Safety Goggles vs. Safety Glasses: What Is the Difference?

Posted by Paul Kim on

Eye protection is important at work and at home. Your favorite shades protect you from the sun, but when you’re hustling at your job or playing the role of weekend warrior at home, you’ll need eye protection that works better than just your standard sunnies. 

Safety goggles and safety glasses are the go-to choices for many, but how do you know which ones you need? We’ll cover the differences and help you decide...and give you an option for both goggles and glasses in one single pair of frames. 

What Are Safety Goggles?

Safety goggles offer all-around protection for your eyes. These are the eyewear pieces you remember from lab classes in school. They are large, fit over your entire eye area, and offer full optical protection from airborne pathogens, splashes, spills, and flying objects. 

Safety goggles form an airtight seal on your eye area, which may be necessary for some professions. Usually, safety goggles have an adjustable rubber strap that fits around the head. Safety goggles can be worn with corrective frames as they will fit over the glasses and do not have arms that would interfere with the arms of your corrective frames. 

Safety Goggle Highlights

Safety goggles are a great option if you:

  • Work around airborne pathogens (be sure your goggles have the proper certification for airborne protection)
  • Want airtight protection
  • Don’t want to take off your regular corrective glasses

Because safety goggles are pretty bulky, it isn’t likely you’ll want to wear them for long periods of time. 

Safety Goggle Concerns

If you have a quick job, safety goggles offer great protection, but some users find them uncomfortable.

You should know that safety goggles:

  • Are bulky and rarely fit perfectly. 
  • Can be uncomfortable. The head strap can pull your hair, feel tight on your head, and the goggles may be tight on your face. (Psst- try this one instead.)
  • Can fog easily. 
  • Might not be easy to use with your regular glasses, even though they can be worn with them. 
  • Aren’t very attractive. We said what we said. 

If you don’t specifically work in an industry that requires the use of goggles, you may prefer safety glasses. 

What are Safety Glasses?

Safety glasses are like safety goggles, but they don’t offer the same level of protection. Safety glasses are made from the same type of lightweight and shatter resistant polycarbonate material you’ll find in safety goggles.  

Safety glasses use side arms that you place over your ears to fit your face, the same way you wear your regular glasses or sunglasses. The frames usually have side shields that protect your eyes on the sides, where normal glasses usually have a large gap. 

You won’t be able to wear your corrective lenses with safety glasses without some serious sliding around and discomfort behind your ears. However, you can always opt for prescription safety glasses that make it easy for you to have clear vision and optical protection simultaneously. 

Safety Glasses Highlights

For most tasks, safety glasses will probably give you the protection you need. They’re also much more comfortable than safety goggles, which may make them a better fit for you.

Safety glasses:

  • Offer impact protection
  • Have a lightweight frame
  • Are easy to put on and take off
  • Is considered to be a more comfortable option

You’ll find safety glasses practically anywhere protective eyewear is sold, but you may find that not all of the options available at the local hardware store fit as perfectly as you’d like them to. 

Safety Glasses Concerns

Safety glasses may be more comfortable for longer periods of wear, but here are some considerations to keep in mind.

  • Standard safety glasses don’t have top shields to protect your eyes. This can leave your eyes vulnerable to spills, splashes, and projectiles. 
  • You can’t wear your prescription lenses with safety glasses. You’ll need to get safety glasses that have prescription lenses or forgo vision correction while you work (side note: we don’t recommend the latter). 
  • Safety glasses are like the pocket protectors of the eyeglass world. They aren’t known for their trendy frame shapes, and their size alone may be too large for most users. 

While safety glasses are probably a lighter-weight, easier option for most people, you do miss out on some level of optical protection, and if you are wearing a cheap dollar-bin version, they probably won’t be comfortable. 

Safety Goggles vs. Safety Glasses Key Differences

Which do you need for your own projects and tasks?

Here are the key differences between goggles and glasses:

  • Safety goggles offer complete protection around your eye. Safety glasses may only offer protection around the front and sides (not to the top). 
  • Safety glasses are more comfortable and lightweight. Safety goggles can be bulky, difficult to take on and off, and painful. 
  • Safety glasses can’t be worn with your corrective lenses. Safety goggles can be worn over corrective lenses, but there’s no guarantee you’ll enjoy the way it feels. 
  • Both safety goggles and safety glasses have a tendency to fog. This means you’ll have to take them off to wipe the lenses. Anytime you remove your protective eyewear, there’s a chance you could injure your eye or contaminate your glasses with dirty hands or cleaning rags. 
  • Neither safety goggles nor safety glasses are a good look for your profile picture. 

If only there was a way to get the full eye protection offered by safety goggles with the lightweight comfortability provided by safety glasses. Oh—and make them look good, too. 

Safety Goggles + Safety Glasses + Serious Style = Stoggles

Surprise, unicorns do exist. Stoggles are the safety eyewear that protect like goggles, wear like glasses, and look like your favorite pair of frames. Our safety glasses are unique because they offer side and top shields, giving your eyes the all-around protection of goggles without the bulk or brain-crushing elastic strap. 

Every pair of Stoggles has:

  • Anti-fog coated lenses. No matter how many times you go from hot to cold or break a sweat, you won’t have to worry about your lenses getting steamy.
  • ANSI Z87.1 certification. Impact resistance, durability, and protection you can rely on based on industry standards. 
  • Blue-light blocking lenses. We understand you want protection from more than just flying objects, chemicals, and liquids. Blue light can be damaging to your eyes and can cause eye strain, headaches, and even damage to your vision long-term. 
  • Prescription lens availability. Stop struggling with goggles over your glasses. We handle all prescription lens requests in-house, saving you time, money, and a huge hassle. 
  • Sleek design. You shouldn’t have to choose between protection and style. On the job, you wear your safety glasses for hours. Feel good about yourself when you scrub in and out or pass by the lone mirror in the shop. 

Stoggles keep your eyes protected without sacrificing comfort, making them a better choice that will help keep them on your face longer than bulky, uncomfortable options. 

Forget the Glasses and Goggles; Get Stoggles

Goggles and glasses are so last year, but eye protection never goes out of style. Opt for safety eyewear that fits, works, and keeps you comfortable at work and home.

Stoggles are the personal protective equipment solution for the most discriminating individuals (or, you know, just people who like to look good). 



Protecting your eyes at work | AOA 

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020: Current Standard for Safety Glasses 

1910.133 - Eye and face protection. | OSHA

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