- A bit on the expensive side
- No case included
If you’re looking for rugged eye protection that doesn’t compromise on sporty style, then the appropriately named DPG94-2C Dominator is for you. What’s more, if there’s a brand on earth that understands heavy duty, it’s DeWalt, and their expertise is on full display here.
The Dominator’s full frame and wide lenses offer exceptional eye coverage without limiting your field of view. Smoke-coloured, gradient, and yellow mirrored lens variants all work a treat to reduce glare, even in strong sunlight. Even better, the Dominator’s 99.9% UV protection effectively guards your eye health.
But don’t take our work for it; DeWalt’s Dominator bears the ANSI Z87.1+ classification. If you’re not familiar, is a high rating in America for protection vs. impacts, particle intrusion, and optical radiation. OSHA approves of these glasses for the job site, and they’ll serve you well in almost any outdoor application that requires PPE.
In terms of fit, it’s tight around the head without feeling constraining. The Dominator also features rubber-tipped temple guards, which prevent slipping off even the sweatiest faces. Robust nose pieces are integrated into the frame, and do well to keep the frames in place without pinching.
- Multiple lenses available to suit your style
- Secure, non-slip fit even during heavy perspiration
- Rugged frame with superior protection
- Ideal for bright sun
- As the fit is snug, it will not fit over prescription glasses
- No hard case included
- While lenses are durable, there is no anti-scratch coating
Anyone working primarily indoors in need of effective eye protection at a great price, will love the DPG54-1D Protector. Once again, we must rate DeWalt for their in-depth understanding of industry, and their ability to deliver on those needs.
The Protector is a semi-frame style, which is to say it’s essentially all lens. Constructed of a tough polycarbonate, it holds up well to use and abuse, and maintains its shape. What’s more, they don’t distort your field of view, allowing you to keep track of fine details on the job.
Indeed, it seems the ethos of DeWalt’s Protector is to stay out of your way as much as possible. At a mere 28g and outfitted with high-comfort rubber temple cushions, you could sleep wearing them as easily as you could spend the day hiking a trail.
Unobtrusive as they may be, we appreciate that DeWalt decided on a high-visibility yellow for the arms. This choice will save you time looking around for them should you take them off, and stand out amidst your toolbox.
There’s no adjustability to speak of with the Protector, but we find they fit even small heads quite well. Whatever the case, you can count on stellar protection from impact and projectiles, plus 99.9% reduction of harmful UVA/B rays for less than the price of lunch.
- EN166 level protection for a low price
- Excellent field of vision with no distortion
- Semi-frame design and rubberised nose pieces fits most head shapes comfortably
- No anti-glare for outside work
- Too tight to be used with prescription glasses
Parents looking for a cost-effective way to guard the eyes of energetic children and toddlers need look no further than Amazing Child Montessori. Approved through both EN1661 F.H.K. and ANSI Z87.1 standards, you can count on these children’s safety glasses to offer industrial-level protection even during the rowdiest playtime.
Whilst protective rating is indeed paramount, perhaps the most important consideration for parents is whether or not their children will actually wear their PPE. In the case of Amazing Child Montessori, they’ve done well to make these glasses tight-fitting yet comfortably lightweight at just 9g. What’s more, self-conscious children won’t embarrass, thanks to the sleek, black-accented semi-frame design.
Improving wearability further is the complete lack of blurring or distortion in the lenses. Children won’t complain of headaches, or become disorientated and accident-prone with the Amazing Child Montessori frames. Best yet, the arms arch over the ear with just enough angle to hook on securely without rubbing the skin raw.
- Suitable aged 3 and up
- Comfortable, stylish protection your kids will actually wear
- Perfect for playtime and crafts
- No UV protection to speak of
From blueprints to manuals and instructions, there are plenty of reasons you’d need to read on the job. And the Constructor Bifocal from voltX is the perfect tool, aiding your eyes with both magnification and sturdy protection.
The Constructor is available in a range of optical powers from +1.0 to +3.5 dioptre, and like all standard reading glasses, doesn’t require a prescription. At its widest part, the bifocal section is 30mm x 15mm, offering adequate field of view for intricate work.
The hard polycarbonate lenses don’t warp and distort your vision, and the special anti-fog coating keeps your vision clear even in steamy conditions. Anti-scratch coating also means your Constructors will survive a tough job and more besides.
