When used with sleeves, welding aprons provide full coverage without the heat of a jacket.
Your apron needs to protect you from high temperatures, sparks, rays and splatter. Using poor quality apron will ruin clothes at a minimum but can also cause serious burns or skin damage.
While protecting you against all these dangers, a quality welding apron should be easy to put on and take off for ease of use.
We’ve sought out some quality aprons with the best protection at an affordable cost.
Check out our quick comparison below, before reading more in-depth further down.
A Quick Comparison
West Chester Ironcat 7010
Lincoln Electric KH804
Soft and thick suede
Seams on inside
QeeLink Leather Welding Apron
Jewboer Leather Welding Apron
Full sleeves and collar
Big chest pocket
Caiman 3136 Apron
Metal rivet reinforced
Best Welding Aprons With Reviews
Here's a list of some of the best welding aprons we found:
1. West Chester Ironcat 7010 Split Cowhide Leather Welding Apron
- Full cowhide leather construction
- Kevlar stitching
- Reinforced with steel rivets
- 36-inch and 42-inch lengths
- Dual scribe pockets on chest
- Tanned specifically for fire protection
- Adjustable waist
- Not as hot as a full jacket
- Full frontal protection
- Straps cross in back
- Waist 36 inches or smaller
- Harder to put on with crossed straps
The West Chester Ironcat 7010 Split Cowhide Leather Bib Apron features yellow chromate tanning to enhance fire resistance. This is an apron with great frontal coverage at 24 inches wide and at least 36 inches long and the option for a 42-inch length. When worn with the West Chester cape-type sleeves, it can offer very nearly the same protection as a jacket, but with a lot more ventilation and a lot less heat.
This apron features rivet reinforced construction. The West Chester Ironcat 7010 Split Cowhide Leather Bib Apron offers an unusual and thoughtful design feature in the form of “X-crossed” shoulder straps instead of the conventional neck loop. Some users loved this design, others complained and modified it. Some owners liked the x-cross straps but felt they were hard to adjust properly.
The West Chester Ironcat 7010 Split Cowhide Leather Bib Apron comes with two pockets on the chest for scribes or other small tools and it has an adjustable waistband, although some larger users felt the waistband was too small with a 36-inch waist size limit on the upper end of its adjustment range.
2. Lincoln Electric KH804 Flame-Resistant Leather Welding Apron
- Cowhide leather apron
- X-type crossed harness
- Thick and soft
- Flame-resistant chromate tanning
- Fully adjustable straps
- Fits up to 4X large
- Quite long, knee length
- Weather resistant
- More ventilation than a jacket
- Stitching is on the inside
- Big and heavy
- Plastic strap latches
One of the most mentioned things about the Lincoln Electric KH804 Flame-Resistant Leather Welding Apron is its length. Many users taller than six feet mention that it reaches below their knees. More protection is always good, however, for smaller welders this one might prove to be pretty heavy. Some larger users report a great waist fit, others feeling that the waist strap is just too short at around 38 inches.
The Lincoln Electric KH804 Flame-Resistant Leather Welding Apron comes with all seams sewn on the inside, where the stitching is protected. This is a design choice you would expect from a company that’s been making welding equipment for over a century. The plastic latch buckles used on the harness straps are certainly not. To be fair, they’re rugged enough for most home and ranch users, but for full-time welders, they’re not durable enough.
This apron features yellow chromate tanning. This process makes the Lincoln Electric KH804 Flame-Resistant Leather Welding Apron fireproof for all practical purposes. Lincoln designed this piece to be weather resistant, although it’s not completely waterproof. Users are overwhelmingly satisfied with the quality of construction on this apron.
