9 Best Welding Pants with FR Durability & Comfort • WelditU

9 Best Welding Pants with FR Durability & Comfort

Made from a sturdy flame-resistant (FR) material, the best pants for welding will repel or self-extinguish red-hot sparks and molten spatter.

Keep in mind that even good welders pants are only flame-resistant—not burn-proof. They won’t last long under direct exposure to molten spatter or heavy grinding sparks.

FR welding pants are best worn as secondary safety protection underneath leather chaps or a welding apron, or only for light welding and grinding.

Because a good pair of welding pants is an essential part of your personal protective equipment (PPE), here are 9 of the best welding pants for men and women.

How to Choose Welding Pants

Best Welding Pants Cover Image

Best Welding Pants for Men

Best Jeans for Welding

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Wrangler Riggs Men's FR Carpenter Jean

  • Extra tool storage holds MIG pliers, marker, chipping hammer, etc.
  • Heavy 100% cotton denim triple-stitched with FR thread
  • Extended waist sizes up to 60 inches

Even before taking up welding, I preferred to wear carpenter pants when doing any kind of maintenance work around my home or business. They make good welder pants, and work well for hunting, hiking and camping activities.

I’ve tried welding pants that are a bit more durable or comfortable, but I always missed having the extra utility pockets found on carpenter pants.

This Wrangler FR carpenter pant has room for MIG pliers on the left leg and a loop for a chipping hammer on the right side. This makes a good welding pant for right-handed welders (lefties – check out the Dickies Carpenter Jean, below).

The tightly woven 100% cotton denim FR material is triple-stitched for durability at all seams with Nomex FR thread. Even the pocket material is FR rated.

While this is a sturdy denim work pant, it’s not as heavy or durable as Wrangler’s original fit FR jeans, below.

The relaxed fit is comfortable, but the stiff denim needs several washings to break in. Extra material (gusseting) in the crotch reduces stress and blow-outs when crouching and climbing. The leg openings fit easily over large boots.

  • True to size fit – roomy, but not too baggy
  • Available in medium and dark denim colors
  • Stiff denim needs break-in period
  • Denim not as heavy or durable as basic Wrangler FR jeans
  • 3 exterior FR compliance tags
  • ATPV rating of 19.0 CAL/CM2, HRC2, NFPA 2112 Compliant
  • Machine washable

Best Value in Welding Pants

Dickies Men's Sanded Duck Carpenter Jean

  • Tightly woven duck in durable 12 oz. 100% cotton
  • Extra tool storage
  • Get 2 to 4 pairs for the price of other picks

Just as not all FR pants are good for welding, not all good welding pants are FR rated. The Dickies heavy duck material easily repels light sparks and weld spatter. Although not FR tested, the tight-weave 12-ounce 100% cotton is naturally self-extinguishing and flame-resistant.

This Dickies men’s carpenter work pant is an affordable choice for recreational welders, or others who don’t need FR labeled welding garments.

There’s no shortage of pockets in this carpenter jean, but the front pocket openings are tight. It’s difficult for sparks-and hands-to enter the pockets.

The utility pocket arrangement makes this a better welding pant for left-handed welders. There’s a hammer loop on the left and the pliers pocket is on the right side.

Selecting Appropriate FR Clothing: Clothing made from 100% cotton or wool may be acceptable if its weight is appropriate for the flame and electric arc conditions to which a worker could be exposed.”

OSHA

Even though pre-washed to soften and reduce shrinkage, it takes a handful of washings before this work pant becomes comfortable to wear. And if you’re not used to duck canvas material, you’ll find it has less “give” than the same weight in denim.

The relaxed fit, with extra room in the seat and thigh, offsets the lack of stretch in these durable pants. Just a hint of taper in the straight legs leaves the leg opening able to fit over your boots.

This strong material is triple-stitched at stress points, including the seat, side seams, and yoke -the rear area below waistband and above back pockets. Occasional poor stitching shows a lack of quality control.

A variation in size, especially across colors, is another area of concern with this welding pant. Some determined buyers order extra pairs and perform their own quality control, returning any that don’t make the grade.

  • Not FR rated
  • Triple-stitched only in stress areas
  • In general, the fit is true to size, waists 30 to 44 in.
  • Roomy fit, but material lacks stretch
  • Garment washed for shrinkage control
  • Small front pocket openings are difficult to access
  • Quality control is hit or miss
  • Colors in black, dark brown and light brown

Most Durable Welding Pants

Wrangler Riggs Workwear FR Original Fit Jean

  • Constructed with durable 14.75 oz. cotton denim
  • All seams finished with triple-needle stitching for strength
  • Nomex® zipper tape and thread used in all garment seams

Known for their long-wearing blue jeans, Wrangler’s choice of materials in this flame-resistant pant makes it an easy pick for the most durable welding pants.

