When I walked by my son welding on a trailer frame, he looked like he was struggling. So to help him out and show him how it’s done properly-I took over; however that didn’t last long because sparks burned through my lightweight shirt in seconds. This experience reinforced why it’s essential to wear a good welding shirt.
A quality welding shirt should be made from a heavy, durable flame-retardant material, have long sleeves, and a high-buttoned collar to protect against sparks, and if pockets exist, there should be flaps on them to keep out burning embers.
In this article, we discuss 10 of the best welding shirts on the market and provide some tips on choosing the right one for your needs. So whether you’re a professional welder or just starting out, read on for some helpful advice.
What Kind of Shirt Do I Need for Welding?
Welding can be dangerous if the proper safety gear is not worn. One of the essential pieces of safety gear for welders is a shirt. But what kind of shirt do you need for welding?
If you think you can stay cool wearing your shorts and an old t-shirt, think again! You must wear a special flame-resistant (FR) welding shirt to keep your body safe from welding hazards and burns.
Welding produces sparks, heat, and molten metal. These can burn your skin even through most clothing. That is why you need shirts made of 100% wool or cotton and treated with special chemicals to increase their natural flame resistance.
What to avoid
Never wear synthetic clothing made from nylon, polyester, rayon, etc., for welding. These are highly flammable and could even melt and stick to your skin.
What to choose
While 100% wool shirts are the best for welding, they are tough to find. Also, some people are allergic to wool. Wool also gets very hot and can make you sweat profusely. This leaves us with 100% cotton as the best material for welding attire.
Heavy materials like denim are also excellent for welding. You can also go for leather jackets or aprons since leather offers even better natural flame resistance.
These days, you get special FR or flame-retardant shirts that are extensively tested to meet standards for HRC2. HRC2 stands for Hazard Risk Category 2. HRC2 is a medium fire risk category that needs clothing to have an ARC rating. Arc-rated clothing is tested extensively to withstand electric arc and designated a number accordingly.
Here are some guidelines to follow when selecting a welding shirt:
- Choose a 100% cotton shirt with long sleeves and a long neck style to protect the arms and neck respectively.
- Make sure the shirt’s material is thick – this will prevent the sparks or embers from penetrating the fabric. Avoid thin materials as the welding rays could easily penetrate through, causing sunburn-like burns on the skin.
- Look for black or dark blue shirts if you work outdoors. Alternatively, select bright orange or yellow welding shirts that are clearly seen in low-light or dark conditions.
- If the shirts have front pockets, make sure they have flaps. This is important to prevent sparks from falling inside.
- Choose shirts with long shirttails that can be tucked inside the pants.
- Look for shirts that meet various industrial safety standards: NFPA2112, NFPA70E ASTM F1506, and CAT II.
Best Welding Shirts – 2022 Top 10 Picks
#1. Winner: BOCOMAL Welding Shirt
We chose this welding shirt from BOCOMAL as our winning entry since it has all the needed features for welding PPE. It is full-sleeved, made with 100% cotton, and comes with a collar to protect the neck area. BOCOMAL shirts also feature front pockets with flaps that prevent sparks from getting inside.
Here are some of its top features:
- 100% cotton with collar, long-sleeved design, button closure, and pockets with flaps.
- 6.25 ounces – lightweight
- Available in 9 colors and 7 sizes from medium to 5X-L
- Pre-washed fabric for a natural wrinkle-free appearance
- Meets various industry-laid safety standards: ARC2, NFPA2112, NFPA70E ASTM F1506, and CAT II
- Flame retardant property lasts for over 100 washes
- Includes a swatch of fabric and extra buttons to cover up for damage by welding burns
- Ideal for hot humid weather
- Fits true to size
- Tend to wrinkle a lot after washing
How it compares
You will be buying several more of these shirts because they look stylish and protect you from weld burns. They meet various industry standards and are also affordable. BOCOMAL FR shirts are available in multiple colors. They are reasonably priced.
#2. Best Stylish Welding Shirts: Welding Shirt from Western Welder
Western Welder shirts are triple-stitched, so you get enhanced durability. They are also available in a wide range of attractive colors.
In addition to being protective, they also have a unique and stylish design. Their pearl-colored snaps and front and back western-shaped yokes look great while also offering protection at work.
- 8-ounce lightweight shirts
- Available in 16 colors and a wide range of sizes
- Strong triple stitched at each seam
- Perfect quality
- Buttons stay snapped in place
How it compares
Western Welder shirts are stylish and well-made – so if you want protection on light welding jobs and wish to look good while wearing them, this is the welding shirt to choose. Many welding instructors also wear these shirts! The pearl buttons are sure to fetch you compliments. On the downside, the shirt is not fire retardant.
