Table of Contents
- 1 Welding Jackets and Welding Shirts
- 2 Welding Shirt Fabric
- 3 Welding Shirts to Check Out
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Best Welding Shirts
A welding shirt is not your typical shirt that hot sparks and spatter will bore holes on. Welding is a hazardous activity, and that’s why welders wear special clothing and protective equipment before starting their work. The mistake is to think you only need your helmet and gloves, and you’re good to go. That mistake can make welding a very uncomfortable, if not an injurious, task (1).
Welding Jackets and Welding Shirts
Wait! I already have welding jackets. Do I need to invest in welding shirts?
Well, yes. A welding jacket does what it does. It’s your first line of defense against flying splinters and molten blobs. But in some cases, spatter can get through the jacket in certain areas and burn your skin underneath. You can prevent that from happening by wearing a protective shirt underneath your jacket.
One reason many welders don’t wear welding shirts is because the additional layer of safety weighs them down and makes them feel uncomfortably warmer. This is a problem on hot summer days. But choosing the right products alleviates such concern. Welding shirts don’t have to be uncomfortable. Some products have cooling panels and moisture absorbing features that make welding more comfortable, especially in summer.
Welding Shirt Fabric
The material used for making welding shirts is usually high quality and durable cotton, such as denim, which doesn’t ignite right away. Note that it’s supposed to be high quality cotton, not ordinary cotton, which can easily catch fire.
There are other more flame-resistant materials, but they have key disadvantages. Wool, for instance, is flame-resistant, but it leaves you sweltering. It’s also more expensive. Leather is, of course, the best material for the job, but it feels just as hot as, if not hotter than, wool.
You may be surprised to find welding outfits made entirely of nylon or polyester or other synthetic fabric, but these materials burn easily. When they catch fire, they create toxic fumes right before getting reduced to sticky residue that exacerbates your burns — burns that heal into nasty scars.
The most reliable welding shirts are completely made of cotton, but fabrics that are 90% cotton and 10% polyester aren’t bad as long as they’re treated with fire retardants. Chemical treatments make these fabrics heavier than ordinary fabrics for your everyday clothing. Another reason these fabrics are heavy is because they’re supposed to be thick and tightly woven to block ultraviolet light from the welding arc.
If you’ve bought a welding shirt and you’re not sure how long it holds up before burning, try sticking a part of it under a flame. If the area burns right away, do not wear it. If the spot melts into goo, do not wear it for welding. This isn’t a foolproof test, but it should spare you from accidents while working.
Welding Shirts to Check Out
Black Stallion FR Denim Welding Shirt
This flame-resistant cotton work shirt offers the best value for your money but still provides the comfort and protection you need. You can use it alone for light welding work or use it as an additional layer of protection for heavy-duty work. This 8-oz cotton denim comes next to 100% wool in terms of flame resistance. Hence, it meets the ASTM F1506 standard, which means it retains its flame resistant properties well after 25 washes.
Bulwark Flame Resistant Cotton Work Shirt
Here’s another welding shirt made entirely of cotton. Stylish and comfortable, the Bulwark FR cotton shirt comes in simple yet smart design. The hemmed front and lined collar tell you it’s for serious welders. Don’t let the plain look fool you. This durable shirt keeps its flame-resistant property even with regular washing.
Wrangler Riggs Workwear
This is a tad lighter than the Black Stallion shirt, and its fabric is made entirely of cotton with flame resistant Nomex stitching. This classic work shirt doesn’t just feel comfortable. It also reduces the risk of burns with its self-extinguishing design. This extraordinary workwear meets Cat 2 classification as well as ASTM 1506 and OSHA Final Rule 1910.269.
Carhartt FR Twill Shirt
This is the lightest flame resistant shirt in the market that meets NFPA 70E, NFPA 2112, and Cat 2 requirements. This 6-oz twill shirt is 88% cotton and 12% nylon. It’s comfortable and not stiff. Sizes range from small to 4XL, so there’s a perfect size even for the tallest welder out there.
Women’s FR Twill Shirt from Carharrt
Made of cotton and nylon, this 7-oz twill shirt is one of the most durable welding shirts for women. The thick fabric offers protection from flames and hot spatter but is still comfortable. This classic button-down shirt is designed to fit you without making you feel stiff. It comes with adjustable cuffs and flame-resistant buttons that secure your chest pocket flaps. The main seams are secured by triple-stitching. Like any Carharrt welding shirt, this one meets the NFPA 70e, NFPA 2112, and Cat 2 requirements.
Welding shirts provide protection on their own for light welding tasks or provide an added layer of protection for heavy-duty welding. Most welding shirts are made of high quality cotton that’s durable and flame-resistant but not as heavy and uncomfortable as leather. Twill shirts have the reputation of being too warm, but the right shirts have features that offer both protection and comfort.
Best Welding Shirts
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