Construction work and physical labor jobs can be extremely hazardous. This is why safety equipment exists: namely, face shields that can be attached to hard hats. These face shields are intended to cover the user’s face in dangerous environments, such as when grinding or cutting. They can be attached to hard hats to make sure you keep both your face and head safe. This article will discuss what are the best face shields for hard hats.
Types of Face Shields for Hard Hats
There are various types of face shields for hard hats. They all work pretty similarly: a harness is used to hold a face shield in front of your face, protecting you from hazards. However, these face shields vary in how much of the face they cover and the materials they are made of. The following are the most common materials:
Mesh: This material is ideal for humid environments where ventilation is needed. However, it isn’t a solid shield for your face, so chemicals could splash through. Not suitable for impact protection.
Acetate: A material that is very resistant to scratches and chemicals, but is more difficult to see through. Also not impact resistant.
Propionate: Very resistant against chemicals, but generally not suitable to impacts.
Polycarbonate: The most well-rounded material, with decent protection against everything. It can also be coated with special materials to specialize it towards certain resistances, like chemicals or UV rays. Otherwise polycarbonate is not very chemical resistant.
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
This helmet is our top pick as the best face shield for a hard hat from this article. It comes with a lot more than just a face shield, such as the hard hat itself and ear muffs. It also comes with two interchangeable face shields, a typical plastic one and a mesh one, to use in different scenarios. It’s very affordable considering all of the different features it offers, and the head-strap can be adjusted easily to fit different sized heads. Considering the low price, vast array of extra features and ANSI protection certifications, it is our number 1 pick.
- Has two face shields for different tasks
- Includes ear muffs and hard hat
- Very affordable price
- ANSI Certified
- Reasonably sturdy, but not the absolute highest quality
Face Shields for Hard Hats – Buyer’s Guide
This guide will cover the many factors you need to consider when shopping for a face shield, including your personal needs and the types of tasks you need a face shield for.
What are Face Shields for Hard Hats?
Face shields for hard hats are panes of various materials that are held in front of your face by a head apparatus. This apparatus can be worn under a hard hat or on top of it. The face shield itself can be made of various materials, with some being better suited for protection against different hazards. Some are suited for protection against chemical splashes, while others resist severe impact, and some are just there to stop sparks from flying into your eyes.
What are the Types of Face Shield Materials?
There are four main types of materials used in face masks; mesh, acetate, propionate and polycarbonate. These four materials have different strengths and weaknesses.
Mesh: A metal mesh face shield for a hard hat is made of thinly crossed metal wires. The mesh lets air get through, increasing breathability. However, that’s the extent of wire mesh’s advantages. Being a porous surface, it can’t protect from chemical splashes. Moreover, while the mesh is strong enough to protect from small debris, it wouldn’t be enough from a high-speed projectile, so if fast-flying objects are a danger, mesh is not the right choice.
Acetate: The main purpose of acetate is to protect the user from chemicals. It is very resistant to chemical damage, such as acid or other corrosive liquids, and it is also quite resistant to scratches. However, it is not suited to heavy duty environments where debris can be flung at high speeds, as it is not particularly impact resistant. Moreover, acetate is not the clearest material, and is more difficult to see through than other materials.
Propionate: Propionate is specialized solely for protection against chemicals, and nothing else. It’s the type of face shield you would wear in a lab environment, but it would be unsuitable for any work environment that requires impact resistance. It could technically protect you against sparks or a lightly thrown pebble, but one of the other materials would be a better choice.
Polycarbonate: The most common face shield material, polycarbonate is best suited for impact resistance. If there’s a danger of your eye being poked out at work, polycarbonate is the way to go. It’s also heat resistant, so it’s a good material for a hard hat face shield for blowtorching. However, polycarbonate face shields come with many types of coatings that can increase their resistance to different hazards, like chemicals or UV rays.
What Type of Face Shield do you Need?
The face shield you need depends on the type of work you are doing with it. In a lab environment, propionate with its specialized chemical protection is the best choice. But in an environment where high speed debris is a danger, polycarbonate is the best choice.
As for acetate and mesh, these materials fall somewhere in-between. Mesh can protect against flying debris, but only somewhat. It’s useful for heavy duty forestry tasks, being breathable and sturdy enough for flung pebbles and wood chips. Acetate is not as chemical resistant as propionate, but is serviceable and scratch resistant. But it can be a little hard to see through isn’t the best choice for jobs that require high visibility. Ultimately, you’ll likely need polycarbonate or propionate, but the other two materials have their niche as well.
Also keep in mind what type of hard hat you have. A face shield for a full brim hard hat may not fit other types of hard hats.
The Best Face Shields for Hard Hats Reviews
This section will cover the best products available on the market right now in some detail. If you’re short on time and would like a concise list of the products and their pros and cons, please check the end of the article.
The top best product [hide]
Very affordable option, compared to buying a hard hat with a face shield
Can mount many face shields of many different brands
Might require some DIY modifications to comfortable fit some hard hats
Improved breathability for the helmet
Easily adjustable to fit different head sizes
Comes with ear muffs for noise protection
Assembly instructions aren’t the clearest
Face shield can protect against impacts and some splash hazards
Easily adjustable to different head widths
Includes ear muffs and hard hat
Very affordable price
Polycarbonate and acetate material combo is very durable
Both ANSI and CSA certified for safety
Is just a harness for a face shield: a hard hat is not included
Is extremely clear and easy to see through
A cheap way to replace damaged or old face shields
May require some DIY modifications to fit some carriers
Tough and durable construction well-suited to forestry hazards
Easy to affix to intended carriers
Only designed to work with certain carriers
Can mount heavy duty welding face shields
Face Shields for Hard Hats FAQ
Does this Product fit my Helmet?
Does this Product Protect against...?
Can the Helmet be Adjusted to my Head Size?
Does the Product have Replacement Parts?
Why Can’t I see through my Shield?
TR Industrial Forestry Hard Hat with Ear Muffs
We consider this item to be the best one mentioned in this article. The reason for this is simple: you get the most for your money. This product includes a hard hat, ear muffs, and two types of interchangeable face shields (mesh and polycarbonate) so it can be used for various dangerous tasks, not just forestry. Being available at a very reasonable price and being of a decent quality across the board, it’s the best choice when it comes to getting more for less.
The TR Industrial Forestry hat is the best overall choice when it comes to price and versatility, but other options may be more affordable or better suited for niche tasks like fireworks, grinding, etc. Be sure to take the intended use of your face shield into consideration and pick a product with a material suited for the job: mesh for forestry, polycarbonate for heavy duty, propionate for chemicals and acetate as a middle option. Always check the specifications of the product you are purchasing to see if it meets your needs.