If you are welding, it can be a hot job and risky, because of stray sparks. You need fire resistance (FR) and you need to remember that welding has Hazard Risk Category (HRC) guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). So, what are the best pants for welding for Winter but also for Summer?

We previously did a detailed article on one kind of heat-based welding, which involved either torch guns or heated rods. There are many other kinds of even more intense forms of welding like MIG or TIG that require flame resistant pants, and others for welding safely. It’s important to be aware of NFPA, HRC and Arc Thermal Protective Value (APTV) ratings for clothes and apparel.

So, we’ve made a list of some of the best pants to wear while welding the brand for the money. After about 70 hours of research and testing, we found that the best welding pants are not necessarily the most popular or the highest price. We have recommended a range of different types and our top work pants for welding come in a range of costs. Animal rights and veganism are topical right now, so conventional solutions like leather welding chaps might not be for everyone. That’s why we’ll look at conventional pants to wear for welding. For a quick video that introduces kinds of arc welding try here.

What to look for in welding pants

best pants for welding
There are many different types of heat-based welding, including gas weldings, such as oxy-acetylene, oxy-hydrogen and air-acetylene and also arc weldings, such as MIG (Gas Metal Arc), TIG (Gas Tungsten Arc), carbon arc, plasma arc and metal arc. There is also point welding, using a heating element similar to a soldering iron.

At the low end, you have straightforward blowtorches, which need some light protection and at the other, Arc welding which needs very heavy-duty protection.

If you are working at the heavy-duty end, you will probably be wearing a special apron or chaps over your welding pants, for added protection. If you are just welding some thermoplastic with moderate heat, especially if you are just using a heating element, rather than a torch, then welding pants alone are usually OK. we already mentioned our plastic welding article is worth looking at to find out more.

Remember that normal pants might seem OK for this kind of low-intensity work, but it is really easy to accidentally scorch them, meaning you now need replacement pants, which is going to cost you. That’s why investing in some welding pants makes sense financially, plus of course, it is also very much safer.

It’s important to mention that welding pants don’t last forever, and they are not fire-proof. They are only fire-resistant up to a point, through special treatments with chemicals like chlorine and bromine added to cotton, or the use of some synthetic fire-resistant fabric mixed into cotton. Repeated scorches or spark burns added to repeated washing, will tend to degrade them over time. It is important to follow the washing instructions fully.

There is highly fire-resistant totally synthetic full-covering apparel too, like one made from Nomex (used by race car drivers) or Kevlar, which are sometimes used in welding gloves, but this is a pricey way of solving the issue and you probably don’t want to be walking around in Kevlar pants all day long. Unless you want to appear on the cover of a ‘mechanic romance’ paperback that is.

Most welding pants apparently are designed primarily with guys in mind, though in practice anyone can wear them if they can find a size that works.

What about other safety clothes when welding?

Good question. In the article, we already touched on some upper body clothes to go with the pants plus of course you should wear gloves and either safety glasses (for torchwork) or specialist welding goggles or a full-face welding helmet for arc welding.

Specifically, with arc welding, it’s not just about Arc Thermal Protective Value etc. it’s also about protecting your eyesight from the very bright point source of light that can be generated by the arc. So make sure you have that in mind.

Even for less demanding welding, you might want to invest in a flame-resistant hat, like a cap or a beanie, to protect your hair form.

Now, let’s look in detail at our full list


Top Rated Welding Work Pants

1. Bulwark Flame Resistant Classic Fit Jean

Best welding work pants for all-day use


Bulwark makes a nice pair of jeans that look – well – like a nice pair of jeans. What’s cool (literally) is that they also meet HRC2 and Arc Rating ATPV 21 calories/cm² and are NFPA 2112 Compliant.

So, what does that all mean in English? HRC means Hazard Risk Category (in the case to do with flammability) which goes from HRC 1 (basic protection) to HRC 4 (high-level protection, for example, using a multi-layer full flash suit)

HRC2 means the jeans are one step above HRC1 and offer a degree of protection.

Then if we look at the Arc rating APTV value, which is 21 calories per square centimeter, that means 21 calories are necessary to pass through the jeans fabric to cause – with a 50% probability – a serious second- or very serious third-degree burn. Note that third-degree burns go deeper than the skin surface and can be very serious indeed.

NFPA 2112 compliance is about resistance to flash burns, for example, if torch fuel accidentally ignited.
So that all means the jeans are going to protect your legs but only up to a point. For the amateur/home welder doing less intense welding, they will be “good enough” for light work.

Sizes range from 28” waist and 24” leg all the way up to 50” waist and 34-inch leg, so most folks should be covered.

Pros:
  • Fine for everyday use, as well as light welding.
Cons:
  • Higher cost than some other.

Verdict:
Flame resistant but also reasonable-looking, these are a little pricey but a definite candidate for the title of best pants to wear while welding.

2. Caterpillar Flame Resistant Cargo Pant

Best high spec welding pants


These cotton plus nylon Caterpillar pants get a respectable safety score. Like the Bulwarks, they are NFPA 2112, compliant and HRC2. Unlike the normal jeans design of the Bulwarks, the Caterpillars have many specialized pockets, for Cell Phone, Cargo, Ruler, Pencil etc. which is a better and more practical working design.

