If you are already familiar with welding jackets, then we assume you may also be informed about the welding shirts and their benefits. Both offer protection to your arms and body from any hazardous elements that can come up during your welding jobs such as hot metal spatters, metal slag and UV radiation.
However, welding jackets offer more protection because these are thicker, better combined with flame-resistant materials and more durable. So what’s the specific use of a welding shirt?
A welding shirt will allow you to weld without worrying about your shirt catching fire and your skin getting burned due to flying hot materials from your welding pool or from the spark that comes out from the arc.
And even it is lighter it is still combined with non-melting and flame resistant fabrics which makes it ideal protection for TIG welding or plasma cutting which do not produce much burning debris unlike with MIG welding.
If you are wearing a pair of welding pants or a long welding apron, then a long sleeve welding shirt should be enough for light welding task.
Just make sure you wear your welding gloves and your welding helmet, of course.
The fun thing about welding shirts is that they generally look like the casual, classic type and clean-cut shirts we usually wear under our coats or as casual attire.
That’s why people who do not even weld like to wear them for fashion and at the same time feeling more protected because they know what they have on their bodies are flame and heat-resistant shirts. Well, welding shirts, in reality, are many times tougher than ordinary shirts.
Welding Shirts Styles
Welding shirts come in different styles and each style offers its convenience to the welder. Here are the choices:
Long-sleeved welding shirts. These flame-resistant rated shirts usually have front buttons like ordinary long sleeve shirts you wear under your jacket. They are available with stand up collars and wing collars style. You can choose the looseness or fit and also the fabric or the combination of fabrics from their categories.
They are also relaxed and light to wear especially for light welding jobs without the need to wear a welding jacket. Its main usefulness is to protect your arms and body from flying sparks, flame, and hot molten metal so if ever any of these lands on your shirt it won’t easily catch fire.
Looser welding shirts.
These look like ordinary sweatshirts but also flame and heat-resistant. They have no front buttons but can also provide good protection for your body and arms. However, your neck area can be more vulnerable to the risk of hot splatters so you better have a long welding mask when wearing this. Good choice for light welding tasks though such as TIG welding or plasma cutting.
What To Look For the Best Welding Shirt
Welding shirts are worn to protect you from welding hazards so they should be comfortable to wear even for many hours. So here are the right features that you should consider when buying one:
Flame and heat resistance. This is the number one feature that you should look for since you will be dealing with arc flashes, heat, and sparks. So, in case a spark will land on your shirt, this won’t get burned easily and burn your skin.
Anti-bacterial or anti-odor feature. Because you may sweat a lot due to the handling of hot materials, you should look for a shirt that has anti-bacterial or anti-odor properties to prevent odor-causing bacteria from clinging on your shirt.
Moisture-wicking materials. Your welding shirt should absorb moisture from your body like your sweat but can easily disperse it into the air making your body feeling fresh and not clammy. This feature is very useful when humidity is low and the environment becomes warm which usually happens if you are confined in an area protected by welding curtains.
Sleeve vents. Sleeve vents are not common on welding shirts but you can still find some shirts with this feature. These are the slits you find above the cuffs that allow air to enter through your arms and circulate throughout your body. Also useful in the hot working environment.
Front pockets with flap closures. Some recommend front deep pockets but we do suggest that such pockets should have flap closures on them to avoid metal slag from shooting in. Pockets are necessary to keep your small welding consumables with you all the time.
Washable. Look for the washability feature. Even though these shirts are resilient, they should be highly washable and not prone to shrinking or wrinkling when washing them up.
Breathability. Cotton can breathe and much softer on the skin. However, it can easily burn. But when treated chemically with heat-resistant elements, it retains its softness but become resilient against flames and even against arc flashes. So read the specs of the shirt before buying.
Now that you know the usefulness of the welding shirts and the features to look up for your best welding shirt, here are three of the best welding shirts that we’ve found to surely provide you the utmost protection you need. We also prefer them because you can wear them as your trendy everyday wear.
Our Favorite Welding Shirts:
Bulwark Men's Flame Resistant 7 Oz Cotton Work Shirt with Sleeve Vent
This welding shirt has an FRC (Flame Resistant Clothing) tag rating on its shoulder which means even when exposed near high temperature it will not melt but may ignite due to long-time exposure to very hot conditions which do not usually happen in the welding environment.
FRC is given generally on wool or cotton clothing and this shirt is made of 100 percent cotton but with flame-resistant properties. However, if you look at this shirt, this may look like an ordinary shirt but this is very durable and you can wash it regularly without making it looking worn-out. With a classic and an attractive style, it also has sleeve vents to keep your arms cool even you are wearing leather welding gloves.
