The Best Safety Glasses

3M Virtua CCS Anti Fog Safety Glasses

Our Top Pick for 2016: 3M Virtua CCS Anti Fog Safety Glasses
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $6.47*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Safety glasses are one of the most important personal protective equipment for the workplace. In the engineering field, nearly three out of five injured workers were wearing the wrong safety glasses or none at all, and eye injuries cost $300 million a year on lost production time, worker compensation, and medical bills. These are huge statistics that really push one to use the proper safety glasses. Great for use by sheetrock hangers, engineers, doctors and nurses, and a whole host of other occupations, safety glasses are also good for motorcycle riding, landscaping, and spray painting. Deciding on the best safety glasses for your occupational use is a tedious process, but hopefully with these four products, the search will be over.

Table of contents

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Protective Eyewear
Comfortable
Rubber Tipped Temples
Untinted Lenses
Lightweight Frame
Polycarbonate Lens
Impact Resistant
Cord Control System
Telescoping Temples
Anti-scratch Coating
Corded Earplug
Cushioned Brow Protection
Wraparound Frame
Optional Foam Gasket
Comfortable Fit

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): 3M Virtua CCS Anti Fog Safety Glasses

3M Virtua CCS Anti Fog Safety Glasses Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $6.47*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThese sunglass-style wraparounds are comfortable and stylish. They have a blue temple and a lens made of polycarbonate. Easy to take off and put on with one hand and weighing just 1.6 ounces, you may forget you are wearing them, especially with the added cushioning of the optional foam gasket attachment, which has air vents and prevents the majority of debris from entering the glasses. While wearing these, you will see no difference in clarity or optics as there is no image distortion. The CCS in 3M Virtua CCS stands for cord control system, a system that keeps your corded earplug attached, untangled, and ready for use (earplug sold separately).

The Virtua CCS fits well with any other safety wear, such as a dust mask or respirator, but does have a tendency to fog up despite its anti-fog coating when used with a dust mask, so is not good for use by doctors and nurses, spray painters, or other people who require a face mask. Very durable, these safety glasses are not likely to get scratched, but they are not scratch-proof. All scratches can be minimized through careful handling, cleaning, and storing.

They are best stored in the box they come in. With a middle-range price tag, the Virtua CCS are a good overall pair of safety glasses for anyone not needing to use other facial personal protective equipment.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Encon Wraparound Veratti 307 Safety Glasses

Encon Wraparound Veratti 307 Safety Glasses

View it on Amazon for $4.50*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerStylish and sleek, the Encon wrap-around Veratti safety glasses are the least expensive pair reviewed! This inexpensive price does not take away from their usefulness, however. With an anti-scratch polycarbonate lens that wraps around with a nine point curve, you will have full protection from debris and projectiles. Meanwhile, the semi-rimless lens reduces the already low weight. Soft, adjustable nose pieces and padding on the frame make these safety glasses comfortable and easy to keep in place.

With vented air slits, you might think that these safety glasses do not fog up, but in hot rooms or if you are hot, they have a slight tendency to do just that. The optics and clarity are good, but small amounts of image distortion have been reported. Unlike the others, the Encon Viratti safety glasses come with a special microfiber bag that helps clean the glasses and is useful for storing them, helping prevent any damage to the glasses when not in use.

For the low price that they sell for, these glasses are certainly a great value. Should anything break, buying a new pair is like buying a Big Mac.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Dewalt DPG55-11C Clear Anti-Fog Protective Safety Glasses

Dewalt DPG55-11C Clear Anti-Fog Protective Safety Glasses

View it on Amazon for $6.57*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardWhile this is the most expensive of the four pairs of safety glasses reviewed, it is also the most versatile. The stems are ratcheting and telescopic. This means that the stems both adjust up and down to move the bottom of the lens closer and further from your cheeks and the stems can also grow longer or shorter for comfort and to fit just about any face. The comfort of these safety glasses also comes from the large, soft nose pieces that do not leave marks even after hours of use.

