Best Laser Safety Glasses in 2024: Expert’s Buying Guide

worker wearing laser safety glasses

Laser safety glasses and goggles are specialized eyewear designed to protect your eyes from harmful laser radiation. These glasses are crucial for anyone working with or around lasers, as laser exposure can cause severe eye injuries, including permanent vision loss. Choosing the right laser safety gear is essential to ensure maximum protection and maintain visual clarity.

Laser Safety Goggles vs. Other Safety Goggles

Laser safety goggles are specifically engineered to filter out harmful laser wavelengths. They contain special filters that absorb or reflect laser light, preventing it from reaching the eyes. Unlike regular safety goggles, which protect against physical impacts or chemical splashes, laser safety goggles target specific laser wavelengths. While general safety goggles offer protection against debris, chemicals, and impact, laser safety goggles are designed to shield the eyes from laser radiation. This difference in scope is crucial, as lasers can penetrate and damage the eye's delicate tissues, which regular safety goggles cannot prevent.


Laser Safety Glasses Key Features to Consider

Choosing the best laser safety glasses involves several critical considerations to ensure maximum protection and comfort. Here's a detailed guide to help you make an informed decision:

1. Laser Type and Wavelength

Lasers emit light at specific wavelengths, measured in nanometers (nm), and laser safety glasses must match this wavelength to provide adequate protection. Understanding the laser's wavelength is essential for selecting the appropriate safety glasses. Below is a table outlining common laser types, their wavelengths, and applications:

 Laser Type Wavelength (nm) Applications
Diode Lasers 400-900 Pointers, barcode scanners, medical procedures
Nd:YAG Lasers 1,064 Welding, material processing, rangefinders
CO₂ Lasers 10,600 Engraving, cutting, material processing
HeNe Laser 632.8 Alignment, Metrology

2. Optical Density (OD) Rating

OD rating indicates the level of laser light attenuation (absorption) by the glasses. Higher OD ratings signify greater protection. Here's a general guideline for OD selection based on laser applications:

    • Low Power Lasers (Class II): OD 1-2
    • Medium-power lasers (Class III): OD 2-5
    • High-power lasers (Class IV): OD 5-7

3. Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

VLT refers to the amount of visible light that can pass through the lenses. Glasses with higher OD ratings tend to have lower VLT, potentially impacting visibility. Finding the right balance between OD and VLT is crucial for optimal safety and working conditions.

4. Filter Lenses

Filter lenses in laser safety glasses are designed to block or absorb specific wavelengths of laser light. There are three main types of filter lenses: glass, polycarbonate, and thin-film coated. Each type has unique features that cater to different needs and preferences.

    • Glass Filters: They are highly effective at blocking laser radiation across a broad range of wavelengths. Glass filters tend to have a high Optical Density (OD) and are often used in applications requiring maximum protection. However, they are heavier than other types and may be less comfortable for extended use.
    • Polycarbonate Filters: Polycarbonate filters are lightweight and impact-resistant, making them suitable for environments where physical protection is also a concern. They offer good optical clarity and can be molded into various shapes, providing versatility in design. While polycarbonate filters may not offer the same level of OD as glass filters, they are generally sufficient for low to medium-power laser applications.
    • Thin-Film Coated Filters: These coatings can be applied to glass or polycarbonate substrates, combining the benefits of both materials. Thin-film coated filters provide precise wavelength protection and high OD ratings while maintaining good visibility and lightweight design. They are ideal for high-power laser applications and offer a balance of protection, comfort, and optical clarity.

5. Frame Type

Laser safety glasses come in various frame types, including goggles, sports wrap, and spectacle designs. Each frame type offers different levels of protection and comfort. Goggles provide a secure fit with maximum coverage, ideal for environments with high laser exposure. Sports wrap frames offer a snug fit and are suitable for active movements. Spectacle designs resemble regular eyeglasses and are often preferred for their comfort and ease of use.

Frames should also be durable, lightweight, and designed to fit securely on the wearer’s face. Features like adjustable temples, cushioned nose pads, and side shields enhance comfort and protection. Frames should also be resistant to impact and chemicals to ensure longevity and durability in various working environments.

6. Colorimetry

Colorimetry refers to the color properties of the lenses and how they affect the perception of colors. Laser safety glasses are often tinted to filter out specific laser wavelengths. The tint color depends on the laser type and can impact how colors are perceived while wearing the glasses.

