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Whether you work in an industrial, chemical, or construction setting or tackle lots of DIY projects at home, proper eye protection is essential. Protective eyewear blocks flying debris (including tiny particles you might not be able to see), safeguards your eyes from impact, and prevents liquid from splattering into your eyes. Most pairs also offer some glare resistance and UV protection.
You might think all protective eyewear is the same, but today's products come in a range of styles and are often designed for specific applications or environments.
We've rounded up the best safety glasses below.
Best Polarized: Ergodyne Skullerz Dagr Polarized Safety Sunglasses
Ergodyne Skullerz have polarized lenses, which minimize glare from things like water, sun, and glass. This prevents light from going directly into your line of vision, reducing sensitivity to reflective surfaces, and is generally more comfortable for the eyes.
The lenses also provide UV protection and resist scratching. These protective glasses meet ANSI standards for safety and MIL (military) standards for ballistic impact resistance. The blade-style frame is made of flexible yet durable nylon, and rubber around the bridge and temples keeps them in place.
Best Prescription: RX Safety Prescription Safety Glasses RX-15011
The best prescription safety glasses are this pair from RX Safety. With TR-90 nylon arms and an adjustable nose piece, they're suitable for men and women and can accommodate various face shapes and head sizes. (TR-90 nylon is a type of ultra-flexible yet endlessly durable thermoplastic.)
These ANSI-approved safety glasses have large rectangular frames and wraparound shields to help protect you from chemicals, particles, paint, and other irritants from every angle. The frames come in a few different colors, including black, clear, red, and yellow.
Best Over-Glasses: NoCry Over-Glasses Safety Glasses
If you're looking for something to wear over your prescription eyeglasses, check out this pair from NoCry. They fit over most reading classes and cost substantially less than a pair of prescription safety glasses.
With a resilient polycarbonate frame and clear wraparound lenses, you'll be protected from all angles without distorting your vision. The lenses resist scratching and block over 90 percent of UV rays, and soft tips minimize pressure around your temples.
The extendable arms can be adjusted to fit various head sizes, so they work for men, women, and kids. You can also wear them as normal safety glasses without a prescription pair underneath. These specs are certified safe by the ANSI, CSA, and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
Best Outdoor: Carhartt Carbondale Safety Sunglasses
Carhartt has been a go-to for work apparel for over a century, so it's no surprise the brand makes the best outdoor protective eyewear. These ANSI and CSA-approved safety sunglasses have a flexible nylon frame and extra-durable, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses.
The lenses block 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays from the sun, as well as UVC radiation from artificial lamps or lasers. With dual-injected arms and a soft rubber bridge, these glasses feel as comfortable as a custom pair.
Best Readers: 3M Nuvo Reader Protective Eyewear
3M Nuvo offers +1.5 magnifying strength. You don't need a prescription for these protective readers, but they'll help you read small text and see close-up objects in better detail while you're working.
The polycarbonate lenses meet ANSI and CSA requirements for high-impact protection and block almost 100 percent of UV rays. Thanks to wraparound shields and a protective brow bar, you'll have coverage from all sides.
Best Goggles: SolidWork Safety Goggles with Universal Fit
SolidWork Safety Goggles are designed to fit everyone. A super-soft material between the frame and your face ensures a perfect fit and a protective seal. They have an adjustable band that wraps around your head without digging into any pressure points.
The ANSI-certified polycarbonate lenses resist scratching and have a special anti-fog coating. Not only that, but the lenses block UV rays and are polarized to minimize glare. You'll also appreciate the panoramic design, which provides a wide field of vision and complete protection from particles and irritants.
Best Indoor: NoCry Safety Glasses
For indoor jobs and interior home improvement projects, we suggest NoCry's Safety Glasses. With a lightweight construction and wraparound design, they offer ample protection while still keeping you comfortable. They also have an adjustable construction, so you can customize the side and nose pieces to fit your face. Score!
This pair meets ANSI standards for high-impact eye and face protection, and the lenses are treated to protect your eyes from radiation emitted by artificial indoor lights. They're also scratch- and fog-resistant and reduce reflective glare. If you do venture outside wearing these glasses, you'll have peace of mind knowing they block 90 to 100 percent of the sun's rays.
What to Look for in Safety Glasses
Comfort and Fit
Comfort is key, particularly if you’re planning on wearing your glasses for an extended period of time. Though you might not be able to try on the pair you’re buying in person, look for soft nosepieces, rubber temples, and ergonomic frames. You can also find styles with different frame sizes to better fit your face.
Safety lenses are usually made from one of four materials: polycarbonate, NXT, acrylic, or glass. Polycarbonate is the best option for most uses, as it’s lightweight, impact resistant, and offers UV protection. If you’re in need of prescription glasses, however, you might opt for NXT or glass lenses, which offer greater optical clarity.
Tints and Treatments
In addition to the lens material, you’ll also want to consider the lens color and any tints or treatments that have been added. For indoor or low-light activities, it’s safest to go with clear lenses. Shaded or tinted lenses are helpful for outdoor use, protecting you from bright sunlight or lights.
You can opt for anti-reflective or mirrored coatings to further reduce glare, or an anti-fog coating to reduce or eliminate lens fogging (particularly useful for mask wearers). Other treatments include blue light blocking, hard coat, and hydrophobic coatings.
If you’re buying safety eyewear in America, make sure that it has an ANSI Z87.1 Certification. This ensures that the glasses have been properly tested and meet the standard for personal Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices. You should see it clearly marked on the inside of the lens.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Theresa Holland, a freelance writer with substantial experience researching, testing, and reviewing home improvement products and DIY supplies. You can check out more of her work on Byrdie, MyDomaine, and Verywell Health.
Lily Sperry, a commerce editor at The Spruce, conducted additional research for this round-up, reading through third-party reviews and expert safety considerations at ANSI and Safety Gear Pro to help you find the right pair of safety glasses for your needs.