Reviews

The Best Welding Sleeves (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Get the job done safely with a pair of welding sleeves

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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON January 25, 2021

Whether you’re new to welding or a pro, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind: protection. Unless you want burns, scarring, and other severe damage caused by your welding work, you must wear protective gear every time you operate your welder. One of the best pieces of protection you can wear is a set of welding sleeves. Designed to slide over your arms and cover you from the biceps down to the wrists, welding sleeves are made out of material that can protect against heat, flames, and potential burns. And they’re available in many different specialty materials. You can discover some of the best welding sleeves with some of the best protection below.

Best Overall
Lincoln Electric Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves
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Summary
Summary

These sleeves are 21 inches long with elastic cuffs on both ends. They are made of 9-ounce, flame-resistant material.

Pros
Pros
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Fabric is breathable and lightweight
  • They stay in place and don’t restrict movement
Cons
Cons
  • They may be slightly short for people with long arms
  • May roll down on smaller arms
Best Overall
Lincoln Electric Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves
Best Value
Hobart Flame Retardant Cotton Welding Sleeves
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Summary
Summary

These welding sleeves are 100 percent cotton and are 9.2 inches long. They're flame retardant and withstand sparks and splatter.

Pros
Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight and breathable material
  • Snug, secure fit
Cons
Cons
  • May not fit well on users with shorter arms
  • May develop pinholes over a short period of time
Best Value
Hobart Flame Retardant Cotton Welding Sleeves
Honorable Mention
Lincoln Electric Split Leather Welding Sleeves
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Summary
Summary

These sleeves are 75-percent leather, and the other 25 percent is a 9-ounce flame retardant cotton material.

Pros
Pros
  • Strong and protective
  • High-quality materials
  • Won’t slip or move while working
  • Rip and tear resistant
Cons
Cons
  • Elastic may wear out prematurely
  • Bicep band may be a little small for some users
Honorable Mention
Lincoln Electric Split Leather Welding Sleeves
Worker With Welding Sleeves
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Benefits of Welding Sleeves

  • Provide protection. Whether you weld regularly or just occasionally, you need to wear protective gear that prevents serious injuries, including burns, and welding sleeves are a good way to safeguard your arms.
  • Easy to use. Welding sleeves easily slide over your arms and cover your wrists, forearms, and biceps. They typically have elastic and are adjustable to accommodate the size of your limbs.
  • Versatile. People use welding gloves and welding sleeves for various purposes, from gardening to woodworking and grilling. They're a good investment because you can wear them for a wide range of activities.

Types of Welding Sleeves

Leather

Leather is an excellent material for welding sleeves because it's fire-resistant, very strong, and resists cuts and tears. However, it is not a very breathable material and can get very warm, particularly if you're working in a hot environment. Pigskin and elkskin are very flexible and tough, while cowhide and horsehide are thick but stiffer. Goatskin and sheepskin are soft and flexible but not as durable.

Cotton and Other Fabrics

When adequately treated, canvas, cotton, and denim provide a certain amount of fire resistance. These materials are not quite as rugged as leather, though, and they are more susceptible to developing holes caused by sparks and splatter. However, they are more breathable, lighter weight, and aren't as hot to wear. They're best for light-duty work.

Kevlar

Non-traditionalists may opt for Kevlar sleeves, which are knitted or woven to provide maximum protection. This type of material is designed to withstand very high temperatures, sparks, and splatter. It's also resistant to cuts. Some types of welding clothing feature Kevlar in the liner for added protection.

Top Brands

Lincoln Electric

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., which was founded in 1895, is based in Euclid, Ohio, and produces welding equipment, consumables, plasma, and related accessories. Lincoln Electric also provides a comprehensive welding training program for those looking to get into the welding industry. 

US Forge

US Forge and its parent company, Messer World, has over 100 years of experience in the welding industry. The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based company was designed with the DIYer in mind and produces high-quality welding products, such as welding accessories, safety products, abrasives, and more.

Miller

Miller Electric Mfg. LLC, is headquartered in Appleton, Wis., and started out as a one-person operation in 1929. The company is the largest manufacturer of arc welding products. We recommend checking out its Miller Combo Sleeves

Hobart

Hobart Welding Products, which is also based in Appleton, Wisconsin, has been making welding equipment since 1917. It produces welding sleeves as well as auto-darkening helmets, tools, and more. 

Welding Sleeve Pricing

  • Under $10: Some types of welding sleeves are very inexpensive, but you typically get what you pay for. These products are generally cotton or non-leather material and designed for light-duty use. They may not have a long lifespan and can develop pinholes much easier than more heavy-duty options.
  • $20 and up: If you want a more durable pair of welding sleeves, expect to pay at least $20, if not a bit more. You can find some split leather options at the lower end, and more premium leather options will be a little more expensive. While pricier, they will also be more durable and long-lasting and designed for heavier duty tasks.

