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Welding Sleeves: A Complete Buying Guide

welding sleeves

Welding Sleeves: A Complete Buying Guide

welding sleeves

Welding Sleeves are the ideal alternative for arm protection especially when welding jackets become too heavy for the job. Flame resistant cotton welding sleeves or even leather welding sleeves are on the list of things to have for welders everywhere. They’re not that expensive and they’re easy to use. The question is, how do you choose the best welding sleeves, and what works best for what you do?

According to a 2019 study by Arnold and Itkin, there are over half a million American welders and 1 in 250 construction workers die from a welding injury. So, whether you’re a professional welder or not, welding clothing like welding aprons, jackets, sleeves, and protective equipment should be your top priority.

Why use welding sleeves?

Welding jackets have long been the standard for safety and protection while on a job. While it gives optimum protection, there are some that require more arm movement and functionality. And for that, you need welding sleeves – the ideal alternative that protects against heat, flame, and sparks, all while maintaining mobility and comfort.

Welding sleeves are also much cooler than welding jackets. This is why it’s used often most especially for those who work in warmer climates. On top of that, these sleeves aren’t just useful for welding, these are also used for gardening, grinding, woodcutting, or other jobs that need arm protection.

How to Choose the Best Welding Sleeves

Welding sleeves come in different styles, materials, lengths, and colors. It is basically up to you to choose what’s most comfortable for you. But in making that decision, you need to consider these factors.

Welding Sleeves length

Ideally, welding sleeves are worn from the wrist to mid-bicep. That way, the shoulders are free to move and function. For the average male who’s arm length measures 25 inches, an 18-inch sleeve would work. But for those who have longer arms, 23-25 inch welding sleeves would be a better choice.

A quick tip is to measure the length from your wrist to your regular short-sleeved shirt. That way, you get an accurate comfortable length specific for your body.

Level of Heat Protection and quality of material

The quality of the materials used for your welding sleeves directly affects the level of heat protection. To know what kind of material would work best, think of the kind of job you do most of the time.

Assess how exposed you are to heat and how long you work in that condition. Also, think about the amount of slag and spatter you are subjected to while on the job. Once you know that, you can now choose the material that would best fit you. There are different types of fire retardant fabrics and each has its distinct property and use. For welding sleeves, materials used could either be Kevlar, leather, or cotton. Let’s take a look at these three up close.

Types of welding sleeves

Kevlar welding sleeves

For maximum heat protection, go for Kevlar welding sleeves. Kevlar is a strong synthetic fiber that is used to protect workers from abrasions, cuts, and heat. These are lightweight, flexible, and overall comfortable.

Unlike cotton, Kevlar fiber doesn’t shrink when exposed to heat and can be machine washed. Dry cleaning wouldn’t be a problem for normal cleaning.

Leather welding sleeves

Leather fabric is well-known for its flexibility and resistance to heat, fire, and cutting. It’s economic and can be reused for a longer period of time. While it isn’t as machine wash friendly as Kevlar and cotton welding sleeves, cleaning leather is fairly easy, similar to how you clean leather welding jackets. Read more about how to choose the best welding jacket on our blog.

welding sleeves
Get this Waylander Welding sleeves and the welding apron seen on this photo on Amazon.

While leather welding sleeves are readily available in the market, there are those that are made of cowhide split leather reinforced with protective Kevlar which could be a better choice. Check out this type of welding sleeves on Amazon. The combination of the two fire-retardant fabrics gives you the functions and properties of both which makes it a reliable means of protection.

Cotton welding sleeves

Cotton sleeves which are considered to be the most comfortable since it is the lightest. It’s thinner and breathable but they’re also the least heat-resistant as compared to Kevlar and leather. It offers protection from sudden flame exposure and light-duty welding sparks. Like Kevlar, these are also machine-wash friendly.

Welding sleeves style and comfort

Most of the time people buy welding sleeves for style and how good it would look on them. Style comes after you get to know the right measurement and the right material for what you do.

In choosing, you need to consider comfort and functionality. This would mean answering a few questions like, “Would the style get in the way of how I work?,” “Is this easy to wear?,” or “Would this fall off while I work?”

welding sleeves

Welding sleeves come in a wide array of styles. There are those that are just worn and secured by adjustable elastic, those that have a thumb cutout that covers the hand partially, those that fit like compression sleeves and some that are adjustable by cuffs and snaps. There are also welding sleeves that have a cooling design that keeps your arms cool and dry so you can work longer and harder.

welding sleeves
Get the Waylander Welding sleeves seen on this photo on Amazon

Whatever style you choose, you need to make sure it all works together to give maximum comfort, functionality, and protection.