    • Green Lenses: Often used for Nd lasers and other IR lasers
    • Red or Orange Lenses: Typically used for blue and green lasers, such as HeNe and Argon lasers
    • Yellow Lenses: Used for UV lasers and some blue lasers
    • Blue Lenses: Effective against red lasers and certain infrared lasers
    • Clear Lenses: Generally used for broad-spectrum protection and low-power lasers

7. Prescription Glasses Options

There are two main options for individuals who require vision correction: laser safety glasses or goggles that can be worn over prescription glasses and those that can be customized with prescription lenses. Glasses that can be worn over prescription eyewear offer versatility and cost savings, while customized prescription laser safety glasses provide superior comfort and a streamlined design for frequent or long-term use.

8. CE Markings and Other Certifications

Look for certifications such as ANSI Z136.1-2022, ANSI Z87.1, and EN 207/208. These certifications indicate that the glasses have been tested and meet the required safety criteria for laser protection. CE marking is also important for compliance with European safety standards.

9. Laser+

Laser safety glasses that provide protection against both laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or X-ray radiation are highly specialized. These glasses must meet specific standards to ensure they can effectively block these additional forms of radiation. It’s crucial to verify that the glasses are rated for both laser and IPL or X-ray protection if your work involves these types of radiation.

10. Special Features

When selecting laser safety glasses, consider any special features that may be necessary for your specific applications. For instance, if you are working with intense UV lasers, look for glasses with specialized UV filters that provide high optical density protection against UV wavelengths. Some glasses also feature scratch-resistant and anti-fog coatings.


Best Laser Safety Glasses of 2024

Laser Vision F22 Frame with P5P17 Filter Laser Safety Glasses

The Laser Vision F22 Frame with P5P17 Filter is designed for CO₂, Diode, Nd:YAG, and other laser applications. These safety glasses feature a durable polycarbonate and ergonomic frame that ensures a comfortable fit for extended periods, with or without eyeglasses. The P5P17 filter provides 26% VLT with high optical density protection against CO₂ laser wavelengths (10600 nm). The lenses are made from high-quality materials, ensuring clear visibility while offering robust laser protection.

High-quality lenses with P5P17 filter
Broad industrial applications
CE marked

Lower VLT might impair visibility

Thor Labs LG14C Laser Safety Goggles

Thor Labs LG14C Laser Safety Goggles offer a modern goggle-style design with CE certified, ANSI Z136, and RoHS compliant laser radiation protection. These goggles feature high-impact topaz lenses and provide an optical density range suitable for medium-power lasers with 47% VLT. Thor Labs laser safety goggles are designed with an adjustable elastic strap and include a detachable insert for prescription lenses for maximum comfort.

Broad spectrum protection
Durable and impact-resistant lenses
Excellent Visible Light Transmission

Moderate OD range

Laser Safety Industries Diode Laser Safety Glasses

The Laser Safety Industries Dielectric Coated Laser Safety Glasses 315 are specifically designed for protection from diode lasers. These laser safety glasses feature dielectric-coated lenses that provide OD 5+@ 900-1000 nm and 78% VLT for high visibility. The frame is available in goggles, sports wrap, and spectacle design, each developed with lightweight and durable construction. Its filter specifications are also permanently engraved to ensure users always have access to crucial information about the protection level of their eyewear.

Dielectric-coated lenses
Lightweight and durable frames
Engraved filter specifications

Limited protection for higher-power laser systems

Phillips Safety CD2 IR5 Laser Safety Glasses 1375

Phillips Safety Laser Safety Glasses are ideal for welding, CO2, and IR laser applications. With a high-quality polycarbonate green welding lens filter, these laser safety glasses provide OD 7+ @10600nm and 2.5% VLT. These safety glasses for laser engraving have rectangular frames for a wider field of view. The frame is robust and designed for comfort, with bent temples and integrated side shields for maximum security and protection.

High OD rating
CE marked
Secure fit design

Not suitable to use in low-light conditions

Kentek HTM+™ Laser Safety Glasses KXL-150C

The Kentek HTM+™ Laser Safety Glasses are designed with Enhanced High Transmission Optical Grade Mineral Glass, making them a superior choice for various high-precision applications, including aerospace and metrology. These glasses feature yellow lenses that provide OD 7 @ 532nm, with a 30% VLT for clear visibility. The KXL frame is a large over-the-Rx spectacle with adjustable wire core temples, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit over prescription glasses.

