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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.
Lincoln Electric Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves
These sleeves are 21 inches long with elastic cuffs on both ends. They are made of 9-ounce, flame-resistant material.
- Comfortable to wear
- Fabric is breathable and lightweight
- They stay in place and don’t restrict movement
- They may be slightly short for people with long arms
- May roll down on smaller arms
Hobart Flame Retardant Cotton Welding Sleeves
These welding sleeves are 100 percent cotton and are 9.2 inches long. They're flame retardant and withstand sparks and splatter.
- Very affordable
- Lightweight and breathable material
- Snug, secure fit
- May not fit well on users with shorter arms
- May develop pinholes over a short period of time
Lincoln Electric Split Leather Welding Sleeves
These sleeves are 75-percent leather, and the other 25 percent is a 9-ounce flame retardant cotton material.
- Strong and protective
- High-quality materials
- Won’t slip or move while working
- Rip and tear resistant
- Elastic may wear out prematurely
- Bicep band may be a little small for some users
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 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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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