The Best Safety Glasses for Your DIY Projects
Protect your eyes from flying debris while reducing glare, fog, and UV damage with the right safety glasses for the job.
Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, hobbyist, or professional tradesman, work you do may require you to wear safety glasses as a precaution. Though safety glasses might all look the same to the untrained eye, they are most definitely not. Pairs run the gamut from basic to industrial-grade. Even among the very best safety glasses, substantial differences in design distinguish one option from another. You must understand these differences to choose wisely. Below, our guide to making sense of what’s out there, along with our favorite picks among the best safety glasses available.
- BEST FOR MOST PURPOSES: 3M Virtua CCS Safety Glasses
- BEST PERIPHERAL PROTECTION: Dewalt DPG82-21 Anti-Fog Dual Mold Safety Glasses
- BEST HEAT RESISTANCE: Sellstrom Cutting Odyssey II Safety Glasses
- BEST FOR USE OVER GLASSES: Uvex Stealth OTG Safety Glasses
- BEST FULL-FACE PROTECTION: Jackson Safety V90 Anti-Fog Lens Safety Glasses
Key Shopping Considerations
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Approval
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private organization that manages the voluntary standards system within the United States. While ANSI is not a government organization, it does work closely with the government to set acceptable standards for safety equipment, machinery, tools, and more. That being the case, any pair of safety glasses you purchase should be ANSI-approved. Safety glasses that do not have an ANSI certification have not met the threshold set out by the voluntary standards system in the United States and should not be expected to provide reliable protection. Look for the blue or black ANSI symbol on the packaging (or the frame of the safety glasses) for verification.
Nothing’s more irksome than a product that breaks after the first or second use, but with safety glasses, low durability is more than frustrating—it actually puts your eyes at risk. For that reason, durability should be one of your highest priorities during the selection process. The frames of quality safety glasses are made of hard nylon to withstand being bent and twisted. Lenses, commonly rated for impact protection, should be made of highly durable polycarbonate.
Whether DIYing a home renovation or working on the job as an industry professional, you must be able to see clearly to do what you need to do. Safety glasses with polarized lenses increase visual clarity so that protecting your eyes doesn’t mean putting your hands and other body parts in jeopardy. Polarized lenses reduce the amount of reflecting light that enters the eye, providing a much sharper and clearer view of the task at hand, particularly outdoors or in brightly illuminated indoor work areas.
Peripheral coverage refers to the protection a given pair of safety glasses gives to the sides of your eyes. While the majority of objects that may impact your safety glasses will likely come from the front, there is a chance that a stray bit may fly up and strike at the sides. While peripheral coverage often means a closed-in goggle style (vulnerable to fogging during use), there are also lightweight designs with peripheral coverage that fit loosely enough to avoid fogging. For maximum protection on certain projects, the full peripheral protection of goggle-style safety glasses may be the best way to go.
Ultra Violet (UV) Protection
Safety glasses that protect from the sun’s harmful UV radiation are a must for many. Ultraviolet light can damage the cornea, causing corneal sunburn or macular degeneration, while also potentially contributing to cataract formation. So just as you apply sunscreen to save your skin, wear UV-rated safety glasses to protect your eyes when working outside.
Safety glasses that are easily scratched won’t serve you well. To invest in scratch-resistant safety glasses, check the package for a label indicating that the lenses have been treated in polycrystalline diamond or diamond-like carbon (DLC). While the initial cost of a scratch-resistant pair may be a little higher, you can expect such a pair to last a lot longer than a pair with scratch-prone lenses.
Many safety glasses include additional features that may be beneficial to specific individuals or in specific situations. For instance, some pairs allow you to attach hearing protection to the arms of the glasses. Others are vent-free and designed for use in extreme heat situations, such as wildfires.
The Best Safety Glasses
1. BEST FOR MOST PURPOSES: 3M Virtua CCS Safety Glasses
For common projects around the house—replacing a door, for example, or sanding prior to painting—the 3M Virtua CCS Safety Glasses have an ANSI approved impact rating and are lightweight enough to offer a high level of comfort. The glasses also boast such features as a foam gasket around the frame to help block dust, anti-fog lenses with UVA and UVB protection, and a wrap-around design for peripheral protection.
2. BEST PERIPHERAL PROTECTION: Dewalt Anti-Fog Dual Mold Safety Glasses
If you want safety glasses that have full peripheral protection but are concerned about the lenses fogging up, Dewalt DPG82-21 Anti-Fog Dual Mold Safety Glasses are for you. They’re not only specifically designed to prevent fogging, but they also feature built-in ventilation, a dual-injected rubber seal that fits comfortably around the eyes, and an adjustable cloth strap that holds the glasses snugly in place. They also have UVA and UVB protection for projects that have you out in the sun.
3. BEST HEAT RESISTANCE: Sellstrom Cutting Odyssey II Safety Glasses
If you’ll be cutting tile with a grinder or soldering using a blow torch, you need heat-resistant eye protection like that offered by the Sellstrom Cutting Odyssey II Safety Glasses. With heat-resistant lenses and a flame-resistant, adjustable band—not to mention indirect venting to reduce fogging—these ANSI-approved safety glasses will keep your eyes safe when the heat is on.
4. BEST FOR USE OVER GLASSES: Uvex Stealth OTG Safety Glasses
The glasses you wear to correct your vision cannot protect your eyes from on-the-job mishaps—but the Uvex Stealth OTG Safety Glasses can, with comfort and clarity. They’ve got a deep design that fits easily over your prescription specs and a soft, flexible frame that conforms to your face. Another plus: lenses have an anti-scratch, anti-fog coating.
5. BEST FULL-FACE PROTECTION: Jackson Safety V90 Anti-Fog Lens Safety Glasses
As an avid DIYer or an industry pro, you’re bound to find yourself in a situation where your nose, face, and mouth are directly underneath the project you’re working on. To avoid splashes, splintered scraps, and other potential dangers, opt for the Jackson Safety V90 Anti-Fog Lens Safety Glasses, which include a full-face shield for coverage from eyes to neck. When no longer needed, simply detach the shield and move on.