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For people who aren’t welders, seeing a welding cap for the first time can give you a good laugh. They fit snugly around the head, and they often have crazy patterns with bright colors. You may see a big, tough looking guy wearing a cap that looks like it’s made for a little kid. So why do welders wear caps everyday?
Although they may look goofy, welding caps are an essential piece of PPE that every welder should have in their arsenal. This response article will cover the main benefits of welding caps, and why they have been a critical piece of equipment for so many years.
Why Not Just Wear A Normal Hat?
Welding hoods are often referred to as “helmets”. We’ve never really liked that term because welding hoods don’t protect your head at all. They are meant to cover your face/neck and provide a proper lens shade to block the UV rays from your welding arc.
If you don’t wear any sort of hat under your welding hood, then your head will be exposed. This is bad news because it makes it much more likely that your head will get burned.
A backwards baseball cap or a beanie can work fine, but they don’t have any FR properties. Flame resistant/flame retardant gear has become the top choice of many welders today. These special fabrics repel sparks, slag and spatter much better than other clothing options – this means that it takes a lot longer to burn through your clothes and ruin them.
Welding caps provide a snug fit and an FR cotton construction to prevent burns on your scalp. It is more rare to get a head burn than an arm burn; but when that hot piece of slag flies at your head, you’ll be happy to have the protection of a welding cap.
There are two other features of welding caps that should be considered.
The bill of the caps face downward for a reason. Many pipeliners and structural welders will fit the bill over their ear that’s closest to the welding arc. This prevents slag and sparks from flying into your ear canal; although it doesn’t happen very often, this type of ear injury is extremely serious. Wearing earplugs and fitting the bill over your ear is a great safety measure.
Welding caps also tend to fit lower on the head than traditional hats. Having the brim come down to your eyebrows means more spark protection than a regular hat. The caps come in specific sizes to allow a snug fit for any welders head – having a loose cap will diminish the protective properties.
Why Are The Patterns So Crazy?
This tradition has been around for many years. Ridiculous patterns, women in bikinis, skulls, fire, etc.
In our opinion, caps are the one piece of welding clothing that allow welders to express their personality. Wearing a cap with crazy print on it is just part of welding tradition. Who knows where this originated, but don’t be surprised if you see a 300 pound welder wearing a cap with flowers on it!
Welding caps are also available in plain colors. Many top manufacturers make black, white, and beige caps for the welder who likes a cleaner look and a simpler wardrobe.
Whether you love them or hate them, welding caps have been around for decades and they aren’t going anywhere. If you plan on welding for the foreseeable future, you may want to consider purchasing one. You can check out our article on the best welding caps here.