#3. Best Budget Buy KONRECO Welding Shirt
KONRECO mid-weight shirt meets the ASTM F1506 and the NFPA 2112 (ASTM F1930) standards. It is also HRC2 compliant. KONRECO shirts are made with UL-certified garments – UL being one of the oldest safety certification companies.
- Classic western-style welding shirts
- Available in 8 colors and several sizes
- Arc Flash rating (ATPV) is 9.2cal / cm sq. for HRC2 compliance
- Made with lightweight fabric that meets various safety standards.
- Versatile shirts for welding, electrical work, etc.
- Allows greater arm mobility to provide a wider range of motion
- Soft and comfortable pre-washed fabric
- Snaps instead of buttons
- Great fit
- Material may be slightly thin for cold weather.
How it Compares
KONRECO lightweight shirts use ARC-rated, UL-certified fabric. They are excellent for industrial work, welding, and other jobs. KONRECO welding shirts come in various prints, including plaid designs. The price is also attractive.
#4. Best Premium: Lincoln Electric Comfortable Welding Shirt
Lincoln Electric FR welding shirts have a double layering at the shoulder, neck, and cuff. This ensures enhanced durability.
The FR material extinguishes flame or fires when exposed to welding sparks. Lincoln shirts also have a tailored fit for comfort and a stylish appearance.
- Made with lightweight breathable, and flame retardant cotton
- Two external chest pockets with flaps
- Multi-button sleeves for comfortable fitting
- Available in M to 3XL sizes
- Recommended for MIG, TIG, Stick, Flux-Core, Plasma Cutting, Oxyfuel Cutting
- Value for money
- Can be washed up to 50 times until it loses flame retardant property
- Expensive compared to other welding shirts
How it compares
This is an excellent welding shirt from a reputed brand. The flames do not stand a chance with this one! Its size is great, and the material is comfortable. This welding shirt is excellent if you don’t mind the slightly higher price.
#5. Best Buttonless: Carhartt Flame Resistant Pure Cotton Long-Sleeves Welding Shirt
Carhartt is known for its FR work gear. This great sweatshirt from the top-rated brand is built to meet NFPA 70 E and NFPA 2112 standards.
- Made with 6.75-ounce and 100% Flame Resistant jersey-knit cotton
- UL certified to meet NFPA 2112 and NFPA 70E compliant
- Also, has HRC 2 rating and the ATPV for the shirt is 8.9.
- Made with FastDry Technology for moisture wicking
- Fits well
- Shrinks after wash
How it compares
If you don’t like buttondown shirts, this is a great option. Carhartt is a reliable name in FR compliant work gear, so you can trust this shirt to meet your requirements. The FR compliance means you won’t be dealing with burns. The price is slightly on the higher side.
#6. Best Pre-Washed Fire-Retardant T-Shirt for Welding: Titicaca FR Shirt
Titicaca welding shirt is another great option for those looking for buttonless FR shirts. It is prewashed and made with 100% fire retardant cotton, especially recommended to industry personnel who often deal with flash fires.
- NFPA2112 certified and also meets NFPA70E CAT2 standards, features a label showing it is NFPA 2112
- Made with 7-ounce cotton that is 100% FR
- Available in 10 attractive colors – some with a raglan pattern, and 8 sizes from Small to 5 XL.
- Great for winters
- Value for money
- Size issues – most shirts were too long. The sleeves are also longer than average.
How it compares
Titicaca FR shirts are well-made and meet various industry standards. They are sure to protect against fires. Their sizes are slightly off but otherwise great shirts for welding.
#7. Best Unisex Leather Welding Jacket: LeaSeek Leather Welding Jacket for Men and Women
Think again if you think this unisex welding jacket is only for winters! LeaSeek has thoughtfully designed this work gear with an open-back design to keep welders cool on hot summer days. You can opt only to wear the sleeves-shoulder protection or attach the apron skirt for fuller protection.
Leaseek welding jacket is made with sturdy cowhide leather that offers 100% protection from flames and heat throughout its life. Unlike cotton, it does not lose this protective quality despite being washed.
- Heavy-duty cowhide split leather
- Sewed using Kevlar thread
- Open-back design
- Metal buttons
- Comfortable especially for larger individuals
- Value for money – heavy-duty leather protects against sparks and flames
- Buttons tend to unsnap easily
- Cleaning leather is cumbersome – you need to use saddle soap or special leather cleaning agents.
How it compares
If you don’t like shirts or sweatshirts but need flexible Flame protection, this leather jacket is a good choice. The great thing is that it does not lose its flame protection, unlike other FR shirts. It is an excellent option for summer and winter. The price is also reasonable.
#8. Best Denim Welding Shirt: RevCo Denim-Cotton Welding Shirt
RevCo denim FR welding shirt is recommended for light welding jobs and secondary protection. It meets the ASTM 1506 standard.