For strength, the super-thick 14.75-ounce denim fabric is triple-stitched at all seams. To prevent hot spatter and sparks from destroying the stitching, they use non-flammable Nomex thread.

Other than the orange FR tags, there’s nothing fancy about the looks of these basic cowboy-cut jeans. You get traditional 5-pocket styling with no extra tool pockets. Choose from two shades of denim blue for these welder jeans.

This Wrangler Riggs Workwear FR work pant comes pre-washed for comfort and to reduce shrinkage, but this traditional denim is stiff and will need time to break in.

Wrangler’s original fit jeans already have a little extra room in the thigh area that helps mobility. But if you want more room, they’re also available in a .

  • Fits true to size in waist sizes 28 to 46 in.
  • NFPA 2112, HRC 2, ATPV 23.8, NFPA-70E, ASTM F1506
  • Traditional 5-pocket cowboy-cut styling
  • Leg openings fit easily over boots
  • No extra tool pockets
  • High-quality brass zipper and button closure
  • Flame-resistant pocket material

Most Comfortable Welding Pants

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ARIAT Men's Flame Resistant M3 Loose Fit Jean

  • Tough, but soft and breathable 13-oz ring-spun denim
  • Loose fit allows airflow and doesn't restrict movement
  • Casual styling

Ariat treats this heavy 13-ounce 100% cotton denim with a pre-wash and a light fabric sanding. This creates a soft feel to these loose-fit FR jeans. No break in required, so you can expect to be comfortable in these pants right out of the package.

With a choice of three shades of blue, these are good-looking pants for welding. With a softer finish and contrast stitching on the rear pockets, it’s a casual look that you won’t mind wearing away from work.

The Ariat Men’s FR M3 loose fit jeans run true-to-size with a lower rise and a straight-leg opening to fit over work boots.

  • No-rub comfort inseams
  • Extra deep front pockets
  • Heavy-duty zippers and hardware
  • True to fit – waist sizes 29 to 44 in.
  • Pre-wash and sanding treatment may reduce durability
  • Made in Mexico with USA fabric
  • FR compliance tag on right rear and front coin pocket, and middle belt loop.
  • CAT 2, NFPA 70E, NFPA 2112, ATPV 20

Best Welding Pants for Summer

Carhartt Men's FR Mid Weight Canvas Pant

  • Breathable 8.5-ounce flame-resistant canvas
  • Carhartt men's roomiest fit through the seat and thigh
  • Utility/cell phone pocket

While soft and breathable, this Carhartt Men’s FR mid weight canvas material is sturdy enough to shed sparks, and metal shavings easily brush off.

To help you stay cool, this light canvas weave allows some airflow, and the loose and comfortable fit won’t restrict motion or air circulation.

Styling is a traditional 5-pocket plus one utility/cell phone pocket on the right leg. Some descriptions mention a hammer loop, so I checked with Carhartt and they confirmed that’s not accurate.

carhartt welding pants response

These summer-weight welding pants fit true to size, and are available in four colors: khaki, navy, dark brown and a very popular shade of green.

  • 88% cotton / 12% high-tenacity nylon
  • Triple-stitched (only on main seams)
  • No hammer loop
  • Waist sizes 30 to 50 in.
  • Carhartt FR label sewn on back pocket; NFPA 2112/CAT 2 label sewn on coin pocket
  • NFPA 70E
  • Machine washable, or dry clean

Best Cargo Welding Pant

Caterpillar Men's FR Cargo Pant

  • Roomy design for crouching and kneeling
  • Secure cell phone pockets on both legs
  • Ruler/pliers pocket on right thigh
  • Sturdy 9oz., 88% cotton / 12% nylon twill

A favorite in oil fields and refineries, this flame resistant cargo pant by Caterpillar features extra material in the crotch and knee for ease of movement.

To further aid mobility, the legs run wide without taper to the 20″ leg opening that easily fits over boots. This also reduces binding while kneeling, unless you’ve overloaded the front cargo pockets.

As expected with cargo pants, there’s plenty of convenient pockets to store your phone, welding pliers, thickness gauge, and soapstone marker.

The durable 9 oz cotton/nylon twill blend is lighter weight than denim, but it’s a tighter weave and is less breathable than all cotton pants. So this cargo pant isn’t a good choice for warm weather.

  • Colors: navy, black
  • Velcro cargo pocket flaps
  • Durable double layered knees
  • 20 inch leg opening fits over boots
  • HRC2
  • ASTM F1506
  • NFPA 2112 UL Certified
  • ATPV Value: 11.5
  • NFPA 70E

Best Welding Pants for Women

Most Durable Welding Pants for Women

Wrangler RIGGS Women's FR Western Boot Cut Jean

  • Durable 11-ounce 100% cotton denim
  • Choose from five shades of blue
  • Traditional 5-pocket boot-cut styling

Made from strong 100% cotton providing both protection and longevity. The 11-ounce denim is just light enough so the jeans have some natural give without the use of elastic.

