Safety Glasses: A Short Introduction
Safety glasses are essential on all professional worksites. They are highly recommended when using many tools around the home, too. Some are certainly better than others, however, and in this review, we’ll take a look at some of the best pairs on the market today.
With superior protection and comfort, a quality pair of safety glasses should be easy to wear all day. Eye injuries are often irreversible, so it’s definitely worth investing in a great pair that you’ll be happy to wear for long periods at a time.
The Best Safety Glasses 2021 Reviews
Best Overall Pick
1. DEWALT Reinforcer Safety Glasses
⤍ Comfortable and stylish design
⤍ ANSI Z87.1 compliant
⤍ Great value
DEWALT needs no introduction, as one of the leading tool manufacturers worldwide. With a reputation for quality among industry pros, their line of safety gear is built to the same standards as the rest of their range of tools.
The Reinforcer safety glasses have everything you’d expect from a top-performing pair of safety glasses and come in at a very reasonable price point too. Starting from the basics, these glasses meet ANSI Z87.1 standards for impact resistance due to their high strength polycarbonate lens. The lens also features a UV coating, blocking 99.9% of harmful UV rays from reaching your eyes.
From a comfort perspective, these glasses feature a lightweight and minimal frame, whilst still ensuring adequate peripheral protection from a slightly wrap around lens shape. This gives you excellent undistorted vision, while still protecting your eyes from the side.
DEWALT has fitted quality rubber grips throughout, both on the nose, ears, and temples. Softening these contact points really helps all-day comfort when compared to the most basic plastic glasses.
All in all, with ANSI standards met and a comfortable, wearable design, the DEWALT Reinforcer safety glasses are our top pick. Sold at a very reasonable price level, it’s hard to do much better than these.
Best Premium Pick
2. Oakley Ballistic M Frame 2.0
⤍ Meets all the highest standards of protection
⤍ Stylish & comfortable design
⤍ A popular choice among the military
Few have higher standards than the US military, and few people wear protective safety glasses for more hours at a time than our nation’s soldiers. Their overwhelming preference over the years has been the Oakley Ballistic M Frame 2.0, and for good reason.
As you would expect, these safety glasses meet the highest standards for impact protection, meeting high velocity, and ballistic impact standards. For all that protection, the lens maintains outstanding clarity and still features 100% UVA/B/C protection. These lenses are also anti-fog and feature a vented design to allow air to circulate.
Safety performance aside, these glasses are also extremely popular due to their comfortable design. With a heavily padded nose piece and rubberized earpieces, they stick to your face without causing discomfort. For those who wear eye protection with helmets or ear protection, the low-profile earpieces are also designed to fit comfortably under headwear.
Although they are a step above other products in terms of price, it’s worth considering a premium product like these if you know you’ll use them a lot. For those buyers, they are an outstanding choice.
Best Value Pick
3. 3M Virtua CCS Safety Glasses
⤍ Meets CSA & ANSI standards
⤍ Removeable foam dust gasket
⤍ Clever integrated earplug clips
If you only use safety glasses occasionally, you are probably looking for an inexpensive option that gets the job done. That’s exactly where the 3M Virtua CCS safety glasses fit in, and they have been hugely popular as a result.
Starting off with the basics, the Virtua CCS safety glasses feature a polycarbonate lens that meets ANSI and CSA impact ratings. You’re also getting a lens that has a UV coating, which protects your eyes from 99.9% of harmful UV rays. What’s more, 3M has applied its anti-fog coating to prevent fogging and maintain a clear vision in humid environments.
Beyond the obvious stuff, 3M has also included a number of great additions on these glasses. First, you have a removable foam gasket, which helps to prevent dust from getting onto the rear of your lens. This is especially helpful in dusty indoor environments but can be easily taken off. Secondly, there is a clever earplug clip on the tip of the earpieces, which you can use to keep your plugs in place and also as a glasses lanyard.