Furthermore, the Dewalt safety glasses have an adjustable rubber tip temple, colored blue. A yellow insulator strip at the temple also provides protection against sweat that drips down your forehead. These safety glasses have great protection against dust, liquids, and sharp projectiles and are anti-scratch so they will last longer. With a polarized polycarbonate lens, you will never have to worry about glare; meanwhile, there is no image distortion even when tinted. Unfortunately, these are also the heaviest of the safety glasses being reviewed at 2.1 ounces, but they are still light enough that you will likely forget they are there while you work.

Finally, while there is an anti-fog coating, these glasses will fog under certain conditions, such as while being worn in conjunction with a dust mask or face shield, so they are best used by people in the engineering, construction, chemistry , and other fields where other facial personal protective equipment is not necessary.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): 3M Virtua Protective Anti-Fog Eyewear

3M Virtua Protective Anti-Fog Eyewear

View it on Amazon for $2.25*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickWith a weight of less than an ounce, you are truly likely to forget that you are even wearing the 3M Virtua safety glasses. Add to that a contour flexible temple, and you have very comfortable glasses for an inexpensive price, leading to a higher likelihood that you will actually wear these safety glasses at work. Only the hard nose pieces will remind you that you have these glasses on.

The 3M Virtua fit with almost any other safety wear, such as a face shield or helmet, and have a sleek, stylish design. You will not have to worry about fogging thanks to the anti-fog polycarbonate lens, but sweat is likely to drip into your eyes if you are a sweater. The wrap-around lens offers some protection, but still lets in some dust and debris. Discontinued by the manufacturer but still available on sites such as Amazon.com, the biggest issue with the 3M Virtua is that it has a magnification of +0.5 diopter. This can lead to headaches, eye strain, and even nausea in some people.

Overall, however, the 3M Virtua is well-made and good for most people to use. They are especially good considering the low price that you pay for them and the comfort of the low weight.


Pre-purchase considerations

There are many things to consider before purchasing a pair of safety glasses. The number one consideration is the fit of the glasses because if they do not fit, you are not likely to wear them. Next important is the OSHA certification rating, which gives proof that the glasses are safe against most hazards. After that, you should keep in mind the comfort, the protection against dust and debris, the UV light protection, and the scratch resistance of the safety glasses. These considerations are all important for occupational use of the glasses, and should not be ignored. IF they are ignored, you are not likely to get the right safety glasses, which could lead to long-term injury to your eyes.

Fit

The most important feature of a pair of safety glasses is their fit. They should sit on your face without slipping or sliding and without squeezing your head tightly. In this department, adjustable safety glasses are the best because they allow you to decide how the glasses should fit your frame. Ratcheting and telescoping stems give you the chance to adjust the glasses to precisely the right position. Another concept of fit is the ability to use the safety glasses with other safety wear.

Often times workers wear more than just safety glasses. They may wear earplugs, a dust or surgical mask, a respirator, a face shield, or a helmet. Examples of things that could go wrong are that the safety glasses are too big to fit with a helmet or the nose pieces are too large to accommodate a dust or surgical mask or a respirator. Also, some safety glasses fog up if used with a dust mask, respirator, or face shield, and should be avoided if you need to use one of these three personal protective equipment. Finally, if the safety glasses are too small, the stems may cause skin damage to the back of your ear because of rubbing.

OSHA Certification Rating

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration follows the standards of the American National Standards institute (ANSI). According to ANSI, safety glasses for occupational use must meet or exceed the standard of Z87.1-1989. While all of the safety glasses reviewed meet or exceed this standard, some safety glasses do not and are not recommended for use in the workplace. Look for safety glasses that have Z87.1 printed on the stems to ensure that they are indeed meeting the standards.

This certification is important because it shows that it will prevent injuries from hazards such as impacts, radiation, welding, and chemical splashes. These safety glasses undergo extensive testing to prove they will protect the eyes as advertised. Occupational hazards are everywhere for millions of workers, but with a rating of Z87.1-1989 or higher, you can rest assured the glasses will protect your eyes.

