Wearing A Welding Apron
Welding remains to be one of the most hazardous occupations that people do today. Be it in large industrial settings or simple home workshop with welding machines, the hazards that come up with welding are usually the same.
Spatters from melting electrode, sparks with pieces of hot metal, UV radiation from the arc and metal slag from grinding metal are the common things that welders battle every day. But what exactly the right gears to wear to avoid getting exposed and getting burned by these hot materials?
The Welding Aprons
Welding Aprons are also part of personal protective equipment (PPE) that our safety organizations are pushing to protect workers including welders from hazards that exist from their jobs. PPE are types of clothing or gears that are required to be worn by all workers, contractors, students including visitors to protect themselves against potential hazards that are present or can occur in any workplace.
There are various categories that according to government safety councils should fall under the PPE. In the welding industry, each PPE category has its specified type of protection, corresponding gears that welders must use and the type of hazards these gears are used for.
Respiratory (lungs) protection – welding respirator against welding fumes and oxides.
Eye and face protection – welding masks, welding helmets or welding goggles against debris, flying particles, radiation, hot slag, sparks, flash arc, and chemicals.
Hearing protection – earmuffs and earplugs against all loud noises from welding facilities.
Feet and hand protection – welding gloves, welding pants, welding sleeves and steel-toed shoes against spatters, chemicals, electric shocks and from any hot metal.
Head protection – welding helmets against falling debris.
Skin protection – welding jacket, welding shirts, welding sleeves, and welding gloves against all hazards that come from welding work.
If you noticed, the welding apron is not found on any of the above gears with categories. That’s because it belongs to the other types of PPE which are for specific purposes. The purpose of welding aprons is to protect particularly the front side of the body down to the front part of the legs below the knees.
why does a welding apron protect the welder?
When welding, splatters are the usual problems. The electrode that is melted by the spark of electricity creates a soft puddle of hot metal which when aerated by shielding gas hardens and binds the metals.
Because the spark which we call the arc can reach up to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit and this arc is being blown by the shielding gas, this is how spatters can occur. Spatters are splashes of hot melted metal that can burn through normal clothing and of course, can also burn your skin.
If you are not wearing a welding jacket or a welding shirt, a welding apron is the best option to protect your body from spatters.
Another hazard that a welding apron can protect you from is exposure from the flashes of the arc. Those flashes are a kind of UV radiation that if your skin gets continuously exposed to could also cause you sunburns. If your welding apron is made of leather or cotton with a combination of heat and fire-resistant materials, it can also block UV radiation.
A welding apron is your first defense against any hot material that can come not only from welding but also from grinding and cutting metals.
Because of the protective features that welding aprons are made of many people also use them to protect themselves when cooking on large stoves or when barbecuing using huge grillers.
What Welding Aprons Are Made Of?
Welding aprons come with various materials but the best welding aprons are the leather types. Leather is highly resistant to heat and won’t easily get burned. Cowhide and pigskin leather are the typical materials used in the manufacturing of leather welding aprons. These aprons can provide the highest level of protection regardless if you do MIG welding, TIG welding or plasma cutting.
Cotton and denim are the other types of materials used in making welding aprons but these should be treated with flame-retardant elements to strengthen their flame-resistant properties. Welding aprons that are made of fabrics are lighter and less expensive but they must not be used for a heavy type of welding.
Any welding apron that is sewn with Kevlar or Nomex threads is sure to be tougher and more flame resistant than those sewn with ordinary threads. So check out for this also when buying your welding apron.
Designs and Types of Welding Aprons
Welding aprons are available only in two designs – the half aprons that can protect the upper part of your body and the full aprons that can protect the whole front side of your body down below the knees. Considering that you are wearing welding pants then the half apron would take care of the upper part of your body.
Full aprons are a better choice if you are wearing a light welding shirt when working on a small project but still you have to wear welding gloves every time. But if you wear an ordinary short-sleeved T-Shirt then you must wear welding sleeves along with a welding apron for safety precautions.
Not to mention a welding helmet because you can never go without an eye and face protection to shield your eyes and face from the destructive rays of the arc.
Welding aprons may differ only in length and design of their straps (clip or ties) and coverage as some have high chest covers while others have low that covers only under the chest. For us, the first type is more ideal.
If you don’t have a welding apron yet and want to buy one, check the following features first before ordering.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Welding Apron
Material – leather or denim/cotton with FR (fire-resistant) properties
Flame, heat, and UV resistant
Comfort and Style
Here are our best choices for your welding aprons and we vary them according to their types to give you better options.
Lincoln Electric Brown One Size Flame-Resistant Leather Welding Apron
Not all types of leather welding aprons can always fulfill all the needs of a welder when it comes to durability and comfort. Sometimes the problem comes from the weight of the leather or the leather is not durable enough to withstand the test of time.