They will be a little more comfortable to wear in the summer too, with their looser design, 9 Oz fabric weight, and it has a carefully designed crotch and knee, which allow very free movement. There are a number of sizes and color choices too. You can check out a product video here.

Pros:
  • Lots of useful pockets, very comfortable to wear and good protection.
Cons:
  • Not that attractive for everyday use, unlike the Bulwarks

Verdict:
These caterpillar pants tick safety, practicality and comfort boxes when researching about the best welding pants.

3. Occunomix MIG201V-34 MigWear

Best low-cost welding pants


These budget pants only score HRC 1 but are cheap and effective enough welding pants for lighter work. Thie NFPA 70E Rating means that they are suited for electrical work where there is some amount of fire hazard, they are very lightweight, so that’s great for the summer too.

At an APTV related rating of 7.2 cal/cm2, the Occunomix pants are outclassed by the Bulwarks at 21 cal/cm2 – offering less protection – but the Bulwarks are far more expensive and at around $20 for these Occunomix pants, you get what you pay for.

Pros:
  • Cheap and lightweight. Great for the summer.
Cons:
  • This fabric offers limited protection and is more likely to rip.

Verdict:
Ok if you want something cheap, light and cool (temperature-wise). Otherwise, there are better choices in welding pants out there.

4. GazeChimp Cowhide Leather Safety Welding Jacket Long Pants

Best ‘second layer’ welding pants


Now for something a little different. Some people don’t want to buy welding pants per se – they just want to get something to cover existing clothes. That’s where this product form GazeChimp comes in. It is designed to be worn over normal pants (or shorts) plus a shirt or t-shirt and offers a lot of protection, at the expense of being pretty hot if you wear them over your existing clothes in Summer.

Pros:
  • Tough material and lots of leg protection plus comes with upper body protection too.
Cons:
  • Intended to be worn over other pants only. Hot in the Summer.

Verdict:
An alternative solution with a good degree of protection. It might be too hot for heavy summer welding and Vegans may be concerned about the choice of material.

5. Magid SparkGuard FR Pants

Best alternative budget welding pants


At the next step up from Occunomix, we have these Magid welding pants. Although they look similar to the Occunomix, at 12 Oz the fabric is much stronger and there are some neat design features like the leather reinforced front snap and a range of useful and practical pockets.

They are designed to meet ASTM D6413-99 flame resistance standards, which is a slightly older standard but still useful to know. There’s a range of optional 12 Oz matching flame resistant jackets if the design is your thing,

Pros:
  • Strong fabric, nice design touches, reasonable price.
Cons:
  • The Magid Spark Guard design (or maybe the color) might not be to everyone’s taste.

Verdict:
You’ll pay a bit more for the Magid pants but they are still reasonably priced. If they are your thing, it’s well worth thinking about the matching jacket.

6. ARIAT Men’s Flame Resistant M3 Loose Fit Jean

Best alternative jeans to Bulwark


Returning to the more fashion-conscious welding apparel category are these slightly pricey but good loose-fit Ariat flame-resistant jeans.

In terms of flame-resistant rating, they score well with an attribute of HRC2, and National Fire Protection Association ratings of NFPA20, and NFPA2112. What that means is that they look like jeans, and even have some fashion touches, like slight distressing and you can wear as jeans, but are reasonably flame-resistant as well.

Pros:
  • Smart looking and reasonable safety.
Cons:
  • Expensive and maybe too far in the fashion category for some people.

Verdict:
Do you really need to pay for ‘light hand sanding’ on your jeans for your welding? If your answer is ‘yes’ then these Ariat flame-resistant jeans just maybe are for you.

7. Carhartt Men’s Flame-Resistant Washed Duck Work Dungaree

Best flame-resistant dungarees


If the wild west cowboy look of flameproof jeans is not your thing, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachians or the Florida everglades are, then you might want to consider these durable but soft Carhartt dungarees, with a little more flavor of the South than the Old West.

Safety-wise these tick the NFPA 2112 Compliant, HRC2 and ATPV 15 boxes and just to prove the point they have a label with most of that sewn into the waistband. There are plenty of pockets to keep tools in too, one of which has a further ‘FR’ logo sewn on, just to prove the point.

They come in a range of colors but for that authentic Waltons/moonshine look, or for welding up a local NASCAR style-entry then you might want to get down with the brown.

Pros:
  • Thicker fabric which is hard-wearing but which is still comfortable.
Cons:
  • Unlikely that the Kardashians will buy many pairs.

Verdict:
If you were planning to make a guest welding appearance on Duck Dynasty, these Carhartt Dungarees could be for you.

Best Welding Pants

So, what are the best pants for welding? At the low-cost end, you are going to have less protection than those with better materials and better fire resistance. An HRC 2 rating is generally preferable to HRC 1.

The various jeans look good (and there are plenty more jeans we could have reviewed) but the tighter fitting jeans may be OK in the winter but not so pleasant to wear in the summer. Welding is a hot job.