This mid rise work jean sits at the waist, with Wrangler’s regular fit that gives extra room in the hips and legs. Range of motion and comfort is good, especially after a handful of washings. These are stiff right out of the package.

If you prefer a more form-fitting jean, check out the Ariats, below.

These pants fit true to size, but some curvier ladies were more comfortable moving up a size.

You’ll find a good selection of sizes in most of the five color options.

wrangler sizes for welding pants
  • Rear pocket stitching varies by color
  • Stiff fabric needs break in
  • Hi-vis FR compliance tags
  • ATPV rating of 19.0, HRC2, NFPA 2112
  • Machine Wash

Most Comfortable Welding Pants For Women

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ARIAT Women's FR Mid Rise Boot Cut Jean

  • 12.5 oz stretch FR denim provides ATPV 20 protection
  • Comfortable 98% cotton, 2% Lycra® blend for mobility
  • Feminine fit - follows curves but is not restrictive

You won’t look like you’re wearing welding pants made for men in these form-fitting, and very comfortable, work jeans from Ariat.

The 2% Lycra material blended into this thick 12.5-ounce cotton FR-rated fabric provides just the right amount of stretch. It allows you to move freely, without sacrificing safety or style.

However, the elastic material is more prone to damage or breakage from hot spatter or abrasion than 100% cotton. You should expect the appearance of stretch fabric to degrade more quickly than all cotton in welding conditions. That’s probably a reasonable trade-off for such easy-to-wear welding jeans.

These have a close fit, but more relaxed in the hip and thigh area. With stretch fabric, the correct size may feel too tight at first. Your body temperature and activity will cause the fabric to relax, so give it 15 to 20 minutes before deciding.

  • CAT 2
  • NFPA 70E
  • NFPA 2112
  • Not as heat or abrasion resistant as 100% cotton
  • Fit is true to size, to slightly small
  • Not women’s sizing – order by waist and length
Image of welding terms guide linking to free download.

Best Women’s Welding Pants For Summer

Carhartt FR Womens Rugged Flex Canvas Pant

  • Breathable 9-ounce FR canvas
  • Cell phone pocket and utility pocket
  • FR label sewn on back pocket
  • NFPA 2112/CAT 2 label sewn on waistband

This mid-weight canvas FR pant is breathable in hot weather, yet sturdy enough for light duty summer welding pants.

The fit is comfortable through the hip and thigh area with a mid-front rise that sits slightly below the waist. A higher rise in the back gives better coverage. The leg opening will easily fit over boots.

  • Runs a size small in waist
  • Mid-weight canvas –  98% cotton/2% spandex
  • Not rugged enough for heavy duty work
  • Available in khaki and dark navy colors, but the khaki is too light for good welding pants.
  • Machine Wash

Choosing the Best Pants for Welding

Why do welders wear special welding pants?

Protection. Welding pants provide supplemental protection to a welder from serious burns if sparks or spatter make it past safety gear worn as primary protection.

Comfort. Just having an extra layer of protection is comforting on its own. It provides peace of mind so you can stay focused on your work. But good welding pants should also be roomy so you can move easily, without being so baggy to catch on equipment, or trap sparks.

“4.3 Protective Clothing. Clothing shall be selected to minimize the potential for ignition, burning, trapping hot sparks, or electric shock.”

American Welding Society (AWS) ANSI Z49 

Workplace Safety Standards

Established standards make it easier to know that workers and their workplace are reasonably safe.

NFPA 70E: A standard written by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) to help protect electrical workers from the hazards of arc flash. Arc flash is a dangerous release of energy from an electrical fault. When safety clothing carries the NFPA 70E label, the manufacturer certifies they have tested the fabric to meet the standard to protect the wearer against the thermal hazards of an electric arc. Independent testing is not required.

ASTM 1506: This standard sets out specific testing requirements used for NFPA 70E compliance. Tests include resistance to thread melting and flame resistance, which checks melting, dripping, and self-extinguishing ability. Arc testing results in a APTV score showing how much heat a certain fabric will block from an electric arc. Safety garments must meet requirements even after 25 wash and dry cycles.

ATPV: A rating score derived from testing under ASTM 1506 to show how well a garment insulates the wearer from heat and prevents burns. You’ll see this rating displayed as ATPV or Cal/cm2. Higher ratings provide more protection.

HRC: Workplace hazard risk categories (HRC) range from little or no risk (CAT0) to extreme risk (CAT4). The APTV score determines a garment’s suitability for an HRC rating. HRC2 or CAT2 garments may have an APTV score of 8.0 to 24.9. HRC is useful to narrow your choices, but use the ATPV rating to find the best protection among garments within a category.

