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Welding jackets or apparel are mostly made of leather. Some others, however, are made from cotton. The pieces of cotton are chemically sprayed to offer more resistance to flames heat and fire. A welding jacket made with cotton has lower durability than that of leather but if sprayed with the right chemicals, its durability will be enhanced.
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It is also important to note that it also provides more flexibility, reduced retention of heat and it gives a very soft feel. A welding jacket can also be made from fibres that are synthetic in nature. This would help protect welders from heavy sparks and splatters.
It provides adequate comfort, however, it poorly retains heat. A welding jacket can also be made from carbon fibre. This material is stiff and also provides a form of utility that is of high temperature. This is top-notch and second to none.
Most welding jackets made from cotton contains carbon fibres that give room for more resistance. If you weld occasionally and do not really have an occurrence of sparks, splashes and spatters; you could get a welding jacket made of denim.
It is also important to note that some welding jackets have vulcanized rubbers infused into the materials. It is not so common but some of its properties and qualities can help protect from heavy and serious sparks and splatter episodes and experiences.
Welding jackets made of leather are known to shield better, however, they are really heavy, If you will not be so comfortable with wearing a heavyweight leather welding jacket, then you can opt-out for a cotton welding jacket or one mixed with leather and cotton.
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This is slightly more comfortable and will ensure you are well protected too. However it is important to note that if you prefer stronger and absolute protection over full comfort, you can go for a welding jacket made of leather but if you are so concerned about your full comfort and can stand your welding garment protecting you fairly, a welding garment made of cotton or one mixed with leather and cotton will do.
I do recommend a welding jacket made of leather as will be all-round and maximally protected and you will also be quite comfortable.