These three factors to consider in choosing the best welding sleeves serves as a complete buying guide for those who are out in the market to buy one for themselves. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced welder, having a pair of welding sleeves is a great addition to your list of protective clothing knowing that you have that alternative means of protection anytime. Make sure you read more on welding clothing and protective equipment. 

welding sleeves
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How to Choose the right Welding Jacket

welding jacket

How to Choose the right Welding Jacket

welding jacket

Choosing the right welding jacket is a skill you must have as a welder. Your work ranges from high end heavy industrial welding down to simple lightweight metal fabrication. With that comes different types of welding jackets to choose from. Here we give you a complete guide on how to choose the right welding jacket specifically for your job.

For whatever work you do, you need to have the right welding clothing and protective equipment. It’s not an option, it’s a need.

welding jacket

What are welding jackets used for?

Welding jackets are designed to give full protection from the neck down to the waist and also to the shoulder down to the arms against burns from heat, sparks, and weld splatter. It also protects your skin from the intense UV and IR radiation from a welding arc which increases the risk of skin cancer.  While welding jackets are primarily for welding, of course, it can also be used when oxy-fuel cutting or heavy grinding.

Choosing the right welding jacket for the job

What is the best type of welding jacket?

The primary features of a welding jacket are pretty basic. It needs to be durable, fire-resistant, can provide thermal insulation, electrical resistance, and heat protection. Most importantly, it needs to be made out of high-quality materials and is comfortable and easy to use.  The quality of materials used for a welding jacket directly impacts the durability and price of a welding jacket. So if you go for a cheap one, you get less durability and quality. While there are different types of welding jackets, some are better than others and it depends on the quality of the material and the kind of job you do.

Types of Welding Jackets

Welding jackets are classified according to materials used in their manufacturing. There are cotton welding jackets, leather welding jackets, and nylon/kevlar welding jackets. Take a look at how they’re different and get to know which one fits the kinds of job you do.

Cotton welding jacket

If you work in warmer climates or you want a welding jacket for summer, and you perform medium or light work, the cotton welding jacket is best for you. Cotton itself is flammable but these are altered chemically to make it fire-resistant. These are lightweight, flexible, and breathable and are the most affordable type of welding jacket in the market.

Leather welding jacket

Leather welding jackets are for those who work in cooler climates and engage in heavy-weight welding work like high-end MIG and TIG welding. Leather is the most durable material when it comes to welding jackets and is best known for its properties like thermal resistance and fire resistance. This immediately makes it the top choice welders who do heavy welding work. Leather welding jackets can either be top grain and split grain which have different tanning and cutting methods. Whichever you choose, you are sure to be free from skin irritations.

welding jacket

The best type of leather used in manufacturing welding jackets is cowhide. It is durable and strong and won’t crack easily like other leather types yet breathable and flexible. It is resistant to heat and punctures and moisture. This makes cowhide leather welding jackets a top choice.

welding jacket

Nylon/Kevlar welding jacket

Nylon is a synthetic fabric that is lightweight, stretchable yet strong. Kevlar is a heat-resistant strong synthetic fiber. The combination of both produces fine material that primarily prevents skin burns. It is suitable for all industrial and heavy-duty welding work as it is breathable and highly flexible making it a good choice for those who also work in warmer climates.

What is the best size for a welding jacket?

Choosing the right size for a welding jacket is essential. If you pick the wrong one, you end up feeling uncomfortable which would affect work performance. Before you go ahead and choose a size, make sure to measure the size of your chest by wrapping a measuring tape around the upper body. If your belly area is considerably bigger, then measure the stomach area.  It is important you don’t wrap the measuring tape too tight to your body. A little allowance is always better. A tip would be to take the measurement while you wear your regular work clothes.

Which is more important, welding jacket material or convenience and comfort?

While some would prefer welding jacket material over convenience and comfort, the fact of the matter is safety comes first. So, in choosing, you should go with the one that you’re comfortable with so you avoid the risk of danger. There are some manufacturers who give a balance to high-quality material and comfort in welding jackets and it is up to you to find one that fits your need and your want.  Welders around the world need maximum protection from head to toe since they work in a high-risk environment. Underestimating what welding jackets can do by wearing the wrong one can expose welders to unwanted injuries or accidents. So whether it’s welding, oxy-fuel cutting, or heavy grinding, it’s a must to choose the right welding jacket specific for your job.

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