Shopping for laser safety glasses can mean choosing between glass and plastic lenses. Which is better?
Plastic or Glass Laser Safety Glasses: Which to Choose?
Glass and plastic have separate strengths and weaknesses when it comes to laser safety glasses lenses. When choosing laser safety glasses, you may have to choose between the two and, depending on what you’re doing, one is probably better than the other for you.
Neither glass or plastic is best for everyone, mind you, but it is a good idea for you to consider their strengths and weaknesses before making a decision. Weight and scratch resistance are the least of them.
If you’re deciding between glass and plastic lenses for your laser safety glasses, here’s what you should know:
- Glass generally has higher visual light transmission (VLT) than plastic. This means you see better with glass lenses, in general.
- Plastic laser safety lenses are generally less expensive than glass.
- Glass laser safety lenses typically have higher optical density (OD) ratings than plastic lenses do. This means the coverage is usually more complete, though not always.
- Plastic laser safety lenses are lighter than glass and easier to work into a frame, meaning plastic usually offers more frame choices.
- Glass laser safety lenses can be ground to different thicknesses depending on OD requirements. This is not the case with plastic.
- Plastic laser safety lenses can be created as custom filters much more easily than glass lenses can, meaning new lasers typically get plastic lenses before a glass lens can be found for them.
- Laser safety glasses with glass lenses are more scratch resistant than plastic ones, but plastic is more lightweight and less likely to crack if dropped.
As you can see, the strengths and weaknesses are fairly even. Typically, glass is considered better than plastic because the high VLT is extremely useful. If you can get great protection and still have great vision, you’ll work more efficiently. This is generally the most important and useful quality laser safety glasses can have. Also, these qualities all transfer to laser safety window material comparisons.
If you need custom laser safety glasses or filters, we can do those as well. Sometimes we even have a special filter in stock. As listed above, custom filters are easiest in plastic, but sometimes they can be done quickly in glass. Let us know your needs, and we will do our best to accommodate you in whatever laser safety glasses material you prefer.
Have you had experience with both glass and plastic laser safety glasses? Tell us about it in the comments below.