Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, accounts for most of the gear a welder will have to buy during their hobby/profession. Everyone knows they need a mask, welding lenses, and gloves at least. A jacket is usually the next item on the list, as it covers the bulk of the body.
But what about pants?
Welding pants are often overlooked, but they can be a super valuable piece of PPE. Besides keeping you protected, they’ll also save you having to frequently replace your regular clothing.
We decided to take a look into what was out there and which the best options were. If you’re thinking of getting some welding pants, hold out until you read this – you’ll save yourself some money.
Table of Contents
- 1 A Question From A Reader
- 2 Here’s a List of 5 Best Welding Pants
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Thoughts
A Question From A Reader
Eric, the short answer is “yes”.
The long answer is, well, read the article.
Here’s what you need to consider when looking at welding PPE – and why welding pants are an emphatic “yes” from us:
- Clothing should be made from heavyweight, tightly woven, 100% wool or cotton. This will offer protection from UV radiation, hot metal, sparks, and open flames.
- Do not wear clothing made from synthetic or synthetic blends. These will burn and harm you.
- Pant legs cannot feature cuffs, as these can catch sparks. They should cover the tops of the boots.
- Repair all frayed edges, tears or holes in clothing.
Wear layers of clothing, but try not to overdress. Overdressing leads to sweating, which can lead to rapid heat loss in cold weather.
So in order to keep readers as safe as possible, I set out to find the 5 best sets of welding pants on the market. After a week or so of research, I narrowed my list down to the best of the best. But first, as always, my selection criteria.
How I Chose These Items
Brand: A recognizable, reputable brand is always going to draw my attention. If I know a brand has a solid reputation for safety and quality, I’m going to bump it up to my list of considerations. That’s not to say a name brand gets a free pass to the top spots – but it’s usually a good starting point to indicate a quality item.
Reliability: You don’t want your pants falling apart at the seams – literally. A good, reliable set of welding pants is essential, or you’re just wasting your money. Speaking of –
Price: Pay too little and you risk poor quality. Pay too much and you waste your hard-earned money. I like to find a happy medium of paying for good quality, but also paying a reasonable amount.
Certification: You’ll see a lot of recurring certifications on these products. They usually start with NFPA, then a number. NFPA stands for the National Fire Protection Association. Their certification ensures PPE meets minimum safety and performance standards.
For example, NFPA 2112 ensures minimum protection and performance against flash fire. NFPA 2113 is in the same category but has slightly stricter standards. NFPA 70E is for electrical standards.
ATPV rating stands for Arc Thermal Protective Value and is how much energy the material can withstand and prevent burns from happening. The higher the ATPV rating, the more heat-resistant the clothing.
Basically, I wanted to make sure that the welding pants were meeting the minimum safety and performance requirements. Pants that passed higher standards were obviously more attractive than those which only passed the basic legal requirements.
Here’s a List of 5 Best Welding Pants
Caterpillar Men’s Flame Resistant Cargo Pants
As far as recognizability goes, Caterpillar is certainly up there as a reputable brand. These flame resistant cargo pants are 88% cotton and designed for a good range of mobility. You won’t have to worry about these bunching up or stretching too tight around the crotch and knees.
Being cargo pants, these pants have ample storage space for small items you want to keep on you while you work without carrying the welding tool bag around.
The zipper fly features an antistatic cover so you don’t zap yourself when using the bathroom, which is always appreciated.
NFPA 2112, NFPA 70E, HR/Arc2, ATPV value 9.5
Bulwark Men’s Flame Resistant Pants
While the pockets on the Caterpillar are welcome, they do pose something of a hazard with their ability to catch sparks. Bulwark’s designs are simple, with only side and back pockets with low profiles.
It’s certainly not necessary for work pants to be dressy, but it’s nice to see something so functional not look purely utilitarian.
HRC2, Arc Rating ATPV 11 calories/cm², NFPA 2112
Wrangler Men’s Flame Resistant Jeans
Eric, this is for you – welding jeans! These 100% cotton welding pants will look right at home alongside the rest of your jeans in your wardrobe.
These jeans are designed with mobility in mind. There’s ample room in the joints to move about, and the triple stitch seams will stay together for longer.
HRC2 apt 23.7 Cal; NFPA 2112 compliant
Revco 48SL Black Stallion Welding Split Leg Apron
Moving away from straight pants for our last two entries and onto aprons. These cover the legs and torso and feature a handy utility pocket on the front.
Where the Bulwark and Wrangler pants looked casual wear ready, these are about as utilitarian as they come.
The only thing I don’t like is that there’s no certification listed. Leather is well known as a heat resistant material, but without the specific certifications, it’s difficult to judge.
Creation Core Cowhide Welding Apron
Rounding out our list is another apron.
This one offers about as much protection to your front as a single item of clothing will offer short of being a full-body jumpsuit. From the chest to the top of your feet, this apron will keep you covered.
Again, no certification listed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best welding clothing brands?
Best brands are Bulwark and Wrangler. Caterpillar is also great; all three are reliable and reputable brands, but I personally like the design of Bulwark and Wrangler. I also worry with cargo pants about having too many places to catch sparks; I like to keep things streamlined.
That said, they all meet or exceed the safety requirements, and their manufacture quality is excellent. They’re all reliable brands I’d happily wear.
Which are the cheapest welding pants?
As I said in the criteria section, I was kind of hesitant to suggest the cheapest pants. You often get what you pay for – which, if you’re not paying much, means you’re not getting much.
That said, I did find that the cheapest pair on the market was also a great one! I was pleasantly surprised. These Wrangler pants were the cheapest flame-resistant welding pants I could find. They’re not terribly cheap, either, still in the $50 range, which means you’re paying for a decent base level of quality.
And they’re Wrangler, a brand I trust. All in all, quite a good buy.
What material must be used for welding pants?
Welding pants must be flame-resistant (FR), arc-resistant (AR), and meet certain safety certification. Synthetic fibers are not a good idea, as they usually have lower melting points and can burn quite fiercely. They’re susceptible to burning wearers. 100% cotton is the go-to material of choice, although leather is also acceptable.
Welding pant material must pass the NFPA 2112 certification at a minimum. Their ATPV rating must meet the standard for the category of work being performed. Most welding work is classified as Cat 1 or Cat 2, and so an ATPV rating of around 5-9 at least is ideal.
How can you clean welding pants?
This depends on the type of pants you buy.
The leather should be hand washed in warm water and air-dried. It’s best to not leave them out in damp conditions or they are susceptible to growing mold. It’s important to note that the flame-resistant properties of some pants will be lessened over time due to washing, so follow the care instructions on the pants precisely.
For example, the Wrangler pants I mentioned are machine washable. You can just put them into the washing machine like any other clothes. In fact, most of the pants listed are machine washable and require no special cleaning instructions.
Welding pants are a must for the hobbyist and professional alike. They provide superior protection and utility over your regular pants, and won’t burst into flames and melt your skin. Using the above list, you’re sure to find just the right pair for you, at a price point that suits you.