3. Hobart 770686 Cotton Welding Apron
- Flame retardant cotton
- 36 inches long
- Adjustable elastic waist strap
- 5 x 6.5 inch chest pocket
- Lightweight protection
- Machine washable
- Waist fits 32-60 inches
- Very inexpensive
- Great for light welding
- Perfect for shop chores
- Neck strap is pretty long
- No lining , single layer only
Need a strong, lightweight and fire-resistant cotton apron for quick welding jobs, grinding and chores around the shop? The Hobart 770686 Cotton Welding Apron fits the bill nicely. Weighing only 11.5 ounces, this apron is very sturdy for fabric equipment. It features an elastic waist strap that adjusts from 32 inches to 60 inches. The 36-inch length is a versatile size to fit most except the very tall.
The Hobart 770686 Cotton Welding Apron is machine washable, unlike a leather apron. It protects well when doing light welding jobs like TIG, oxyacetylene or low-amperage MIG work. Users praise the sturdy grade of fabric and the level of protection at such an inexpensive price range. Many users weren’t happy with the length of the neck loop, with some tying or stitching it to shorten its length.
Hobart is known for rugged welding equipment. Users were disappointed with the plastic clip buckle for the waist strap on the Hobart 770686 Cotton Welding Apron, even though most had very positive opinions about this apron overall. For inexpensive, lightweight and sturdy protection, it’s hard to beat this welding apron.
4. QeeLink Leather Welding Apron
- Full cowhide leather construction
- Fire resistant chromate tanning
- 24 inches wide, 36 inches long
- Kevlar stitching
- 6 pockets
- Crossed back straps
- Specific cell phone pocket
- Specific pencil pocket
- Metal rivet reinforcement
- Metal D-rings for keys etc.
- Straps are a little cheap
- Finish can stain clothes
The QeeLink Leather Welding Apron features thick cowhide construction. This apron is built very ruggedly. It’s got metal rivet reinforcement points and QeeLink sews these aprons with Kevlar stitching for heat and abrasion resistance. At 24 inches wide and 36 inches long, it provides plenty of coverage. The strap arrangement is designed with a cross pattern on the back with a reinforcement patch where the straps meet.
One thoughtful feature of the QeeLink Leather Welding Apron is a cell phone pocket. There are six pockets built into this welding apron, while many others have no pockets at all. In addition to the cell phone pocket, it’s got a pocket designed for a scribe and several others that can store gloves or sleeves and small tools.
The QeeLink Leather Welding Apron also features two D-rings on the front to attach a pouch or to hang items like keys, Allen wrenches or other small tools like a measuring tape. Most users loved this apron, but a few mentioned stains from the tanning on their clothes and some had issues with the plastic buckle fasteners on the adjustable straps.b
5. Jewboer Leather Welding Apron with Sleeves
- Full split cowhide leather construction
- 40.5 inches long
- Extended collar
- Adjustable waist strap
- Chromate tanning for fire resistance
- Large chest pocket with flap
- Full coverage sleeves
- Completely covers torso front
- Upright collar with velcro fastener
- Wide, adjustable back straps
- Can be hot
- Heavier than other aprons
The Jewboer Leather Welding Apron with Sleeves is different because it’s got full sleeves and an upright collar with a velcro fastener. Even though it’s more costly than some other aprons, it saves you the cost of separate sleeves. The high collar also gives better coverage than you get with a standard apron ending below the neck. It’s a little heavier than the others, but it has better support from integrated shoulders and sleeves.
One of the best features, if you’re taller than average, is its 40.5-inch length, reaching the knees of all but the tallest humans. Some users report this apron can be hot, but the Jewboer Leather Welding Apron is open down the back so it’s not as hot (or heavy) as a complete jacket.
The Jewboer Leather Welding Apron is made of cowhide leather cut to be thicker than 1.5 mm for maximum protection from flying sparks, cuts, impact and debris. The ample pocket on the chest has a cover flap to make sure any tools, scribe or other items stay in the pocket when you need to bend over while working.
