The Best Safety Glasses for Debris and UV Damage, Tested

Protect your eyes from flying debris while reducing glare, fog, and UV damage with the right safety glasses for the job.

Best Overall

The Best Safety Glasses Option: 3M Virtua CCS Protective Eyewear With Foam Gasket

3M Virtua CCS Protective Eyewear With Foam Gasket

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Runner-Up

The Best Safety Glasses Option: DeWalt DPG82 Concealer Safety Goggle

DeWalt DPG82 Concealer Safety Goggles

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Best Upgrade

The Best Safety Glasses Option: Oakley Oo9213 M Frame 2.0 Industrial Safety Glasses

Oakley Oo9213 M Frame 2.0 Industrial Safety Glasses

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Many common DIY projects around the home, and in professional trades as well, require the use of safety glasses. Whether you’re lying upside down in a crawl space to cut a water pipe with a grinder or simply using the chop saw out back to cut a few 2x4s, you’ll be protected and feel secure knowing that you have the best safety glasses for the job.

While all safety glasses may look fairly similar, some are designed to perform in different types of conditions and situations. What’s more, not all brands on the market meet the safety and quality standards of those that made our list.

There are a lot of different safety glasses available on the market, but not every product is effective at properly protecting your eyes, so we gathered several high-quality pairs and tested them in common situations where safety glasses would be necessary. Read on to learn more about what to look for in a pair of safety glasses and check out all the options that we rated as the best safety glasses in their class, including one that outperformed all of them.

  1. BEST OVERALL: 3M Virtua CCS Protective Eyewear With Foam Gasket 
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: DeWalt DPG82 Concealer Safety Goggle
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Oakley Oo9213 M Frame 2.0 Industrial Safety Glasses
  4. BEST ANTI-FOG: NoCry Clear Anti-Fog Safety Glasses
  5. PERFORMANCE PICK: Sellstrom Odyssey II Series Shade 5 Cutting Goggle
  6. BEST POLARIZED: KleenGuard V30 Nemesis Safety Glasses
  7. BEST OVER GLASSES: NoCry OverSpecs+ Over Glasses Safety Glasses 
The Best Safety Glasses Options
Photo: Timothy Dale

How We Tested the Best Safety Glasses

With more than a decade of working as a project manager, I was responsible for sourcing safety products that helped ensure my workers’ safety without impacting their ability to quickly and effectively complete tasks. Safety glasses were a requirement for my workers and me. I found that putting these products through several hands-on tests was the best way to determine the right product for the task at hand.

I set up several tasks to test the ability of the safety glasses to protect against flying debris, bright sunlight, and liquids, while also testing my more subjective experiences including clarity of vision, the ability to read with the glasses on, comfort, and adjustability. Wearing each pair, I used a chop saw and a circular saw to cut pieces of wood, a power sander to smooth the edges of the wood, a drill to make guide holes in the wall studs for a television mount, and a grinder to cut through a piece of metal pipe.

For the products that were specifically noted as UV-resistant, I headed outdoors with my lawn mower and trimmer to see if the glasses helped or hindered the process. I also tested one particular pair of safety glasses for fire resistance because the manufacturer had noted that the lenses and even the headband were flame-resistant.

For products with full seals around the eyes, I also tested to determine whether they were watertight or if water (or other liquids) would leak in if the user’s face was fully submerged. Based on the results of these tests, the products in our list were rated and ranked accordingly.

Our Top Picks

These safety glasses rate as best based on design, cost, and overall satisfaction of users in both residential and professional settings. I tested each pair of safety glasses on this list, taking into account important product features with special attention to durability, peripheral coverage, and scratch resistance to find the best safety glasses for DIY projects around the home.

Best Overall

3M Virtua CCS Protective Eyewear With Foam Gasket

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Product Specs 

  • ANSI approved: Yes
  • Materials: Polycarbonate, stainless steel, nylon, and foam
  • UV protection: Yes

Pros

  • Lightweight, unisex construction comes with a foam gasket for comfort while in use
  • Comes with UVA and UVB protection that deflects 99.9 percent of sunrays
  • Corded earplug control system is included for use when using heavy or loud machinery
  • Optional reading diopters of +1.5, +2.0, and +2.5 for added convenience

Cons

  • Lenses are not polarized; may not be ideal for those who work outside

For common projects around the house, such as replacing a door or sanding prior to painting, the 3M Virtua CCS safety glasses are lightweight enough to offer a high level of comfort and have an ANSI-approved impact rating (for more information on ANSI ratings, see the American National Standards Institute section after our product reviews). The glasses also boast such inventive features as a foam gasket around the frame to help block dust, anti-fog lenses with UVA and UVB protection, and a wraparound design for peripheral protection.

