If you’re new to welding you may not know that you need to protect your eyes from welding flash. This flash can be harmful to your eyes and even burn them. This is something I’ve personally experienced, however you might be wondering what can I use to protect myself from this flash? Will a pair of safety glasses or even sunglasses protect you from welding flash?
Safety glasses won’t protect you from welding flash because it emits ultraviolet and infrared radiation. This radiation can’t be stopped by clear plastic safety glasses, sunglasses, or any other pair of normal glasses. To protect your eyes you will need glasses with a shade 10 lens or better.
The last thing you want to do is make the mistake of using the wrong kind of glasses while welding or even just tacking a few pieces together. This can be a painful mistake so in the rest of this article, I’m going to share why safety glasses and other pairs of glasses don’t protect you from welding flash, and what will protect you.
Why Safety Glasses Won’t Protect You From a Welding Flash?
When it comes to safety glasses it’s easy to think that something like this would protect you from harmful bright flashes but that is not the case.
When a welder makes an arc it gives out a bright flash that contains two types of radiation, infrared and ultraviolent. These two types of radiation can be very dangerous if not protected from correctly.
So what are these types of radiation and how do they work.
Infrared Light (IR) is long-wavelength radiation that is typically felt by the warmth it gives off. It’s invisible to the naked eye but even low amounts of this radiation can cause the eye to turn red and swell up. This type of light can also pass through clear objects like safety glasses and harm your eyes.
Ultraviolent Light (UV) is short-wavelength radiation that cannot be seen by the naked eye. This type of radiation is produced by high-temperature surfaces like the sun or a welder. Welding creates a temperature between 10,000 and 15,000 degrees. This radiation will penetrate only the surface of your skin but will pass right through clear objects like safety glasses.
Safety glasses are meant to protect your eyes from dirt, dust, and debris but when it comes to harmful weld radiation like infrared and ultraviolet rays they won’t do anything to protect you.
Can Sunglasses Protect You From Welding Flash?
Now you might be thinking what about a pair of sunglasses?
Sunglasses will typically have a darker lens but they are nowhere near dark enough to block out infrared and ultraviolet radiation. Most sunglasses are between category 3 or 4 lenses. A shade 10 lens or greater is recommended for welding purposes.
Sunglasses are also not meant to be used while welding or even as safety glasses for that matter. So what will happen if you try to weld with sunglasses?
Since the lens is not strong enough to blog out UV and IR radiation you burn your eyes. The welding flash will also burn your skin just like a sunburn.
The big problem with sunglasses is that some people think some protection is better than no protection and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t fall for this misconception and only use equipment that is designed for welding purposes.
Can You Use Oxyacetylene Goggles for Welding?
Another big misconception is that you can use oxy-acetylene glasses or goggles for welding. However, these glasses are not meant for welding with either.
Oxyacetylene glasses and goggles are not meant to be used when welding. Most oxy-acetylene glasses only have a shade 5 lens. While this is strong enough to use while torching and brazing they are not strong enough to use while welding. A shade 10 lens or higher is required for welding.
The reason for this is that an oxyacetylene torch only reaches temperatures of around 3000 to 5730 degrees. A welder will generate temperatures between 10,000 to 15,000 degrees. That’s 3 to 4 times hotter than oxyacetylene.
With hotter temperatures come higher amounts of Ultraviolent and Infrared light radiation.
What Kind of Glasses Can Protect You From Welding Flash
So now that you know that safety glasses, sunglasses, and even oxyacetylene won’t protect you from welding flash, you might be wondering are their glasses that will protect you?
For starters, these glasses must be a shade 10 lens or higher. I personally use a shade 12 because my eyes can be a bit sensitive to bright lights.
Also, these kinds of glasses can’t be found down at your local Wallgreens. You will have to get them at a local welding store on places like Amazon that sell them as well.
Related Article: Want to learn more about which shade lens you should use while welding check out this guide.
Here are a few options to consider.
Melgweldr Auto Darkening Welding Glasses
The first option is the Melgweldr Auto Darkening Welding Glasses. These glasses use auto-dark technology that darkens the lens when you strick the arc with your welder. When the glasses aren’t in use they will automatically lighten the lens.
These glasses work great for tacking things together, tig welding, and doing small and tedious jobs.
However, while they do block out harmful UV and IR light it can still be harmful if you’re welding around reflective surfaces or other people welding since the glasses don’t do much to protect your eyes from the sides.
If you’re doing bigger welding projects I don’t recommend these glasses.
Spargos Welding Goggles
Your next option is the Spargo’s Welding Goggles. Are a better option for quick tacking and use. They cover the eyes from all sides to prevent any kind of light from getting in.
The set above is also using auto dark technology that automatically dims and lightens as you weld. You can also adjust the darkness to higher or lower shade settings.
However, these goggles are not good for any type long term welding. They will protect your eyes but they won’t protect your neck or face from getting burnt. If you want complete protection then check out the last option.
Jackson Safety Welding Helmet
Your last option is the Jackson Safety Welding Helmet. This is the exact welding helmet I use.
I like it because it completely covers my face and neck and has a large viewing area where the glasses and goggles mentioned above have relatively small viewing areas. On top of that, it’s fairly priced and fits very comfortably.
On the downside, it does not have the auto dark technology and if you plan to do a lot of tacking and small welds this helmet may not be the best option for you. However, if you want the best option of not burning your eyes, face, or neck then this is a great option.