Key Features

Flame Resistant

Not just any fabric will do when it comes to welding sleeves—you need a specifically designed material to repel sparks and splatter generated from welding metal. Look for sleeves that are flame resistant and have a high heat tolerance, so they provide the most protection.

Elastic Band

People have different sized arms, so it's vital to choose a pair of welding sleeves that fits properly. Some options are available in several different sizes, and many come with elastic bands, which makes them adjustable. Just make sure the elastic is strong enough to stay in place, otherwise, the sleeve will slide down, and you'll constantly be adjusting it, which can be quite inconvenient when you're in the middle of a task.

Thumb Notch

Some types of welding sleeves have a thumb hole that is designed to cover parts of your hand. You may find this type of feature on Kevlar sleeves, but it's less common on leather and cotton products. If you don't have a thumb notch, you can always wear a pair of work gloves for protection.

Other Considerations

  • Thicker leather material for enhanced protection. When it comes to the material, the type of welding you do can make a difference. For example, if you do overhead MIG or TIG welding, it's better to choose welding sleeves made with thicker materials, such as leather. Cowhide will hold up better and prevent penetration when you do overhead work.
  • Attachment methods. When shopping for welding sleeves, check to see if it has snaps, stretch elastic, etc. Look at what the product uses on the wrists and upper arm area. Also, if it has cape-style sleeves, they often feature a collar, which should be tall, upright, and adjustable, similar to a welding jacket.
  • Comfort. While the design of welding sleeves is pretty basic and similar across the board, some brands are more comfortable than others. For example, if you plan on welding in a hot environment, you may not want a pair of extra thick sleeves as they will make you sweat and feel quite uncomfortable. Also, check to see if they’re breathable.
  • Color. The color of a pair of welding sleeves matters not because of style purposes but because it can make your supplies easier to locate. If, for example, you work in a shop with several other people, you may want to distinguish your equipment by purchasing it in a particular color or design.

Best Welding Sleeves Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Lincoln Electric Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves

These welding sleeves are comfortable to wear, made out of breathable and lightweight fabric that won’t weigh you down, and created to keep you safe. Each pair of welding sleeves will protect your arms from welding spatter and high levels of heat, thanks to their 9-ounce flame-resistant material. The sleeves measure 21 inches long and feature elastic cuffs at both ends to keep them in place while you move around. You’ll still be able to work freely with these welding sleeves. They won’t add weight that slows you down, and they won’t restrict your movement — but they will protect you from potential harm.


While these welding sleeves are an overall solid option, they may be slightly short for people with long arms. On the flip side, if you have smaller arms, they may roll down.

Best Value
Hobart Flame Retardant Cotton Welding Sleeves

These affordably priced welding sleeves are tough enough to withstand heat, flames, and more while you use a welder — and they can keep you safe without requiring you to spend much. Made out of 100 percent cotton, these sleeves are lightweight and perfectly breathable. They’re able to withstand sparks and spatter, and they’re also flame retardant. A good alternative to a full welder’s smock, these sleeves offer plenty of room and elastic on each end to provide a snug, secure fit. As a one size fits all solution, these welding sleeves offer affordable protection for everyone.


Keep in mind that sparks may be able to penetrate the cotton material of these sleeves. Also, the sleeves may develop pinholes quicker than other models causing you to replace them altogether.

Best Premium
Lincoln Electric Split Leather Welding Sleeves

These sleeves are made to be incredibly strong and protective, thanks to high-quality materials and construction. Each pair of these welding sleeves is made of 75 percent leather. The lower and middle portions of each sleeve feature black leather, which is heat-resistant and protects against welding spatter and sparks. The other 25 percent of the sleeves — the upper portion — is made out of 9-ounce flame retardant cotton material. Elastic closures at both ends keep out debris and lock in protection so the sleeves won’t move or slip while you work. These premium welding sleeves are even sewn with high-strength thread to protect against rips and tears. 


A few things to keep in mind are that the elastic may wear out prematurely, and the bicep band may be a little small for some users. If these are major issues for you, you may want to choose another option.

Best Leather
QeeLink Leather Welding Work Sleeves

If you want high-quality material that can look good while it keeps you protected, then a pair of QeeLink Leather Welding Work Sleeves is the perfect option. These welding sleeves are made out of thick, real split cowhide leather with an interior layer of cotton for comfort. A unique double-layer design increases the protection and durability of these sleeves, and the seams are stitched with strong, heat-resistant Kevlar thread. These welding sleeves are soft to the touch, but they offer excellent protection while you work. 


They’re both heat-resistant and flame resistant, able to keep your arms safe from welding spatter and heat. The leather is even spark-proof. The sleeves attach with an adjustable Velcro fastener for a perfect, comfortable fit.

