What is the Purpose of a Welders Cap?

Looking at a welding cap from the point of view of safety, it’s one of the most underrated but extremely important parts of the welding PPE attire.  

One misconception about welding caps is that they’re meant for beginners only. That’s, however, absolutely untrue. Sparks, spatter, flailing flames, and heat is just as dangerous for experienced welders as they are for beginners. 

A welding cap, despite its design that might look a little off in the beginning, is used to protect the ears, crown, and neck of the welders from getting burn injuries due to flame, sparks, and spatter produced during welding of all types (stick welding, TIG welding, as well as MIG welding).

What is the Purpose of a Welders Cap

Another very important purpose of a welders cap is to wick away the beads of sweat that are generated when working in intensely hot conditions.

Keep reading to understand everything about a welding cap and why it’s very important that every welder should wear one. 

Do you need a welding cap – what is the purpose of wearing one?

A welding cap is just as important as a welding helmet or welding gloves and boots. The head, ears, and neck, if left exposed, can sustain serious burn injuries due to the intense heat generated during welding.

Some of the most important reasons that a welding cap should be a regular part of a welder’s PPE are as follows.

1.) They protect ears from sparks and spatter. 

2.) Fire retardant welding caps are the only practical solutions to protect your neck from sparks and flame.

3.) They’re an extremely functional solution to protect your back and head from getting burnt, especially during overhead welding.

4.) Welding caps also serve the purpose of working as cushioning under welding helmets. They offer a lot of comfort when you have to wear a welding helmet continuously for long working hours.

5.) They also offer protection from intense heat and UV rays from the Sun.

Welding caps with sweatbands are quite effective in keeping sweat beads off your eyes. Hence, they also serve the purpose of keeping your vision uncompromised while you’re welding. 

What is the flap on a welding cap for?

One of the reasons that people might find the design of welding caps a little funny is that they have flaps on the sides. 

However, the addition of flaps on the sides has practical reasons. Have a look:

→ Flaps increase the head area that offers more protection. 

→ Flaps offer protection to the neck and ears alike besides protecting the crown.

→ Flaps also offer additional space to tuck your hair underneath. It makes wearing a welding shield more comfortable.

Welding Caps Size Chart – How do you measure a welding cap?

Now, let’s hold the elephant in the room by its tail: does one size fit all? Well, absolutely not. Although the flaps are incorporated in order to make a welding cap fit crowns of different sizes, yet, there’s a limit to the stretch. 

You need to measure the height of your crown so that the entire forehead can be covered and protected. 

It might interest you to know that welding caps ideally come in as many as 11 different sizes. 

The details listed below follow standard measurements in inches. 

Cap size (inches)Head measurement (inches)
6 ¾21 ⅛
6 ⅞21 ½
721 ⅞
7 ⅛22 ¼
7 ¼22 ⅝
7 ⅜23
7 ½23 ½
7 ⅝23 ⅞
7 ¾24 ¼
7 ⅞24 ⅝

A welding cap shouldn’t feel too tight or too loose. Choose the size closest to the size of your crown for snug-fitting. 

Here’s how you can measure the welding cap that’ll fit you the best:

Place the measuring tape on the highest point on your crown and measure its distance from the precise location on your forehead where you want the sweatband to be.

Fun fact: You can stretch as well as shrink a welding cap to a certain extent. So, a few inches here and there can be adjusted.

Hence, if your existing welding cap feels too tight or too loose for comfort and you’re not willing to buy a new one, with the right methods, you can make the cap that you currently have fit you better.

3 Features to consider before buying a welding cap

1.) Fabric for welding cap – A welding cap should be made of 100% cotton since it’s the best fire-retardant and flame-resistant material with self extinguishable features. Besides, it’s cotton that can be shrunk as well as expanded to give a better fitting.

2.) Fitting – As we have already mentioned, one size will never fit all. Just because cotton welding caps can be shrunk and stretched doesn’t mean you can buy any size you wish.

Remember, every fabric has its limitations and so does 100% cotton. So, the closer the size is to your size, the better the cap will fit you. 

3.) Types – One of the best things to do is buy multi-panel welding caps. The different shapes that you can buy include beanie welding caps, rag welding caps, baseball welding caps, and skull welding caps.

4 properties a good-quality welding cap must have 

1.) Fire-retardant and flame-resistant. 

2.) Comfortable and snug-fitting.

3.) Breathability and lightweight.

4.) Moisture-wicking properties.

How to make a welding cap fit you?

The best way is to buy a welding cap that’s true to your size. In case you can’t find anything that exactly matches the standard sizes we’ve mentioned – or you already have a welding cap that doesn’t fit right – you can make a welding cap offer snug-fitting (neither too tight nor too loose) by either shrinking it or stretching it.

Keep reading to find how to proceed the right way so that you don’t damage the fabric. 

How do you stretch a welding cap?

There are 3 effective ways that will help you stretch your welding cap without damaging it. Let’s explore more!