Overall, the voltX Constructor is a sturdy build with the documentation to prove its worth as PPE, including the all-important CE EN 166F mark. The lenses offer Class 1 UV protection, bearing a UV400 rating that denotes nearly 100% protection from harmful UV rays.
While the Constructor represents meaningful eye protection, it doesn’t force a sacrifice to style. These frames have an active look that wouldn’t feel out of place in cycling or motorsports. All the provisions for comfort, like the nose buds and ear pads, are subtly integrated into the frame, yet robust enough to provide superior utility and comfort.
- Rx-free, off-the-shelf reading glasses
- Coated lenses offer longer life and better performance
- Comes with safety cord and adjustable head stop
- Available in a variety of lens colours
- A fair bit heavier than other similar glasses
When you need eye protection compatible with your Rx glasses, but don’t want to deal with the discomfort of goggles, consider the Overspecs from voltX. To be sure, there’s plenty of room within these safety glasses to comfortably accommodate even the largest prescription frames.
Despite their size, the Overspecs offer a surprisingly customisable fit, with twin ratchets to adjust the lens tilt and independently adjustable temple lengths. No matter what your head shape or size, you can achieve the perfect fit!
Once fitted, you’ll feel good knowing your Overspecs are rated for industrial safety, bearing CE EN166F certification. There’s a large brow guard to complement the side guards, essentially fencing in your sensitive eyes against dust, debris, and flying objects alike. Indeed, these are designed to withstand medium velocity impacts.
You’ll be equally protected outdoors, as voltX has outfitted these safety glasses with Class 1 lenses that block out all UV rays shorter than 400nm (including all UVA, UVB, and UVC rays).
As the Overspecs are meant to preserve your ability to see with prescription glasses, it’s important they themselves remain clear and distortion-free. And with crystal clear, scratch and fog-resistant polycarbonate lenses, you’ll always have perfect visibility.
- Excellent protection vs. flying debris and dust, with oversized brow and side guards
- Highly adjustable arms for the perfect fit
- Wide array of lens colours available
- Discount available when purchasing multiples
- No shielding around bottom of lenses keep this from being a true goggle-killer
Technicians, contractors, and nurses alike are well-familiar with 3M as one of the world’s top producers of personal protective equipment. Their 2720 Safety Glasses bear all the hallmarks of that pedigree, with reliable protective measures coupled with smart design that makes them extremely wearable for hours on end.
The polycarbonate lenses are rigid and tough, and made even more so with the inclusion of an anti-scratch coating. The semi-frame design and anti-fog coating ensure that your field of vision is always at its optimum. What’s more, the lenses blend seamlessly with the wrap-around frame to provide continuous side shielding–and thus more effective protection vs. missiles and debris. The lack of rim also means you never have to worry about the lenses popping out at inopportune times.
Whilst there’s no way to adjust the arms or nose pieces, the 3M 2720 is lightweight enough to make all-day usage a non-issue. The arms curve down and inward just enough to provide a snug fit that doesn’t pinch, even for smaller heads.
If you need safety glasses compatible with respirators, rest easier knowing 3M has designed the 2720 Safety Glasses to form a seamless, comfortable fit in tandem with their Aura 9300+ series disposable respirators.
- 3M is a giant in the PPE industry with exacting standards
- Lightweight, wrap-around frames provide all-day comfort and protection
- Compatible with 3M respirators
- No UV protection
- Lack of adjustability may be an issue for some
Designer brand Bollé says you don’t have to choose between sporty appeal and superior protection, and they aim to prove it with their Tracker II Safety Glasses. The standout feature is undoubtedly the rubberised eye seal, which lines the inside of the lens area.
This seal forms a tough barrier that protects your eyes against kinetic and chemical intrusion. Miraculously, however, the vented design provides some breathability, enhancing your comfort and keeping fog at bay. What’s more, the anti-fog and anti-scratch lens coating work in tandem with this system to keep your vision clear at all times.
The Tracker II’s reinforced frame and rigid lenses ensure you never suffer from visual distortion at any range. Its wrap-around design works well to shield your periphery and provide a snug fit. Completing the outfit are rubberised arms that hug your head for no rubbing or irritation, even in high perspiration scenarios.