Best for Easy Movement
Tillman Leather Goatskin & Cotton Welding Sleeves

If you need protective welding gear that allows you total freedom of movement, you’ll want to consider a pair of Tillman Leather Goatskin & Cotton Welding Sleeves. These sleeves don’t skimp on protection for your skin or comfort. Made out of top-grain goatskin leather that stretches from the wrist to the upper arm, you’ll be covered against sparks, spatter, and heat. The welding sleeves are slim and lightweight, ensuring you don’t feel bulky or weighed down while you work. 


On the uppermost part of the sleeves, 9-ounce cotton in Royal Blue keeps you protected. The seams of the sleeves are tied together with Kevlar thread for increased strength. You’ll have no problem feeling comfortable and free while you give these welding sleeves a try.

Honorable Mention
Tillman 23

The Tillman 23" Green Welding Sleeves are made of 9-ounce cotton fabric and are 23 inches long. The material is flame retardant, washable, and includes elastic at both ends for a better fit. These sleeves are designed to protect the user's arms from unexpected flame exposure, sparks, and light-duty welding. While these sleeves may not be as good as a leather option, they're a great option for the price. They work as described and provide added protection for activities such as low hydrogen rod welding. 


However, there have been some complaints that the sleeves tend to slide down despite the elastic, requiring the user to adjust them frequently. Also, they're only designed for light-duty welding, so they are not a good option if you plan on doing heavy-duty work.

Honorable Mention
 EULANGDE Premium Split Welders Heat Resistant Leather Cape Sleeve

This product is a welding cape with sleeves that is abrasion and heat resistant and designed to protect the wearer from sparks and splatter. Made of high-quality cowhide leather, it is comfortable and features storage pockets on the sleeves. It has adjustable snaps on the wrists and collar, the seams are made with Kevlar thread for added heat resistance, and there are riveted seams for long-lasting wear. You can wear this option for gas welding, torch work, and other tasks, including automotive assembly, construction, and woodworking. 


While it's available in several sizes, there's no size small, so it may be a little wide on some individuals' shoulders. There have also been some complaints that the buttons easily break.

Honorable Mention
Waylander Split Leather Welding Sleeves

The Waylander Split Leather Welding Sleeves are 21 inches long. These fire-resistant sleeves are flexible, comfortable, and made to protect against sparks and splatter. The sleeves have elastic armbands and bicep Velcro closures for a better fit. The cuffs are also elastic to ensure the wrist opening is snug, so sparks and debris don't penetrate. The premium cow leather is stitched together with Kevlar, which has a high heat tolerance. In addition to welding, you can wear these sleeves for grilling, gardening, and woodworking. 


The biggest drawback with this product is that it only comes in one size. They are only available in extra-large, so make sure they're the right fit before making a purchase. If you have smaller arms, they may not fit properly, slide down, and be a hassle to use.

Honorable Mention
ZaoProteks Leather Heat Resistant Welding Sleeves

The ZaoProteks Leather Heat Resistant Welding Sleeves are 17 inches long and are made with pure cowhide leather. The double stitching helps with abrasion resistance, while the flexible design and elastic cuffs allow the user to operate equipment more efficiently. Designed to protect your arms from flames, high heat, sparks, sharp edges, steam, etc., these sleeves are ideal for welding, metal casting, furnace melting, and more. People also use these sleeves for manufacturing, refining, and other activities. They're nice and tight but aren't uncomfortable, and they stay up well on your arms. 


One issue is that they're quite thick, so they will feel warm in hot weather. Some users also complain that they're a little short at 17 inches, while some competitor brands average 21 inches long.

Tips

  • It's essential to cover up all parts of your body when you're welding because sparks and splatter can burn you, and the arc rays cause radiation.
  • To protect your hands from flames and radiation, wear flame-resistant gloves. Look for pairs with insulated linings and gauntlet cuffs for the most protection.
  • Wear a welding apron or welding jacket for added protection. Do not roll up your sleeves or pants as sparks can get caught in these areas. Also, make sure your clothing is made of heavy cotton, leather, or wool.

FAQs

Q: Which sleeve material is best for welding?

Look for sleeves that are flame-resistant. Leather is one of the most protective options, but it's less breathable and can make you very hot in certain conditions.

Q: How long do welding sleeves last?

That depends on the type of material used in the sleeves, the kind of welding you do, and the frequency of welding you undertake. A high-quality pair of welding sleeves should last a long time provided that you care for them properly, and they match the type of work that you do.

Q: Do welding sleeves protect you from a fire?

Welding sleeves are flame resistant and designed to protect your arms from sparks and splatter.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best welding sleeves is  Lincoln Electric Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves

They're comfortable and lightweight and provide good protection against welding splatter. They aren't restrictive and allow you to move your arms freely. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Hobart Flame Retardant Cotton Welding Sleeves.