In recent years, welding lenses started being made in polycarbonate in addition to the traditional glass lenses. What are their differences?
Welding Lenses: Glass vs. Polycarbonate Materials
There are advantages to glass and polycarbonate welding lenses that make them different. Your personal preference will be what ultimately decides which material is best for you.
If you’ve never compared glass and polycarbonate welding lenses, there are some significant differences. Polycarbonate is generally not available in flat welding plates, so it’s not usually used in welding helmets, masks, or goggles, whereas glass is available in flat or curved lenses.
Polycarbonate is also cheaper and less likely to break if dropped, but glass is more scratch-resistant and offers higher optical quality.
If you’re deciding between glass and polycarbonate welding lenses, here’s what you need to know:
- Glass welding lenses come as flat welding plates, flat lenses, and curved lenses, making them available in more frame styles and helmets.
- Polycarbonate welding lenses are not produced in as many shades as glass, so your shade selection is better if you go with glass.
- Glass welding lenses are, obviously, made of glass. Glass breaks. If you drop polycarbonate welding lenses, they will not break. Ever. Polycarbonate is amazingly impact-resistant and shatterproof.
- Polycarbonate welding lenses scratch much easier than glass welding lenses do, meaning that the glass lenses will last much longer, provided you don’t drop them.
- Glass welding lenses have extremely good optical quality; polycarbonate’s optical quality is significantly lower.
Polycarbonate welding lenses are very inexpensive, making them more affordable than glass lenses.
There are positives and negatives to both welding lens materials, so your personal preference for lens traits should be the determining factor for your choice of material in welding safety eyewear.
Most people who have been using a certain welding lens material tend to stay with that material, except when it comes to clip-on flip-ups; those are usually purchased in polycarbonate. Clip-ons are usually used to augment current welding eyewear (make them darker) or to give light protection during light procedures.
Sometimes it can be tough to decide which welding lens material is best for you. In that case, you can give us a call or leave us a comment below, and we’ll help you figure out which works bets with your application. Thanks for reading, and stay safe!