We could also have looked at overall, dungarees, chaps, etc. in this review but we chose to go almost exclusively with pants that are multi-purpose and not really just for work.

So, what do you think are the best work pants for welding? Leave us some comments below and we’ll be happy to discuss what you think.

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8 Comments

    1. Happy to help. Here is a quick outline:

      Welding is used to join two pieces of thermoplastic to other thermoplastic or metal to metal. Mostly you have a third piece of material to feed in to make the weld secure. It’s tricky to join these all together and needs skills and practice to do well, which takes time to develop and learn. As we said earlier, if you are doing your welding as a hobby, you are likely to be doing either gas torch welding (for example for welding thermoplastics) or arc welding (for metal). There are other kinds of welding like laser welding but that’s not really what you are likely to be doing in your garage or workshop!.

      MIG Welding (Gas Metal Arc)
      MIG welding is probably the easiest kind of ARC welding for beginners to learn and is used a lot for working on cars, RV’s boats, bikes, ATVs etc. Maybe you plan to make some metal furniture or even do some sculpture. MIG welding is two different types of welding. The first kind of MIG welding uses wire and the second kind uses a flux core.

      With bare wire MIG welding, you are often using the MIG welding process to join relatively thin pieces of metal together. Flux core MIG welding is a little different as it can be used out of doors, as well as indoors, because it does not require you to have either a flow meter or also a gas supply. MIG welding is very often the welding method of choice for the beginner welder or the DIY enthusiast, who is doing a small amount of welding or simply doing welding as a hobby. Amateur or DIY welders who don’t have the money to spend (or don’t want to spend money until they are more experienced) choose MIG welding over TIG welding, as it does not so much rely on expensive equipment.

      Stick Welding (Arc)
      Stick welding is also called Arc welding, uses a stick electrode welding rod. It has been around for a long time (carbon arc welding started in the 19th Century) and really is doing it the old school way. Stick welding is quite a bit harder to really get good at than MIG welding, but on the other hand, you can buy a stick welding equipment rig for very little cost.

      TIG Welding (Gas Tungsten Arc)
      TIG welding is a lot trickier to do well than MIG. Two hands are used in TIG welding, one feeds a rod of welding material while the other hand carefully holds the TIG torch which creates both the heat and also the hot arc. TIG needs a lot of concentration and a very steady hand but, once you have got the hang of it, is quite versatile and can be used to weld most metals, including iron, steel, aluminum, nickel and copper alloys etc. It even works on titanium but that’s not really a DIY job.

      Plasma Arc Welding
      Plasma arc welding is a specialized precision technique for very thin metals. Unless you are hand-building a stealth fighter in your garage, you most likely won’t be using it.

      Electron and Laser Welding
      Electron beam and laser welding are even more specialized high energy welding techniques. Your local electric utility company might be a little puzzled by your bills if you plan to do this in your workshop.

      Gas Welding
      Metal Gas welding like oxy-acetylene is rarely used on metal anymore, other than in films about bank heists but torch based gas welding is used on thermoplastics by DIYer’s.

      Plastic welding is the process of softening two or more edges of thermoplastic plastic using heat (although solvent welding can also be used). Welding thermoplastics is done in three stages: surface preparation, applying heat and pressure, and finally cooling.

      Plastic welding is a very common DIY hobby and you can save a lot of money building and repairing domestic items yourself, without having to throw them away or getting them fixed professionally.

      You can torch weld objects in your home, furniture, household appliances, garden tools, car, RV, ATV, boat, canoe, kayak, garden furniture, refrigerator, water tank kids toys, etc..Plus it is fun.

  1. I find all the safety rating numbers and letters quite confusing, you have HRC, NFPA, ATPV, ASTM and then a lot of numbers. If I’m doing more serious work what should I go for?

    1. We agree it can be confusing, with all the different letters and numbers. The main one to look out for is HRC 2. That means you have a reasonable level of fire resistance.

      If you see something with HRC 1 it isn’t going to give that much protection. Of course, if you are doing really serious work, like a lot of high-temperature metal welding on an automobile, you should be looking at something like the GazeChimp apparel – or buying any of the other products we describe here but then adding leather chaps or something higher rated (HRC 3).

      The safety numbering is only a guide and you have to use your common sense and use your judgment. Welding can ruin normal clothing in a single session and burns can be very painful, so you really should make sure you have the right level of clothing based on your own assessment of the welding jobs you will be doing.

  2. In this article you will get to know about the best pants for welding. I liked and it is wonderful to know about so many things that are useful for all of us! You indeed have written it in a layman way so that anyone can understand and work accordingly. You have done a great job. Thanks a lot for this amazing blog!!

    1. Pretty sure! Why are welding jeans so important? Wearing them can protect you from fires, sparks and even flames. The best material for this type of work is cotton because it’s flame-resistant – meaning that if your clothes burn or catch fire then the chances are good they’ll survive in one piece! Leather also works well but don’t wear anything made out cowhide since animal hides contain cholesterol which collects dirt over time (yuck).

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