With thousands of happy reviews online, it’s easy to see why these safety glasses are a popular. For buyers who just want a simple and inexpensive solution, the 3M Virtua CCS is a good option.
4. DEWALT Concealer Safety Goggles
⤍ Wrap-around seal for dusty applications
⤍ Ventilated UV & Anti-fog lens
⤍ Compliance with ANSI & CSA
While some buyers like a more open design, others prefer a closed pair of safety glasses. DEWALT designed the Concealer Safety glasses with the second group in mind, and they have become one of the most popular safety glasses designs out there.
As you would expect, these glasses meet all the main impact protection standards from ANSI and CSA. The wrap-around design gives you much more substantial peripheral protection and works well in environments with large amounts of airborne debris like sanding or spray painting.
The lens features a UVA & UVB coating, and an anti-fog treatment as well. DEWALT has paid special attention to allowing air circulation around the lens, and have added additional vents to further reduce the risk of fogging.
Wrap-around goggles like this have a very different feel to regular safety glasses, but DEWALT has worked hard to make the Concealer safety glasses as comfortable as possible. The eye padding is made from an injected rubber, which provides a good seal without adding too much restriction, and means you can keep the tension on the elastic strap to a minimum.
If you’re working on an application that needs a little more protection, then these glasses are a great step up from the open designs we’ve discussed earlier. You can also wear them with glasses underneath.
5. MAGID Y50BKAFC Iconic Y50 Design Series Safety Glasses
⤍ Unique casual design
⤍ Removeable side panels
⤍ Compliance with ANSI Z87.1
For buyers looking for a sense of style in their safety glasses – the MAGID Iconic range is certainly a unique take on traditional designs. As we’ll see, they didn’t skimp on safety features, either.
For any quality pair of safety glasses, the first question is always standards compliance. The Iconic Y50’s meet ANSI Z87.1 high impact standards, so it’s a check on that box. Moving through other safety considerations, these glasses feature removable side protection pieces which are also manufactured from lens polycarbonate. The lenses feature the usual UV and anti-fog treatments, giving you added protection and comfort.
On to style and comfort points – where these glasses rack up some bonuses. The unique look gives them a casual feel, which many buyers love. The one downside of the distinctive frame is reduced field of view, so these might not be appropriate for applications where that is important.
Padded brow areas help to improve the comfort of these safety glasses, but they are closer to a traditional pair of reading glasses than the sport-look of other alternatives. Still, many owners find them very comfortable to wear nonetheless.
With a wide range of colors and lens options available, these safety glasses are a great way to add a little style to your work.
6. NoCry Over-Glasses Safety Glasses
⤍ Great option for over-glasses buyers
⤍ Anti-scratch, anti-fog, and UV blocking
⤍ Meets OSHA, ANSI and CSA standards
For folks who wear normal glasses, finding a good pair of safety glasses to wear over them can be a challenge. NoCry has stepped up to the plate, however, and produced an excellent option that has rapidly become extremely popular.
Featuring a latex-free polycarbonate lens, these glasses meet OHSA, CSA, and ANSI specifications. The lens wraps slightly around the glasses underneath, giving the wearer a good amount of side protection during use.
These safety glasses feature adjustable arms to allow you to tweak the fit so they perfectly cover your normal glasses without touching them. The earpieces feature a plastic pad to keep them in place, and you can purchase them in a variety of different colors.
With raving reviews from buyers, the NoCry Over-Glasses safety glasses are a clear winner for buyers looking for an over-glasses option.
7. NoCry Safety Glasses
⤍ Plenty of adjustability for maximum comfort
⤍ Lightweight design
⤍ Anti-scratch, anti-fog, and UV blocking
A newer player in the safety apparel industry, NoCry have taken it by storm with their range of good quality affordable products and excellent customer service.
Their safety glasses are one of their top sellers, and it’s easy to see why. With a simple and comfortable design, they are easy to wear for long days at work. The polycarbonate lenses wrap around the side of your face without being intrusive, whilst at the same time offering added protection. The lenses feature an anti-fog and UV coating, as well as an anti-scratch coating to prevent wear and tear.