Suitable for intense UV applications
Compliant with ANSI Z136, CE EN 207, CE EN 208
Versatile and comfortable fit

May feel bulky for some users

Boss Laser CO2 and Fiber Laser Safety Glasses

Boss Laser Fiber and CO2 Laser Safety Eyewear are designed for protection against both fiber and CO₂ lasers. These glasses feature high-performance green lenses that provide excellent optical density (OD 5+) across multiple wavelengths with 29% VLT. The frame is lightweight and ergonomic, with a universal fit and can be worn with prescription glasses.

High OD rating for dual protection
Lightweight and ergonomic design
Adequate VLT

Higher price point


OSHA Mandate for Laser Classes

laser safety glasses during welding

OSHA mandates specific safety requirements for the use of lasers in the workplace to protect employees from laser-related hazards. These requirements vary based on the classification of the laser, which is determined by the potential for causing biological damage.

Laser Classification System

Lasers are classified into several categories (Classes 1, 1M, 2, 2M, 3R, 3B, and 4) based on their power and potential risk. The classification system helps in identifying the appropriate safety measures needed to mitigate risks associated with each laser type. Here is a detailed look at each class and the corresponding OSHA mandates:

Laser Class Description OSHA Mandates
Class 1 Safe under all conditions of normal use. No risk of eye or skin injury. No specific safety measures are required. Regular maintenance and safety checks.
Class 1M Safe under normal conditions but hazardous if viewed with optical instruments. Warning labels indicating hazards with optical instruments. Maintenance to ensure safety.
Class 2 Emits visible light (400-700 nm). Safe for accidental exposure up to 0.25 seconds. Warning labels, training for safe use, restrict access to trained personnel only.
Class 2M

Similar to Class 2 but hazardous if viewed with optical aids. Warning signs and labels, training on risks with optical instruments, and control measures to restrict optical aids.
Class 3R Can cause eye injury if directly viewed for extended periods. Power up to 5 mW. Hazard warning labels, training on safe handling, limit exposure time, and restrict access to authorized personnel.
Class 3B Hazardous upon direct exposure to eyes. Power between 5 mW and 500 mW. Engineering controls (beam enclosures, interlocks), warning signs, safety glasses with appropriate OD, comprehensive training, and restricted access to authorized personnel only.
Class 4 High-power lasers. Can cause severe eye and skin injuries, capable of igniting materials. Power above 500 mW. Strict engineering controls, warning signs, mandatory high OD safety glasses, detailed training, restricted access, and Laser Safety Officer oversight.


ANSI Z136.1-2022 for Laser Safety Glasses

ANSI Z136.1-2022 provides comprehensive safety guidelines for the use, maintenance, and service of lasers. It includes laser classification, control measures, the role of a Laser Safety Officer (LSO), hazard evaluation, risk assessment, and medical surveillance. This standard ensures that organizations using lasers can effectively minimize risks and protect personnel from laser-related hazards, promoting a safe working environment and regulatory compliance.


FAQs About Laser Safety Glasses

Can sunglasses block lasers?

No, regular sunglasses are not designed to block laser radiation and do not provide adequate protection against laser exposure. Laser safety glasses are specifically engineered to filter out specific laser wavelengths and offer the necessary optical density to protect your eyes.

Do laser safety glasses work?

Yes, laser safety glasses are effective in protecting your eyes from harmful laser radiation. They are designed with specific filters that block or absorb laser light at designated wavelengths, providing a crucial barrier against potential eye injuries.

What is the eye safety limit for lasers?

The eye safety limit for lasers varies depending on the laser class. Generally, Class 1 lasers are considered safe under all conditions of normal use, while higher classes (Class 2, 3R, 3B, and 4) have progressively stricter safety limits and require appropriate protective measures to prevent eye injury.

Is optical density the same as absorbance?

Optical density (OD) and absorbance are related but not identical. Optical density measures the attenuation of light as it passes through a medium, while absorbance specifically refers to the amount of light absorbed by the medium. In the context of laser safety glasses, OD indicates the level of laser light attenuation.

What does optical density measure?

Optical density (OD) measures the effectiveness of a material, such as the lenses in laser safety glasses, in attenuating or blocking light at specific wavelengths. Higher OD values indicate greater attenuation and better protection against laser radiation.


TRADESAFE is a leader in providing premium industrial safety solutions, including Lockout Tagout Devices, Eyewash Stations, and more; all precision-engineered to meet and exceed rigorous safety standards.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.