With pure cotton, which you can wear during summer or keep under your welding jacket in the winter, this shirt can make you feel comfortable any time of the year. It has two chest pockets with flaps to keep hot materials from getting inside and these pockets can serve as your built-in pouch for your TIG consumables or MIG consumables.
This garment has an Arc Rating of ATPV 7.7 calories/cm2 and even passed the standards for HRC1. This means that this flame-resistant shirt is made not only for comfort but for absolute safety. According to the company, Bulwark, this shirt comes in two origins – American made and imported.
Both, though, have the same qualities and carry the same safety features.
On the other hand, we’ve read from some reviews that the sleeves of this shirt are a little short for its sizes so if you’ll be purchasing this item, order one that is one bit bigger from your actual size.
Wrangler RIGGS WORKWEAR Men’s FR Flame Resistant Long Sleeve Two Pocket Work Shirt
Wrangler, which is an American-owned company has been around for almost 70 years and once claimed to be the global leader in the manufacturing of world-class casual apparels and jeans wear that are all inspired by western tradition.
In this generation, not only Wrangler is preserving the American legacy with its products but it has also ventured into manufacturing apparels that are very useful also for everyday work but still retain the trendy look.
This Wrangler RIGGS WORKWEAR is very casual looking and made of 100% cotton material so it’s fresh and light to wear. But the most important thing about this shirt is it is HRC2 (Hazard Risk Category) compliant. This standard rating means this shirt can be used as daily wear but primarily passed the standard for flame-resistant and can protect the body from momentary electric sparks such as flashes coming from the arc.
To tell you this shirt passed the said safety standards, it has a Wrangler HRC2 FR tag on the front pocket and also on the cuffs so when you see these tags, you know this shirt is an authentic flame resistant product.
This long sleeve working shirt has a button-front and button-down collar with two front deep chest pockets with flaps to prevent any piece of hot metal from shooting in.
While it’s proud of its comfortable and relaxed fit, it can also be machine washed and would still stay in shape no matter how frequent you wash it.
Reviews say that this shirt can withstand a lot of abuse and not only efficient as a deterrent from flame and arc flashes but can also repel grease that can stain ordinary fabric. Breathable and light, you will find this shirt soft and cool to the skin.
The only thing that some people whine about this shirt is you can have difficulty finding the right size for you because the sizes of it are patterned to American size which means it is broad on the shoulder and quite loose on the biceps.
So from there, you can now determine which size will fit you.
Carhartt Men's Flame Resistant Force Cotton Long Sleeve T-Shirt
If you would like to know one looser type of welding shirt which would be efficient to protect you from the hazards of welding, here it is – the Carhartt Men’s Flame Resistant Force. Made of 100 percent cotton and NFPA 2112, HRC2 and ATPV 8.9 compliant, this imported welding shirt is truly a flame protector shirt to reckon with.
This basic designed shirt has no collar but it is casual looking and lightweight it can be the perfect working clothes in a clammy and hot working environment. You can also wear this as a support shirt for your welding jacket during winter and nothing can stop you from assembling your metal works without worries. It can also fight odor and it is made using FastDry technology that can wicks away your sweat to give you extra comfort while working.
You can also wear it as part of your everyday casual wear and people will never know that you are wearing a quality FR resistant shirt that has passed three types of safety standards until they read the FR tag on its pocket.
Yes, its left chest pocket says it all which also indicates the authenticity of the product.
Reviews also say that even with constant washing, this protective shirt would not shrink unlike with most of the long-sleeves buttoned welding shirt. So if you want to have a simple to wear welding shirt with no buttons or large pockets, this is it.
Now, the only snag about this shirt is because it has its pocket without a flap, you have to be aware not to wear it when welding on a vertical position or a drop of metal slag inside it could spell a catastrophe.
So even though the fabric of this shirt is fire resistant, you won’t like a piece of blazing metal landing inside your pocket. But if you have to weld in normal squatting or sitting position, this garment would just be perfect.
Welding shirts are the coolest apparel you could use for your welding tasks in any kind of weather. If welding jacket is best for MIG welding and vertical welding, then welding shirts which are thinner in the design are perfect for light to medium duty welding jobs. As long as these are flame and heat repellant and bonus if you can find a shirt that can protect you against UV rays from the arc that would be perfect.
Our welding shirts here are some of the most popular and most reviewed apparels that young and old welders prefer. They are not only stylish but carry their FR safety tags on them to tell you they are genuine and made specifically right for their safety purposes.
But then, remember that your welding shirt would not be enough without wearing your other safety necessary gears such as welding pants, welding gloves, and most of all, the right welding helmet that has the auto-darkening capacity.