The arms are adjustable and can be fitted around your face for optimal comfort. The nose pieces are also adjustable, helping to prevent the pinching feeling some safety glasses leave. Combined with the lightweight design, these safety glasses are designed for minimal intrusion on the wearer.
For buyers looking for a cheap set of safety glasses with maximum adjustability, then the NoCry safety glasses are a good purchase. Although they aren’t yet fully certified to some standards, they still get the job done for most use cases.
8. Skullerz Odin Safety Sunglasses
⤍ OSHA, CSA, and MIL-PRF certified
⤍ Casual styling
⤍ Anti-scratch, anti-fog, and UV blocking lenses
Another unique pair of safety glasses, Skullerz Odin safety glasses are unlike any other out there. It’s not often that you see such a simple product re-imagined, but in the Odin, Skullerz has taken a pretty good swing at it.
First up, the basics: These glasses feature all the key standards, including ANSI, CSA, and even MIL-PRF ballistic impact standards. The lenses are UV and anti-fog coated, and also feature additional scratch resistance too.
Where these glasses really stand out is the frame, however, which is manufactured from unique nylon plastic. This makes the frame highly flexible and durable, so it resists being sat on or damaged in other ways. The rubber nose piece makes them comfortable to wear, and the look is quite casual and sport-inspired compared to other safety glasses.
For buyers who like something a little different, Skullerz seems to be on to something with the Odin safety glasses. This unique design ticks all the boxes and adds in a refreshing sense of style too.
9. SolidWork Professional Safety Glasses
⤍ Hard-soft construction for improved comfort
⤍ Casual styling
⤍ Lightweight, with variety of lens options available
Less recognizable than some of the other brands in this review, SolidWork nonetheless produces some decent safety glasses. These stylish glasses are lightweight and offer a number of comfort features designed to make them easy to wear all day long.
Starting with the lenses, you’re looking at a polycarbonate lens on this model, with a UV and anti-fog coating. An anti-scratch layer has also been added, to improve the lens durability.
The main benefit of these glasses, however, lies in the hard-soft construction. The main contact points – the nose and ear arms – are made from a softer rubber which then combines with the main structure of the glasses. This gives them a great deal of flexibility around your face, while at the same time helping to keep the glasses firmly in place.
The stylish design also helps to provide side protection for your eyes, keeping dust and projectiles from getting around the side of the lens. The temples are also adjustable to allow you to pivot the lens to your preferred angle.
With several different lens options available, including tinted and mirror options, these are a great pair of safety glasses offered at a reasonable price.
10. Readymax Construction Safety Glasses
⤍ Integrated ear plugs
⤍ Scratch and fog resistant
⤍ Solid design with rubber nose pad
The last pair of safety glasses in this review is a hybrid system, which links ear protection with eye protection. Readymax Construction Safety Glasses feature a pair of earplugs integrated into each arm of the glasses. These can then be pulled out for use and stowed away when you don’t need them. For anyone who has lost ear plugs while out on the job site, it’s an intriguing idea.
Taking a look at the lens area, these safety glasses are ANSI Z87.1 compliant and feature a robust polycarbonate lens construction. The lens wraps around your face to some extent, giving you reasonably good side protection too.
Unlike some other glasses in this review, these glasses are solid polycarbonate and so are much less bendy than other products in this review. The nose area does feature rubber pads, however, which improve nose comfort, but they aren’t adjustable.
Some buyers have noted that the ear plugs make the ear area slightly uncomfortable, as the arms are wider than normal glasses. This seems to be a preferential thing however, so it’s hard to say whether it’ll be true for everyone. All in all, a decent set of safety glasses, with the clever addition of ear protection too.
Features To Consider When Buying Safety Glasses
If you have ever worn safety glasses for extended periods, you have probably noticed that some are better than others. In this section, we’ll take a look at the most important factors that make winners stand out from the crowd.
