On the construction site, clear visibility is crucial to avoid accidents due to light glare. Choosing the best ANSI Z87 polarized sunglasses gives you the perfect blend of eye protection and clear visibility. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 Eye and Face Protection Standard, let’s go over what that all means before checking out the shades.
In the US, ANSI and OSHA often collaborate to set safety standards for the workplace. In construction, OSHA standards are paramount. For this particular ANSI/ISEA standard, you can be sure that OSHA standard 1910.133 for eye and face protection aligns with ANSI Z87.1. Whether you’re buying Z87 sunglasses for construction purposes or any other activity that requires eye protection, Z87 compliance is the ideal choice.
What is ANSI/ISEA Z87.1?
Standard Z87.1 as it applies to sunglasses focuses on high-mass and high-velocity impact protection to shield the eyes from projectiles & debris while working. Z87 sunglasses must meet or surpass the minimum requirements for impact protection set forth by ANSI Z87.1 to officially use the Z87 stamp you’ll often find on the inside arm of Z87 sunglasses.
Below is a list of items ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 covers:
- Occupational & Educational Personal Eye & Face Protection Devices
- Requirements for testing, permanent marking, selection, care, and use of eye protection in the workplace
- Prevention of eye/face injuries due to impact, non-ionizing radiation, and liquid splash hazards
Common work settings/activities that require ANSI approved eye protection are:
- Operating heavy machinery
- Chemical handling
- Assembly operations
Below are examples of hazards not covered by ANSI Z87.1:
- Bloodborne pathogens
- High-energy particulate radiation
- Radio-frequency radiation lasers
- Sports & recreation
ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 2020 Update
ISEA published an update to the Z87.1 standard in 2020 to cover lenses with anti-fog properties. According to J.P. Sankpill, Chairman & Director of the Z87 Committee, the aim of the new anti-fog update is to:
“…minimize potential harm created by continually adjusting or removing eyewear that is providing protection from impact, splash or other hazards.”
Now that you have an understanding of what ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 covers, let’s check out an overview of our Top 5 shades before jumping to the reviews.
Top 5 ANSI Z87 Polarized Sunglasses
|#1) Oakley Flak 2.0 Rectangular Sunglasses|
|#2) SPY Optic Logan Wrap ANSI Sunglasses|
|#3) Under Armour UA Force Storm Satin ANSI Polarized Sunglasses|
|#4) Heat Wave Visual Vise Z87 Sunglasses|
|#5) ToolFreak Rebel Polarized Safety Sunglasses|
Best Polarized Safety Sunglasses Reviews
How common are eye injuries? According to the CDC, there are roughly 2,000 eye injuries every year, and most of those injuries occur in the construction field. The frightening part is that even minor eye injuries can cause lifelong eye problems.
For this reason, it’s imperative to wear Z87 eye protection on site when working in all areas susceptible to metal, wood, drywall, and cement particles. This same rule also applies to any areas with tiny particles that don’t include the aforementioned materials.
Common construction activities where eye protection must be worn include hammering, sanding, welding, grinding, cutting, and masonry work. Additionally, eye protection should always be used when handling chemicals or in areas housing chemicals.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the five pairs of sunglasses in the chart above.
#1) Oakley Flak 2.0 Rectangular Sunglasses
If you want dependable eye protection from one of the most trustworthy sunglasses brands, then Oakley should be at or near the top of your list. The Flak 2.0 model is perfect for all activities, including construction because of the arm & lens curvature that provides wraparound eye protection.
Next, the materials are of top-notch quality to stand the test of time. These can take a real beating before they break or need to be replaced. Key design elements that ensure durability are the O Matter stress-resistant frame and Oakley Plutonite lenses. Aside from protection, the polarized Plutonite lenses deliver exceptional visibility in all light conditions and industry-leading UV filtering.
You’ll find that the Iridium Polarized lenses significantly reduce glare on bright sunny days and enhance visibility on cloudy days. Lastly, the Flak 2.0 sunglasses comply with ANSI Z87.1 standards for high-mass and high-velocity impact protection. All in all, these are excellent lightweight sunglasses that not only protect your eyes but look awesome as well.
- High Definition Optics (HDO) for the highest level of clarity of the glasses in this guide
- Possibly the most comfortable sunglasses you’ll ever wear
- Lightweight yet highly durable frames
- Approved by people with large heads
- Interchangeable lenses
- Impressive glare reduction
- They stay in place well without any pinching around the nose or head
- Recommended for road/highway construction
- They may shift a bit during strenuous activities such as running for people with small heads
- The case might be too large to fit in an overhead sunglass compartment
- A couple of complaints about the armature entering the field of vision
#2) SPY Optic Logan Wrap ANSI Sunglasses
Another great all-around pair of ANSI sunglasses for all activities is the SPY Logan model. When you consider the drop in price from the Oakley Flak 2.0 to the SPY Logan, you may find that the Logan provides better value if you plan to beat them up. Similar to the Flak 2.0, the SPY Logan model follows the curvature of the head around the temples to block projectiles at the front and sides of the eyes.
Additionally, you might prefer the thicker arms of the SPY Logan model for added protection. Reasons we like the Logan model for construction activities are the Grilamid construction for extreme durability and the 8-base polycarbonate ARC lenses for excellent clarity. You also get reliable 100% UV protection to reduce eye fatigue during those long workdays or fishing trips.