During testing, I wore the safety glasses for a range of different tasks including drilling guide holes to mount a television, cutting wooden boards, and hammering in a few nails. Even for precision tasks such as removing computer screws, it was easy to see while my eyes remained protected from debris. The reading diopters in the lenses also helped me to see instructions without having to remove the glasses, meaning that my eyes stayed safe the entire time I was working on a project.

The only real drawback is that these safety glasses do not have polarized lenses, so they may not be the best choice for outdoor work.

Read our full review: 3M Safety GlassesGet the 3M Virtua CCS safety glasses at Amazon or Walmart.

Runner-Up

DeWalt DPG82 Concealer Safety Goggles

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Product Specs 

  • ANSI approved: Yes
  • Materials: Polycarbonate, injected rubber, and elastic
  • UV protection: Yes

Pros

  • Anti-fog coating and built-in ventilation keep the lens clear for consistent visibility
  • ToughCoat hard-coated lens provides protection against scratches and dents
  • Dual-injected rubber seal around the rim fits around the eyes comfortably
  • Adjustable elastic and cloth strap holds the lens in place while in use

Cons

  • Moisture may accumulate after a few minutes of use

If users are looking for safety glasses that have full peripheral protection, but may be concerned about the lenses fogging up during a project, the DeWalt Concealer safety glasses are a good option. 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 them in place.

I tested the DeWalt safety glasses during several projects around the home to check for peripheral coverage, adjustability, and clear vision. During testing, I found that the tough, polycarbonate lenses kept out flying debris and that the dual-injected rubber formed a tight seal preventing dust, small pieces of metal, and other objects from getting into the goggles. The goggles were a bit uncomfortable after wearing them for more than 15 minutes. However, after making a few sizing adjustments with the cloth head strap, I managed to get a better fit for my face.

The ventilation channels definitely reduced fog, but the goggles did accumulate moisture after several minutes, so I needed to remove them and wipe them out a couple of times while working.

Get the DeWalt safety glasses at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Upgrade

Oakley Oo9213 M Frame 2.0 Industrial Safety Glasses

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Product Specs 

  • ANSI approved: Yes
  • Materials: Plutonite, O-Matter, and Unobtainium
  • UV protection: Yes

Pros

  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use; comes in both tinted and clear frames
  • Blocks UVA, UVB, and UVC light at up to 400 nm wavelength for ultimate sun protection
  • Comes with impressive flexibility, durability, and scratch resistance for long-term use

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than some other options on this list
  • The gap around the lenses leaves space for dust and debris to get in

These safety glasses can be used indoors or outdoors for a variety of basic tasks, such as yard cleanup, prefabricated furniture construction, or clearing a clogged sink. They have impressive flexibility, durability, and scratch resistance, as well as UV-filtering lenses that protect the user from UVA, UVB, UVC, and harmful blue light.

During the initial phases of testing, I found that these safety glasses were definitely comfortable, with a lightweight frame and soft nose pads that helped prevent them from shifting or falling off. The Oakley safety glasses were a good choice for casual DIY tasks such as mowing the lawn, trimming around the fences or other lawn obstacles, and edging the lawn because the high level of UV protection meant that my eyes were rarely affected by the bright sunlight.

However, the gap around the lenses leaves too much space for these safety glasses to be effective when working with a chop saw, circular saw, or any other tool that produces a lot of dust and debris.

Get the Oakley safety glasses at Amazon or Oakley.

Best Anti-Fog

NoCry Clear Anti-Fog Safety Glasses

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Product Specs 

  • ANSI approved: Yes
  • Materials: Latex-free polycarbonate
  • UV protection: Yes

Pros

  • Suitable for use in both indoor and outdoor areas; complete anti-fog construction
  • Protect against 90 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays
  • Comes with a flexible fit that wraps around the eyes and face comfortably
  • Comes in a variety of colorways to suit multiple shoppers’ preferences

Cons

  • The gap between the lenses allows for dust and debris to get in

Moving between hot, humid outdoor conditions and cool, air-conditioned indoor locations is exactly what these anti-fog glasses are made for, ensuring that the user retains clear vision without having to remove or clean the safety glasses. These NoCry safety glasses also protect the eyes from about 90 to 100 percent of UV radiation with a flexible fit that wraps around behind the eyes for a snug fit.

