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Eye protection has always been at the forefront of personal protective equipment (PPE). Whether in the garage or on the job site, safety glasses can save your vision—and possibly your life—if something goes awry. For most employers, price is the main consideration when it comes to PPE, because they’re buying in bulk. At the same time, the casual mechanic or DIYer also isn’t going to want to spend more than a few bucks on a product he’ll use only occasionally. So who wants to spend $15-$20 on a single pair of safety glasses?
Lots of folks. The truth is, options for eye protection these days are nearly endless. Price is always a factor, so the number of inexpensive safety glasses has grown exponentially. At the same time, options for more comfortable and stylish safety glasses have skyrocketed as well. The value that a professional mechanic (or his employer) places, and is willing to spend, on safety glasses is clearly different than what the average Joe is willing to plunk down.
In my time in the automotive industry, I’ve seen my fair share of safety glasses, fought with most of them, and have discovered some that make protecting your eyes a lot less frustrating and uncomfortable. In particular, Sellstrom XPS530 Safety Glasses take comfort and design to a whole new level. But do they sacrifice performance for style? We bought a pair for just under $15 at Lowes and put them to the test, to see if the contemporary design helps or hinders the safety factor.
Unboxing the Sellstrom XPS530 Safety Glasses
Looking at the package, these glasses don’t seem too out of the ordinary. But the moment they’re open and all the goodies fall out you know you have something special. These yellow and black glasses come with options for your wearing pleasure and a page of instructions to walk you through the features.
The glasses come with the typical arms with hinge points on either side of the lenses, but just behind each of those hinges are buttons that release the arms and allow you to attach an elastic strap instead. This strap, combined with the foam insert and slightly flexible frames, maximizes the seal around your eyes. The removable foam insert offers superior protection when needed and is easily removed when not.
Getting After It With the Sellstrom XPS530 Safety Glasses
- Good: The versatility of the glasses is unmatched and the comfort and affordability mean they should be at the top of your list for consideration.
- Bad: With the removable foam insert they tend to fog very easily, especially in the humid East Texas heat where I live and work.
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I decided to put these glasses through a test I’ve used for several other safety glasses with very interesting results. My son’s BB gun offers a small, fast-moving, and controlled projectile, so I shot the glasses in my backyard. In case you were wondering, no one was wearing the glasses when I aimed, although that might have been entertaining.
The glasses took a total of five shots in various places. One on each of the lenses, one of which ricocheted down towards the bottom of the frame leaving a slight deformation but in no way interrupting the function of the glasses. One shot hit dead center between the lenses, arguably the most vulnerable spot, with no damage to report.
The fourth and fifth shots were aimed at the joint where the solid earpieces or the elastic strap attached to the frame, but like the other shots, the glasses took it like a champ. The glasses are very similar to the popular men’s wraparound sunglasses with thick, sport-like frames, and because of the strength of those frames, they shrugged off the shrapnel attacks like a horse swats at a fly, annoyed but not hurt at all.
As impressive as the durability is, the glasses surprised me in the shop as well. I found myself wearing them all day, spending time under the rack and under the hood of different rigs. The rubber earpieces kept the glasses in place and although the rubber nose piece was comfortable it did position the glasses a little high for my liking. Whether I was changing the oil or lubing the chassis there was no worry of getting any dirt dropped or oil splashed in my eyes.
What’s Good About Sellstrom XPS530 Safety Glasses
Sellstrom SPS530s are strong, comfortable, stylish, and versatile safety glasses with functions above and beyond the day-to-day needs of the average technician. They offer many different ways to protect your eyes and at a price that doesn’t have to break the bank.
The lenses have a slight polarization so wearing them indoors or outside and transitioning from one to the other is not a problem. Another feature claimed on the website these glasses were purchased claims a 2.0X magnification but the pair I received have no magnification at all. Best of all, these lenses are tough as nails and should protect your eyes from all kinds of hazards, even flying debris and shards. In fact, the lenses meet US Military standard MIL-PRF-31013 requirements as well as ANSI Z87.1 2015 standards.
The foam eye socket insert is similar to the ones you’d find on motorcycling glasses. As tough as these lenses and frames are, they’d be a solid glasses option for bikers.
What’s Not About the Sellstrom XPS530 Safety Glasses
Between the comfort, the style, and the protection offered with the Sellstrom XPS530 safety glasses, it’s hard to find anything wrong here. If I had any complaint, it would be that the lenses tend to fog up in humid and hot environments. I found myself several times having to pull the glasses off to clean or wipe out the lenses.
The whole point of safety glasses is to protect your eyes. If you’re having to remove them every 20 minutes to wipe them off, you run the risk of getting something in your eye in the process. And, it’s annoying.
Our Verdict On the Sellstrom XPS530 Safety Glasses
If you are looking for a pair of safety glasses that do a lot of things well, offer loads of features, and instructions on how to use those features, then these are the glasses for you. They have a sturdy frame, they look great, and they are more comfortable than most safety glasses in this segment.
I’d love to see some other frame color options (all black, duh) but regardless, I highly recommend Sellstrom XPS530 Safety Glasses. From under the hood of your daily working through some regular maintenance, to cutting apart your rat rod project these glasses offer a competent, comfortable solution for eye protection.
FAQs About Safety Glasses
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!
Q. Why are safety glasses important in the workplace?
A. Wearing safety glasses can drastically reduce the risk of injury when working in areas where flying particles are a risk.
Q. Is wearing safety glasses all day bad for your eyes?
A. The short answer is no–wearing safety eyewear cannot damage your vision.
Q. What are OSHA-approved safety glasses?
A. OSHA-approved safety glasses must have markings specified by the American National Standards Institute's ANSI Z87. 1-2010 standard on both the lenses and frame.
Q. Is there such a thing as prescription safety glasses?
A. Yes, safety glasses are available in non-RX, RX, and non-RX fit-over-glasses variations. Prescription limitations may vary across certain styles of frames.
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