1. The spray and stretch method 

This method to break into your welding cap works if the cap isn’t extremely tight. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do. 

1.) Take a spray bottle and fill it with lukewarm water.

2.) Spray the water on the inside as well as the outside of the crown.

3.) Spray until the cap is damp. Make sure it’s not so wet that it starts dripping.

4.) Take a blow dryer and set it at the highest heat settings.

5.) Blow-dry the cap for some time. Make sure you don’t dry it completely. Let there be a little bit of moisture. 

6.) Now, wear the welding cap and let it dry naturally. 

7.) It should make the welding cap slightly loose.

2. Steam and stretch method

This method is just as good as the spray and stretch method. In fact, it’s even better in a way that it offers a little more stretch than the former. 

Here’s the step-by-step assistance on how to carry out this method for stretching a 100% cotton welding cap without burning it.

1.) Boil water in a container with a wide opening. Switch off the flame once the water reaches its boiling point.

2.) Hold the cap at about 6″ from the pot. Let enough steam reach inside the crown. Hold the cap still for a minute. Remove the cap and let it rest for half a minute. Repeat the process four times.

3.) Take a blow dryer and set it at the highest heat setting. Blow until the hat is mildly moist.

4.) Wear the cap and let it dry naturally.

3. Use a Hat Jack

Use a Hat Jack

Here’s another easy hack to stretch a welding cap. 

1.) Take a hat stretching tool. Place it against the headband and open it to its maximum capacity.

2.) Leave it as it is for the entire night.

3.) Wear the welding hat in the morning. If it feels snug, you’re done. If it’s still tight, repeat the process for one more night.

How do you shrink a welding cap?

Sometimes, the welding hat you have could be loose. And wearing a loose welding hat is as good as not wearing one at all. You need the hat to fit you snugly, without leaving gaps. 

Luckily, you can shrink it.

Note: If you have a dark-colored hat, use cold water for shrinking. If you have a light-colored hat, use hot water for stretching. Also, you can use a washing machine as well as wash the hat with your hands to shrink it.

Let’s now help you learn how to shrink a welding hat.

1.) Wash the hat using the right water temperature according to the color of the welding cap.

2.) Once washed, toss it in the dryer and set it at the highest heat setting.

3.) Let the cap tumble dry. That’ll maximize shrinking.

4.) Take out the hat once dried. Wear it and check if it has shrunk to a comfortable size.

5.) Repeat the process if you want to shrink the welding cap further. But, let the hat cool down entirely before repeating the process.

Bear in mind, don’t overdo the process. Doing it twice should be enough. Otherwise, the cotton fibers will start breaking and your hat might get torn. 

Even if the shrinkage isn’t enough after repeating the process twice, we’d suggest you buy a new hat closest to your real size for snug-fitting. 

2 best welding caps you can trust for overall protection from flying sparks

1.) Welding cap by BSX Gear

This 100% cotton fire-resistant beanie welding cap is true to its size. It offers a good stretch. Hence, it offers snug-fitting for many people. 

It’s also lightweight and you can easily wear it for a long time. It won’t hurt your ears either.   

2.) Lincoln Electric Welding Cap

This is a professional-grade welding cap that’s made of 100% cotton. Featuring the shape of a baseball cap, this fire retardant welding cap is additionally incorporated with a mesh lining inside the cap. The mesh lining absorbs sweat and keeps you dry and comfortable. 

1.) It’s flat stitched. Hence, it doesn’t rub against the forehead. As a result, it’s extremely comfortable to wear.

2.) It’s breathable.

3.) The elastic headband offers a good stretch. Thus, the chances that it will fit you are higher.


Are welding caps supposed to be tight?

No. If a welding cap is too tight, it will create a lot of pressure around the forehead and ears. Naturally, it will hurt and you won’t be able to wear it for long.

Instead, snug-fitting is what you should be looking for!

What fabric is used for welding caps?

100% cotton is the best fabric for welding caps. Keep away from any synthetic blend that’s inflammable. Since 100% cotton has self extinguishable properties, it will offer excellent protection from sparks and flame.

Do welding caps come in different sizes?

Yes. There are basically 11 sizes. Hence, you should be able to find a welding cap that’ll offer snug fitting easily. Besides, a few inches here and there can be managed because you can stretch as well as shrink your cotton welding caps to some extent.

Concluding Thoughts:

Welding caps offer protection from spatter, flames, and sparks. They’re practically the only solution to protect the crown, neck, and ears from sustaining burn injuries while welding. 

As long as you make sure that your welding cap offers a snug-fitting, is made of 100% cotton and has an elastic headband that’s stitched using fire-retardant cotton threads, you should be safe.   

Steve Goodman
Experienced welder with 7+ years of expertise in all the latest welding techniques MIG, flux and stick welding, drill press, crane operation and metal fabrication. Welding certificate course graduate and 2018 Excellence in Welding award winner.

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