Impact Resistance And Certifications
Above all, safety glasses are there to protect your eyes. It’s easy to get distracted by styling. However, their functional role is the most important thing to consider. Most lenses are polycarbonate plastic these days. This is because it’s very strong and shatter-resistant. There are certain standards, however, which ensure that your glasses can protect you from injury.
The two most important standards to look for are ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3. These two ensure that the glasses can absorb basic impacts, protect your eyes from dust, chemicals, and have a degree of durability. These impacts might be as small as woodchips from a cabinet table saw, so it is important to wear them even if you’re not using the tool!
All safety glasses protect you from the front, but not all protect you from the side. To some extent, this is a question of personal preference. Glasses which wrap around further can be more prone to fogging, and harder to fit under a helmet or hat.
That said, there are numerous situations where flying debris can hit your glasses from the side. For that reason, we strongly recommend side protection. Side protection also comes in handy in dusty environments. Adding protection to the sides of safety glasses prevents dust from getting on the inside of your lenses.
Adjustability & Comfort
When you’re wearing eye protection for long periods of time, you really notice glasses that don’t fit right. Great safety glasses are either extremely flexible or offer a high degree of adjustability to enable you to fit them comfortably around your face.
Make sure you keep an eye out for rubber pads around the nose and ears, as these can also help to reduce pressure during extended use. It’s hard to imagine, but details like this can make a big difference.
UV protection is another nice addition that we’re starting to see across most types of safety glasses. This is normally achieved by coating the lens in a special chemical. This filters out various types of harmful rays.
The best glasses will filter out UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, while more simplistic coatings will only filter out a portion of UV radiation. If you damage your eyes, the consequences can be life-changing, so we definitely recommend investing in the highest level of UV protection possible.
There’s nothing more annoying than foggy safety glasses lenses. They are also surprisingly dangerous. This is because you either need to take your glasses off to wipe them, or your vision is impeded. Both of these can raise the likelihood of harmful accidents, so it’s best to reduce fogging as much as possible.
Anti-fogging is applied as a coating, and unfortunately, the coating does deteriorate over time. Some coatings are better quality than others, but few manufacturers describe the details of the chemicals they use. We suggest either relying on established manufacturers or thoroughly checking reviews to ensure buyers are not complaining of issues.
It’s essential to consider safety whenever you are using power tools. Chainsaws are highly dangerous tools and woodchips fly everywhere so eye protection is essential. Chainsaw chaps provide the best protection for your legs whilst also allowing you flexibility whilst moving
Safety Glasses Buyer’s guide FAQs
Can wearing safety glasses damage your vision?
You may have heard rumors that wearing safety glasses can damage your vision, but in reality, these are total myths. It is true that some people experience headaches or eye fatigue when wearing safety glasses for long periods, but this isn’t true for everyone. It’s thought that small distortions in the lens cause this phenomenon. Opting for a high-quality pair of safety glasses like the Oakley Ballistic M Frame 2.0 can help to remedy the issue.
When should I replace my safety glasses?
There’s no hard rule on this – but several rules of thumb. Firstly, you should regularly inspect your safety glasses. If you see cracks or other damage, you should replace them immediately, like you would a bike helmet after a crash. If the material is damaged in any way it can reduce its ability to protect your eyes.
Some manufacturers advocate that you should change safety glasses after three years regardless of signs of damage. They argue this is due to the natural degradation of the materials.
How do you store safety glasses?
The best place to store your safety glasses is a hard case like a sunglasses case. Ideally, you will also have a soft microfibre bag to store the glasses in too. This helps prevent squashing or cracking the glasses. Many folks leave them loose in their toolkit, which is a sure-fire way to damage them – so we don’t recommend it.
How do you keep safety glasses from fogging up?
High-quality safety glasses come already coated in a special anti-fog chemical. Over time this can get worn off, particularly if you wipe the glasses vigorously. If they start to fog again, you can purchase an anti-fog solution for windshields from automotive stores. We recommend applying this solution per the instructions to resolve the issue.