NFPA 2112: A comprehensive standard that provides clothing criteria designed to reduce worker injuries from flash fires. These are sudden, intense hydrocarbon fires of short duration. As does 70E, NFPA 2112 tests for thread melting resistance and flame resistance. It does not test electric arc resistance. This standard also includes testing for heat resistance and heat transfer, plus instrument manikin and label durability tests. Independent third party agencies such as Underwriters Laboratory independently certify compliance.

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Are FR pants good for welding?

Most manufacturers do not recommend wearing their FR pants as a primary outer garment while welding.

FR pants are flame-resistant, but not burn-proof. Hot spatter can burn through exposed fabric and injure you. They design FR clothing to self-extinguish, preventing minor burns from becoming a serious injury.

How FR Fabrics are Tested

What are welding pants made of?

Because of a natural resistance to burning, you’ll find the best pants for welding made from heavy twill or denim in 100% cotton.

100% wool is the most naturally flame-resistant fabric, but it is expensive and uncomfortably warm.

Avoid 100% synthetics such as nylon, polyester, and rayon. These materials are prone to burning, melting, and creating fumes. Burning synthetic residue sticks to skin, increasing the severity of burns.

The best welding pants are made of 100% cotton, or a high-percentage (88-98%) cotton blend that’s chemically treated with fire retardant. Fabric weights of 9 to 14 ounces per square yard are common, as these heavier materials are naturally more resistant to burning.

“Work clothing must also stop ultraviolet light from passing through it. This is accomplished if the material chosen is a dark color, thick, and tightly woven.”

L. Jeffus “Welding Principles and Applications” (8th Edition, p. 24)

Read the review: “Welding Principles and Applications” is the welding reference book to have if you’ll buy only one.

Design Features of Welding Pants

Here’s a checklist summarizing key details to look for in pants for welding.

  • Roomy fit allows work motion
  • Not too baggy – folds and wrinkles catch sparks
  • No cuffs
  • Leg openings should fit over your boots.
  • Nomex thread
  • Treated FR fabric, and/or:
  • Heavy-weight natural materials like cotton, denim and twill
  • Heavy-duty metal buttons or snaps
  • Flaps on front pockets

Additional Considerations

Besides the special requirements for welding pants, you may find other popular work pant features helpful.

  • Breathability helps keep you cool in a hot work environment
  • Double- or triple-stitching prevents seams from puckering and fraying
  • Moisture-wicking helps keep you drier
  • Fabric treatments fight mildew, static or stains

What else?

  • Wear a good welding shirt with a tall, close collar and long sleeves to protect against stray sparks. 
  • Protect your feet from sparks, spatter and impacts with a sturdy pair of welding boots.

“Choose clothing that allows freedom of movement and covers all areas of exposed skin… Heavier materials such as leather or Flame-Resistant Clothing (FRC) which has been chemically treated to reduce its combustibility or is inherently flame resistant are preferable to lighter materials because they are more difficult to ignite. “

AWS Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 33 

How to care for welding pants?

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions, but most are machine washable and dry cleanable.
  • Use liquid detergent for best results.
  • Expect FR treatment to last for 30-50 washes. Machine washing in small wash loads will minimize wear reducing loss of FR treatment.
  • After washing check for holes, fraying, and residual stains and odors from flammable soils that could compromise FR properties
  • Expect lifetime garment shrinkage of 3-5% when following care label instructions
  • Avoid products that could compromise FR qualities:
    • Liquid chlorine bleach
    • Peroxide
    • Fat-based natural soaps
    • Fabric softener
    • Detergent with fabric softener
    • Bug spray with DEET
    • Starch

Why do welders starch their clothes?

It’s traditional for some welders to apply a heavy layer of starch to their welding clothes. The hard finish reduces wrinkles and repels sparks.

It’s not recommended by any manufacturer because starching can interfere with treated FR fabric. Starches and sizing contain glues and/or polyester resins that may reduce the self-extinguishing qualities of a material.

The Bottom Line

Because we’re exposed to flying bits of molten metal, it only makes sense to wear flame-resistant welding pants for our safety.

When durability is your priority, Wrangler Riggs stands out as making the best welding pants for men or women.

The Ariat styles for men and women are the most comfortable pants for welding.

Balancing convenience with comfort and durability, my personal choice is the Wrangler Riggs Carpenter Jean for the best pants for welding.

Dave Jones
 

Dave began welding to repair equipment used in his small business. Now as a hobby, he enjoys researching, testing and writing on welding topics. Other interests include photography, RVing and just about anything to do with dogs—especially retrievers. Reach him at dave@welditu.com.