But this Lincoln Electric leather welding apron hasn’t had any issues in terms of durability and comfort. Made of split cowhide leather, it is weather-resistant, totally heat, flame and spatter resistant and you can also use it outdoor as long as you need a resilient covering for your body.
If you want to have that sense of protection and security in whatever you do in your welding shop or home workshop, this apron can fully give you that feeling of safety. And you won’t even feel this leather apron on you once you wear it for a few days. Unlike with other aprons made of leather that can stressed out your neck and shoulders, this Lincoln product will not make any part of your body feeling sore.
Another good feature of this apron is its adjustable harness system that allows proper fit and proper weight displacement which means it would fit on you even you have a large body and still wearable for people with small body frame. For those who are 3X body size, this apron can still cover their sides though it would not totally meet at the back.
The length of this product is about 40 inches so it can cover down way below the knees. If you are to do heavy kind of welding, this item is best to wear over a welding jacket or a welding shirt and pair it with welding pants to totally secure your whole front body. Nonetheless, this is perfect for light to medium duty welding work or if you do plasma cutting in your home workshop while it can also protect your body from UV rays.
Students can also wear this during their welding training and they won’t be in danger of exposure or burning from hot metallic materials that can come from their test welding.
The only negative review we’ve seen about this product is it only comes with one size – one size fits most but large enough for most people.
Hobart 770686 Black Cotton Welding Apron
We know you would also be looking for the half-welding apron so here is the best we got.
This black welding apron is made of cotton but has a fully flame-retardant feature. Measuring 24-inches on the shoulder and 36-inches long, this one size fits most flame-resistant cotton apron also has an adjustable click strap – no need to ribbon tie your back. You only need to adjust the length of the strap and click it for easy strapping.
Made of flame-retardant cotton, this apron is very light but it can provide maximum protection for your upper body. To suit most body type, it even has an adjustable elastic waist strap. The neck is a rounded wearable lace and reviews say it can also accommodate guys that are 6 feet tall.
For your welding consumables, there’s a single small front pocket to keep them with you wherever you go.
The HOBART logo will tell you that this is an original product that is perfect for the light type of welding like TIG welding. This apron is unlined, though, and some people say this is an advantage because this makes the apron lighter. Perfect for hobbyists, grinding, plasma cutting and it is also washable.
The only thing that some people are not fond of about this product is its neck strap which can be a bit long for shorter people. So if you have a short physique, it could expose some part of your upper chest. But that should not be a problem because you can cut this strap and sew it back on or tie a knot in the middle to adjust the height of the chest.
Remember though that this is not primarily for the industrial type of welding jobs.
Hobart 770548 Leather Welding Apron
We could not help but include this heavy-duty type of leather welding apron in our topic that’s why here is another Hobart welding apron product that’s made of split cowhide that can also ensure total protection from sparks, high heat and spatters.
Most reviews rated this product to almost 5 stars and that’s because it has proven its worth in providing superior protection that professional welders and hobbyists need. In other words, this is the kind of welding apron you can use in an industrial setting.
With one size fits most configuration, it features durable stitching that makes the apron rigid and flame-proof.
For added security and wearing convenience, this is equipped with reinforced snaps that add to the security and safety of this product.
The nice thing that people also like about this Hobart cowhide welding apron is it’s not capable of messing up your clothes when washing it. Unlike with other leather welding clothes that color bleed and taint other clothes with rust-color stain, this product does not color bleed at all so it’s safe to include it with your other working clothes.
It also has two front pockets for your welding consumables. The large pocket could be for your MIG consumables or TIG consumables and the smaller pocket could be for your pens.
If you want to do different types of welding or if you are a multitasker, you will need this welding apron and it can protect you from all types of hazards that commonly occur during welding. It is also reinforced with heavy-duty stitching so it guarantees long-lasting use.
You want to invest in a simple PPE wearable gear, consider this product and you’ll get your money’s worth with it. And as expected, the Hobart logo would still be there to prove this product is legit and quality-made.
Wearing an ordinary thick apron can be enough to protect your body from absorbing the heat. But when it comes to welding, the tools that the welder use produce intense heat that can melt metal which can produce spatters that if it lands on clothes could burn through fabrics and burn the skin.
This is why welding gears are very important. If we must use welding gloves to protect your hands, welding sleeves for your arms or if you want to protect your whole body from hot hazardous materials, wearing a welding jacket plus a welding apron would best offer you the utmost protection your body requires.
If you are to do quick or light duty welding jobs and you are enclosed with welding curtains or welding screens and you don’t need to wear heavy welding protections, welding aprons are the best wearable choices.
They are cooler and more comfortable to wear any time of the day even when inside warm welding facilities
These inexpensive things should therefore always be part of your safety gears because you’ll never know when accidents can happen while you do your job or hobby.