Ever started a DIY project ready for action, only to flinch when a rogue splinter comes whizzing past your ear? The dangers lurking when doing DIY jobs are real - from flying debris, dust, and even splashes of chemicals can all threaten your precious eyesight.

That's where having the right eye protection comes in. But with terms like "safety glasses" and "safety goggles" thrown around, confusion can arise. Don't worry, DIY enthusiasts! My guide will clear up the mystery and help you choose the right shield for every project, ensuring your eyes stay safe and focused on achieving the job in hand.

Understanding Safety Glasses

Dewalt safety goggles

Safety glasses are protective eyewear designed to shield your eyes from hazards you may come across during DIY projects. They typically consist of the following key features:

  • Impact-Resistant Lenses - The core component of safety glasses are the lenses. These lenses are made from strong, impact-resistant materials like polycarbonate plastic. This ensures your eyes are protected from flying particles, dust particles, and small projectiles that could easily happen doing tasks like hammering, sawing, drilling, or using a range of power tools.
  • Side Shields - Unlike regular glasses, safety glasses have built-in side shields. These shields extend beyond the frame on both sides, preventing objects from entering your eyes from the side. This is particularly important for tasks where debris might fly at an angle, like grinding or using power tools in tight spaces.
  • Lightweight and Comfortable Frames - Safety glasses are designed for comfort during extended wear. The frames are typically made from lightweight materials like plastic or nylon, making them comfortable to wear for long periods without causing strain or pressure on your nose or ears.

Understanding Safety Goggles

DEWALT GOGGLE Concealer Clear Goggle

Safety goggles are a type of specialised eye protection designed to offer a complete seal around the eyes and the eye socket (orbital area). This comprehensive protection is achieved through key features:

  • Impact-Resistant Lenses - Similar to safety glasses, safety goggles typically are equipped with impact-resistant lenses. These lenses are built to withstand the force of flying debris, particles, or even small projectiles that may occur during power tool use, hammering, or working with other potentially hazardous materials.
  • Full eye and an Orbital Seal - Unlike safety glasses with side shields, safety goggles have a wraparound design that forms a tight seal around the entire eye socket. This prevents any dust, debris, splashes, or fumes from entering the eye area from any direction.
  • Indirect Ventilation - While offering a complete seal, safety goggles have an indirect ventilation system. This system allows for a controlled flow of air to prevent fogging on the lenses while still keeping dust and airborne particles out. This ventilation is crucial for maintaining clear vision and comfort during extended wear.

By combining these features, safety goggles provide a superior level of eye protection compared to safety glasses for tasks with higher risks.

Choosing the Right Option - Comparison Table

Here is a crystal clear comparison table highlighting the key differences between safety glasses and safety goggles:


Safety Glasses

Safety Goggles

Impact Resistance

Impact resistant lenses

Impact resistant lenses

Field of Vision

Wider field of view

Slightly limited


Generally good airflow

Indirect ventilation system


Lightweight comfortable frames

May feel less comfortable if used for extended wear

Suitability for Tasks (Examples)

Sanding, Sawing, drilling, using power tools (drilling, hammering) and general tasks.

Chemical handling (acids, solvents), Power tool use (grinding, chipping), working with dusty materials, splash hazard environments, Tasks requiring a complete seal.

With safety goggles there are small limitations of field of vision and comfort. Please remember, this table is a guide, and the best choice depends on the specific project and potential hazards.

Options for people who wear glasses

NoCry Over Specs Safety Glasses Over Glasses

There are safety glasses specifically designed to fit comfortably over regular glasses. These often have features like:

  • Temple styles - Temples that curve around the head instead of resting on the ears to avoid putting pressure on your regular glasses.
  • Universal bridge - A wider and flatter bridge design to accommodate the bridge of your regular glasses.
  • The NoCry Over Specs Safety Glasses Over Glasses are a popular choice at Amazon UK

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Alternatives to Safety Glasses

Some people might find safety glasses uncomfortable to wear over their regular glasses. There are a few alternative options for these individuals.

  • Safety Goggles - While bulkier, safety goggles often provide a comfortable fit over regular glasses due to their larger size and wraparound design.
  • Prescription Safety Glasses - Consider mentioning prescription safety glasses as an option for those who wear corrective lenses and prioritise a comfortable, customized fit.
Dräger Safety Over-Glasses

Other Considerations for UK DIYers

Safety Standards

I think it's always worthwhile understanding why safety standards are important, so I have explained those below with relation to safety glasses and safety goggles.

  • CE Marking - Look for the CE marking on your safety glasses and goggles. This signifies that the product complies with relevant EU health, safety, and environmental regulations.
  • BS EN Standards - In the UK, many safety glasses and goggles adhere to British Standards (BS EN) established by the British Standards Institution (BSI). These standards define specific requirements for impact resistance, materials, and other safety aspects. Common relevant BS EN standards include:
  1. BS EN 166 - Personal eye protection. Specifies general requirements for all types of eye protectors.
  2. BS EN 170 - Personal eye protection - Ultraviolet filters. Specifies requirements for UV filters used in safety glasses and goggles.
  3. BS EN 172 - Personal eye protection - Sun glare filters for industrial use. Specifies requirements for filters used for protection against bright light sources.

You can find more information about CE marking and relevant BS EN standards on the websites of the British Standards Institution (BSI), and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Your Budget

Safety glasses and goggles come in a range of prices to suit different budgets

  • Budget-Friendly Options - You can easily find good quality safety glasses and goggles with basic features (impact-resistant lenses, side shields) at affordable prices. These are perfect for everyday DIY tasks like sanding, sawing, and drilling.
  • Premium Options - For more specialised tasks or features like anti-fog coatings, chemical splash resistance, or wider field of view, premium safety glasses and goggles are available at a higher cost.

in my opinion, the bottom line is, when choosing safety glasses or goggles, always prioritise your safety needs for the specific project over just budget. It's an investment in protecting your precious eyesight.

My Final Thoughts

When it comes to doing any DIY project, your personal safety is paramount. Now that you've explored the differences between safety glasses and safety goggles, you're well on your way to selecting the right eye protection for every task.

Remember, the key takeaway, in my opinion, is that the ideal choice depends on the specific hazards of your project. The comparison table provides a quick reference, and the resources mentioned can offer further guidance on safety regulations and standards.

There is a vast selection of high-quality safety glasses and goggles available on Amazon UK.  These options will suit your needs, from budget-friendly basics to premium features like anti-fog coatings and wider field of view. Find the perfect pair to shield your eyes and keep your DIY adventures safe. Safety Glasses on Amazon UK and Safety Goggles.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Don't hesitate to prioritise YOUR safety! Invest in a good pair of safety glasses or goggles that suit your needs. After all, your eyesight is a valuable asset that deserves the best protection.

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