6. Caiman 3136 Apron with Bib Pockets
- Made of boarhide pigskin
- 36 inches long
- Scribe pocket and utility pocket
- Metal rivets at stress points
- Kevlar stitching
- Wide, adjustable neck and waist straps
- Lighter than cowhide
- Pigskin is extremely durable
- Can fit very large users
- Either cross or loop harness
- Plastic buckles
- Straps are very long
The Caiman 3136 Boarhide Welding Apron is different because it’s made of pigskin rather than cowhide leather. While cowhide is an excellent material for fire-resistance, pigskin is thicker without adding weight and it’s a softer type of leather. Pigskin has tighter fibers and smaller pores than cowhide, delivering superior cut and puncture protection.
“Boarhide” is a brand name of pigskin made for protective equipment. The Caiman 3136 Boarhide Welding Apron is 36 inches long, indicated by the final two digits in the model number. Caiman also makes this apron in 42-inch and 48-inch lengths as Models number 3142 and 3148. Users love the lightweight and supple texture of this apron. It’s designed for very large bodies, addressing the scarcity of equipment for these individuals. The downside is many users felt the harness straps are too long.
The Caiman 3136 Boarhide Welding Apron does have very long straps, but on the plus side, they can be reconfigured to cross each other in the back or to work in a loop system. These straps are highly adjustable and very wide for great comfort.
The most important factor with any protective welding equipment is fire resistance.
When you’re considering whether a particular apron is suitable for welding, evaluate the level of protection offered from fire. This should take into account the possibility that something near the work may have caught fire.
If your garment is in contact with the burning object, will it resist catching fire? You surely don’t need your shirt tail or the strings on your welding apron to catch fire behind your back.
Cotton or Fabric Welding Aprons
When you’re researching your purchase, you’ll often come across welding aprons made of fire-retardant cotton or fabric. These aprons actually work well for lighter duty welding chores, especially quick jobs like a plasma cut or a fast tack weld or two with a flux core, TIG or MIG machine. There are thousands of easily-found reviews from satisfied owners of cotton welding aprons. Any time the welding requirements are light, the cotton apron is well suited to the task.
Some aprons are made of Kevlar or Nomex fabric. These will generally last longer than cotton for welding spatter or thrown sparks, but because they tend to be quite thin compared to the cotton welding aprons, their resistance to blobs or splashes of molten metal is inadequate. Synthetic materials like Kevlar, nylon and Nomex will melt where the molten metal contacts the fabric, leaving you exposed to further encounters. An apron with burn holes isn’t going to provide suitable protection.
Leather Welding Aprons Are The Best Choice
The most preferred and proven material for a welding apron is leather. Like gloves, jackets and sleeves, the leather used in welding aprons can be any of several types of leather. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Pros: Durable and essentially fireproof, cowhide is usually worked as split leather, where the manufacturer will peel layers to make the leather thinner, more flexible, lighter and more wearable.
Cons: Cowhide doesn’t breathe well, which means cowhide garments can be very hot to wear. Cowhide also tends to stiffen with drying and continued flexing, crack along wrinkles and eventually fatigue to the point where it opens along these cracks.
Pros: Elk hide is durable, thick and flexible, yet very light compared to cowhide and other leathers. It provides excellent protection from welding hazards like radiation, sparks and spatter.
Cons: The primary drawback of elkskin is cost due to its relatively scarce supply compared to other leathers. There are cheaper leathers that are more durable.
Pros: Pigskin probably provides the best all-around protection compared to other leathers. It’s thick, yet light. Because it has a much finer fiber texture than most leathers, it resists cutting, tearing, puncture and impact.
Cons: The only real drawback to pigskin is that it costs more than other leathers. It’s not as easy to work as cowhide or elkskin and there just isn’t as much available as there is of cowhide.
Taking all these factors into account our favorite is the West Chester IRONCAT 7010 Apron. It’s from a reputable brand, made a durable cowhide and is great value for the money.
The has great design features like the six pockets and the D-rings for attachment or hanging useful items on it.
If you’re looking for a maximum level of protection, especially for overhead welding, our choice would be the Jewboer Leather Welding Apron.
When price is the primary factor in your choice, the Hobart 770686 Cotton Welding Apron will serve well, with the understanding that it’s just not going to last as long as the leather ones and it’s never going to provide the same level of protection overall as a leather apron will.