- Eye seal provides excellent physical protection
- Compatible with rugged temple band for extreme sports
- Extremely comfortable
- Comes with a microfiber bag
- Technical style not for everyone
- No UV protection
- While lenses are easily disassembled, Bollé doesn’t sell replacements
The Ultra-spec 2000 from Uvex provides protection against modern threats to your eye health, namely blocking blue light from backlit personal computing devices. Indeed, the SCT-Orange lenses attenuate up to 98% of harmful high-frequency light.
The results include improved contrast on your computer screen for easier viewing, better sleep, and a more natural circadian rhythm. There’s even evidence to suggest that prolonged exposure to unnatural blue light can lead to cataracts and other degenerative optical diseases.
Of course, it’s not just light Uvex’s safety glasses protect against; the Ultra-spec 2000 is made of 100% polycarbonate, formed into a wrap-around frame that protects your eyes and periphery against projectiles, dust, and debris. It’s not just false promises, either, as Uvex adheres to both ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3 safety standards for PPE.
The Ultra-spec 2000 offers a superior fit for all head shapes, with individually adjustable temple lengths. What’s more, the side shield is vented for improved air flow and all-day comfort. Yes, these safety glasses are plenty spacious to accommodate your favourite prescription frames underneath as well!
- Effective blue-blockers that offer good physical protection as well
- Comfortable, adjustable fit and light weight – 68g
- You have to choose between anti-fog and anti-scratch coating; not both
- Not particularly stylish
If blue-blocking isn’t a priority, then check out Uvex’s other entry on our list: the Pheos Safety Glasses. These best-selling PPE glasses feature an advanced semi-frame for superior protection, durability, and comfort. What’s more, they bear a slew of certifications including EN 166 for physical impact, EN 170 for UV protection, with ≤400nm as the threshold for UV filtration.
Pheos lenses are something truly special, with a duo-spherical design for ultra-wide field of view that doesn’t warp or distort. What’s more, Uvex’s patented supravision coating technology applies long-lasting anti-fogging inside the lens, and powerful scratch resistance to both interior and exterior. The bevelled upper edge further cradles your optical area, guarding it from all manner of intrustion.
Even the arms of the Pheos bear signs of significant design consideration; dual hard plastic and rubberised layers offer superior fit without pressure points behind the ears. Where the arms meet the frame lock tightly together to form an effective barrier vs. missiles and debris. And, they do this with no metal anywhere in the frame–an especially important consideration for anyone working with MRIs or other powerful magnetic fields.
Uvex’s Pheos not only features superior protection; they’re incredibly stylish, and slim enough to be worn alongside other protective equipment such as helmets and ear defenders. Overall, it’s clear Uvex understands the needs of industry, and has produced a hot product to serve them.
- One of the best-looking designs on our list
- Lightweight and comfortable, yet fully certified PPE
- UV 400 protection
- Superior coating
- Non-adjustable arms
- Not as comfortable on larger heads
- Lack of rubberisation on nose can cause sliding
Essential features for safety glasses
Now that we’ve covered the top 10 safety glasses according to our research, we’d like to help you conduct your own. After all, your needs are unique, and some features will be more important to you than others.
Here, we present a short buyer’s guide to help you narrow down what makes a great pair of safety glasses, and which ones you should pass up.
Understanding protection ratings
Before style, before comfort, before price; you must consider your safety first of all. Luckily, picking adequately protective glasses doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark.
Around the world, governmental agencies set and enforce safety standards by which manufacturers must abide. While the UK is no longer part of the EU, we still largely observe the harmonised European standard for PPE eyewear. The most pertinent of these standards include:
- EN 166 – This is the core standard that industrial eyewear must meet. There are many tests that materials and designs must undergo to achieve this rating, but in essence they must demonstrate meaningful resistance to impact from high-velocity particles. EN 166 will be able to provide some protection against penetration by molten metal and other heated masses (not to mention less destructive forces).
- EN 170 – This standard rates which portion of the ultraviolet spectrum is filtered out, and by how much. While EN 166 does also set some baseline for UV protection, EN 170 expands upon it. Don’t confuse this with UV400, which is a separate specification that denotes almost perfect blocking of wavelengths 400nm or less.