The NoCry safety glasses are a lightweight, relatively comfortable option that grips the head behind the ears, making sure that the glasses are hard to shift or remove without intentionally taking them off. During my tests the glasses didn’t fog at all, so I could see the entire time, and despite my tossing them on the ground a few times, the lenses didn’t show any scratches.

While these safety glasses are good for simple DIY tasks, the gap between the lenses and my face left my eyes vulnerable to sawdust, sparks, and other debris while I was using a saw, drill, and grinder. They are not suitable for use in situations with a significant amount of flying debris.

Get the NoCry anti-fog safety glasses at Amazon or NoCry.

Performance Pick

Sellstrom Odyssey II Series Shade 5 Cutting Goggle

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Product Specs 

  • ANSI approved: Yes
  • Materials: Plastic, polycarbonate, and flame-resistant cloth
  • UV protection: Yes

Pros

  • Heat-resistant lenses and a flame-resistant cloth band; suitable for use around flame and heat
  • Anti-fog treatment and ventilated construction allow for clear visibility
  • Thick polycarbonate construction resists scratches, drops, and flame

Cons

  • Goggle-style construction limits some peripheral vision
  • May become uncomfortable after extended wear time

For cutting tile or soldering pipes using a blow torch, the high-temperature protection of these Sellstrom Odyssey II safety glasses is a must. Featuring heat-resistant lenses, a flame-resistant adjustable band, and indirect venting to reduce fogging, these ANSI-approved safety glasses will keep the user’s eyes safe when the heat is on.

Through several of my tests, the goggle-style Sellstrom safety glasses performed incredibly well, withstanding scratches, drops, and even flame that was briefly applied to the neoprene headband while soldering. The thick, double-layer polycarbonate lens didn’t fog up while I was working, primarily due to the anti-fog treatment, but also in part due to the built-in ventilation. The flexible seal on the glasses tempted me to test whether liquids would get into the glasses, but even underwater my eyes were protected.

However, I did find that the bulky goggles limited my peripheral vision for precision tasks and became uncomfortable within about 15 to 20 minutes of use.

Get the Sellstrom safety glasses at Amazon.

Best Polarized

KleenGuard V30 Nemesis Safety Glasses

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Product Specs 

  • ANSI approved: Yes
  • Materials: Polycarbonate, Flex-Dry nosepiece, and rubber
  • UV protection: Yes

Pros

  • Polarized lenses are perfect for working outdoors; reduces light and glare
  • Anti-scratch and anti-fog coating allow for ample visibility when in use
  • Can be used in place of regular sunglasses with the tinted lens color

Cons

  • May not be ideal for keeping debris and dust away from the eyes
  • Can become uncomfortable after 15 to 20 minutes of use

The KleenGuard safety glasses offer clear vision in bright lighting with polarized lenses that block out a portion of the reflective light, reducing glare. They have a durable, flexible frame as well as rubber grips at the end of each arm to prevent shifting during use. The lenses also have an anti-scratch and anti-fog coating to ensure clarity while working.

These safety glasses by KleenGuard looked and felt good enough to be used in place of my regular sunglasses with several major advantages, including the flexible frame and the wide, polycarbonate lenses that have decent peripheral coverage. While there was still some space between the glasses and my face, the gap was small enough that they could be used for most DIY applications. However, I did have issues with flying debris when I was using a circular saw and a power sander.

While these safety glasses are a great choice for a variety of tasks, tight-fitting goggles are better suited for tasks that produce high levels of debris.

Get the KleenGuard safety glasses at Amazon or Walmart (3-pack).

Best Over Glasses

NoCry OverSpecs+ Over Glasses Safety Glasses

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Product Specs 

  • ANSI approved: Yes
  • Materials: Latex-free polycarbonate
  • UV protection: Yes

Pros

  • Completely covers a pair of prescription glasses for reliable visibility
  • Blocks 100 percent of UV radiation; suitable for those who do work outside
  • Comes in multiple quantities and colorways to suit multiple shoppers’ preferences
  • Keeps debris and dust out of the eyes of the user

Cons

  • Very large prescription glasses may not fit within the polycarbonate frame

Eyeglass wearers shouldn’t have to choose between seeing clearly and protecting their eyes, and with this pair of ANSI- and OSHA-certified NoCry safety glasses, they don’t have to. The deep polycarbonate lens fully covers a pair of prescription glasses, protecting the user’s eyes from the top, bottom, and sides with a rectangular shape that looks a bit odd, but it works. These glasses even block up to 100 percent of UV radiation, making them a good choice for indoor or outdoor projects.

