If you’re a welder, you know how valuable quality welding jackets can be. Considering sparks are flying and you can’t move because you’re in the middle of a weld, a welding jacket is your best protection from burns—and one of the most appreciated welding supplies in your arsenal. Thin shirts or low-quality welding jackets can lead to an unwanted bead or weak joint as you dodge to splatter.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top welding jackets for 2018. But first, let’s take a look at which welding jacket best fits the job at hand.
Welding Jacket Materials
It’s important that not every welding jacket offers the same quality and comfort. Across brands, welding jackets come in varying levels of composition (typically leather), insulation, and structure. As an adept welder, you probably know that a pare of welding chaps and a welding jacket offer the best possible protection—though it can be pricy to own this amount of welding gear. So, a high-quality welding jacket is the best option for cost-conscious welders.
As an item of protection that can guard against high heat and metal splatter, you’ll want to find a welding jacket that offers both fire-resistant materials with some form of thermal insulation. Of course, welding jackets are perfect for cold weather environments, but they are can be year-round solution for personal protection, provided that you don’t overheat while working in higher temperature environments.
While leather is the go-to for most welders, you can find welding jackets made from chemically-altered cotton that offer resistance to heat and flame, but offer more flexibility, comfort, and lower heat-retention. Other synthetic materials (like aramids, popularly known as Kevlar and Nomex) can offer superior protection, but may not keep your body warm in cold-weather project environments. Then there’s carbon fiber welding jackets, which tend to be less flexible, but offer protection in high-temperature situations that experience a lot of splatter. It’s important to know that some jackets incorporate vulcanized rubber into the materials, which helps out in heavy splatter situations. Lastly, if you’re an occasional welder, a denim jacket can be used in low-splatter situations, though you should expect the jacket to not last very long for more work-intensive projects.
How Long Do Welding Jackets Last?
Like any of your welding supplies, you know that there’s a window of depreciation that a welding jacket has, based on the amount of use and wear it receives. Most welding jackets are designed to last between 3-5 years with regular wear, and even less if you’re welding every work day. It’s a fact of welding life that the heat- and flame-resistant features of the welding jacket are going to wear down, so expect to upgrade accordingly.
Finding the Right Size
Typically, welding jackets are given a standard size (S, M, L, XL) that’s based on your chest measurement. To find your size without having the option to try on a variety in-store, you’ll need to wrap a tape measure under your armpits and around the bulkiest part of your chest. It’s important to make sure that the tape measure is snug, but not so tight that it presses into your skin, leaving red marks or constricting your breathing. Also, be careful to relax during the measurement (i.e. don’t puff out your chest), as this can throw off the true reading. Once you have the measurement, compare it to the sizing chart of your choice of welding jacket to get the correct size for your welding needs.
However, it should be noted that if you have a larger-than-average belly, you may want to substitute a belly measurement for the chest measurement. The reason is that you may find it difficult to button or zip up your jacket when it comes time to weld, limiting your mobility and making it difficult to feel comfortable. The process to obtaining a belly measurement is nearly the same, but you’ll want to run the tape around your bellybutton instead. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid measuring around the hips, as this area tends to be thinner than your true girth.
Top Welding Jackets for 2019
- Waylander Welding Jacket XL Split Leather Heat Fire Resistant Cotton Kevlar Stitched Cowhide – XL
- West Chester IRONCAT 7005 Heat Resistant Split Cowhide Leather Welding Jacket, Large
- Leather Welding Jackets 103CM Length Long Welding Apron, Flame Resistant Welder Clothes Coat with Sleeves, Wear-resistant Anti-scald Welding Cape for Most Men WQ23
- BSX BX9C Black W/ Red Flames Cotton Welding Jacket – XL
- Steiner 1260-L 30-Inch Jacket, Weldlite Plus Navy Cotton, Rust Cowhide Sleeves, Large