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Being a welder is one of the toughest jobs out there. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing industrial welding or small DIY projects, because you’ll still be exposed to heat, radiation, fumes and splatter. You need to wear protection to keep yourself safe while working. There are a number of safety measures for welding. One of them is a welding jacket.
Anyone who’s worn a welding jacket knows it covers him from neck to waist and from shoulder down to the wrists. The jacket protects your skin from intense UV light and heat generated during welding. Too much heat can burn your skin, and too much UV radiation can cause skin cancer.
There are different types of welding jackets, but they all share common features, such as heat resistance and electrical insulation. The material they are made of guarantees you won’t get burns or get electrocuted while working. Three of the commonly used materials are cotton, leather, and nylon (1). There are pros and cons for each type of material.
What to Consider When Buying a Welding Jacket
Whether you’re buying welding jackets online or at a physical store, there are a few things that distinguish between the good ones and the ones that will leave you with buyer’s remorse. There are a lot of cheap jackets out there, and many of them are cheap indeed. Below are the most important factors to consider.
The main purpose of wearing a jacket is for protection from spatter. MIG or stick welding is notorious for generating sparks and spatter, which look cool from a distance but are dangerous when you’re too close. If you’re not wearing the right protective gear, spatter can cause skin burns.
Spatter is particularly unavoidable in overhead welding or stick welding. In this case, you need to wear a leather welding jacket. However, leather can be uncomfortably warm in summer.
The right welding PPE doesn’t burst into flames when hit by sparks or flames while you’re working. Accidents can happen, but the last thing you need is a material that makes things worse and sends you to the emergency room.
Welding jackets made of leather are the toughest, but they are also the heaviest. Some welders find them too heavy for convenience. This is why jackets made of cotton or a mix of leather and cotton are preferred.
If you’re not comfortable when you’re working, you can’t produce the highest quality welds. The internal material, the seams, the cuffs, and the collar can make the jacket feel either good or awful. You want a jacket that feels like your regular jacket, not like a piece of armor that weighs you down and makes you stiff. If you’re doing welding for a living, you’ll be wearing that jacket every day for a long time, so it makes sense to buy a few snug and cozy ones.
Eventually, you want something that does the job and lasts for a long time. The material used and the manufacturing process affect the quality of the welding jacket. High-quality leather is possibly the best material for the purpose we want. But the stitching matters as well. Kevlar stitching creates strong seams. Can you imagine a Black Stallion leather jacket with torn seams?
Quality isn’t just about durability. Added features raise the value of a product. For instance, the Lincoln Electric sleeved jacket has anti-static and anti-mildew coatings that add more years to it.
Some Welding Jackets to Consider
BSX Cotton Welding Jacket
The BSX BX9C welding jacket is made of cotton. While it’s not built for situations that expose you to heavy spatter, it’s inexpensive and comfortable. Because it’s lightweight, it’s easy to don and remove. Although it’s not the right choice if you’re doing overhead welding, this flame-resistant jacket is good for everyday welding.
QeeLink Leather Welding Jacket
This is one of the best welding jackets out there. It provides protection for any type of welding. Made from cowhide leather with Kevlar stitching, it’s great for overhead and vertical welding positions and is guaranteed to protect you from spatter. There are multiple pockets wherein you can put tools or consumables while you’re working. But just like any leather welding jacket, it’s hot to wear.
Black Stallion Leather Welding Jacket
Less expensive than the QeeLink jacket, the Black Stallion jacket remains a heavy-duty jacket made of cowhide leather. The internal satin lining allows you to wear it easily. It comes with a collar you can adjust in case you’re confronted with wild spatter and molten splinters that can scald your neck. Perhaps a downside of this jacket is it doesn’t come with cuff adjustments.
Lincoln Leather Sleeved Jacket
It’s body is made of flame-resistant cotton but the sleeves are made of split cowhide leather. It protects your arms from spatter and extreme heat, but it’s not as heavy and doesn’t feel as hot as your typical leather welding jacket. Because the body isn’t made of leather, it doesn’t provide full protection that a full leather jacket does.
Click here to read what we consider to be the Best Welding Jacket.
Welding jackets are part of the personal protective equipment you wear to avoid burns and scalds from hot blobs and spatter. They’re usually made of flame-resistant cotton or split cowhide leather. Jackets made from cotton provide protection for lightweight welding and are more comfortable to wear than full leather jackets. The latter, however, provide protection for heavy-duty welding.