Comfort

You should not underestimate the importance of comfort. The comfort of a pair of safety glasses, along with the stylish appearance, is what helps drive up compliance with regulations for wearing personal protective equipment. No protection of the eyes will come from the glasses sitting on a shelf or being worn on the head, so comfort is a must. Some comfort features include cushioning on the temple or nose bridge, gel-filled nose pieces, and flexible or ratcheting temple, ratcheting and/or telescoping stems, and a flexible curve of the lens.

Fifty percent of safety glasses also come with a lanyard to help keep the safety glasses on, which is important as people do not wish to be constantly pushing their glasses up. Another important part of comfort that should be considered is around the ear. IF a stem is not flexible, it may cause abrasions and reddening of the skin due to movement of the safety glasses. Comfort is a very important feature of safety glasses that many ignore when looking for a pair, but I hope you will not do the same.

Protection from Dust and Debris

What is the point of safety glasses if they do not block dust and debris from getting in your eyes? There is none, and that is why you should consider this an important feature of any pair of safety glasses. Some glasses block dust and debris to a point, but with vented air slits, let in the smallest particles of dust, such as from drywall or concrete. Others prevent dust and debris, but are not intended for heavy impact from sharp projectiles. This goes hand-in-hand with the OSHA certification rating, because if the safety glasses do not have an ANSI rating of Z87.1-1989 or better, they will not prevent sharp projectiles from breaking the lens of your glasses.

In order to prevent dust and debris from entering your safety glasses, you also need to ensure a close fit, which is another reason adjustable glasses come in handy. When you are in a high debris area, you can adjust the glasses to fit closer to your face and prevent more dust and debris from injuring your eyes. Then, when you are in a low-debris area, you can adjust the glasses to a more comfortable fit without the worry of having two pairs for different areas.

UV protection

The sun’s rays can do heavy damage to your eyes, possibly causing nearsightedness or farsightedness or both. Thus, protection from UVA and UVB light is extremely important for your eyes’ health. Tinted glasses provide the most protection from the sun’s light, so look for polarized safety glasses that can be used both inside and outside. Barring that, make sure your safety glasses have UVA and UVB protection built in to them. Clear lenses will not have as much protection, but they can still have some, so check before you buy.

Scratch Resistance

Most occupations that use safety glasses need scratch-resistance because the glasses may be set down or dropped in a setting that is not clean or may be dropped accidentally. Sharp projectiles can also scratch the surface of the lens, making it harder to get pure image clarity. No one wants a line in their sight while they work. Thus, scratch-resistance enables workers to keep their safety glasses’ clarity free from lines and makes the glasses durable, able to last far longer than glasses without scratch-resistance.

Many options also come with a microfiber carrying bag to prevent scratches while the safety glasses are on the shelf, in a purse or pocket, or in a toolbox. This microfiber carrying bag helps the safety glasses last longer so you do not have to constantly buy a new pair. Consider whether you would be willing to buy a new pair of glasses every time a sharp projectile or other debris scratches your lens. The lower priced glasses are good for this purpose, but the more expensive safety glasses are not conducive to re-purchase over and over again.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Safety glasses are important for many occupational situations, from chemistry to engineering to garbage collection. They prevent long-term injuries to the eyes from happening due to the everyday hazards of many occupations. Your preferences and needs are what are most important, though you should take into account the pre-purchase considerations I explained above: fit, OSHA certification rating, comfort, protection from dust and debris, UV protection, and scratch-resistance.

These categories of features make safety glasses useful for the workplace and meet the standards necessary to be used there legally. Also consider they prevent injuries and ensure compliance with OSHA regulations. Keep these features in mind when you shop for your pair of safety glasses, and you will be sure to get a pair that meets the requirements of your job.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. OSHA.gov, Eye and Face Protection Standards

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