- Made with denim and cotton
- Long-sleeve XL-shirt
- Metal snaps for buttons
- Great price
- Moderate burn and flame protection
- No size choices
- Metal snaps aren’t good for electrical use
How it compares
If you want some variety in your welding attire, this denim shirt is a great choice. RevCo denim welding shirt also offers considerable flame resistance, and its price is also affordable.
#9. Best Versatile FR Shirt: Ur Shield Store welding & Electrician Shirt
Why limit a shirt only for welding when you can have a versatile shirt suitable for a wide variety of jobs? Ur Shield welding shirt is marked as FR and ideal for a range of working conditions with fire or electric hazards.
- Made from 8.1 oz. fire retardant cotton
- Performance tested
- Label states NFPA 2112 compliance
- FR for up to 50 washes
- Available in 4 colors and 6 sizes from S to 3 XL
- Soft and comfortable
- Cannot use fabric softener on the shirt – label says so – to maintain FR property.
How it compares
Whether you are a union ironworker or an electrician, the Ur Shield welding shirt is a great choice. It is long and can be tucked inside your pants. Despite several washes, you will be amazed at how soft it remains. Its price is also affordable.
#10. Best High-Visibility Welding Shirt: BOCOMAL FR Shirts High Visibility/Hi-Vis Flame Resistant/Fire Retardant Shirt
If you work in low-light conditions, then BOCOMAL FR shirts with visible straps are just what you need. The shirts are made of cotton and nylon and all parts – including the buttons – are FR. The bright reflective stripes are present on the front and back sides.
- Made with 7 ounces cotton and nylon twill
- 2-inch reflective yellow stripes for high visibility – back and front
- Pre-washed and pre-shrunk to maintain the wrinkle-free property
- FR lasts for 100 washes
- HRC2,Arc Rating Atpv 9.2 Calories/cm2 – NFPA 2112 compliance. Also, NFPA70E ASTM F1506 and CAT II certified!
- Durable fabric pockets with flaps
- Available in 4 patterns and 5 sizes
- Sleeves are too short on most people.
How it compares
This is a great welding shirt that is also highly visible, thanks to reflective yellow straps. It is well-made and washes well. The BOCOMAL brand is well-known for its range of FR products, and you can trust this shirt to protect you. It also remains FR for up to 100 washes. That is value for money!
Flame-Resistant Clothing: What You Need to Know
Flame-resistant clothing is a type of apparel designed to protect the wearer from heat, flames, and sparks. It is made of specialized materials that retard the spread of fire and can help prevent serious injuries.
The types of materials used in flame-resistant clothing vary but typically include fabrics like Nomex®, Kevlar®, or PBI®. These materials can withstand high temperatures without igniting, which can help protect the wearer from burns and other injuries.
Flame-resistant clothing is often worn by workers exposed to potential fires, such as firefighters, construction workers, and welders. However, it can also benefit anyone who wants an extra layer of protection against flames.
Flame-resistant clothing made of cotton and wool is typically treated with a special coating to enhance their natural ability heat resistant properties.
Flame-resistant clothing is available in a variety of styles and colors, so you can find something that fits your needs and looks great too. You can also choose between different levels of protection, depending on how much fire risk you face at work or elsewhere.
How Flame-Resistant Clothing Is Rated?
Flame-resistant clothing is rated according to its flammability resistance. The higher the rating, the more resistant the clothing is to flames. Here are the most common ratings:
● NFPA 2112: This standard rates clothing for protection against flash fires and radiant heat.
● ASTM F1506: This standard tests clothing for protection against electric arc flashes.
● HRC Level: Hazard Risk Category: This rating system measures a garment’s ability to protect against thermal hazards. There are four levels of protection, with level IV being the highest.
FAQs – What Kind of Shirts are Good for Welding?
Are denim shirts good for welding?
Yes, heavy shirts made of 100% denim are good for welding and can protect your skin from sparks and flash fires. A mixture of denim with fire-retardant cotton is also ideal for welders.
Are cotton shirts good for welding?
Yes, 100% cotton shirts naturally offer excellent protection against fire and electrical hazards. If the cotton is treated with Fire retardants, the shirt meets specific industry standards and continues offering FR benefits despite washes.
Why do welders use starch?
Welders use starch on their shirts to prevent hot embers from sticking to their clothing and igniting. Sparks and burning debris roll right off a heavily starched shirt.
Are flannel shirts good for welding?
No, don’t wear flannel shirts when welding. The fuzzy material catches fire too easily to make it a safe choice for welding. Chose a cotton shirt treated with a flame retardant chemical instead.
Conclusion – What Kind of Shirts are Good for Welding?
FR 100% cotton shirts with long sleeves and long shirttails are ideal for welding. You can also opt for denim or leather coveralls or jackets.
We recommend the BOCOMAL welding shirt as they meet various industry standards, including ARC2, NFPA2112, NFPA70E ASTM F1506, and CAT II. They are affordable and reasonably priced too.
Do check out our other recommendations as well.