- EN 172 – Even more specific than EN 170, this standard rates how well your safety glasses will protect you against sun glare and glare from other highly luminous light sources.
Additionally, many safety frames will list the ANSI Z87.1 accolade. This is the American equivalent of EN 166, and while there are indeed some meaningful differences in how the two are tested, the end result for the consumer is essentially the same.
Making sense of coatings
While many companies have their own special processes or formulations for applying protective coatings to your lenses, there are three basic types of coatings:
- Anti-fog coatings – These are chemical formulations designed impede the condensation of water droplets upon the surface of your lenses. Such treatments are applicable to both glass and plastic lenses, and are indeed quite effective. No need to worry about a marketing gimmick; this tech was developed by NASA for astronauts on Project Gemini.
- Anti-scratch coatings – This is another proven technique to extend the life of your glasses. Just be aware of companies over-hyping the virtues of their anti-scratch coating; if a pair of safety glasses claims to be “scratch-proof”, they’re either very expensive or, more likely, not telling the whole truth. There is a wide variety of chemical solutions which harden to form scratch-resistant coatings, and the best of these should never interfere with your ability to see.
- UV-blocking coatings – Here’s the thing about UV coatings: most safety glasses don’t need them, provided they’re made of 100% polycarbonate. Plain plastic lenses, on the other hand, only block about 88% of UV rays, and thus a UV coating may be added to compensate. Nevertheless, if someone offers to UV coat your PC lenses, they’re upselling you for little-to-no gain.
Types of lenses
The overwhelming majority of safety glasses use polycarbonate for lenses. Often touted as a space-age material, it’s actually been around for well over a century (courtesy of the Germans).
Nevertheless, its ubiquitous use in protective eyewear is well-earned, as it is 20% thinner and thus, lighter than traditional plastic or glass lenses, yet as strong or stronger in terms of impact protection. What’s more, it’s cheap to produce, allowing high-quality PPE to hit the market at a great price. And as we’ve already mentioned, true PC blocks out 99% of all harmful UV rays, providing all-round protection.
That said, it’s not unusual to see standard plastic lenses on mass-market products. Indeed, they may serve as fair protection, provided they also have coatings against fogging, UV rays, and scratches.
There is a modern alternative called Trivex, which was initially developed for military use (like so many great inventions). Lenses made of Trivex are even lighter than PC, provide superior optical clarity, and 100% UV protection. But the downside is, they’re quite a bit more expensive for marginal benefit.
Ensure you can get a good fit
When buying online, you don’t always have to luxury of trying a pair of safety glasses on before you buy them. But fit is just as important with safety glasses as it is for work boots, as otherwise they’ll not only distract you from your job, but won’t render the required protection.
It might sound trite, but pay close attention to the reviews; folk are quick to sound off with feedback if a product doesn’t work like they’d hoped. If a frame naturally fits better on larger heads than smaller, chances are good someone has learnt that the hard way.
Of course, you don’t have to take it on faith either. Look for frames with adjustable temple lengths. Better still are safety glasses which allow you to adjust the angle which the lenses sit upon your face.
Rubberised, well-curved arm tips in tandem with rubber nose pieces will work a treat to prevent your glasses from sliding off your face, even during a heavy sweat. A slight flex or some padding will also go a long way towards preventing pressure points along the temple or behind the ear.
And don’t forget about what else you may be wearing alongside your safety glasses! If you wear prescription glasses, consider safety glasses which are specifically designed to house your glasses underneath. Similarly, if you’re wearing a helmet or respirator, narrower frames may be more appropriate and indeed, comfortable. Some models, still, are specifically compatible with safety cords and bands.
Remember, the best safety glasses are useless if you don’t want to or can’t comfortably wear them on the job!
Related reading: Most comfortable, toughest work trousers with knee pads
There you have it, the top 10 best safety glasses for any job or head shape. You may be tempted to think that any old frames with rigid plastic will do the job of protecting your eyes. But just remember there are specific safety standards genuine PPE must abide by.
Compliant models will offer meaningful protection against high velocity/mass impacts, dust and debris, chemical splashes, and even ultraviolet radiation. If you’re unsure of which safety features you need, bookmark our buyer’s guide as a quick reference.
Which of our recommended safety glasses will you pick? Have you ever had a pair save your vision against an accident? Leave us know your thoughts below.