Finally, the Logan Z87 lenses are the latest evolution of SPY lenses, featuring both SPY Happy Lens and Trident polarization technology. This combination makes for a true HD vision experience that’s good for both sunny and cloudy days.
- Most value for the money of the five sunglasses in this guide
- The new HD lens tech makes for a crisper and clearer visual experience
- Recommended by firefighters
- Good for sensitive eyes
- Superior comfort and durability
- Their stylish appearance makes them great for work and casual use
- Wide field of vision
- Excellent glare reduction
- Made in China may turn you off
- The arms may agitate the ears when worn for long hours
#3) Under Armour UA Force Storm Satin ANSI Polarized Sunglasses
Another pair of ANSI sunglasses that offer excellent value for the money is the UA Force Storm model. Similar to the Logan model above, the UA Force Storm model has the ideal anatomical fit for all-around eye protection. One safety feature we like a lot is the ArmourSight lens technology that manages to provide up to 20% more undistorted peripheral vision. Also, the same tech makes these lenses up to 10X more durable than standard polycarbonate lenses.
The frames feature a special coating that’s resistant to oils, bug spray, and saltwater, which makes these great for all activities, especially summer activities or warmer work months. UA polarization enhances colors in your field of view and works to significantly reduce glare on even the sunniest days.
Several final highlights are the military-inspired design, Z87+ marking to ensure these comply with ANSI standards for impact protection and a multi-position nose pad for a more customized fit.
- Comparable clarity to Oakley lenses
- They do a great job of blocking peripheral glare
- The package includes a microfiber bag and semi-hard case
- They stand up to a beating without breaking
- The lenses do not show water spots
- They look great in all settings
- Overall great value for the money
- The nose pads are soft
- They may fit a bit tighter than Oakley for people with large heads
- Show smudging easier than Oakley frames
- May show scratches more easily than Oakley and SPY
#4) Heat Wave Visual Vise Z87 Sunglasses
For people who prefer more stylish sunglasses, the Heat Wave Vise model is an excellent pair of casual Z87 polarized sunglasses. However, if you do want to use these for construction, Heat Wave now sells side shields. Even without side shields, Heat Wave designed these shades to comply with OSHA eyewear standards for jobs that don’t require side shields or chemical splash resistance.
What we feel really sets these apart from the other glasses in this guide is the style. It’s hard to find this type of frame in sunglasses that are ANSI compliant. For guys and girls who want cool shades they can bring with them on the job, on vacation, during outdoor activities, concerts, and for other casual activities, these fit the bill.
A couple of highlights for eye protection purposes are the 2mm lenses to protect against flying debris and basic impact, along with the polarized lenses to reduce glare on sunny days. One drawback to consider is that the lenses are non-removable.
- Multiple polarized styles to choose from
- Optional side shields are available
- ANSI and OSHA compliant
- The polarized lenses do a good job for the money, comparable clarity to expensive brands
- They fit most heads well and don’t shift while working
- Features the Z87 marking to show employers
- Recommended by construction workers
- They look a lot cooler on most people than standard safety sunglasses
- Non-removable lenses
- Not as durable as premium brands like Oakley and SPY
- The plastic frames may feel a bit flimsy to you
#5) ToolFreak Rebel Polarized Safety Sunglasses
The final model in our Top 5 is the best cheap ANSI Z87 polarized safety sunglasses, especially for construction purposes. For a fraction of the cost of most Oakley models, you get both polarized lenses and a Z87+ marking for impact protection. Additionally, the lenses wrap around the front of the face to the sides for blocking debris and UV rays.
Several design highlights that make these great safety sunglasses are brow ventilation for increased airflow to reduce sweating, an anti-slip tension frame to grip the head without digging into it, and wraparound lenses to eliminate armature interference in your field of vision.
All things considered, these are being sold for just about an unbeatable price, especially when you consider that the package includes the glasses, a hard case, a water-repellant pouch, neck cord, and cleaning cloth. If you’re the type of person who prefers not having to worry about avoiding normal wear & tear, these are an excellent option.
- The cheapest of the five pairs in this guide
- Wraparound lenses for complete eye protection
- Z87+ marking on the inner arm
- A comfortable fit for most head sizes
- Good quality hard case included
- Great safety glasses for lawn mowing
- Not the best choice for clarity on cloudy days
- A complaint about discomfort around the nosepiece
When shopping for the best ANSI Z87 polarized sunglasses, it’s important to get a basic understanding of the applicable standards. With a bit of knowledge, you’ll get a better idea of why eye protection is important and which types of glasses suit your needs the best. This step is especially important for construction workers who work around debris, outside in the sun all day, or anywhere near welding or grinding activities.
If you value comfort, your eyesight, and visual clarity, the best sunglass brand for performance is usually Oakley. While you might be able to find sunglasses that fit just as comfortably, it’s more difficult to find lenses that deliver the same level of clarity on both sunny and cloudy days. Outside of Oakley, SPY is the next best choice in the ANSI sunglasses department.
The key takeaway is to match your needs to the safety sunglasses, and if you’re unsure whether the glasses are compliant at your workplace, consult your manager before buying a pair.