I tested these glasses with and without a set of prescription glasses to determine whether they actually worked. The fit of these NoCry safety glasses is a bit off without a pair of prescription glasses underneath, but when I used them as intended, it was difficult for flying debris to get into the narrow gap between my face and the glasses, ensuring that my eyes and my prescription glasses were protected. I found that the flexible frame and extendable arms made the glasses easy to adjust to my head, and the polycarbonate lenses performed admirably when I tested them as I used a drill, saw, sander, and even a grinder.

That said, bulky prescription glasses frames will have a hard time fitting within the safety glasses lens.

Get the NoCry OverSpecs+ safety glasses at Amazon or NoCry.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing Safety Glasses

Safety glasses should protect eyes from debris and dust, and depending on the style, liquids and heat. A variety of features provide protection, while others offer durability and comfort. Here are some of the most important options to consider when shopping for the best safety glasses.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Approval

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. ANSI-approved safety glasses have exceeded the basic safety standards set for their industry. Safety glasses that do not have an ANSI certification have not met the threshold set by the voluntary standards system in the United States. Look for the blue or black ANSI symbol on the packaging or the frame of safety glasses for verification.

Durability

Nothing’s more irksome than a product that breaks after the first or second use, but when it comes to safety glasses, low durability is more than frustrating—it’s a safety risk. Durability should be one of the highest priorities when selecting safety glasses. The frames of quality safety glasses should be made of hard nylon to withstand being bent and twisted through the duration of a project. Lenses, which are commonly rated for impact protection, are made of highly durable polycarbonate to ensure that metal, wood, or other flying debris cannot pierce the lens and damage your eyes.

Polarized Lenses

Whether safety glasses are used for DIY home renovations or professional construction and repair, seeing clearly is a necessity. Safety glasses with polarized lenses increase visual clarity. They contain a laminated filter between two pieces of hard plastic that only allows vertically oriented light to pass through. This filter blocks horizontally oriented light to reduce the amount of reflecting light that enters the eye. In outdoor or brightly illuminated conditions, polarized lenses lessen the impact of reflective lighting to provide a much sharper and clearer view of a task.

Peripheral Coverage

Peripheral coverage refers to the protection of the area around the sides of your eyes. While the majority of objects that may impact safety glasses will likely come from the front, objects can also strike the sides. Peripheral coverage often means a closed-in goggle style, which runs a risk of fogging during use, but there are also ample lightweight designs that feature 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.

Ultraviolet (UV) Protection

For outdoor projects, safety glasses that protect eyes from the sun’s harmful UV radiation are a must. Ultraviolet light can damage the cornea, causing corneal sunburn and macular degeneration, and can also influence cataract formation. Just like sunscreen protects skin, UV-rated safety glasses protect your eyes.

Scratch-Resistant Lenses

Safety glasses that are easily scratched by brushing against a rough tool bag, having a nail or screw dropped on them, or any other similarly unavoidable circumstance become unusable quickly. To invest in scratch-resistant safety glasses, check the package for a label indicating that the lenses have been treated in diamond-like carbon (DLC) and polycrystalline diamond for scratch resistance. While the initial cost of them may be a little higher, scratch-resistant glasses last through many projects over the long haul.

Additional Features

Many safety glasses include additional features that may be beneficial to specific individuals or situations. For instance, some allow you to attach hearing protection to the arms of the glasses that keep earplugs untangled and free of your vision. Other safety glasses are vent-free, a feature that’s optimal in extreme heat situations, such as wildfires, where ventilation would create a hazard.

FAQs

Now that we have covered all there is to know about safety glasses, here are a few of the most common questions asked by users about these products.

Q. How do I keep safety glasses from fogging up?

While many of the safety glasses on the market come with anti-fog technology, those that do not may require anti-fog wipes or solutions. Or, users could also look for options with built-in ventilation systems or loose-fitting designs that allow for airflow.

Q. How do I clean safety glasses?

The most effective way to clean safety glasses is to use dish soap and water. Simply apply a small amount of soap onto the lenses and rub gently before rinsing and allowing to air dry. This should reduce any stuck-on debris and dirt.

Q. When should safety glasses be worn?

Safety glasses are ideal for DIY or professional projects such as mowing or landscaping, electrical work, auto repair, and woodworking. Safety glasses would be particularly helpful in situations where there is a lot of debris and dust flying around, as fine particles could cause harm to the eyes.

Q. Can I wear safety glasses over prescription glasses?

Yes. There are many safety glasses on the market that are large enough to cover prescription glasses. Some are even designed to fit perfectly over glasses to reduce irritation and promote proper visibility.

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Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.

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